Exercise is an extremely important element in overall health, and, according to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), can benefit both mother and baby in a normal, healthy pregnancy. Physicians have given the OK to a moderate, already established exercise routine for pregnant women, but advise that any new regimen should be discussed with a primary care provider.
While many types of exercise may be beneficial to your health, only a few can increase bone strength. Researchers at Washington University recently studied the effects of both resistance (weight training) and impact training (aerobic exercise, running) on 27 non-active women. Both styles of training put pressure on the skeletal framework, thus provoking a rise in calcium absorption. One group performed only resistance training while the other did only impact training. After nine months, both groups increased bone density by 2 percent.
Don’t believe anyone who professes you’re too old to build muscle mass or that men develop strength faster than women. A University of Maryland research team recently focused on both age and gender in relation to strength change from training and detraining, or non-activity, in 41 individuals. According to the study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, younger subjects (ages 20–30) demonstrated only a slightly greater increase in strength than their elder counterparts (ages 65–75) after nine weeks of training.
The University of Arizona’s Program in Integrative Medicine recently received a $2 million loan from its medical school in an effort to remain open. The program was suffering from a $1 million debt and was in fear of being closed. Founded by integrative guru Dr. Andrew Weil, the clinic was one of the first to combine traditional Western medicine with a complementary course, which considers mind-body-spirit, to form a unifying approach to healing.
According to a study presented at a meeting of the American Society of Hypertension, a low-salt, low-fat diet, combined with high amounts of fruits and vegetables, is as effective as taking medication prescribed to lower hypertension. The study focused on more than 400 individuals who had either hypertension or normal to high blood pressure (above 120/80). A portion of participants were asked to maintain their regular diet, while others were asked to partake of the medically prescribed diet. Those who ate the special diet lowered their blood pressure.
A recent study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology determined ginseng may benefit the lungs of patients who suffer from cystic fibrosis. Mice whose lungs were infected with the bacteria aeroguinosa were treated with either ginseng or a placebo for the duration of one week. The lungs of those given the herb cleared more quickly. Subsequently, those given ginseng also lived longer.
According to Mary Ellen Camire, associate professor of food science and human nutrition at the University of Maine, Orono, eating dried blueberries can relieve diarrhea. Apparently, certain compounds found in blueberries, like tannin, stop the proliferation of bacteria associated with diarrhea. It is important to remember, however, only dried blueberries can alleviate diarrhea; blueberries that are either fresh or frozen may actually compound the situation.
Adding salt to already existing wounds (literally), the House, the Senate and President Bush all voted in March to repeal former-President Clinton’s ergonomic regulations that specifically addressed repetitive stress injury and debilitating ergonomic injuries (e.g., carpal tunnel syndrome) affecting nearly 1 million Americans. Former-President Clinton’s ergonomic standard, issued in November 2000, would have protected as many as 500,000 work-related injuries per year and would have covered more than 100 million workers.
A new study conducted at the University of Alabama at Birmingham found the brain has the ability to heal itself after a serious stroke (cortical reorganization). Published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association, the study reveals the brain’s plasticity with regards to a debilitating attack which often results in damaged and/or malfunctioning limbs. Researchers studied 13 stroke survivors for 2–3 weeks and invoked rehabilitation therapy. The therapy (constraint-induced movement) requires the patient to not use the unaffected, or “good,” limb by restraining it.
Researchers from the University of Mississippi Medical Center found some alternative therapies can assuage sufferers of migraine headaches. Of the remedies tested (biofeedback training, hypnosis, stress-management therapy and relaxation training), the most effective proved to be an integration of behavioral treatments with drug therapies. These therapies consist of both clinic-based and home-based interventions. The latter approach teaches patients how to develop self-help skills at home.