Good to see two commenters express some caution about the direction of causation
Long-term physical activity has an anti-ageing effect at the cellular levela German study suggests. Researchers focused on telomeresthe protective caps on the chromosomes that keep a cell's DNA stable but shorten with age. They found telomeres shortened less quickly in key immune cells of athletes with a long history of endurance training. The studyby Saarland Universityappears in the journal Circulation.
In a separate study of young Swedish mencardiovascular fitness has been linked to increased intelligence and higher educational achievement.
Telomeres are relatively short sections of specialised DNA that sit at the ends of all our chromosomes. They have been compared to the plastic tips at the ends of shoelaces that prevent the laces from unravelling. Each time a cell dividesits telomeres shorten and the cell becomes more susceptible to dying.
The researchers measured the length of telomeres in blood samples from two groups of professional athletes and two groups of people who were healthy non-smokersbut who did not take regular exercise. One group of professional athletes included members of the German national track and field athletics teamwho had an average age of 20. The second group was made up of middle-aged athletes who had regularly run long distances - an average of 80km a week - since their youth.
The researchers found evidence that the physical exercise of the professional athletes led to activation of an enzyme called telomerasewhich helped to stabilise telomeres. This reduced the telomere shortening in leukocytesa type of white blood cell that plays a key role in fighting infection and disease. The most pronounced effect was found in athletes who had been regularly endurance training for several decades.
Lead researcher Dr Ulrich Laufs said: "This is direct evidence of an anti-ageing effect of physical exercise. "Our data improves the molecular understanding of the protective effects of exercise and underlines the potency of physical training in reducing the impact of age-related disease."
Professor Tim Spectoran expert on genetics and ageing at Kings College Londonsaid other studies had suggested more moderate exercise had a beneficial effect on ageing. He said: "It is still difficult to separate cause and effect from these studies - as longer telomeres may still be a marker of fitness. "Nevertheless - this is further evidence that regular exercise may retard aging."
Professor Kay-Tee Khawof the University of Cambridgean expert on ageingsaid: "The benefits of physical activity for health are well established from many large long-term population studies. "Even moderate levels of physical activity are related to lower levels of many heart disease risk factors such as blood pressure and cholesterol and lower risk of many chronic diseases associated with ageing such as heart diseasestrokediabetes and some cancers."
In the second studypublished in Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciencesa team from the University of Gothenburg analysed data on more than 1.2 million Swedish men born from 1950-1976 who enlisted for military service at age 18. They found that good heart health was linked to higher intelligencebetter educational achievement and raised status in society.
By studying twins in the studythe researchers concluded that environmental and lifestyle factors were keyrather than genetics. [An enigmatic statement]
They said the findings suggested that campaigns to promote physical exercise might help to raise standards of educational achievement across the population. Lead researcher Professor Georg Kuhn said cardiovascular exercise increased blood flow to the brainwhich in turn might help forge more and stronger connections between nerve cells. Howeverhe said it was also possible that intelligent people tended to do more exercise.
The war on salt is just one battle in a larger war
The war has been going on for thousands of years. It comes up again and again. It manifests itself as a war on drugsa war on terrora global warming crisis. It is the war amongst those who would rule everyone else asserting that they know better how to run your life and it is the war against you. The war on salt is just one aspect of this sametiredancientboringdespicableand horrid war—a war with billions of casualtiesa war against human spirita war on possibility. It is the war that doesn't give you a walk-on role in the worldonly a lead role in a cage.
What I'm talking about is the war on the future we were promisedwith flying carsmuch longer livescolonies in spacehotels in the Moonterraforming of Mars. It is the war which impoverishes nearly everyonethe war which enriches only the cronies of big governmentthe war which opposes cheap air travelcheap space travelfood that tastes gooddrugs that relieve paina free marketfree choicesfree lovefree thoughtfree people.
It is the same war that sent armies rampaging across Europe to slaughter Protestants and Catholicsthe same war that sent Inquisitors to mock Galileo and thwart scientific reasonthe same war that imprisons millions of Americans annually for non-violent non-crimes of possessing or selling or making herbs that God granted (Genesis 1:29) to all mankind to be as meat. Plato declared this war in his rotten book "The Republic" and acknowledged that nobility was a liethat everyone was basically the samebut by diettrainingeducationand preferential treatmentperhaps a race of philosopher kings might be bredhe hopedto savagely rulerapeand pillage everyone else.
How do I know that Mayor Bloomberg's war on salt is the same war that has been fought time and time again? I remember an album cover from 1972 for the Steeleye Span album Below the Salt. An old and excellent teacher of mine explained that the phrase "below the salt" represented the caste system in England. "At that time the nobility sat at the 'high table' and their commoner servants at lower trestle tables. Salt was placed in the centre of the high table. Only those of rank had access to it. Those less favoured on the lower tables were below (or beneath) the salt," Gary Martin writes. Until the 1600s when salt was mined near Cheshirethe objective of the wealthy classes was to deprive the poor of good tasting food and also deny them an essential nutrient for physical labor.
Why? One would think that better tasting food and necessary nutrients would have motivated more and better work. But it is exactly the same sort of reasoning that one gets from these class system brutes—the "reasoning" applied to depriving people of laudanumopiummorphineand other herb derivativesthe "reasoning" used to excuse depriving people of the pain relieving and pleasure giving properties of hempthe "reasoning" used to claim a false and vindictive "authority" to spy on every telephone conversation in the world simultaneously.
In the death camps in Germany the answer was always the same. "Hier ist kein Warum." Here there is no why.
Noit isn't reasonable for Mayor Bloomberg to announce that restaurants have to cut back on the amount of salt they use in the dishes they serve. It is not reason. It is power madness. He has been toldperhapsthat salt is bad for people. Of courserestaurants use saltand offer it to their customers on the tablebecause it makes food taste better. It makes food taste goodjust as fatbuttersugarand many other ingredients are savoryprecisely because the body needs it as an essential nutrient.
Deny salt to people who engage in physical laborwhether gardeningshovelingwalkingrunningor "working out" in a gymand you can kill them. Which is precisely Mayor Bloomberg's objective. He represents the wealthythe powerfulthose above the saltthose who sit at high table. Andof coursehe's "educated" by elitists at Johns Hopkins and Harvard to believe that he knows better than everyone else how to livewhat to eatwhat is good for and bad for others. He's one of the richest men in the world with a net worth of $16 billion.
He made his first golden parachute of $10 million being fired from Salomon Brothersa Wall Street firm where he was involved in equity trading and systems development. Then he developed systems that are usedtodayby traders around the globe. Don't suppose that his fortune is a free market onethoughas the sources of data from the markets and the regulatory environment of those markets are part of what makes his business possible. Nor is he a nice guy in businesshaving been repeatedly accused of sexually harrassing male and female employees. He's been sued over saying "kill it" about a pregnant woman's babyhe's been sued by the EEOC on behalf of three womenand apparently on behalf of 72 plaintiffs who took maternity leave.
He's been a Republicana Democratand an "independent" at various times in his political career. The evidence against his having any libertarian inclinations include his brutal treatment of subordinates in his companyhis vicious attacks on out-of-state gun shopshis involvement as head of one of the largest bureaucracies in any city in the worldand his current fetish war on salt. His city government is as involved as any in the war on terrorroutinely violating the privacy and civil liberties of individuals in many parts of the world.
But he isn't exactly the poster boy for the worst evil of the war on salt. Rememberthe war on salt is the war over who gets to run your life: you or those who claim to know better.