Run for your life or at least walk
OK, not everyone can run. But most people can walk
pretty fast or do other weight-bearing exercise to strengthen bones,
tendons and muscles. Those who do it will probably have a longer, more
A remarkable new study by Stanford University
followed middle-aged males beginning in the 1980s. One group of men in
the study were runners and the others were not.
Over time, there were just half as many deaths from
all causes among the runners' group versus the non-runners. Even more
significant, disabilities in the runners occurred 12 to 16 years later
than in the non-runners.
Doctors at Stanford were surprised by the longevity
effect and especially surprised by the quality of life the runners
At the time the project began, those who opposed it predicted that the
men who ran every day would suffer serious injuries and many would
require knee replacements. As it turned out, the result was just the
opposite. Runners did not have higher rates of osteoarthritis and total
Others who criticized the study said runners may have
been in better shape to begin with, but all study subjects were in good
health in 1980
The study was one more example of how simple things
like exercise make a big difference in future health.
Those who are inspired by the runners' story should
check with their doctors before starting to exercise and go slow at
As the old saying goes, you have to walk before you
Vitamin K and diabetes
Researchers at Tufts University have found an
unexpected benefit in vitamin K. At Tufts Human Nutrition Research
Center on Aging, a 36-month, randomized, double-blind trial-- "gold
standard" of scientific research--showed that vitamin K reduced the risk
of insulin resistance in older men, protecting them against diabetes.
Vitamin K is found in green leafy vegetables, as well
as broccoli, brussels sprouts, spring onions and pistachios.
Though study subjects were given a 500-micogram
supplement of vitamin K, this level of the vitamin can easily be
obtained through diet.
Cerebral palsy in preterm babies
Scientists at Kaiser Permanent Medical Care Program
have found that babies born at 34 to 36 weeks' gestation are three times
more likely to be diagnosed with cerebral palsy than those born full
term at 37 weeks or later.
At this time, one in 11 births in the United States
occurs between 34 and 36 weeks' gestation. That's more than 370,000
births a year.
The percentage of such late preterm babies has been
growing. Increasing rates of induced labor, cesarean sections, and
fertility treatments play a role, though statistics on each of these
categories have not been developed.
The doctors say not all induced labor births and not
all cesarean section births are necessary. Patients should be aware of
the risks involved.
Hearing loss slowed
A Dutch study published in the Annals of Internal
Medicine shows that participants, ages 50 to 70, who were beginning to
lose their hearing, were benefited by taking 800 mg of folic acid (folate)
per day for three years.
The difference was small (0.7 decibels), but those
who took a placebo lost more hearing than those who took folate. If you
want to try it, consult your doctor first if you take blood thinners.
May is National Bicycle Month
Do you remember riding your bike to the top of a hill
and the exhilaration as you coasted down with the wind whipping at your
hair? Bike riding today can be the same fun experience but it also has
Bicycling can be economical. With the higher prices
for fuel, riding a bike saves money. In this day and age, bicycling may
be the only way a person can travel to work.
Bicycling helps the environment. Motor vehicles
produce greenhouse gases.
Riding a bicycle is great cardio exercise. Cycling
can burn up to 300 calories every thirty minutes. Bicycling can be
family time. Whether cycling to a favorite nature spot or riding around
the neighborhood, bikes bring people together. It's a recreational
physical activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.
May is National Bike Month. To celebrate, the League
of American Bicyclists is promoting Bike-to-Work Week from May 11-15 and
Bike-to-Work Day on Friday May 15. Many communities are planning special
events for the month. To find events go to
While bicycling during May or any other month it pays
to follow safety rules.
Stay on the right side. Ride in single file.
Use hand signals before turning and be sure your bicycle is equipped with reflectors.
Wear light-colored clothing at night and at dusk.
If you start to skid as you stop, ease up on the brake a bit. Add pressure a little at a time.
When it rains or snows, remember it takes longer for wet brakes to stop so give yourself a little extra time.
And take the time to enjoy your ride. That's good for
your health too.