Pumping Iron Is Good For The Heart

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By Jonathan Little, Professor at The University of British Columbia

weightsJust one session of interval weight-training can improve the risk of Type 2 diabetes complications, according to a UBC Okanagan study. This is encouraging news for those starting the New Year with good intentions.

Jonathan Little, an assistant professor in the School of Health and Exercise Sciences at UBC Okanagan’s campus, says the study demonstrates that a series of simple leg exercises, involving weights, can improve blood vessel function of people with and without diabetes.

“Individuals with Type 2 diabetes are up to four times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than those without,” says Little, the study’s senior researcher. “After completion of just one bout of exercise, we saw an improvement in blood vessel function, an indicator of heart health and heart attack risk.

“With further study, this information could provide a new safe and cost-effective tool to help people manage their disease.”

In the study, Little and his research team compared the effect of two types of interval training—resistance (leg press, extensions and lifts) and cardiovascular (stationary bicycle) exercises—on blood vessel function. Both of these alternated periods of high and low intensity effort, in a one-to-one work/rest ratio.

Thirty-five age-matched study participants were assigned into one of three groups; people with Type 2 diabetes, non-exercisers, and regular exercisers without diabetes. Each group performed a 20-minute exercise routine, which included a warm up and seven one-minute, high-intensity efforts with a one-minute rest between each interval.

womanweights“All exercisers showed greater blood vessel function improvement after the resistance-based interval training,” says Monique Francois, a UBC graduate student and the co-author of the study. “However, this was most prominent in the Type 2 diabetes group.”

“Resistance training was introduced to this group because it’s relatively easy and can accommodate individuals who are new to exercising. This study shows that resistance-based interval training exercise is a time-efficient and effective method with immediate effects.”

According to the Canadian Diabetes Association, there are 11 million Canadians living with diabetes or prediabetes.

Diabetes is a chronic, debilitating, and sometimes fatal disease, in which the body cannot produce insulin or cannot properly use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone that controls the amount of sugar in the blood.

The study, published in American Journal of Physiology: Heart and Circulatory Physiology, was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

TripAdvisor Names Woodloch Pines One of the Best Hotels

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newsWoodloch Pines, an all-inclusive family resort located in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains, has been selected by TripAdvisor as the number two large hotel for families in the United States and the 17th best in the world in their annual Travelers’ Choice Awards. This is the sixth consecutive year that Woodloch ranks in the top three on TripAdvisor’s prestigious list. Woodloch Pines world-renowned sister property, The Lodge at Woodloch, also took the honor of the #22 Hotel in America.

TripAdvisor represents the world’s largest online travel community. The website is home to millions of unbiased and honest traveler reviews, and the travel community eagerly anticipates the annual release of the Travelers Choice Awards.

“We are thrilled to be honored by the TripAdvisor community again this year. It is humbling to see our resort, that has been in my family for nearly 60 years, among so many amazing properties and national brands. And to be included in the top three on this list for the past six years in a row, I can’t express the gratitude and emotions I feel,” said John Kiesendahl, CEO and President of Woodloch Pines. “This could not have been accomplished without the hard work and sincere hospitality of our staff members, as well as our loyal and passionate guests who want to share their experiences with the world. We thank you for standing by us all these years,” he continued.

Award winners were determined using an algorithm that took into account the quantity and quality of reviews from travelers on TripAdvisor gathered over a 12-month period with emphasis placed on reviews marked as family getaways. The award puts Woodloch Pines Resort and The Lodge at Woodloch in the top 1% of hotels worldwide. The full list can be viewed on TripAdvisor’s website here: Best Hotels for Family.

To obtain more information or to book a stay, please visit Woodloch.com, or call 1-800-Woodloch.

Research Discovers Genes Linked To Twinning And Reproductive Fitness

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

mombabyBearing fraternal non-identical twins, or dizygotic (DZ) twinning, has been known to run in families. Studies have suggested that DZ twinning is potentially influenced by more than one gene and linked to a maternal factor. In a study published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, an international collaborative team of researchers reports the finding of two genes that are associated with increased odds for women bearing fraternal twins.

“We know that dizygotic, or non-identical twins, is heritable and passed on down the maternal lineage. We had spent several years first identifying twinning genes in a really spectacular group of new world monkeys, the marmoset, who always have twins or triplets. Now we were ready to tackle the genetics of twinning in humans,” said Dr. Kjersti Aagaard associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine and OB/GYN and maternal fetal medicine specialist at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, and one of the study’s lead authors. “Working with our colleagues around the globe, we not only found two genes with links to twinning, but to a number of different important signs of reproductive fitness.”

“There’s an enormous interest in twins and in why some women have twins while others don’t,” said Dr. Dorret Boomsma, a biological psychologist at Vrije Universiteit (VU), Amsterdam, and corresponding author for this work, who has compiled one of the largest twin databases in the world. “The question is very simple and our research shows for the first time that we can identify genetic variants [variations of a gene] that contribute to this likelihood.”

The follicle stimulating hormone (FSHB) gene, one of two genes found to be linked to DZ twinning, has shown significant effects on fertility affecting multiple reproductive aspects. For instance, FSHB helps control the menstrual cycle and the production of eggs by the ovary.

“We found that not only did the FSHB gene variant in moms associate with an increased likelihood of having DZ twins, but was associated in a gene dose-dependent manner to the amount of circulating follicle stimulating. In addition, women from four different cohorts around the globe carrying this genetic variant had their first period, menopause, their first child and their last child at an earlier age than women carrying other FSHB genetic variants,” said Aagaard.

Women who carried this FSHB genetic variant also showed signs of less occurrence of polycystic ovarian syndrome. With this discovery, researchers were able to tie this FSHB gene to multiple reproductive fitness traits.

The second gene found by the research team, SMAD3, affected the bearing of dizygotic twins a little differently.

“We found that moms who had this SMAD3 genetic variant also had a higher occurrence of twins,” said Aagaard. “But these moms were older at the birth of their last child, so it is a little bit different than what we saw with the FSHB variant.”

The SMAD3 genetic variant associated with DZ twinning, the authors propose, might increase the chances of DZ twinning by increasing the responsiveness to FSHB through the supporting granulosa cells.

Both genetic variants affect the growth of multiple follicles, which is needed for the development of non-identical twins. Dizygotic twins start with multiple ovulation, a maternal characteristic, and identical twins start with one embryo that splits in half.

This study focused on many different moms of twin cohorts from around the world, including a validation cohort of the population of Iceland. In this group, having each allelic FSHB variant increased women’s chances of having dizygotic twins by 18 percent per allele, and the SMAD3 variant increased the occurrence of twins by 9 percent per allele. Women who had both variants showed an increased chance of 29 percent.

The work has numerous potential applications in reproductive medicine and maternal health. For instance, it may help predict the outcome of multiple births and assist in the development of new strategies to optimize fertility.

Drawing on their recent work in the marmoset, Aagaard is optimistic that these and future evolution based genetic studies focused on twinning may yield key insights for pregnancy and reproductive health.

“What has always struck us about the marmoset is that their capacity for twinning is accompanied by unique adaptive traits that optimize their ability to both carry and care for multiple young at one time,” she said. “The more we can integrate our molecular and genetic findings in both marmoset and human moms, the greater the chance that we can unravel the mysteries of what enables reproductive fitness and optimal pregnancy outcomes in both singleton and multiple gestations.”

For the names, affiliations and support of the authors of this research, visit the Supplementary Materials section of the manuscript.