Healthy Bits: November 2014

By AFM Staff – November 1, 2014

A New Book on Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis sidelines many runners, but scientists have recently found that one particular exercise is a very effective treatment. Researchers at Aalborg University Hospital in Denmark spent a year observing two different groups with plantar fasciitis; one utilized treatment that combined wearing shoe inserts and a traditional program of stretching their toes toward their shins in sets of ten reps, three times daily. The other group performed a specific exercise until 12 reps could be completed easily. At that point, the researchers added a weighted backpack and had the exercisers do eight to 12 reps every other day. The report published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports said when evaluations where given, there was a ”quicker reduction in pain” and improvements in foot function among the group that added the load-bearing aspect to the exercise, particularly after the three-month period.

Nothing Fishy About This 

Eating baked or broiled fish every week—no matter how many omega-3 fatty acids it contains—is good for the brain. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in Pennsylvania also noted that the results of their study add to mounting evidence that lifestyle factors could help brain health later in life, perhaps even reducing risk of dementia, according to a new study released in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine. 

Previous studies have suggested that omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, seeds, nuts, and certain oils have an anti-oxidant effect that is related to brain vitality. But to further investigate the link between dietary intake and brain health, the researchers analyzed data from 260 cognitively normal participants from the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS). 

Participants provided dietary intake information and underwent high-resolution brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. Weekly fish eaters had more grey matter in memory and cognition brain areas. The team also found that participants who ate baked or broiled fish at least once each week had larger grey matter brain volumes in regions of the brain responsible for memory and cognition. Interestingly, they were also more likely to have a college education than those who did not regularly eat fish.

Get Up and Move

Reducing the risk of heart failure is connected not only to exercising more, but to spending less time sitting, according to a research report recently published in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure.

California researchers studied eight years of health data from a racially diverse group of 84,170 men who took part in the California Men's Health Study. The participants were between 45 and 69 years old and did not have heart failure when they enrolled in the study. To assess levels of physical activity, researchers used metabolic equivalent of task (METs), a measure of the body's energy use, while sedentary time was measured in hours.

When they analyzed the data, they found:

– Men with the lowest levels of physical activity were 52 percent more likely to develop heart failure, compared with men with the highest levels of physical activity.

– Regardless of how much they exercised, men who were sedentary for 5 hours or more outside of work were 34 percent more likely to develop heart failure.

– Men who spent more than 5 hours a day sitting outside of work and exercised the least had double the risk of heart failure, compared with those who sat less than 2 hours a day and exercised the most.

Dr. Deborah Rohm Young, a senior scientist at Kaiser Permanente in Pasadena, Calif., said the message of the study is, “Be more active and sit less.”


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