Waiting An Hour After Dinner Before Sleep May Reduce Stroke Risk

 

WebMD Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/31, Laino) reports, “A new study suggests that waiting at least an hour after dinner before going to sleep reduces your risk of stroke by about two-thirds.” The study, presented at the European Society of Cardiology meeting, also found that “for every 20 minutes more that you wait, stroke risk drops another 10%.” American College of Cardiology President David Holmes, MD, said, “When we eat, blood sugar changes, cholesterol levels change, blood flow changes,” all of which “may affect stroke risk.”

Chocolate May Reduce Heart Disease, Stroke Risk

ABC World News (8/29, story 10, 0:30, Sawyer) reported that “chocolate may be a kind of secret weapon against heart disease.”

Bloomberg News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/30, Torsoli) reports that “regular consumption” of chocolate “may slash the risk of developing heart disease by a third, according to research Share to FacebookShare to Twitter published in the British Medical Journal and presented…at the European Society of Cardiology’s conference in Paris.”

The Los Angeles Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/30, Stein) “Booster Shots” blog reports that investigators analyzed data from “seven studies looking at the link between eating chocolate and a reduction in heart disease that included 114,009 people.”

The Time Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/30, Melnick) “Healthland” blog reports, “Five of the seven studies showed some benefit to eating chocolate. Overall, people with the highest chocolate consumption levels had 37% lower risk of heart disease and a 29% lower risk of stroke than those who ate the least chocolate.”

The CNN Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/30) “The Chart” blog points out that “the studies, notably, did not differentiate between dark or milk chocolate and included consumption of different types of chocolate (bars, shakes, etc.).”

MedPage Today Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/30, Neale) reports that one of the researchers “noted that most commercially available chocolate products are high in fat, sugar, and calories, and that overindulging could counteract any of the potential benefits, a sentiment echoed by Janet Wright, MD, vice president of science and quality for the American College of Cardiology.” In an interview, Dr Wright said, “We tend to take a little bit of advice and think that more is better,” but “in this case, more is probably not better because of the fat content and the calorie content.”

Aerobic Exercise Trumps Resistance Training For Losing Belly Fat

HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/26, Preidt) reported, “Aerobic exercise is better than resistance training if you want to lose the belly fat that poses a serious threat to your health,” according to a study published Aug. 25 in the American Journal of Physiology. After comparing the “effectiveness of aerobic exercise (such as jogging), resistance training (such as weight lifting), or a combination of the two activities in 196 overweight, sedentary adults aged 18 to 70” followed for eight months, researchers also found that “aerobic exercise significantly reduced visceral and liver fat and improved risk factors for heart disease and diabetes, such as insulin resistance, liver enzymes and triglyceride levels.”

The 10 best back-to-school foods to give kids a boost

As children head back to school, it is important to arm them not only with the newest backpacks and pencils, but also with a nutritious diet. While the lure of fast food and quick meals can be enticing, fueling kids with healthy foods and a well-rounded diet can be easier than parents think.

“A new school year provides a great opportunity for parents to teach their kids how to make nutritious choices throughout the day,” says Dr. Alan Greene, a pediatrician and author of “Feeding Baby Green.” “Whether starting the day off with organic milk or packing school lunches with lots of fruits and veggies, making a conscious choice to focus on nutrition as kids return to the classroom can start with a few simple choices at the grocery store.”

To help parents get their children off to a nutritious start this school year, Horizon, the leading milk brand in the U.S., has partnered with Dr. Greene to develop the following list of the 10 best back to school foods:

The back-to-school top 10:

1. Organic milk

With some studies indicating that only one in 10 girls and one in four boys meet their calcium needs, it’s important to keep calcium-rich foods front and center in kids’ diets. Organic milk, which is produced without the use of antibiotics, toxic synthetic pesticides or artificial growth hormones, is a great choice for lunchboxes and breakfast time. Horizon makes convenient single serve milk boxes that pack perfectly into lunchboxes and provide a nutrient-rich alternative to juice drinks and other nutrient-poor beverages. In addition, Horizon organic milk with DHA omega-3 is a good choice for breakfast beverages or paired with low-sugar, whole grain cereals. DHA omega-3 has been shown to support brain, heart and eye health

2. Whole grain bread

The new U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend that at least half of our grains be whole grains, so choosing whole grains for lunchbox sandwiches and wraps is a smart strategy to boost fiber and other important nutrients. One good choice is Rudi’s Organic Bakery’s 14 Grain bread. With just three slices you get the daily recommended allowance of whole grains.

3. String cheese

Cheese is a good source of calcium and protein. If your child isn’t a meat-eater, cheese is another high-protein option for lunches and snack time. String cheese is a great way to help your kids play with their food by pulling apart the cheese – and they will love munching on it too. Horizon has a variety of cheeses that are great for snacking. Mozzarella String Cheese and Colby Cheese Sticks are both kid-approved favorites.

4. Trail mix fixings

A variety of dried fruits (cherries, cranberries, raisins, dates), nuts (almonds, peanuts, walnuts, pistachios) and cereal (look for those high in fiber and low in sugar) can combine into one hearty snack foron-the-go kids. Plus, you can make an activity out of letting your kids create their very own one-of-a-kind mix.

5. Nut butter

Peanut butter, almond butter, hazelnut butter – they’re all great for lunchtime sandwiches or on toast for an after-school snack.

6. Hummus

This protein-packed spread comes in a wide variety of flavors and even in single-serve packs for kids on the go. You can try it as a dip for veggies and whole-grain crackers or as a spread on wraps and sandwiches as a nutritious alternative to mayonnaise or dressing.

7. Granola bars

Granola bars can be a lower-sugar, higher-fiber alternative to cookies and candy bars. They are also great as after-school or after-sports snacks. Look for granola bars made with whole grains and with 10 grams of sugar or less. One bar that fits these criteria is Annie’s Organic Berry Berry Granola Bars. Each bar is packed with 8 grams of whole grain per serving, is certified organic and contains no artificial ingredients, preservatives or high-fructose corn syrup. They’re a perfect snack to replace high sugar treats.

8. Turkey breast

Turkey breast is low in fat and high in protein, and it can be a crowd pleaser in the lunchroom. You can also get creative with turkey as part of after-school snacks – think turkey and cheese roll-ups.

9. Fruit, fruit, fruit

Apples, cherries, bananas, oranges, grapes – fruits are an important part of a well-balanced diet. Try and vary what you offer. Different fruits provide different nutrients. When looking for organic fruit options, check out Earthbound Farm, which offers a number of organic fruit products nationwide, ranging from apple slices to strawberries to grapes, citrus and blueberries.

10. Veggies, veggies, veggies

Veggies like carrot sticks, celery, cucumbers, pea pods and cherry tomatoes are all great for lunchboxes and after-school snacks. Remember, the darker the veggie, the more nutritious it tends to be. To spice veggies up, you can think about serving them with a low fat salad dressing or hummus as a dip. In addition to organic fruit, Earthbound Farm also offers a full range of organic veggie products.

Diet Rich In Nuts, Soy May Help Reduce LDL Cholesterol

USA Today Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/24, Hellmich) reports that while “nutrition experts have known for years that some foods, such as oatmeal, nuts and soy products, lower cholesterol,” but new research “shows that a diet with several of these foods can decrease LDL (bad) cholesterol significantly.”

The Wall Street Journal Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/24, Wang, Subscription Publication) reports that the study Share to FacebookShare to Twitter, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, provides more proof that simply reducing dietary fat may not be the best way to boost one’s heart health.

The Los Angeles Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/24, Healy) reports that for the “study tested a diet that contained a portfolio of cholesterol-fighting foods such as soy protein, nuts, ‘sticky’ fiber such as that found in oats and barley, and plant sterols.” The 345 participants, all of whom had high cholesterol, “each followed one of three diets: an ‘intensive portfolio’ diet, a ‘routine portfolio’ diet, or a high-fiber, low-saturated-fat diet rich in produce and whole grains.” Of “the 267 subjects who completed the trial, all three groups lost roughly an equal amount of weight,” but participants “on one of the portfolio diets – intensive or routine – saw their LDL cholesterol levels decline between 13.1% and 13.8% after six months,” compared to the 3% decline in LDL levels seen in those on the high-fiber, low-saturated-fat diet.

The Importance of Phytochemicals in Your Diet

Phytochemicals, are naturally found in plants and are responsible for providing color, flavor, and aroma to fruits and vegetables. They are biologically active and function to protect plants against invasion, disease, and infection. Studies have shown that high intakes of fruits and vegetables are correlated with lower risks of chronic disease and obesity, partly because of these phytochemicals, also called phytonutrients. You know those antioxidants you hear about so often? Phytochemicals contain lots of them. Phytochemicals are broken into different classes which include (and are not limited to): flavonoids, carotenoids, chlorophyll, and isothyocynates. What are these you ask? Read on:

Flavonoids are a class of phytochemicals found in plant pigments that has been said to act as an antioxidant, enhance effects of vitamin C and strengthen cell tissues. Today, one of the most talked about flavonoids is quercetin.

Quercetin is found in apples, onions, citrus fruits, berries, red grapes, broccoli, cocoa, and tea. It may not only protect us against heart disease and cancer, but according to recent research, it may increase endurance for people who are beginning exercise regimens. It may not work as effectively in trained athletes.

Carotenoids are class of phytochemicals with more than 600 naturally occurring pigments synthesized by plants, algae, and photosynthetic bacteria. Carotenoids are found in the most richly colored yellow, orange, and red fruits and vegetables like pumpkin, tomatoes, tangerines, cantaloupe, carrots, squash, and watermelons. Carontenoids are known for their high antioxidant properties and protective effects against certain cancers, like prostate. Alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, and zeaxathin are the most common dietary carotenoids. Beta-carotene found in carrots and other fruits and veggies can be converted to retinol which is a pre-cursor to vitamin A which is important for maintaining eyehealth. For some of these foods, cooking and chopping may increase the availability and enhance their beneficial effects.

Chlorophyll is a class of phytochemicals that is responsible for giving plants their green pigment. Studies have found that chlorophyll has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and wound-healing properties. Foods that are high in chlorophyll are easy to spot—you know, the ones kids say “Yuck!” to—spinach, broccoli, green beans, arugla, and endive. I say YUM!

Isothyocynates are a class of phytochemicals found in cruciferous vegetables like bok choy, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, mustard, radish, and watercress. These vegetables are rich sources of glucosinolate, the precursor to isothiocynates.. Research indicates that increased intake of isothyoncynates may inhibit cancer cell growth and cause cells to die. To maintain high levels of this phytochemical you really want to reduce cooking time and use minimal amounts of liquid because glucosinolate is leeched into water. The best way to absorb the phytochemicals in these foods is to eat them raw or to use cooking techniques like steaming or microwaving.

By Tanya Zuckerbrot

Eye Health Tips

Issues with our eyesight can have severe inferences on our way of living. We use our eye in every single action of our own lives although reading, writing, watching television, employing pc or mobile phone or going somewhere. We really should look after our eyes. Without vision we are not able to do anything whatsoever properly therefore we can not even envision regarding it.

We are able to maintain our eyes healthy by many techniques. Even once you feel you eye are wholesome and there is certainly no issue with your eye sight but to make it positive you must pay a visit to an eye specialist for complete eye check-up. Some eye illnesses don’t have any forewarning symbols for instance such as glaucoma and diabetic eye disease etc. A complete eye checkup will be the only technique to distinguish these diseases. In the course of checkup an eye specialist puts drops in your eyes to enlarge the pupil to ensure that a lot more light enter into your vision this enables you eye specialist to take a look at the rear of your eye and check symptoms of illness or injury.

Supplements perform a important role in enhancing and supporting eye health. Vitamin A is present in liver, carrots, potatoes etc. Shortage of a vitamin inside your body can trigger lack of sight and corneal ulcers. Eye health is elevated by vitamins due to the fact they contain significant amount of antioxidants and other compounds that stop the harm of healthy tissues.

Antioxidants also make night vision better. Ascorbic Acid is present in broccoli, oranges, strawberries etc and decrease pressure in Glaucoma also as the danger of cataracts. Vitamin E is present in hazelnuts and almonds etc also it can reduce the threat of cataracts and macular degeneration.

For Eye Health, you should eat wholesome diet plan mainly leafy greens such as spinach, kale, or collard greens. Fish has an crucial location in diet plan for eye wellness. Mackerel, salmon, tuna, sardines and halibut are great for eyes. Give up smoking for wholesome eyes as it can be associated to the lack of vision. Moreover, diseases brought on by smoking incorporate cataracts, optic nerve harm and age-related macular degeneration.

Keeping away from eye infection is also important this might be completed by washing both hands before and following touching your eye area plus before you devote or remove your contact lenses. Look after your lenses and don’t wear them when your eyes are irritated. Keep your lenses clean and also pay attention to the expiry of remedy.

Sunglasses guard your eyes from ultraviolet rays of sun. Once you purchase shades choose the 1 that will block many ultraviolet radiations simply because they harm your vision. In case you spend plenty of time focusing on the personal computer it really is far better to place it to 1 side and in the event you feel pressure in your eye rest with regard to time and require a modest break right after every single hour. Focal point may be adjusted once again by looking at a distant object. Whilst watching television, there should be a suitable and adequate distance between you and the television. Television ought to be positioned parallel to your eyes and correctly regulated.

Vitamin C may be critical for eye health

New research indicates that Vitamin C may be critical to maintaining good eye health and could be protective for those at risk of glaucoma.

The study done by Oregon Health & Science University indicates that Vitamin C may be needed for correct functioning of retinal cells.

The study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, found that cells in the central nervous system need to be bathed in Vitamin C and because the retina is part of the central nervous system, there is likely an important role for Vitamin C.

Retinal cells share some characteristics with brain cells, one of which is special receptors called GABA-type receptors that help manage the rapid transfer of information between cells. The research shows that in retinal cells these receptors stop functioning properly if there is insufficient Vitamin C.

This new research used goldfish retinas which the researchers claim have the same overall biological structure as human retinas.

Dr Peter Hadden, Refractive-Cataract Surgery and Retinal Surgery Specialist at Eye Institute says Lutein, beta-carotene and biliberry extracts as well as dietary antioxidants such as Vitamins A and E have been used in eye health supplementation.

“Now recent evidence suggests that Vitamin C is also essential to eye health and may have potential for general maintenance and protection of those at risk of glaucoma.

“While there is still much to learn about the impact of Vitamin C on eye health, anyone that has a genetic predisposition to age-related macular degeneration or glaucoma may wish to consider taking supplements, including Vitamin C, to postpone or prevent the vision-disabling consequences of both these diseases,” says Dr Hadden.

Michelle Palmer, Executive Director of Natural Products New Zealand says that while more research is needed to establish the extent of benefits from using Vitamin C for eye health, early indications would suggest that the antioxidant could provide positive results.

“Vitamin C is one of the safest and most effective nutrients. It is an extremely versatile mineral that has multiple benefits, from protection against immune system deficiencies, and cardiovascular disease, prenatal health and healthy skin. We know that it is required to help the human eye function properly and this latest research demonstrates that perhaps regular supplementation of Vitamin C could be preventative to eye health issues,” says Mrs Palmer.

Examination May Help Rule Out Eye-Related Links To Behavior, Learning Problems

In the syndicated Parent to Parent column appearing in the Charlotte (NC) Observer Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/16), Betsy Flagler asks, “Is your child headed back to school with an inability to pay attention? Have his eyes, ears and teeth checked by specialists to rule out any health-related links to behavior problems” or difficulties learning in the classroom? While children “generally don’t complain about their eyes…parents need to be aware of symptoms that may indicate a vision problem, experts say.” According to the American Optometric Association, “even though a child may have 20/20 vision, the following habits also can signal less obvious vision problems: loses place while reading, avoids close work,” and “holds reading material closer than normal.”

AOA Survey: Most Teachers Say Vision, Learning Are Interdependent. The News Record Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/15) reported, “A visit to the eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam is an important part of overall health,” and is especially important for youngsters about to return to school. In fact, “according to an American Optometric Association survey of K-12 teachers, 81 percent believe vision and learning are interdependent.”

Watching Too Much Television May Shorten Lifespan

In continuing coverage, NBC Nightly News (8/16, story 8, 0:40, Williams) reported, “Watching a lot of television shortens your lifespan, at least that’s the conclusion of a big, new study out of Australia that says for each hour of TV you watch over the age of 25, it takes 22 minutes off your life at the end of life. Put another way, one researcher said this puts TV in the same category as smoking and obesity. It can speed up a premature death by five years if you’re a dedicated TV viewer, which must be why I never make plans for the weekend.” The study was published study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

VNTV Episode #6 – Importance of Eye Exams for Children

Don’t look now but August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month.   What if a child never had his eye sight checked, how would he know if he had any sight problems?  A child that has problems seeing, or being light sensitive, or experiencing a blurriness of vision would tend believe this type of ‘seeing’ to be normal and not tell anybody about his vision problem.

Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month raises awareness  about children and their vision. One out of every four school age children has some type of vision problem. It is important to know if your child has a vision problem and to protect their eyes from harm.

With the new school year swiftly coming, can little Suzy or Johnny see the blackboard or read their school books?  Is Suzy squinting her eyes at the blackboard from her first row seat?  Is Johnny covering up one eye so the words on the book page don’t become ‘double’?    Does either one seem easily surprised or jumpy when someone walks softly up to them?

Vision problems can include sitting really close to the television, short attention span, excessive blinking or squinting, and poor coordination when throwing or catching. Many pediatricians will perform a simple eye exam around 3 years of age.

According to Hugh R. Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness America, “Vision problems affect one in four school-aged children.  We want all children to make sure their child’s eye problems do not go unnoticed this school year.  A child should not have to struggle in school because of an undetected vision problem.”

Having yearly eye check-ups with your doctor or an optometrist is always a good idea, or talking with the school system or local government to find out about free children eye exams.

Though most eye problems in children can be corrected if detected and treated early, it is possible for a child to have a serious vision problem and be unaware of it. To prevent eye injuries in children, it is important for parents and caregivers to understand the most common dangers such as the misuse of toys, accidental falls, mishandling of sharp objects such as pens and forks, contact with harmful household products, and sports injuries.

“Certain eye problems, if left untreated, even for a short time, can lead to permanent vision loss, so it is important to maintain appropriate eye care and attend regular check-ups,” said Anthony Caputo, MD, Medical Director, The Children’s Eye Care Center of New Jersey at CMMC.

According to Prevent Blindness America, immediate medical help should be obtained if a child shows any of these signs or symptoms:

  • Obvious pain or trouble seeing
  • Cuts or tears in the eyelid
  • One eye does not move as well as the other, or one sticks out more than the other
  • Unusual pupil shape or size
  • Blood in the clear part of the eye
  • Something in the eye or under the eyelid that cannot be easily removed

To help avoid potential everyday eye injuries, parents and caregivers of small children should use safety gates on stairs to prevent falls, pad sharp corners on furniture, place locks on drawers and cabinets that contain harmful substances, and keep sharp objects out of reach. Protective goggles and helmets should be worn when playing sports.

In addition, children are at an even higher risk of the sun’s UV rays’ harmful effects, as their eyes do not yet have the same ability as adults do to better protect against UV radiation. A wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses large enough to shield children’s eyes from most angles are recommended.

Vision Problems Affect Millions Of American Children

In an op-ed in the Worthington (MN) Daily Globe Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/11), Cliff Carmody, executive director of the SW/WC Service Cooperative of Marshall, MN, writes, “Current research shows that vision problems affect millions of American children and thereby impact their ability to learn. … The American Optometric Association notes that when vision problems go undetected, children almost invariably have trouble reading and doing their schoolwork. They often display fatigue, fidgeting, and frustrations in the classroom — traits that can lead to a misdiagnosis of dyslexia or other learning disabilities.” Because August is National Children’s Vision and Learning Month, Carmody urges parents to make sure their children undergo a thorough eye examination before the start of the new school year.

Brain Shrinkage Associated With Four Factors

The Los Angeles Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/1, Mestel) “Booster Shots” blog reported that smoking, diabetes, hypertension, and “being overweight in middle age” may all cause “the brain to shrink,” according to a study published in the journal Aug. 2 issue of Neurology. After assessing 1,352 middle-aged people for vascular risk factors and following them until they underwent magnetic resonance imaging scanning and cognitive testing between the ages of 61 and 67, researchers found that “brain shrinkage was linked to all four risk factors, although the pattern differed in each case.”

People with hypertension “experienced a more rapid worsening of test scores of planning and decision-making, which corresponded to a faster rate of growth of small areas of vascular brain damage than those with normal blood pressure,”HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/1, Salamon) reported. “Those with diabetes in middle age experienced brain shrinkage in…the hippocampus faster than those without, and smokers lost brain volume overall and in the hippocampus faster than nonsmokers, with a more rapid increase of small areas of vascular brain damage.”

WebMD Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/1, Hendrick) reported, “Obese people at middle age were more likely to be in the top 25% of those with the faster rate of decline in planning and decision-making skills.” Notably, study participants with a “high waist-to-hip ratio were more likely to be in the top 25% of those with faster decrease in their brain volume.” The CNN Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/1, Henry) “The Chart” blog also covered the story.

Free vision screening at Sam’s Club Aug. 13

Sam’s Club is encouraging customers to protect their eyes by offering free vision screenings at its stores nationwide on Aug. 13.

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., both adults and children can receive a vision acuity screening, as well as a quick take-home test called an Amsler Grid, which tests for blurred or missing areas of vision.

The screenings will be offered in Sam’s Club locations that have a pharmacy and/or optical centers. What’s more, the optical department is offering savings on eye health brands through Aug. 28. Additionally, members and guests can receive free samples of Zeiss lens wipes and Zeiss liquid eyeglass cleaner.

“Vision screenings are important preventative health measures for all ages to maintain eye health and preserve sight for years to come,” Sam’s Club health-and-wellness SVP Jill Turner-Mitchael said. “Vision problems can start at any age and early detection is the key to good vision. With many adults and children preparing to focus on chalkboards and computer screens this fall, Sam’s Club is proud to offer free eye health screenings to benefit the communities we serve.”

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 61 million adults are at high risk for serious vision loss, but only half have visited their eye doctor in the past six months.

Sam’s Club will provide free vision-acuity screening as well as a take-home test to look for blurred or missing areas of vision. In addition, the warehouse will distribute free samples of lens wipes and eyeglass cleaner. Contact lens solution and other products promoting eye health will also be on sale.

In addition to the vision screenings, the company also will offer free glucose tests. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diabetes can cause blindness and more new cases of blindness are diagnosed among diabetes patients ages 20 to 74 years.

USDA Recalls 36M Pounds Of Ground Turkey After Salmonella Outbreak

 

 

 

ABC World News (8/3, story 7, 0:25, Sawyer) reported on “the latest nationwide salmonella outbreak,” which caused the USDA to recall “36 million pounds — 36 million — of Cargill ground turkey.”

        NBC Nightly News (8/3, story 8, 0:20, Williams) reported, “And we had early warning of this last night. Now it is an official government recall in this country. Thirty-six million pounds of Cargill ground turkey, some of it contaminated with salmonella, believed responsible for at least 76 illnesses nationwide and one death in the state of California.”

        The New York Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/4, B3, Neuman, Subscription Publication) reports, “Cargill, a major United States meat processor, said Wednesday that it was recalling” the ground turkey produced since February in Springdale, Arkansas, where it was also suspending operations. The decision “appeared to be one of the largest meat recalls ever.” The CDC warned that the Salmonella Heidelberg strain of bacteria involved “is resistant to many commonly prescribed antibiotics.”

        The Los Angeles Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/4) reports that “so far, California, Michigan, Ohio, Texas, Illinois and Pennsylvania have been among the states hardest hit,” and victims typically experience “diarrhea and abdominal pain.” For children, the illness can be fatal. The Times notes, however, that the government says “even contaminated ground turkey is safe to eat if it is handled properly and cooked to 165 degrees.”

        The AP Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/4, Jalonick) reports that Cargill said the recall would involve both fresh and frozen ground turkey sold under various names but with the common code of “Est. P-963” on labels. The company “said it was initiating the recall after its own internal investigation, an Agriculture Department investigation and information about the illnesses released by the CDC this week.” The Los Angeles Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/3, Khan) “Booster Shots” blog also covered the story.

August is Children’s Eye Health Month

Don’t look now but August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month.   What if a child never had his eye sight checked, how would he know if he had any sight problems?  A child that has problems seeing, or being light sensitive, or experiencing a blurriness of vision would tend believe this type of ‘seeing’ to be normal and not tell anybody about his vision problem.

Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month raises awareness  about children and their vision. One out of every four school age children has some type of vision problem. It is important to know if your child has a vision problem and to protect their eyes from harm.

With the new school year swiftly coming, can little Suzy or Johnny see the blackboard or read their school books?  Is Suzy squinting her eyes at the blackboard from her first row seat?  Is Johnny covering up one eye so the words on the book page don’t become ‘double’?    Does either one seem easily surprised or jumpy when someone walks softly up to them?

Vision problems can include sitting really close to the television, short attention span, excessive blinking or squinting, and poor coordination when throwing or catching. Many pediatricians will perform a simple eye exam around 3 years of age.

According to Hugh R. Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness America, “Vision problems affect one in four school-aged children.  We want all children to make sure their child’s eye problems do not go unnoticed this school year.  A child should not have to struggle in school because of an undetected vision problem.”

Having yearly eye check-ups with your doctor or an optometrist is always a good idea, or talking with the school system or local government to find out about free children eye exams.

Though most eye problems in children can be corrected if detected and treated early, it is possible for a child to have a serious vision problem and be unaware of it. To prevent eye injuries in children, it is important for parents and caregivers to understand the most common dangers such as the misuse of toys, accidental falls, mishandling of sharp objects such as pens and forks, contact with harmful household products, and sports injuries.

“Certain eye problems, if left untreated, even for a short time, can lead to permanent vision loss, so it is important to maintain appropriate eye care and attend regular check-ups,” said Anthony Caputo, MD, Medical Director, The Children’s Eye Care Center of New Jersey at CMMC.

According to Prevent Blindness America, immediate medical help should be obtained if a child shows any of these signs or symptoms:

  • Obvious pain or trouble seeing
  • Cuts or tears in the eyelid
  • One eye does not move as well as the other, or one sticks out more than the other
  • Unusual pupil shape or size
  • Blood in the clear part of the eye
  • Something in the eye or under the eyelid that cannot be easily removed

To help avoid potential everyday eye injuries, parents and caregivers of small children should use safety gates on stairs to prevent falls, pad sharp corners on furniture, place locks on drawers and cabinets that contain harmful substances, and keep sharp objects out of reach. Protective goggles and helmets should be worn when playing sports.

In addition, children are at an even higher risk of the sun’s UV rays’ harmful effects, as their eyes do not yet have the same ability as adults do to better protect against UV radiation. A wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses large enough to shield children’s eyes from most angles are recommended.

 

 

Even Small Amounts Of Aerobic Exercise May Lower Coronary Heart Disease Risk

USA Today Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/2, Lloyd) reports, “More research shows that even small amounts of aerobic exercise help lower coronary heart disease risk, according to a review Share to FacebookShare to Twitter published Monday in Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association.” This “mega-study is part of a growing body of research showing that some physical activity provides health benefits.”

The Los Angeles Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/2) “Booster Shots” blog reported that investigators analyzed data from 33 different studies. “The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, which recommend a minimum of 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise for health benefits, were used as a measure.” The researchers found that individuals “who met those basic guidelines had a 14% lower risk of heart disease compared with people who did no leisure time physical activity.” However, “people who did less than the recommended 150 minutes per week also had lowered risk of heart disease compared with their sedentary counterparts.”

HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/1, Goodwin) reported that “those who did more — about 300 minutes a week, or five hours — reduced their risk of heart disease, including heart attacks, angina and bypass surgeries, by 20 percent compared to people who did no exercise, the study found.”

WebMD Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/1, Hendrick) reported that the “researchers noticed a significant gender difference in results, which showed that exercise had a greater effect in reducing heart disease risk in women than in men.” The UK’s Telegraph Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/2, Beckford) and MedPage Today Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/1, Bankhead) also covered the story.

 

 

 

 

Americans Cutting Back On Added Sugar

The Los Angeles Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/30, Hernandez) “Booster Shots” blog reported that, according to research Share to FacebookShare to Twitter published online July 13 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, “Americans are cutting back on the amount of added sugar they’re eating…– from about 3.5 ounces a day in 2000 (25 teaspoons, or 375 calories) to 2.7 ounces a day in 2008 (19 teaspoons, or 285 calories).” After tracking “more than 42,000 Americans over the age of two who were part of the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey, a program sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” researchers found that “the calories Americans got from added sugars each day went down from an average of 18% of daily calories in 2000 to about 15% in 2008.”

Researchers Say US Sugar Consumption Guidelines Should Be Reconsidered. Medscape Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/29, Fox, Hart) reported that, according to a study to appear in the Oct. issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, “adults who consumed 25% of their daily calories as fructose or high-fructose corn syrup beverages (a percentage within current government guidelines) for two weeks experienced increases in serum levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.” After having “48 overweight and normal-weight adults (age, 18-40 years; body mass index, 18-35 kg/m2) consume beverages that contained fructose, high-fructose corn syrup, or glucose at the 25% upper limit for calorie intake for two weeks,” researchers suggested that the government “reconsider its recommendations that include a maximal upper limit of 25% of total energy requirements from added sugar.”

LATimes Criticizes Administration, Food Industry Over Sugar Guidelines. The Los Angeles Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/1) editorializes, “When the government proposes guidelines for children’s foods that would consider unsweetened 2% fat yogurt unhealthful but not a bowl of cereal with eight grams of added sugar, it’s micromanaging diets in unhelpful ways.” Similarly, “when the food manufacturers’ response is a proposal that would allow Lucky Charms cereal to receive the government’s blessing with its existing 10 grams of sugar per serving, it’s evidence that the industry isn’t all that concerned about children’s health.” Government experts are “in the process of finalizing voluntary guidelines for the advertising and marketing of foods to children.” While the initial guidelines they proposed were “overly prescriptive,” the food industry’s “response inspires little confidence.” The Times says that eliminating “subsidies for the ingredients most commonly found in cheap junk food — especially corn, which is used to make the cheap sweetener high-fructose corn syrup,” would be a “more effective” tactic.

The 7 WORST Gym Exercises to NEVER Do

These 7 exercises are popular with most workout enthusiasts, but they could actually be HARMING your body!

Exercise is meant to help you, right?

Unfortunately, there are certain “exercises” in the gym that cause more harm than good. I’d like to take a strong look at the 7 most prevalent injury-causing exercises in most gyms. The worst part is that these exercises are pretty much useless when it comes to building strength or losing fat. There really isn’t much of a point in doing them, whatsoever, and yet they can destroy our results.

It’s time to put an end to the worst exercises on Earth. I’m here to help you understand how your body moves, why it responds to exercise the way it does, and how to minimize your risk while you maximize the effect from every exercise you do.

As a side note, I think it’s important to mention that the last thing I want is for you to feel discouraged; rather, it’s important that you feel inspired to know you have eliminated the negative from your exercise program. Now, you’ll be able to safely rely on the fact that “you’re doing it right” when you exercise. Plus, I think you’ll be shocked to realize how much you’ve learned about your body’s ideal positioning and muscle recruitment strategies with exercise.

The main reasons that an exercise would qualify in the following list is one or more of the following:

  1. Creates muscle imbalances
  2. Has zero functional benefit
  3. Winds up joint into unsafe position

If an exercise creates muscle imbalances, this can lead to joint deterioration all over your body and even blunt fat loss. You see, once your joints are out of position, your body has sub-sensory pain signals taking place all over the body. These pain signals tell your brain to shut down the muscles in the area in order to avoid “pulling on the injury” and causing more damage. The end result: no muscle contraction and weaker muscles.

We exercise to be stronger in our daily lives and live a longer/higher quality of life. If an exercise has no true benefit in either or both of these categories, then what’s the point?

Just because someone tries an exercise in a gym isn’t a reason to make this part of your routine. The gym is full of mostly amateurs, including several of the personal trainers at big name gyms. After all, that’s where many of us started out at one point or another…

“Winding up your joint” into an unsafe position involves increased pressure on the labrum or capsule of a joint while performing an exercise. Simultaneously, it’ll be likely that a muscle is being overstretched while being recruited to contract. This is a recipe for disaster. Instead, let’s find a position of rest for the joint and then exercise it. This will assist the natural delivery of nutrients to the joint and joint capsule.

Also important to mention, we should consider these two terms in understanding the benefits/consequences of an exercise:

  1. Active Insufficiency – this is when a muscle is over-shortened and you try to use it. An example is if you “make a muscle” with your biceps and then see how strong you are. The muscle is already short, so you’re not as strong as you are in the middle of the movement.
  2. Passive Insufficiency – this is when a muscle is over-lengthened and you try to use it. An example is if you tip your wrist back all the way and then try to curl your fingers. Because your wrist flexors are over-stretched, your muscles are having a hard time contracting. Again, you’d be much stronger if your wrist were in neutral, or halfway in between.

Lastly, I’d like to discuss the difference between open and closed chain exercises, and how this will affect the functional carryover in a particular exercise:

  • Open-chained exercise: Fixed proximal segment, moving distal. Proximal means closer to your heart and distal means closer to your fingers and toes. So, in this case, it would be our hand moving towards our elbow (biceps curl), foot moving towards our buttocks (leg curl), etc.
    • It’s important to note that open-chained exercises are very effective for sculpting muscles in the final stages of bodybuilding, or isolation training for rehabilitative purposes; although, they do create much more torsion into the joint and generally only exercise one muscle at a time. Due to these being isolation type movements, the metabolic effect of open-chain exercises is generally much lower than closed-chain movements.
  • Closed-chain exercises: Fixed distal segment, moving proximal. This is just the opposite, so your foot would be fixed as your body moves closer to it (squat/deadlift), or your hands would be fixed as your body moves closer to them (push up, pull up.)
    • Likewise, it’s noteworthy that closed-chain exercises are very effective at building balanced joints, spiking metabolism, and increasing functional gains in daily life while reducing or eliminating risk of injury. Closed-chain exercises have a higher metabolic effect because more muscle groups and joints are being used.

Ok, you’ve already got a great background for judging exercises and their quality, or lack thereof. Now, let’s dive in and take a look at the 7 worst exercises:

 

1) Leg Presses

These are awful. Here’s why: Creates muscle imbalances, zero functional benefit, winds up joint to unsafe position

Muscle Balance Perspective:

  • Quads are generally stronger than hamstrings; this reinforces the problem.
    When your quadriceps overpower your hamstrings in deep knee flexion, there is increased torsion placed into the meniscus, increasing the likelihood of knee injury.
  • Quads and glutes should be used as a pair. In this case, they are not being used effectively.
    When your glutes do not fire while using your quads with a great level of force, there is increased risk of low back injury.

An imbalance between your quadriceps and hamstrings can quickly result in a number of knee issues, including patellofemoral (kneecap) and meniscus damage. Even worse, when your quads overpower your hamstrings, it’s not uncommon to develop restrictions in these muscles as your body attempts to even things out. These restrictions lead to increased pull on the top of your pelvis, tipping it forward, and placing pressure in your low spine.

This all sounds complicated, but let’s make it easy. Just stand up and lean backwards. If your hip flexors are tight, you’ll feel a stretch in the front of your thighs. It’s a good bet that we should get you training in more functional abs positions. You may already be spending too much of your day in this pre-shortened position, causing ‘active insufficiency’ to take place.

Functional Benefit Assessment:

  • In most cases, people aren’t coming down to a full 90 degrees of knee flexion, which is needed for getting in/out of a chair.
  • Even in these cases your abs are so pre-contracted (active insufficiency) and low back extensors so overstretched (passive insufficiency) that it’s tough to use your quads with any abdominal or low back support.
  • Since your abs and low back are out of the picture, this exercise loses a lot of its functionality.

Metabolic Effect:

The metabolic effect of this exercise is less because the number of muscles used is less than similar weight-bearing (closed-chain) exercises. Ultimately, the number of muscles and joints you use in a given exercise determines the metabolic effect of that exercise.

 

2) Leg Extensions

Muscle Balance Perspective:

  • Quads are generally stronger than hamstrings; this reinforces the problem.
  • Quads and glutes should be used as a pair. In this case, they are not being used effectively.
  • Interestingly, if you are having a hard time contracting your vastus medialis oblique (VMO) in your knee, the last 15 degrees of this movement can be helpful, but careful with the torque into your knee joint.
  • Again, only for the last 15 degrees until your knee is totally straight, and this can often cause more damage than good.

Functional Benefit Assessment:

  • It can also be argued that this exercise may help if you are a soccer player, but power lifting has been demonstrated to improve sprinting and kicking ability much more than any variety of leg extensions.
  • When you walk, you use your quads and hamstrings; here, it’s just quads.

This comes down to torque. Think about a long screwdriver and a short screwdriver. It’s easier to use the long one, meaning you don’t have to turn it as hard. This is a result of the force of you turning the screwdriver x the distance to the end of the screwdriver. That’s how torque is calculated.

In this example, we are exercising above our knee, but the weight goes on our ankle. Think about that distance… that’s a lot of torque into our knees with a lot of weight!

Metabolic Effect:

Low. This is a single joint exercise that is isolation-based. By definition, there will be a low metabolic effect. Instead, choose more compound movements such as squats, deadlifts, or lunges for an increased metabolic effect with this muscle group.

 

3) Machine Leg Curls

Muscle Balance Perspective:

  • Majority of force placed through distal hamstring, rather than proximal. This results in increased pressure behind the knee.
  • Requires change of position to recruit medial hamstrings and glutes on this exercise, which should be used as a muscle pair.

Functional Benefit Assessment:

  • I can’t think of a moment in time where I need to perform this movement in daily life.
  • However, if I ran hurdles, this may help, but again deadlifts and power lifts seem to improve sprint capacity at the same time and provide greater benefit.

This is a question of torque into the knee again. Also, in this case, the hamstrings tend to cramp a lot, which isn’t necessarily a good thing, or necessary at all.

If you have a Baker’s Cyst behind your knee, that’s a lot of pressure. For others, it’s really pulling the posterior horn of your meniscus, while missing your proximal (closer to your butt) hamstring altogether.

Metabolic Effect:

Low effect, as this is a single joint exercise.

 

4) Biceps Preacher Curls

Muscle Balance Perspective:

  • Forward shoulder position leads to increased stretch (passive insufficiency) on the rotator cuff and biceps tendon.
    • An imbalance between your pecs and lats/shoulderblade stabilizers results in a forward shoulder position. This leads to rotator cuff tendonitis, biceps tendonitis, and increase risk of tears. Also, this limits the amount of growth of both your pecs and lats, due to the sub-sensory pain stimulus, as well as the actively insufficient pecs and passively insufficient lats (see above for definitions.)
    • This is true for your shoulders and neck. In this forward position, you are at risk for injury. Also, like many people who perform this exercise, you may be placing excessive weight into your armpit, which is where your brachial plexus is. This is the bundle of nerves that controls your arms.
    • This all sounds complicated, but let’s make it easy. Just stand up tall and place your hands straight up into the air. Now, bend your elbow out to the side until your shoulder and elbow are both at right angles. If you already feel a stretch, your pecs are super tight. You may already be spending too much of your day in this pre-shortened position, causing ‘active insufficiency’ to take place. This will limit your strength and fat loss gains, while also increasing your risk of injury.
  • Position also leads to increased pressure on the anterior and posterior capsules of the shoulder. Any pain signal or pressure will reduce the recruitment of your delts and shoulder stabilizers.
  • Biceps are being shortened in an over-shortened position for your pecs, reinforcing a common imbalance.
  • The elbow is only safe when balanced. You need to train your brachioradialis (hammer curls), biceps (curls), and brachialis (reverse curls) in order to hit all elbow flexors.

Functional Benefit Assessment:

  • This is an artificial movement, in an abnormal position. It’s only purpose is to build biceps, and there are better ways. For example:
  • The biceps is an elbow flexor, but it’s also a supinator (meaning it turns your palm up). Preacher curls only work on elbow flexion, which means you’re missing 50% of the muscle’s action. Whoops!

Evening out all of your elbow flexors has more carryover effect.

Metabolic Effect:

Low effect, as this is a single joint exercise. In fact, it may be detrimental due to the likelihood of the sub-sensory pain stimuli going off in the shoulder girdle, preventing some of the neurological signal from reaching the muscle.

 

5) Smith Machine Squats

Muscle Balance Perspective:

  • Your hamstrings are basically off in this exercise, meaning that it is totally quad dominant.
  • Simultaneously, it’s very hard to properly recruit your glutes when the weight is not directly loading your spine. Without glute support, you are weakening your core, ultimately increasing risk of injury and slowing fat loss.

Functional Benefit Assessment:

  • Since your hamstrings and glutes don’t really have to work here, you’re not squatting like you would in real life.
    Actually, here, it’s unsafe for the opposite reason, interestingly enough. Check this out…
  • When you squat with your arms overhead, you tend to lean forward, or your knees come forward, or both. Controlling for this is the controlling inter-related segments so they can get stronger and more mobile together. These segments need to work together to prevent injury, so squats that are not on the smith machine tend to limit you to the correct weight selection, while these squats do not.

Metabolic Effect:

Low to medium. Since you are using your ankle, knee, and hip joints, the metabolic potential goes up slightly. However, it’s important to remember that muscle imbalances lead to all sorts of situations that lend themselves to a metabolic crash.

 
6) Overhead Tricep Extensions With Dumbbells

Muscle Balance Perspective:

  • Overstretched proximal triceps in this position, causing increased tension on the triceps tendon by the elbow.
  • Internal rotation, targeting the medial triceps head, can lead to shoulder impingement and more serious issues.

Functional Benefit Assessment:

  • This is another movement that never happens in daily life. When are we overhead forcefully extending our elbow like this. It’s kind of silly, if you think about it.
  • You may be arching your back while doing this, which could cause a lot of strain and take your abs out of the picture, altogether. Bad idea!

Metabolic Effect:

Low to none. Since we are only really working our elbow joint and a small muscle group, we aren’t gaining much of a metabolic effect whatsoever. Also noteworthy, this is an open-chained exercise that produces a lot of torque into the shoulder and elbow.

7) External Rotation with a Dumbbell, Standing
Functional Benefit Assessment:

  • Since this exercise actually is working brachioradialis against gravity (the dumbbell is weighing me down, against gravity, not side to the side), it’s only adding to the muscle imbalances I may already be experiencing.
  • Holding a dumbbell in my hands and moving it side to side is not placing tension on the external rotators of my shoulder, just my elbow flexors. This issue is not being resolved.
  • The only weight being placed into the shoulder is the torque from your hand, which is holding the dumbbell, through your elbow, and up to your shoulder.

So, all in all, it’s causing a very small amount of damage with no benefit.

Functional, Muscle Balancing, and Metabolic Effect Summary:

As you can see, not all exercises were created equally. I strongly recommend that you analyze an exercise before just going for it. I realize that you’re working hard to get great results, improve your health, and create a higher quality of life for yourself.

by Dr. Kareem Samhouri – CSCS, HFS
Neuro Metabolic Fitness & Rehab Expert