NB : to see all of these as they appear (and to share your own thoughts on things), the simplest way is to follow me on Google+. You'll see these, and a whole lot more.
Age is not a contraindication to exercise, which can usually be initiated safely in older persons.
It's never too late to start.
If you've never tried juggling and you're in the - ahem - older-and-wiser camp, you'll be pleased to know that it's never too late. The same brain-changing changes apply.
Every year, whether you are fat or thin, whether you lose weight or gain, 10 percent of your fat cells die. And every year, those cells that die are replaced with new fat cells, researchers in Sweden reported Sunday.
Of course, this opens up a range of questions. What determines the number of fat cells a person has? Can this be changed? And so on. Very interesting.
Scientists in Germany say that tattoos could be the ideal way of delivering vaccines into the body.
The researchers say that in tests undertaken with mice, tattoos were much more effective in provoking a response from the immune system.
In studies with mice, tattooing a vaccine produced 16 times more antibodies than a simple injection into muscle tissue.
Biotech bodyart. Love it.
Chris notes an interesting study on the effects of fasting : Fasting-Induced Changes in the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Thyroid Axis (abstract only). It's a fascinating area of research.
Yahoo! Health notes an interesting study on mediation - pointing out that short, regular sessions can have real benefits in overall health. What's more, it's relaxing.
And no, you don't need to sit out in a field and chant.
Over at Conditioning Research Chris points to an interesting study on the effects of alternate-day fasting (as per routines such as The QOD Diet) in mice. There's still a way to go before the long-term effects of similar diets are discovered for humans, but it's a great start.
The Got Strength? Blog takes a brief look at two studies on my favourite beverage (other than water) - green tea. Short version - a miracle cure it isn't, but there are health benefits aplenty. Good stuff.
This is definitely good news. Researchers at Glasgow University have noted that in the 10 months since Scotland banned smoking in many areas (most notably pubs), the incidence of heart attacks has fallen by a solid 17%. Not bad at all.
At least in the ability-to-climb-walls department.
A team of Italian scientists is currently looking at ways to use carbon nanotubes (just think of really, really small drinking straws made of carbon) to create a suit which will allow the wearer to climb vertical walls. The nanotubes are bent into hooks, much like a microscopic version of velcro.
Very cool indeed. Especially the red ones.
I am yet to be convinced, but the Sleep Disorders blog points to a recent study attempting to equate a longer sleep period with improved sporting performance. Personally, I suspect there is a correlation between sleep quality and performance; not just the quantity of sleep.
Women are predisposed to prefer muscularity in men.
At least for short-term relationships.
Physical Strategies points to the story of Michigan's Liam Hoekstra, born with the incredibly rare condition myostatin-related muscle hypertrophy; or muscle enlargement. Quite simply, this kid is ripped - at 19 months.
Although there are no known side effects (aside from an accelerated metabolism, and the accompanying grocery bills); this rare state does hold plenty of promise for various muscle-wasting conditions such as muscular dystrophy. The next 5 years will be very interesting indeed.
The Masters' Performance blog notes an interesting study by a team at Indiana State University; looking at the correlation between core strength and athletic performance. Their findings - perhaps surprisingly - indicate that for many sports, core strength does not have a significant impact on performance.
children who grow up eating homegrown produce prefer the taste of fruits and vegetables to other foods
This seems entirely reasonable to me. There's just something deeply satisfying about walking out into the yard to grab some food; rather than relying solely on a trip to the local supermarket.
How about you - do you grow any of your own food? Herbs perhaps?
I'm somewhat skeptical about this. Salk Institute's Dr. Ronald M. Evans has successfully flicked a chemical switch in mice; PPAR-d to be exact. A fat regulator that usually comes into play around exercise.
Before you get too excited, this change must be done genetically, before the mouse is born; and yes, it's permanent.
The longer-term idea is to use this knowledge to create an 'exercise pill' - an idea that's definitely hitting the headlines - which undoubtedly appeals to a lot of people. A noble goal perhaps, but is there something inherently wrong with a little exercise?
British neuropsychologist Dr David Lewis has developed a 'formula for a balanced life' that anyone can use to calculate their current status (and what needs to be changed). The formula considers such factors as time spent at work, commuting, exercising, sleeping and with family.
A study published in this month's Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics examined the link between intake of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs) and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), in children aged 7-12 years.
The short version? They help, more than you might expect.
If you've got young kids this may seem obvious to you, but it's still great to see the research : when kids don't sleep, neither do their parents.
This has great implications : it may now be possible to convert blood types. Currently, if you're in need of blood (following an accident, operation or illness) you're limited in the type of blood you can be given. If you have type A or AB blood you can be given type A; if you have B or AB you need B. Type O can be given to anyone.
The ability to convert from one type to another means an instant increase in the blood supply. Fantastic.
Via Healthbolt : a promising study at the University of Guelph on the use of stem cells to assist with the healing of cartilage in joint injuries. Although the current study focuses on horses, their joints are similar to those in humans in a couple of significant ways (such as joint thickness).
From the Daily Mail (yes, I know) :
The good news -
Coffee could hold the secret to curing male baldness, according to new research [abstract only].
The bad news -
Scientists estimate up to 60 cups a day would be needed for significant amounts to reach follicles in the scalp.
Although I'm somewhat skeptical of many of News Corp's claims (particularly those on News.com.au), the underlying study mentioned in this article sounds promising. University of NSW's Associate Professor Steve Boutcher heads a team currently studying the relationship of fat loss to the periods used in interval training. Very interesting.
Researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have been studying mice with a dominance of muscle type IIX, which allows them to run faster and maintain higher workrates than other mice. The genetic 'switch' which is responsible for forming this muscle type - as discussed (summary only, subscription required for full article) in the January 2007 issue of Cell Metabolism - brings us one step closer to developing drugs to change the composition of muscle; great for boosting strength in the elderly and those with muscle wasting diseases. Definitely one to keep an eye on.
A HHMI study looks at the ability to genetically control the regrowth of a Zebrafish tail fin, by flipping a molecular switch. Whilst this may sound like a particularly odd thing to do, the research could lead to the ability to regenerate tissue following illness or injury. Very promising indeed.
According to researchers at NTNU and St. Olav’s Hospital in Norway, a sense of humour may be an effective weapon in the fight against many serious conditions. Having observed a number of critically ill kidney patients for a year, the team noted that the patients in the top 50% when asked several questions (designed to assess various traits, including sense of humour) were up to 30% less likely to die from their illness than the other patients. Interesting.
A very interesting study by a team of Scottish and Canadian researchers looks at the ideal seating position - at least as far as stress on the back is concerned. For those of us who spend an high percentage of each day seated, this is definite cause for consideration; the best angle to be seated at is apparently around 125 degrees (leaning back slightly).
Mayo Clinic researchers headed by Drs. Anke M. Ettema and Peter C. Amadio have moved one step closer to an understanding of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, through investigation of the tissues surrounding carpal tunnels in both unaffected patients and those with a history of the condition. They suggest that repeatedly or violently moving adjacent fingers in different directions may lead to shearing of these tissues, and ultimately the condition.
Their findings published in the Nov 2006 Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery; official journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
The BBC mentions an interesting study (the findings of which were recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association) on the value of systolic blood pressure as an indicator of heart disease. The study found that a low systolic reading (the top number, a measure of the pressure in the arteries when the blood is being forced through them) at the time of hospital admission was correlated with a high death rate (in heart patients).
This (subscription required, abstract) is a very interesting study, published in the current issue of PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences). The short version? An international team of researchers headed by University of Wisconsin-Madison's Marulasiddappa Suresh took a major step forward in understanding how the immune system remembers events.
A study (abstract) published in the September Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery looks at the connection between nicotine and tendon-bone healing. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis looked at rotator cuff injury in rats (rows of bench-pressing rats spring to mind), and how their healing was negatively impacted by an increased dose of nicotine. Very interesting.
In total that's 6 hours per day, or 42 hours per week (giving me a 14 hour bonus on a typical 7 x 8 hour week).
There are a few things to be aware of with the length of this adaptation period. The first is to watch your caffeine intake. Now, I'm certainly not going to be hypocritical enough to suggest that you give it away altogether (I'm enjoying a cup of coffee whilst writing this); however I would suggest that having three double espressos 30 minutes before a nap is a bit much. Use your judgement.
The second is sugar intake. As with coffee, use your common sense. A bit of maltodextrin in a shake certainly isn't going to kill you, but try to stay away from the jam doughnuts.
The third consideration - perhaps related to the previous two - is the stress factor. If you come home from work every day fired up about something-or-other, don't take your nap immediately afterward. The best routine (for me) seems to be work -> workout -> eat -> sleep. There's nothing like throwing a bit of iron around to help alleviate stress.
My routine was like this prior to the start of biphasic sleeping, and doesn't seem to have been affected at all by it. I was fortunate enough to avoid serious injury throughout the period of the test, and there doesn't appear to have been any impact on recovery. DOMS still rears its ugly head occasionally. The thought of an ice bath still feels me with dread.
Biphasic sleeping doubles the number of these periods. This means that instead of 30-40 unproductive minutes per day you now have 60-80. However, you've gained - for an 8-hour-per-day sleeper - 2 hours per day. An extra hour of productive time per day? I'll take that more than happily.
The second consideration is the quality of that productive time. This is where it becomes difficult to state just how much more productive I feel than a month ago (although the quantity of articles written for this and other sites is probably a good indicator); particularly as I've been intentionally monitoring my productivity for a few weeks now. That monitoring in itself provides a productivity boost (nobody wants to write down '30 minutes just surfing the internet, reading emails and generally slacking off').
If you're not used to remembering your dreams, this may not seem like much of a benefit; however the dream recall is usually associated with feeling refreshed, which is an obvious benefit for everyone.
Via Medical News Today : the current issue of the open access Nutrition Journal contains an interesting study on Low-carb diets. Despite common fears that people on low-carb diets replace carbs with fatty foods, the study by Richard Feinman, PhD (professor of biochemistry at SUNY Downstate Medical Center) and co found that over half of those studied increased their salad greens, and a third doubled their helpings of vegetables.
The sample group? The 90,000 members of the Active Low-Carber Forum. Very interesting.
According to a report in this month's issue of Cell Metabolism, a study [subscription required, abstract] of rats revealed that brain activity in hunger centres spiked with the first taste of food. This goes a long way to scientifically supportting the idea of hors d'ouevres being to whet the appetite.
Interestingly, the mere thought of food was also enough to spark a bit of brain activity - a notion which seems more than a little plausible.
Medical News Today mentions an interesting study by the Université de Montréal on the effects of caffeine consumption on daytime vs nighttime sleep. The findings, published in the current issue of Neuropsychopharmacology, indicate that a cup of coffee at night has much more impact on subsequent daytime sleep than one in the daytime has on nocturnal sleep.
If you've spent any time on Jesse Marunde's site you probably already know Washington strongman Aaron Anderton. His blog details both strongman and powerlifting training - and there's some great lifting in there.
Check it out.
This won't come as a surprise to anyone who's ever held their breath during a heavy squat, but a study published in September's Archives of Ophthalmology indicates that performing the Valsalva maneuver increases intraocular pressure (the pressure within the eyeballs).
The downside of this long-term is that there is a slightly increased risk of getting normal-tension glaucoma, which is a little more common in people who've experienced frequent pressure changes in their eyes. I suspect bungee-jumping instructors are at the top of the 'most likely' list.
A US team followed 670 male military veterans and found those with high levels of hostility had poorer lung function than their happier peers.
This study looks primarily at the long-term effects of uncontrolled anger (rather than a short burst during a workout); hopefully future studies will focus on much shorter-term relationships.
An interesting piece of research has just discovered a new way to increase bone density. This could be very interesting in a couple of years.
The results of a study by a joint team of RAND, University College, London and University of London researchers has just been published in the Journal of the American Association (JAMA). The study looked at the differences in health (based on the appearance of medical conditions ranging from diabetes to various forms of cancer), especially how their health varies with major socioeconomic factors, and discovered that US citizens aged 55-64 were significantly less healthy than English citizens of the same age. Incidence of diabetes, for example, was twice as high in the US sample.
What makes this interesting is that the usual areas which seem to attract blame (obesity, alcohol consumption, wealth, healthcare etc) have all been ruled out as likely causes for this difference. In fact in some areas (notably alcohol consumption) the English actually lead by a significant margin.
The cause of this difference then? Researchers are currently uncertain. Opinions?
A suitable allowance of water for adults is 2.5 liters daily in most instances. An ordinary standard for diverse persons is 1 milliliter for each calorie of food. Most of this quantity is contained in prepared foods.
The 2.5 litres was changed to 8 x 8 fluid ounce cups in later recommendations, but is otherwise unchanged.
A couple of things are worth noting about this information (which hasn't really changed in over 60 years). The first is the line 'An ordinary standard for diverse persons is 1 milliliter for each calorie of food'. This seems much more reasonable to me - tying water consumption to caloric intake - than simply drinking 2.5 litres of water. It would seem sensible that an athlete consuming 4,000 kCals per day would require a greater water consumption than one getting through 1,500 (for health reasons - we're not talking about preparing for bodybuilding competions here).
Scientists at the University of Texas at Dallas have developed artificial muscles, which are powered by alcohol and hydrogen. These muscles, which are around 100 times as powerful as the body's own, could be used in exoskeletons in order to assist various professions : firefighters, those in the military, powerlifters.
From the article :
For decades, scientists have wondered how living organisms manufacture the essential vitamin B12. Now, using laundry whitener and dirt-dwelling bacteria--the everyday ingredients of an undergraduate science experiment--researchers may have found the major clue they need to solve the mystery.
The idea is simple : drink a cup of coffee and immediately take a brief (15-20min) nap. This helps clear the body of adenosine, a chemical commonly believed to make you drowsy.
An interesting study is being carried out by a team at Melbourne's (Australia) Howard Florey Institute, in which the plasticity of pain responses is being assessed. Their latest findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, indicate that pain is increased at times of mild thirst (if you're wondering, thumbscrews and a saline solution).
Think I'll skip the thumbscrews, but it is another reason to drink plenty of water both during and after workouts.
It's been known for some time that muscle tends to waste away as we get older (over the age of 40, people start to lose up to 2% per year). A team of scientists at the INRAs Human Nutrition Research Centre in Auvergne has demonstrated that this loss - at least in rats - is prevented with sufficent Leucin supplementation.
So what is Leucin? Leucin is one of the essential amino acids (essential as the body needs it but doesn't produce it directly). As it's found in all protein foods, it isn't exactly difficult to come by. In fact, bodybuilders have been taking protein supplements with leucin for years. The study, however, focuses on the effects of muscle aging - and recommends, among other things, up to 9 or 10 grams per day (the average in the US is around 4 or 5) to reproduce the results shown.