Brawn matters: Stronger adolescents, teens have less risk of diabetes, heart disease

Adolescents with stronger muscles have a lower risk of heart disease and diabetes, according to a new study that examined the influence of muscle strength in sixth grade boys and girls.Stronger kids also have lower body mass index (weight to height ratio), lower percent body fat, smaller waist circumferences, and higher fitness levels, according to the study that appears in Pediatrics.Researchers analyzed health data for more than 1,400 children ages 10 to 12, including their percent body fat, glucose level, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and triglycerides (a type of fat, or lipid, which may increase risk of heart disease). Those with greater strength-to-body-mass ratios — or pound-for-pound strength capacities — had significantly lower risks of heart disease and diabetes.”It’s a widely-held belief that BMI, sedentary behaviors and low cardiovascular fitness levels are linked to diabetes, heart disease and stroke, but our findings suggest muscle strength possibly may play an equally important role in cardiometabolic health in children,” says lead author Mark D. Peterson, Ph.D, M.S., research assistant professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Michigan Medical School.The study’s corresponding author was Paul M. Gordon, Ph.D., M.P.H, who is a Professor at Baylor University in Texas. Gordon suggests that strengthening activities may be equally important to physical activity participation.The research is based on data from the Cardiovascular Health Intervention Program (CHIP), a study of sixth graders from 17 mid-area Michigan schools between 2005 and 2008.Participants were tested for strength capacity using a standardized handgrip strength assessment, which is recently recommended by the Institute of Medicine (IOM). Researchers also measured cardiorespiratory fitness — how well the body is able to transport oxygen to muscles during prolonged exercise, and how well muscles are able to absorb and use it.The study is believed to be the first to show a robust link between strength capacity and a lower chance of having diabetes, heart disease or stroke (cardiometabolic risk) in adolescents, even after controlling for the influence of BMI, physical activity participation, and cardiorespiratory fitness.”The stronger you are relative to your body mass, the healthier you are,” Peterson says. “Exercise, sports, and even recreational activity that supports early muscular strength acquisition, should complement traditional weight loss interventions among children and teens in order to reduce risks of serious diseases throughout adolescence.”Previous, large-scale studies have found low muscular strength in teen boys is a risk factor for several major causes of death in young adulthood, such as suicide and cardiovascular diseases.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by University of Michigan Health System. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Read more

Highest winter losses in recent years for honey bees in Scotland

Aug. 13, 2013 — Soaring numbers of honey bees died last winter, University of Strathclyde research has revealed.A survey, run by Strathclyde academics on behalf of the Scottish Beekeepers’ Association, indicated 31.3 per cent of managed honey bee colonies in Scotland failed to survive last winter — almost double the previous year’s loss rate of 15.9 per cent.Dr Alison Gray and Magnus Peterson, of Strathclyde’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics, warn the figures ought to be of major concern because bees play a pivotal role in crop pollination, agricultural yields and, therefore, food supply and prices.Last winter’s figures represent 156 colonies lost during the winter of 2012-13, out of a total of 498 colonies being managed by beekeepers taking part in the survey. Furthermore, 67 of the 117 beekeepers who provided useable data reported losing at least some of their colonies between 1 October 2012 and 1 April 2013.Dr Gray said: “This is an extremely high loss rate.”In fact, the loss rate last winter is the highest we have found since these surveys began in 2006 — and is similar to that over the winter of 2009-10, when we estimate that 30.9 per cent of colonies were lost.”Results from European colleagues conducting similar surveys show that the loss rate in Scotland is amongst the highest in Europe this year, while similarly high losses have been reported recently from England and Wales.”The results were based on responses to online and postal questionnaires from a random sample of 300 members of the Scottish Beekeepers’ Association, which is thought to represent most of the country’s estimated 1,300 beekeepers.Since the spring of 2008, Mr Peterson has also been collecting data twice a year, from a network of volunteers across Scotland, on wild honey bees — those not managed by beekeepers and which instead live in habitats such as hollow trees and the roofs of old buildings. Last winter, 11 out of 20 wild honey bee colonies known to be alive last September — and reported on this spring — are known to have died.Mr Peterson said: “The latest results indicate a low survival rate, of just 45 per cent, amongst feral colonies over this last winter. This is the worst winter survival rate amongst the feral colonies known to the volunteers since they started monitoring them five years ago.”Dr Gray told how bees face many challenges internationally. She said: “Honey bees worldwide are having to contend with habitat loss and reduction in variety of forage sources due to pressures of intensifying land use, increasing spread of new and old pests — caused by globalisation of trade in bees and bee products — as well as possible adverse effects of agricultural pesticides.”For bees in northern Europe, poor weather conditions — combined with these various other factors which impact adversely on bees — are certainly making beekeeping a challenge and survival difficult for honey bees generally.”The difficult weather conditions are a particular problem in Scotland, with severe winters followed by long cold wet springs being a problem, especially if it comes after a poor wet summer as in this last year.”In April, Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead announced the Scottish Government was making £200,000 available to help commercial bee farmers to restock and rebuild their colonies, which were devastated by prolonged winter weather conditions.

Read more

Face identification accuracy is in the eye (and brain) of the beholder

July 24, 2013 — Though humans generally have a tendency to look at a region just below the eyes and above the nose toward the midline when first identifying another person, a small subset of people tend to look further down — at the tip of the nose, for instance, or at the mouth. However, as UC Santa Barbara researchers Miguel Eckstein and Matthew Peterson recently discovered, “nose lookers” and “mouth lookers” can do just as well as everyone else when it comes to the split-second decision-making that goes into identifying someone. Their findings are in a recent issue of the journal Psychological Science.”It was a surprise to us,” said Eckstein, professor in the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences, of the ability of that subset of “nose lookers” and “mouth lookers” to identify faces. In a previous study, he and postdoctoral researcher Peterson established through tests involving a series of face images and eye-tracking software that most humans tend to look just below the eyes when identifying another human being and when forced to look somewhere else, like the mouth, their face identification accuracy suffers.The reason we look where we look, said the researchers, is evolutionary. With survival at stake and only a limited amount of time to assess who an individual might be, humans have developed the ability to make snap judgments by glancing at a place on the face that allows the observer’s eye to gather a massive amount of information, from the finer features around the eyes to the larger features of the mouth. In 200 milliseconds, we can tell whether another human being is friend, foe, or potential mate. The process is deceptively easy and seemingly negligible in its quickness: Identifying another individual is an activity on which we embark virtually from birth, and is crucial to everything from day-to-day social interaction to life-or-death situations. Thus, our brain devotes specialized circuitry to face recognition.”One of, if not the most, difficult task you can do with the human face is to actually identify it,” said Peterson, explaining that each time we look at someone’s face, it’s a little different — perhaps the angle, or the lighting, or the face itself has changed — and our brains constantly work to associate the current image with previously remembered images of that face, or faces like it, in a continuous process of recognition. Computer vision has nowhere near that capacity in identifying faces, yet.So it would seem to follow that those who look at other parts of a person’s face might perform less well, and might be slower to recognize potential threats, or opportunities.Or so the researchers thought. In a series of tests involving face identification tasks, the researchers found a small group that departed from the typical just-below-the-eyes gaze. …

Read more

Utilizzando il sito, accetti l'utilizzo dei cookie da parte nostra. maggiori informazioni

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close