Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Exercise May Ease Pain of Fibromyalgia, Study Suggests

Exercise won‘t exacerbate the pain associated with fibromyalgia, and it may actually improve it, a new study suggests.
Researchers from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., found that engaging in light to moderate physical activity over time could ease symptoms of the condition.
"For many people with fibromyalgia, they will exercise for a week or two and then start hurting and think that exercise is aggravating their pain, so they stop exercising," study senior author Dr. Dennis Ang, associate professor of internal medicine at Wake Forest, said in a Wake Forest news release.
"We hope that our findings will help reduce patients‘ fears and reassure them that sustained exercise will improve their overall health and reduce their symptoms without worsening their pain," Ang added.
In conducting the study, which was published online May 2 in the journal Arthritis Care & Research, the researchers had 170 people engage in individualized moderate exercise plans, such as light jogging or brisk walking, for 20 minutes daily. During the 36-week study, the participants‘ symptoms and physical activity were assessed in questionnaires every 12 weeks.
The study showed that the participants who engaged in moderate-intensity exercise for at least 12 weeks had greater improvements in their symptoms than those unable to attain higher levels of physical activity.
The researchers concluded that long-term physical activity as recommended in current medical guidelines does not lead to increased pain for those with fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia or similar conditions affect roughly 10 percent of U.S. adults. Symptoms include widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep disturbance and memory issues. Experts suggest that fibromyalgia is a pain-processing disorder caused by abnormal functioning of the central nervous system.
More information
The U.S. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases provides more information on fibromyalgia.
Health News Copyright © 2013 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Shakira Dishes on Sexiness After Childbirth

Noel Vasquez/Getty Images for Extra(LOS ANGELES) -- Shakira is known for her sexy dance moves, but the "Hips Don‘t Lie" singer and The Voice coach admits she was insecure about her body after giving birth to her first son, Milan, in January.

"It‘s hard to deal with a lot of the things that you have to deal with. You know, looking at your new image in the mirror. I looked like a Shar-Pei when I first delivered," Shakira admitted on a special Mother‘s Day edition of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which aired Friday. "I was like, ‘Oh my God. Am I ever going to be sexy again? Is my man ever going to feel attracted to me again the way he used to be?‘"

Shakira‘s boyfriend is soccer star Gerard Pique. The two welcomed their first child in Barcelona, Spain.

Spanish media reports had suggested that Shakira, who‘s 36, had scheduled a Caesarean section, but that didn‘t make childbirth any easier for her.

"Delivering a baby is not as idyllic as people make it seem," she told Ellen. "Don‘t expect that he is going to be rosy cheeks, cherub when he is born. Actually, when I saw mine, I was like, ‘Oh my God, he‘s purple and wrinkled!‘"

Ellen also gave Shakira a special gift for Milan: his own mini-Voice revolving red chair, complete with his own little button to push.  Demonstrating how the chair spins around, Ellen said, "If he wants to have dinner and playtime, he turns around. If not, he doesn‘t!"  Shakira said the gift was "the cutest thing ever!"

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

The Advanced No-Gym Bodyweight Workout


Advanced Bodyweight Workout
Think bodyweight training can’t get intense? Our favorite no-equipment moves are getting a whole lot more kick-ass — from head to toe. Designed by Greatist Expert and trainer Jonathan Angelilli, this advanced bodyweight workout stacks exercises in back-to-back circuits to keep the heart rate up while building strength and speed. From handstand push-ups to single-leg planks, 30 minutes is all it takes to put the mind and body to the test — no heavy weights or machines necessary.
Before performing any of the advanced bodyweight moves below, Angelilli recommends having a foundation of at least one year of strength training under your belt (on top of being healthy and injury-free, of course). And to stay that way, be sure to adequately warm-up. Begin by foam rolling all the major muscle groups, followed by a 5-minute jog or walk on an incline. Lastly, don’t forget to devote at least 10 minutes to dynamic movement prep 
(think: walking knee hugs and  “the world’s greatest stretch"). 
Unfamiliar with any exercises illustrated below? Scroll past the infographic for detailed descriptions on how to perform each move safely and effectively. If the prescribed rest periods aren’t quite cutting it, add some extra time for recovery (remember quality over quantity when all’s said and done). And if the workout’s not challenging enough, cut the rest periods in half — or less — to keep pushing yourself to achieve your very best. 
30-Minute Advanced Bodyweight Workout

Exercise Cheat Sheet — The How-To‘s

1a. Jump Lunge
Targets: Legs
How to: Take the traditional lunge up a notch. Start with a basic front lunge — but on the way up, explode with enough force to jump a few inches off the ground. Land softly with both legs bent at 90 degrees (and the front knee positioned directly over the ankle). Got the hang of things? Switch legs in mid-air, landing with the other leg in front. Alternate for 10-15 reps on each leg while maintaining a strong core and upright torso.
1b. Clapping Push-Up
Targets: Chest, triceps, core
How to: Ready to get a little hang time? This move starts with a standard push-up, but on the way up, push off of the floor explosively enough that the upper body takes flight. Bring the hands together mid-air for a single clap (or more if you’ve got it like that!), then return to starting position. Aim for 10-15 reps, or however many you can execute with good form.
1c. Single-Leg Glute Bridge
Targets: Glutes, hamstrings, lower back
How to: Start lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, about eight inches from your butt. Bring the right leg into the chest, then raise up into a half bridge position by pushing firmly into the left foot. Repeat for 10-15 reps, then repeat on the other leg. Not challenging enough? Try pulsing at the top (meaning dropping down a quarter rep, then back up a quarter rep before lowering all the way back down).
1d. Side Plank Star
Targets: Obliques, glutes, shoulders
How to: Got those side planks down pat? Time to raise the bar. Starting in a traditional side plank (forearm on the ground and body stiff as a board), lift the top leg straight up while keeping the rest of the body perfectly still. Hold it there for 1-2 seconds, then bring the top leg back down to meet the other leg. For those feeling nice n’ steady, try lifting that leg a few inches higher with each rep. Repeat for 10-15 reps, then switch.
2a. Handstand Push-Up
Targets: Shoulders, chest, core, glutes
How to: To play things safe, Angelilli recommends starting with the basic handstand. Spread those fingers wide, shoulder-width on the ground, about 12 to 18 inches from a sturdy wall. With hands flat like pancakes and pointer fingers parallel to each other, walk the feet as close to the hands as possible, so you’re in a short downward facing dog position. Next, bend one leg, and use it to kick the straight leg up and over your head until it hits the wall. (Be sure to keep those elbows locked!) Once you have the strength and balance to hold steady for two minutes straight, try out sets of 10 mini reps (lowering down 1-2 inches and returning to the starting point) with the feet riding the wall. Once your strength is there, try the full-on handstand push-up — we recommend a spotter for those first few attempts!
2b. Rotating Jump Squat
Targets: Legs, core
How to: The basic bodyweight squat gets some serious hang time with this advanced move. Lower into a traditional squat, back flat with thighs parallel to the ground, and explode off the ground, rotating mid-air 180 degrees counterclockwise. Land softly in a squat, and with no rest in between reps, launch into the next jump, rotating 180 degrees clockwise this time. Be sure to keep the chest up and spine long, using your breath and your abs to help power you through. Repeat for 10-15 reps.
2c. Plank Balance
Targets: Core, shoulders, hip flexors
How to: Starting in a traditional plank position with the back flat and forearms planted securely on the floor, simultaneously lift your left arm and right leg until they are parallel to the ground. Hold for a second (or longer!), then switch, keeping the core tight and hips steady. Aim for 10-30 reps, or, go for time. (Any chance you can sing the Star Spangled Banner while holding tight?)
2d. Pulsing Superman
Targets: Lower back, glutes, core
How to: Ready to channel your inner superhero? Lie on your stomach with the arms and legs pointing to the back wall. Peel your upper body off the mat, and lift the arms and legs, keeping them straight. Next, comes the tricky part: At the very top of the position, pulse the body one inch up then one in down for 10-20 reps. Up the ante even more by making those reps super-slow — just don’t forget to breathe!

Want more? Check out 17 Powerful Bodyweight Exercises for Strength and Speed, or for a more beginner-friendly workout: The 30-Minute, No-Gym Bodyweight Workout.
Tried the above workout? Let us know how it went in the comments below, or by tweeting at @nycfitness and @jshakeshaft

Double Whammy for Your Heart

 Air pollution and noise pollution both may boost the risk of heart disease, new research from Germany suggests.
"Many studies have looked at air pollution, while others have looked at noise pollution," said Dr. Barbara Hoffmann, a professor of environmental epidemiology at IUF Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine and lead author of the new study.
"This study looked at both at the same time and found that each form of pollution was independently associated with subclinical atherosclerosis," Hoffmann said.
Atherosclerosis is also known as hardening of the arteries.
Hoffmann and her colleagues are scheduled to present their findings Monday in Philadelphia at a meeting of the American Thoracic Society.
The researchers analyzed data from a continuing population study underway in the Ruhr region of Germany. The data covered how exposure to fine particle pollution and long-term traffic noise exposure affected cardiovascular risk among more than 4,200 residents, average age 60, of three cities in the vicinity.
After controlling for age, gender, smoking status, physical activity, alcohol use and other factors that could affect the results, the team found that air and noise pollution significantly boosted a clinical measure of arterial hardening known as the "thoracic aortic calcification," or TAC.
While local air pollution was found to drive up TAC among the study participants by an average of nearly 20 percent, local noise pollution drove up TAC by roughly 8 percent, the investigators found.
"Both exposures seem to be important, and both must be considered on a population level, rather than focusing on just one hazard," said Hoffmann in a news release from the Thoracic Society. She said she plans to investigate the effect of both variables over a longer period of time.
Dr. Philip Harber, a professor of public health at the University of Arizona, said the study is important "because it says that both air pollution and noise pollution represent important health problems."
Harber, who was not involved in the study, said the findings could clear up common misperceptions. "In the past, some air pollution studies have been dismissed because critics said it was probably the noise pollution that caused the harm, and vice versa. Now we know that people who live near highways, for instance, are being harmed by air pollution and by noise pollution," he said in the news release.
Although the study found an association between exposure to noise and air pollution and arterial hardening, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
The data and conclusions of research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Angelina Jolie Will Have Ovaries Removed to Lower Chances of Cancer: Report

Film star Angelina Jolie will have her ovaries removed to help lower her odds for ovarian cancer, People magazine reported Wednesday.  
The news comes just a day after Jolie, 37, revealed in an article published on the editorial page of The New York Times that she had undergone a double mastectomy. Jolie wrote that she made the decision after learning she carried a gene, called BRCA1, that is linked to a significantly higher risk for both breast and ovarian cancers.
Now, Jolie "is also planning to undergo surgery to remove her ovaries," an operation known as oophorectomy, according to People.
Jolie‘s mother, actress Marcheline Bertrand, died of ovarian cancer at the age of 56.
According to the Mayo Clinic, preventive removal of the ovaries can cut the risk of ovarian cancer in a woman with a BRCA mutation by 80 percent to 90 percent.
In the Times article, Jolie said she began the process to have both of her breasts removed in early February.
Writing about her mother‘s nearly 10-year-long battle with cancer, Jolie said: "She held out long enough to meet the first of her grandchildren and to hold them in her arms. But my other children will never have the chance to know her and experience how loving and gracious she was."
Jolie, who has six children with her companion and fellow film star Brad Pitt, said she often finds herself trying to explain to her children about the disease that killed her mother. "They have asked if the same could happen to me. I have always told them not to worry, but the truth is I carry a ‘faulty‘ gene, BRCA1, which sharply increases my risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer," she wrote.
The BRCA1 and related BRCA2 genes belong to a class of human genes known as tumor suppressors. According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, in normal cells, the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes help to maintain the stability of a cell‘s genetic material -- called DNA -- and help prevent uncontrolled cell growth. Mutation of these genes has been linked to the development of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.
The cancer institute estimates that 14 out of every 1,000 women in the general population will develop ovarian cancer in their lifetime. However, that risk rises steeply among women with mutations in either the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes to anywhere between 155 to 400 women per 1,000.
These genetic mutations are most commonly found in Jewish women of eastern European descent. Also, Norwegian, Dutch, and Icelandic peoples have higher rates of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, according to the cancer institute.
Dr. Michael Cowher, a breast surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic, said the BRCA mutation doesn‘t just affect women‘s breasts or ovaries -- males who carry the genetic mutation face an increased risk of breast and prostate cancers. Also, there‘s an increased risk of pancreatic cancer in BRCA2 and some BRCA1 carriers, he said.
Oophorectomy does come with its own risks for premenopausal women, according to the Mayo Clinic, and the decision should be carefully considered. Risks include bone-thinning (osteoporosis), menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and an increased risk of heart disease.
The procedure itself "is a generally safe procedure that carries a small risk of complications, including infection, intestinal blockage and injury to internal organs," the Mayo Clinic said.
In regards to Jolie‘s double mastectomy, experts stressed that breast removal isn‘t the only choice facing a woman with BRCA mutations. "There are other options they can discuss with their doctor," Cowher said. "These include chemoprevention with medications like tamoxifen, and increased frequency of clinical and image-based screening regimens," he explained.
A double mastectomy involves removing as much "at-risk" tissue as possible to reduce the risk of cancer. The procedure does not, however, guarantee complete protection against cancer, according to the cancer institute.
Dr. Stephanie Bernik, chief of surgical oncology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, called a double mastectomy "the best option for someone who is BRCA-positive."
"The risk of cancer is extremely high and we know that you can watch them, but there is no guarantee that you will catch the cancer at an early stage," she said. "If you have the ability to prevent a cancer, that‘s probably the best route," Bernik explained.
"Not everyone wants a prophylactic mastectomy and they don‘t all do that," Bernik said. "But women should certainly be informed."
 Bernik said more women are opting for the procedure. "The reconstructive options have improved dramatically over the past 15 years, so women can at least feel confident knowing that if they remove their breasts they will be left with a very good to excellent cosmetic result," she said.
Writing in the Times article, Jolie said, "My doctors estimated that I had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer, although the risk is different in the case of each woman.
"Once I knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and to minimize the risk as much as I could. I made a decision to have a preventive double mastectomy."
Jolie said the process of having her breasts removed was finished by late April, and included the reconstruction of both breasts with implants. "There have been many advances in this [reconstruction] procedure in the last few years, and the results can be beautiful," she wrote.
According to the cancer institute, genetic testing can reveal whether a woman carries a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation. There are benefits to such testing, whether a woman receives a positive or a negative result. "The potential benefits of a negative result include a sense of relief and the possibility that special preventive checkups, tests, or surgeries may not be needed. A positive test result can bring relief from uncertainty and allow people to make informed decisions about their future, including taking steps to reduce their cancer risk," the agency said.
For her part, Jolie said: "I wanted to write this to tell other women that the decision to have a mastectomy was not easy. But it is one I am very happy that I made. My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87 percent to under 5 percent. I can tell my children that they don‘t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer."
"For any woman reading this, I hope it helps you to know you have options. I want to encourage every woman, especially if you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, to seek out the information and medical experts who can help you through this aspect of your life, and to make your own informed choices."