Brain Benefits of Exercise Diminish After Short Rest, According to Gretchen Reynolds

Run, Spot, Run!

Run, Spot, Run!

Admittedly, Gretchen may not have written the headline to her article at Carlos Slim’s blog. The headline is wrong. The gist is that blood flow to the brain diminishes in older competitive runners if they stop exercising for 10 days. Tests of cognitive function showed no deterioration.

Click the link below to read Gretchen’s article, which is brief. A snippet:

Before you skip another workout, you might think about your brain. A provocative new study finds that some of the benefits of exercise for brain health may evaporate if we take to the couch and stop being active, even just for a week or so.

I have frequently written about how physical activity, especially endurance exercise like running, aids our brains and minds. Studies with animals and people show that working out can lead to the creation of new neurons, blood vessels and synapses and greater overall volume in areas of the brain related to memory and higher-level thinking.

Presumably as a result, people and animals that exercise tend to have sturdier memories and cognitive skills than their sedentary counterparts.

Exercise prompts these changes in large part by increasing blood flow to the brain, many exercise scientists believe. Blood carries fuel and oxygen to brain cells, along with other substances that help to jump-start desirable biochemical processes there, so more blood circulating in the brain is generally a good thing.

Source: Brain Benefits of Exercise Diminish After Short Rest – The New York Times

I believe regular physical activity does help preserve brain function over time. But there’s more involved than blood flow.

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: I bet your brain blood flow increases, compared to watching Dancing With the Stars on Tell-a-Vision, if you read one of my books.

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Improve Your Quality of Life With the Mediterranean Diet

Not only overall quality of life, but reduced pain, disability, and depression symptoms.

Action Plan: Move your current way of eating more towards Mediterranean.

Source: Adherence to the Mediterranean diet is associated with better quality of life: data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative

Improve your quality of life and lose excess weight with with the Advanced Mediterranean Diet.

Santorini, Greek seaside

Santorini, Greek seaside

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Tips on Fasting From Dr. Fung, But Beware Hypoglycemia

This guy had long spans of time between meals, perhaps days

This guy had long spans of time between meals, perhaps days

Yet another good post from DietDoctor! Why fast? Among many reasons is that fasting turns on autophagy, which helps clear the debris of daily living out of your cells, probably leading to longer life.

Click here for P.D. Mangan’s post on fasting and autophagy.

Dr. Fung at DietDoctor also warns about the danger of hypoglycemia for certain folks with diabetes. Read that part carefully (click the Source link below).

Anyway, here are Dr. Fung’s top eight tips (direct quotes):

  • Drink water: Start each morning with a full eight-ounce glass of water.
  • Stay busy: It’ll keep your mind off food. It often helps to choose a busy day at work for a fast day.
  • Drink coffee: Coffee is a mild appetite suppressant. Green tea, black tea, and bone broth may also help.
  • Ride the waves: Hunger comes in waves; it is not continuous. When it hits, slowly drink a glass of water or a hot cup of coffee. Often by the time you’ve finished, your hunger will have passed.
  • Don’t tell anybody you are fasting: Most people will try to discourage you, as they do not understand the benefits. A close-knit support group is often beneficial, but telling everybody you know is not a good idea.
  • Give yourself one month: It takes time for your body to get used to fasting. The first few times you fast may be difficult, so be prepared. Don’t be discouraged. It will get easier.
  • Follow a nutritious diet on non-fast days: Intermittent fasting is not an excuse to eat whatever you like. During non-fasting days, stick to a nutritious diet low in sugars and refined carbohydrates.
  • Don’t’ binge: After fasting, pretend it never happened. Eat normally, as if you had never fasted.

Source: More Practical Tips for Fasting – Diet Doctor

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: I don’t feature fasting in any of my books, but I’ve gradually come around to seeing the potential benefits.

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New Insulin Delivery Recommendations 

Going in at a 45 degree angle with a 6 mm needle

Going in at a 45 degree angle with a 6 mm needle

“Many primary care professionals manage injection or infusion therapies in patients with diabetes. Few published guidelines have been available to help such professionals and their patients manage these therapies. Herein, we present new, practical, and comprehensive recommendations for diabetes injections and infusions. These recommendations were informed by a large international survey of current practice and were written and vetted by 183 diabetes experts from 54 countries at the Forum for Injection Technique and Therapy: Expert Recommendations (FITTER) workshop held in Rome, Italy, in 2015.”

Source: New Insulin Delivery Recommendations – Mayo Clinic Proceedings

Here are some bullet points that most insulin users need to know:

  • Average skin thickness is 2 to 2.5 mm, with 90% of people under 3.25 mm.
  • Use the shortest needles: 6 mm for syringes, 4 mm for pen injectors. The short needles help you avoid injections into muscle. Injection into muscle increases risk of hypoglycemia and wide blood glucose excursions.
  • Acceptable injection sites: abdomen, thighs, buttocks, upper arms (usually on the back of the arm).
  • If an arm site is chosen with a 6 mm needle, inject into a lifted skin fold (otherwise you might hit muscle).
  • When using the 6 mm needle, inject into a lifted skinfold if you are a child or normal-weight adult. Alternatively, insert the needle at a 45 degree angle.
  • The preferred site for regular insulin (soluble human insulin) is the abdomen, for faster absorption.
  • Use needles only once. (Admittedly, many get away with multiple uses without much trouble.)
  • Don’t inject into lipohypertrophy areas. Lipohypertrophy eventually is an issue in half of insulin users. It is a localized area of swelling or lumpiness at the site of prior injections. It’s often easier to feel than to see. Injection into these areas causes erratic absorption of insulin, with potential widely fluctuating and unpredictable blood sugar levels.
  • Rotate injection sites to avoid lipohypertrophy.
  • If using cloudy insulins (e.g., NPH and some pre-mixed insulins), gently roll and tip the vial or pen until the solution is milk white.

Click here to read about…

  • How to roll and tip a vial to make cloudy insulin milk white.
  • Proper needle disposal.
  • Insulin infusion sets for continuous subcutaneous insulin injection via pumps.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Can Diet and Exercise Prevent Cancer?

You need to worry about cancer because you have a roughly four in 10 chance of coming down with invasive cancer. (Skin cancers like squamous cell and basal cell are quite common, but rarely invasive.)

Dr. David Gorski is a breast cancer surgeon. He’s looked at the scientific literature on the linkage between diet and exercises, and the risk of developing cancer.

Here’s his conclusion from a review at Science-Based Medicine:

“You can reduce your risk of cancer by staying active and exercising, eating a healthy diet with a lot of plant-based foods and minimizing intake of processed meats, limiting alcohol consumption (although I think the WCRF/AICR guidelines go a bit too far in saying that you shouldn’t drink at all if possible), and maintaining a healthy weight. (Of course, if you stay active and eat a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight will probably not be a problem.) Conceptually, it’s easy to do. In practice, as I’m discovering, it’s anything but easy.”

Source: Diet and exercise versus cancer: A science-based view « Science-Based Medicine

The Mediterranean diet seems to protect against cancer.

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: One of the reasons I write diet books is that I want to keep you from getting cancer.

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Whole Health Source Blog: Do Blood Sugar Levels Affect Hunger and Satiety?

From Dr. Guyenet:

“You’ve heard the story before: when you eat carbohydrate-rich foods that digest quickly, it sends your blood sugar and insulin levels soaring, then your blood sugar level comes crashing back down and you feel hungry and cranky.  You reach for more carbohydrate, perpetuating the cycle of crashes, overeating, and fat gain.

It sounds pretty reasonable– in fact, so reasonable that it’s commonly stated as fact in popular media and in casual conversation.  This idea is so deeply ingrained in the popular psyche that people often say “I have low blood sugar” instead of “I’m hungry” or “I’m tired”.  But this hypothesis has a big problem: despite extensive research, it hasn’t been clearly supported.  I’ve written about this issue before.

A new study offers a straightforward test of the hypothesis, and once again finds it lacking.”

Source: Whole Health Source: Do Blood Glucose Levels Affect Hunger and Satiety?

The study at hand involved 15 healthy young men. Results may not apply to overweight post-menopausal women with T2 diabetes, but I bet they do.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Mediterranean diet tied to lower risk of gallbladder surgery

“About 700,000 cholecystectomies are performed every year in the United States, according to the American College of Surgeons. Most are the result of blockage due to gallstones. “Gallstones are very common, but most of them are asymptomatic, meaning people have no symptoms. If you don’t have any symptoms from your gallstones, there’s no reason to have your gallbladder removed,” said Dr. James Lewis, a gastroenterologist at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia who was not part of the study.

The vast majority of people with gallstones never have problems from them, Lewis said in a phone interview.”When they do cause problems, then having your gallbladder removed is completely appropriate,” he said.

64,000 women surveyedThe new study, led by Dr. Amelie Barre at the University of Paris Sud in Orsay, used information on nearly 64,000 women who were born between 1925 and 1950 and covered by a national insurance plan. Every two years, they answered questions about their health status, medical history, and lifestyle.

Over the course of 18 years, 2,778 of the women had their gallbladder removed.Women who ate the most legumes, fruits, vegetable oil, and whole grain bread were anywhere from 13 to 27 per cent less likely to have gallbladder surgery than were women who ate the least of those foods.”

Source: Mediterranean diet tied to lower risk of gallbladder surgery: study – Health – CBC News

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