Look Good, Feel Better (LGFB) is in the business of makeovers. Not the talk-show variety; the kind with a purpose. LGFB’s mission is to help improve the confidence of women with cancer by providing a free service teaching basic beauty techniques (from skin care to choosing a wig) to improve not only outer but inner beauty. LGFB believes by beginning with improving the tangible, each woman can better face her disease and treatment with an increased sense of optimism. Since its inception in 1989, more than 200,000 women have participated in the program.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology reported overweight persons have a six-times higher chance of developing arthritis in their knees than those with a normal body mass index (BMI), and the clinically obese are eight times more likely to develop arthritis. Researchers from the University of Ulm in Germany found the connection between obesity and osteoarthritis to be the result of the strain of excessive body weight upon the knees through mechanical actions rather than a metabolic link.
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.