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Health Updates 4 January 2012

  • Ice may be bad for sore muscles: “…a new review article published this month in the journal Sports Medicine suggests that for sore muscles, ice is not always the panacea that  most of us believe it to be and that, in some instances, it can be counterproductive…Last year, a small-scale randomized trial found no discernible benefits from icing leg muscle tears.  The cooled muscles did not heal faster or feel less painful than the untreated muscles….The authors write that, in a majority of the studies they looked at, icing was quite effective at numbing soreness.  But it also significantly reduced muscle strength and power for up to 15 minutes after the icing ended.  It also tended to lessen fine motor coordination….The result was frequently, at least in the short-term, poorer athletic performance.” (NY Times)
  • Silent strokes may scatter memory: Subclinical, or silent, strokes seen on brain imaging may predict memory loss in older age, researchers found.  The effect appeared independent of atrophy of the hippocampus, to which memory loss is often attributed….’Brain infarcts are a largely preventable brain injury, with clearly identified risk factors, and prevention programs….A public health push toward emphasizing stroke prevention may significantly decrease incidence of dementia.'” (Crystal Phend, MedPage Today)
  • Calories, not protein, count in fat gain: “Eating too much guarantees that your body will pack on the fat, regardless of how much protein you consume, researchers found.  Patients who have  a low-protein diet gained less weight overall than those who ate a normal- or high-protein diet, but they all experienced a similar increase in fat mass when they overate by about 1,000 calories a day….’Fat storage was exactly the same with all three levels of protein,’ [George] Bray [MD] told The Journal of the American Medical Association Report.  ‘Protein, on the other hand,  had no effect on storage of fat, but it did affect weight gain.'” (Kristina Fiore, MedPage Today)
  • Four simple ways to help prevent cervical cancer: “January is Cervical Health Month, a good time to discuss cervical dysplasia – abnormal cell growth in the uterine cervix that is considered to be precancerous….to help reduce the risk of cervical dysplasia, you should: 1). Practice safe sex if you are sexually active (abstinence also reduces the chances of exposure to HPV); 2.) Follow a healthy diet that includes generous amounts of fruits and vegetables, especially those in the cabbage family; 3). Get regular exercise; and 4). Be sure to get adequate amounts of vitamin B6 in your diet, or supplement with a multivitamin or B complex.” (drweil.com)
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