Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Moderate to Heavy Exercise Protects the Aging Brain?

This is a pretty rubbishy study. Self-report is a very weak form of data that needs to be handled with great care and precautions to mean anything but I see to mention of that. The journal article is Lower prevalence of silent brain infarcts in the physically active by Willey et al.

My guess is that middle class people were more likely to give "correct" answers about exercise and middle class people are in general healthier anyway. The fact (below) that the poorest people showed no benefit from exercise supports that interpretation

A new study supports moderate to intense exercise for older people as researchers believe the activity can lessen the chance of small or silent strokes. “These ‘silent strokes’ are more significant than the name implies, because they have been associated with an increased risk of falls and impaired mobility, memory problems and even dementia, as well as stroke,” said study author Joshua Z. Willey, M.D., M.S.

“Encouraging older people to take part in moderate to intense exercise may be an important strategy for keeping their brains healthy.”

Researchers followed 1,238 people who had never had a stroke for a period of six years. Participants completed a questionnaire about how often and how intensely they exercised at the beginning of the study; then had MRI scans of their brains after six years when they were an average of 70 years old.

The study is found in the online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN).

A total of 43 percent of the participants reported that they had no regular exercise; 36 percent engaged in regular light exercise, such as golf, walking, bowling or dancing; and 21 percent engaged in regular moderate to intense exercise, such as hiking, tennis, swimming, biking, jogging or racquetball.

The brain scans showed that 197 of the participants, or 16 percent, had small brain lesions, or infarcts, called silent strokes.

People who engaged in moderate to intense exercise were 40 percent less likely to have the silent strokes than people who did no regular exercise.

Individuals who participated in light exercise had similar factors to those that did not exercise. “Of course, light exercise has many other beneficial effects, and these results should not discourage people from doing light exercise,” Willey said.

Unfortunately, socioeconomic status appears to influence outcomes as well; researchers did not find beneficial effects (of moderate to intense exercise) among people with Medicaid or no health insurance. “It may be that the overall life difficulties for people with no insurance or on Medicaid lessens the protective effect of regular exercise,” Willey said.


Infant formula linked to childhood diabetes, study shows

The methodology seems weak (social class controls?) but there are other studies showing that hydrolyzed milk protects against allergies so there could be something in this. My major reservation is that most milk these days is homogenized so one would not expect much gain from further hydrolization

CHOOSING the right formula could stave off infant diabetes, according to a new global study distributed today. The study showed that if a mother transitions from breastfeeding to "highly hydrolyzed formula", which is broken down for easier digestion, the infant may have a lower risk of developing type 1 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes can be fatal unless treated indefinitely with insulin.

The study, lead by Dr Mikael Knip of the University of Helsinki, examined infants carrying an HLA genotype, which puts them at risk for developing diabetes later in life.

The trial, published in the American Journal for Clinical Nutrition, showed promising results in infants who underwent the transition from breastfeeding to the easily digestible hydrolyzed formula. By age five, the signs of diabetes in those children had decreased by 50 percent in comparison to children who moved from breastfeeding directly to foods such as cereals, fruit, or other types of formula.

"Short-term breastfeeding and early exposure to complex dietary proteins, such as cow milk proteins and cereals, or to fruit, berries, and roots have been implicated as risk factors," for type 1 diabetes, the authors wrote.

Most available formulas have a base of cow's milk, which can be difficult for infants to digest before their first birthday.

The study's findings were confirmed in a follow-up analysis when the children were ten years old. The trial is currently occurring in 77 centers in 15 countries worldwide.


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