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Running shoes may actually damage your knees

Finally got that new pair of running shoes? Well, before you get down to taking them on the jogging track, here’s a piece of information — running shoes are likely to damage knees, hips and ankles.

In a study, researchers compared the effects on knee, hip and ankle joint motions of running barefoot versus running in modern running shoes. They concluded that running shoes exerted more stress on these joints compared to running barefoot or walking in high-heeled shoes.

Sixty-eight healthy young adult runners (37 women), who run in typical, currently available running shoes, were selected from the general population.

None had any history of musculoskeletal injury and each ran at least 15 miles per week.
All runners were provided with a running shoe, selected for its neutral classification and design characteristics typical of most running footwear. They observed each subject running barefoot and with shoes using a treadmill and a motion analysis system.

The researchers observed increased joint torques at the hip, knee and ankle with running shoes compared with running barefoot. Disproportionately large increases were observed in the hip internal rotation torque and in the knee flexion and knee versus torques.

An average 54 per cent increase in the hip internal rotation torque, a 36 per cent increase in knee flexion torque, and a 38 per cent increase in knee varus torque were measured when running in running shoes compared with barefoot.

The findings confirmed that while the typical construction of modern-day running shoes provides good support and protection of the foot itself, one negative effect is the increased stress on each of the three lower extremity joints. These increases are likely caused in large part by an elevated heel and increased material under the medial arch, both characteristic of today’s running shoes.

Sharing hospital room ups risk of infection

Sharing a hospital room with another person can increase your risk of getting an infection during the stay, a new study shows. The Queen’s University study led by infectious diseases expert Dr Dick Zoutman says the chance of acquiring serious infections like C difficile (Clostridium difficile) rises with the addition of every hospital roommate.

“If you’re in a two, three or four-bedded room, each time you get a new roommate your risk of acquiring these serious infections increases by 10 per cent,” says Dr Zoutman, professor of Community Health and Epidemiology at Queen’s. “That’s a substantial risk, particularly for longer hospital stays when you can expect to have many different roommates.” Dr Zoutman suggests hospitals need to consider more private rooms in their planning.

Only 8 pc students get enough sleep

A new study has revealed that only about eight per cent of high school students get enough sleep on an average school night. Many others are living with borderline-to-serious sleep deficits that could lead to daytime drowsiness, depression, headaches and poor performance at school.

The study evaluated responses from 12,000 students in grades 9 through 12 who participated in the 2007 national Youth Risk Behaviour Survey. The authors found that 10 per cent of adolescents sleep only five hours and 23 per cent sleep only six hours on an average school night.

More females than males have sleep deficits as do more African-Americans and whites compared to Hispanics. Nearly 20 per cent more 12th-grade students have sleep deficits than do those in ninth grade.

The findings of this study were consistent with those reported from the National Sleep Foundation’s 2006 Sleep in America Poll, the authors said. They added that although no formally accepted sleep guidelines exist, the foundation defines nine hours a night as optimal for adolescents, eight hours as borderline and anything less than eight hours as not enough.

Online intervention can reduce alcohol abuse

Internet-based interventions for problem alcohol use have been found effective in changing drinking behaviours, say researchers. The researchers found that problem drinkers provided access to the online screener www.CheckYourDrinking.net, reduced their alcohol consumption by 30 per cent.

“An unfortunate reality is that many problem drinkers do not seek treatment,” said principal investigator Dr John Cunningham Senior Scientist with the Social and Community Factors in Prevention Research Section, CAMH.

“While getting help from a health care professional is ideal, there are barriers to access such as concerns about stigma, a desire to handle problems on one’s own, or simply because treatment is not readily available — online interventions can help reduce these barriers by allowing people to seek help in their own homes,” Cunningham added.

Cunningham further said, “The Check Your Drinking online screener provides participants with a wealth of information about their drinking, its consequences, and how they compare to others”.

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