Fitness

Physical condition linked to lower Alzheimer’s risk; Benefits of less meat consumption; and more

Physical condition linked to lower Alzheimer's risk;  Benefits of less meat consumption;  and more

Study: Physical fitness may reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease

Physical fitness is a major contributor to a healthier life, helping to reduce the risk of heart disease, certain cancers and other chronic diseases. A new study sponsored by the United States indicates that being fit can also reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

The study looked at nearly 650,000 military veterans, with an average age of 61, in the Veterans Health Administration database. The researchers monitored their health for an average of nine years. None were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at the start of the study, which was published this week and will be presented at the 74th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Seattle in April.

The study participants were divided into five groups, from least fit to most fit. The group of veterans with the lowest fitness level developed Alzheimer’s disease at a rate of 9.5 cases per 1,000 person-years, compared to 6.4 cases per 1,000 person-years for the fittest group. The case rate decreased as fitness level increased.

“The idea that you can reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease simply by increasing your activity is very promising, especially since there are no adequate treatments to prevent or halt the progression of the disease,” said study author Edward Zamrini, MD, of the Washington VA Medical Center in Washington, DC, and fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, in a press release. “We hope to develop a simple scale that can be individualized so people can see the benefits that even incremental improvements in fitness can bring.”

The researchers also adjusted for other factors that might affect a person’s risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The adjustment reinforced their initial findings: “People in the fittest group were 33% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those in the least fit group.”

The study was supported by the National Institute on Aging, part of the US National Institutes of Health, US Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington DC VA Medical Center and George Washington University.

Lower risk of certain cancers linked to vegetarians or those who eat little meat

A large UK study found that people who don’t eat a lot of meat may have a 9% lower risk of developing colorectal cancer than “regular” meat eaters. The researchers concluded that the less meat a person eats on a regular basis, the lower the risk of certain cancers, with meatless vegetarians having the lowest risk of all.

Overall, the study results indicate that specific dietary habits, such as being a “low meat eater”, vegetarian or pescatarian (one who does not eat meat but eats fish) can have a significant impact on the reduced risk of certain cancers. The study was published in the journal BMC Medicine and co-funded by the World Cancer Research Fund and Cancer Research UK.

Compared to regular meat eaters, those who eat small amounts of meat have a 2% lower cancer risk, while pescatarians – who eat fish and vegetables – have a 10% lower risk. Vegetarians are 14% less likely to develop cancer.

Specifically, low meat eaters had a 9% lower risk of developing colorectal cancer. Vegetarian women were 18% less likely to be diagnosed with postmenopausal breast cancer, compared to women who ate a regular amount of meat. The risk of prostate cancer in men was significantly reduced in vegetarians (31% less) and fish eaters (20%), compared to regular meat eaters.

Researchers from the University of Oxford looked at data on 472,377 British adults taking part in the UK Biobank study between 2006 and 2010. The age range of the participants was between 40 and 70. They were asked about their eating habits, focusing on how often they ate meat, fish and vegetables.

More than half, or 52%, ate meat more than five times a week, while 44% of participants said they ate meat five times or less a week. Only 2% said they ate fish but no meat, and 2% described themselves as vegetarian or vegan.

DC study: Omicron caused high transmission rates within households

According to a new study by US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

But infection rates were higher in households with unvaccinated family members, including children under age 5 who are not eligible for vaccination at this time, the study found.

The researchers found that when the first infected person in the household wore a mask and stayed in a separate room at least some of the time, the risk of spreading the virus to others was significantly lower.

“Multi-component COVID-19 prevention strategies, including up-to-date vaccination, isolation of infected individuals, and use of masks in the home, are important to reduce household transmission of Omicron,” concluded the CDC.

The study of household transmission in four US states found that the Omicron variant was spreading aggressively in a home where children under 5 tested positive. These children, who are not yet eligible for vaccines and are usually in close contact with their parents or relatives, have spread the virus to 72% of household contacts – the highest rate of any age group, said the CDC.

The CDC study involved 183 households where someone was infected with the Omicron variant. Household members were asked about their vaccination status, precautionary measures taken at home, and whether they had tested positive or had become ill from COVID. The researchers found that Omicron had spread to about two-thirds of households.

Tags: Alzheimer, COVID-19, exercise and fitness, nutritional advice