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This week: Exercise could help beat drug addiction; Soy may help fight osteoporosis; Moderate exercise linked to improved mental health

Soy may help fight osteoporosis

new study has found that consuming soy products may strengthen bones in women of all ages.

Researchers from the University of Missouri investigated how dietary changes might affect bone resilience in women.

In a rodent study, scientists mimicked the effects of menopause in half of the rats. They proceeded to feed half of both rodent groups either a corn-based or soy-based diet.

Analysis showed that the leg bones of soy-fed rats (both menopausal and non-menopausal) were stronger than the bones of the rats that were fed a corn-based diet.

Lead study author Professor Pamela Hinton said ‘The findings suggest that all women might see improved bone strength by adding some soy-based whole foods, such as tofu and soy milk, to their diet. We also believe that soy-based diets can improve metabolic function for postmenopausal women.’

Source: Medical News Today

Exercise could help beat drug addiction

Exercise can help prevent relapses into cocaine addiction, according to new research by a team at the University at Buffalo in the US.

‘Cocaine addiction is often characterised by cycles of recovery and relapse, with stress and negative emotions, often caused by withdrawal itself, among the major causes of relapse’ said lead study author Panayotis Thanos, PhD.

Using animal models, Thanos found that regular aerobic exercise (one hour on a treadmill, five times a week) decreased stress-induced cocaine-seeking behaviour. Exercise also altered behavioural and physiological responses to stress.

Individuals who are addicted to cocaine have altered neural, behavioral and physiological responses to stress. Recent research by Thanos demonstrated how exercise can alter the brain’s mesolimbic dopamine pathway, which is linked to the rewarding and reinforcing properties of drugs such as cocaine.

‘Our results suggest that regular aerobic exercise could be a useful strategy for relapse prevention, as part of a comprehensive treatment program for recovering cocaine abusers. Further research is necessary to see if these results also hold true for other addictive drugs’ Thanos said.

Source: University at Buffalo

Moderate exercise linked to improved mental health

A study of 1.2 million people in the US has found that people who exercise report having 1.5 fewer days of poor mental health a month, compared to people who do not exercise. The study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry found that team sports, cycling, aerobics and going to the gym are associated with the biggest reductions.

More exercise did not necessarily equate to ‘better’ results, with the study finding that exercising for 45 minutes three to five times a week was associated with the biggest benefits.

Although the authors noted that their study cannot confirm cause and effect, they did express optimism at the link between moderate exercise and mental health.

‘Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and there is an urgent need to find ways to improve mental health through population health campaigns’ said Dr Adam Chekroud, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Yale University; ‘Exercise is associated with a lower mental health burden across people no matter their age, race, gender, household income and education level. Excitingly, the specifics of the regime, like the type, duration, and frequency, played an important role in this association. We are now using this to try and personalise exercise recommendations and match people with a specific exercise regime that helps improve their mental health.’

Source: Science Daily

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