What's the buzz

What's the buzz

Take stairs to stay fit
Climbing stairs can help you stay fit, say researchers in Ireland.
They came to the conclusion after analysing benefits of climbing stairs once or twice over the course of a workday.

“I think the key thing here, is that stair-climbing is one of the few everyday activities at a moderate to high intensity that one can do surreptitiously without having to change, use special equipment or look foolish,” said Colin Boreham, a professor at the University College Dublin Institute for Sport and Health.

In the study, boffins asked eight undergraduate women to undertake an eight-week program that started with climbing a 199-step staircase twice a day, five days a week, climbing 90 steps a minute.

Compared to a group of matched controls, 17 per cent of aerobic fitness increased in the stair-climbers and reduced harmful LDL cholesterol by eight per cent.
By the end of the study they all were climbing averagely five times in a whole day that was equivalent to 10 minutes of exercise a day.

“Because it’s at such a high intensity, it accomplishes health adaptations in a shorter period, which is handy if you like your exercise in short bites,” says Dr Boreham.

Lobsters may hold paralysis cure
A new treatment based on the shells of sea creatures like lobsters may offer fresh hope to paralysed and brain-damaged patients.US researchers have found that a simple sugar found in crustacean shells appears to be able to cure damaged spinal chords.

Richard Borgens, director of the Centre for Paralysis Research in Indiana, which is pioneering the new treatment, said: “This is the most exciting development for spinal cord and brain injury since Second World War”.

“I am very excited. Using chemicals to repair the damaged nervous system is a completely new way to treat people with these terrible injuries. It’s amazing one of these special chemicals would turn out to be a sugar.”

In the treatment, the sugar, mixed with sterile water, is injected into the bloodstream and then migrates to the spinal cord injury where it plugs holes in the coating of the nerve cells. Borgens added: “Science has moved in a new direction. Previously we have been looking at drugs which would potentially reduce damage. Now we are looking at complete repair.” The treatment, successfully used in guinea pigs, will also work in human trials, says the expert.

Multivitamins may raise breast cancer risk
Women who take a daily multivitamin pill may face a higher risk of breast cancer, a new study has claimed.In the 10-year study, which followed more than 35,000 women, boffins found that those who regularly took a multi-vitamin pill increased the risk of developing a tumour by 19 per cent.

According to researchers at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, a ‘biologically plausible’ explanation for the effect could be that taking vitamin and mineral supplements significantly increases the density of breast tissue, a strong risk factor for breast cancer. Folic acid, often present in a potent form in multi-vitamins, may also accelerate tumour growth.

“Results from this prospective study suggest that the use of multivitamins may increase the risk of breast cancer,” lead author Susanna Larrson, said.