Tag: Body

Is Yoga Good Exercise?

From CrossFit to Insanity workouts, exercise has lately trended toward the extreme. But physical activity doesn’t always have to be vigorous to be effective.

While it may seem mellow compared to most training programs, yoga’s health benefits keep pace—and often outdistance—what many people would call “traditional” forms of exercise.

For starters, research shows regular yoga practice lowers your risk for heart disease and hypertension. Yoga may also lessen symptoms of depression, headaches, diabetes, some forms of cancer and pain-related diseases like arthritis.




Yoga also seems to combat weight gain.

One 4-year study from Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found middle-aged adults who practiced yoga at least once a week gained 3 fewer pounds than those who stuck with other forms of exercise.

The same study found overweight adults who practice yoga lost 5 pounds, while a non-yoga group gained 13 pounds. Those results held even when the authors accounted for different eating habits.

How can a little bending and stretching do all that? Unlike exercises like running or lifting weights—both of which crank up your heart rate and stimulate your nervous system—yoga does just the opposite.

It puts you in a parasympathetic state, so your heart rate goes down and blood pressure goes down,” says Dr. Tiffany Field, director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine.

Field has published an in-depth review of yoga’s potential health benefits. She says the types and varieties of movement involved in yoga stimulate pressure receptors in your skin, which in turn ramp up your brain and body’s vagal activity.

Your vagus nerve connects your brain to several of your organs, and it also plays a role in hormone production and release.

All of this may explain yoga’s research-backed ties to a healthier heart, as well as its ability to slash your stress, improve your mood, quell your appetite and help you sleep more soundly, Field says.

When you consider the health perks linked to each of those brain and body benefits—lower inflammation, lower body weight, lower disease risk—you could make an argument that few activities are as good for you as yoga.

One thing yoga doesn’t do, though, is burn loads of calories. Even hot forms of yoga like Bikram result in modest energy expenditures—roughly the number of calories you’d burn during a brisk walk.

While more and more research suggests calories shouldn’t be your sole focus when it comes to diet and exercise, there’s no question that running, swimming, lifting weights and other more-vigorous forms of exercise are great for your brain and body.

Yoga is unquestionably good for you, Field says, but it should be done in tandem with traditional forms of physical activity—not in place of them.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

When You Lose Weight, Where Does It Actually Go?

Get this — when you lose weight, it literally vanishes into thin air. For real.

When we talk about weight loss, we generally talk about “burning” fat. That’s not incorrect. But many folks – including plenty of doctors – will mistakenly tell you that this fat is mostly lost as heat as the result of this “burning.”

But as you so rightly point out, the law of conservation of mass says that the physical stuff that makes up fat has to go somewhere. And no, it doesn’t all go down the toilet.

In fact, most of it is exhaled as carbon dioxide.




When you lose weight it’s essentially like you’re eating your own fat,” Louis Aronne, director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Center at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian, told The Washington Post.

Your body needs a certain amount of energy to function, and it gets that energy from food. When you consume more energy than you expend, it gets stored in fat cells as triglycerides which are made of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.

When you consume less energy than you expend, your body taps into that stored fat.

Those triglycerides go into your bloodstream and break up into smaller chunks of fatty acid, Aronne explained, which tissues throughout your body can use as fuel.

To fuel body operations, those fatty acids get broken down yet again into smaller chemical components. The breaking of those chemical bonds produces energy, and then your body is left with a bit of water and a whole lot of CO2.

In a study in the 2014 Christmas edition of the British Medical Journal – an issue known for scientifically sound but cheeky studies – researchers came up with a calculation to estimate the precise input and output of this process.

They found that to burn a pound of fat, a human needs to inhale about three pounds of oxygen, kickstarting metabolic processes that produce just under three pounds of carbon dioxide and about a pound of water.

That water can exit the body in plenty of ways – poop, pee, sweat, saliva and any number of bodily fluids – but your lungs handle the brunt of the weight loss.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

A New Implant Heals Broken Legs by Transforming Into Real Bone

When a bone breaks, medical devices and objects like screws and pins are often used to hold the pieces together while the bone heals.

But this process can be extremely painful, long, and difficult. One new technological marvel might make these methods obsolete.

This potentially game-changing new tool is a 3D printed ceramic implant that holds fractured bones together while turning into actual, natural bone.

Created by Hala Zreiqat at the University of Sydney in Australia and her colleagues, this implant has successfully repaired broken arm bones in rabbits in testing.




Additionally, in a soon-to-be-published study, the team tested this ability with large leg fractures in sheep.

Despite the small sample, the researchers were encouraged by the fact that the experiment was equally successful in all the eight animals involved in the study.

According to the scientists, the sheep were able to walk immediately after surgery where the implant was placed.

However, for four weeks after surgery, the sheep did walk with plaster casts to improve stabilization throughout the healing process.

Three months post-op, the researchers observed complete healing in 25 percent of the fractures, and this rose to 88 percent at the one-year mark.

Additionally, as these bones grew back, the scaffolds of the initial implant dissolved gradually.

So, not only does the implant allow the bone to heal while quite literally creating natural bone in places where it’s missing, but it also dissolves when it is no longer needed.

The implant has a similar composition to natural bone.

So the researchers concluded that it was able to dissolve seamlessly without any toxic side effects and meld into the bone because, “the body can’t tell the difference,” Zreiqat said.

The implant is porous and acts as a scaffold that natural bone and blood vessels can grow through, which makes it a seemingly perfect tool in bone restoration.

This, if it continues to prove successful in testing, would be a drastic improvement to treatment for broken bones.

The sheep in the study were observed to be extremely tolerant of the implants.

Additionally, methods that use bone grafts can be rejected by a patient’s immune system, whereas the ceramic implant tested here was not.

Specifically, the implant is made up of calcium silicate, the mineral granite, and small amounts of strontium and zinc which are trace elements in natural bone.

One downside to the new implants seems to be their rigidity, but for many people the use of these grafts could significantly reduce pain and allow them to heal faster.

The future of medicine will benefit from unique applications of advancing technologies.

3D printing isn’t just for plastics and digital devices. Biological elements can be used within the medical sector to improve the lives of patients, physicians, and the continually developing field.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

Scientists Found Out That Wounds Sustained At Night Heal Twice As Slowly Injuries Sustained At Daytime

Body clocks cause wounds such as cuts and burns sustained during the day to heal around 60 percent faster than those sustained at night, scientists have discovered in a finding that has implications for surgery and wound-healing medicines.

In a study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine on Wednesday, the scientists showed for the first time how our internal body clocks regulate wound healing by skin cells, and optimize healing during the day.

Burns that happened at night took an average of 60 percent longer to heal than burns that occurred during the day, the scientists found.

Night-time burns – sustained between 8pm to 8am – were 95 percent healed after an average of 28 days, compared with only 17 days if the burn happened between 8am and 8pm.




Body clocks – known as circadian rhythms – regulate almost every cell in the body, driving 24-hour cycles in many processes such as sleeping, hormone secretion and metabolism.

The key to accelerated daytime wound healing, the scientists found, was that skin cells moved more rapidly to repair the wound and there was also more collagen – the main structural protein in skin – deposited around the wound site.

This is the first time that the circadian clock within individual skin cells has been shown to determine how effectively they respond to injuries,” said John O‘Neill, who co-led the research at Britain’s Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology.

We consistently see about a two-fold difference in wound healing speed between the body clock’s day and night. It may be that our bodies have evolved to heal fastest during the day when injuries are more likely to occur.

Treatment of wounds costs health services worldwide billions of dollars a year – in Britain’s National Health Service alone, the costs are estimated around 5 billion pounds ($6.56 billion) a year.

Experts say this is partly due to a lack of effective drugs to speed up wound closure.

John Blaikley, a clinician scientist from Britain’s University of Manchester, said these new insights into the circadian factors important in skin repair should help the search for better wound-healing drugs.

It could also help doctors improve outcomes by changing what time of day surgery is carried out, or when medicines are given, he said.

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Pass it on: New Scientist