Polar expeditions to Antarctica offer a unique opportunity for scientists to analyze changes in biological and physiological parameters involved in lipid, glucose, and thyroid hormone metabolism as expedition members’ bodies attempt to adapt to the harsh environment. Masahisa Horiuchi, from the Kagoshima University Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences (Japan), and colleagues studied 22 Japanese Antarctica Research Expedition members who stayed in Antarctica for 3 months starting in December 2010. The subjects were randomly assigned to receive a daily supplement of ornithine (400 mg as l-ornithine hydrochloride), an amino acid, or placebo, for four weeks. Participants were self-assessed as to quality of sleep during the stay in the Antarctic. Blood analysis revealed that the physically challenging expedition caused levels of creatine kinase, pactate dehydrogenase, and ammonia to rise. Sleep disturbances improved among the ornithine-supplemented subjects, as compared to the control group. The study authors conclude that: “[Ornithine] is effective for people with heavy physical workloads in places such as Antarctica.”
Masahisa Horiuchi, Hirohiko Kanesada, Takahiro Miyata, Kentaro Watanabe, Akihito Nishimura, Takashi Kokubo, Takayoshi Kirisako. “Ornithine ingestion improved sleep disturbances but was not associated with correction of blood tryptophan ratio in Japanese Antarctica expedition members during summer.” Nutrition Research, 11 June 2013.
Scientists successfully reconnect severed spinal cords, in a lab animal model of spinal cord injury
Polar explorers offer insights into addressing sleep disturbances associated with demanding physical work.
Achieving 150 weekly minutes of exercise, regardless of how often the activity was conducted, minimizes risk factors for diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
Americans continue to pack on the pounds, as more than half of US adults now meet the diagnostic criteria for obesity.
Urban trees are effective at removing fine particulate air pollution.
Subtle abnormalities predict which older adults will have faster decline in visual acuity.
Moderate-intensity exercise reduces fat stored around the heart, in the liver, and in the abdomen, among type-2 diabetics.
Chlamydia trachomatis can cause mutations in the host DNA, thereby leading to the development of cancer.
Cranberry juice fortified with folic acid significantly increases adiponectin while decreasing homocysteine, among people with Metabolic Syndrome.
The invisible remains of cigarette smoke that deposit on carpeting, clothing, furniture and other surfaces may be a major cause of significant genetic damage in
In four out of ten cases, long-term psychological stress leads to some form of physical ailment, among middle-aged women.
Elevated hair cortisol levels over time may correlate to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Easily distressed individuals may be at higher risk of heart disease.
Mindfulness meditation, which focuses the mind on the present, may help to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
For chronic pain sufferers, avoiding the harmful effects of stress may be key to managing their condition.
Concerns and anxieties about a person’s close relationships may be a chronic stressor that can compromise immunity.
Swedish team proposes link between permanent stress and the risk of developing type-2 diabetes, among men.
High perceived stress associates with a moderately increased risk of incident coronary heart disease
A person’s risk of heart attack increases incrementally, and may be elevated within the first year of unemployment.
Moderate exercise may help people cope with anxiety and stress for an extended period of time post-workout.
Tip #192 - Stay Connected
Researchers from the University of Chicago (Illinois, USA) report that social isolation may be detrimental to both mental and physical health. The team analyzed data from the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project, a nationwide US study involving 3,000 men and women, ages 57 to 85 years. They arrived at three key findings regarding the relationships between health and different types of isolation:
• The researchers found that the most socially connected older adults are three times as likely to report very good or excellent health compared to those who are least connected, regardless of whether they feel isolated.
• The team found that older adults who feel least isolated are five times as likely to report very good or excellent health as those who feel most isolated, regardless of their actual level of social connectedness.
• They determined that social disconnectedness is not related to mental health unless it brings feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Separately, Rush University Medical Center (Illinois, USA) researchers studied 906 older men and women, testing their motor functions (including grip, pinch strength, balance, and walking) and surveying their social activity, for a period of 5 years. Those study participants with less social activity were found to have a more rapid rate of motor function decline. Specifically, the team found that every one-point decrease in social activity corresponded to an increase in functional aging of 5 years, translating to a 40% higher risk of death and 65% higher risk of disability.