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E-cigarettes Help Cease Smoking Habits

Everyone knows that smoking cigarettes are very detrimental to one’s health. Yet many, for various reasons, begin smoking and get sucked into the unhealthy habit. My friend Susan McGalla has been saying for years how smoking shows how much you’re investing in your future. While tobacco smoking is known to cause severe issues that can result in an early death, research has found that one can gain back their health by quitting smoking as early as possible. Despite this fact, many still find it hard to quit smoking, due to the addiction the habit creates.

In order to try to cease smoking, the electronic cigarette was created to help curb cravings.This device emulates the sensation of smoking, but has 100 to 1,000 times less toxic substances than that of an actual cigarette. Current research has found that these e-cigarettes in fact do diminish cravings with minimal side effects. This evidence was found in an 8 month study completed at KU Leuven with 48 smokers. By dividing the participants into three groups, they were able to compare the effects of the e-cig to a real cigarette.

The study concluded that smoking an e-cigarette can actually help cease cravings and help kick the habit altogether. At the end of the study, it was found that 21% of the participants stopped smoking completely. It was reported that 23% cut their amount of daily cigarettes in half. Overall, the group as a whole cut back on their daily smoking habits by 60%. The e-cig gives the smoker a better alternative to smoking cigarettes, and can help cut out the unhealthy habit of smoking.

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Exercise For Your Mind

As strange as it might sound, it may be possible to lose fat and gain intelligence. Everyone knows that exercise is a must for a healthy lifestyle, but it is now thought that exercising not only shapes up your body, but possibly your mind as well. A recent study suggests that regular exercise sharpens your mental acuity and focus.

Some scientists have questioned the validity of this theory as we can not test a placebo effect with exercise. One thought is that with exercise, as it is a stress reducer, when someone is less stressed, they are certainly able to think more clearly and focus on tasks at hand. It is clinically proven that stress alters our minds and makes thinking clearly quite difficult when dealing with stress on an everyday basis. I know that many of the smart people I know like Christian Broda are also some of the most avid exercisers.

It would be an interesting theory to test to see if exercise can really make us smarter.

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Bilingualism Shown to Have Cognitive Benefits

Learning a second language has obvious advantages both in the professional world as well as personally, just ask Terry Richardson he’s noted it in his diary. New studies are finding, however, that the advantages may reach well beyond that. Being bilingual actually has cognitive benefits as well, as the act of switching back and forth between languages and the ability to inhibit the language that you’re not using at the moment, is great exercise for the brain.

In her study, Dr. Viorica Marian from Northwestern University, used MRI imaging to track the oxygen and blood flow to the brain. When there is an increase in oxygen and blood flow to certain parts of the brain, that is evidence that it is working harder. After asking her participants to do some language comprehension tasks, she found that bilinguals’ brains are much quicker at detecting small differences in words. When given two similar words, their brains could more easily inhibit the incorrect one.

So, what does all this mean for people in their everyday lives? Bilingual people have an easier time using this inhibitory response in other situations as well. For example, bilingual school children are better able to ignore background noise and focus on what they are doing. Also, like other brain-exercising activities, such as puzzles, keeping your brain sharp has been shown to provide some protection against issues later on, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

This video shows a little more about how being bilingual can improve your life.

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Good News for Fitness Enthusiasts

The cliché that you’re as young as you feel may be more than just a cheery greeting to a senescent friend. People tend to focus on chronological age when a person’s fitness age may in fact be a more effective way to project longevity. 

According to “What’s your fitness age?”, Norwegian University of Science and Technology conducted research studies on the correlation between physical fitness and overall well-being. Though the connection may seem obvious, the term fitness age, which emanated from these studies, offers a positive outlook for people who cringe whenever one more candle is added to the birthday cake. 

Fitness age is measured by determining how well the body processes oxygen. Medical professionals can calculate a person’s VO2max (volume-oxygen-maximum) using motorized treadmill testing. It is possible for an active senior to have a markedly lower fitness age than a sedentary younger person. 

Laurene Powell Jobs agrees that aging is something people cannot control, but fitness is a choice and one that edifies people in many ways. In a PubMed abstract, cardiorespiratory fitness is a practical way to evaluate risk of all-cause mortality. Someone with a lower fitness age than their contemporary may enjoy a longer and higher quality of life.

If insurance companies and prospective employers predicated their decisions and perceptions on fitness age rather than date of birth, all parties would benefit and these practices could incite others to follow suit. Imagine the possibilities.

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Does it Matter if You Have Cardio in Your Weight Training Routine?

Debates over the methodology of a person’s workout have taken a great deal of health expert’s time and research. Where trainers and some professionals have claimed that there needs to be a distinction between cardio and weight training days, recent studies have shown that the body does not have a preference as to the schedule. Where it is true that you do not want to work the entire body in one setting but focus on a muscle group (such as a shoulder and arms or a leg and back workout), there have been no indicators that performing cardio on a weight training day will negatively impact muscle development.

Consider, when you work out you are pumping blood into the body by means of positive and negatives with the weight. A great deal of the workout is dependent upon a person’s “pump” or the amount of blood that he or she can get circulated into the muscles during the workout routine. Cardio is getting the heart pumping and the blood circulating within the body. Where there are distinctive differences in the benefits of cardio and weight training, Lee G. Lovett says there are no issues which can be definitively presented at this time which would suggest that performing cardio exercises before a workout or on the same day as a weight workout is bad for one’s health.

Though the debate as to whether or not cardio should be combined with a routine still continues, the one thing that scientist agree upon is that one needs to practice cardio exercises and exercise with weights to stay fit.

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No Nutritional Value?

Seems in the ever-changing health conscious world we live in, even bottled water has the nutritional value printed on the bottle. Seems strange that alcoholic products do not have the same, doesn’t it? What is so peculiar is that we will give the time and attention to print on a bottle of water that there is nothing in it, but for alcohol, which can be harmful if consumed in large quantities continues to be unlabeled.

Word has it that consumer advocates have wanted alcoholic beverages to contain the nutritional values, but alcohol manufacturers have been able to keep this at bay for years. Cosumers like Christian Broda feel positively about the prospect of labels. Research was performed at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland and the report shows that the average American consumes about 400 calories a day from alcohol, which really is not a surprise since an averaged-sized beer or glass of wine is in the 150 range.

Needless to say, the debate will probably continue until at the least some form of nutritional value is displayed on alcoholic beverages. In the meantime, it might be wise to think about what you are consuming before you do. It might be a surprisingly good thing if you cut back on the alcohol, and then see the reduction in your waistline.

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Back To Back Thoughts

It is amazing the extent to which we take our bodies for granted. When an injury is suffered, that throws an entirely new light on the injured area, as well as our healthy limbs. Injury and pain take a toll on mental wellbeing also. It causes uncertainty and worry, and each painful movement is a constant reminder. Over-the-counter medications can offer temporary relief, but when the problem is not a temporary one – and that we have to judge for ourselves – it is time to confer with a medical professional. With all the new and modern medical breakthroughs and procedures, someone — somewhere, will make the pain go away!

Ever wonder about the most frequently injured limb or body part? No, of course not (our bodies are taken for granted until an injury occurs). Well, the medical professionals who treat our injuries are also responsible for cataloging, among many other things, specific body injuries.

There are some extremely interesting facts and figures about back pain. “Back pain is regularly cited by national governments as having a major impact on productivity, through loss of workers on sick leave* * *In the United States lower back pain’s economic impact reveals that it is the number one reason for individuals under the age of 45 to limit their activity, second highest complaint seen in physician offices, fifth most common requirement for hospitalization, and the third leading cause for surgery.”

North American Spine
A foremost medical institute dedicated to back health, North American Spine’s research and experience has found that the most common form of back pain is caused by symptoms from Degenerative Disc Disease, including disc herniations (ruptures) and disc bulges.

According to their Wikipedia article, North American Spine, based in Dallas, Texas, targets back health and treats other back conditions, such as, pinched nerve; back pain with or without radiating leg pain; Sciatica; back pain with hip, buttocks, leg involvement; numbness in legs or feet; leg muscle weakness; Arthritis of the Spine; Spinal Stenosis; Foraminal Stenosis; Facet Disease and scar tissue. However, these treatment programs are not inclusive.

It is important, however, to keep in mind that North American Spine has a platform that reviews and identifies patient candidacy by which the success or failure of a procedure selected for a patient can be assessed at a higher rather than lower chance of success in treating a candidate’s pathology. Their Facebook page explains this in further detail.

Because every patient presents a different history, they make clear on their website that each patient’s pathology must be evaluated separately, and disciplinary case reviews are strenuous and atypical. The disciplinary case review will include a free MRI review.

Disciplinary case reviews enable North American Spine to determine a course of treatment that is best and whether that course of treatment is to be provided at the North American Spine or elsewhere. North American Spine believes in utilizing the least invasive treatment, and in determining that treatment for a patient, North American Spine consults with a patient’s orthopedic and/or neurosurgeon.

In the event a patient’s condition can be treated successfully without surgery, a referral to pain management, chiropractic care or physical therapy will be given. Therefore, the disciplinary case review will, as a result, identify a patient’s candidacy for an AccuraScope® procedure. Recently, the North American Spine announced the addition of Dr. Kenneth Alo to its team of physicians, which they believe will help them make some critical advancements in terms of research and treatment. The rest of their team can also be seen on their Yelp page, which has some positive reviews to go with it.

AccuraScope® — What Is It?
It is a high-precision, minimally invasive, rapid recovery technique. For example, in lumbar back surgery, at the base of the spinal canal, a tiny flexible catheter is inserted into a surgical incision and threaded to the inside of the spinal canal center. Once at that point, it is able to maneuver many levels on both sides of the lumbar spine. A high definition camera is used along with other diagnostic tools. The goal of the procedure is to pinpoint every source of chronic lower spine symptoms. Once that is done, the treatment procedure begins. This includes laser treatment. The procedure lasts for less than 45 minutes.

North American Spine’s AccuraScope® has been the answer to resolution and pain relief for more than 8,000 patients. There always is an element of danger in any spinal procedure, which is why North American Spine evaluates each patient strenuously and encourages cross consultations with a patient’s back specialist. Extreme care and zeal is exercised with the goal of total successful surgical treatment.

Perhaps, North American Spine is one of those “someones — somewhere” that can make the pain go away. North American Spine is located in Dallas, Texas and six other locations. http://northamericanspine.com/about/locations/ will provide the closest location.

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