A recent experiment on mice and their offspring suggests that women who exercise while pregnant may be installing a love for exercise in their unborn children.
The study, published March 31 in the biology journal FASEB, set out to test whether maternal exercise in pregnant mice could produce changes in voluntary physical activity in offspring.
Adult female mice were randomly split into two groups – one with access to running wheels and one without – before and during pregnancy. They monitored running behavior in the two mothering groups, and then monitored body weight, body composition, food intake, energy expenditure, total cage activity and running wheel activity in the offspring at various ages.
Results showed that offspring from mice who ran during pregnancy were more physically active as adults, and were more able to lose weight during exercise programs. The research was conducted by researchers from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
“Our findings show for the first time that maternal physical activity during pregnancy affects the offspring’s lifelong propensity for physical activity and may have important implications for combating the worldwide epidemic of physical inactivity and obesity,” the study’s abstract stated.
Seniors taking more pills, increasing risk of bad drug interaction
A study this month from JAMA Internal Medicine found that older adults use more medications than they did five years ago, and that a growing percentage of older adults are potentially at risk for a dangerous drug interaction.
The study tracked more than 2,000 older adults 62 to 85 years old, once in 2005-06 and again in 2010-11. It found that in 2011, 87 percent of participants took at least one prescription medication, as compared to 84 percent in 2005. It also found that concurrent use of at least five prescription medications increased from 31 percent to 36 percent between the two survey periods.
In 2010-11, approximately 15 percent of older adults were at risk for a potential major drug-drug interaction, compared with an estimated 8 percent in 2005-06, according to the study. Most of these interacting regimens involved medications and dietary supplements increasingly used in 2010-11. The study was conducted by researchers from a number of major institutions including the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
“We’ve seen that seniors’ ability to remain independent in their homes is greatly dependent on their ability to manage their medications,” said Buck Shaw, franchise owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office in Sacramento and surrounding counties, in a press release.
“If families see any signs that their senior loved one may be having difficulties, such as unintended weight loss or full medicine bottles, we encourage them to help their senior loved one, serving as a second set of eyes and ears, or ask for help.”
Study finds high cancer survival rate in married patients due to social support
Staying married may be the secret to surviving cancer, but not because of improved financial stability, an April study suggests.
Researchers from the Cancer Prevention Institute of California found that while having access to economic resources such as private health insurance and home ownership in high-status neighborhoods was associated with improved cancer survival in married couples, having a strong network of social support is a greater contributor to high survival rates in this group.
Researchers evaluated nearly 800,000 cancer patients diagnosed between 2000-09 and followed them through 2012, using data from the California Cancer Registry. They found that compared with married patients, unmarried patients had an increased risk of death, and that risk was higher in males.
Researchers noted that married patients are more likely than unmarried patients to engage in healthy behaviors such as eating well, engaging in physical activity and participating in screenings. They’re also more likely to receive aggressive treatment, according to the study.
In a companion study, researchers found that the benefits of being married varied by race and ethnicity, with non-Hispanic white unmarried men having the worst outcome. This group had a 24 percent higher mortality rate than their married counterparts.
“Our study provides evidence for social support as a key driver,” said lead researcher Scarlett Lin Gomez of Stanford University, in a press release. “Based upon our findings, we suggest that physicians and other health professionals who treat unmarried cancer patients ask if there is someone within their social network available to help them physically and emotionally.”