Staying a Step Ahead of Aging: “It’s a testament to how adaptable the human body is, researchers said, that people can start serious training at an older age and become highly competitive,” writes Gina Kolata in this article on exercise and aging. “It also is testament to their findings that some physiological factors
needed for a good performance are not much affected by age.”

Sex of Surgeon May Matter: A study by researchers at Columbia University found the likelihood of whether a woman receives radiation treatment after breast cancer surgery may be influenced by the sex of her surgeon. The study appears in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute (abstract available here). New York Times health blogger Tara Parker-Pope writes:

About one in four women were not treated with radiation after surgery. Older women, black women, unmarried women and those living outside urban areas were less likely to receive radiation. But after controlling for those factors as well as characteristics of each woman’s cancer, the Columbia researchers spotted other trends.

Women who received radiation were more likely to have a female surgeon. Women who were treated by more experienced surgeons were also more likely to receive radiation treatment, as were women treated by doctors trained in the United States.

Great Drug, but Does It Prolong Life?: Tara Parker-Pope looks at the role of statins, the popular drugs used for lowering cholesterol and risk of heart attack, but not without an array of side effects. “For healthy men, for women with or without heart disease and for people over 70, there is little evidence, if any, that taking a statin will make a meaningful difference in how long they live,” writes Parker-Pope.

Replaceable You: As part of its series on the baby boom generation and health, the Washington Post looks at how medicine keeps pace with aging bodies.

Getting Enough Vitamin D?: A blood test will reveal your Vitamin D level, reports Boston Globe health columnist Judy Foreman. In her Ask Dr. Pat column, Dr. Patricia Yarberry Allen has addressed the importance of Vitamin D here and here.

Why You Need Green Exercise: “Also known as eco-therapy, green exercise simply means doing something, almost anything, outside. You won’t necessarily burn more calories in nature’s green gym,” writes Chicago Tribune health blogger Julie Deardoff. “But you can get substantial mental health benefits — reduced stress, depression and anger and enhanced mood and self-esteem — simply by seeking out the natural world, according to growing evidence from researchers in the U.S., Scandinavia and Britain.”

Plus: If you live someplace where winter is striking with a vengeance (like here in Chicago), you may want to try looking at snow shoveling as an opportunity to burn calories.


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