Thursday, November 8, 2018

It's Never Too Late to Exercise

If you are middle aged and out of shape, it isn't too late to get active and improve your health, the American Heart Association says.

A study in the journal Circulation showed that heart stiffness -- a potential precursor to heart failure -- decreased for middle-aged men who engaged in two years of the right kinds and amount of exercise.
Study participants who did high- and moderate-intensity exercise up to five times weekly had better heart elasticity and improved the way in which their bodies used oxygen, the research found.

The Heart Association recommends weekly exercise should include:

*One high-intensity workout, such as an aerobic interval workout that boosts the heart rate for four minutes at a time in several spurts during the session.

*An hour-long moderate-intensity workout doing something you find fun, such as tennis, biking or walking.

*Two or three moderate workouts per week that might make you sweat, but still allow you to talk with someone.

*A strength training session.

"Million Hearts" Project Aims to Prevent 1 Million Cardiac Crises

Millions of Americans aren't taking simple steps that could ward off a potentially fatal heart attack or stroke, a new government report shows.

Heart attacks, strokes & other heart-related conditions caused 2.2 million hospitalizations in 2016, new research from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention found.

Many of these emergencies occurred because people aren't effectively managing the risk factors that increase their odds of a heart attack or stroke, CDC officials say.

Enter the Million Hearts initiative, which intends to prevent 1 million life-threatening heart health crises by 2022. How? It will focus on what officials call the "ABCS" of heart health -- Aspirin use, Blood pressure control, Cholesterol management and Smoking cessation.

"We are battling a fearsome foe, and indications are strong we are losing ground," Dr. Janet Wright, executive director of Million Hearts, said during a Thursday media briefing on the findings. "We know what works to prevent heart attack and stroke, and it turns out the little things are the big things."

"We don't need a new widget or miracle drug to end cardiovascular disease," Wright added. "We do need everyone to find the small step they can start today."

The CDC report showed the need for such action. It found that 71 million adults don't exercise, 54 million still smoke and 40 million have uncontrolled high blood pressure.

Study Suggests Exercise May Boost Brain Power in Alzheimer's

There are plenty of reasons to work out, and this may be another: Exercise promotes the growth of new brain cells that improve thinking in mice with a form of Alzheimer's disease, a new study finds.

Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers reported that it may be possible to develop drug and gene therapies that trigger the same beneficial effects in people with the brain disease.

"While we do not yet have the means for safely achieving the same effects in patients, we determined the precise protein and gene targets for developing ways to do so in the future," study lead author Se Hoon Choi said in an MGH news release. Choi is in the hospital's genetics and aging research unit.

In mice, Choi's team said exercise triggered the production of new neurons (neurogenesis) in the brain regions where memories are encoded.

The study's senior author, Rudolph Tanzi, is director of the genetics and aging research unit at MGH. He said that the research team "showed that exercise is one of the best ways to turn on neurogenesis. And then, by figuring out the molecular and genetic events involved, we determined how to mimic the beneficial effects of exercise through gene therapy and pharmacological agents."

Results of animal studies aren't always replicated in people, but Tanzi is optimistic.

"We will next explore whether safely promoting neurogenesis in Alzheimer's patients will help alleviate the symptoms of the disease, and whether doing so in currently healthy individuals earlier in life can help prevent symptoms later on," Tanzi said.