Monthly Archives: July 2012

Foot Care

1. Don’t ignore foot pain. Foot pain is not normal. Rather, it is the body’s signal that something is amiss. When individuals suffer from foot pain, they should see a qualified physician. The feet can be afflicted with over 300 different ailments, none of which should be neglected.

2. Wear proper fitting shoes. Poorly fitting shoes are thought to be the primary cause of almost 80% of all foot problems. Ill fitting shoes place undue, cumulative stress on the collection of bones (26), joints (30), tendons (31), ligaments (107), and muscles (18) in each foot.

3. Check your shoe size periodically. Because the feet continue to grow longer and wider as individuals age, check your shoe size at least once every 3 years. Age also tends to result in a thinning of the layers of protective padding along the bottom of the foot and between the skin and bones, thereby exposing a person to a greater likelihood of incurring a foot injury.

4. Shed a few pounds. A person’s feet are under an incredible amount of pressure (for example, a 135-lb person absorbs more than 2.5 million pounds of pressure while stepping through a typical day). Because the feet and ankles serve as shock absorbers that help to dissipate force when a person is moving from one point to another, the lighter an individual is, the less force that has to be dispersed.

5. Don’t force it. Be cognizant of the load forces placed on your body when you exercise. To the extent feasible, engage in exercise modalities that subject your feet (and body) to a reasonable level of orthopedic stress. In that regard, walking and swimming are two of the more appropriate exercise options.

  

6. Protect your feet when exercising. When engaged in physical activity, wear shoes that have good arch support and proper cushioning, with an appropriate amount of space in the forefoot.  Proper fit in exercise wear is crucial. Furthermore, never wear “athletic” shoes for activities other than those for which they were intended. One style does not fit all.

7. Choose function over fashion.  Shoes with heels that exceed two inches should not be worn for extended periods of time. Excessively high heels are an open invitation for foot problems, such as metatarsalgia (i.e. pain in the ball of the foot).

8. Don’t wear ankle weights or “plyometric” shoes. Wearing either ankle weights or the “plyometric” shoes that are designed to improve vertical jumping ability will change an individual’s normal foot plant, thereby exposing that person to an unnatural, heightened level of stress.

9. Make mama comfortable. Some pregnant women may need a larger shoe size during their pregnancy. Because the ligaments of the food tend to relax and stretch during pregnancy, the foot tends to flatten and spread. In many women, the pregnancy may also cause swelling in the feet and legs. Foot Care Adusting the size of shoes worn may help to prevent or reduce the degree of severity of foot problems.

10. Use common sense. The most effective path to healthy and happy feet begins at the opposite end of the body. Common sense not only can help prevent foot problems from occurring but may also be an integral part of the therapeutic prescription when they actually arise.

children’s health

That’s the news from a study just published in the journal Brain Research. Scientists used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure the relative size of specific structures in the brains of 49 children, all of whom were 9 or 10 years old. The research team discovered that the hippocampus (part of the brain inside the temporal lobe that plays an important part in memory and learning) tended to be significantly larger in the kids who were physically fit. What’s more, the fit children performed better on a memory test than youngsters the same age who were out of shape.

“This is the first study I know of that has used MRI measures to look at differences in brains between kids who are fit and kids who aren’t fit. Beyond that, it relates those measures of brain structure to cognition,” University of Illinois psychology professor and Beckman Institute director Art Kramer said in a statement to the media. Dr. Kramer headed the study along with doctoral student Laura Chaddock and kinesiology and community health professor Charles Hillman.

The researchers zeroed in on the hippocampus because it has long been known this brain structure is intricately involved in both learning and memory and that a larger hippocampus is associated with better performance on spatial reasoning and other cognitive tasks.

Moreover, previous research in older adults and animals has shown that exercise can increase the size of the hippocampus. For the new study, the University of Illinois scientists measured the children’s physical fitness levels by seeing how efficiently the youngsters used oxygen while running on a treadmill. “The physically fit children were much more efficient than the less-fit children at utilizing oxygen,” Dr. Kramer noted. When the researchers analyzed the MRI data on the young research subjects, they found the fit kids tended to have significantly larger hippocampal volume.

In fact, this part of the physical fit kids’ brains was a whopping 12 percent bigger, relative to total brain size, than the hippocampus in out-of-shape youngsters. What’s more, the children who were in better physical condition also scored higher on tests of relational memory (the ability to remember and integrate various types of information) than their less-fit peers. “Higher fit children had higher performance on the relational memory task, higher fit children had larger hippocampal volumes, and in general, children with larger hippocampal volumes had better relational memory,” Dr. Chaddock concluded in the media statement. “We knew that experience and environmental factors and socioeconomic status all impact brain development,” Dr. Kramer added. “If you get some lousy genes from your parents, you can’t really fix that, and it’s not easy to do something about your economic status.

But here’s something that we can do something about.” Bottom line: getting children out of the house and playing sports, biking or being physically active in other ways could have an important effect on brain development and even intelligence Because children are becoming overweight, unhealthy, and unfit, understanding the neurocognitive benefits of an active lifestyle in childhood has important public health and educational implications.

 Animal research has indicated that aerobic exercise is related to increased cell proliferation and survival in the hippocampus as well as enhanced hippocampal-dependent learning and memory. Recent evidence extends this relationship to elderly humans by suggesting that high aerobic fitness levels in older adults are associated with increased hippocampal volume and superior memory performance. The present study aimed to further extend the link between fitness, hippocampal volume, and memory to a sample of preadolescent children. To this end, magnetic resonance imaging was employed to investigate whether higher- and lower-fit 9- and 10-year-old children showed differences in hippocampal volume and if the differences were related to performance on an item and relational memory task.

Relational but not item memory is primarily supported by the hippocampus. Consistent with predictions, higher-fit children showed greater bilateral hippocampal volumes and superior relational memory task performance compared to lower-fit children. Hippocampal volume was also positively associated with performance on the relational but not the item memory task. Furthermore, bilateral hippocampal volume was found to mediate the relationship between fitness level (VO(2) max) and relational memory.

No relationship between aerobic fitness, nucleus accumbens volume, and memory was reported, which strengthens the hypothesized specific effect of fitness on the hippocampus. The findings are the first to indicate that aerobic fitness may relate to the structure and function of the preadolescent human brain.