WHAT'S THE BUZZ

Ballerinas, athletes sailing in same boat

Ballerinas face the same health risks as young female athletes when they don’t eat enough to offset the energy they spend, and stop menstruating as a consequence, says a new study.
The study was led by sports medicine researcher Anne Hoch, Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.
“These two components of the female athlete tetrad put them at higher risk for the other two; the cardiovascular and bone density deficits of much older, postmenopausal women,” according to Anne.
The researchers studied 22 professional ballerinas, all members of the Milwaukee Ballet Company, to determine the prevalence of disordered eating, amenorrhea (lack of menstruation), abnormal vascular function and low bone density.
The dancers completed questionnaires on their menstrual patterns and eating habits, and underwent a blood test for hormonal levels. Thirty-six per cent of the group had disordered eating habits and 77 per cent were in a calorie deficit. Twenty-seven per cent were currently amenorrheic, 23 per cent had low bone mass density and nine per cent were taking birth control.
Arterial ultrasound measurements revealed that 64 per cent had abnormal artery dilation in response to blood flow.

Caffeine may help reduce asthma symptoms

Intake of caffeine within an hour of exercise can reduce the symptoms of exercise-induced asthma (EIA), according to a study.
In the study, researchers at Indiana University found that a large dose — nine milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight — was as effective as the use of an albuterol inhaler, which is commonly used to treat or prevent exercise-induced asthma.
Smaller amounts of caffeine — for example, three and six milligrams of caffeine per
kilogram of body weight — also reduced
the wheezing, coughing and other symptoms of EIA.
Timothy Mickleborough, an associate professor in the Department of Kinesiology and co-author of the study, said no additional benefit was found when caffeine was combined with an albuterol inhaler.
The study involved 10 asthmatic subjects who also had EIA, in a randomized, double-blind double-dummy crossover study.
They ingested three, six, or nine milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight or
a placebo an hour before running on a treadmill.
Pulmonary function tests were conducted 15 minutes before the a eucapnic voluntary hyperpnea challenge (a surrogate for an exercise challenge) and then again 1, 5, 10, 15 and 30 minutes afterward.

Goggles-like device may improve sleep quality

Scientists from Lighting Research Centre (LRC) have developed a goggles-like device designed to deliver blue light directly to the eyes to improve sleep quality in older adults suffering from chronic sleep disturbances.
Sleep disturbances increases with age. Researchers have long believed that the sleep disturbances common among the elderly often result from a disruption of the body’s circadian rhythms — biological cycles that repeat approximately every 24 hours.
It has been shown that blue light is the most effective at stimulating the circadian system when combined with the appropriate light intensity, spatial distribution, timing, and duration.
“Light and dark patterns are the major synchronizer of circadian rhythms to the 24-hour solar day,” said Dr Mariana Figueiro, Lighting Research Center Light and Health Program director and principal investigator on the project.

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