HEADLINES / TRENDS l STATS l RESEARCH l MEDIA l PEOPLE

March 2013

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UPDATE CENTRAL

A Hot New Yoga Trend

Yoga encompasses a variety of forms, as we saw in “A Yoga Potpourri” (March 2011). Among them is Bikram Yoga, a specific sequence of postures done in rooms heated to more than 100 degrees—the better, its proponents claim, to maximize flexibility and detoxification.

Moksha Yoga, a Canadian import, keeps Bikram’s warm surroundings but emphasizes environmental consciousness, including the use of sustainable building materials and natural cleansers, and keeping class costs low. To learn more, including locations of official Moksha studios, visit www.mokshayoga.ca.

 

Aura Signals Danger

The throbbing of a migraine represents an increased cardiac risk, as we learned in our February 2011 Malady Makeover. Now research presented to the American Academy of Neurology has found that aura, such as flashing lights, that can accompany migraine is second only to hypertension in terms of heart attack and stroke risk. Data was taken from the Women’s Health Study, which involved 27,860 participants.

 

NFL: Depression Risk?

Football can take a toll on the brains of those who play it. Our November 2007 Malady Makeover looked at depression in men, including former NFL stars.

NFL brain injuries have become big news, spurred by a rash of suicides by ex-players. Now University of Texas studies have found a link between concussion and depression risk among former players. The researchers urged better concussion followup, saying, “Depression is...treatable...if the proper and necessary steps are taken.”

 

Smoking Catches Up With Women

Big Tobacco made a big play for female customers starting in the 1920s, as we learned in “Tobacco’s Deadly Legacy.” But because women’s lung cancer rates lagged those in men, it was believed women were less susceptible to this disease—a distortion that had proved untrue by the time our story ran in May 2005.

The ultimate result? Lung cancer deaths among female smokers were nearly 26 times those of nonsmokers in the 2000s, according to the New England Journal of Medicine; in the 1980s, the rate was 13 times as high. Women have also nearly caught up with men in terms of developing emphysema and other smoking-related disorders. The good news? Quitting before age 40 can help smokers gain back the decade of life they lose to tobacco.

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Low D Levels Linked to Headaches,

Daytime Drowsiness

Don’t have enough vitamin D in your bloodstream? You may find yourself napping at your desk—or reaching for something to quell a headache.

A research team led by the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center studied the records of 81 sleep clinic patients, all of whom were eventually diagnosed with a sleep disorder. Those with the lowest vitamin D levels were most likely to experience sleepiness during the day.

African-Americans were the most affected. Scientists have long known that increased skin pigmentation interferes with the skin’s ability to create vitamin D from sunshine.

“The results suggested the novel possibility that vitamin D deficiency-related disease has a yet-to-be-identified mechanistic role in the presentation of sleepiness, sleep disorders or both,” the team wrote in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. “It’s important to now do a follow-up study and look deeper into this correlation.”

Another study group has found low D levels to be associated with a 20% increased in the incidence of non-migraine headaches.

This team, based at the University Hospital of North Norway in Tromso, based their findings on data taken from a long-running Norwegian study involving 11,614 participants. According to results published in the journal Headache, the relationship between vitamin D and head pain remained even after the researchers took possible confounding factors, such as smoking, into account.
Previous research has found that many people, especially those living in colder climates, suffer from low-level vitamin D deficiency.

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MEDIA

Cheating the Trash Man

Of all the ways to reduce the waste piling into the nation’s landfills, recycling materials such as plastic, glass and metal has become the method of choice for many municipalities. But is that the best we can do?

Amy Korst doesn’t think so. “Trash is intimately connected to every environmental problem we face today,” she says. Korst’s response to her own waste stream was the Green Garbage Project, a year in which she and her husband, Adam, “tried to make absolutely no garbage.”

Korst distilled what she learned into The Zero-Waste Lifestyle (Ten Speed Press). Recycling plays a role, but so do reduce and reuse, the other parts of the eco-friendly triad.

It may not be easy to find a bulk foods store, for example, let alone bring your own containers. But Korst believes this and other actions are worthy efforts: “The earth is the home to all of us, and we don’t have the right to trash it out.”

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NUMBERS

Many More New Knees

50%+

Rise in new knee-replacement

surgeries from 1991 to 2010

 

600,000

Replacements performed each year

 

$9 Billion

Cost of those surgeries

Sources: JAMA

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More Health Benefits From

Consuming Colorful Produce

The bright colors found in fruits and vegetables have been linked to reductions in risk for both heart attack and ALS.

British researchers discovered the heart benefits after examining data from the Nurses’ Health Study II, a large study in which nearly 94,000 women completed dietary questionnaires every four years for 18 years. Those who ate the most blueberries and strawberries were 32% less likely to suffer a heart attack, according to results published in the journal Circulation.

A study team at the Harvard School of Public Health found that eating dark-green vegetables and bright red-yellow fruits to be linked with a reduction in risk for ALS, a chronic neurological condition. “Our findings suggest that consuming carotenoid-rich foods may help prevent or delay the
onset of ALS,” they wrote in the Annals of Neurology.

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CALENDAR - MARCH 2013

National Colorectal Cancer

Awareness Month

THE IDEA: To raise awareness, and increase screening, of a disease
that kills nearly 52,000 Americans each year

SPONSORED BY: A coalition of health organizations, including the
Prevent Cancer Foundation

CONTACT: www.preventcancer.org, 800-227-2732

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Resistance Training Without Weights

When you think of resistance training, the picture that comes to mind generally involves large men lifting even larger stacks of iron. But according to the American College of Sports Medicine, one of this year’s hottest fitness trends goes back to the basics: body-weight exercises.

Researchers believe a down economy plays a factor in why more people are doing pushups and other exercises that depend on a person’s own weight for their effects. “Body-weight exercises are a proven way to get and stay fit. In a time when many people are concerned with cutting expenses, such exercises are a great way to feel great and look toned without a big financial investment,” says Walt Thompson, PhD, FACSM, of Georgia State University.

Some body-weight exercises do use simple equipment, such as a bar for chinups or pullups. But most require nothing more than comfortable clothes and perhaps a mat or some other sort of padding for floor work (a cushy rug or carpeting may be enough). Besides pushups and jumping jacks, moves popular with many fitness professionals include planks, in which the body is balanced on the toes and forearms; lunges, in which one leg is forward with the knee bent; squats, in which the knees are bent while the legs remain parallel; and crab walks, done with hands and feet on the ground while facing upward.

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