We Evolved to Walk and it’s Great for our Health

a couple, bicycles

Walking is great! Most of us have heard that we should get 10,000 steps a day to maintain our health, but walking is more than just taking steps. Shane O’Mara in his book In Praise of Walking explores what walking is all about (hint: it’s everything that makes us human). It matters where we walk too, so be sure to get out into some nature for a meaningful walk instead of sticking to concrete.

O’Mara, a professor of experimental brain research at Trinity College in Dublin, writes in straightforward prose, methodically presenting research and studies in support of his thesis that walking has not only been crucial to human evolution but is essential to our health. Studies show that regular walking mobilizes changes in the structure of our brain that can increase volume in the areas associated with learning and memory. He dedicates a chapter to the science behind human navigation and describes how the selective memories of our wanderings are central components of our experiences and ability to make “maps of the world we have experienced.”

O’Mara argues that walking influences many aspects of cognition — how we think, reason, remember, read, and write. In particular, there is a vital relationship between movement of the body and the flow of thinking. “Since antiquity it has been recognized that a good walk is an excellent way to think problems through,” he writes.

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New Zealand is COVID-19 Free

After a very well managed shutdown of the country, New Zealand is free of COVID-19 and people are able to live as they did before. The country had a strict, vast, and quick reaction to COVID-19 showing up in the nation and it’s paid off. Starting today New Zealanders are able to go gyms, work, parks, or wherever thanks to the efforts in following the government’s public safety rules. It’s great to see another nation get through the pandemic.

Ardern has drawn global headlines and praise from the World Health Organization for her government’s approach to the virus, with a strict and cautious approach that appears to have paid off. On 25 March she locked down the country for four weeks – requiring that most New Zealanders remained at home most of the time – before gradually easing restrictions.

“Our collective results I think speak for ourselves,” Ardern said. “This was what the sacrifice of our team of five million was for – to keep one another safe and to keep one another well.” She has regularly referred to New Zealanders as a “team of five million” in an effort to unite people and encourage them to follow her government’s rules to curb the virus’ spread

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This Microbe Stops Malaria Transmission

Forest

Researchers discovered that one microbe can effectively stop malaria transmission amongst mosquitoes, and therefore amongst humans. This revelation can have a great impact on efforts to stop the spread of the disease. Microsporidia is a microbe found on the shores of Lake Victoria in Kenya where it was discovered that the mosquitoes in the area didn’t carry malaria, which is exceptional since neighbouring populations were carriers. The research team deduced that one specific microbe blocked the acquisition and spread of malaria.

“The data we have so far suggest it is 100% blockage, it’s a very severe blockage of malaria,” Dr Jeremy Herren, from the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) in Kenya told the BBC.
He added: “It will come as a quite a surprise. I think people will find that a real big breakthrough.”
More than 400,000 people are killed by malaria each year, most of them children under the age of five.
While huge progress has been made through the use of bed nets and spraying homes with insecticide, this has stalled in recent years. It is widely agreed new tools are needed to tackle malaria.

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Make & Wear Masks to Stop the Spread of COVID-19

homemade face mask

A mask shortage hit the Czech Republic early in their efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 and the people reacted swiftly by making their own masks. Indeed, people in the Czech Republic shared sewing plans and techniques while delivering the final product to hospitals and neighbours. Their joint efforts have proven to be effective when combined with social distancing.

To be clear, the homemade masks aren’t nearly as effective as proper surgical masks. The advantages of homemade masks has been explored by researchers in the past and concludes that homemade masks can help if there is a mask shortage since it lessens exposure.

Can’t make masks, please wear one when out in public even if you’re not sick (but you shouldn’t be in public spaces around other people anyway right now).

As the shortage of masks provided by the government continued, hospitals reached out on social media and asked if people may be able to sew a few masks for them because they were running low. In an unprecedented show of support, many people started making masks, not just for the hospitals but for everybody. The effort was both individual – people making masks by hand sewing or on a sewing machine at home, and organizational – theaters, non-profit organizations, small business and factories which normally produce clothes, linens, accessories redirected their efforts into full-time sewing. Local companies were sewing in bulk, supplying hospitals, senior citizen homes, the police or firemen. Masks were delivered to hospitals or to friends and neighbors who would often find them in their mailboxes. In some areas, people created “mask trees” where they would put available extra masks that were up for grabs for others.

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Sewing guide for making masks.

Canadian Clinical Study to Fight COVID-19 Inflammation Starts Today

Covid-19 Transmission graphic

Researchers are working around the world and around the clock to ensure that we can stymie the spread and harm from COVID-19. Today, a new clinical study run by the Montreal Heart Institute will look at the effectiveness of saving those already infected by using a well-tested drug that holds back inflammation in patients. The body’s response to COVID-19 is runaway inflammation, which makes it one of the causes of death. This study is one of many clinical trials and studies being run right now to figure out the best way to help those with COVID-19, I chose to post this one as many readers are based in Canada and can participate in this study.

The clinical study, named COLCORONA, coordinated by the Montreal Health Innovations Coordinating Center (MHICC) is funded by the Government of Quebec and supported by Pharmascience and CGI.

COLCORONA will evaluate the phenomenon of major inflammatory storm present in adults suffering from severe complications related to COVID-19. The researchers hypothesized that the treatment could reduce the complications associated with COVID-19. The clinical study will involve the recruitment of approximately 6,000 participants followed for 30 days. Initial results will be available a few days after study completion.

Participants eligibility criteria:

  • Be tested positive for COVID-19;
  • Be 40 years and over;
  • Not hospitalized;
  • Be willing to take the drug or placebo daily for 30 days;
  • Be willing to participate in two follow-up calls by phone or videoconference.

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