Parkinson's Disease (PD) is a brain disorder that causes tremors and difficulty with movement and walking, and most commonly affects people over the age of 50. A slow, meditative, physical practice, tai chi originated as a martial art but is emerging as a intervention for a variety of disorders that impact balance and stability. Fuzhong Li, from the Oregon Research Institute (Oregon, USA), and colleagues studied a group of 130 Parkinson’s patients, median age 69 years, who were evenly randomized to a tai chi training intervention or a stretching exercise control group, which each met twice a week for 24 weeks. Measures of stability and sensory organization were taken at baseline and at 3 months and 6 months. The team found that the subjects who practiced tai chi scored better on these outcomes, as compared to controls. As well, modest gains were observed in lower-body strength among the participants in the tai chi training. Observing that that retention of participants in the tai chi intervention was high -- roughly 85% -- the intervention was effective at improving outcomes at low cost, requiring no equipment and with minimal supervision.
Li F, et al. "Tai chi and limits of stability in patients with Parkinson's disease" [Abstract P04.031]. Presentation at American Academy of Neurology 2013 Annual Meeting, 21 March 2013.
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Tip #144 - Veggies Vex Diabetes
Type-2 diabetes affects upwards of 5% of the world’s population, and the number of cases is projected to rise in the coming decades, due to factors such as aging, obesity, and the pervasiveness of a sedentary lifestyle. Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center (Tennessee, USA) researchers followed 64,000 women residing in China, ages 40 to 70 years, for nearly 5 years, assessing their daily fruit and vegetable intakes and tracking the onset of diabetes. Those women who consumed the most vegetables -- averaging 428 grams, or 15 ounces, daily – were at 28% lower risk of developing the disease.
Researchers from Addenbrooke's Hospital (United Kingdom) followed 21,831 men and women, ages 40 to 75 years at the study’s start, for a 12-year period. The team found that men and women with the highest blood levels of vitamin C (reflecting a high fruit and vegetable intake) were at 62% reduced risk of developing type-2 diabetes, as compared to those with the lowest blood levels.
Not only rich sources of fiber, antioxidants, and magnesium, vegetables contain diabetes-reducing compounds such as phytates, lignans, and isoflavones. While the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that women ages 19-50 years consume 2 ½ cups of veggies daily, and men ages 19-50 years consume 3 cups daily, anti-aging physicians recommend doubling those amounts. » MORE