Video Games, Fruits And Vegetables

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Submitted by the Baylor College of Medicine, please share your thoughts below…..

fruitswhiteIn a study of 400 fourth and fifth grade children who were asked to create implementations (action or coping plans) while playing a video game promoting fruit and vegetable intake, researchers at the USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital found that children increased meal-specific fruit and vegetable intake. Their report appears today in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.

“Few children eat enough servings of fruit and vegetables each day,” said Dr. Karen Cullen, professor of pediatrics at Baylor and the CNRC and first author of the paper. “These foods are part of a healthy diet, and may reduce the risk of some chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. So interventions to help children choose and eat more fruit and vegetables are important.”

The ten-episode video game, Squire’s Quest II: Saving the Kingdom of Fivealot, was designed to both entertain and promote behavior change. The children were divided into four groups based on the type of implementation intention, specific plans, created during goal setting. The four groups were: no implementation intention, action plan (identifying fruit and veggie intake specifics of what, when, where), coping plan (identify common barriers to eating fruits and vegetables and ways to overcome them) and both action and coping plans. Children completed three 24-hour dietary recalls at baseline and after six months.

Parents received a weekly newsletter and a link to a website where they could access information on their child’s weekly goals, suggestions for supporting achievement of goals and ways to overcome common barriers to help their family make healthy food choices.

Researchers found that those children in the action and coping groups reported higher vegetable intake at dinner, and all groups had significant increases in fruit intake at breakfast, lunch and snack time.

“The results suggest that including implementation intentions in the goal-setting process of interventions may help children achieve their goals. Future research should continue to investigate the use of implementation intentions within interventions to improve health behaviors,” said Cullen.

Others who took part in the study include Dr. Debbe I. Thompson, a USDA scientist, and Yan Liu, both with Baylor.

S & S Field Day Headquarters

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Pulmonary Embolism

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By Rebecca Kennedy

seniormanRight around the same time as you retire, your chances in getting pulmonary embolism, or PE, increase dramatically. PE occurs when an artery is blocked in the lungs. The most common cause of blockage happens when blood clots in one of the deep veins in the legs and slowly travels up to the lungs where it is blocked by a smaller artery. There are, however, other less common ways to contract the disease such as cancerous tumors and excess fat being released into the bloodstream. Yet, before it gets to the point where PE surgery is required, there are several steps that one can take to inform themselves to combat and prevent this disease entirely.

Symptoms of PE

It is important to be cognizant of the symptoms some PE patients show, although picking up on these take some practice due to their subtleness. Unfortunately, it is possible that someone who has PE shows no signs of the disease. Here are some of the most common:

● Lightheadedness or dizziness
● Sharp chest pain worsening by deep breathing or coughing
● Increased heart rate
● Coughing up blood or a red/pink, foamy mucus
● Clammy or discolored skin
● Swelling of one leg

The Wells Score

The Wells Score is a concept created to determine the likeliness of having PE or not. Although there are several different models of the Wells Score, all of them are going to include these criteria in one way or another:

● Signs and/or symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
● Increased heart rate
● Hemoptysis
● Immobilization for at least three days or a surgery causing bedrest
● PE is the only diagnosis or is one of the most likely
● Previously diagnosed with either PE or DVT

Other questions may include whether or not a patient has had a cancerous tumor or air bubbles caused by a traumatic event or surgery.

The questions are valued on a scale that can be anywhere from -2 points to 3 points. Questions such as an increased heart rate can be 1.5 whereas previously having either PE or DVT can be 3 points. Generally, the outcomes are determined in a three tier model with having less than 2 points means that one is at low risk, 2-6 points one is at moderate risk, and finally more than 6 points meaning that one is at a high risk.

Testing

Depending on the results of the Wells Score come in one should look towards getting further testing done in order to figure a definitive result. Some tests that can be done to determine whether or not one has PE are x-rays, electrocardiogram, and a Venous Doppler study.

Fitness Is In The Joints

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seniorjoggerJust so we’re all clear on the function, purpose, and importance of joints, joints are the points at which your bones meet and hinge much like each axis between the door and its frame, and since ‘joints’ rhymes with ‘points,’ you’ll find that easy to remember. Their purpose is to maintain the connections of all segments of the body while allowing various forms of flexible movement. Most importantly, you need joints in order to run, jump, limbo, twerk, and what-have-you. Much of what you do, therefore, to stay fit or even to capitalize on your fitness requires healthy joints. Many people exercise by jogging, swimming, doing aerobics, doing pushups, or all of the above. No matter what means you choose to exercise and stay fit, bad joints can make it impossible.

One might say that your fitness hinges on the wellness of your joints (see what we did there?). Harvard Health Publications reports that arthritis affects 20% of the American populace, which is quite a sizable chunk—1 in 5. The significance of arthritis, though, isn’t just in how many people are affected but, rather, in how joint pain is as immobilizing as joint stiffness if not more so. You’ll find yourself unable to be active either way, and there are loads of conditions that include joint pain in their myriads of symptoms. Anyone who has experienced these things can tell you that you don’t realize how important your joints are until something hinders your use, and you’ll find that staying active can become next to impossible due to discomfort or stiffness in joints that you’ve never once considered, which is why joint wellness is one of the most critical facets of fitness.

In order to make fitness easier on yourself in the future, it is incumbent upon you that you keep good control of your weight. Being overweight and especially being obese has an incredibly detrimental effect on so-called weight-bearing joints. These are the hips, the back, and especially the knees. Some people need chiropractic attention because of problems they caused by not taking measures to keep their weight within a healthy range. When you lose weight, you decrease the amount of regular pressure on those joints, which preserves their buoyancy and fitness for several more years so that you can keep exercising as you get older.

girljogExercise, of course, will help you regulate your weight, but there are certain types of exercise that physicians believe reduce joint swelling. Aerobics, for example, are low-impact exercises that increase your heart rate without pounding your joints. This is the benefit of cycling and swimming because you give your body a great workout and raise your heart rate plenty without having to pound your knees, hips, or lower back. If you sit in an office for much of the day, this might be especially pertinent to your lifestyle whether you’re overweight or not because prolonged stillness day-in and day-out causes stiffness in your joints, which can manifest as joint pain or lead to swelling.

The idea is most definitely to take care of your joints. Joint problems tend to be the first hindrance to fitness as people get older because they belabor the exercise process. They often do so before one even considers himself or herself old. At Green Oaks Spine & Sport we often address fitness from a chiropractic perspective, which is why we can’t help on point out how imperative it is that you take care of your joints in your fitness endeavors.

– Submitted by Mersad from gospineandsport.com.

Mother / Baby Workouts

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By Jenn Sanders

mombabyIt’s hard to squeeze in exercise between cooking meals, changing diapers, and working. It’s clear that you have little to no time to fit in a workout.

New mothers often find it difficult to lose baby weight without having to get a childcare support. Thankfully, there are mother/baby workouts that you can do with your little one. Here are a few quick and easy exercises you can do with your infant when you have a free moment.

Stretching

Find a wide area where you can sit with your legs straight out in front of you. Your baby must be lying on his back on top of your legs. Then, slowly reach toward him to stretch your hamstrings and back.

Dancing

Dancing is a great cardiovascular workout that exercises major muscle groups. It also improves balance and coordination. It doesn’t only exercise your body, it also elevates your mood, thereby reducing your stress.

You can dance while you hold your baby. Keep him as close to your body as possible. Make sure that you support his head. You can also put him in a sling with straps that fit around your waist and over your shoulders.

When dancing, alternate between slow and fast dances to increase your heart rate. Try not to bounce too much while dancing, to avoid accidentally injuring your little one.

To ensure that he’s enjoying the dance, let him wear a raw amber Baltic wonder necklace. This necklace is proven to make your baby happy while teething.

Bench Squats

Find a seat that you can squat down while you’re holding on to your child. As you sit on the bench, draw your belly tightly in.

Sit Ups

They’re also perfect to perform while lying on your back with your child sitting on your tummy. Perform a sit-up to work your abdominal muscles.

Abdominal Plank

This workout is easy. You just need to hold to do the usual abdominal plank while your baby is lying on the ground under you.

Run

You can put your child in the stroller and take him with you while you run or jog. While you run together, you can sing and chat with him. Doing so will make your workout a little sweeter. It may take a bit more planning because you need to dress him up and pack snacks and drinks. However, it’s a great way to spend time with him while exercising.

How to make it easier?

It’s not easy to workout while you’re taking care of your baby. Therefore, try to exercise before work and not after work. Keep in mind that some activities and commitments will come up at the end of the day.

Never worry about what you’ll wear when you workout with your baby. Debating what wardrobe to choose is only a waste of time.

Finding time to workout can be difficult because of your busy schedule. However, with a little planning, it’s possible. Always prioritize your health. If you get sick, who’s going to take care of your family? Never allow your health to be your second priority. It should come first. When you’re happy and healthy, everyone else is also happy and healthy.

Project ACES Is May 3rd

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exerciseProject ACES (All Children Exercise Simultaneously), is a signature program of the Youth Fitness Coalition, Inc. Project ACES was created by physical education teacher Len Saunders in 1989 as a method of motivating children to exercise. ACES takes place on the first Wednesday in May as part of National Physical Fitness and Sports Month along with National Physical Education Week. It has been labeled as “the world’s largest exercise class” by the media. Since 1989, millions of children from all over the world exercise together to promote proper health and fitness habits. With the obesity epidemic facing the youth of the world, children’s fitness plays a major role in fighting heart disease. Project ACES hopes to address these issues with its big event in May, as well as schools that participate in daily Project ACES Clubs throughout the year.

To learn more, click here!

Herbal Remedies Are An Overlooked Global Health Hazard

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Submitted by the Baylor College of Medicine, please share your comments below…..

didyouknow?Millions of people around the world use herbal health remedies, following a tradition that began millennia ago. Many believe that herbs are safe because they have been used for many years, but researchers from Baylor College of Medicine and Stony Brook University are raising awareness that long-term use of herbal remedies is no guarantee of their safety. The invited commentary appears in EMBO reports.

Dr. Donald M. Marcus, professor emeritus of medicine and immunology at Baylor, and Dr. Arthur P. Grollman, distinguished professor of pharmacological sciences at Stony Brook University, discuss the scientific evidence showing that the plant Aristolochia can cause aristolochic acid nephropathy (AAN). People with this condition experience interstitial nephritis, renal failure and cancers of the urinary track.

The authors remark that in Taiwan, according to the national prescription database, between 1997 and 2003, 8 million people were exposed to herbals containing Aristolochia. Studies of patients with renal failure and cancer in Taiwan and China show that tens of millions of people in those countries are at risk of AAN.

In genetically susceptible people, consuming Aristolochia can lead to the formation of complexes between aristolactam, a compound in Aristolachia, and DNA in renal tissues. These complexes lead to mutations in the TP53 tumor suppressor gene, which in turn initiate the process toward kidney cancer. Additional studies have shown that this process may also lead to the development of cancer in the liver and the bladder.

Marcus and Grollman indicate that other herbals and traditional medicines are responsible for severe adverse events in Africa and Asia, but in these cases epidemiological data are lacking.

Although Aristolochia has been used as a herbal remedy for more than 2000 years, “the intrinsic toxicities were not recognized, owing, in large part, to the latency period between exposure and the onset of symptomatic disease, and, in part, to genetic determinants that confer susceptibility to only approximately 5 percent of those exposed to this herb,” said the authors. The long-term scientific study of AAN revealed the association of the disease with Aristolochia.

Almost all carcinogens and many toxins require a long period of time before symptoms appear. This makes it very difficult for a layman or a professional to identify a particular compound as the cause of an illness when it was taken months or years earlier.

“The history of Aristolachia indicates that other herbs that have been used for a long time may also have toxic and/or carcinogenic compounds,” said the authors. “It is prudent to assume that many herbs may contain toxic or carcinogenic substances that can cause subsequent health problems for humans.”

Marcus and Grollman disagree with the World Health Organization’s endorsement of the use of traditional herbal remedies on the premise that traditional medicine is of proven quality, without mentioning the lack of scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of herbal remedies or their demonstrated hazards, as in the case of Aristolochia.

The authors emphasize that their primary concern is “the prevention of toxicities associated with herbal medicine and not a categorical rejection of traditional healing practices. Herbal remedies pose a global hazard. We encourage the global health community to take actions that will evaluate both long- and short-term safety, as well as the efficacy of botanical products in widespread use.”

The authors declare having no conflict of interest.

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.