The Back Pain Epidemic.

Low back and neck pain is an increasingly widespread and expensive condition worldwide, costing the US alone $88bn a year – the third highest bill for any health condition.

Version 2

Millions of people worldwide suffer from low back and neck pain, most of it unexplained, although some professionals think it may be worsened by sitting at desks all day, carrying bags and general bad posture. Episodes of acute pain are very common, but experts say that medical investigations only make things worse and the best cure is often to take painkillers, exercise gently and wait for the pain to pass. Continue reading The Back Pain Epidemic.

Fish Oils help stop muscle atrophy in the Elderly

Moderate exercise, and a regular intake of oily fish fatty acids, keeps elderly immobility at bay, a study suggests.

Findings of a recent trial show that women aged over 65 who received omega-3 fatty acids gained almost twice as much muscle strength following exercise than those taking olive oil.

A larger trial is planned to confirm these findings and to determine why muscle condition improves.

The findings are being presented at the British Science Festival in Aberdeen.

Some studies have linked diets high in omega-3 – commonly found in oily fish such as mackerel and sardines – to potential health benefits, such as a lower risk of coronary heart disease.

During healthy ageing, muscle size is reduced by 0.5-2% per year.

This process – known as sarcopenia – can result in frailty and immobility in old people.

Little is known about the prevalence of sarcopenia in the UK, but data from the US shows that 25% of people aged 50-70 have sarcopenia and this increases to more than half of those aged over 80 years. Continue reading Fish Oils help stop muscle atrophy in the Elderly

Exercise – Probably the best Medicine of all

From dementia and diabetes to high blood pressure – no pill protects us against ill health like exercise does.

A plethora of recent studies shows that exercise protects us from heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, obesity, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and depression. It even boosts memory. And it has the potential to prevent more premature deaths than any other single treatment, with none of the side effects of actual medication. “It’s a wonder drug,” says Erik Richter, a diabetes researcher at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. “There’s probably not a single organ in the body that’s unaffected by it.”

Throughout evolution, humans have been active. Our ancestors chased prey as hunter-gatherers and fled from predators. More recently, they laboured on farms and in factories. But the decline of agricultural and industrial labour, plus the invention of the car, a multitude of labour-saving devices and – most perniciously – TV, computers and video games, mean we’ve all ground to a sudden and catastrophic standstill.

“We were built to be active, but the way our environment has changed and the way we live our lives has led us to become inactive,” says Christopher Hughes, senior lecturer in sport and exercise medicine at Queen Mary, University of London. Continue reading Exercise – Probably the best Medicine of all