Joan Rivers In Critical Condition at a New York Hospital
Weight-loss surgery can make you thinner. But can it make you smarter too?
It’s a question that scientists have wondered about, since they know the reverse is true. Studies have shown that brain function declines in people who have too many extra pounds. Other research has shown that compared with people who are lean, those who are overweight are 26% more likely to develop some type of dementia and those who are obese are 64% more likely to meet that fate.
So a group of researchers from the University of Sao Paolo in Brazil conducted what they believe is the first study to track brain function in patients before and after they had weight-loss surgery. Their results suggest that the brain does indeed benefit from bariatric surgery, though the effects measured were modest.
The researchers recruited 17 severely obese women who planned to have Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, a procedure that shrinks the stomach to the size of an egg and diverts food past a good portion of the small intestine. Both measures reduce the amount of nutrients and calories the body can absorb from food.
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The average body mass index for the 17 women was 50.1. (A woman who is 5 feet tall would have a BMI of 50 if she weighed 255 pounds; a woman who is 5 feet, 6 inches tall would have the same BMI if she weighed 309 pounds, according to this table from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.) Six months after their surgeries, their average BMI had dropped to 37.2 – still high enough to qualify as severely obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Karen Kaplan People who jogged or ran for as little as five minutes a day reduced their risk of premature death by nearly one-third and extended their lives by about three years, according to a new study. People who jogged or ran for as little as five minutes a day reduced their risk of premature death by nearly one-third and extended their lives by about three years, according to a new study. ( Karen Kaplan ) –>
Before they went under the knife, the women took an IQ test and six additional tests to assess their memory and executive function (such as the Stroop Color Test, the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test and the Rey Complex Figure Test). They also gave blood samples and had PET scans so that researchers could measure the metabolic activity in their brains. They repeated all of the tests six months after surgery.
Another group of 16 women served as controls. Their ages and educational levels were essentially the same as for the obese women, but their BMIs were much lower (22.3, on average). The lean women took all the same tests as the obese women, though they did so only once.
It turned out that women in both groups did equally well on the cognitive tests. But compared with their initial results, the obese women improved on one of the tests – the Trail Making Test – after their surgeries, the researchers found.
Mary MacVean Seems that most of us take to heart the common admonition to clean our plates, at least when we fill them ourselves. Seems that most of us take to heart the common admonition to clean our plates, at least when we fill them ourselves. ( Mary MacVean ) –>
The differences in brain scans were more pronounced. Before the surgeries, the obese women’s brains appeared to be working harder than the brains of the lean women. That was especially true in areas of the right hemisphere that become active when people have to compensate for cognitive decline, the researchers wrote. However, after the surgeries, these differences “were no longer noticed,” they added.
The blood tests showed that the surgeries made the women more sensitive to insulin and reduced the levels of proteins associated with damaging inflammation. It also increased the levels of a hormone called GLP-1. Similar hormones have been shown to benefit the brain by reducing inflammation as well as the number of beta-amyloid plaques, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.
Overall, the researchers concluded that being obese increases one’s risk of Alzheimer’s by an amount similar to the effect of having the e4 version of the APOE gene. Although it’s impossible to change your APOE gene, the good news for those who are obese is that they can probably reduce their risk of cognitive decline by losing weight, the researchers wrote.
The study was published Tuesday in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.
Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Workout in your hotel room (photo: Thinkstock)
2. Bring your workout with you. Nowadays, workouts are all on demand. Bring a DVD and put it in your computer, or use a service like Fitfusion.com — you have more than 260 workouts in any place, on any device, at any time. Carve out 30 minutes, and get it in before you go out for the day.
Take time to relax by the pool (photo: Thinkstock)
3. Spa and sleep. “I see my vacations as a time to rejuvenate and relax,” says Jillian. “I want to take better care of myself.” It’s not a vacation from common sense — it’s a vacation from stress!
Related: Travel Diet Tips From Alison Sweeney
Wheat grass shots are not only healthy but energizing (photo: Steven Depolo/Flickr)
4. Sample the cuisine — and other things, too. People in other cultures practice different regimens for their health. Sample the local superfoods if you’re in Hawaii. In New York, sample the cool yoga class. Ask locals about the healthy aspects of the culture. Try that cool raw juice bar. Really experience the healthy things in that environment.
Plan an activity for the whole group, like surfing lessons (photo: Kanaka Menehune/Flickr)
5. Incorporate the family. On vacation, you’re usually going to be with your kids or your significant other. What activities can you do with the family? If you’re going skiing, go skiing with the family. If you are going to take that paddleboarding lesson, take it with one of your kids. Take a surfing lesson with one of them, or go river rafting. Make it a family affair!
SAVANNAH, Ga. – Lifting weights can help you burn fat in five different ways. You can learn all about it at the Enmark Encourage Health Education Series Tuesday.
Tuesday, August 26, Kerri Goodrich talks about the “Five Ways Weight Lifting Helps Burn Body Fat.” It is the fourth of five lectures in the Enmark Encourage Health Educational Series 2014. Goodrich is the founder and Director of Performance Initiatives in Savannah, which is the selected charity for this Encourage Health Education lecture.
A former member of the U.S. Women’s National Weightlifting Team from 1993–2000, Goodrich is an expert and seasoned professional when it comes to physical training. She is a USA Weightlifting Senior Coach, and has served as Head Men’s Coach USA Weightlifting 2012 Youth World Championship Team, Team Leader for 2011 Youth World Weightlifting Championships, and Team Leader for 2010 17U Pan American Team.
“To reduce body fat, increase lean muscle mass and burn calories more efficiently, strength training is an excellent choice for everyone. It is a key component of overall health and fitness,” said Goodrich.
Goodrich’s lecture will discuss how muscle mass helps burn body fat, the health benefits of strength training, how to boost your stamina, proper weight maintenance and glucose control.
Goodrich said, “Strength training, particularly in conjunction with regular aerobic exercise, can also have a profound impact on a person’s mental and emotional health.”
This Enmark Encourage Health presentation will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Auditorium of the Savannah Morning News, located at 1375 Chatham Parkway in Savannah. Lunch and lecture tickets are $20. Checks should be made payable to the benefiting charity for this lecture; Performance Initiatives. To purchase tickets, contact Kerri Goodrich at 912-507-7106, or visit http://pifitness.org/fundraisers/.
Performance Initiatives will also be raising funds on Saturday, Aug. 30 at the Enmark Station located at 7406 Waters Ave from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. During this “Enmark Dollar Day” there will be opportunities for Performance Initiatives to receive $1 for every car wash, $1 at their charity table and $1 donations will be accepted at the Enmark cash registers. For more information on Performance Initiatives, visit www.PIFitness.org
MORE INFORMATION ON THE ENCOURAGE HEALTH SERIES
Enmark has partnered with Healthy Savannah, the Savannah Morning News, Savannah Magazine, WJCL and GPB Savannah – WSVH 91.1/WWIO 89.9 to present this premier series of five wellness lectures benefiting local nonprofit organizations focused on Wellness. www.enmarkenjoy.com
Losing weight is an uphill battle for most of us. We all have to eat, yet there are so many ways to eat too much. Flavored coffee, sodas, alcohol, snacking, sweets and oversized portions are all examples, but the list could go on and on. At the end of the day, what’s the most important thing you can do in weight loss? Consume fewer calories than your body burns in a given day. Use a calorie calculator like this one, and follow its suggestions for losing weight. It sure sounds easy, but there are plenty of ways you can slip up. Here are some tips to lose weight faster and more effectively.
Get plenty of sleep.
If you don’t get enough sleep, you’re more likely to get groggy and reach for food for fuel and comfort. It may keep you going through the day, but it also adds calories that you might not otherwise need. And hey, if you’re sleeping, you’re definitely not eating!
Weigh yourself once a week.
It’s important to make yourself accountable and aware of your progress. Don’t get discouraged if your progress is slow. You’re only supposed to lose 1–2 pounds a week.
Consume a moderate amount of salt.
A new study found that people who had too much or too little salt were at greater risk for cardiovascular disease. Current U.S. guidelines recommend between 1.5 and 2.3 grams a day. This study questions the feasibility and validity of such guidelines, as do some health experts, but we do know that high levels (classified by researchers as more than 5.99 grams) of salt intake can be damaging to your heart and will cause water retention. Your kidneys can only excrete so much at a time, so if you continually eat too much salt, that bloated feeling won’t go away.
Drink plenty of water.
Drinking water burns calories, but if you drink two glasses before a meal, you’ll feel full faster and end up eating less. If you have a salt-heavy diet, water (while still making you bloated) is needed to help flush out your system. There’s no magic number when it comes to your daily need (it varies based on age, weight, lifestyle and diet), but generally, if you’re thirsty, your body needs water. Coffee and green tea are other options that may also boost your metabolism (albeit temporarily).
Add fiber and protein to your diet.
Nobody likes to think about bowel movements (is that really the best phrase for them?), but even though it’s that-thing-we-don’t-talk-about, regularity matters. Protein will help your body remain active and keep you full longer, but you need fiber (preferably from fruits, vegetables and nuts) to maintain proper digestion.
Go out for dinner less often.
The goal of any restaurant is to make people want to come back. What’s the best way they can do this? Offer you great food at a reasonable price. They want to keep costs down and increase their flavor, and they’re often far less concerned about the nutritional value of your meal. That can leave you eating foods that are high in carbohydrates, fat and sodium. They may taste great, but they won’t keep your calorie count down. If you have a soda, an appetizer, some bread and your entire entrée, it’s quite possible to reach your daily caloric need in one sitting. Now think about how much you ate earlier in the day, and you start to see how weight gain can creep up on you.
Add fruits and veggies to your diet.
If you really don’t enjoy drinking a bunch of water, fruits and vegetables are great alternatives. They’re good for your heart and provide necessary antioxidants, but they’re also loaded with water. One medium apple translates to 6 ounces of water, for example.
When we’re lounging around the house or bored at work, it’s easy to get our minds stuck on food. It makes us feel better, and it’s something we’re going to need anyway. Instead of reaching for potato chips, have a stash of gum to help ease those cravings. At less than five calories, sugar-free gum has been shown to help reduce daily caloric intake, and it certainly isn’t something you’ll regret later.
Eat until you’re 80 percent full.
On average, it takes your body 15–20 minutes to feel full after a meal, and knowing this, the Japanese practice something called “hara hachi bu,” which means they eat until they are 80 percent full. The problem for us, as Americans, is that from an early age we were told to “clean our plates.” As adults, we end up eating 92 percent of the food we serve to ourselves. Maybe it’s time to rethink what we need versus what we end up eating. The best way to start that is to be patient, eat slow, and stop before you’re full. In time (The Huffington Post quoted a registered dietician who said it can take 15–20 meals), your body will learn when it’s time to put your fork down. It won’t be easy at first, but after a while, it can become second nature.
Try to be patient, and have fun when you can.
I’ve said before that losing weight can be aided by exercise and lifestyle changes, but if you make it too much of a grind, you’ll eventually hit a wall. It’s much easier to gain back what you’ve lost than it is to maintain a healthy weight. So find an activity or exercise you really enjoy and do it as often as you can—but remember, you need time. Weight gain usually happens slowly, over a period of years, so don’t expect to lose your excess weight in a few weeks. And it’s OK if you slip up from time to time. Just don’t give up!
Jay McKenzie loves soccer, history and feeling great. He’s on a quest to eat better and exercise more, and he wants to share his experiences along the way. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments or questions. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.