Overweight and obesity has increased significantly recent decades among children and teenagers. Studies have shown that in some Western countries, up to one third of children and teenagers are obese. The New England Journal of Medicine recently published a study where the relationship between BMI (body mass index) and heart disease in 2.3 million youths from Israel were examined. The special features of this study are the large sample of youths who were investigated, and the correlation between BMI in teenagers and heart disease in midlife.
Depression is common and estimates suggest that in a family of four, one of the family members will likely suffer from mental health problems. Depression is even 3 times more common in patients after a heart attack than in the general population. Depression after a heart attack is bad not only because of the accompanying emotional distress, it also increases the risk of having another heart attack or premature death.
Studies of patients with coronary heart disease with elevated depressive symptoms support that exercise is just as effective as antidepressant drugs, and that the reduction in depressive symptoms among those participating in cardiac rehabilitation is related to improvements in fitness. All together the existing literature gives support for a positive effect of aerobic exercise on depressive symptoms in patients with established heart disease.
“This is based on solid medical research. We have developed an algorithm, PAI – personal activity intelligence, which relies on the data from The HUNT Study,” CERG leader, Professor Ulrik Wisløff, explained to Adresseavisen.
Wisløff thinks the app could revolutionize the measurement of exercise effects.
“PAI score adapts the individual user’s lifestyle and creates customized targets that are realistic to achieve. As long as the heart rate reaches a certain zone for a certain period, the user will achieve maximum health impact”, Wisløff told the Norwegian newspaper.
PAI is based on incredibly robust data. With a large population we have studied over many years, through The Hunt Study, this is unique.
The UTFORSK project is a collaboration between CERG at NTNU and the University of Sao Paulo. Our primary aim with the project is to promote exchange of staff and students for a variety of activities such as collaboration in research projects, joint teaching, workshops and seminars in the field of Exercise Science. Last week we organized our first Seminar in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The goals of the Seminar were to summarize the research projects in collaboration and also to build new partnerships in research that will last beyond the duration of the project.
The study followed some 5000 men and women over a 16 year period and found that sitting at work or at home was not associated with increased risk of death even when age, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, health, alcohol consumption and diet were taken into consideration. So, according to these authors, sitting may not be as bad for us as we previously thought.
The biological level ageing results from the impact of the accumulation of a wide variety of molecular and cellular damage over time. But these changes are neither linear nor consistent, and they are only loosely associated with a person’s age in years. There is no ‘typical’ older person and some 80 year-olds have physical and mental capacities similar to many 20 year-olds.
However, as we grow older our bodies are changing. We may grow a little rounder around the waistline, or wake in the night, or feel a little stiffer in the morning. Most of us have to start to use glasses, and slowly our hear turns grey. Some even loose it. As we grow older increased forgetfulness that not is impairing our daily life is considered to be a part of the normal aging process. Generally, information processing also slows as we grow older, and older people have more trouble multitasking. However, research find that problems with memory, language, thinking and judgment that are greater than normal age-related changes, also called cognitive impairment may increase the risk of later progressing to dementia. Still, some people with mild cognitive impairment never get worse, and a few eventually get better.
The main challenge for humans visiting high altitude (HA) is the reduced oxygen availability in the air (“thin air”). How well humans tolerate HA is highly variable, but in order to minimize the risk of developing the feared symptoms of acute mountain sickness (AMS), proper acclimatization is needed. The first symptoms of AMS are “self-limiting forms” like severe headache, tiredness and vomiting, but improper acclimatization can lead to the potentially lethal forms like high-altitude cerebral -and pulmonary edema (HACE/HAPE). Vital in a successful acclimatization is that the blood vessels are able to deliver enough oxygen throughout the body. Previous research have shown that blood vessels tend to contract in HA, thereby we wanted to investigate if we could improve blood vessel function in HA simply by drinking beetroot juice at 3700 meters of altitude. Blood vessel function was measured through a standard test of arterial endothelial function by a flow mediated dilatation test (FMD) using ultrasound.
Familial Hypercholesterolaemia (FH) is the most common of all severe familial disorders and its hallmark is high LDL-cholesterol in plasma. The disease is carried by one out of 200-300 persons in Europe – that is to say a total of about 2 million people in Europe carry FH. The disease is present from early childhood, but is carried without symptoms until the third or fourth decade in life, when heart disease will appear. If untreated, 50 percent of men will have had their first heart attack before the age of 50 years, and women before 55 years. To carry FH is to carry a ticking bomb that, if untreated, will cause cardiac disease or death.
In the animal kingdom there is an interesting inverse relation between heart rate and life expectancy. For a 177 years old Galapagos tortoise with a heart rate of 6 beats/min, the 2 years lifespan with 450 beats/min of a mouse is just a blink of an eye. In general, there is a “rule”: the faster the heart rate the shorter the lifespan. The immediate consequence of this “rule” is that the total number of heartbeats in a lifetime is approximately constant and equal in most of the animal species. The only exception is … humans! According to “the rule” we should live no longer than 30 years, which actually was our life expectancy back in the days. We thank ourselves and the progress we have made in medical science for living almost 3 times longer than we should. In reality, what I have called “rule” is a gross approximation. Multiple factors that affect the basal metabolic rate have to be considered since they in turn affect the heart rate. For instance, hibernation extends life expectancy in mammals.
Most people know that exercise is good for their physical health, but not everyone knows that it also has beneficial effects for cognitive functions and mental health. Cognitive performance decreases with old age, and a growing elderly population increases the amount of people that will get diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. In addition, mood related disorders are a major worldwide problem. Exercise can improve the lives of people who are at the risk of developing these brain-associated disorders.
Exercise can increase your memory
A study performed on elderly people showed that increased physical activity resulted in an enhanced memory performance. It did not matter if the increased activity came from organized training sessions or from routines embedded into the daily life such as walking to the supermarket, take the stairs instead of the elevator, and generally move around more in the house. One of the symptoms of diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s is impaired memory, and regular aerobic exercise is therefore recommended to prevent or delay the onset of these diseases.