Latest News & Research: 11 December 2018

This week: Simple exercise test determines death risk • Just one workout offers long-lasting metabolic benefits • Too much and too little sleep bad for you

Simple exercise test determines death risk

Performance on an exercise test predicts the risk of death from cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other causes, according to a new study.

Good performance on the test equates to climbing three floors of stairs very fast, or four floors fast, without stopping. The findings underline the importance of fitness for longevity.

The study included 12,615 participants with known or suspected coronary artery disease. Participants underwent treadmill exercise echocardiography, in which they were asked to walk or run, gradually increasing the intensity, and continue until exhaustion.

During a median 4.7-year follow-up, it was found that the death rate from cardiovascular disease was nearly three times higher in participants with poor compared to good functional capacity. Non-cardiovascular and non-cancer deaths were also nearly three-fold higher in those with poor compared to good functional capacity. Cancer deaths were almost double in participants with poor compared to good functional capacity.

Source: European Society of Cardiology


Too much and too little sleep bad for you

New research has found that both insufficient and excessive sleep may raise the risk of cardiovascular problems and premature death.

While there’s much talk of the lack of sleep that many of us are getting these days, and its poor effect on both health and productivity, there’s not a lot out there about those who get too much sleep (probably because it doesn’t seem like anything more than a pipe dream to many of us!)

Chuangshi Wang, a doctoral candidate at McMaster University in Ontario in Canada, and her colleagues conducted a study of the sleeping habits of more than 116,000 people aged between 35 and 70 years.

The analysis of the study results revealed that people who regularly slept more than the recommended 6–8 hours a night were more likely to die prematurely or develop cardiovascular disease.

More specifically, the risk of premature death or cardiovascular conditions was 5% higher for people who slept 8–9 hours than for people who slept the recommended amount.

Those who slept 9–10 hours were 17% more likely to die or develop heart and blood vessel conditions. Similarly, people who regularly slept more than 10 hours were 41 percent more likely to die prematurely or develop cardiovascular problems.

Also, the study found a 9 percent higher risk of the outcomes mentioned above among those who slept 6 hours or less. However, the authors caution that this increase was not statistically significant.

Source: Medical News Today


Just one workout offers long-lasting metabolic benefits

Controlling blood sugar levels with physical activity and diet is key to managing or preventing diabetes. However, new research suggests that we may need less physical activity than we thought to reap the benefits of exercise for our metabolism.

Dr Kevin Williams, a neuroscientist at the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas, and his colleagues examined the effects of a single bout of exercise on two types of neurons in mice.

The research findings showed that a single workout activates a brain circuit associated with a lower appetite, lower blood sugar levels, and better metabolism. Moreover, this effect lasted for 2 days after the workout. The findings may help improve blood sugar metabolism in people with diabetes.

‘It doesn't take much exercise to alter the activity of these neurons," explained Williams; ‘Based on our results, we would predict that getting out and exercising even once in a semi-intense manner can reap benefits that can last for days, in particular with respect to glucose metabolism.’

Source: Medical News Today