Hope For Those Suffering From Tinnitus

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humanearDr. Peter Marincovich, Ph.D. of Audiology Associates has revolutionized the way audiology and hearing diagnostics are performed and is highly versed in the latest treatments for helping patients manage tinnitus.

Tinnitus or persistent ringing in the ears is one of the most common health complaints in the country, affecting about 50 million Americans, many of them military veterans. According to the Veterans Health Administration tinnitus is the number one disability among Veterans which translates into a lot of people suffering from that annoying ringing in the ears with more than 21.8 million veterans in the U.S.

While audiologists have been helping patients, including veterans with tinnitus, to manage symptoms in a variety of ways spanning behavioral education, sound therapy and hearing aids, researchers are now focusing on unique new ways of alleviating symptoms. In the largest U.S. clinical trial of its kind funded by the Veterans Affairs (VA) Rehabilitation Research and Development Service, researchers at the VA Portland Medical Center and Oregon Health & Science University found that transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) may significantly improve tinnitus symptoms.

Participants of this study received one pulse of TMS per second to the skull just above the ear, targeting the auditory cortex in the brain. Of the 32 participants who received the “active” TMS treatment, 18 people – more than half – reported an improvement in symptoms that lasted six months or longer.

In a similar research effort aimed at veterans involving investigators from the University at Buffalo; Southeast University in Nanjing, China; and Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada, have reportedly made a significant breakthrough that provides new insights into how tinnitus, and the often co-occurring hyperacusis, (a condition that causes sounds to be perceived as intolerably loud), might occur and become persistent.

The results of the study suggest the neural network responsible is more wide spread than previously thought. The findings could lead to a testable model which identifies the regions of the brain that are responsible for causing these conditions. Researchers hope to eventually test the model by deactivating specific segments of the neural network eventually – aimed at relieving tinnitus and/or hyperacusis.

“Although research on the subject of tinnitus continues to bring hope for an eventual long term remedy, there is no cure as of yet,” explains Dr. Marincovich. “Tinnitus can sometimes be managed by treating the underlying cause, by altering reactions to it or by incorporating treatments that help reduce or mask the noise, making it less noticeable.”

An Overview of Symptoms

About 80 percent of people with tinnitus say they are not adversely affected by symptoms (mainly it doesn’t affect sleep or concentration). The rest who struggle with the errant noise can be susceptible to debilitating mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety. As of yet, it is not yet understood why tinnitus affects people at such varying degrees.

Tinnitus manifests in patients most often as a persistent white noise type of sound when no external sound is present. Many people hear “ringing in the ears,” while other hear hissing, roaring, clicking or whistling which can occur intermittently or constantly. Patients report a variety of different tones with a perceived volume that can range from subtle to very loud. At its most distracting level it can interfere with sleep and impair concentration and affect mood.

Tinnitus can occur for a variety of reasons including:

* aging

* an ear injury or head trauma

* medications

* viral or bacterial infections

* genetic factors

* a circulatory system disorder

* the result of continuous exposure to loud noise

A result of inner ear cell damage, tinnitus affects the tiny, delicate hairs in the inner ear (which normally move freely in relation to the pressure of sound waves) causing them to become bent or broken. As these tiny hairs become damaged they can produce random electrical impulses to the brain, resulting in the many manifestations of tinnitus.

Treatments for Tinnitus

Commonly used methods of tinnitus management include; biofeedback, electrical stimulation, relaxation therapy, counseling, habituation therapies, tinnitus maskers and hypnosis. There is no known drug that has been clinically demonstrated to be effective in the elimination of tinnitus.

Hearing Aids

Tinnitus that is accompanied by hearing loss can frequently be managed with the use of hearing aids. There are many factors that determine whether a person will experience total or partial tinnitus relief using hearing aids. For patients who have a hearing loss in the frequency range of the tinnitus, hearing aids may bring back the ambient sounds that naturally mask the tinnitus noises.

Sound Therapy

One of the options for treating tinnitus today is sound therapy which combines low-level, steady background sounds played through a device and is used with intensive counseling that can take 12 to 24 months to reduce the effects of tinnitus.

“In some cases audiologists have long believed that the tinnitus may be originating from the central auditory cortex in the brain in response to trying to help the ear hear better,” says Dr. Marincovich. “When the ear hears better through appropriately fit amplification, which can restore ambient sounds and help fill Sound Voids™, often the tinnitus is minimized. This is a relatively new management therapy, though many patients are reporting excellent results. Some people benefit from the use of tinnitus maskers which produce sounds that “mask,” or cover up the ongoing noise made by the tinnitus.”

About Audiology Associates

In order to determine any underlying medical condition that may be causing tinnitus, a general physical exam is required, including personal history and a careful examination of the ears. Since tinnitus can be associated with a number of auditory conditions, a thorough audiologic evaluation will provide vital information regarding the cause and possible options for treatment.

For some people, tinnitus can cause a severe annoyance in everyday life. Dr. Marincovich works with patients of all ages and levels of hearing loss and our audiologists and staff carry decades of experience in helping patients manage the symptoms of tinnitus with state-of-the-art procedures and technologies.

Hearing care services are offered at our office locations in Santa Rosa, Novato, Mill Valley and Mendocino. Visit http://www.AudiologyAssociates-sr.com or call 707-827-1630 to make an appointment with one of our board-certified audiologists.

Benefits of Bariatric Surgery For Liver Health

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This article was supplied by PRWeb, but what are your thoughts about it?? Please share in the comments section below….

newspaperAn article published July 27 on Medical Xpress detailed two separate studies that pointed to how weight loss had tremendous benefits for the health of a patient’s liver. The article focused on the study and prevalence of “nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a disease characterized by fat in the liver,” and how weight loss affected the remission of this disease. In the study that focused on weight loss surgery, it was shown that 85 percent of patients with NASH – which is also often referred to as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease – were no longer suffering from the condition when examined one year after their weight loss surgery. According to bariatric surgeon Michael Feiz, M.D., F.A.C.S, while very few similar studies have been done tying liver health directly to weight loss surgery, others, including one mentioned by the article, do examine liver health in terms of weight loss in general. Therefore, what this study (and many others pertaining to weight loss surgery’s benefit with a variety of other health conditions) really shows is that weight loss surgery is a tremendous tool to help patients lose weight. According to Dr. Feiz, there are two distinct ways that a weight loss surgery helps a patient lose the weight and keep it off:

1. “It Limits Capacity” – What all bariatric procedures have in common, notes Dr. Feiz, is that they are designed to make people feel full with less food at each meal. The gastric band technique does this by slowing the intake of food via a band placed around the entrance to the stomach, while the gastric sleeve works by actually removing a large portion of the stomach to create a smaller stomach. Dr. Feiz notes that he prefers these newer methods over the gastric bypass procedure because they do not alter the path of digestion, and generally offer a lower rate of complications.

2. “It Limits Cravings” – Dr. Feiz always reminds his patients that one of the biggest differences between the Lap Band and the gastric sleeve procedure is that the gastric sleeve provides the patient with added hormonal benefits. He explains that, when roughly 80 percent of the stomach is removed with the sleeve gastrectomy, the part of the stomach largely responsible for emitting much of the hunger hormone, known as ghrelin, is also removed. This means that, after the surgery, far less of this hormone reaches the brain every time the stomach is empty, significantly reducing cravings.

Dr. Feiz & Associates have helped countless patients send a variety of serious medical conditions into remission by losing weight with weight loss surgery. Any obese patients curious about weight loss surgery can call Dr. Feiz & Associates today at 310-855-8058 or visit the medical office online at http://www.DrFeiz.com today.

Study Shows Folic Acid Can Reduce Risk Of Stroke

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Royal River Natural Foods publishes results of study that shows folic acid can reduce stroke risk in people with high blood pressure.

healthyheartbpRoyal River Natural Foods, a locally-owned independent natural health store in Freeport, Maine, reports a new study that found people with high blood pressure who took folic acid along with standard blood pressure medication were 21 percent less likely to have had a stroke after 4.5 years of follow-up compared to those who took blood pressure medication alone.

The report is part of the July 2015, issue of Natural Insights for Well Being®, which Royal River Natural Foods publishes free each month for those in the Freeport community interested in new nutrition science. Also in the July issue, pre-diabetic women who took vitamin K had lower insulin and blood sugar levels compared to those who did not take vitamin K; and female students who took ginger root capsules had as much relief from menstrual pain as with standard pain medication, among other important findings.

“New evidence continues to show that everyday nutrients help not only improve the quality of daily life, but also extend healthy living as we age,” said Becky Foster, supplement manager. “New findings this month include well respected, peer-reviewed scientific journals such as the ‘Journal of the American Medical Association,’ the ‘Journal of Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders,’ the ‘Archives of Gynecology & Obstetrics,’ among others,” Foster said.

Natural Insights for Well Being® is free, and Royal River Natural Foods invites all those who wish to gain more valuable nutrition knowledge to stop in and pick up the July issue and meet the friendly, knowledgeable staff.

About the company:

Founded in 1994, Royal River Natural Foods is a unique community, natural food store. They are committed to well-being, body and soul. Experience their outstanding customer service in a warm and welcoming environment. Royal River Natural Foods proudly features local organic food, produce, locally-raised beef, chicken, lamb, pork and seafood, healthy takeout foods, bulk foods, snacks, special dietary products, specialty wines, micro-brewed beers, gourmet food made in Maine, unique gifts, eco-friendly products and much more. Royal River Natural Foods is committed to providing local, organic and sustainably-produced foods that enrich their customers’ lives. For more information about Royal River Natural Foods, visit their website at http://www.rrnf.com.

Eye Injuries Due To Basketball

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This article is courtesy of PRWeb, please share your comments below…..an older article from September, but some interesting tips…..

basketballcartoonPrevent Blindness Provides Tips on How to Help Prevent Serious Eye Injuries from Sports,

More than 6,000 Americans suffered an eye injury related to playing basketball in one year, according to estimates by Prevent Blindness. In fact, the top five sports with the most eye injuries were basketball, water and pool activities, use of guns (air, gas, spring, and BB), baseball/softball and football.

According to the National Eye Institute, every 13 minutes, an emergency room in the United States treats a sports-related eye injury. Eye injuries from sports may include infection, corneal abrasions, blunt trauma, inflamed iris, fracture of the eye socket, swollen or detached retinas or a traumatic cataract. In the worst cases, some injuries may result in permanent vision loss.

Prevent Blindness has declared September as Sports Eye Safety Awareness Month to encourage wearing proper eye protection while playing sports. Parents, coaches, school staff and others can support children’s sports eye safety by:

1) Knowing that almost all sports-related eye injuries are preventable. Whatever the sport or the athlete’s age, appropriate protective eyewear is the best defense against eye injury.

2) Parents, teachers, school nurses and coaches should learn about the eye injury risks associated with sports before allowing children to participate.

3) Parents should consult an eye doctor for protective eyewear recommendations before enrolling a child in any sports program. And, make sure the child is seeing clearly by getting him or her an eye exam.

4) Parents, teachers and coaches should discourage participation in high risk contact sports such as boxing, since adequate eye protection does not yet exist for these types of sport.

5) Parents should only enroll children in afterschool organized sports through school districts, community centers, park districts and recreation centers where adults supervise all sports activity. Ideally, an adult trained in the prevention, recognition and immediate care of an eye injury should be present at all times.

6) Parents should meet with a child’s coach or athletic trainer to make sure that proper procedures are in place to deal with a child’s eye injury should one occur.

7) Parents, teachers, school nurses and coaches should familiarize themselves with the warning signs of a serious eye injury and know when to seek treatment.

“Any injury can happen in a split second, but the effects of a serious eye injury can have lasting negative effects for a lifetime,” said Hugh R. Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness. “We encourage anyone, adult or child, to always make sure that eye protection is consistently part of their uniform, and to consult an eye care professional before starting any sport to make sure their vision is healthy and protected.”

Prevent Blindness is teaming up with Liberty Sport to provide eye care professionals with free information and materials through the “September is Sports Eye Injury Prevention Awareness Month” campaign. For more information about Sports Eye Injury Prevention Awareness Month or to request a kit, please contact Angela Gerber, Liberty Sport, at (973) 882-0986 x972 or agerber(at)libertysport(dot)com.

For more information on sports eye injury prevention and information on sport-specific eye protection recommendations, please call Prevent Blindness at (800) 331-2020, or visit preventblindness.org/sports-eye-safety.

About Prevent Blindness

Founded in 1908, Prevent Blindness is the nation’s leading volunteer eye health and safety organization dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight. Focused on promoting a continuum of vision care, Prevent Blindness touches the lives of millions of people each year through public and professional education, advocacy, certified vision screening and training, community and patient service programs and research. These services are made possible through the generous support of the American public. Together with a network of affiliates, Prevent Blindness is committed to eliminating preventable blindness in America. For more information, or to make a contribution to the sight-saving fund, call 1-800-331-2020. Or, visit us on the Web at preventblindness.org or facebook.com/preventblindness.

New Asthma & Obesity Study Tracks 10,000 Patients

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didyouknow?Asthma Control Requires Weight Loss Management in At-Risk Individuals

Although studies have shown an association between obesity and increased asthma incidence, the role of obesity in asthma control is less clear. Now, researchers have addressed that issue by tracking asthma control and Body Mass Index (BMI) in a large, real world cohort of 10,233 adults.

“We identified adults with persistent asthma in 2006, continuous health plan enrollment in 2007 and 2008, with a BMI measurement in 2006 and 2007. That BMI was categorized and analyzed alongside asthma control outcomes in 2008,” co-author Michael Schatz, MD, MS, FAAAAI, said.

Asthma control outcomes included asthma hospitalizations or emergency department visits, oral corticosteroid prescriptions linked to an asthma encounter and prescriptions for more than seven short-acting beta-agonist canisters.

“We found an increased risk of emergency department visits or asthma related hospital stays in overweight (26-40%) and obese individuals (36-57%). We also found that obese patients are likelier to use seven or more short-acting beta-agonist canisters,” co-author Robert Zeiger, MD, PhD, FAAAAI said.

A number of reasons could explain the relationship between poor asthma control and obesity, including:

* Gastroesophageal reflux disease

* Depression

* Reduced corticosteroid responsiveness

* Adipokines or cell signaling proteins secreted by body fat

* Direct effects on pulmonary functions

The size of this study allowed the investigators to account for some of these factors (gastroesophageal reflux disease, depression, and inhaled corticosteroid treatment) as well as other factors that influence asthma control (age, gender, smoking and socioeconomic status). This large study will provide medical professionals a more comprehensive understanding of the association between elevated BMI and poor asthma control. It is important because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than one in three adults over the age of 20 are obese. Similarly, more than two in three adults over the age of 20 are overweight or obese.

“While further studies will be needed to better define the amount of weight loss necessary to improve asthma outcomes, it remains clear that physicians managing overweight and obese patients with asthma should actively encourage and facilitate weight loss interventions,” Schatz explained.

The study was published on May 11, 2015 in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice (JACI: In Practice), an official journal of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI). It should be noted that this study was supported by a research grant from Merck and Co. Inc.

More information on asthma is available at AAAAI.org. The AAAAI represents allergists, asthma specialists, clinical immunologists, allied health professionals and others with a special interest in the research and treatment of allergic and immunologic diseases. Established in 1943, the AAAAI has more than 6,800 members in the United States, Canada and 72 other countries. The AAAAI’s Find an Allergist/Immunologist service is a trusted resource to help you find a specialist close to home.

Silent Ischemia Poses A Threat To The Heart

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Courtesy of PRWeb and Harvard Health Publications, please share your comments below. This article is from May, but still has good information in it.

healthyheartWhen the heart temporarily gets less blood than it needs, it’s known as cardiac ischemia. Often the result of clogged heart arteries, ischemia can cause chest pain (angina).

Poor blood flow to the heart during exercise, stress, or other times when the heart works harder can cause the chest pain known as angina. This pain may be centered in the chest, or it may spread to the shoulders, arms, neck, or jaw. Sometimes, though, there’s no pain at all. This condition, called silent ischemia, is surprisingly common, according to the May 2015 Harvard Heart Letter.

Ischemia comes from a Latin term that means “stopping blood.” It occurs when something, usually a coronary artery narrowed by cholesterol-laden plaque, fails to deliver enough oxygen-rich blood to part of the heart muscle when the heart needs to work harder.

“People with heart disease may have five to 10 times as many episodes of silent ischemia as symptomatic ischemia,” says Dr. Peter Stone, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of the vascular profiling research group at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Ischemia — whether it’s painful or not — raises the risk of heart attack, especially in people who have high blood pressure or other factors that stress the heart. Things that can trigger silent ischemia or angina include:

* walking outside briskly on a cold, windy, or humid day

* hurrying with a heavy load

* exerting yourself after a heavy meal

* working under a deadline

* speaking in public

* engaging in sexual activity

* being worried, tense, or angry.

Detecting silent ischemia can be a challenge. It is often discovered during a stress test to check for possible heart disease.
Several types of medication are used to treat ischemia. These include beta blockers, which lower the heart’s workload; calcium-channel blockers and nitrates, which improve blood flow by widening coronary arteries; and ranolazine (Ranexa), which also improves blood flow to the heart muscle.

Read the full-length article, “Angina and its silent cousin”

Also in the May 2015 issue of the Harvard Heart Letter:

* Life’s “Simple 7”: Ways to improve cardiovascular health

* The downside of too much sitting

* Weight-loss drugs and your heart

The Harvard Heart Letter is available from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School, for $20 per year. Subscribe at http://www.health.harvard.edu/heart or by calling 877-649-9457 (toll-free).

Coffee Trend That May Be Risky For Health

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coffeeCoffee is associated with many health benefits, but too much caffeinated coffee may lead to insomnia, nervousness, heart palpitations, and the jitters.

French press coffee may be all the rage right now, but it comes with health risks, reports the May 2016 Harvard Health Letter.

Making pressed coffee involves mixing boiling water and coarsely ground coffee beans in a small pitcher, letting it steep for a few minutes, and then pressing a mesh plunger from the top of the pitcher to the bottom to strain the liquid and trap the coffee grounds.

Devotees say this type of coffee is more flavorful than coffee that’s filtered in an automatic drip coffeemaker. But is it healthier? “We don’t know; it’s never been studied that carefully, and it likely depends on the beans and the roasting process,” says Dr. Eric Rimm, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. What we do know is that too much unfiltered coffee may raise “bad” LDL cholesterol, because it contains certain harmful compounds that would otherwise be trapped by a filter.

Even filtered coffee comes with risks. Drinking too much caffeinated coffee may lead to insomnia, nervousness, heart palpitations, and the jitters. If any of those lead to getting less sleep every night, the risk of developing chronic conditions goes up.

Fortunately for coffee lovers, the savory brew is also associated with many health benefits when intake is limited to five cups or fewer per day, such as lower blood pressure, a slower rate of weight gain with age, and reduced risks for developing type 2 diabetes or dying from cardiovascular disease or neurological diseases.

Read the full-length article: “Coffee: Love it or leave it?”

Also in the May 2016 issue of the Harvard Health Letter:

* Hearing loss: Early warning signs that are easy to miss

* In search of comfortable shoes, despite foot problems

* The latest thinking on heartburn medications

The Harvard Health Letter is available from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School, for $20 per year. Subscribe at http://www.health.harvard.edu/health or by calling 877-649-9457 (toll-free).

Understanding Nutrition During Pregnancy

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This article was submitted by the Baylor College of Medicine, please share your comments below…..

PregnantFor everyone, a nutritious and well-balanced diet is essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. But for pregnant women, nutrition is doubly important – it’s a key factor for their own health and that of their baby.

“Pregnant women should eat three meals a day and between-meal snacks,” said Dr. Nina Ali, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine. “Meals should include foods from all five food groups: grains, fruits, vegetables, proteins and dairy.”

Ali advises women to be mindful of their diet choices and to drink plenty of water to help curb the out-of-control cravings.

“Try to choose food with nutritional value and allow yourself to indulge in small quantities,” said Ali.

Cravings are hard to avoid while pregnant. However, Ali recommends that pregnant woman avoid specific foods altogether.

Women should not consume unpasteurized milk, hot dogs, lunch meats and cold cuts (unless they are heated to steaming hot), raw or undercooked seafood, eggs and meat, fish with high mercury content such as swordfish, king mackerel or tilefish, said Ali.

Nutrition choices also can play a role in minimizing morning sickness that many women experience during pregnancy, she said.

“Ginger candy and ginger tea can be soothing for nausea,” Ali said. “Eat small snacks throughout the day rather than large meals, and avoid heavy or spicy foods. When these measures do not help, talk to your ob-gyn doctor about nausea medications.”

In addition to maintaining a healthy diet while pregnant, Ali recommends women continue to manage a balanced diet after giving birth.

“A healthy, well-balanced diet is an essential part of the mother’s recovery after giving birth,” said Ali. “Also for moms who are breast-feeding, caloric demands and nutrition needs are even higher than while pregnant. I recommend moms continue prenatal vitamins for 6 weeks or as long as they continue breastfeeding.”

During and after pregnancy it is essential to eat nutritious meals and be mindful of good dietary choices.

“A well balanced diet will give your body the building blocks it needs to maintain good health for you and for your baby,” said Ali.

Study Links Fatty Liver And Heart Failure In Obese People

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newsFatty liver is independently associated with subclinical heart failure in obese people, according to a new study published online, January 26, in the journal Radiology. The findings add more support to the importance of dietary interventions in such patients, researchers said.

Fatty liver is independently associated with subclinical heart failure in obese people, according to a new study published online in the journal Radiology. The findings add more support to the importance of dietary interventions in such patients, researchers said.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), also known as hepatic steatosis, is the most common liver disease, with a prevalence of up to 30 percent in the general population and between 70 percent and 90 percent among persons who are obese or have type 2 diabetes. NAFLD is considered as a manifestation of the metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors like high blood pressure, excess abdominal fat and unhealthy cholesterol levels that raise the risk of heart attacks, strokes and other health problems.

“One of the unique aspects of our study is that we took all of the individual components of the metabolic syndrome into account as possible confounders in this association, as the metabolic syndrome is associated with NAFLD and with cardiovascular disease,” said study lead author Ralph L. Widya, M.D., from the Leiden University Medical Center in Leiden, the Netherlands.

For the study, Dr. Widya and colleagues used proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy to noninvasively measure hepatic triglyceride content, a measure of fat in the liver, and cardiac MRI to assess left ventricular diastolic function in 714 men and women aged 45 to 65 years. Of the 714 patients, 47 percent were categorized as overweight, and 13 percent were classified as obese.

The left ventricle is the heart’s main pumping chamber, and diastolic function refers to the phase of the heartbeat when the heart relaxes to fill with blood. Abnormalities of diastolic function, represented by inefficient filling of the heart, play a major role in exercise intolerance in patients presenting with heart failure. Diastolic dysfunction has been clinically undervalued and is currently gaining major attention by cardiologists and general physicians, according to senior author Hildo J. Lamb, M.D., Ph.D., also from Leiden University Medical Center.

Results indicated that an increase in hepatic triglyceride content was associated with a decrease in mean left ventricular diastolic function in the obese subgroup of the study population. The association between hepatic triglyceride content and left ventricular diastolic function existed independently of the metabolic syndrome, suggesting that fatty liver itself could, at least in obese people, pose a risk of heart dysfunction above and beyond known cardiovascular risk factors that are clustered within the metabolic syndrome.

“Our results may be of importance in cardiovascular risk stratification in obesity, because there is a large variation in the degree of hepatic steatosis in obesity,” Dr. Widya said. “Also, more emphasis should be put on dietary interventions to reduce or prevent hepatic steatosis.”

The reasons for the link between fatty liver and heart function are unknown, Dr. Widya said, but could be related to several factors, including the presence of infection-fighting white bloods cells called macrophages or increased expression in the liver of small proteins known as cytokines.

Future research is required to study the effect of NAFLD on cardiovascular events, according to Drs. Widya and Lamb, and further study is needed to investigate to what extent the association exists and differs among normal weight, overweight and obese persons.

Tip For Runners: Strengthen Your Butt!

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This article is courtesy of PRWeb and John Fulton, Physical Therapist….please share your comments below…..

joggingRunners often hurt. Knees, feet, hips… Minor aches and pains and the threat of a serious, disabling injury plague runners of all ages and at all levels. “We see runners all the time who have had occasional discomfort in a knee,” says physical therapist John Fulton of Armonk Physical Therapy and Sports Training. “They take a couple of logical steps – scale back their runs, try icing, stretching, maybe new shoes – but the knee doesn’t improve and sometimes gets worse. The problem may be that the root cause of their discomfort is injury or weakness in the gluteus medius and the pain won’t be alleviated until that is corrected.”

Three gluteal muscles make up the buttocks. When walking or running, the gluteus maximus, the largest of the gluteal muscles, moves the hips and thighs. The gluteus medius, a broad muscle located on the outer surface of the pelvis, and the gluteus minimus, the smallest of the three, act as abductors, meaning they move the leg away from the body. They also stabilize the pelvis when the runner’s foot hits the ground. “There is more than one way in which the gluteus medius can cause problems for a runner,” says Mr. Fulton. “It can become inflamed causing pain in the hip or it can develop small contractures that shorten the muscle and make it less flexible, sending pain down the outside of the leg to the knee, shin and ankle.”

The gluteus medius causes further problems for the runner when it becomes weak or fatigued. “We’ve learned that some of the most common running injuries can be traced to weakness in the gluteus medius,” says Mr. Fulton. “Problems like patellofemoral pain syndrome, also known as ‘runner’s knee,’ iliotibial band syndrome, Achilles tendonitis, and lower back pain can be triggered by an inadequately functioning gluteus medius. When the gluteus medius isn’t providing proper stabilization, muscles that weren’t designed for that task pick up the slack, eventually causing discomfort that compels the runner to adjust his or her stride, leading to poor mechanics and vulnerability to a wide range of injuries.”

seniorjoggerStrengthening the gluteus medius can improve a runner’s performance and, even more important, is key to preventing injury. Mr. Fulton makes the following recommendations:

Cross train: Athletes who work the same muscles repeatedly and intensely, for example, those who limit their workouts to running, suffer more injuries than those who regularly swap a run for, say, a bike ride or a swim. Cross-training gives the muscles a chance to recover and relieves the strain of using them over and over in the same way.

Strengthen: A physical therapist or professional trainer can assess the state of your gluteus medius and suggest a strengthening regimen that takes into account your individual circumstances. Exercises that may be used include squats, particularly single-leg squats, lunges, side-lying hip abduction, single-leg dead lifts, and the clam shell.

Take it easy: A program to strengthen a weak muscle or muscle group should be undertaken gradually to avoid injury.

“We find that many injuries to the pelvis and lower limbs can be treated by strengthening the gluteus medius,” says Mr. Fulton. “And doing so will not only help prevent further injuries, improved pelvic stabilization will enable proper gait and improve performance. Strengthening the butt is one of the most important things a runner can do.”

– John Fulton, PT, takes great pride in restoring athletes to optimum physical condition and getting them back in the game as soon as possible. Armonk Physical Therapy and Sports Training provides personalized, integrative, and skilled one-on-one physical therapy services. http://www.armonkptst.com