Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Exercise 'significant role' in reducing risk of dementia, long-term study finds -

Exercise 'significant role' in reducing risk of dementia, long-term study finds - 

Exercise throughout a person's life plays a significant role in reducing the risk of developing dementia, a study spanning 35 years has found.

The Cardiff University study which began with 2,235 men from Caerphilly in 1979 found factors including diet and not smoking had an impact on preventing illnesses developing in older age.

However exercise had the single biggest influence on dementia levels.

This week a G8 summit will hear dementia will affect 135m by 2050.

'Really amazed us'
The research by Cardiff University found the five factors that were integral to helping avoid disease were regular exercise, not smoking, low bodyweight, healthy diet and low alcohol intake.

People in the study who followed four of these had a 60% decline in dementia and cognitive decline rates, with exercise named as the strongest mitigating factor.

They also had 70% fewer instances of diabetes, heart disease and stroke, compared with people who followed none of the factors.

Professor Peter Elwood, who led the study on behalf of Cardiff School of Medicine, said healthy behaviour was far more beneficial than any medical treatment or preventative procedure.

"The size of reduction in the instance of disease owing to these simple healthy steps has really amazed us and is of enormous importance in an ageing population," he said.

"Taking up and following a healthy lifestyle is however the responsibility of the individual him or herself.

"Sadly, the evidence from this study shows that very few people follow a fully healthy lifestyle."

'More active lifestyle'
Prof Elwood stressed that while one aspect of the five strands of behaviour mentioned may have more impact on certain illnesses, the emphasis was on an overall healthy lifestyle.

"Exercise happens to be the most important but the other factors come in very close behind," he added.

He told BBC Wales while the recommended levels of exercise were half an hour five times a week, it did not mean having to go to a gym.

"We should all live a more active lifestyle. If I park my car a mile from work - that makes me likely to do more than the half an hour a day. Any exercise has some benefit and the more, the better."

The research showed that while smoking levels had dropped over the 35 years, the number of people leading what the team described as a fully healthy lifestyle had not changed.

These findings are replicated across Wales, according to recent surveys, which showed less than 1% of the population have a fully healthy lifestyle, with 5% not following any of the five recommended points.

Prof Elwood added: "If the men had been urged to adopt just one additional healthy behaviour at the start of the study 35 years ago, and if only half of them complied, then during the ensuing 35 years there would have been a 13% reduction in dementia, a 12% drop in diabetes, 6% less vascular disease and a 5% reduction in deaths."


WestJet surprises weary travellers in 'Christmas miracle' video -

WestJet surprises weary travellers in 'Christmas miracle' video - 

Canada's own WestJet airlines is spreading a bit of holiday cheer online this week, thanks to a "Christmas miracle" video that's gone viral.
Unwitting, weary passengers on recent Calgary-bound WestJet flights were part of the heartwarming stunt, which was put on by more than 150 airline staff.
Prior to their departure from Toronto and Hamilton, WestJet passengers were asked by a virtual Santa Claus what they wanted for Christmas, after scanning their boarding passes at kiosks set up by the airline.

Unsuspecting passengers at a baggage carousel at the Calgary International Airport
While the unsuspecting passengers made their way to Calgary, WestJet staff -- who recorded all the requests -- scrambled to buy, wrap, and deliver the presents to Calgary International Airport.
When the planes touched down, passengers waiting for their luggage were in disbelief when instead of bags, they saw the wrapped presents they had asked for coming down the carousel – from socks and underwear, to an android tablet and a big-screen TV.
In a video explaining the “Christmas miracle” stunt, WestJet vice-president of communications Richard Bartrem said the company will donate flights to the Ronald McDonald Charities once it cracks its goal of 200,000 views.
That feat was easily reached, as the video has so far amassed nearly 1 million views.
In a similar stunt last year, WestJet organized its first “Christmas miracle” by surprising passengers going from Calgary to Toronto with a flash mob of dancing and singing elves.