- California Elementary School Student Diagnosed With Leprosy
- 5 Things You Should Know Before Trying an Elimination Diet
- Cheers! ‘Hangover-Free Alcohol’ Could Be on the Way
- Jumping Up and Down Is Ridiculously Good Exercise
- Why Getting Back in Shape is So Hard
Posted: 23 Sep 2016 07:47 AM PDT
An elementary-age child in California has been diagnosed with a rare case of leprosy.
The Associated Press reports that one child from Indian Hills Elementary School in Jurupa Valley was diagnosed with the disease this week. The student is not being identified.
The U.S. only sees about 150 leprosy cases each year and 95% of the population is naturally immune to it. Now health officials are trying to educate worried citizens about how difficult it is to transmit the illness. Leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, can only be passed through prolonged contact, not through quick contact like handshakes. It is also treatable with antibiotics.
“It is incredibly difficult to contract leprosy,” said Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Riverside County’s public health officer, according to the AP. “The school was safe before this case arose and it still is.”
Posted: 23 Sep 2016 05:00 AM PDT
Suspect you might have a sensitivity to gluten or dairy, but aren’t sure which is the culprit? You might be considering trying an elimination diet. This short-term eating plan has gained popularity recently as a way to identify potential food issues, including allergies, intolerances, and triggers of irksome symptoms, from bloating, joint pain, and fatigue to skin issues like eczema.
While there’s no one-size-fits-all protocol, an elimination diet typically involves two phases. In the first, several foods are eliminated for at least four weeks, sometimes eight. Then, those foods are added back, one at a time.
If a reintroduced food doesn’t cause symptoms to return, it may be left in the diet, or at least ruled out as a trigger. Any that do cause problems are permanently eliminated to alleviate and sometimes resolve symptoms. If you’re thinking of trying this type of experiment, here are five important things you should know.
1. Most elimination diets involve eight foods
These eight common foods are responsible for most allergies: Wheat, milk and milk products (like cheese and yogurt), eggs, soy, fish, shellfish, tree nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachios), and peanuts. However, an elimination diet may involve nixing other foods depending on your personal symptoms.
2. They aren’t just for allergies
While many try an elimination diet because of suspected allergies, it can be a helpful test for other health issues as well. People with inflammatory conditions such as arthritis or psoriasis, for example, may eliminate refined sugar, processed foods, and nightshade vegetables, as well as gluten, dairy, and soy. Someone who has irritable bowel syndrome may eliminate FODMAPS. (These are foods like apples and onions that contain substances fermented by gut bacteria, which produces a build-up of gas.) A different set of foods may be eliminated for migraines, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). And sometimes people need to address a mix of health conditions, which is why I often customize elimination diets for my clients.
Health.com: 13 Surprising Causes of Constipation
3. Beverages may be included too
I’m always in favor of eliminating both regular and diet soda, as well as other sugary drinks, like sweet tea and lemonade, due to their added sugar or artificial sweetener content. But for some clients, I also recommend removing coffee, alcohol, and sometimes tea. Again, it depends on the symptoms or problems we’re trying to address. I find that for chronic bloating and digestive problems, coffee and alcohol are generally problematic. So when other trigger foods are eliminated but these drinks aren’t, symptoms don’t improve.
Some clients tell me they can’t possibly live without their morning cup of coffee or evening glass of wine. But the primary goal of an elimination diet is to see what it feels like when your body is no longer exposed to something it doesn’t agree with. So if you can commit to giving up java and booze for just one month, you’ll have the chance to find out if you feel better without them.
4. Accuracy is key
I’ve had clients tell me they tried an elimination diet on their own with no results. But it turned out most of them unknowingly made mistakes. For example, some eliminated wheat products like bread and pasta, but continued to eat other forms of wheat, such as cous cous, farro, and spelt. Others eliminated more foods than they needed to, which made them feel exhausted and famished. And since many forgot to check ingredient lists, they ended up eating a ton of soy or dairy additives without realizing it. To do the test right, it’s important to choose your foods strategically, follow through consistently, and make sure you’re getting balanced nutrition for the duration of the diet.
5. Seek out expert guidance
An elimination diet can be an effective tool for discovering foods or beverages at the root of chronic health problems. And the results can truly be life-changing. But this kind of dietary shift is a big commitment, and needs to be executed correctly. So here’s my best advice: Don’t do it on your own. Seek out a registered dietitian nutritionist who is experienced with elimination diets, and allow him or her to guide you. For more tips, check out my post 6 Things You Should Know About Working With a Nutritionist.
Do you have a question about nutrition? Chat with us on Twitter by mentioning @goodhealth and @CynthiaSass.
Posted: 23 Sep 2016 04:46 AM PDT
David Nutt, a professor at Imperial College in London and former drugs advisor to the British government, says the non-toxic ‘alcosynth’ could completely replace normal alcohol by 2050, the U.K.’s Independent reports.
Alcosynth affects the brain in a similar way to alcohol, Nutt says, but doesn’t cause mouth dryness, nausea, headaches or other long lasting health issues. “We know where the good effects of alcohol are mediated in the brain, and can mimic them. And by not touching the bad areas, we don’t have the bad effects,” Mr Nutt, who is currently testing two versions of the drink for widespread use, told the newspaper.
If alcosynth does what Nutt says it does, it could relieve public health services from the burden of alcohol-related issues. The cost of excessive alcohol consumption in the U.S. was as high as $223.5 billion in 2006, according to CDC figures, which researchers estimated worked out as $746 for every individual U.S. citizen that same year.
Posted: 22 Sep 2016 11:51 AM PDT
The things you loved doing as a kid—running around, not sitting still—have been shown to be great for you as an adult. Now, jumping on a trampoline joins that list.
A new study by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) finds that bouncing on a mini trampoline for less than 20 minutes is just as good for you as running, but feels better and is a lot more more fun.
The researchers gave a group of 24 fit college kids a mini trampoline and popped in a 19-minute trampoline exercise video. They measured the jumpers’ heart rates and oxygen expenditure every minute.
Trampolining was found to be moderate-to-vigorous intensity exercise: with about the same physical effects as running six miles per hour, biking, or playing football, basketball or ultimate Frisbee. Yet when people were asked to rate how exerted they felt, they gave scores more consistent with light-to-moderate intensity—suggesting that the workout felt easier than it should have.
That’s one of the upsides to bouncing on a trampoline, besides conditioning your calf and leg muscles. “One downside of running is that it can lead to orthopedic injuries,” says study author John Porcari, professor of exercise and sport science at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse. But even though the motions are similar in jumping, the trampoline absorbs some of that shock, causing the impact forces on the feet and lower extremities to ease up, he says. “It absorbs the shock instead of you pounding on the pavement, and that makes it seem easier than it is.”
It’s also, obviously, a lot of fun—no small factor when it comes to getting people to exercise, which Americans are notoriously loath to do. “When you’re following along to a video or doing something fun, the enjoyment factor overrides the fact that you’re working hard,” Porcari says. “You just focus on having fun.”
Posted: 22 Sep 2016 11:00 AM PDT
Taking a month or two off of regular exercise may not be so benign. A new small study shows that when muscles take a break, they maintain very little muscle memory from the prior exercise.
The goal of the new study, published Thursday in the journal PLOS Genetics, was to gain a better understanding of how exercise influences the body on a genetic level. As TIME recently reported, exercise carries a whole host of benefits for the body, from aging to brain health to a stronger ability to fight infections. But how that exercise translates to changes in genetic activity is more unknown.
In the report, 23 people trained one of their legs for three months by kicking and pulling a bike-like contraption 60 times a minute for 45 minutes (see below). They did this training four times a week for three months. After that, the people in the study took nine months off. The study authors took skeletal muscle biopsies from both legs before and after and found that the cells in the muscles expressed over 3,000 genes in different ways after a person exercised. However, after the fitness hiatuses, the scientists couldn’t detect any exercised-related genetic changes between the people’s trained and un-trained legs.
“We couldn’t see any differences at the gene activity level,” says study author Maléne Lindholm of the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. “Most effects are lost by a month or two of no training.”
After that, 12 of the people in the study started training both of their legs. When the researchers compared biopsies of the two trained legs, they once again saw changes in genetic activity, but the leg that had undergone training nine months early looked virtually the same as the newly trained leg. “We did see some differences in the response but not substantial enough to claim some type of memory,” says Lindholm.
Lindholm says the study could be interpreted in a couple ways. It underlines fact that exercise can spur healthy biological changes, and that keeping up the practice is important to ensure those healthy changes are sustained. On the other hand, she says that the results can be encouraging to people who are sedentary. It suggests they can achieve the same benefits from exercise as anyone else. “The study could be used as positive encouragement,” says Lindholm. “It’s never too late to start training from a muscle perspective.”
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