I just finished reading a thought provoking article about doctors and how they treat and diagnose patients. The auther, a doctor herself, gave an example of four people with diabetes. They were all very different, yet as she pointed out, conventional medical taining would indicate that they would be basically be treated the same. Her argument is that one size doesn't fit all and at times you need a little creativity to find a good solution. The irony here is that acupuncturists are often criticized for not having standarized treatment protocols.
What's one to do - eat a diet low in all fats, one with "healthy" fats like fish oils or one with a mixture of saturated as well as unsaturated fats? The answer is that there is no right answer at this point. It could depend on genetics, so what's right for you isn't right for me and it could depend on what disease you are trying to fight. Newly analized old studies and more recent studies on diet and heart disease point to shortened life expectancy for men following low saturated fat diets. The long held belief that high cholestoral leads to heart disease is also being called into question. When in doubt I like to think of the Chinese dietary traditon of eating all things, but in moderation.
Have you ever run or walked backwards? Most of us have for very short bursts. However sometimes you'll see a runner doing a backwards workout, I've seen a few running that way in my neighborhood. Well who knew that they were on to something and not just crazy. They burn more caleries, improve balance and work the muscles differently than forward running. For more information on this check out the following New York Times article.
I just finished a wonderful new novel, "The Stockholm Octavo" by Karen Engelmann. I admit I read it because Karen is a high school friend of mine, ( you all know her work -when we were in high school she painted the drummer I now use for my logo) but I really did enjoy the book immensely. The setting is Stockholm in the 1790's and the Octavo is a form of fortune-telling done with cards. The seeker draws 8 cards that symbolize people in his life. His job is to find and use these people to further the vision that is foretold. Historical figures share the stage with fictional ones creating an intriquing tale that is filled with mystery, fashion, murder, art and love. All and all an intelligent witty read, perfect for our long winter nights.
If Thanksgiving week for you means watching football then this article I read today about exercise and the "love hormone," oxytocin should be of interest. A study published in 2010 about soccer players found that during a shot out when a player scored and expressed joy and enthusiam the subsequent players were more likely to score as well. Since it is impractical to draw blood from players in the middle of a game to test their oxytocin levels scientists have studied exercising voles. They found after exercise the voles had more oxytocin in their blood and were more likely to mate than the non exercising voles. What's all this got to do with football. Well if you watch you know the celebrating the players do after a good play. The theory is that the grandstanding triggers oxytocin in all the players on that team and that in turn can make them play better. Even the fans can have oxytocin rushes when their team does well. So may your team win!
Gina Koata wrote an interesting article a few days ago in the NY Times about how much exercise American adults actually do. The sad fact is that even though we know we shold be active, most of us aren't. Some researchers are now using psychology and studying how people feel while exercising. One study on exercise found that the perception of a workout changed if there was a 5 minute cool down at the end - the participants enjoyed it more and reported they would be more likely to do it again. The advice I've heard so often is being proven true, do something you like and you're much more likely to stick with it or as Nike once said, just do it!
Gretchen Reynolds in the New York Times sites 3 studies that attempt to measure just how much activity is needed to increase longevity. The bottom line is that moderate exercise, like brisk walking, for 65 minutes per day is best for life expectancy. Do not dispare, though, because even low exertion exercise like washing dishes will increase life by about 2 years. Just think what vacuuming can do. Makes me want to clean house.