IFA News and Opinion
Issue Date:  January 1, 2005

B Vitamins Help Memory

Though the role of vitamins in preserving memory is unclear, researchers know that vitamins B 12, folate, and B 6, are crucial for normal brain function.

A recent report in Neuropsychology shows that healthy people with a genetic predisposition to Alzheimer's disease (AD) do better on memory tests if they have adequate levels of vitamin B 12 than if they have low levels. The finding suggests that nutritional and genetic factors interact in cognitive function.

A Swedish study of people aged 75 screened participants for dementia, depression, or a genetic variant that increases the risk of AD.

Later, a battery of memory tests were taken. On that morning, researchers drew blood samples to measure levels of vitamin B 12 and folate. People with low levels of vitamin B 12 did worse on the memory tests.

Poultry and fortified cereals are good sources of folate, and vitamins B 12 and B 6.


MRIs for High-Risk Women

For women with at least a 15 percent lifetime breast cancer risk, having an MRI as well as mammography detects more tumors than mammography alone.

The study included 1,909 women carrying mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 breast cancer genes, along with a family history of the disease. Dutch researchers found that of 32 tumors found by MRI, 22 were not seen on mammography. Their report was published in The New England Journal of Medicine.


C-reactive Protein Test

The CRP, or C-reactive protein test, checks levels of systemic inflammation in the body. Such inflammation is known to be a predictor of heart attack.

Doctors at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York say the test is more important because of lower cholesterol recommendations. The patient's reading can help a doctor decide whether a statin should be recommended.

The test can be done at no charge if bundled with other common heart screens and can be done with the same blood. The doctors recommend that men over 40 and women over 45 who are having heart attack risk assessed should have the CRP test included.


Alternative Remedy Danger

People with autoimmune disorders such as lupus or multiple sclerosis should consult a doctor before taking alternative medications that claim to increase immunity and to ward off colds and flu.

The Archives of Dermatology reports cases of people who developed a recurrence or onset of autoimmune skin disorders within days of taking such supplements as echinacea and spirulina. Doctors speculate that the supplements increased disease activity which is often controlled by suppressing the immune system.

Another study showed that taking echinacea and other supplements provided no decrease in the severity or duration of the common cold.


COPD - New Year Resolution

People worry about getting heart disease or Alzheimer's, but not about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Lung cancer is deadlier, but COPD is far more common. Some 13 million Americans have it, nearly 40 times as many as have lung cancer, according to the American Lung

Association. It's the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. and includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

In 2000, for the first time, COPD killed more women than men. By 2020, it may be the third leading cause of death in the U.S.

The disease isn't curable, but it is largely preventable. About 85 percent of all cases in the U.S. are triggered by smoking.

Those who stop smoking in the early stages get increased lung function for many years.

Early diagnosis is critical. By the time shortness of breath occurs, the illness has been progressing for a decade or more.

COPD victims have treatment options. Inhaled steroids that reduce inflammation are now the most common treatment before lung-volume reduction surgery.

Exercise helps. Doctors at the University of Nebraska Medical Center say building endurance increases lung function.

New medications called PDE4 inhibitors are in clinical trials. They fight inflammation and slow the progress of the disease. Compounds in testing called retinoids can help damaged lung tissue grow back.


Pre-diabetes, Heart Disease, Stroke

Identified as impaired glucose tolerance, prediabetes is defined by blood sugar levels that are higher than normal but not yet in the diabetic range.

Recently, new guidelines for diagnosis lowered the threshold for a normal fasting glucose from 110 to 100 mg/dL. The change is based on new evidence that the lower cutoff more accurately identifies those at greatest risk for progressing to diabetes.

Using the new criteria, about 40 percent of Americans between the ages of 40 and 74 are now classified as prediabetic. Most people are not aware of their condition.

Early diagnosis is important. Cardiovascular disease, which accounts for 75 percent of deaths in people with diabetes, begins to develop in the prediabetic phase. The risk can begin to climb for 15 years before type 2 diabetes is diagnosed.

Unless people with prediabetes take steps to reduce their risk, 11 percent of them will develop type 2 diabetes each year. Within 10 years, most will progress to full-blown diabetes, a leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, amputations, and premature death from heart disease, say researchers at Johns Hopkins Medical Centers.

A study reported in The New England Journal of Medicine shows that lifestyle changes as well as the antidiabetes drug Glucophage are effective at preventing or delaying type 2 diabetes risk.

In the study, 58 percent of those on a lifestyle program reduced their incidence of diabetes, compared with 31 percent taking Glucophage. The lifestyle program included a healthy, low-calorie, low-fat diet, and exercising at least 150 minutes per week with a goal of 7 percent weight loss.

Drugs are available for treatment of prediabetes, but lifestyle changes are the treatment of choice.


Indoor Air Pollution

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concludes that indoor air quality is one of the top five environmental health risks in the U.S. today. They say indoor levels of pollutants can be two to five times as high as outdoor levels, and sometimes more.

Some problems of indoor pollution can be traced to energy efficiency, according to the Texas Institute for the Indoor Environment at the University of Texas. A tighter home is good for conserving energy but bad in terms of air pollution.

Ozone, the key component in smog, has become an indoor problem. By itself, ozone is lower inside than outside But when oily terpenes from products such as air fresheners, aroma-therapy candles, oils, and cleaning agents interact with ozone, they generate pollutants like formaldehyde.

Some pollutants and what you can do about them:

Asbestos: Leave undamaged asbestos material be. Call a qualified contractor if you must remove it.

Carbon monoxide: Keep gas appliances properly adjusted. Open fireplace flues. Don't run a car in an attached garage.

Dust mites, pollens, and pet dander: Wash bedding in hot water (130 degrees F). Use wool carpet or wood flooring. Use vacuums with high-efficiency filters.

Formaldehyde. Avoid pressed-wood products. Buy carpet with no formaldehyde content; increase ventilation.

Lead: Use bottled water if drinking water tests positive for lead. Don't sand or burn off lead paint. Cover with wallpaper.

Mold: Install kitchen and bathroom fans vented to the outdoors. Clean air conditioning and heating equipment. Keep basement dry.

Radon: Have a home test. Seal cracks in basement floor. Ventilate crawl space.

Pesticides. Use nonchemical methods of pest control. Don't store, pour, or mix pesticides inside the home.


Cold Blisters Hit Many

A cold sore is a fluid-filled blister which usually appears at the edge of the lips. It's caused by herpes simplex virus I (not to be confused with herpes simplex II, the cause of genital herpes). About 60 percent of Americans have had cold sores.

The virus stays in the system and can cause a cold sore again. The fluid in a blister can transmit the virus to other people through skin-to-skin contact.

To treat a cold sore:

  • Avoid salty foods and citrus foods which can irritate it.
  • Wash once or twice a day with warm, soapy water and pat dry.
  • Products such as Blistex Medicated Lip Ointment or numbing ointments like Anbesol, offer some relief.
  • Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be taken to reduce pain or fever.
  • Ask your doctor about Valtrex, which may shorten the duration.
  • Avoid touching a cold sore because you can spread it to other parts of your face or body. Wash your hands frequently, especially before touching others.
  • To prevent cold sores, maintain good general health and keep immunity high.


  • Quotes

    A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining, but wants it back the minute it begins to rain.
    - Mark Twain

    Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.
    - Archimedes - Mathematician 287-212 BC

    The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.
    - Niels Bohr - Physicist

    It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer.
    - Albert Einstein - Physicist

    Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.
    - Albert Einstein - Physicist

    I had a terrible education. I attended a school for emotionally disturbed teachers.
    - Woody Allen

    Zen: If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything

    Q: What is the recommended time to workout on abs for success? Does it vary from person to person?

    A: Abs should be worked every day. However, the layer of fat on the abs will provide cover for your work. So that is a priority. Aerobic activity an hour every other day will take care of that. Also, watch the caloric intake.

    Q: I need an anatomy poster. Where can I purchase them?

    A: There are a few places. IFA offers a chart that can be purchased HERE

    Q: Does anaerobic production of ATP happen in the mitochondria or the cell body?

    A: Mitochondria are involved in the production of ATP. Muscles fibers adapt to increasing weight trianing by increasing the number of mitochondria in the cells. Enzyme concentrations increase utilized in oxidative phosphorylation and anaerobic glycolysis as well as the intercellular fluids. The hypertrohpy that occurs produces more endurance than it does strength due to the muscles increased ability to create ATP.

    Q: How long should it take for my hear rate to return to normal?

    A: Get your hear rate up to the 90% level. Stop and check your heart rate. Then check it again in 60 seconds. If your heart rate doesn't drop by about 15 bpm then your out of shape.

    Q: I am working out and eating pretty healthy but a ia am wondering about all the shrimp i am eating i know it is high on cholesteol but is it high on fat?

    A: This chart is from: http://www.nutrition.gov

    Shrimp/3 ounces cooked

    Calories 84
    Total fat (g) 0.9
    Saturated fat (g) 0.3
    Monounsaturated fat (g) 0.2
    Polyunsaturated fat (g) 0.4
    Dietary fiber (g) 0
    Protein (g) 18
    Carbohydrate (g) 0
    Cholesterol (mg) 166
    Sodium (mg) 191
    Vitamin B12 (mcg) 1.3
    Iron (mg) 2.6
    Selenium (mcg) 34

    As you can see they are not high in fat but are higher than most seafood.

    Q: What fixators are included in a bicep curl?

    A: FIXATORS - These are a subset of synergist muscles in that they aid in stabilization of muscle movements. They stabilize the origin of the prime mover (agonist) so that it can act most efficiently.

    Synergist muscles: muscles work together to produce motion in same general direction. Bicep shares work with bracheolus.

    Fixators: muscles that act to stabilize a joint or lever system.

    The muscles of the shoulder and upper back are just some of the fixators during the bicep curl.

    Q: I'm all ready a personal trainer for 13 years in Fitness and Kick Boxing. When I receive new clients, most of them are over weight and out of shape. Can I officially make a diet program for them?

    A: As a Personal Trainer, yes you can give them diet advice combined with a weight training program. If you are simply offering diet plans, you may not be operating within the law.

    For example, providing nutritional guidance to obese people without the benefit of exercise may cross the line. This is the role of a A Dietician or Nutrtionist, which are licensed positions.

    The Sports Nutrition certification provides the expertise to provide advice and direction to increase the performance in a sport activity.