Archive for May, 2009

Intelligence Equates Fitness!

May 29, 2009

I found this very interesting article and I find it rather amusing… linking inteligence to physical fitness.   This is the first time I have read such a study published in the journal Intelligence and I want to share the information to all….

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We suggest that an over-arching ‘fitness factor’ (an index of general genetic quality that predicts survival and reproductive success) partially explains the observed associations between health outcomes and intelligence. As a proof of concept, we tested this idea in a sample of 3654 US Vietnam veterans aged 31–49 who completed five cognitive tests (from which we extracted a g factor), a detailed medical examination, and self-reports concerning lifestyle health risks (such as smoking and drinking).

As indices of physical health, we aggregated ‘abnormality counts’ of physician-assessed neurological, morphological, and physiological abnormalities in eight categories: cranial nerves, motor nerves, peripheral sensory nerves, reflexes, head, body, skin condition, and urine tests. Since each abnormality was rare, the abnormality counts showed highly skewed, Poisson-like distributions. The correlation matrix amongst these eight abnormality counts formed only a weak positive manifold and thus yielded only a weak common factor.

However, Poisson regressions showed that intelligence was a significant positive predictor of six of the eight abnormality counts, even controlling for diverse lifestyle covariates (age, obesity, combat and toxin exposure owing to service in Vietnam, and use of tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, and hard drugs).

These results give preliminary support for the notion of a superordinate fitness factor above intelligence and physical health, which could be further investigated with direct genetic assessments of mutation load across individuals.

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This study showed that being healthy is linked to being more intelligent.  And this relationship is linked to a certain genetic “fitness factor” that regulates both the health fitness  to that of brain intelligence.  

In other studies, the relationship was believed to be more of a “cause and effect” relationship where by being more intelligent means more likely to live a healthy lifestyle by eating the right kind of food and knowing the benefits of exercise.  Unfortunately, this cause and effect relationship may not be that simple after all because I know of intelligent people who may not be at their best of fitness level.

On the other hand, the researchers further noted that the lower intelligence predicted health problems more than deviant lifestyle factors like smoking or alcohol intake.

All these date suggest that there indeed is the existence of a genetic ‘fitness factor’ that influences both health fitness and the way our brains work!

Look Smart By Being Fit!!!!

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The Alcohol Paradox

May 16, 2009

 I came across a short review on the paradox of alcohol from the Harvard Newletter which I want to share.  Its concise and full of facts worth reading.

We may not know it but alcohol can have good benefits too… to Health.

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Drinking increases “good” HDL cholesterol, reduces factors in blood that make it more likely to clot, and may directly affect blood vessels, keeping the linings smooth and pliable and thus less vulnerable to atherosclerosis. European researchers reported interesting findings in 2008 that show a connection between alcohol intake and higher blood levels of omega-3 fats. Indeed, temperate tippling has been associated with everything from greater bone density to less risk for Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia, as well as protection against heart disease and stroke.

Moderation is paramount when it comes to alcohol, because drinking too much is patently ruinous. Triglycerides and blood pressure go up. Binge drinking can lead to stroke. Moderation is flexibly defined, but the American Heart Association guidelines are often cited: for men, one to two drinks a day; for women, just one. A drink is defined as a 12-ounce beer, 4 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.

Women do need to worry about alcohol increasing breast cancer risk. Alcohol may drive up estrogen levels, and estrogen seems to play an integral part in the development of many breast cancers. However, at moderate amounts (the drink-a-day level), the risk is small. Folic acid may help offset the breast cancer risk posed by alcohol, so women who drink are encouraged to get an extra 400 micrograms per day.

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Just like anything we do and eat:  Do and Eat the amount that is not more than what can harm you! 

The line between the good and the  bad effects can be so thin that you may not know it…you are already crossing the line!

So They Say:  DRINK MODERATELY!   Now you know what it means!

WHY Breastfeed?

May 8, 2009

Go to fullsize imagehat breastfeeding is best for babies…now we know its also good for mothers as well.  Good news for those who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding based on a new study publsihed in the recent journal of Obsetrics and Gynecology, May 2009: 

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OBJECTIVE: To examine dose-response relationships between the cumulative number of months women lactated and postmenopausal risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

METHODS: We examined data from 139,681 postmenopausal women (median age 63 years) who reported at least one live birth on enrolling in the Women’s Health Initiative observational study or controlled trials.

RESULTS: Dose-response relationships were seen; in fully adjusted models,

  • women who reported a lifetime history of more than 12 months of lactation were less likely to have hypertension , diabetes, hyperlipidemia, or cardiovascular disease than women who never breast-fed, but
  • they were not less likely to be obese.

In models adjusted for all above variables and BMI, similar relationships were seen. Using multivariate adjusted prevalence ratios from generalized linear models,

  • we estimate that among parous women who did not breast-feed compared with those who breast-fed for more than 12 months, 42.1% versus 38.6% would have hypertension, 5.3% versus 4.3% would have diabetes, 14.8% versus 12.3% would have hyperlipidemia, and 9.9% versus 9.1% would have developed cardiovascular disease when postmenopausal.
  • Over an average of 7.9 years of postmenopausal participation in the Women’s Health Initiative, women with a single live birth who breast-fed for 7-12 months were significantly less likely to develop cardiovascular disease  than women who never breast-fed.

CONCLUSION: Among postmenopausal women, increased duration of lactation was associated with a lower prevalence of hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and cardiovascular disease.

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What this study showed is that women who breastfed for more than one year throughout their lifetime were 10% less likely to have a heart attack or stroke.  But what’s important is that these breastfeeding women were also less likely to develop the dreaded metabolic syndrome: 20% less likely to develop of diabetes, 12% less likely to have hypertension and 19% less leklely to develop high cholesterol. 

How long should one breastfeed top get the effect?  Well, even women who had breastfed for only one month had lower rates of diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Why do benefits result with breastfeeding? 

Well most likely women who breastfeed their babies are more careful with their health in terms of food habits and lifestyle.  Likewise the hormone oxytocin produced during breastfeeding have the capacity to relax the vessels that may play a role in delaying plaque buildup in the vessel walls.

There you go guys…

Breastfeeding is Good for Our Health!