Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hop Hop Hop

Maybe I will write a book. What do you think? My head is full of nothing, should look great on paper. It used to be full of color and imagination, so if you let me have another look inside, maybe some of the buried treasures will still be there. Actually, I do have an idea or two. If I blend them a wonderful story might blossom.
First things first though: study.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Millions of people 'waste their time by jogging'

Researchers have discovered that the health benefits of aerobic exercise are determined by our genes - and can vary substantially between individuals.

Around 20 per cent of the population do not get any significant aerobic fitness benefit from regular exercise, according to an international study led by scientists at the University of London.

For these people, regular jogging and gym work will do little to ward off conditions like heart disease and diabetes which aerobic exercise is generally thought to resist.

Researchers say they would be better off abandoning their exercise regime and focusing on other ways of staying healthy - such as improving their diet or taking medication.

James Timmons of the Royal Veterinary College at the University of London, who led the study, said that the discovery would pave the way for more personalised treatments, with patients able to take DNA tests to find out the most effective way of keeping their own hearts healthy.

It could also be used to root out would-be recruits to the Armed Forces who will never be able to reach the required fitness standards.

Dr Timmons said the research broke new ground by using the human genome - the genetic map of the body which was decoded by scientists 10 years ago - to suggest improvements to healthcare.

"This would be one of the first examples of personalised, genomic-based medicine," he said.

As part of the research, published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, more than 500 participants in Europe and the US were asked to undergo various aerobic training programmes in line with government advice to do 30 minutes of exercise five times a week.

By the end of the 20, 12 and six week programmes the majority of people had shown a measurable improvement in how much oxygen their body consumes during exercise, a key indicator of aerobic fitness.

But 20 per cent saw their maximum oxygen increase by less than five per cent - a negligible improvement. Around 30 per cent showed no increase in insulin sensitivity, meaning that the exercise did not reduce their risk of diabetes.

A pioneering analysis of muscle tissue samples taken from the participants revealed a set of about 30 genes that predicted the increase in oxygen intake. Of these, 11 were shown to have a particular impact on how much a person could benefit from aerobic exercise.

Dr Timmons said: “We know that low maximal oxygen consumption is a strong risk factor for premature illness and death so the tendency is for public health experts to automatically prescribe aerobic exercise to increase oxygen capacity.

"Our hope is that before too long, they will be able to target that prescription just to those who may stand a greater chance of benefiting, and prescribe more effective preventive or therapeutic measures to the others.”

Research published by the British Heart Foundation this week found that one third of adults do their recommended 30 minutes of physical activity a day.

At their peak seven years ago 8.7 million Britons paid to attend gyms, although memberships have fallen since the start of the recession.

The research was conducted in association with the Human Genomics Laboratory in Louisiana and the Centre for Healthy Ageing at the University of Copenhagen.


Live cockroach in ear

Looks pretty darn creepy if you ask me.

More cat owners 'have degrees' than dog-lovers

Being a dog person I am going to watch a documentary about man's best friend this afternoon. In the meantime, here is some BBC news:

People who own a cat are more likely to have a university degree than those with a pet dog, a study by Bristol University suggests.

A poll of 2,524 households found that 47.2% of those with a cat had at least one person educated to degree level, compared with 38.4% of homes with dogs.

The study said longer hours, possibly associated with better qualified jobs, may make owning a dog impractical.

It also found that UK pet ownership was much higher than previously thought.

Cat and dog numbers were last estimated in a scientific peer-reviewed journal in 1989, which said there were 6.2 million and 6.4 million respectively in the UK.

But according to Bristol's Department of Clinical Veterinary Science, the populations today are likely to be about 10.3 million and 10.5 million.

Overall, it estimated that 26% of UK households owned cats and 31% owned dogs.

The study suggested a number of other characteristics, aside from education level, were associated with either cat or dog ownership.

Of those surveyed, dog-lovers were more likely to be male, living in rural areas and under the age of 55.

Age of children

But cat owners were more likely to be female and living in smaller or single-person households.

The age of children in a family also appeared to make a difference, with cats being more common than dogs in homes with children under the age of 10.

However Dr Jane Murray, a lecturer in feline epidemiology at Bristol University, said the variation in education level between owners was the most striking difference.

"We don't know why there is this discrepancy," she told the BBC News website.

"We did look at average household income but that wasn't significant.

"Our best guess is that it's to do with working hours and perhaps commuting to work, meaning people have a less suitable lifestyle for a dog.

"It's really just a hunch though."

Dr Murray, whose post is funded by the Cats Protection charity, said researchers hoped to repeat the study using the results of the 2011 census to get a clearer idea of trends in UK pet ownership.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Billie Jean - the literal version

Congratulations Jeff Bridges

Jeff has got his fifth Oscar nomination. This time for Best Actor in Crazy Heart. If he does not get it this time, those Academy folks really lose all credibility there is to lose.
In the meantime, congratulations, Jeff.