Pumping Iron Is Good For The Heart

Share Button

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

Share Button

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

Share Button

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.

Student-Athletes Not Sleeping Enough, Intervention Could Help

Share Button

This article was submitted by University of Arizona News courtesy of Michael Grandner, UA College of Medicine….feel free to comment on this article below…..

stresssleepingCollege athletes are not getting enough sleep, but a simple intervention built around education and support could go a long way in improving sleep quality and, in turn, athletic performance, University of Arizona researchers said during the NCAA Convention in Nashville, Tennessee.

Michael Grandner, assistant professor of psychiatry and psychology and director of the Sleep Health Research Center at the UA College of Medicine, and Amy Athey, director of clinical and sport psychology services for Arizona Athletics, were awarded an NCAA Innovations in Research and Practice Grant last year to study sleep habits in college athletes. They were one of four teams awarded the NCAA grant, which supports studies designed to enhance student-athletes’ psychosocial well-being and mental health.

Together, Grandner and Athey developed Project REST – which stands for Recovery Enhancement and Sleep Training – to encourage student-athletes to develop healthier sleeping habits. They presented their findings at the NCAA’s annual convention on Thursday.

In a survey of 189 UA student-athletes, Grandner and Athey found that 68 percent reported poor sleep quality, with 87 percent getting less than or equal to eight hours of sleep a night and 43 percent getting less than seven hours. About 23 percent of the athletes surveyed reported experiencing excessive levels of fatigue.

While seven hours is considered the minimum amount of sleep a typical adult should get, college students – especially highly active ones, like athletes – need at least eight to nine hours for optimal functioning, Grandner said in an interview.

“Student-athletes have a lot of reasons why their sleep would be disturbed,” Grandner said. “They have a lot of time demands, they have a lot of physical demands, they have a lot of mental demands, and they’re trying to balance athletics, academics and sometimes employment, and this can set up the perfect storm for bad sleep.”

Poor sleep can have far-reaching effects, no matter who you are. For athletes, it can impact not only the way they feel physically and mentally but how they perform in their sport, Grandner said.

“Some of the most prominent effects of disturbed sleep can be reduced physical performance, reduced mental and cognitive performance, reduced recovery time from injury and worse mental health,” Grandner said. Slower reaction times, impaired decision-making abilities and even depression can result from poor sleep, he added.

While many programs exist to address student-athletes’ nutrition and fitness, Grandner and Athey didn’t know of any that specifically target student-athletes’ sleep, so they developed Project REST – a model they hope may be adopted by college athletics programs nationwide.

The researchers enrolled 40 student-athletes in the intervention program, which started with a two-hour education and Q&A session that covered what good sleep is and why it is important and tips for improving sleep. Study participants then wore Fitbits to track their sleep habits over a 10-week period, and recorded information about the duration and quality of their sleep in online sleep diaries.

Throughout the study, students had 24/7 access to peers trained to support them and answer their questions. Participants also received daily text messages from study coordinators, including reminders about the study, tips for healthy sleep and random sleep facts. About half of the participants also received sunglasses designed to block UV and blue light, and a programmable light bulb.

At the end of the study period, participants reported a number of positive effects, including better sleep quality, less insomnia, more energy and less time spent lying awake in bed. Nearly 83 percent of the student-athletes said their sleep was better, and nearly 89 percent felt their athletic performance was positively affected. They also reported less stress and greater ability to focus.

The most useful part of the intervention, according to participants, was the initial information session. They also liked being able to monitor sleep habits with the Fitbit.

Athey, who works directly with the student-athlete population as a psychologist for Arizona Athletics, often encounters students with sleep issues, and says the data from the study backs up what she already suspected anecdotally.

When students come to Athey with sleep issues, she encourages them to make minor lifestyle adjustments to improve sleep – like maintaining a consistent sleep schedule or reducing exposure to mobile-device screens close to bedtime, for example – while more severe problems are referred to a sleep specialist.

Athey is optimistic that her partnership with Grandner, a sleep expert, can help introduce useful tools to the larger student-athlete population.

“With a really simple educational intervention and opportunities for learning over a number of weeks, student-athletes were able to make changes that had a real impact,” she said of Project REST.

While Grandner and Athey targeted the student-athlete population specifically, Project REST could be modified and adopted by different campus groups nationwide, since college students across-the-board often struggle with sleep, Grandner said.

“It’s just education and support,” he said. “There’s no reason this should be limited to student-athletes.”

Don’t Let Sleep Apnea Take Your Breath Away

Share Button

This article is courtesy of the Baylor College of Medicine, please share your thoughts below…..

sleepThere are some moments in life that take your breath away, but if those moments are happening while you’re asleep, it might be time to see a sleep expert, according to a sleep specialist at Baylor College of Medicine.

“Sleep apnea is caused by a narrowing or complete collapse of the upper airway that occurs in some people while they are sleeping, and this can affect one’s ability to get oxygen to the body, making the body work harder to breathe,” said Dr. Fidaa Shaib, associate professor of pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine at Baylor and director of the Baylor Sleep Center. “This results in a brief arousal period, sometimes just three seconds, where the brain wakes up and the airway opens to restore breathing. For those with sleep apnea, this will happen several times throughout the night.”

Many people with sleep apnea are not aware of the number of times they are waking up briefly throughout the night. However, this sleep disruption causes them not to feel refreshed or rested when they wake up in the morning.

“It’s almost as if someone is waking you up every 10 seconds to breathe and then you go back to sleep,” said Shaib.

Symptoms

Sleep apnea is associated with multiple health issues including heart problems, high blood pressure, risk for stroke, poor diabetes control and weight gain. Common symptoms include snoring, stopping breathing and choking or gasping for air that is reported by the bed partner. Other common symptoms are not feeling refreshed in the morning or feeling tired throughout the day. Other signs that could indicate sleep apnea include restless sleep, waking up multiple times to use the bathroom, excessive sweating at night and heartburn or reflux.

“It’s important to note that women with sleep apnea may show symptoms of snoring and difficulty going to sleep or staying asleep,” said Shaib. “Their presentation is different from men, whose symptoms are usually snoring and feeling tired throughout the day.”

Risk factors and diagnosis

Risk factors of sleep apnea are obesity and anatomy, meaning that one’s facial structure may cause them to be at more risk for sleep apnea. People with nasal congestion, allergies or who are on pain medications or sleeping pills may be at a higher risk for sleep apnea.

A diagnosis of sleep apnea is made through a sleep study. Most patients will have to stay overnight at a sleep center where they are monitored for brain activity, breathing, oxygen levels, heart activity and movement. The sleep study gives a summary of a person’s sleep and experts identify those periods where there is narrowing of airways and oxygen levels are low. Some patients may also qualify for an at-home sleep test if most of their symptoms point toward sleep apnea and no other sleep issue.

Treatment

Once a diagnosis is made, the CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine remains the best treatment for sleep apnea. The machine works by gently blowing air into the windpipe to keep the airway open.

“The technology for CPAP machines has advanced and the treatment is usually very well tolerated in patients,” said Shaib.

After starting the use of the CPAP machine, which must be used every night, people usually have improved sleep quality, feel more refreshed in the morning and have better daytime function as well as better memory during the day. Patients also see benefits in blood pressure control and a lower risk of heart problems.

If patients do not tolerate the CPAP machine, other treatment options can include a custom made oral appliance or surgery.

Weight loss, behavioral modifications and treating allergies usually also helps treatment of sleep apnea.

“Some patients only have sleep apnea when they sleep on their backs, so another treatment option is to use maneuvers and techniques to help the patient stay off their back,” said Shaib.

Shaib notes that young children (3-6 years) are at risk for sleep apnea, especially when they have big tonsils and big adenoids. Older children and adolescents who are overweight or obese are also at risk. Symptoms in children include loud snoring and sleeping with their mouth open. However, rather than feeling tired during the day, children with sleep apnea are usually hyperactive during the day and can have difficulty in school. Bed wetting also can indicate the potential for sleep apnea. It’s important to consult with a pediatric sleep expert if these signs are seen in children.

There is a spectrum of response from treatment of sleep apnea, Shaib said. Some people say that using the CPAP machine is life changing, making them feel refreshed throughout the day. Others may not feel as dramatic of an effect, but are still benefitting from the decreased health impacts, such as high blood pressure or risk for heart problems.

Can One Sunburn Cause Permanent Skin Damage?

Share Button

This article is courtesy of PRWeb, please share your thoughts below…..

sunOn August 13, 2015, Harper’s Bazaar Magazine posted “It Only Took One Sunburn to Ruin My Face Forever,” one woman’s account of how a common sunburn turned into an ongoing skin battle. The woman received a mild sunburn and tried her own skin regimen to facilitate the healing process. However, her burn persisted and left her face with brown patches along her cheeks and forehead. Several dermatologists were consulted and provided their own diagnoses, suggesting she had melasma or a possible hormonal imbalance caused by estrogen. She was offered several treatments, including skin peels, chemical exfoliation, and a laser procedure that targeted the millions of microscopic areas of the skin that were damaged with the goal of encouraging a comprehensive replacement of damaged cells. [see: goo.gl/Xw23id]

“For many years we’ve treated sun damaged skin at our clinic,” says Dr. Simon Ourian, Medical Director of Epione Beverly Hills. “I am glad to see that the idea of a ‘healthy tan’ has lost considerable popularity. I believe it’s important for parents to be very conscientious about protecting their children’s skin, not just for the obvious reason of preventing a sunburn but to instill the notion that sun protection is vital. Hopefully this practice will then be carried into adulthood.”

The Harper Bazaar Magazine’s article urges people to ensure proper skin care practices. While the unfortunate woman in the story will have to continue a long, slow, and steady skin regimen, the article uses her experiences to urge people to practice proper and preventative skin care regimens that will have positive long term impact. Specifically, readers are advised to apply and re-apply sunscreen daily, all year around, regardless of the weather.

“Sun damage typically accumulates over time,” says Dr. Ourian. “We offer several treatment modalities to address the effects of sun damage. This damage may include discoloration, as well as fine lines and wrinkles.”

Dr. Ourian has been a pioneer in laser technology and non-invasive aesthetic procedures including UltraShape, VelaShape, Restylane, Juvéderm, Radiesse, Sculptra, and CoolSculpting. These treatments are used for the correction or reversal of a variety of conditions such as acne, acne scars, skin discoloration, wrinkles, unwanted fat, stretch marks, varicose veins, cellulite, and others. More information about treating sun damage can be found on Epione’s website.

What A Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease Means For Family Members

Share Button

This article is courtesy of PRWeb and Harvard Health Publication….please share your thoughts below…..

seniorcitizenAn individual with a close relative with Alzheimer’s is at slightly higher risk for the disease. Genetic testing for Alzheimer’s risk genes is not generally helpful.

Alzheimer’s disease represents a personal health crisis, but it’s also a family concern. When someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, what does that mean in terms of the risk his or her children and siblings might face?

“People think that if their dad or aunt or uncle had Alzheimer’s disease, they are doomed, but that’s not true,” says Dr. Gad Marshall, assistant professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School. “Even though family history adds to the overall risk, age still usually trumps it quite a bit.”

Close relatives of someone who’s been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s have about a 30% higher chance of developing the disease themselves, according to the January 2016 issue of the Harvard Men’s Health Watch. But it’s important to ask: “30% higher than what?”

A 65-year-old American’s annual chance of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s is about 2%. Having a relative with dementia raises that chance by around 30% — to 2.6%. “It means your risk is higher, but it’s not that much higher, if you consider the absolute numbers,” Dr. Marshall says.

Family members often wonder if they should be tested for the “Alzheimer’s gene,” called apolipoprotein E (also known as APOE4). The short answer is no. “Being tested for APOE4 is not going to be helpful, since it won’t tell you whether you will develop the disease,” Dr. Marshall says. “It will only tell you if you are at a greater or lower risk.”

Read the full-length article: “Alzheimer’s in the family”

Also in the January 2016 issue of the Harvard Men’s Health Watch:

* How much meat in your diet is healthy?

* Four steps to prevent colon cancer

* Vitamins and vision

* What to do about knee pain

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

Keeping Pregnant Mothers Safe From Blood Clots

Share Button

This article is courtesy of PRWeb and The Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety (PPAHS). Please share your thoughts below…..

pregnantThe Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety (PPAHS) released a podcast with Lisa Enslow, MSN, RN-BC on keeping pregnant mothers safe from blood clots.

Preventing blood clots in pregnant mothers poses significant healthcare challenges. The risk of blood clots in pregnant mothers is almost ten times more likely than a non-pregnant woman. These patient safety risks increase for pregnant mothers who are obese. In the United States, more than two-thirds of adults are obese.

Because of the increased risk of blood clots in pregnant mothers, the Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety (PPAHS) released a podcast http://youtu.be/Um2BKewEWRg with Lisa Enslow, MSN, RN-BC. Ms. Enslow is the Nurse Educator for the Women’s Health and Ambulatory Care Services at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut.

“Pregnant women are at a significantly higher risk than the general public for developing a blood clot simply because of the mechanisms that are in place to help them prevent hemorrhaging,” said Ms. Enslow. “So, our pregnant patients really need a lot more risk assessment during their hospitalization and even after discharge. If a blood clot is not detected or treated, it may become dislodged and travel up into the lung and that can create even more problems for the mom.”

In the podcast, Ms. Enslow discussed a case of a super morbidly obese pregnant mother. This mother had a BMI (body mass index) of 67. A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered normal.

Four keys for managing the healthcare risk in obese pregnant mothers were identified during the podcast.

The first key – plan for the delivery.

Ms. Enslow explained the necessity of planning – “Pre-planning and communication between all of the team members is really key to achieving the most optimal clinical outcomes for patients with multiple challenging risk factors or individual characteristics. In specialties, such as obstetrics, we’re often faced with a complex patient that requires us to be really proactive and identifying risk factors early in the course of care. This type of preparedness is necessary to prevent adverse events and to identify individual risk factors that would best guide us in the management or plan for patients possible hospital acquired conditions or in adverse event prevention plans to achieve high quality outcomes.”

The second key – apply blood clot preventative measures.

Ms. Enslow described the measures taken in a case of super morbidly obese pregnant mother – “this patient fell into the high risk category for venous thromboembolism because of her multiple risk factors, including the high BMI, her gestational diabetes, her maternal age, or having a caesarean section. So, because of this, she was provided with sequential compression devices beginning in the operating room … [The sequential compression devices] stayed on throughout the recovery period in our PACU and also when the patient was transferred to the postpartum unit … We started chemical prophylaxis six hours following surgery for her and that was continued throughout her stay.”

The third key – preventing blood clots doesn’t stop when the mother leaves the hospital.

Ms. Enslow emphasized the importance of preventative measures when the mother returns to her home – “it’s important to remember that the commitment to prevent VTE doesn’t end when the patient is discharged. That’s why appropriate patient education is so important to help patients understand why they should comply with their care, with making sure they understand that they really need to continue taking their discharge medications. Our post-partum patients can get the sequential compression devices for use at home and need to keep all their follow-up appointments.”

The fourth key – use the OB VTE Safety Recommendations.

The OB VTE Safety Recommendation s were developed with the advice and counsel of a panel of experts brought together by the Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety. They provide four concise steps that:

* Assess patients for VTE risk with an easy-to-use automated scoring system

* Provide the recommended prophylaxis regimen, depending on whether the mother is antepartum or postpartum.

* Reassess the patient every 24 hours or upon the occurrence of a significant event, like surgery.

* Ensure that the mother is provided appropriate VTE prevention education upon hospital discharge.

“Caring for Mrs M. was significantly helped by the guidance from the recently released OB VTE Safety Recommendations, which offers a fine clinical process that covers the entire continuum of care,” said Ms. Enslow.

The OB VTE Safety Recommendations are a free resource available on the PPAHS website – http://www.ppahs.org

The podcast was hosted by Pat Iyer, MSN, RN, LNCC. Ms. Iyer is a legal nurse consultant who provides education to healthcare providers about patient safety at http://www.patiyer.com.

About Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety

Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety is a non-profit 501(c)(3) whose mission is to promote safer clinical practices and standards for patients through collaboration among healthcare experts, professionals, scientific researchers, and others, in order to improve health care delivery. For more information, please go to http://www.ppahs.org

Weekend Warriors: Watch Your Back

Share Button

This article is courtesy of PRWeb and Dr. Brian Bannister with Atlantic Spine Center. Please share your thoughts below…..

newsPain Management Specialist Dr. Brian Bannister with Atlantic Spine Center explains common injuries weekend warriors experience and offers tips for prevention.

Spring’s imminent arrival – despite frigid temperatures over much of the United States – undoubtedly has many “weekend warriors” itching to return to outdoor exercise and activities. But weekend warriors – who take part in strenuous bursts of activity only on weekends or certain times of the year – need to be especially cautious of how an abrupt return to vigorous movement can injure their spine, according to Pain Management Specialist Brian Bannister, MD, with Atlantic Spine Center.

Despite minimal activity during the week, weekend warriors often plunge into recreational sports at week’s end, sometimes with perilous results. A 2014 study in the Canadian Journal of Surgery (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4035407/) found that significantly more weekend warriors sustained injuries than everyday athletes during mishaps while hiking or rock-climbing (15.4% of accidents), skateboarding or rollerblading (12.3%), hockey/ice skating (10.3%) and water-related (7.7%) activities. About 35% of the 351 patients analyzed in the research sustained a spinal injury, and more than 8% required spinal surgery.

“Overall, a weekend warrior’s commitment to demanding exercise is a good thing, health-wise,” says Dr. Bannister. “But it can also place their backs, in particular, at risk since their bodies are no longer as flexible or quick to recover as when they were younger.”

Common spine injuries for weekend warriors

What types of back injuries are prevalent among weekend warriors? Depending on how they get hurt, these injuries can run the gamut from mild to severe, Dr. Bannister says, including:

* Muscle strain or sprain: This type of soft tissue damage – whether to muscles, tendons or ligaments – often occurs in the lower spine, known as the lumbar region. Muscle spasms may accompany pain and can be severe, but most strains and sprains just need time and rest to heal.

* Disc herniation: Athletes engaging in activities requiring a lot of spine flexing and rotating – such as weight lifting, collision sports and bowling – have a higher chance of disc herniation, in which the soft center of a vertebral disc pushes through the disc’s outer shell. Pain can be intense and the condition may require surgery.

* Spondylolistheses: When one bone in the back slides forward over the bone beneath it, that’s called spondylolistheses. Some sports, such as weight lifting and gymnastics, confer a higher risk of this problem by causing stress fractures in vertebrae. Pain relievers, physical therapy or surgery may be used to treat spondylolistheses.

* Minor or major fracture: Major spinal fractures are uncommon except in high-speed collision sports such as skiing or motocross and typically require surgery. But small fractures, which can happen during a variety of activities, are usually managed with “conservative” measures such as rest, physical therapy and pain medication.

Tips for back injury prevention

What’s the best way for weekend warriors to prevent back injuries? “That’s easy,” Dr. Bannister says. “Stop exercising only on the weekend! Moderate-to-vigorous physical exercise should be something we take part in at least several times per week, spread throughout the week.”

But for those committed to their weekend warrior ways, Dr. Bannister offers these tips to help prevent spine injury:

* Start slowly: Stretch and walk for 7 to 10 minutes to allow muscles and joints to warm up. Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds, and be sure to stretch the opposing muscle group on the other side of your body.

* Ramp up gradually: Increase the time or intensity of workouts, but not both at the same time.

* Mix it up: Try cross-training, which involves participating in more than one type of sport or activity. Research suggests this approach results in fewer injuries than doing only one specific activity.

* Listen to your body: If you feel pain or soreness, stop what you’re doing and take a rest. If the discomfort doesn’t gradually improve – or gets worse – see your doctor.

* Remember the right gear: Depending on the sport, you may need a helmet, wrist pads or knee pads. Well-fitting athletic shoes that provide sufficient shock absorption are a must.

“Here’s what I propose to weekend warriors: Make physical activity an every-other-day habit instead,” says Dr. Bannister. “Not only will short workouts during the week help you enjoy your weekend workouts even more, but your back will thank you.”

Atlantic Spine Center is a nationally recognized leader for endoscopic spine surgery with three locations in New Jersey in West Orange, Edison and Union. http://www.atlanticspinecenter.com

Brian Bannister, M.D., is an anesthesiologist and pain management specialist. He works with both surgical and chronic care patients, performing evaluations of new patients and implementing follow-up care and continued therapy for patients with acute or chronic pain using effective interventional pain therapy and procedures.

Concussion Tests Are Essential For Student Athletes

Share Button

This article is courtesy of PRWeb, please share your thoughts below…..

didyouknow?Concussions are one of the most common and most difficult sports injuries to manage. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 1.6 million and 3.8 million brain injuries occur in sports each year, with around 63,000 affecting high school athletes. With recent advances in neuroscience, sports medicine clinicians are discovering new and better methods to protect brain health.

Sports concussion experts agree that the diagnosis of acute concussion usually involves the assessment of a range of domains, including clinical symptoms, physical signs, behavior, balance, sleep and cognition. The Medicine in Motion team uses special computerized testing to evaluate whether an athlete is suffering from a concussion. This tool, in combination with a physician evaluation, is the best way to determine the presence of a concussion and when it is resolved, thereby allowing an athlete to return to play.

“The absolute best way to manage concussions is to have baseline testing prior to the start of a sports season,” said Dr. Martha Pyron, Austin sports medicine doctor and owner of Medicine in Motion. “If a head injury does occur, we then repeat the test for comparison. By doing this, there is a unique and direct comparison from healthy brain to concussion for the clinician to evaluate.”

When to use concussion testing?

1. Athletes involved in contact sports (such as football) should have a baseline test before the season begins.

2. Athletes incurring an injury should be evaluated, regardless of whether or not they received a baseline test.

3. Anyone who has had repeated concussions in the past should be tested to determine the possibility of any long term complications.

4. Non-sports participants that receive head injuries should also be tested to evaluate cognitive abilities.

5. Parents of athletes should have their children baseline tested every other year until they reach adulthood to ensure their brains are protected.

Medicine in Motion (MIM) specializes in providing top quality sports medicine in Austin, Texas, for athletic individuals of all ages and levels. The staff at MIM believes active bodies are healthy bodies, therefore it is the office’s goal to keep patients energetic and fit. To that end, MIM provides treatment of injuries and illnesses, including the use of physical rehabilitation; promotes healthy living with personal training and nutrition coaching; and offers comprehensive sports medicine evaluations to optimize health, activity level and sports performance. For more information or for questions regarding sports medicine in Austin, contact Medicine in Motion at 512-257-2500 or visit the website at http://www.medinmotion.com.