Tag Archives: Appalachian State University

Exercise Can be a Dose of Good Medicine

Fitness programs are beginning to augment traditional disease treatment

On a recent Wednesday night, Cindy Gerstner, 42, strapped her feet into a rowing machine and began gliding back and forth with all the energy she could muster. This wasn’t just a workout for Ms. Gerstner, whose stage IV breast cancer has spread to her brain, lungs, bones, and liver. It was a 40-minute dose of medicine.

“It’s part of my treatment plan,” said Ms. Gerstner, a member of Recovery on Water or ROW, a crew team made up of breast cancer patients and survivors who believe exercise is a powerful tool to help keep cancer at bay. “It’s almost as important as chemotherapy in helping me stay on this earth as long as possible.”

Once relegated to health clubs, exercise is muscling its way into a wide variety of disease prevention and treatment plans. Physical fitness programs are already a staple of cardiac care. But though research is still in the early stages, there’s encouraging evidence that consistent workouts can help with everything from cancer, autoimmune disorders, and Parkinson’s disease to alcoholism.

University of Illinois scientists recently received funding for a study that looks at whether riding a stationary bicycle during treatment can help dialysis patients.

The burgeoning “exercise is medicine” movement is championed by dozens of organizations, including the American College of Sports Medicine, the Chicago Park District, and cancer support groups. New national cancer guidelines urge both patients and survivors to exercise during and after treatment for 150 minutes per week, the same advice given to the general public.

Some big questions remain unanswered, such as what type and how much exercise is needed for what illnesses. In many cases, working out appears to relieve symptoms, but its impact on the natural course of the disease isn’t known. And many physicians are cautious about prescribing something that can stress the body, especially for patients in the throes of a life-threatening illness.

“There’s still a prevailing attitude out there that patients shouldn’t push themselves during treatment,” said Kathryn Schmitz, an associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania school of medicine and lead author of the new guidelines.

Ms. Schmitz acknowledges that exercise is a stressor on the body but said resting too much also can have adverse effects.

If exercise isn’t already a habit, of course, it can be intimidating. It’s harder to do when you don’t feel good. And “some people would truly rather take a pill,” said Holly Benjamin, an associate professor and pediatric sports medicine specialist at the University of Chicago.

“But once they do it, so many people feel so much better.”

In the past, breast cancer patients who had undergone surgery were told not to lift more than 15 pounds for the rest of their lives, fearing that strenuous effort would slow treatment or exacerbate conditions.

But Ms. Schmitz’s groundbreaking work, published last year in the New England Journal of Medicine, reversed decades of cautionary advice by finding that slow, progressive weight lifting wasn’t just safe; it could prevent lymphedema flare-ups.

Exercise can help people being treated for cancer cope with the side effects of chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation, including fatigue and the loss of muscle mass.

“It helps them get through treatment in better form,” said David Nieman, director of the Human Performance Labs at Appalachian State University and the author of several textbooks on exercise as medicine.

A handful of observational studies, meanwhile, have suggested that exercise could result in a 40 to 50 percent reduction in the risk for recurrence of breast cancer, said Ms. Schmitz, though randomized controlled trials would be needed to prove a benefit.

For a few conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, there’s hope that exercise can affect the illness itself. In animal studies, exercise improved symptoms and increased the level of brainderived neurotrophic factor, a chemical that protects cells.

“Exercise may modify disease by slowing the primary process of cell loss associated with Parkinson’s disease,” said Cynthia Comella, a neurologist at Rush University Medical Center, who is currently investigating the effects on Parkinson’s of regular exercise with a personal trainer.

For treatment of pediatric rheumatic diseases, “exercise has been overlooked,” said Bruno Gualano of the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil.

Traditionally, children with inflammatory diseases have been treated with drugs that can have side effects. But certain types of exercise can be safe and effective treatment for symptoms including muscle wasting, osteoporosis, insulin resistance, pain, and fatigue.

Exercise’s greatest strength may be that it can work on both physical and emotional levels.

If some health advocates had their way, exercise would be the most widely prescribed “drug” in the country.

In Chicago, for example, any resident with an exercise prescription from a doctor for an obesity-related disease — including diabetes, high blood pressure, and asthma — can receive a free three-month membership to Chicago Park District fitness centers.

And for the past several years, the Erie Family Health Center, which provides care in Chicago’s medically underserved communities, has encouraged providers to prescribe physical activity.

But research on whether the prescriptions are effective is limited and mixed. A study of Australian women between the ages of 40 and 74 found that exercise prescriptions increased physical activity and quality of life over two years, though falls and injuries also increased.

Choosing specific goals — such as reducing blood sugar by 20 points or improving blood pressure — or setting someone up with a personal trainer was also found to be more effective than just telling someone to go exercise.

“People who aren’t regular exercisers need a lot of guidance,” said Dr. Benjamin.

“You have to empower the patient, give them concrete benchmarks and provide follow-up and feedback,” Dr. Benjamin said.

Despite a burgeoning “exercise is medicine” movement, physicians remain more likely to refer someone to a specialist than to a health club, in part because they may be unfamiliar with fitness and not sure how receptive patients will be, said Indiana University physical activity expert NiCole Keith.

“Unless physicians themselves are athletes they’re not always well educated in this, and it’s a big barrier to effectiveness,” Dr. Benjamin said.

Source:toledoBlade.com

Enhanced by Zemanta
Advertisements

White Snakeroot

Botanical Name : Ageratina altissima
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Ageratina
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales
Tribe: Eupatorieae
Species: A. altissima
Synonyms: Eupatorium ageratoides – L.f., Eupatorium rugosum – Houtt., Eupatorium urticifolium – Reichard.
Other Names: White Sanicle or Tall Boneset.

Habitat: Eastern N. America. Low woods in river valleys in Texas

Description:
It is a poisonous perennial herb in the family Asteraceae, native to eastern North America. An older binomial name for this species was Eupatorium rugosum, but the genus Eupatorium has undergone taxonomic revision by botanists and a number of the species once included there have been moved to other genera.

This  perennial plant is about 1½–3′ tall, branching occasionally. The light green to tan stems are round and largely hairless. The opposite leaves are up to 6″ long and 3½” across, becoming smaller as they ascend the stems. The lower leaves are cordate to cordate-ovate, while the upper leaves are broadly lanceolate to lanceolate. All of the leaves are largely hairless and strongly serrated along the margins. There are 3 prominent veins on the upper surface of each leaf (particularly the lower ones), while the lower surface has an elevated network of veins. The rather long petioles are ½–2½” in length.

The upper stems terminate in compound corymbs of flowerheads that span several inches across. Each flowerhead is about ½” across and contains 10-30 disk florets that are brilliant white. There are no ray florets. Each disk floret is about 1/5″ across when fully open; it consists of a small tubular corolla with 5 lobes that are spreading and pointed, and it has a divided style that is strongly exerted from the corolla. At the base of each flowerhead, there is a single series of linear floral bracts that are green and non-overlapping. The blooming period occurs from late summer through the fall and lasts about 2 months. This is one of the last wildflowers to bloom during the fall. The flowers are often fragrant. Each disk floret is replaced by a dark linear achene with a small tuft of white hairs. These achenes are distributed by the wind. The root system consists of spreading rhizomes and shallow fibrous roots. This plant can spread vegetatively by means of its rhizome, or it can reseed itself into new areas.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
They are found in woods and brush thickets where they bloom mid to late summer or fall. The flowers are a clean white color and after blooming small seeds with fluffy white tails are released to blow in the wind. This species is adaptive to different growing conditions and can be found in open shady areas with open bare ground; it can be weedy in shady landscapes and in hedgerows. There are two different varieties Ageratina altissima var. angustata and Ageratina altissima var. roanensis (Appalachian white snakeroot); they differ in the length of the flower phyllaries and shape of the apices

It is hardy to zone 6. It is in flower from August to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.

Cultivation
Succeeds in an ordinary well-drained but moisture retentive garden soil in sun or part shade. There is some difference of opinion over the correct name for this species with some authorities using Eupatorium rugosum.

Propagation
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame, only just covering the seed. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Division in spring.

Medicinal  Actions & Uses
Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Febrifuge; Odontalgic; Stimulant; Tonic.

The root is diaphoretic, diuretic, febrifuge, stimulant and tonic. It has been used in the treatment of diarrhoea, gravel and urinary diseases. It has also been used in herbal sweat baths to encourage sweating. A decoction or infusion of the root has been taken to treat a fallen or inflamed womb. The root has been chewed and held in the mouth as a treatment for toothache.

Known Hazards : .
White Snakeroot contains the toxin tremetol; when the plants are consumed by cattle, the meat and milk become contaminated with the toxin. When milk or meat containing the toxin is consumed, the poison is passed onto humans, and if consumed in large enough quantities can cause tremetol poisoning in humans. The poisoning is also called milk sickness, as humans often ingested the toxin by drinking the milk of cows who had eaten snakeroot. During the early 19th century, when large numbers of Europeans (who were unfamiliar with snakeroot) began settling in the plant’s habitat of the Midwest and Upper South, many thousands were killed by milk sickness, and it was several decades before the cause was traced to snakeroot. Notably, it was the cause of death of Nancy Hanks, mother of Abraham Lincoln. The plants are also poisonous to horses, goats, and sheep. Signs of poisoning in these animals include depression and lethargy, hind feet placed close together (horses, goats, cattle) or held far apart (sheep), nasal discharge, excessive salivation, arched body posture, and rapid or difficult breathing.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Ageratina+altissima
http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/woodland/plants/wh_snakeroot.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Snakeroot

Enhanced by Zemanta

Ageratina Aromatica

Botanical Name : Ageratina aromatica
Family  : Compositae
Genus : Ageratina
Synonyms : Eupatorium aromaticum – L.

Common Name :Small White Snakeroot

Habitat : Eastern N. America.Along the Gulf coastal plain from FL to LA, n., along the Atlantic coastal
plain from FL to MA; inland in the Appalachians to s. OH. Dry woods, thickets and clearings .Woodland Garden; Dappled Shade;

Description:
Herbaceous perennial growing to 1.5m. ; flowering August-October; fruiting September, October.. . The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile.
CLICK & SEE
SIMILAR SPECIES: This plant is very similar to Ageratina altissima (Eupatorium  rugosum), but A. aromatica has notably thicker leaves, shorter petioles, and   crenate leaf margins. A. altissima generally grows in the woods, and A.  aromatica grows in open areas. The two species are known to hybridize, making  identification more difficult.

It is hardy to zone 4 . The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.A variety of well-drained open areas on acidic soils.

Cultivation :-
Succeeds in an ordinary well-drained but moisture retentive garden soil in sun or part shade.

Propagation:-
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame, only just covering the seed. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Division in spring.

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Root.

One report says that the root is aromatic and suggests that it could be edible.

Medicinal Actions & Uses
Antispasmodic; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Expectorant.

The plant is antispasmodic, diaphoretic, diuretic and expectorant. It is used in the treatment of inflammation and irritability of the bladder, ague, pulmonary diseases, stomach complaints and nervous diseases.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Ageratina+aromatica
http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/Portals/3/Abstracts/Abstract_pdf/A/Ageratina_aromatica.pdf

=

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]