New Orleans Healthbeat
• According to the results of a 10-year study conducted by French scientists, moderate, regular drinkers exhibited a much lower risk for heart disease than binge drinkers, though the binge drinkers drank less alcohol overall. The study followed several thousand men in France and Ireland; the French drank more alcohol, both by volume and on a daily basis, while the drinking habits of the Irish men studied leaned more toward irregular binge drinking. Furthermore, compared with the regular drinkers, both binge drinkers and those who abstain from alcohol were twice as likely to have heart problems.
• Avid exercisers often report a prolonged feeling of warmth after workouts, though some researchers have ruled out the possibility that the reason is an increased metabolic rate; for the average person, metabolism plunges back to normal when exercise is finished. Dr. Glenn Kenny of the School of Human Kinetics at the University of Ottowa speculates that the human body dissipates heat slowly over time, so that the body temperature is still elevated hours after exercise, despite a normal metabolic rate. Dr. Joseph LaForgia of the University of South Australia, however, disagrees. He says that metabolic rate actually does remain elevated for hours post-exercise, but only with intense workouts, such as a triathlon or repeated sprints, and with experienced athletes. He blames the prolonged feeling of warmth on the body’s effort to repair the minor tissue damage done during exercise.
• A new study from Alzheimer’s researchers has found that beta amyloid, a protein commonly believed to be produced in excess in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, is actually produced in normal quantities. The problem is now thought to be that with Alzheimer’s, the brain can’t process or dispose of the protein quickly enough, thus creating the buildup that damages nerves and leads to cell death. Researchers speculate that reducing amyloid levels early in the disease’s progression could lead to a reversal of cell damage.