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Daylight Saving Time 2015: Tips for Springing Forward

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — It’s time to spring for­ward on Sun­day, but the act of mov­ing the clocks an hour ahead can deliver a blow to your sleep­ing schedule.

For most, day­light sav­ing time is an excit­ing sign of spring that comes with a slightly sleepy Mon­day. But if you’re not a morn­ing per­son to begin with, your mood and pro­duc­tiv­ity can take a dive. Day­light sav­ing time has been blamed for car acci­dents, work­place injuries and stock mar­ket dips in the past.

That’s because peo­ple are expe­ri­enc­ing more than just jet lag this time of year. They’re deal­ing with a new light-dark cycle.

It’s an inter­est­ing para­dox, because trav­el­ing one time zone east or west is very easy for any­one to adapt to,” said Dr. Alfred Lewy, direc­tor of Ore­gon Health and Sci­ence University’s Sleep and Mood Dis­or­ders Lab­o­ra­tory in Port­land, Ore­gon. “But in day­light sav­ing time, the new light-dark cycle is per­versely work­ing against the body clock. We’re get­ting less sun­light in morn­ing and more in the evening.”

The body clock is a clus­ter of neu­rons deep inside the brain that gen­er­ates the cir­ca­dian rhythm, also known as the sleep-wake cycle. The cycle spans roughly 24 hours, but it’s not precise.

It needs a sig­nal every day to reset it,” said Lewy.

The sig­nal is sun­light, which shines in through the eyes and “cor­rects the cycle from approx­i­mately 24 hours to pre­cisely 24 hours,” said Lewy. But when the sleep-wake and light-dark cycles don’t line up, peo­ple can feel out-of-sync, tired and down­right grumpy.

With time, the body clock adjusts on its own. But here are a few ways to help it along:

Soak Up the Morn­ing Light

Get­ting some early morn­ing sun Sat­ur­day and Sun­day can help the brain’s sleep-wake cycle line up with the new light-dark cycle. But it means get­ting up and out­side at dawn. Sleep­ing by a win­dow won’t cut it, Lewy said. The sun­light needs to be direct because glass fil­ters out much of the fre­quen­cies involved in re-setting the sleep-wake cycle.

Avoid Evening Light

Resist­ing the urge to linger in the late sun­light Sun­day and Mon­day also can help the body clock adjust, Lewy said.

Try a Low Dose of Melatonin

While light syn­chro­nizes the body clock in the morn­ing, the hor­mone mela­tonin updates it at night.

The exact func­tion of the hor­mone, pro­duced by the pea-size pineal gland in the mid­dle of the brain, is unclear. But it can acti­vate mela­tonin recep­tors on the neu­rons of the body clock, act­ing as a “chem­i­cal sig­nal for dark­ness,” Lewy said.

Tak­ing a low-dose (less than 0.3 mil­ligrams) of mela­tonin late in the after­noon Fri­day through Mon­day can help sync the sleep-wake and light-dark cycles. But be care­ful: Though mela­tonin is sold as a dietary sup­ple­ment, it can cause drowsi­ness and inter­fere with other drugs.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Staying Fit Throughout Adulthood Takes Brains

iStock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) — Instead of get­ting depressed when you turn 40, think of it as a new lease on life.

So rather than let­ting your­self go, make a con­scious effort to stay fit. In that way, says Nicole Spar­tano, a post­doc­toral fel­low at Boston Uni­ver­sity School of Med­i­cine, you’ll be able to brag about hav­ing a young brain when you turn 60.

Spar­tano exam­ined the records of 1,270 peo­ple, aver­age age 41, who under­went tread­mill test­ing dur­ing the 1970s. Fast for­ward to 20 years later, she then looked at the results of the same peo­ple who under­went MRI brain scans and men­tal per­for­mance tests.

Over­all, the par­tic­i­pants who had a lower increase in heart rate and blood pres­sure did bet­ter on tests involv­ing decision-making than their less healthy coun­ter­parts, mean­ing they retained more brain volume.

Spar­tano says this would sug­gest that fit­ness through­out adult­hood has an impact on brain aging. Pre­vi­ously, other stud­ies have shown that elderly peo­ple who undergo fit­ness pro­grams can help pre­vent brain-aging, at least in the short-term.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
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Goal Setters Often Delude Themselves

Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — When you’re try­ing to achieve a goal and think you’re doing a good job at it, don’t be too quick to give your­self a pat on the back.

Researchers from the Uni­ver­sity of Col­orado and Texas A&M Uni­ver­sity say that too often, peo­ple tend to delude them­selves into think­ing that they’re doing much bet­ter than they really are.

Some of exam­ples of this occur­ring, say Mar­garet C. Camp­bell and Caleb War­ren, are when you diet or try to save money. Essen­tially, human nature involves giv­ing more sig­nif­i­cance con­sis­tent with one’s beliefs.

After look­ing at seven stud­ies in this regard, Camp­bell and War­ren say the ten­dency of peo­ple is to over­es­ti­mate how well they’re doing on the way to achiev­ing weight loss or sav­ing money and to down­play setbacks.

That might explain why, for instance, peo­ple aban­don exer­cise pro­grams when they don’t see much results. The fre­quent rea­son for that is peo­ple think just because they’re work­ing out, they should be able to eat what­ever they feel like.

This is called “progress bias” and it often prompts peo­ple to quit work­ing towards a desired out­come before they should.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


One in Seven 2-Year-Olds in Boston Drink Coffee

iStock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) — Do you remem­ber hav­ing your first sip of cof­fee? It was prob­a­bly when you were a kid and you also prob­a­bly hated it.

How­ever, a new study out of Boston Med­ical Cen­ter has some shock­ing news: an esti­mated one out of seven chil­dren aged 2 in Boston drink coffee.

The researchers, led by Anne Mere­wood, ana­lyzed 315 moms and tod­dlers to arrive at that esti­mate. They also found that chil­dren of His­pan­ics were more likely to be cof­fee drinkers than non-Hispanics and that more girls than boys drank coffee.

Mere­wood believes that infants and tod­dlers in other parts of the coun­try are also being given cof­fee, say­ing it “could be asso­ci­ated with cul­tural factors.”

Although the report did not delve into the rea­sons or pos­si­ble ram­i­fi­ca­tions of allow­ing chil­dren to drink cof­fee at such a young age, other stud­ies have said that it can lead to depres­sion, dia­betes, sleep prob­lems, sub­stance abuse and obesity.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Beer Pong Is a Pretty Filthy Game

iStock/Thinkstock(CLEMSON, S.C.) — Beer pong is a game of skill, a game of luck, a game that usu­ally involves drink­ing too much.

Be that as it may, beer pong remains extremely pop­u­lar on and off col­lege cam­puses but Clem­son Uni­ver­sity wanted to study an aspect of the game apart from the soci­o­log­i­cal phenomenon.

Basi­cally, researcher Paul Daw­son and his team con­cluded that beer pong is a pretty germy game that can involve the trans­mis­sion of micro­bial pathogens, the stuff that causes disease.

Although the ping pong ball is touched by people’s hands and hits all kinds of sur­faces, not includ­ing the table or cup, the Clem­son researchers found out that for­tu­nately, most of the microbes were not path­o­genic. That’s the good news.

On the flip side, Daw­son and his col­leagues says the dan­ger remains of trans­fer­ring pathogens from fecal par­ti­cles and all the dis­eases asso­ci­ated with them.

Mean­while, in a sep­a­rate exper­i­ment, they also inoc­u­lated ping pongs with a non-pathogenic form of E.coli and reported a 100 per­cent rate of it being trans­ferred among players.

Obvi­ously, this study prob­a­bly won’t put a dent in the pop­u­lar­ity of beer pong but it might get a few peo­ple think­ing about other hygienic alternatives.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


That's Cold! Thinking About Money, That Is

iStock/Thinkstock(BASEL, Switzer­land) — Cold hard cash can actu­ally make you feel cold, accord­ing to a cou­ple of exper­i­ments con­ducted at the Uni­ver­sity of Basel in Switzerland.

In one, 40 par­tic­i­pants either stuck their hand in a bowl filled with nearly 100 bank notes or another bowl filled with the same num­ber of col­ored pieces of paper.

Each group was then asked var­i­ous ques­tions about the room they were in, includ­ing esti­mat­ing the tem­per­a­ture inside. Inter­est­ingly, those in the “money” group guessed the room tem­per­a­ture as quite a bit lower than the col­ored paper group.

The sec­ond exper­i­ment involved the 60 par­tic­i­pants either touch­ing money or paper in bowls and then plac­ing their hands in water set at 98.6 degrees Fahren­heit. After the water cooled down, they put their hands back in, and as the water grad­u­ally heated up, they were asked to pre­dict when it reached the orig­i­nal temperature.

It turned out, those in the “money” group, who felt chill­ier than their coun­ter­parts, said the water reached the right heated tem­per­a­ture much sooner than the par­tic­i­pants who touched the paper.

What does it all mean? The researchers say that just think­ing about money, for some rea­son, causes “per­ceived phys­i­cal cold­ness,” mean­ing feel­ings can be influ­enced by phys­i­cal sen­sa­tions with­out peo­ple real­iz­ing it.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Energy Drink TV Ads Target Adolescents

Mauro Matacchione/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Pedi­a­tri­cians warn against teen energy drink con­sump­tion, but the amount of TV adver­tis­ing devoted to teens for these prod­ucts fights that.

Researchers looked at a year’s worth of ads, and found that 13 man­u­fac­tur­ers aired 83,071 com­mer­cials for energy drinks – that’s over 608 hours, on 139 dif­fer­ent net­works, accord­ing to a study pub­lished Fri­day in the Jour­nal of the Nutri­tional Edu­ca­tion and Behav­ior.

Ten chan­nels accounted for nearly half of the air­time, and six of these included ado­les­cents as young as 12 in their tar­get demographic.

MTV2 had the most energy drink adver­tis­ing and the great­est pro­por­tion of ado­les­cents in its base audience.

The researchers could not defin­i­tively con­clude that ado­les­cents viewed the ads, but they say it is likely.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


The World of Intersex Children and One Person's Journey Between Two Sexes


(SALINAS, Domini­can Repub­lic) — Grow­ing up in a small town near Bara­hona, Domini­can Repub­lic, south­west of the island home to pris­tine beaches not yet sul­lied by the out­side world, I heard sto­ries about chil­dren nick­named “guevedoces.”

The town is called Sali­nas, and if you ask any­one in the coun­try about Sali­nas — the one close to Bara­hona because there are four — you will hear two tales: One is how some of the peo­ple there were born with a rare con­di­tion that made their feet look like lob­ster feet. And the other tale is of how a num­ber of chil­dren were pre­sum­ably born as girls and later turned into boys once they hit puberty. They were called gueve­do­ces, or “penis at 12.”

To the best of the vil­lagers’ knowl­edge they looked like girls at birth and were raised that way. But as they got older, their voices deep­ened and it was dis­cov­ered they had tes­ti­cles, even­tu­ally turn­ing into adult men. Doc­tors from Cor­nell Uni­ver­sity in upstate New York trav­eled there to study some of the chil­dren with this med­ical anom­aly, even bring­ing some of them back to the States for research.

I trav­eled the rural roads of Domini­can Repub­lic in search of the mys­tery town.

Upon my arrival, I saw a group of peo­ple sit­ting in the shade of a tree. And they were not sur­prised that a Dominican-American jour­nal­ist was ask­ing about the guevedoces.

One of them was a bare­foot man and his foot looked like a lob­ster — mak­ing at least one of the tales I had heard true.

Back in Sali­nas, I was hop­ing to inter­view one of the gueve­do­ces. I was told that when doc­tors took some of them to the U.S. for research, most of them used it as an oppor­tu­nity to stay — never return­ing to Salinas.

The women in the group were more eager to talk than the men. Maria Felis remem­bers vividly when doc­tors from the United States came to the town, tak­ing some of the gueve­do­ces to New York.

There aren’t so many now as there were before,” she explained. “I remem­ber when the last two broth­ers left in 1989. They never told us why there were so many chil­dren born that way.”

There was a baby born like the gueve­do­ces last year,” Maria added, “but the mother would be too embar­rassed to talk.”

I was very famil­iar with this response. I have come across numer­ous par­ents in the United States with inter­sex chil­dren and most of them felt the same way.

It’s an impor­tant story and I want to help,” one mother told me, “but I am wor­ried what peo­ple will think of my child.”

Another woman, Josefa Cuevos, recalled one of her child­hood friends. “I remem­ber when one was born…then she grew up changed her name and started to live as a man.”

In today’s ter­mi­nol­ogy the gueve­do­ces are inter­sex, and it’s a con­di­tion that affects Amer­i­can chil­dren as well.

About one in every 2,000 babies are born inter­sex each year in the United States alone, accord­ing to the National Insti­tutes of Health, but they don’t always stay that way for­ever. Many undergo gen­der assign­ment surgery to assign them one gen­der over the other.

In our Night­line report, we fol­low the jour­ney of Saifa Wall, who was born with ambigu­ous gen­i­talia like the gueve­do­ces. But instead of let­ting him grow into his sex, doc­tors assigned him female at birth and removed his tes­ti­cles at the age of 13.

For the first time, Saifa, who is now 35 years old, came face-to-face with the pedi­atric sur­geon, Dr. Terry Hensle, who per­formed his gen­der assign­ment surgery almost 20 years ago at Saifa’s par­ents’ request, decid­ing his sex with Saifa’s mother’s con­sent, which Saifa says was the wrong gen­der for him.

Gen­der assign­ment surg­eries among inter­sex chil­dren in the United States are still a com­mon prac­tice, but they are increas­ingly con­tro­ver­sial, with kids and par­ents com­ing for­ward to say the sur­geons are some­times mak­ing irre­versible mistakes.

Dr. Hensle has been a leader in the field of gen­der assign­ment surgery for 30 years and is still a prac­tic­ing pedi­atric uro­log­i­cal sur­geon. He also served as a pro­fes­sor of urol­ogy at Colum­bia Uni­ver­sity Med­ical Center.

Hensle said gen­der assign­ment deci­sions are now made by a “gen­der com­mit­tee” made up of endocri­nol­o­gists, ethi­cists, even clergy, but when Saifa under­went his surgery, which was per­formed at his par­ents’ request, only a small team of doc­tors made the call.

It really wasn’t the right thing to do,” Hensle told Night­line.

Hensle was the sur­geon who removed Saifa’s tes­ti­cles when he was 13 years old. He said Saifa and his fam­ily knew what hav­ing gen­der assign­ment surgery meant, and med­ical releases were signed. Dur­ing the pro­ce­dure, Saifa’s male organs were removed, an irre­versible pro­ce­dure pre­vent­ing him from ever hav­ing chil­dren and turn­ing him bio­log­i­cally into a girl.

It wasn’t until col­lege that Saifa started to ask seri­ous ques­tions, and got a hold of his med­ical records. He said he was shocked by what he learned.

I saw that ini­tially they had wrote that I had ‘ambigu­ous gen­i­talia,’” Saifa said. “They checked it but then they scratched it out and put that I was ‘nor­mal.’ So at first I was Baby Wall, then I became Baby Girl Wall, then I became Suzanne Wall so that’s when every­thing started to come together.”

I felt betrayed,” Saifa con­tin­ued. “Then I felt like, oh, there was this thing that hap­pened and I didn’t — I wasn’t aware of it.…No one told me.”

Hensle cat­e­gor­i­cally denies that he did any­thing Saifa’s par­ents didn’t ask him to do. But he is forth­right in say­ing that the sci­ence on gen­der assign­ment surgery back then was not as advanced as it is now.

There are some mis­takes that would never hap­pen today know­ing what we know about gen­der, know­ing what we know about nur­ture ver­sus nature, know­ing what we know about indi­vid­ual choices, so yes, we’ve learned a lot and I hope we make the right choices. I think we will,” Hensle said.

Saifa was ster­il­ized by a surgery he now regrets hav­ing. As a result, every week, he has to inject him­self with testos­terone, a hor­mone he is depen­dent on for the rest of his life.

So, 20 years after under­go­ing this surgery, Saifa sat down with Hensle to find answers to ques­tions that have stayed with him since he first found out about the surgery at age 25.

What you’re say­ing is because I was assigned female, and I have inter­nal testes, that those testes should be removed?” Saifa asked Hensle.

You shouldn’t be assigned as a female gen­der,” Hensle said. “But the point is that what hap­pened to you, it was done not out of mal­ice, or not of lack of think­ing about it, it was done because…[in 1992] that was state of the art. In the decade between ’92 and 2002, we learned an extra­or­di­nary amount.”

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
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