Physical activity could reduce heart disease deaths among American Indians

Physical activity may reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular disease among American Indians, according to new research that also studied inflammation’s role in exercise and heart health.

Past studies of people from all populations show that inflammation plays a central role in heart disease, and that exercise might reduce inflammation in the body.

For the new study, researchers focused on American Indians, “a special population that, unfortunately, is not always included in studies that show the benefit of physical activity,” said the lead researcher Dr. Ozan Unlu, chief resident of quality and patient safety at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City.

The findings will be presented Friday at the American Heart Association’s virtual Scientific Sessions. The research is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

The study looked at self-reported physical activity levels from 3,135 adults in Arizona, North Dakota, South Dakota and Oklahoma, who did not initially have cardiovascular disease and who took part in the Strong Heart Study of American Indians. Researchers also looked at their levels of fibrinogen, a blood plasma protein that is considered a marker for inflammation.

Researchers tracked the study’s participants over 26 years of follow-up, during which 378 people died from heart disease. The groups were split into four equal groups, or quartiles. After adjusting for various factors, researchers found those who were the most physically active, in the top quartile, had a 44% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease than those in the bottom “minimal activity” quartile. The next two quartiles had a 31% and 9% lower death risk, respectively, than those in the lowest quartile.

“This study confirms that physical activity reduces cardiovascular mortality in this unique cohort of American Indians,” Unlu said. “This is a population that doesn’t always have the resources for exercise and physical activity that are available in urban settings.”

The study’s senior researcher, Dr. Parmanand Singh, said many of the participants live on reservations in rural areas where the nearest gym or other activity-related facility could be many miles away.

“We need to dig deeper and find out what sort of facilities can be constructed on reservations that are in line with the cultural value system of the population. We have to think about other interventions, too, such as bringing health fairs or other public health initiatives to the reservations,” said Singh, assistant professor of medicine and director of nuclear cardiology at Weill Cornell Medicine.

The researchers looked at participants’ fibrinogen levels and found “physical activity was possibly reducing cardiovascular deaths by inflammatory pathways,” Unlu said.

The research was limited by its retrospective nature, Singh said. The findings need to be confirmed by future studies in which participants gradually get more physically active and researchers see if that impacts fibrinogen readings, he said.

Dr. Carl Lavie said the idea that exercise lowers fibrinogen levels and cardiovascular death rates “is nothing new, but the new thing is that in this American Indian population, the benefit of the physical activity is, at least statistically, explained by the lower fibrinogen.” He is a medical director of cardiac rehabilitation, prevention and exercise at the Ochsner Clinical School/University of Queensland School of Medicine in New Orleans.

Lavie, who was not involved in the study, said more research is needed to figure out if fibrinogen is a valid way to measure cardiovascular risk. But even now, he said, “if one happened to measure a fibrinogen level and it was high, this would even provide further support for recommending physical activity.”

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Relationship Explored Between Physical Activity and Lymphoma

TUESDAY, Oct. 13, 2020 — High levels of physical activity may lower the risk for developing lymphoma, according to a review/meta-analysis published online Oct. 6 in BMC Cancer.

Gwynivere A. Davies, M.D., M.P.H., from the Juravinski Cancer Centre-Hamilton Health Sciences in Canada, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review/meta-analysis to examine the association between physical activity and incident lymphoma. Eighteen studies (nine cohort, nine case-control) were included in the final analysis.

The researchers found that for all lymphoma, comparing the highest with the lowest activity categories showed physical activity was protective (relative risk, 0.89; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.81 to 0.98). In a sensitivity analysis, the effect persisted in case-control studies (relative risk, 0.82; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.71 to 0.96) but not in cohort studies (relative risk, 0.95; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.84 to 1.07). A subgroup analysis showed some protective effect of physical activity for non-Hodgkin lymphoma (relative risk, 0.92; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.84 to 1.00) but not for Hodgkin lymphoma (relative risk, 0.72; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.50 to 1.04). A protective effect was demonstrated in a dose-response analysis, with a 1 percent reduction in risk per three metabolic equivalent of task (MET) hours/week (relative risk, 0.99; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.98 to 1.00; P = 0.034).

“Dose response analysis supports these conclusions, with a linear decrease in incidence seen with increasing recreational physical activity,” the authors write.

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Interactive Baby Music Activity Gyms to Develop Fine Motor Skills

We can all agree that parents are superheroes, but it’s impossible for them to keep tabs on everything going on. Sometimes they just need a break from entertaining their little one, and that’s totally understandable. The solution is to bring a fun baby music activity gym play mat into the mix to keep them safely entertained while you can get some things done or simply relax. Enlisting one of these helpful development tools into your baby’s daily routine can also help speed up their motor skill development too, so there’s no guilt involved when you just need to take some time for yourself.

Baby music activity gym play mats come with so many fun bells and whistles, so it’ll be nearly impossible for your baby to get bored and need your attention right away. Having one of these interactive toys on hand is basically like having a baby personal trainer on call with all the fun gadgets that are motion activated. Below, we’ve rounded up the best baby music activity gym play mats to keep them entertained and learning.

1. Baby Einstein Activity Gym

A baby music activity gym play mat is meant to make your life easier, so it’d be a bit silly if it wasn’t easy to clean. This cute mat is machine-washable to make your chore list shorter. This mat features multi-sensory exploration so they’ll never get tired of the toys attached to it and it boasts magical stars with light effects that will keep them engaged. With eight classical melody sounds and 20 minutes of playtime, it’s basically like a playground at home.

2. Yookidoo Activity Gym

This baby music activity gym play mat is like having a personal trainer for them on call so you can tend to your to-do list. It’s motion-activated, so it will turn on when your baby moves or touches it, so they’ll learn to become a bit more independent too. This 2-in-1 toy transitions from a play gym to a supportive seat with ease. It features more than 20 developmental activities for non-stop fun and includes a baby-safe mirror so they can see themself playing and a rattle with colorful sliding beads that they’ll love.

3. Fisher Price Deluxe Gym

This is one of the most deluxe baby activity gym play mats you’ll find. With all the bells and whistles, it’ll be a challenge for your little one to get bored on this fun mat. It features more than 10 interactive toys and activities and has a removable toucan with music and dancing lights that will capture their attention. It responds to your baby’s movements with lights and music, so they’ll be able to independently play without having your full attention.


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COVID-19 activity levels begin to rebound

Activity levels during lockdown in Britain’s busiest regions including Greater London, Greater Manchester and the West Midlands have begun to rebound following successive week-by-week declines, according to new UCL analysis of geographical data.

Combining in-app mobile data with demographic indicators, the researchers found that activity levels—defined as the number of unique mobile devices used per hour in each study area—declined during the first five weeks of lockdown, but have ticked up since the 19th April.

Professor James Cheshire, UCL Geography and deputy director of the ESRC Consumer Data Research Centre, said: “Our analysis suggests that people have been adhering to the lockdown rules and taking them very seriously over the first month or so. But by early May, we’ve started to see a shift with more activity in recent days. It may be that people have started to increase their movements in anticipation of the government announcement expected this weekend for easing lockdown.”

The data was supplied by Huq Industries and the UCL analysis shows that across the busiest UK regions between 16-22 March, there was roughly a 20% decline in activity compared to the week before lockdown; by 23-30 March, there was a 36% decline; and by the 13th of April, almost a 50% decline in activity. Activity began to increase from the 20th April and is now back to roughly 60% of pre-lockdown levels.

London had seen the biggest reduction in activity, with levels down 70% between the 13th and 19th April rebounding slightly to a smaller reduction of 63% in the week ending 3rd May. The week of the 13th was also quietest for Greater Manchester and the West Midlands with 46% and 50% reductions in normal activity respectively. Both have seen a rise in activity levels and now report reductions of only 30% compared to those pre-lockdown.

Regional activity levels have declined the most in areas dominated by workplaces of professionals, the financial sector, leisure and tourism. Today activity levels are highest in areas dominated by routine occupations, construction, domestic workers, manual helpers, and others employed in the health sectors.

Professor Cheshire said: “The findings further highlight a divide between those in jobs that can be done from home and those with jobs that must be carried out on site, with activity levels suggesting that those working in financial services in particular are in a better position to work remotely. This will have important implications for transport planning as operators seek staggered working hours mixed with homeworking where possible to reduce peak demand.”

The research also reveals for the first time that traditional high streets and local shopping areas have seen lower relative declines in activity compared to major centers and out of town areas.

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