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Friday
Aug292014

Spot in brain that motivates mice to exercise is discovered

Image courtesy of ratch0013 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Many want to exercise but just can’t get off the couch. A new study may just be the answer for this group of people.

Researchers found a small spot on the brains of mice that control their desire to exercise. The dorsal medial habenula is similar in humans and its basic function is mood regulation and motivation.

“The brain pathways responsible for exercise motivation have not been well understood,” said principal investigator Dr. Eric Turner. “Now, we can seek ways to manipulate activity within this specific area of the brain without impacting the rest of the brain’s activity.” 

In one part of the study mice could choose to activate the dorsal medial haenula (scientist were able to block it) by turning a wheel with their paw. The mice strongly preferred this option.

Will discovery get sedentary off the couch? (Seattle Children’s Research)
 

Workouts are out of this world

Do you ever wonder how astronauts stay in shape in space?

Creative ways need to be invented in order for the men and women who are a little more than 200 miles from earth maintain their muscles and body mass.

Here are some of the innovations:

  • bungee cords hold astronauts down while on a treadmill
  • resistance training uses a machine that simulates weight by using vacuum tubes that can mimic up to 600 pounds
  • stationary bikes have clip-in pedals and are ridden standing up

Space station work out (Fitness Business Canada)
 

Large study on link between obesity and cancer

The UK’s most comprehensive study of the link of obesity and cancer sheds not-so-great news for those in England.

The study of 5 million people in the UK shows that being overweight means a higher risk of developing 10 different cancers.

The study doesn’t necessarily say that being obese means you will get cancer, only the forms of cancer where the risk is greatest.

Tom Stansfeld, at Cancer Research UK, said: "Although the relationship between cancer and obesity is complex, it is clear carrying excess weight increases your risk of developing cancer.

Some cancers more likely if you are obese (BBC) 
 

Study: childhood obesity not rising

A new study by researchers at the University of Minnesota shows that childhood abdominal obesity rates are not increasing, as they have been for years. 

But that isn’t necessarily good news: children and teens still come in at 17% as obese and 32% as overweight. Over the past decade the number for obese was in the 18% range.

Abdominal obesity takes into consideration waist circumference and waist-to-height ratio and refers to excessive fat in the abdominal area.

More than 12,000 youth, ages 2 to 18, were included in the study.

Abdominal obesity rates leveling off (Boston Globe)

 

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