Thursday, August 30, 2007

Hanoi Jane was wrong about aerobics too

Remember those Jane Fonda workout videos in the 1980s? Turns out high-impact aerobics was the worst thing people could do to their knees, CBS News reported:
Sheila Wares remembers the high impact aerobics well - and still keeps a library of titles under her television, although they've all been banned from her VCR thanks to a bad knee. "It's amazing when you think about your knee and how much it affects so much of everything when it comes to exercise, even with yoga you know," she told The Early Show medical contributor Dr. Emily Senay. "Try and do a downward dog on a knee that won't cooperate."

According to Wares' doctor, Jennifer Solomon, she isn't alone. Many baby boomers are experiencing this problem. She sees many patients with similar over-use injures at New York's Hospital for Special Surgery. "These are the people who did the aerobics classes five or six days a week, the high impact aerobics, the step aerobics with three tiered steps," said Dr. Solomon, a physiatrist. "These are the people who thought they were doing the right thing and following the trend of the '80s."

Dr. Solomon says the repetitive nature of high impact aerobics has had an adverse affect on many of the once devoted Fonda fans like Wares. "They have knee problems," she said. "They all have early arthritis, or have terrible arthritis where they can't go up and down stairs."

Ah, those workout videos. They were empowering women. They were going to make everyone live longer and healthier. It turns out this was the wrong way to exercise. The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today.
Dr. Solomon said these high impact exercise techniques are basically defunct because we now know how to exercise smarter. "You go into any health club and take a look at their schedule you'll see that step aerobics is no longer there. High impact activity is no longer there," she said. "People are now into core stability and power workouts, which is less stressful on the joints."

Today the only exercise Wares gets are the daily walks with her dog Maxine, which is far from the high level of activity she used to enjoy. "You were under the impression that you were doing the right thing and keeping yourself healthy," she said, "but it turns out to be a cruel irony in the long run, and did the opposite of what you were striving for."

Let's see, wrong on Vietnam. Wrong on Jonestown. Wrong on high-impact aerobics.


Meth abuse may speed brain degeneration

YOUNG people who abuse methamphetamines may put themselves at risk of parkinson-like movement disorders later in life, a new animal study suggests. In experiments with mice, scientists found that animals deficient in a protein called glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) were especially vulnerable to long-term movement problems after being exposed to the neurotoxic effects of a methamphetamine "binge".

GDNF is needed for the proper functioning of dopamine, a brain chemical involved in regulating movement. Both GDNF and dopamine are depleted in the brains of people with Parkinson's disease.

Because methamphetamines can damage dopamine-producing cells in the brain, researchers have speculated that young meth users may be at elevated risk of parkinson-like movement disorders as they age. The new findings, reported in The Journal of Neuroscience, support that theory. "The study in mice tells us that people who make less GDNF protein may be more vulnerable to the motor deficits caused by methamphetamine and that those effects may not be revealed until we get older," explained principal author Dr Jacqueline McGinty, a professor in the department of neurosciences at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.

For their study, Dr McGinty and her colleagues used both normal mice and mice missing one of their genes for GDNF. Two weeks after being exposed to a meth binge, the animals tended to show dopamine depletion and other signs of brain damage, with the GDNF-deficient mice being especially vulnerable. Similarly, these mice were more likely to have movement impairments when they were 12 months old - old age for rodents.

No one knows what percentage of the population has an abnormal GDNF gene, Dr McGinty said, but individuals certainly vary in how much GDNF protein their genes make. It's possible, she and her colleagues said, that young people with naturally lower levels of the protein may be susceptible to long-term brain damage and Parkinson-like symptoms at an older age. "Motor deficits during aging may be accelerated if young adults are exposed to an environmental toxin like methamphetamine," Dr McGinty said.



Just some problems with the "Obesity" war:

1). It tries to impose behavior change on everybody -- when most of those targeted are not obese and hence have no reason to change their behaviour. It is a form of punishing the innocent and the guilty alike. (It is also typical of Leftist thinking: Scorning the individual and capable of dealing with large groups only).

2). The longevity research all leads to the conclusion that it is people of MIDDLING weight who live longest -- not slim people. So the "epidemic" of obesity is in fact largely an "epidemic" of living longer.

3). It is total calorie intake that makes you fat -- not where you get your calories. Policies that attack only the source of the calories (e.g. "junk food") without addressing total calorie intake are hence pissing into the wind. People involuntarily deprived of their preferred calorie intake from one source are highly likely to seek and find their calories elsewhere.

4). So-called junk food is perfectly nutritious. A big Mac meal comprises meat, bread, salad and potatoes -- which is a mainstream Western diet. If that is bad then we are all in big trouble.

5). Food warriors demonize salt and fat. But we need a daily salt intake to counter salt-loss through perspiration and the research shows that people on salt-restricted diets die SOONER. And Eskimos eat huge amounts of fat with no apparent ill-effects. And the average home-cooked roast dinner has LOTS of fat. Will we ban roast dinners?

6). The foods restricted are often no more calorific than those permitted -- such as milk and fruit-juice drinks.

7). Tendency to weight is mostly genetic and is therefore not readily susceptible to voluntary behaviour change.

8). And when are we going to ban cheese? Cheese is a concentrated calorie bomb and has lots of that wicked animal fat in it too. Wouldn't we all be better off without it? And what about butter and margarine? They are just about pure fat. Surely they should be treated as contraband in kids' lunchboxes! [/sarcasm].

Trans fats:

For one summary of the weak science behind the "trans-fat" hysteria, see here. Trans fats have only a temporary effect on blood chemistry and the evidence of lasting harm from them is dubious. By taking extreme groups in trans fats intake, some weak association with coronary heart disease has at times been shown in some sub-populations but extreme group studies are inherently at risk of confounding with other factors and are intrinsically of little interest to the average person.


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