More than a year ago I wrote an earlier blog titled “Exercise, part 2: Moderation in all things?” I reviewed studies that indicated that intense aerobic exercise may lead to damaged heart and arterial tissues. Pretty scary for those of us that do long duration exercise.
This topic continues to evolve, and I thought I’d bring this topic up to date, and focus at this time on one aspect of heart damage: atrial fibrillation.
As anyone that has read my blogs knows, I’m very interested in exercise and training, with a particular interest in geriatrics—I guess that’s because I am one!
I’ve written before that the amount of literature reporting on exercise and old folks is dwarfed by that reported on in the young; however, there have been several very interesting, recent reports regarding older adults.
The previous blog in this series discussed some of the genetics surrounding obesity. More than 20 genes have been discovered that may be involved.
I’m sure there are more.
The next issue I’d like to examine is the effects of diet on weight loss. But interestingly, there is evidence that the type of diet one has is influenced to some degree by the types of genes you have.
First, there are generally four types of diets: low fat, low carbohydrate, low calorie, and very low calorie.
In the previous blog of this six-part series I concluded that increased sugar consumption in general, and sugar sweetened sodas specifically, seem to account for a large amount of our obesity. And obesity is correlated with a suite (no pun intended) of conditions known as “metabolic syndrome,” of which diabetes is not only associated but may be, in some cases, reversible with weight loss. Same can’t be said for cardiovascular disease, it appears.
Obesity. It seems that nearly every month we hear of yet another potential cause. It’s due to viruses. Your gut flora is responsible. It’s your mother’s fault. It’s in your genes. You have a bad thyroid. Etc., etc., etc.
But in truth, the obesity epidemic that is underway all over the world is probably NOT due to thyroid problems or even a drift in our gene pool toward higher numbers of obesity genes. It wasn’t a significant problem 100 years ago. Or even 50 years ago. And there simply hasn’t been enough time for all of us to develop bad thyroids.
Now I’m not a chemist, and there may be other elements in the periodic table that are cooler than carbon, but I can’t think of one. First off, it’s the 4th most prevalent element in the universe, after hydrogen, helium, and oxygen, and the 15th most abundant element in the earth’s crust. It makes up all living things on earth, not to mention other important stuff like oil, natural gas, and carbon dioxide. And most scientists believe that if life is found outside earth, it will be based on carbon.
Is space the new black? Well, I’m probably the last to know, but 2012 had some amazing “firsts”: in March of that year, an Austrian daredevil named Felix Baumgartner made a 24-mile skydive; in that same month, an unmanned commercial space capsule named Dragon linked up with the International Space Station; in August the rover Curiosity landed on Mars, and Neil Armstrong, the first person to walk on the moon, died.