- Brandon Roy of the Portland Trailblazers trains by drinking an entire gallon of water by 2 p.m. everyday. Jason Quick of The Oregonian reports:
"What I learned about those first two seasons is they are long. They are a grind, especially with the Western Conference not getting any easier,'' Roy said.
Roy hired a trainer, Ron Tate, who focuses heavily on stretching in addition to weight lifting. He also forces Roy to drink a gallon of water every day before 2 p.m.
In previous summers, Roy would play basketball nearly every day. Now he plays maybe twice a week, even though the Blazers would prefer it was one or less.
"I think I have gotten smarter with the way I work,'' Roy said. "It's not so much pound, pound, pound. It's more stretching and lifting with lighter weight but more reps.''
- Tara Parker-Pope of The New York Times examines the safety concerns surrounding sunscreen. Here’s an excerpt:
“What they are doing is developing their own system for evaluating things,” said Dr. Warwick L. Morison, professor of dermatology at Johns Hopkins and chairman of the Skin Cancer Foundation’s photobiology committee, which tests sunscreens for safety and effectiveness. “Using this scale to say a sunscreen offers good protection or bad protection is junk science.”
Dr. Morison has no financial ties to sunscreen makers, and his work with the Skin Cancer Foundation is unpaid.
Sonya Lunder, a senior analyst with the Environmental Working Group, said the database and rating system were based on an extensive review of the medical literature on sunscreens. Of nearly 1,000 sunscreens reviewed, the group recommends only 143 brands. Most are lesser-known brands with titanium and zinc, which are effective blockers of ultraviolet radiation. But they are less popular with consumers because they can leave a white residue.
- As athletes from all over the world converge on Beijing, China for the Olympics, a haze of pollution hovers over the city. Via Reuters:
Olympic host city Beijing was shrouded in haze on Monday 11 days before the Games begin, raising anxieties about whether it can deliver the clean skies promised for the world's top athletes.
The city's chronic pollution, a sometimes acrid mix of construction dust, vehicle exhaust and factory and power plant fumes, has been one of the biggest worries for Games organizers.
Beijing has ordered many of its 3.3 million cars off roads and halted much construction and factory production in an effort to cut pollution before the Games open on August 8.
But a sultry haze persisted on Monday, and state media said Beijing might be forced to restrict more cars and shut more factories if the pollution persists.
- A new study claims weekends are especially tough on dieters. Kathleen Doheny of HealthDay News explains:
"At baseline, before they were supposed to be following a diet or exercise plan, we found on weekends, people gained weight," study author Susan Racette, an assistant professor at Washington University in St. Louis said. During the week, the weight would decline. But the weekend effect was strong. "If you translate it out to a year, it could have increased weight by 9 pounds."
Before the intervention, participants ate an average of 2,257 calories on Saturday compared to just 2,021 during the week. But the average activity on weekends overall didn't differ much from average weekday activities. So, it was the food, not the lack of activity, that was to blame, Racette said.
Racette monitored the participants for a year after they started the intervention, and the weekend indulgences continued. The calorie restriction group stopped losing weight on weekends, while the physical activity group gained slightly (about .17 pounds). There were not significant weight changes in the controls on weekends.
- Despite its dangers, many athletes are stilling taking caffeine in order to boost their performance. More form Amy Norton of Reuters:
Four years ago, ahead of the Athens Olympics, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed caffeine from its list of banned substances in sport. This was "presumably because WADA considered (caffeine's) performance-enhancing effects to be insignificant," notes Mark Stuart in a commentary published in the journal BMJ Clinical Evidence.
Stuart, a BMJ editor, has worked with doping control for past Olympic Games and helped train medical staff for the upcoming Beijing Olympics.
Despite questions about caffeine's effects on athletic prowess, Stuart points out, studies indicate that many athletes still use the stimulant. In a study published last month, for example, researchers found that of 193 UK track-and-field athletes they surveyed, one-third used caffeine to enhance performance -- as did 60 percent of 287 competitive cyclists.
- Some experts believe certain yoga techniques can help people have better sleep. Via The Detroit Free Press:
Numbers like those, coupled with ads for sleep aids, persuaded yoga instructor Shanon Buffington that the time was right for a workshop she developed.
"Most of us don't sleep like babies anymore," the instructor said as participants gathered last month for her "Yoga for Better Sleep" workshop at Dallas Surya Center for Yoga.
"We're typically tired, and when we do rest, we don't sleep well.
"My goal," she said, "is to give you a toolbox of techniques." These include breathing techniques, relaxing restorative poses and an introduction to Yoga Nidra, a guided visualization.
These yoga tools work, Buffington says, by calming the autonomic nervous system, specifically by nudging the body toward the parasympathetic, or "rest and digest," state as opposed to the sympathetic, or "fight or flight," state.
- Bone density might be a good predictor of breast cancer-risk. From Amanda Gardner of HealthDay News:
A new study has found that high bone mineral density (BMD) predicts a greater likelihood of developing breast cancer, independent of how high her risk is on the often-used Gail model.
The two measurements together might be used in tandem to better predict breast cancer risk, the researchers said.
The findings, which were expected to be published in the Sept. 1 issue of Cancer, follow closely on the heels of other research linking different aspects of bone health with breast cancer risk. One study presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in May found that Zometa (zoledronic acid), a drug used to treat osteoporosis, lowered the risk of breast cancer recurrence in premenopausal women.
And another study released this spring found that women with breast cancer who have a vitamin D deficiency at the time of their diagnosis were more likely to have a recurrence or to die from their disease. Vitamin D is also critical to bone health.
- Staying fit protects the brain of Alzheimer's patients. Julie Steenhuysen of Reuters reports:
Fitness and exercise have been shown to slow age-related changes in the brain in healthy people. The latest finding suggests people with early Alzheimer's disease may still benefit.
"The message is essentially if you have Alzheimer's disease, it's not too late to become physically fit," Dr. Sam Gandy, chairman of the Alzheimer's Association's Medical and Scientific Advisory Council, said in a statement.
Researchers at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City studied the relationship between fitness and brain volume in 56 healthy adults and 60 adults with early Alzheimer's disease. All were over the age of 60.