Though essential for collagen health—a key determinant of ligament, tendon, and bone quality—a large portion of the general population is currently deficient in vitamin C. In a new study, investigators found a link between suboptimal serum blood levels of vitamin C and a higher prevalence of neck pain, low back pain, and related functional limitations. This study supports the need to consider nutritional aspects, in this case specifically vitamin C, in the management of back pain. Pain, July 2016
Brain aging accelerated by being overweight in midlife.
Research shows that being overweight or obese during the middle years can age the brain by about a decade. Researchers found that middle-aged adults who were overweight or obese had less white matter volume in the brain than individuals who were leaner. In fact, their white matter volume was more similar to leaner participants who were about ten years older. The study suggests that we may be particularly vulnerable at this age, and also poses the question of whether these changes could be reversible with weight loss. Neurobiology of Aging, July 2016
Low back pain and respiratory disorders.
Because inspiratory muscles, such as the diaphragm, play an important role in both respiration and spinal control, it’s suspected that spinal dysfunction may affect those muscles and interfere with respiration. A new research review that included 16 articles has found a significant correlation between the presence of low back pain and respiratory disorders such as dyspnea, asthma, different forms of allergy, and respiratory infections. Manual Therapies, July 2016
Keep your brain active!
Men and women who engage in mentally stimulating leisure-time activities—like reading or solving puzzles—are about 40% less likely to develop dementia and more likely to maintain their mental faculties in old age than those who spend their free time with more passive activities, like watching television. International Psychogeriatrics, August 2016
Artificial sweeteners may promote obesity.
Experts say that non-nutritive sweeteners may actually make you feel hungrier and prompt you to eat more. Using mice, researchers discovered that artificial sweeteners stimulate appetite by activating a complex neuronal network that responds by alerting the diner that they haven’t consumed enough calories. Dr. Herbert Herzog from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research adds, “These findings further reinforce the idea that ‘sugar-free’ varieties of processed food and drink may not be as inert as we anticipated. Artificial sweeteners can actually change how animals perceive the sweetness of their food, with a discrepancy between sweetness and energy levels prompting an increase in caloric consumption.” Food and Drug Administration, July 2016
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