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Posts Tagged ‘aerobic exercise’


Exercise and the brain

Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP, Curator

LPBI

 

 

Importance of physical activity and aerobic exercise for healthy brain function

December 15, 2015   http://www.kurzweilai.net/importance-of-physical-activity-and-aerobic-exercise-for-healthy-brain-function

http://www.kurzweilai.net/images/fitness-vs.memory-accuracy.jpg

Results of exploratory whole-brain analysis. Parts (a) and (b) illustrate the results of an exploratory whole brain analysis, showing regions (red) where gray matter volume may be associated with fitness percentile or memory accuracy, respectively. Results are depicted within the group average brain. (credit: Andrew S. Whiteman et al./NeuroImage)

 

Young adults who have greater aerobic fitness also have greater volume of their entorhinal cortex, an area of the brain responsible for memory, Boston University School of medicine (BUSM) researchers have found.

While aerobic fitness is not directly associated with performance on a recognition memory task, the participants with a larger entorhinal cortex also performed better on a recognition memory task.

The entorhinal cortex is a brain area known to show early pathology in Alzheimer’s disease, which is characterized by profound memory impairment.

The researchers recruited healthy young adults (ages 18-35 years) who underwent a treadmill test to measure aerobic capacity. During this test, the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the participants’ breath as they walked or ran on a treadmill was measured.

Participants then underwent magnetic resonance imaging and performed a recognition memory task. Entorhinal and hippocampal volume was determined using a method known as voxel-based morphometry and then regression analysis to examine whether recognition memory and aerobic fitness predicted brain volumes.

Effects of aerobic exercise

“Our results suggest that aerobic exercise may have a positive effect on the medial temporal lobe memory system (which includes the entorhinal cortex) in healthy young adults. This suggests that exercise training, when designed to increase aerobic fitness, might have a positive effect on the brain in healthy young adults,” explained corresponding author and principal investigator Karin Schon, PhD, BUSM assistant professor of anatomy and neurobiology.

Researchers said this work could support previous studies that suggest aerobic exercise may forestall cognitive decline in older individuals at risk of dementia, and extends the idea that exercise may be beneficial for brain health to younger adults. “This is critical given that obesity, which has recently been linked with cognitive deficits in young and middle-aged adults, and physical inactivity are on the rise in young adults,” Schon said.

These findings appear in the journal NeuroImage.

 

Abstract of Entorhinal volume, aerobic fitness, and recognition memory in healthy young adults: A voxel-based morphometry study

Converging evidence supports the hypothesis effects of aerobic exercise and environmental enrichment are beneficial for cognition, in particular for hippocampus-supported learning and memory. Recent work in humans suggests that exercise training induces changes in hippocampal volume, but it is not known if aerobic exercise and fitness also impact the entorhinal cortex. In animal models, aerobic exercise increases expression of growth factors, including brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). This exercise-enhanced expression of growth hormones may boost synaptic plasticity, and neuronal survival and differentiation, potentially supporting function and structure in brain areas including but not limited to the hippocampus. Here, using voxel based morphometry and a standard graded treadmill test to determine cardio-respiratory fitness (Bruce protocol; VO2 max), we examined if entorhinal and hippocampal volumes were associated with cardio-respiratory fitness in healthy young adults (N = 33). In addition, we examined if volumes were modulated by recognition memory performance and by serum BDNF, a putative marker of synaptic plasticity. Our results show a positive association between volume in right entorhinal cortex and cardio-respiratory fitness. In addition, average gray matter volume in the entorhinal cortex, bilaterally, was positively associated with memory performance. These data extend prior work on the cerebral effects of aerobic exercise and fitness to the entorhinal cortex in healthy young adults thus providing compelling evidence for a relationship between aerobic fitness and structure of the medial temporal lobe memory system.

references:

Aurelian Udristioiu
Two comprehensive reviews found little evidence of an intensity threshold for changes in HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, or triglycerides, although most studies did not control for exercise volume, frequency and/or duration, and were conducted using intensities ≥40% VO2max[17]. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that most adults engage in moderate-intensity cardio-respiratory exercise for at least 30 min/day, at least 5 days per week, for a total of over 150 min of exercise per week.

The levels of physical exercises are associated with lower total visceral fat, liver fat, and intramuscular body fat, with the active twin having on average 50% less visceral fat and 25% less subcutaneous abdominal fat than the inactive twin.

[17] Edwar MA, Clark N, Macfadyen MA. Lactate and ventilatory thresholds reflect the training status of professional soccer players where maximum aerobic power is unchanged. JSSM 2003; 2: 23-29.

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Yoga Principles and Benefits

Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP, Curator

LPBI

 

Top 10 Yoga Benefits

http://www.artofliving.org/yoga/yoga-benefits/top-ten-yoga-benefits

 

http://cdn.artofliving.org/sites/www.artofliving.org/files/styles/unity_carousel_inner/public/plakor-benefit-of-yoga.jpg

 

Weight loss, a strong and flexible body, glowing beautiful skin, peaceful mind, good health – whatever you may be looking for, yoga has it on offer. However, very often, yoga is only partially understood as being limited to asanas (yoga poses). As such, its benefits are only perceived to be at the body level and we fail to realize the immense benefits yoga offers in uniting the body, mind and breath. When you are in harmony, the journey through life is calmer, happier and more fulfilling.

With all this and much more to offer, the benefits of yoga are felt in a profound yet subtle manner. Here, we look at the top 10 benefits of regular yoga practice.

1. All-round fitness. You are truly healthy when you are not just physically fit but also mentally and emotionally balanced. As Sri Sri Ravi Shankar puts it, “Health is not a mere absence of disease. It is a dynamic expression of life – in terms of how joyful, loving and enthusiastic you are.” This is where yoga helps: postures, pranayama (breathing techniques) and meditation are a holistic fitness package.

2. Weight loss. What many want! Yoga benefits here too. Sun Salutations and Kapal Bhati pranayama are some ways to help lose weight with yoga. Moreover, with regular practice of yoga, we tend to become more sensitive to the kind of food our body asks for and when. This can also help keep a check on weight.

3. Stress relief. A few minutes of yoga during the day can be a great way to get rid of stress that accumulates daily – in both the body and mind. Yoga postures, pranayama and meditation are effective techniques to release stress. You can also experience how yoga helps de-tox the body and de-stress the mind at the Art of Living Yoga Level 2 Course.

4. Inner peace. We all love to visit peaceful, serene spots, rich in natural beauty. Little do we realize that peace can be found right within us and we can take a mini-vacation to experience this any time of the day! Benefit from a small holiday every day with yoga and meditation. Yoga is also one of the best ways to calm a disturbed mind.

5. Improved immunity. Our system is a seamless blend of the body, mind and spirit. An irregularity in the body affects the mind and similarly unpleasantness or restlessness in the mind can manifest as an ailment in the body. Yoga poses massage organs and stregthen muscles; breathing techniques and meditation release stress and improve immunity.

6. Living with greater awareness. The mind is constantly involved in activity – swinging from the past to the future – but never staying in the present. By simply being aware of this tendency of the mind, we can actually save ourselves from getting stressed or worked up and relax the mind. Yoga and pranayama help create that awareness and bring the mind back to the present moment, where it can stay happy and focused.

7. Better relationships. Yoga can even help improve your relationship with your spouse, parents, friends or loved ones! A mind that is relaxed, happy and contented is better able to deal with sensitive relationship matters. Yoga and meditation work on keeping the mind happy and peaceful; benefit from the strengthened special bond you share with people close to you.

8. Increased energy. Do you feel completely drained out by the end of the day? Shuttling between multiple tasks through the day can sometimes be quite exhausting. A few minutes of yoga everyday provides the secret to feeling fresh and energetic even after a long day. A 10-minute online guided meditation benefits you immensely, leaving you refreshed and recharged in the middle of a hectic day.

9. Better flexibility & posture. You only need to include yoga in your daily routine to benefit from a body that is strong, supple and flexible. Regular yoga practice stretches and tones the body muscles and also makes them strong. It also helps improve your body posture when you stand, sit, sleep or walk. This would, in turn, help relieve you of body pain due to incorrect posture.

10. Better intuition. Yoga and meditation have the power to improve your intuitive ability so that you effortlessly realize what needs to be done, when and how, to yield positive results. It works. You only need to experience it yourself.

Remember, yoga is a continuous process. So keep practicing! The deeper you move into your yoga practice, the more profound are its benefits.

Yoga practice helps develop the body and mind bringing a lot of health benefits yet is not a substitute for medicine. It is important to learn and practice yoga postures under the supervision of a trained Art of Living Yoga teacher. In case of any medical condition, practice yoga postures after consulting a doctor and an Art of Living Yoga teacher. Find an Art of Living Yoga course at an Art of Living Center near you. Do you need information on courses or share feedback? Write to us at info@artoflivingyoga.in.

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Pain Management

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FCAP, Curator

LPBI

 

Pain Management Health Center

http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/

 

Pain Management Overview

Pain management is important for ongoing pain control, especially if you suffer with long-term or chronic pain. After getting a pain assessment, your doctor can prescribe pain medicine, other pain treatments, or psychotherapy to help with pain relief.

Nearly any part of your body is vulnerable to pain. Acute pain warns us that something may be wrong. Chronic pain can rob us of our daily life, making it difficult and even unbearable. Many people with chronic pain can be helped by understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatments for pain – and how to cope with the frustrations.

You know your pain better than anyone — and as hard as it’s been to handle it, your experience holds the key to making a plan to treat it.

Each person and their pain are unique. The best way to manage your case could be very different from what works for someone else. Your treatment will depend upon things such as:

  • The cause
  • How intense it is
  • How long it’s lasted
  • What makes it worse or better

It can be a process to find your best plan. You can try a combination of things and then report back to your doctor about how your pain is doing. Together, you can tweak your program based on what’s working and what needs more help.

All Pain Is Not the Same

In order to make your pain management plan, your doctor will first consider whether you have sudden (“acute”) or long-term (“chronic”) pain.

Acute pain starts suddenly and usually feels sharp. Broken bones, burns, or cuts are classic examples. So is pain after surgery or giving birth.

Acute pain may be mild and last just a moment. Or it may be severe and last for weeks or months. In most cases, acute pain does not last longer than 6 months, and it stops when its underlying cause has been treated or has healed.

If the problem that causes short-term pain isn’t treated, it may lead to long-term, or “chronic” pain.

Chronic pain lasts longer than 3 months, often despite the fact that an injury has healed. It could even last for years. Some examples include:

  • Headache
  • Low back pain
  • Cancer pain
  • Arthritis pain
  • Pain caused by nerve damage

It can cause tense muscles, problems with moving, a lack of energy, and changes in appetite. It can also affect your emotions. Some people feel depressed, angry, or anxious about the pain and injury coming back.

Chronic pain doesn’t always have an obvious physical cause.

What Can I Do to Feel Better?

1. Keep moving. You might think it’s best to rest on the sidelines. But being active is a good idea. You’ll get stronger and move better.

The key is knowing what’s OK for you to do to get stronger and challenge your body, without doing too much, too soon.

Your doctor can let you know what changes to make. For instance, if you used to run and your joints can’t take that now because you have a chronic condition like osteoarthritis, you might be able to switch to something like biking or swimming.

2. Physical and occupational therapy. Take your recovery to the next level with these treatments. In PT, you’ll focus on the exact muscles you need to strengthen, stretch, and recover from injury. Your doctor may also recommend “occupational therapy,” which focuses on how to do specific tasks, like walking up and down stairs, opening a jar, or getting in and out of a car, with less pain.

3. Counseling. If pain gets you down, reach out. A counselor can help you get back to feeling like yourself again. You can say anything, set goals, and get support. Even a few sessions are a good idea. Look for a counselor who does “cognitive behavioral therapy,” in which you learn ways that your thinking can support you as you work toward solutions.

4. Massage therapy. It’s not a cure, but it can help you feel better temporarily and ease tension in your muscles. Ask your doctor or physical therapist to recommend a massage therapist. At your first appointment, tell them about the pain you have. And be sure to let them know if the massage feels too intense.

5. Relaxation. Meditation and deep breathing are two techniques to try. You could also picture a peaceful scene, do some gentle stretching, or listen to music you love. Another technique is to scan your body slowly in your mind, and consciously try to relax each part of your body, one by one, from head to toe. Any healthy activity that helps you unwind is good for you and can help you feel better prepared to manage your pain.

6. Consider complementary treatments such as acupuncture, biofeedback, and spinal manipulation. In acupuncture, a trained practitioner briefly inserts very thin needles in certain places on your skin to tap into your “chi,” which is an inner energy noted in traditional Chinese medicine. It doesn’t hurt.

Biofeedback trains you to control how your body responds to pain. In a session of it, you’ll wear electrodes hooked up to a machine that tracks your heart rate, breathing, and skin temperature, so you can see the results.

When you get spinal manipulation, a medical professional uses their hands or a device to adjust your spine so that you can move better and have less pain. Some MDs do this. So do chiropractors, osteopathic doctors (they have “DO” after their name instead of “MD”), and some physical therapists.

Are There Devices That Help?

Although there are no products that take pain away completely, there are some that you and your doctor could consider.

TENS and ultrasound. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, or TENS, uses a device to send an electric current to the skin over the area where you have pain. Ultrasound sends sound waves to the places you have pain. Both may offer relief by blocking the pain messages sent to your brain.

Spinal cord stimulation. An implanted device delivers low-voltage electricity to the spine to block pain.  If your doctor thinks it’s an option, you would use it for a trial period before you get surgery to have it permanently implanted. In most cases, you can go home the same day as the procedure.

What About Medicine?

Your doctor will consider what’s causing your pain, how long you’ve had it, how intense it is, and what medications will help. They may recommend one or more of the following:

These may include over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen. Or you may need stronger medications that require a prescription, such as steroids, morphine, codeine, or anesthesia.

Some are pills or tablets. Others are shots. There are also sprays or lotions that go on your skin.

Other drugs, like muscle relaxers and some antidepressants, are also used for pain. Some people may need anesthetic drugs to block pain.

Will I Need Surgery?

It depends on why you’re in pain. If you’ve had a sudden injury or accident, you might need surgery right away.

But if you have chronic pain, you may or may not need an operation or another procedure, such as a nerve block (done with anesthetics or other types of prescription drugs to halt pain signals) or a spinal injection (such as a shot of cortisone or an anesthetic drug).

Talk with your doctor about what results you can expect and any side effects, so you can weigh the risks and the benefits. Also ask how many times the doctor has done the procedure they recommend and what their patients have said about how much relief they’ve gotten.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on September 20, 2015

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