Various Interesting Health Findings in Science Daily: Exercise and Hidden Fat, Extreme Exercise and Heart Disease, Fasting, Brain and Fasting, Peripheral Neuropathy
As I understand it, visceral (android) fat acts like an organ all its own with negative health consequences. Only a few weeks into my season, I am already losing fat out of my abdomen, as my ribs/stomach now have a nice drop-off while lying down versus being level prior. A DEXA scan is the best way to see the android/gynoid breakdown.
Emphasis added in places.
What is the most effective way to fight internal, visceral fat that you cannot see or feel? The answer: exercise. Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center analyzed two types of interventions -- lifestyle modification (exercise) and pharmacological (medicine) -- to learn how best to defeat fat lying deep in the belly....
The study is published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. "Visceral fat can affect local organs or the entire body system. Systemically it can affect your heart and liver, as well as abdominal organs," said senior author and cardiologist Dr. Ian J. Neeland, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine. "When studies use weight or body mass index as a metric, we don't know if the interventions are reducing fat everywhere in the body, or just near the surface."
To find out, the researchers evaluated changes in visceral fat in 3,602 participants over a 6-month period measured by a CT or MRI exam. Both exercise and medicines resulted in less visceral fat, but the reductions were more significant per pound of body weight lost with exercise. "The location and type of fat is important. If you just measure weight or BMI, you can underestimate the benefit to your health of losing weight," said Dr. Neeland, a Dedman Family Scholar in Clinical Care. "Exercise can actually melt visceral fat."
WIND: science finally catches up with my own conclusions based on years of studying myself.
Exercise is often cited as the best preventive medicine, but how much is too much for the hearts of middle-aged athletes?
What is coronary calcium scanning and why is it important?
Coronary calcium scanning is an imaging test that helps physicians classify patients without cardiac symptoms as low, intermediate, or high risk for heart attack. It represents how much calcium (and thus cholesterol deposits) has accumulated in the blood vessels that supply the heart. The scan can help physicians determine the need for medication, lifestyle modification, and other risk-reducing measures.
"The question has never been whether exercise is good for you, but whether extreme exercise is bad for you. For the past decade or so, there's been increasing concern that high-volume, high-intensity exercise could injure the heart. We found that high volumes of exercise are safe, even when coronary calcium levels are high," Dr. Levine said.
Coronary calcium is a footprint of atherosclerosis, a disease in which plaque builds up in the arteries and gives rise to heart attack and stroke. When coronary calcium is detected in the heart, the clogging process within the blood vessels has begun. The majority of high-intensity athletes had low levels of coronary calcium, though their odds of having higher levels were 11 percent greater than men who exercised less. Most importantly, the researchers found that higher calcium scores did not raise the high-intensity athletes' risk for cardiovascular or all-cause mortality.
WIND: good news for me: as an extreme athlete, I rank poorly on coronary calcium. See also Association of All-Cause and Cardiovascular Mortality With High Levels of Physical Activity and Concurrent Coronary Artery Calcification.
In highly active individuals with elevated levels of coronary artery calcification... no evidence to suggest increased mortality risk from high levels of physical activity.
A new study published by University of Maryland School of Public Health researchers in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease showed that exercise was associated with improved brain function in a group of adults diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and a decrease in the blood flow in key brain regions.
"Our findings provide evidence that exercise can improve brain function in people who already have cognitive decline," Dr. Smith said optimistically. "We have an interest in targeting people who are at increased risk for developing Alzheimer's earlier in the disease process. We are seeing that exercise can impact biomarkers of brain function in a way that might protect people by preventing or postponing the onset of dementia."
WIND: I always feel better the closer I am to 8 to 10% body fat: I feel healthier physically and mentally. At least science catches up to one more of my own personal observation.
Most Americans (88 percent) understand that there is a connection between a healthy heart and a healthy weight, most aren't doing enough -- or anything -- to combat their own weight issues. The survey found 74 percent are concerned about their weight and 65 percent are worried about getting heart disease due to extra pounds, yet less than half (43 percent) of Americans have tried to make dietary changes to lose weight and 40 percent of those who describe themselves as overweight or obese say they aren't careful about which foods they eat.
Part of the problem may be that Americans aren't sure what to eat for heart health. Nearly one-in-five (18 percent) believe their diet has nothing to do with their heart health, and a mere 14 percent knew that a Mediterranean diet is healthiest for heart health. What's more, nearly half of Americans (46 percent) believe using artificial sweeteners is a healthy way to lose weight despite studies showing they don't promote weight loss.
WIND: it’s time to raise insurance rates for couch potatoes and willful igorance. Why should healthy people pay for those who don’t/won’t take action?
Fasting may help people lose weight, but new research suggests going without food may also boost human metabolic activity, generate antioxidants, and help reverse some effects of aging. Scientists at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) and Kyoto University identified 30 previously-unreported substances whose quantity increases during fasting and indicate a variety of health benefits.
WIND: I regularly fast at least 12 hours most days, but while training, it's a serious problem to ride 50 miles a day and eat less than 2000 calories a day (while burning 1500 to 3000 per day).
In animal models of a totally crushed peripheral nerve, the damaged axons are broken down, allowing healthy ones to regrow. But humans rarely suffer complete axonal damage. Instead, axons tend to be partially damaged, causing neuropathic pain -- a difficult-to-treat, chronic pain associated with nerve trauma, chemotherapy and diabetes. A new study in Cell, led by Michael Costigan, PhD, at Boston Children's Hospital, explore the role of immune cells in breaking down damaged nerves. The findings may change our understanding of neuropathic pain and how to treat it.
WIND: having had neuropathy from the Metronidazole antibiotic, this might still be of interest to me as I age.