It has been an interesting week for health news with several positive newspaper reports. Here is our round-up of fitness and health news from around the world.
Fitness and memory
Two reports regarding fitness and memory this week. Kathleen Raven writing for Reuters reported that physical fitness may be tied to slower memory decline. Health researchers at the Maryland-based National Institute on Aging found that cardiovascular fitness can predict memory later in life. The research was led by Carrington Wendell.
News source: Reuters
This also relates back to the news published in the journal Cell Reports in October 2013 that excess fat also affects cognitive performance. The new research has shown that the onset of dementia may be triggered by the presence of a protein called PPARalpha, which is used by the liver and the hippocampus in the brain. The liver needs PPARalpha to metabolize fat, so an increase in fat deprives the hippocampus of its vital protein, and the result is slower learning and poorer memory.
News source: BigThink.
Squat for free travel in Russia
A new initiative in Russia caught our attention. To encourage people to become healthier one railway station in western Moscow gives passengers the option to pay for their tickets in squats instead of money. 30 squats will get you on a train at Vystavochnaya. The idea was developed by Moscow City officials and the Russian Olympic Committee to help promote the Winter Games which are in Sochi in February 2014. The 30 squats need to be completed in two minutes, giving four seconds per squat. A machine checks depth of each squat though, only deep squats counted. The initiative is only for November though, so rather short-lived.
“We wanted to show that the Olympic Games is not just an international competition that people watch on TV, but that it is also about getting everyone involved in a sporting lifestyle,” Alexander Zhukov, president of the Russian Olympic Committee.
News source: CBS News.
Healthy diet improves long-term health
New research carried our by Dr Cecilia Samieri and colleagues has found that middle-aged women who ate a Mediterranean diet lived longer on average and had fewer problems with physical functioning, mental health or thinking skills.
The study examined 10,670 women with dietary data and no major chronic diseases between 1984 and 1986, when they were in their late 50s and early 60s (median age, 59 years). The women followed up the study with health information 15 years later.
Conclusion: Better diet quality at midlife seems to be strongly linked to greater health and well-being in persons surviving to older ages.
The research paper, “The Association Between Dietary Patterns at Midlife and Health in Aging: An Observational Study” was published in Ann Intern Med. 2013;159(9):584-591 on 5th November 2013.
Another week of interesting news, although what have we really learned? That being fit and healthy is good for us and publicity stunts still work well to drum up media coverage for sporting events. Didn’t we know that already? I think so!