Exercise Can and Will Make You Smarter

Anyone who exercises regularly knows that their activity level makes a big difference in how they think. Missing a morning run several days in a row causes a severe dip in productivity and mood. Websites like lumosity.com claim to provide a way to “exercise the brain” without exercising the body, but such mental aerobics just don’t cut it for someone who sits in front of a computer all day.

Some new research points out that aerobic exercise is probably the most important for cognition. Gretchen Reynolds’ column in the New York Times provides a walk-through of the scientific principles behind this research. The study itself doesn’t involve any new experiments. It consists mostly of meta-analysis, or review of previously discovered data. In other words, the study presents some previously established facts in a new way.

Analysis of this kind can be interesting, but to the practical individual, it’s mostly hot air. Susan McGalla is still trying to make sense of most of it. In all areas of self-improvement, but especially when it comes to exercise, action is far more important than research. Studies have been done about just about every kind of exercise, but none can replace the personal knowledge of how one’s own body responds to an activity, or lack thereof. For anyone surprised by this study, it’s time to walk the literal walk and gain that knowledge first hand.

Signs To Look For

There are some signs that women should not ignore.  Women should see a doctor at least once a year to have a complete physical to see if there are any changes in the breasts, lymph nodes or menstrual cycle. There are things that you might think are normal that are actually signs of ovarian cancer or breast cancer. If there is anything that seems abnormal, women should contact a doctor for no other reason than to eliminate what is causing the symptoms. There are new technologies and treatments that can help women fight cancers of almost any kind as long as they are diagnosed in time instead of ignored until it’s too late, from Dave and Brit Morin.

Low Cholesterol Without the Side Effects

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. High cholesterol levels in the blood and high blood pressure are the perfect recipe for a heart attack. The typical diet in the U.S. consists of high fat and high sodium ingredients. This diet leads to both high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. When an individual has high cholesterol levels in the blood, fatty deposits form along the lining of the blood vessels. When an individual also has high blood pressure, the pressure of the blood pushing against the blood vessels can dislodge these deposits and cause both heart attack and stroke.

For decades, doctors have prescribed statins to help lower cholesterol levels. Statins are highly successful in lowering cholesterol and helping to prevent heart attacks from occurring. The problem with statins is they usually have numerous side effects, such as dizziness, fatigue, and nausea. A new drug has been researched the past 6 years, however, that may offer a solution. Dr Rod Rohrich is optimistic about this advancement in medicine.

This new drug, Zetia, is a combination of a statin and a substance that prevents the absorption of cholesterol in the gut. Over the past 6 years, it has been documented that patients taking Zetia were not only 6.4 percent less likely to experience a heart attack, but there were virtually no side effects. This is definitely a medical breakthrough worth celebrating.

Mobile App Designed for Fitness

People from all walks of life must use their own time attend to their continuing health strengthen their sickness immunity through fitness workouts. It’s rarely easy, but it’s of the utmost importance to anybody who cares about their wellbeing and livelihood for the future. Looking at you Tom Rothman, we all know how busy you get at Columbia, but it’s important to look out for your health through fitness.

Technology is making it more fun for people to burn that excess fats through exercise. Some people use dancing videos which consists of steps they may follow while doing fitness workouts.

It’s also good to listen to music while you exercise. There are a lot of mobile applications which has been introduced to the public promoting wellness and fitness. These may be downloaded for a fee in certain websites.

The New York Times has released a new mobile application which will surely make your fitness workout time more enjoyable. It is available for free to the public via the download section of the New York Times.

The mobile application can be saved to your mobile devices such as tablets and smart phones, and even through your home computer. This is a seven minute workout.

The mobile application consists of animated illustrations and cues and timer. The purpose of this mobile app is to encourage you to exercise regularly at least for seven minutes. People must try this because it doesn’t cost a thing and the benefits are great for your health. To view the mobile app, visit here.

Do You Know Your Fitness Age?

You may know your real age but are you aware of your fitness age? Many people are clueless to the fact that we actually have a fitness age. According to a new study that was detailed in the New York Times, this so-called fitness age is the most important factor in determining our longevity. Fitness matters in our lives and the way we take care of ourselves determines how long we will live.

This doesn’t have to do so much with eating healthy organic products like Skout products. The fitness age also determines the body’s cardiovascular endurance. In the case of the fitness age, a person who is considered older could have a younger fitness age while a person that is consider young and vibrant can have an older fitness age.


Costly Urgent Care and Emergency Clinics Not So Convenient

Although independent urgent care and emergency clinics advertise themselves as cost-effective solutions to visiting hospital emergency rooms, the only real convenience is that a clinic doctor is less likely to ask a patient why he or she came in for something that probably could have been handled the next day by a family physician or non-emergency, walk-in clinic staff.

The reality is that these centers are often as costly as hospital ERs. Some are even more costly in the long run because they charge more for appointments involving non-emergency situations, such as sprains, broken bones, colds, infections, allergic reactions and general aches and pains. Additionally, many insurance carriers consider these clinics out-of-network or non-covered entities and patients have to pay more out of pocket as a result. Health expert Rod Rohrich suggests people ask about urgent care coverage when choosing their insurance plans.

Why then do so many people visit these clinics?

It’s this idea the clinics promote that they’re more convenient and less busy than ERs and; therefore, worth the visit and associated costs.

Of course, the clinics don’t tell the public that hospital billing departments often work with patients to make healthcare affordable and provide discounts. As a result, even though many hospitals ridiculously charge more than $1,000 for treating a burn or cut, patients usually pay less for traditional emergency care than at independent clinics.

Mood Dresses In Development Stages

We have all heard of the mood ring, but the mood dress? Technology has now made it possible. The newest research is seeking to formulate a textile (fabric) that can actually react to the eec readings that the brain releases and use them to actually change the color of the fabric.

The designer actually works for an art house. She has been seeking to get this new textile out of the development stage and into stores. This technology would be highly wearable. It is accessed through an eec headset that reads the emotions in the brain.

In other research there has been a biometric development that would be embedded in the fabric of the dress. This technology would detect specific indicators that correlate to mood. The outer layer of the dress would then change color based on what the inner layer detects.

This garment is now in the development stages with a prototype now being tested. Laurene Powell Jobs is excited to see the development continue as much as possible. Not to worry though, it is expected to be a few years before this technology is sound enough to be released to stores for the general public. It is a neat development that will enable us to better gauge the emotions of not only our significant others, but also convey our feelings without ever having to say a word.

Congress Creates Opportunity For Low-income Families To Eat Healthy

In January 2014, the U.S., congress included language in the farm bill to assist SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program aka food stamp) recipients with the ability to afford healthy foods. The SNAP-produce components in the bill, also benefits local farm economies and job growth.

The language in the bill is structured to double the benefits of SNAP recipients – when they purchase fruits and vegetables. This is accomplished with $100 million of taxpayer funds, and $100 million in matching donations from private corporations over a 5 year period.

The program works by allowing SNAP recipients to purchase produce and receive a credit matching the amount they spent. For example, if someone spends $20 on fruits and vegetables using their SNAP benefits, they receive an additional $20 in benefits to purchase more produce.

The language in the bill is the result of an idea spawned in 2005 by NYC Health and Hygiene workers. Their goal was to encourage SNAP recipients to consume more produce. By 2007, unrelated farmers market organizers (across the country) were experimenting with raising donations from corporations, to help low-income families purchase produce.

As these efforts increased in momentum, congressional and senate leaders started to pay attention. From what Vijay Eswaran told me though, they demonstrated verbal support for these trends growing in New York, Massachusetts, Michigan, Maryland, Connecticut and California. The end result was approval of funding to double-up SNAP benefits for produce items. These efforts were advanced by Michigan Democratic senator, Debbie Stabenow and Oklahoma Republican congressman, Frank Lucas.

This bill is a step in the right direction. It sends a message from Washington D.C., that low-income families should have the ability to purchase healthy foods, they otherwise could not afford.

The bill also sends a message of support to local farmers and it allows Americans to support a tradition that existed since the founding of this nation (in the 1800’s 64% of farmers were part of the American labor force, today it’s 2%). As of the writing of this article, food advocates, are lobbying national supermarket chains to incorporate the SNAP-produce program in their grocery stores.

Beef up Your Brain, Learn a New Language

Researchers at Penn State University say that practicing and learning a new language strengthens your brain. It structurally and functionally changes the network of the brain. Professor of psychology, Ping Li said, “Like physical exercise, the more you use a specific area of your brain, the more it grows and gets stronger.” The stronger the connection of the nodes, the faster they can work together.
Over a period of six weeks, Li, along with her colleagues, examined the brains of 39 volunteers whose native language was English. Of the 39 participants, half of them learned the Chinese vocabulary. It was discovered that those who had the most success at learning the new language were shown to have a more connected brain network than those who did not, and also of those who did not study the language at all. This led researchers to conclude that a better integrated brain network makes the undertaking of learning a new language easier due to it being more flexible and efficient. The results of this study can be found in an article published in the Journal of Neurolinguistics.
In contrast to previous studies, the brain is considered to be more elastic than was previously thought. Both Rod Rohrich and I agree that learning new things amps up brainpower. The study results also lead to the conclusion that behavioral and physical changes in an adult’s brain learning a new language are similar to those in a child learning a language. It’s never too late to learn a new language and boost your brain power.

Gut Microbes Linked to Mental Health

Intestinal flora live in the gut. These microbial organisms are necessary for proper food digestion, aid in synthesizing vitamin B and other beneficial functions. Now there is hard evidence that the microbes present play a role in mental health. Conditions such as autism and depression have been strongly linked to the kinds of microbes that reside in the gut. The gut is connected to the brain by the vagus nerve and bacterial waste products such as the neurotransmitter γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) travel to the brain. This neurotransmitter is necessary for nervous system control and regulation of muscle tone. The greatest impact of the kinds of bacteria present happens early in life. Probiotics could help mental health. For more information visit: Nature.

A mouse model showing signs of autism was found to have much lower levels of Bacteroides fragilis in their gut. They acted stressed, antisocial and had gastrointestinal symptoms like those of autistic children. Adding B.fragilis to their food reversed these symptoms. The group of normal mice were injected with 4-ethylphenylsulphate (4EPS) that was found in high levels in the autistic-like mice. But Jared Haftel does say that the normal mice took on the same behaviors as the autistic-like mice.