Tag Archives: Health

Pocket Hercules and the Mighty Atom

15 Jun

I am fascinated by all things Indian. A few days ago The New York Times published an obituary for Indian bodybuilder Manohar Aich, who died at the age of 103.

Manohar Aich, was only 4 feet 11 inches tall. A fact that earned him the nickname of “Pocket Hercules.”

 

I was struck by the similarities between the story of Manohar Aich and the life of Joseph L. Greenstein, a strong man know as the Mighty Atom. Years ago, my brother had given me a biography of Greenstein, which I highly recommend. Greenstein was only 5 feet 4 inches tall and he was the inspiration for the golden age comic book superhero “the Atom.”

Tobacco and Parkinson’s Disease

22 Apr

Two videos from Dr. Greger lay out the relationship between Parkinson’s and Tobacco.

 

 

The false promise of fish oil

24 Jul

I have been blogging a lot about diet lately and I should move onto other topics, but I think this Washington Post story is important:

“People in the United States spend about $1.2 billion annually for fish oil pills and related supplements even though the vast majority of research published recently in major journals provides no evidence of a health benefit.”

 

 

Pyschologists study telomeres

19 Dec

Telomeres are structures at the end of chromosomes that shorten with each cell division. They are restored through the action of an enzyme. Shorter telomeres is a sign of aging and stress.

The Observer, a publication of the Association for Psychological Science, reports on the psychological study of telomeres.

“Over the last decade, these scientists and others have investigated how protracted psychological stress lowers telomerase activity, leading to shorter telomeres. This line of research represents the height of integrative science, incorporating disciplines that include psychology, immunology, epidemiology, genetics, and even nutrition.”

The entire piece is worth reading.

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Telomere trifecta

3 Oct

This is my third blog post in three days on telomeres. I think the subject is important and may yield new insights into human health.

Today I am going to share another video from Dr. Greger about the role of diet in telomere length:

Dr. Mirkin: exercise reduces dementia risk

14 Aug

You can find it here. Dr. Mirkin points out:

“Everything that helps to prevent heart attacks also helps protect you from losing your mind. Three more studies show that exercising, eating a healthful diet, and avoiding overweight, smoking and alcohol are all associated with lowered risk for dementia. Of these five healthful lifestyle components, exercise had the greatest effect on preserving memory and thinking.”

 

Junk food, cognition and the arrow of causation

10 Apr

A paper published in Physiology & Behavior suggests a junk food diet (defined as highly processed food)  cognitive impairment in rats. It is often argued that sedentary lifestyle and bad diet contribute to obesity. This paper presents evidence that sedentary lifestyle is an effect of bad diet. Here is a press release on the research:

“Overweight people often get stigmatized as lazy and lacking discipline,” Blaisdell said. “We interpret our results as suggesting that the idea commonly portrayed in the media that people become fat because they are lazy is wrong. Our data suggest that diet-induced obesity is a cause, rather than an effect, of laziness. Either the highly processed diet causes fatigue or the diet causes obesity, which causes fatigue.”

 

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Better sleep as social policy

19 Feb

Better sleep has many health and psychological benefits. The town of Bad Kissingen in Germany is exploring adjusting social policy to individual chronotype.

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Magnesium and brain function

25 Jan

Seth Roberts links to this report in Nature titled “Testing magnesium’s brain-boosting effects.”

This is an interesting result but please note that the research was funded by a pharmaceutical company that might have an interest in the outcome. In addition, the sample size was small. There is a recurring arc for this type of claim; initial studies with small sample sizes show large effects while later, better designed, research finds no or little effect. Best to keep an open mind but be willing to re-evaluate in the face of new evidence.

There is evidence that the modern diet may be deficient of magnesium.

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“Substantial health benefits to exceeding the current exercise guidelines”

9 Dec

This study has been attracting a lot of media attention. Here is a good summary in The New York Times.

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