In recent years, people have drawn comfort from the notion of the possibility of being both healthy and overweight. Several well publicized studies suggested that moderate excess body weight may have been exaggerated as a health threat.
A recent study, published in Annals of Internal Medicine, now raises doubts about the earlier claims. NPR published a good overview of the findings:
New research published Monday adds fuel to an ongoing debate in the public health community over whether a few extra pounds are good, or bad, for you.
Earlier research found that being somewhat overweight, but not obese, may result in a longer life.
But today’s study in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that being slightly overweight may actually decrease a person’s life span, which is more in line with conventional wisdom about weight.
One of the problem with earlier studies is that people tend to lose weight after they become ill. Thus, to gauge the actual effects of weight on mortality one needs to look at the history of an individual’s weight over a longer period of time. The new study looked at a 16 year weight history.
Perhaps, but only at very low doses. Dr. Greger explains. Note that the study suggests that too much rosemary might interfere with cognition.
I did find the results about aromatherapy interesting. I had always assumed that the idea was implausible. But Dr. Greger points to a study that shows that the volatile compounds used can actually be measured in the blood. This doesn’t mean that aromatherapy works, only that it’s plausible.
So argues this important piece in Scientific American (sorry, it’s behind a paywall). So far drugs that target Alzheimer’s have been disappointing. Our best evidence suggests that lifestyle interventions (exercise, improvements in diet, and cognitive engagement) really do help.
This interesting piece in The New York Times argues:
When athletes train consistently, recover smartly and get a little lucky, there’s no physiological reason their bodies should fall off a cliff in their 30s.
From following physiology literature and spending time around late-career elite athletes, I was already well aware that old dogs can both learn new tricks and slow the rate at which they lose old ones.
In yoga, pranayama means breath regulation, and refers to a set of breathing techniques. The always interesting Dr. Greger has posted a video suggesting that the effects of breathing on the vagus nerve may explain the effectiveness of yogic pranayama and other mind body interventions.
Another amazing story from The New York Times about the capacities of an aging athlete:
At the age of 105, the French amateur cyclist and world-record holder Robert Marchand is more aerobically fit than most 50-year-olds — and appears to be getting even fitter as he ages, according to a revelatory new study of his physiology.
You can read the research paper here.