Posts tagged exercise
Wave of Rhabdomyolysis in Oregon High School Football Players

Rhabdomyolysis is caused by severe injury to muscle cells.  The condition is serious, and can lead to kidney failure if not properly treated.  Basically, muscle cells break down and release byproducts in the bloodstream.  One particular protein, myoglobin, is especially hard on the kidneys.  Rhabdomyolysis usually occurs when your average couch-potato decides to head to the gym for the first time in months, pushes his-or herself to the brink of exhaustion, and doesn't drink enough water. So today's NYT story that said twenty-four athletes from McMinnville High School in Oregon were diagnosed at their local hospital with rhabdomyolysis caught my attention.  The players began complaining about symptoms -- which typically include sore/swollen muscles and dark urine --  a few days after an intense preseason workout.

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Exercise and Anger

Exercising people are happy people.

Nonsense. Ever see someone’s face at mile 20 of a marathon? Do they look happy to you?

OK, maybe people aren’t happy while exercising, but evidence shows they’re better off, in general, after the fact. Physical activity has a positive effect on mood, and is considered a valid treatment strategy to battle anxiety disorders and even depression. Although most explanations are somewhat wishy-washy, researchers believe that hedonistic value of exercise is important in mental health. Exercise simply makes us feel good about ourselves. And this is not only true in humans, but in animals, as well. Rats and mice that are given free access to a running wheel will use it, and lab rodents typically won’t do anything that doesn’t provide them some sort of pleasure.

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Time to Make a Dopamine Run

It's 6am and my alarm clock is buzzing, but I don't hear it. I don't even move. But the incessant noise wakes my wife, and her gentle nudges (read: elbows) and soft whispers (read: expletives) eventually convince me to get out of bed. It seemed like a great idea: Run in the morning before work, to free up countless evening hours. “Think of all you'll get done at night if you don't have to run after work”, I said to myself. “For once you'll actually hit your goal of blogging multiple posts per week! Maybe even finish some of those half-read books lining the shelves.” But two days into the new regime, I'm having second thoughts.

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What Did the NIH Report on Lifestyle Modification/Alzheimer's Really Say?

My inbox flooded with links to the report released by NIH (and evangelized by TIME) stating that lifestyle interventions (diet, physical activity, mental exercises, etc.) may not be that effective in preventing Alzheimer's Disease. Before I mount my full counterattack, I need to carefully read through the studies the meta-analysis cites.  Still, a quick glance at the exclusion criteria of the meta-analysis reveals the authors limited their review to studies using patients over the age of fifty.  So really, these results imply that lifestyle modifications may not prevent, delay, or treat Alzheimer's Disease if you start these changes later in life.

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The Truth About Cholesterol

We've all heard the mantra: keep LDL levels – the “bad” cholesterol – down, and the “good” HDL cholesterol up. But thanks in part to the ubiquity of statins, such as Lipitor, which allow us to simply pop a pill to limit LDL production in the body, we've recently adopted tunnel vision when thinking about managing cholesterol. LDL levels are all we seem to care about now, as we strive for lower and lower numbers at each visit to the doctor's office. However, I think we're missing the bigger picture by focusing solely on LDL. First, it's made us reliant on medication to solve a problem that can many times be addressed with changes in diet and exercise regimes. Once someone starts Lipitor treatment, they'll be taking it for life, and if LDL levels don't quite get as low as they should, it's all too easy to solve the problem by increasing the dose. When patients first begin Lipitor treatment, physicians typically prescribe the lowest possible amount, 10mg. However, dosing can go as high as 80mg, which begs the question: Do higher doses of the drug really improve outcomes?

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How Much Personal Data is Needed to Stay Healthy?

A few months ago, a story ran in Wired Magazine that described a noticeable shift in the scientific method, and attributed the change to our ability to produce and store large amounts of data.Historically, the scientific method was built around a testable theory.  But in the 21st century, theories were becoming obsolete; the data simply spoke for itself.

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Behavior Change: A Central Topic at Health 2.0

The afternoon of Day 1 of the Health 2.0 Conference was highlighted by the session, "The Patient is In".  First up, a video that documented the experiences of a group of people that recently started using patient health tools, such as online health journals that track diet or exercise, support sites for quitting smoking, or home blood test kits.

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