Yoga Might be Better Than Medication for Back Pain

happiness

Yoga can be an effective treatment for back pain according to new research. Before you sign up to any random yoga class for your back be sure to check what poses are actually good for you. The research team involved yoga instructors who specifically identified yoga poses and routines that are gentle on the back but also good for reliving back pain. Yoga isn’t just for staying fit, it’s also good for alleviating pain.

When the study began, about 70 percent of the patients were taking some form of pain medication. At the end of three months, when the yoga classes were wrapping up, the percentage of yoga and PT participants still taking pain medication had dropped to about 50 percent. By comparison, the use of pain medication did not decline among participants in the education group.

“It’s a significant reduction,” says study author Rob Saper, director of integrative medicine at Boston Medical Center.

“I’m not recommending that people just go to any yoga class,” Saper told us. He pointed out that their research has helped nail down poses and relaxation techniques that are helpful and safe.

Read more.

Americans Eating Beans Instead of Beef Will Help Save the World

beans

If Americans started eating beans in place of beef the country would be able to meet its greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals by 2020. The report, title, “Substituting beans for beef as a contribution towards U.S. climate change targets,” builds off of previous work. The new report that makes this conclusion is similar to the conclusions from other papers; however, this report directly connects an easy dietary change to being able to avert catastrophic climate change. Previously we’ve seen how easy and beneficial it is to be vegetarian, but this diet change doesn’t require a complete shift to vegetarianism. Just reduce the consumption of flesh from dead animals.

It’s simple: the easiest thing you can do today to help the people of tomorrow is to eat less meat.

“The nation could achieve more than half of its GHG reduction goals without imposing any new standards on automobiles or manufacturing,” Sabate said.

The study, which was conducted while Harwatt was an environmental nutrition research fellow at Loma Linda University, also found that beef production is an inefficient use of agricultural land. Substituting beans for beef would free up 42 percent of U.S. cropland currently under cultivation — a total of 1.65 million square kilometers or more than 400 million square acres, which is approximately 1.6 times the size of the state of California.

Harwatt applauds the fact that more than a third of American consumers are currently purchasing meat analogs: plant-based products that resemble animal foods in taste and texture. She says the trend suggests that animal-sourced meat is no longer a necessity.

Read more.

Prototype Parkinson’s Bracelet Stabilizes Hands

Parkinson’s negatively impacts millions of people around the world by making their muscles harder to control. Basically, in people with Parkinson’s the brain fires extra signals which can cause involuntary muscle movements like shaking. Think of it as your brain stuck in a feedback loop of excitement which it can’t escape – no matter how hard you try. This is where the Emma Watch comes in. The Emma Watch tries to confuse that feedback loop allowing wearers with Parkinson’s to have full control over their hands, and the early prototype works even though nobody fully understands why it works. Research like this will help people with Parkinson’s live a much better life.

The pattern of the vibration is also important. For Lawton, a rhythmic vibration is effective. (A specially designed app in Emma’s Windows 10 tablet controls vibration speed.) For other people, a more random rhythm may work better, Zhang says. However it works, she knows she’s onto something. Lawton does, too.

“It’s a huge opportunity to potentially change some lives,” Lawton says.

As part of her work, Zhang researched the root cause of tremors. She spent six months, off and on, building prototypes. She sometimes worked in her London home, soldering wires to PC boards and tinkering with coin cell motors to create vibrations. She tested early versions with four other people with Parkinson’s, producing promising results for three, spurring the idea forward, she says.

Read more.

Exercising a lot Increases Lifespan

run

Everybody already knows that exercising is good for your health, this isn’t new. What is new is associating the amount of exercise to telomere length. Telomeres are plentiful in young humans and over one’s lifespan the telomeres start to disappear, which has led researchers to think that more is better for staying biologically young. This most recent study looked at adults between 20 and 84 and concluded that, of the 6,000 people studied, that telomeres were more prevalent in people who exercised 30 to 40 minutes five days a week. This high level of exercise can increase your lifespan by about nine years.

Exercise science professor Larry Tucker found adults with high physical activity levels have telomeres with a biological aging advantage of nine years over those who are sedentary, and a seven-year advantage compared to those who are moderately active. To be highly active, women had to engage in 30 minutes of jogging per day (40 minutes for men), five days a week.

“If you want to see a real difference in slowing your biological aging, it appears that a little exercise won’t cut it,” Tucker said. “You have to work out regularly at high levels.”

Tucker analyzed data from 5,823 adults who participated in the CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, one of the few indexes that includes telomere length values for study subjects. The index also includes data for 62 activities participants might have engaged in over a 30-day window, which Tucker analyzed to calculate levels of physical activity.

Read more.

Lower Your Risk of Cancer and Heart Disease by Cycling to Work

Bicycle

We all know that encouraging bicycles as daily transportation is good for cities, economies, and traffic flow. Cycling is really good for you too and the evidence that you should bike more is more prevalent than ever. The most recent contribution to why riding a bike to work is good for you comes from Glasgow. Researchers there found that over the course of five years people who biked regularly had lower instances of cancer and heart disease!

But, during the course of the study, regular cycling cut the risk of death from any cause by 41%, the incidence of cancer by 45% and heart disease by 46%.
The cyclists clocked an average of 30 miles per week, but the further they cycled the greater the health boon.
Walking cut the odds of developing heart disease but the benefit was mostly for people walking more than six miles per week.
“This is really clear evidence that people who commute in an active way, particularly by cycling, were at lower risk,” Dr Jason Gill, from the University of Glasgow, told the BBC News website.

Read more.