Health-E-News March 2013
empowering you to optimal health
Here's a great video about proper desk posture. There are no words, just music.
Make Time to Move At Work
Office Workers Beware: Sitting Time Associated With Increased Risk of Chronic Diseases. The more you sit, the higher your risk of chronic diseases.
The study's sample included 63,048 males ages 45-65 from the Australian state of New South Wales. Study participants reported the presence or absence of various chronic diseases, along with their daily sitting time: categorized as less than four hours, four to six hours, six to eight hours, or more than eight hours.
Compared with those who reported sitting four hours or less per day, those who sat for more than four hours per day were significantly more likely to report having a chronic disease such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. The reporting of chronic diseases rose as participants indicated they sat more. Those sitting for at least six hours were significantly more likely to report having diabetes.
"We saw a steady stair-step increase in risk of chronic diseases the more participants sat," Rosenkranz said. "The group sitting more than eight hours clearly had the highest risk."
The more you can move while at work, the better. Simply standing up every 20 minutes can have a huge benefit on your health. Here is a page with 12 simple desk exercises.
Flu Vaccine: New Report Questions Science Behind Flu Vaccine
Flu vaccine is not as effective as public health messaging traditionally has claimed, says a new report that suggests overselling of flu shots is getting in the way of developing more effective and longer lasting vaccines.
The project that led to the report was called the CIDRAP Comprehensive Influenza Vaccine Initiative, and it involved mining more than 12,000 documents, articles and meeting transcripts as well as more than 5,700 peer-reviewed vaccine studies published from 1936 through April 2012. The full report can be found here.
In recent years studies by a variety of research groups have shown that the long-quoted claims that flu shots offered 70 to 90 per cent protection against influenza have been off the mark.
Somewhere in the order of 50 to 60 per cent, in healthy adults, is more accurate, the newer studies suggest. Efficacy rates are lower in the elderly or people in poor health. Vaccine effectiveness in those 65 and older against both influenza A and B was 27% (95% CI, -31% to 59%), and against H3N2 it was 9% (95% CI, -84% to 55%), but both numbers are statistically not significant.
The report suggests that the higher numbers came from old studies done on vaccines that were not formulated the way current shots are. It also suggests that the belief that universal vaccination for flu would be useful and desirable, rather than solid scientific evidence, was what drove decisions to recommend flu shots for all in the U.S. (The study did not look at decisions made in Canada or elsewhere.)
Even the vaccine used in the U.S. during the 2009 pandemic - where there was a perfect match between the virus in the vaccine and the strain infecting people - didn't offer better protection. Studies cited in the report pegged the U.S. vaccine's effectiveness at 56 per cent.
A key argument of the report is the fact that the current vaccine that offers moderate protection is actually getting in the way of developing long-lasting flu vaccines that offer more effective protection - vaccines, for example, that might require a shot every five or 10 years. Currently flu shots are reformulated every year to try to keep up with the evolution of flu viruses.
Even though a flu shot is a relatively inexpensive vaccine, manufacturers sell hundreds of millions of doses of them a year. In fact, the report notes that the global market for flu vaccine is estimated at US$2.8 billion - a decent chunk of the estimated US$20 billion annual market for all vaccines combined.
Heavy Backpacks May Damage Nerves, Muscles and Skeleton, Study Suggests
Trudging from place to place with heavy weights on our backs is an everyday reality, from schoolchildren toting textbooks in backpacks to firefighters and soldiers carrying occupational gear. Muscle and skeletal damage are very real concerns. Now Tel Aviv University researchers say that nerve damage, specifically to the nerves that travel through the neck and shoulders to animate our hands and fingers, is also a serious risk.
The pressure of heavy loads carried on the back have the potential to damage the soft tissues of the shoulder, causing microstructural damage to the nerves.
The result could be anything from simple irritation to diminished nerve capacity, ultimately limiting the muscles' ability to respond to the brain's signals, inhibiting movement of the hand and the dexterity of the fingers. In practice, this could impact functionality, reducing a worker's ability to operate machinery, or limiting a child's writing or drawing capacity.
These results apply to people from all walks of life, says Prof. Gefen. Many professions and leisure activities, such as hiking or traveling, involve carrying heavy equipment on the back.
Best to wear a backpack on both shoulders, and should wear no more than 10% of your body weight.