More Bad News About Doing Nothing

January 22, 2014 8:58 am 0 comments

Most people get it that a sedentary lifestyle is bad for the body; now comes news that it’s also bad for the brain, and in turn, for the body.  Gretchen Reynolds reports in the New York Times on research conducted at Wayne State fat-rat1University School of Medicine that put a dozen rats in cages with running wheels and a dozen rats in cages with no wheels.  Three months later, the researchers examined the rats’ brains, paying particular attention to the rostral ventrolateral medulla, which Reynolds describes as “an obscure portion of the brain that controls breathing and other unconscious activities central to our existence.” What did they see?  Reynolds reports that the neurons in the brains of the running rats were were functioning normally, but many of the neurons in the brains of the sedentary rats had sprouted many new tentacle-like arms known as branches,–normally a good thing, except that these neurons had more branches than normal, making them more sensitive to stimuli and apt to zap scattershot messages into the nervous system. Not a good thing. The researchers believe that the neurons changed in ways that made them likely to overstimulate the sympathetic nervous system, potentially increasing blood pressure and contributing to the development of heart disease. Read more in the New York Times.

Leave a Reply


Recent Posts

  • Gear How To Buy Running Shoes: An Authoritative Guide

    How To Buy Running Shoes: An Authoritative Guide

    How hard is it to buy running shoes? Slightly less hard than buying craft beer is these days, but only slightly. Fortunately, runners have the American College of Sports Medicine to turn to for advice, lots of advice. Look, here’s some now: The college recommends that a running shoe have “minimal heel-to-toe drop: This drop is the difference in the thickness of the heel cushion to the thickness in the forefoot cushion area. Shoes with no drop or a small […]

    Read more →
  • Fitness Pain Sex Cycling May Increase Prostate Cancer Risk. Or Not.

    Cycling May Increase Prostate Cancer Risk. Or Not.

    That’s right. Cycling may increase the risk of prostate cancer. Or, it may not. How helpful is that knowledge, which comes from a study at University College in London, where researchers took a hard look at the cycling habits and health of more than 5,000 male cyclists? The good news: the study appeared to disprove the suggestions of some research that cycling increases the risk of impotence and infertility. The possibly bad news: the men who biked the most, more […]

    Read more →
  • Pain Shin Splints. Funny Name, But Not Fun

    Shin Splints. Funny Name, But Not Fun

    Shin splints sound like the kind of thing that might be amusing, at least until you learn that their technical name is medial tibial stress syndrome. Ouch! That hurts, and shin splints can hurt for a long time, up to six months, according to this piece in the Los Angeles Times.  The Times tell us that the “stress” in “medial tibial stress syndrome” is exerted on the soft tissue surrounding the tibia, and that tissue becomes inflamed. What causes them? […]

    Read more →
  • Attitude Pain Men Would Rather Hurt Themselves Than Be Alone With Their Thoughts

    Men Would Rather Hurt Themselves Than Be Alone With Their Thoughts

    Apparently, it really does hurt to think. And researchers at the University of Virginia and Harvard have demonstrated just how much it can hurt, in a series of experiments that asked people to sit alone with their thoughts. A UVA news release reports that the researchers found that study participants did not enjoy spending even brief periods of time alone in a room with nothing to do but think, ponder or daydream. Most preferred listening to music or using a […]

    Read more →
  • Attitude Pain Another Medical Thing You Don’t Really Need: A Pelvic Exam

    Another Medical Thing You Don’t Really Need: A Pelvic Exam

    We are moving, slowly, toward the day when evidenced-based medicine is more than a buzzword. The latest victim of efforts to distinguish medical practices that actually do something good from those that just cost money and cause pain is the pelvic exam, declared unnecessary in guidelines issued last week by the American College of Physicians. The Wall Street Journal reports that the College examined research published from 1946 to 2014 that studied the effectiveness of the pelvic exam, and found […]

    Read more →
  • Fitness Pain Aspirin Cuts Pancreatic Cancer Risk In Half

    Aspirin Cuts Pancreatic Cancer Risk In Half

    Yet another remarkable thing that aspirin appears to do: cut the risk of pancreatic cancer by 50 percent. A Yale University news release reports that researchers at the school studied data from a Connecticut population of 362 newly diagnosed pancreatic cancer patients and a control group of 690 disease-free people. The study looked at regular use of both low-dose aspirin (75 to 325 mg. per day, taken for heart disease prevention) and regular-dose aspirin (325 to 1,200 mg. taken for […]

    Read more →
  • Fitness Pain TV Kills (Slowly)

    TV Kills (Slowly)

    Think about this: while you’re watching TV, the TV is watching you, and waiting. For what? You’ll find out. In the mean time, the American Heart Association would like you to know that adults who watch TV three hours or more a day may double their risk of premature death from any cause. That’s right. Three hours, double the risk. The calculation comes from an analysis of habits and health of 13,284 young and healthy Spanish university graduates (average age […]

    Read more →
  • Fitness Pain Testosterone May Impair Sleep

    Testosterone May Impair Sleep

    Men with many things to keep them up at night can add another suspect to the list: testosterone. Researchers at the University of Chicago Sleep, Metabolism and Health Center evaluated the sleep of 44 men, all of whom were overweight or obese, but otherwise healthy.  A news release from the Endocrine Society reports that the researchers studied the brain’s slow-wave activity during non-rapid eye movement sleep, a reliable marker of sleep depth. Too little slow-wave activity can leave a person […]

    Read more →