research

HIIT It Or Quit It: Truth or Misconception?

What if I told you that you could cut your workout time in half and perhaps achieve better results? The only caveat is that you must exert yourself to your maximum, until you’re breathless. Don’t worry; you do get some recovery periods thrown into the mix. And research shows that three days a week is all you need. Not as low key and relaxing, but definitely more efficient and ideal for hectic schedules. However, this in no way suggests that you should do away with your at least weekly yoga class. A little variety never hurt anyone; if anything, it’s encouraged. HIIT or high-intensity interval training has been at the forefront of the fitness world—not only because it’s brief, but also because just a twenty-minute session is as beneficial if not more so than 60 minutes on the elliptical or a moderately paced run. Sounds too good to be true, especially for the majority of us constantly on the go who struggle to consistently make time for a sweat sesh. The key to HIIT is short bursts of energy to reach eighty percent of your maximum heart rate instead of low-intensity, endurance-focused physical activity. Emerging evidence suggests that upping the intensity of your workout for a brief period of time can just as effectively reduce body fat and promote fatty acid oxidation in skeletal muscle as your traditional 60-minute...

“You Could Be Brushing Your Teeth with Feces” And Other Hidden Germs Around The House

Did you know? 64% of people wait a month or more to wash their hand towels, meaning that they might as well be washing their hands in the toilet. People that don’t clean their phone are twice as likely to suffer from outbreaks of spots than those who do once a week. Only 17% of women wash their makeup brushes although it’s recommended to do so once a week. You could be brushing your teeth with feces. Black spots on your shower curtain contain literally billions of mold spores. An infestation of one female bed bug can rise to 5000 in 6 months It’s that time of year again. Spring cleaning season is officially underway and many items around the home need more than a dust or a quick wipe. Germs are so small they can be hiding in plain sight and while most bacteria we come across every day is relatively harmless, there are some nasty ones to watch out as they can affect our health. These include E. coli, staph, and mold. Cleaning thoroughly and often is the only way to ensure these bacteria are kept at bay. You might be surprised at the germs that lurk in some of your most often used household items. You could be brushing your teeth with feces If you flush the toilet with the lid open, particles of water, urine and feces...

Do Herpesviruses Cause Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer’s disease affects millions of people around the world, but what ultimately causes dementia is unknown. It is typically thought to be caused due to unusual buildup of the protein amyloid plaques in the brains. Though small these plaques can grow into large clusters that are toxic to neurons. However, recently, a new study presented another potential causative agent of the disease. Decades ago, certain scientific studies came up with correlative data linking Herpesvirus infections to Alzheimer’s disease. The idea was long-dismissed but was recently rejuvenated by a new study. The study also found evidence that the viruses can interact with brain cells in ways that could accelerate the Alzheimer’s disease. Herpes viruses 6 and 7 are widely present in humans, but poorly understood. They infect nearly every human, typically during infancy, and have been closely linked to the childhood rash called roseola, according to the HHV-6 Foundation. These viruses can get to the brain and remain inactive for decades. Brains riddled with Alzheimer’s disease contain high levels of these two strains of human herpes virus. But just having herpes virus present in the brain isn’t enough to cause Alzheimer’s. Something needs to activate the viruses, which causes them to begin replicating. However, the trigger for activation of these viruses in not known. In the study — one of the most detailed analyses of Alzheimer’s brain tissue done to date — the team...

CBD, A Chemical Found in Marijuana Could Be The Future of Medicine

I’ve seen it advertised in moisturizers, oils, tinctures, candies, and even coffee. Some osteopathic doctors are even advising patients to take this chemical compound in supplement form to ease stress, anxiety, or minor gastrointestinal pain. Unless you’ve been living under a rock these past few months, you know CBD is the big buzzword in health and wellness. Maybe you have or are experimenting with it because of its claims to miraculous health benefits, or maybe you think it’s another wellness fad that will be forgotten next month. Nonetheless, cannabis was first reported in 2,6000 BC for its plethora of physical and psychological benefits in a Chinese pharmacopoeia. There’s no doubt about it, phytocannabinoids such as CBD have the potential to treat—as a primary or adjunct therapy— a wide range of pathologies as a consequence of its neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory functions. Right now, we’re just lacking the evidence. CBD or cannabidiol is a chemical found in both marijuana and hemp and is actually the most studied nonpsychotropic phytocannabinoid—not to be confused with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the only phytocannabinoid that gets you “high.” You will typically see CBD oil or supplements extracted from hemp since the plant has less than 0.3% THC as compared to marijuana which can have up to 15-20%. Despite what you see in the media, there is actually very little hard evidence on the therapeutic potential of CBD. This...

Cortisol: How Stress Could Actually Kill You

We’ve all heard of the infamous “stress hormone,” cortisol. This adrenal hormone usually gets a bad rap for weight gain, acne, and poor sleep. However, without it, essential physiological functions that promote survival would not be possible, such as mobilizing glucose to muscles. Yes, I’m referring to that “fight or flight” instinct when we perceive any sort of threat in our surroundings, say if you encounter a bear on a hiking path. Almost immediately, your heart rate increases, breathing becomes more rapid, senses sharpen, and beads of sweat appear. Epinephrine, better known as adrenaline, is responsible for this initial response. But what happens when the stress response is constantly stimulated due to anxiety from classes or financial matters? Cortisol is how your body adapts when you go into overdrive. Stress is a normal physiological process that all living organisms experience; as I previously mentioned, it is an innate defense mechanism that aids in survival. However, when a stressor exceeds the severity and time of the initial response period, our body shifts into another mode to keep us alive. When sustained long enough above baseline, inflammation and disease ensue. A twentieth-century Hungarian endocrinologist, Hans Selye, described the general adaptation syndrome (GAS) as a set of responses that are highly similar across all living organisms. Of course, variations in GAS occur depending on conditioning factors such as genetics, environment, or comorbidities....

Cancer Immunotherapy To The Rescue: Commanding The Immune System To Fight!

Written by Sahil Chopra and Mitali Adlakha A pioneering new therapy saves the life of a woman with terminal breast cancer. Judy Perkins, an engineer from Florida was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer. While traditional chemotherapy and hormone therapies failed for Judy, she showed a dramatic recovery after receiving a personalized immunotherapy. Although few years ago she was just preparing to die, this experimental treatment gave her a new life. What seems like a modern-day medicine miracle is in reality a path paved by over a century of extensive scientific studies. Immunotherapy is a revolutionary technology that uses your body’s immune system as a tool to fight cancers. The immune system is your body’s own defense mechanism against invaders such as bacteria, viruses and other pathogens. Our immune system has a number of tools in its arsenal to launch an ‘immune response’ to fight these invaders. Some of the most striking tools from your immune arsenal are the T cells, B cells, dendritic cells and other immune cells. Cancer is a life-threatening disease and also the leading cause of death worldwide. By 2030, the estimated cancer cases per year is expected to rise to 23.6 million. Cancer occurs when certain cells in your body keep multiplying without stopping. Although, the immune system would fight these cells and stop them from spreading; yet these cancer cells can outsmart the...

It Might Be Worth Shrinking Your Coffee Habit

There’s no denying the fact that caffeine is an addictive drug. Maybe you’ve experienced that morning coffee craving right when your feet hit the ground, before your cortisol levels spike to give your morning that much-needed jumpstart. Caffeine, in most cases coffee, is the substance that fuels the go, go, go lifestyle and sleep-deprived culture in America. College and graduate students especially exploit the quick boost of energy provided by that cup of Joe or two or three—especially if an all-nighter is in the agenda. In fact, caffeine is the most widely used psychoactive drug in the world. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), some form of caffeine is consumed by approximately 80 percent of American adults every day. There are a plethora of benefits that caffeine bestows; however, as with almost everything, moderation is crucial. Throughout my undergraduate premedical career, I noticed instances where I allowed myself to overindulge in coffee to keep up with the incessant workload. I know I’m not alone. Double and sometimes even triple exam weeks called for all day and occasionally all night (I only pulled one all-nighter which is an understated shock to most) cram sessions. I typically consumed 4-5 cups of coffee a day, trying to avoid that dreaded caffeine crash until I reached a comfortable stopping place in my studies. Yes, the stimulating effects of caffeine did increase...

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