Tag Archives: Germany

Seniors and Patients Buff Up, Reduce Muscular Atrophy


Seniors – patients – buff up or lose it.  My swim coach is transitioning me to the eleven-pound weights in our water workouts and I’m FEELING GOOD.

Feeling good includes decreased blood pressure and increased flexibility to bend over and pick up something from the floor, reaching up to an overhead cupboard and angling a heavy pan down from the shelf, and, gasp! – feeling formally loose fitting underwear snug tight around my thighs.

Why is tight underwear important?  Because it means – to me – that muscle is building around my hip joints to protect my bone on bone left hip from injury and enabling me to have a more mobile life. … From a patient point of view.  Ask your doctor what strength and aerobic exercising will  do for you as a senior or as a patient.

Feeling good means my left leg and joints aren’t frozen in place and my left ankle flexes again to help walk and balance.

Does that mean I threw the walking sticks away?  No – not yet, maybe never…they are tools to assist in a more secure balance and living.  They tie on to a recumbent trike so I can ride and have them to assist getting out of the seat.

“…If people lose 30% of their muscle strength between the ages of 50 and 70 years according to “Deutsches Arzteblatt International, Frank Mayer and colleagues from the University of Potsdam conclude that progressive strength (resistance) training counteracts muscular atrophy in old age (Dtsch Arztebl Int 2011; 108(21): 359-64).”

Study Of Strength Training For Seniors Finds Increased Muscle Strength, Reduced Muscular Atrophy


The authors investigated the extent of the effects that can be achieved by strength (resistance) training in elderly persons and which intensities of exercise are useful and possible in persons older than 60 years. They found that regular strength (resistance) training increased muscle strength, reduced muscular atrophy, and that tendons and bones adapt too. These successes in turn had a preventive effect in terms of avoiding falls and injuries. Greater intensities of training yielded greater effects than moderate and low intensities. In order to increase muscle mass, an intensity of 60-85% of the one-repetition-maximum is required. In order to increase rapidly available muscle force, higher intensities (>85%) are required. The optimum amount of exercise for healthy elderly persons is 3 to 4 training units per week.

In the coming decades, the importance of maintaining the ability to work and to make a living will increase, as will the need for independence in everyday life and leisure activities. The increase in the retirement age to 67 years from 2012 means that one in three adults of working age will be older than 50 by 2020, and by 2050, the proportion of people older than 60 in Germany’s population will rise to an estimated 40%. Currently, the proportion of elderly persons who practice strength (resistance) training is about 10-15%.”

Dr. Frank Mayer

Deutsches Aerzteblatt International


Thanks for reading… Sharon O’Hara

Mummies and Fast Food and Clogged Arteries

The following study shoots down many of today’s theories with the discovery that clogged arteries existed 3,500 years ago.
Clogged arteries show up everywhere, even thousands of years ago.

What does the National Bank of Egypt in Cairo, Siemens Healthcare in Florsheim, Germany, and St. Luke’s Hospital Foundation in Kansas City, MO have in common? They supported the study showing the recent discovery of 3,500-year-old mummies with clogged arteries and not a Big Mac or Fries in sight.

So far as I know, no fast food restaurant existed 3,500 years ago, so who do we blame and tax now for making present day America a nation of obese, tubby folks?
Big Macs, French fries and fast food restaurants are not to blame, folks…they were not even a twinkle in someone’s eye 3,500 years ago.

Randall Thompson, MD … “”I tell my patients that I think these ancient Egyptians had a genetic hand-me-down as my patients do,” Thompson said, “that we have to look beyond traditional risk factors to explain atherosclerosis.”

Randall Thompson, MD from Mid America Heart Institute, Kansas City, MO made the surprising report at the American Heart Association meeting in Orlando and in the November 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Of the 16 mummies housed in the Egyptian National Museum of Antiquities in Cairo that had vascular tissue available for CT examination, nine had probable or definite evidence of calcification in the arteries.

“The calcification in these arteries looks just like it does in modern humans,” Thompson said.

Co-author L. Samuel Wann, MD, of Wisconsin Heart Hospital in Milwaukee, said it was surprising the mummies had calcification at all.
“We would have thought that atherosclerosis and heart disease is a disease of modern man, a disease of McDonald’s, if you will.”

The oldest mummy to have the finding — Lady Rai, nursemaid to Queen Ahmose Nefertari — lived between 1570 and 1530 BC.

Although ancient Egyptians did not smoke tobacco or eat processed foods, and likely didn’t lead sedentary lives, the researchers said, they were not a society of hunter-gatherers.
“Agriculture was well established in ancient Egypt and meat consumption appears to have been common among those of high social status,” they said.
Additionally, Thompson said, the ancient Egyptians salted their food for preservation, and so they may have had a high salt diet.

Commenting on the study, Sidney Smith, MD, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said, “Food other than that which comes in packages can also do us in.”
“The study emphasizes the importance of understanding dietary and environmental factors that may cause coronary disease,” said Smith, an AHA spokesperson.

On the other hand, the development of atherosclerosis could be at least partially hard-wired in humans.
“I tell my patients that I think these ancient Egyptians had a genetic hand-me-down as my patients do,” Thompson said, “that we have to look beyond traditional risk factors to explain atherosclerosis.”
He said this helps his patients get past some of the guilt and denial about their condition.

The idea for the study came from a visit to the museum by two of the study authors. They noticed that the descriptive plate next to one of the mummies — Pharaoh Merneptah — said he had had atherosclerosis.
The researchers didn’t believe that there would be any way of knowing that, Thompson said.

So a team of Egyptologists, preservationists, and imaging experts used six-slice computed X-ray tomography to examine 22 mummies, selected because they were in good condition.

They dated from 1981 BC to 334 AD. Of the 16 for which social status could be determined, all were from a high social class. They were either members of the pharaoh’s court or priests and priestesses.
Evidence of vascular tissue was found in only 16; four had an intact heart.

Definite atherosclerosis — defined as calcification in the wall of a clearly identifiable artery — was present in five of the mummies. Probable atherosclerosis — defined as calcification along the expected course of an artery — was found in another four.

Atherosclerosis was significantly more common in the mummies estimated to be at least 45 when they died (87% versus 25%, P=0.029), but it was equally likely in men and women.

“While the presence of calcification does not demonstrate that atherosclerosis was a common cause of clinically manifest disease or death,” the researchers said, “it does provide evidence that humans in ancient times had the genetic predisposition and environment to promote the development of promote the development of atherosclerosis.”

More later… Sharon O’Hara