Archive for October, 2009

Keep your body fit with Gentle exercises (as opposed to the hard stuff)

Tai-ChiGentle forms of exercises which have grow popular have changed the way we think about exercise. Gentle forms of exercise come without shocks and impacts to the body and are accessible to all (the elderly, tired, unfit and stressed!). They are based on a global approach to the body that involves honing your body, making you flexibe and improving your posture, and because they’re so low impact it’s difficult to hurt yourself.

Here are the activities at the top of the list.

Pilates
- Pilates wes created by a German nurse who was looking for a form of exercise to stay in good shape and good health with limited space and means.
- The exercises (there are more than 500 in total) revolve around 8 key points: breathing (through the thorax, not the abdomen), concentration (thoughout the movements, from the centre of the body), control, alignment (straight and relaxed positions), flow (fluid, slow movements), centering (working the abs), order (sequences of precise movements) and relaxation.
- Although most exercises are done without aids, some exercises can be done with exercise bands, balls, weights, hoops, foam cushions or a Wunda chair.

Qi Gong
- Literally ‘energy work’, this discipline is a thousand-year-old Chinese tradition whose philosophy is that man should live in harmony with his environment, interior and exterior.
- Qi Gong is a real art of postures in sequence that root the body to the ground and open it to the world through wide, flowing movements.
- Often copying the attitudes of animals, requiring concentration, breathing and flexibility, it activates the flow of energy in the body.

Yoga
- This discipline originates from India and has existed for more than 500 years. It’s more of a global approach to health than a simple form of exercise.
- Several forms of yoga exist, but all bring fulfillment, self-knowledge, physical and mental wellbeing and serenity.
- The majority of yoga classes concentrate on the physical dimension of yoga, which is called hatha yoga. It is based on postures (of which there are over 1000 static and moving postures), breathing exercises (inseparable from the postures), and relaxation (the last phase of the session involves relaxation and breathing in a sitting or lying position).

Tai-Chi-Chuan

- A cross between a martial art and a sport, this discipline has existed for 500 years. It would have been used by Chinese warriors in training to develop the qualities necessary for combat (concentration, calm and balance).
- Tai-Chi combines precise movements (hundreds of sways, rotations and stretches to anticipate, push, pull and shoot) with breathing control. It is done slowly, with control. The exercises are organsied into sequences that can be long and complex.
- This art involves work on internal energy rather than on external muscle strength. The movements come from the centre of the body, the seat of vital energy, and are carried out with the feet deeply rooted to the ground, the body pulled upwards and a straight head and neck. Relaxation is essential to carry out the movements correctly.

Stretching
- Methods of stretching the muscles mix traditional practices such as gymnastics, classical dance and yoga.
- Stretching can be an exercise in itself (eg Body Stretch) or incorporated into other workouts (running, jogging, hiking etc.) either as part of the warm-up or cool-down, or both.
- It consists of stretching the muscles of the body one by one slowly. The stretches may look simple, but are actually quite complex, requiring concentration and control. You need to remain immobile, concentrate on the position and breathe deeply, trying to hold your breath a little longer each time. Your breathing dictates the movements by releasing tension to take you further into the stretch each time.

Written by Health Link - I maintain this blog because i like to keep a trace of various Health news through time. I have a wide ranging interest of subject from Massage to Reflexology and other alternative medecines. But the bulk of my interest are scientific discoveries. Visit my website -> Reflexology London
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Diet and exercise can keep Diabetes helps to keep diabetes at bay

type-two-diabetesDiet and exercise can keep diabetes at bay for a decade, cutting the risk for the disease by more than a third in the most susceptible people, a new US study finds.
In the UK one person is diagnosed with diabetes every three minutes and three people die from its complications every hour.
Most people have type 2 diabetes, which is linked to poor diet and sedentary lifestyle. In addition, a lot of adults have higher-than-normal blood sugar levels, which raise the risk of a heart attack or stroke and the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes.
But new research, published in the Oct. 29 online edition of The Lancet, shows that losing weight and exercising can delay or prevent the onset of diabetes more effectively than the prescription drug metformin or a placebo.

“Interventions that result in weight loss lower the risk of diabetes, and that lower risk appears to persist for a long period of time,” said study author Dr. William C. Knowler of the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

For people who are at high risk of getting diabetes, losing weight “is clearly to be recommended,” he said. In addition, using a drug like metformin may also benefit people unable to lose weight through exercise and diet alone, he said.

About the study
For the diabetes prevention study, 3,234 overweight or obese adults with elevated blood sugar levels were randomly assigned to either lifestyle changes or metformin to control their blood sugar, or a placebo.
After 10 years, 2,766 remained in the trial, and those taking metformin saw an 18 percent reduction in their rate of developing diabetes, compared with those on placebo.

But those who had made lifestyle changes — reducing caloric and fat intake and exercising at least 150 minutes a week — reduced their risk of getting diabetes by 34 percent compared with those on placebo, the researchers found.

In the first year of the trial, people in the lifestyle group lost an average of 15 pounds, regaining all but about five pounds over 10 years. People on metformin maintained a five-pound weight loss, and those on placebo lost less than two pounds over 10 years, the researchers note.

Over 10 years, after all the participants made lifestyle changes, the yearly diabetes incidence rates for the drug and placebo groups had dropped to about 5 to 6 percent, the same rate as the lifestyle group.

“Lifestyle intervention, even when provided later, also seemed to lower diabetes incidence rate,” Knowler said.

Loosing weight is difficult
But losing weight is difficult, and simply telling someone to slim down won’t work, he acknowledges.
“To make things like this happen on a large scale, we have to do more than simply tell people to lose weight,” he said. People need access to weight loss clinics that can teach them about diet and exercise, he added.
Dr. Anoop Misra, director of the department of diabetes and metabolic diseases at Fortis Hospitals in India, and author of an accompanying journal editorial, said that “prevention of diabetes is important to curb epidemic of diabetes globally. Diet and exercise remain the most important modalities to prevent diabetes, and any drugs are less important.”

Targeting groups at risk
At-risk groups of diabetes need to be identified, especially certain ethnic groups, and taught proper lifestyle management strategies, Misra said. “Young adults with family history of diabetes should be carefully managed along the same lines,” he said.
Diabetes prevention makes economic sense as well, by decreasing costly, lifelong expenditures on management of the disease and its complications, Misra said.
All nations, particularly developing countries, seeing a rapid rise in diabetes should devise or strengthen a national diabetes-control program to help curb the epidemic, he said.
“In particular, regulations should apply for advertisement and sale of energy-dense junk food to children, and regular physical activity should be encouraged starting at a young age. Spreading awareness about proper lifestyle and adverse consequences of obesity and diabetes should be at the top of health agenda of all nations,” Misra said.

Getting results
Regarding the study findings, other experts are optimistic. Dr. Ronald Goldberg, a professor of medicine at the Diabetes Research Institute of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, whose institution participated in the study, said that “seeing quite significant effects lasting this long really bodes well for the utility of these interventions for diabetes prevention.”
Cutting calories and increasing physical activity clearly slow the progression to diabetes, Goldberg said. “Lifestyle works, and every effort needs to be made to begin and maintain a lifestyle program in the long-term.”

Written by Health Link - I maintain this blog because i like to keep a trace of various Health news through time. I have a wide ranging interest of subject from Massage to Reflexology and other alternative medecines. But the bulk of my interest are scientific discoveries. Visit my website -> Reflexology London
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Three techniques to stop smoking

stop smokingOnce a person starts to smoke cigarettes, it can become extremely difficult to stay away from at least one puff a day. Quitting smoking can’t be done alone. It requires the help of a combination of people including your family, friends, etc. There are so many ways to quit smoking. Depending on the receiver, different kinds of techniques may work on different people, giving various results.

Nicotine addiction can be very hard to stop, as this targets almost each organ in the body. It is a battle that has to be won physically as well as mentally. A person ought to make sacrifices and commit themselves towards the goal of quitting smoking as each step can be a struggle.

If you have been a regular smoker, then the following ways to quit smoking will work. But not all these ways will work on all types of smokers, therefore one must select the ways that will work best on them and discard the rest.

Technique 1 :

Do realise that the best way to stop smoking is to reduce consumption progressively. When the body gets used to the lesser amount of nicotine that’s taken into the body, the mind will keep asking for less too. Isn’t that great? However, if it’s only the amount of cigarettes that you lessen and still end up smoking, you wouldn’t end up with proper results.

Technique 2 :

Setting a ‘quit smoking’ date and actually quitting smoking on that day is the correct thing to do. However don’t kid yourself, setting goals and targets is hard. Give yourself some time. If you feel that you can stop earlier then change that date.

Technique 3 :

Getting the support and encouragement by the people around you is invaluable. Quitting smoking is not easy as it requires lots of time, lots of courage and determination. If you expect help from your family and friends, then be sure to keep them informed about your decision to quit smoking. They would most probably watch over you and keeping cigarette packs, ash trays, and lighters away from you. Ask them for support.

If none of the above methods worked, do not worry as there are always other ways to quit smoking. Doctors prescribe different types of medications to help flush out the nicotine out of your body. Apart from these, doctors also use different approaches such as therapy, etc in treating patients who are addicted to smoking.

Making yourself busy is another way to stay away from your smoking habit. It will keep the mind and body occupied leaves you with lesser time to think about smoking.

Although there are several ways to quit smoking, one must always keep in mind that no technique will work out if a person lacks the proper mind set, courage and determination to really quit this awful habit.

Written by Health Link - I maintain this blog because i like to keep a trace of various Health news through time. I have a wide ranging interest of subject from Massage to Reflexology and other alternative medecines. But the bulk of my interest are scientific discoveries. Visit my website -> Reflexology London
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About the buzz on the new depression drug called Agomelatine/Valdoxan

valdoxan_agomelatineBack in September 2009, started the buzz about a new drug that is more effective than Prozac in treating depression.

Background

At just £1-a-day, the drug agomelatine – also known as Valdoxan – was found to help 77.7% of people with severe depression. In comparison Prozac was found to help 68.8%.
Previous research has shown that, in the first week of treatment, agomelatine works in twice as many people compared to the antidepressant venlafaxine – Efexor.
There are also fewer side-effects from agomelatine, which can include weight gain, sexual problems and difficulty sleeping.
The latest study was carried out on 515 patients with an average age of 42, who were followed for eight weeks.

Prozac can cause nausea
The authors concluded: “This study demonstrates the superior efficacy of agomelatine over fluoxetine – Prozac – in treating severe depression, with a good tolerability profile, confirming that agomelatine offers a good alternative for the treatment of depression including the severe forms.”
Lead researcher Professor Tony Hale, head of division of psychiatry at the University of Kent, added: “These results, showing better efficacy over Prozac, one of the most commonly prescribed antidepressants in the UK, add to the growing wealth of evidence supporting agomelatine as a new and important alternative for the treatment of depression.
“Despite the wide range of currently available antidepressants, there are still unmet needs in the management of depression.”

Positive Buzz
There are a lot of people buzzing about the drug about, i caught the following comments:

“I was part of a clinical trial with agomelatine last year for GAD (General Anxiety disorders) and was on agomelatine for 4 months. At the beginning I was extremely skeptical, which I think could be attributed to being a neuroscience PhD student. I’ve done preclinical research in the area of antidepressants for years and my knowledge of the field has led me to be very questioning towards such medications. But the effects of agomelatine really forced me to change my point of view. Before this trial I had never taken anything for my GAD and I found that I started to feel different after about 2 weeks. The experience was absolutely life changing and I’ve never been able to replicate it with other medications since.

The thing that made the biggest impression was the quality of my sleep. My sleep was incredible. I can’t even fully describe it. I hadn’t even realized that my sleep was so bad until it changed. I would wake up feeling absolutely refreshed and energized. I would be very alert and awake all day and right up until bedtime. My sleep was very regular and very efficient. I found I needed much less sleep and felt better than ever.

My GAD symptoms also pretty much disappeared with absolutely NO side effects. And I appreciate this so much more in hindsight because I seem to be VERY sensitive to side effects of SSRI’s and I’ve been struggling in vain since I stopped agomelatine.

When I came off the drug I wasn’t aware of it (after 4 months of medications we started a period of double-blind placebo), but it was obvious within the first week. I didn’t experience any actual withdrawal symptoms, I just went back to the way I had been before. My sleep was terrible and all my GAD symptoms came back over the course of a few weeks.”

How does it work?
Valdoxan (agomelatine) is the first melatonergic antidepressant. The drug combines antidepressant efficacy with an extremely favourable side-effect profile and has
the additional benefit of sleep regulation in depressive patients.
So you have tow effects there :
First the drug does promote serotonin reuptake as usual SSRI drugs do, but you don’t get the traditional side effects.
Second the drug relieves from sleep disruption without affecting daytime vigilance.
The combination of these two effects is seen as a key advantage for an antidepressant.

What is Valdoxan expected to be used for?
Valdoxan is expected to be used in adult patients to treat major depressive disorder. In major depressive disorder, patients have disturbances of mood that interfere with their everyday life. They may suffer from deep sadness, feelings of worthlessness, loss of interest in favourite activities, sleep disturbances, feeling of being slowed down, feelings of anxiety, changes in weight. The key symptoms are depressed mood and loss/diminished interest or pleasure. Patients often suffer relapses (when the disease comes back after it has been treated).

Is it available ?
Agomelatine was launched in the UK by manufacturer Servier in June at a pack price of £38.53 for a packet of 28 25mg tablets – compared to the £1.02 net cost of a 30-cap pack of 20mg fluoxetine.

Data on Valdoxan here:
http://emc.medicines.org.uk/medicine/21830/SPC/Valdoxan/
http://www.paxilprogress.org/forums/showthread.php?t=14390
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agomelatine

Written by Health Link - I maintain this blog because i like to keep a trace of various Health news through time. I have a wide ranging interest of subject from Massage to Reflexology and other alternative medecines. But the bulk of my interest are scientific discoveries. Visit my website -> Reflexology London
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