Lifestyle & Health / 08.11.2021

Why Early Detection is a Life-saverIt's understandable if you fear visiting the hospital if you feel unwell. You worry that you will get a terrible diagnosis. You would rather pretend that everything is okay than face the truth. Remember that it's better to have early detection of an illness than waiting until everything is late. People's lives were saved because they decided to ask for medical advice early. You can begin your path to recovery Just because you received an unfavorable diagnosis doesn't mean your life is over. Even some life-threatening conditions like cancer already have a cure. Many people underwent remission after months or years of treatment. If you decide against getting medical advice, these potential cures might not work anymore. You will regret not starting the process earlier on. (more…)
Author Interviews, Lifestyle & Health, PNAS, Psychological Science, University Texas / 31.07.2019 Interview with: John M. Griffin PhD James A. Elkins Centennial Chair in Finance McCombs School of Business The University of Texas What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The importance of personal traits compared to context for predicting behavior is a long-standing issue in psychology. Yet, we have limited evidence of how predictive personal conduct, such as marital infidelity, is for professional conduct. We use data on usage of a marital infidelity website as a measure of marital infidelity and find that it is strongly correlated with professional conduct in four different professional settings. (more…)
Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, JAMA, Lifestyle & Health / 31.07.2019 Interview with: Wei Bao, MD, PhD Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology College of Public Health, University of Iowa Iowa City, IA 52242  and Yang Du University of Iowa What is the background for this study? Response: In 2008, the US Department of Health and Human Services released the first federal Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, which recommended that people should do at least 150 minutes moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. This key recommendation has been reaffirmed in the 2018 recently updated Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. In addition, the new 2018 Guidelines for the first time discussed health risks of sedentary behaviors. Insufficient physical activity and long sitting time have long been recognized as risk factors for major chronic diseases and mortality. Therefore, we were curious whether there have been a significant changes in adherence to the Physical Activity Guidelines in US adults since the release of the first edition of the federal guidelines in 2008 and whether sedentary behavior in US adults changed during the same period. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Lifestyle & Health / 13.04.2019 Interview with: Carla R. Schubert, MS Researcher,  EpiSense Research Program Dept. of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences School of Medicine and Public Health University of Wisconsin Madison, WI  53726-2336 What is the background for this study? Response: Mildlife is an important time-period for health later in life and also when declines in sensory and cognitive functions may begin to occur. Hearing, vision and smell impairments have been associated with cognitive impairments in older adults and with worse cognitive function in middle-aged adults.  These associations may be reflecting the close integration of sensory and cognitive systems as both require good brain function. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Lifestyle & Health, Nutrition / 26.11.2018 Interview with: Ravi B. Patel, MD Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Chicago, Illinois What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The digital attention of scientific articles can be readily quantified using the Altmetric score. The Altmetric score is a weighted measure, incorporating a variety of media platforms. We aimed to characterize the Top 10% of articles by Altmetric score among 4 major cardiovascular journals (Circulation, European Heart Journal, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, and JAMA Cardiology) in 2017. Our primary findings were: 1) nearly half of the most disseminated articles were not original research investigations, 2) the most common article topic was nutrition/lifestyle, and 3) there was a weak but significant correlation between Altmetric scores and citation number.  (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Exercise - Fitness, JAMA, Lifestyle & Health / 24.11.2018 Interview with: Emily N Ussery, PhD Epidemiologist LT, US Public Health Service Physical Activity and Health Branch National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Centers for Disease Control and Prevention What is the background for this study? Response: Sitting for too long and being physically inactive can have negative health consequences, and it is important to understand how common these behaviors are among US adults. This study describes sitting time and leisure-time physical activity reported by US adults in a national survey. (more…)
Author Interviews, CMAJ, Heart Disease, Lifestyle & Health, Stroke / 23.07.2018 Interview with: Dr. Doug Manuel MD, MSc, FRCPC Professor and Senior Scientist Ottawa Hospital Research Institute | L’Institut de Recherche de l’Hôpital d’Ottawa Department of Family Medicine, University of Ottawa Départment de Médicine Familiale Université d’Ottawa What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: A lot of people are interested in healthy living, but often we don't have that discussion in the doctor's office," says Dr. Manuel, who is also a professor at the University of Ottawa. "Doctors will check your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, but they don't necessarily ask about lifestyle factors that could put you at risk of a heart attack and stroke. We hope this tool can help people — and their care team — with better information about healthy living and options for reducing their risk of heart attack and stroke." "What sets this cardiovascular risk calculator apart is that it looks at healthy living, and it is better calibrated to the Canadian population," says Dr. Doug Manuel, lead author, senior scientist at The Ottawa Hospital and a senior core scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES).”  (more…)
Author Interviews, Lifestyle & Health, Social Issues / 12.05.2018 Interview with: “Sara Singing for the IT MS Society” by Draft is licensed under PDM 3.0Filippos Filippidis MD, MSc, MPH, PhD Lecturer in Public Health School of Public Health Imperial College London London What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previous research suggests that big sports and international events are associated with happiness, productivity, suicides and homicides. Considering the popularity of the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) in Europe, we wanted to see if there is any association between performance in the competition and life satisfaction and suicides. We used interview data from more than 160,000 people in Europe collected from 2009 to 2015 and found that better performance in the contest was associated with higher levels of life satisfaction in the country. Winning the competition did not confer any additional advantage. When comparing bad performance in the ESC with no participation at all, we found that even bad performance was associated with higher satisfaction with life compared to absence from the competition. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Lifestyle & Health / 20.12.2017 Interview with: “Exercise” by Diabetes Education Events is licensed under CC BY 2.0Michelle Brasure, MSPH, PhD, MLIS Evidence-based Practice Center School of Public Health University of Minnesota What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We conducted a large systematic review to assess the evidence relating to interventions to prevent cognitive decline and dementia. We included experimental studies with follow up times of at least six months. This paper analyzes the physical activity interventions; other papers in this issue address other types of interventions. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, BMJ, Education, Karolinski Institute / 10.12.2017 Interview with:

Susanna C. Larsson, PhD Associate Professor, Karolinska Institutet, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Stockholm, Sweden What is the background for this study? Response: The causes of Alzheimer’s disease are largely unknown and there are currently no medical treatments that can halt or reverse its effects. This has led to growing interest in identifying risk factors for Alzheimer’s that are amenable to modification. Several observational studies have found that education and various lifestyle and vascular risk factors are associated with the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, but whether these factors actually cause Alzheimer’s is unclear.

We used a genetic epidemiologic method known as ‘Mendelian randomization’. This method involves the use of genes with an impact on the modifiable risk factor – for example, genes linked to education or intelligence – and assessing whether these genes are also associated with the disease. If a gene with an impact on the modifiable risk factor is also associated with the disease, then this provides strong evidence that the risk factor is a cause of the disease.  What are the main findings?

Response: Our results, based on aggregated genetic data from 17 000 Alzheimer’s disease patients and 37 000 healthy controls, revealed that genetic variants that predict higher education were clearly associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. A possible explanation for this link is ‘cognitive reserve’, which refers to the ability to recruit and use alternative brain networks or structures not normally used to compensate for brain ageing. Previous research has shown that high education increases this reserve.

We found suggestive evidence for possible associations of intelligence, circulating vitamin D, coffee consumption, and smoking with risk of Alzheimer’s disease. There was no evidence for a causal link with other modifiable factors, such as vascular risk factors.

Author Interviews, Diabetes, JAMA, Lifestyle & Health / 09.11.2017 Interview with: Dr. Karla Galaviz PhD Hubert Department of Global Health Rollins School of Public Health Emory University Sonya Haw, MD| Assistant Professor Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism & Lipids Emory University, School of Medicine Grady Memorial Hospital Atlanta, GA What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
  • Diabetes affects 1 in 11 adults worldwide and though there is evidence that lifestyle modification (eating healthier diets and exercising about 150 mins a week) and certain medications can prevent or delay diabetes onset, it is not clear which of these strategies offers long-term benefits.
  • To answer this question, we compiled all available randomized controlled trials of lifestyle programs and medications to prevent diabetes and analyzed the data to see if the diabetes prevention effects persisted in the long-term. We specifically compared studies where the lifestyle or drug interventions were discontinued to see if the effect was long lasting or diminished when the intervention was stopped.
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Exercise - Fitness, Lifestyle & Health / 08.11.2017 Interview with: I-Min Lee, MD, ScD Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School Professor of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA 02215 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The fact that physical activity lowers the risk of premature mortality is not a new fact – we have many studies showing this.  However, previous studies have primarily relied on self-reported physical activity, and self-reports tend to be imprecise.  Based on these self-report studies, we know that physical activity is associated with a 20-30% reduction in mortality rates.  And, these self-report studies also have focused on moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity, since they are more reliably reported than lighter intensity activity.  We have little information on whether light-intensity activities (e.g., light household chores, very slow walking such as when strolling and window shopping) are associated with lower mortality rates. We now have “wearables” – devices that can more precisely measure physical activity at low (as well as higher) intensities, and sedentary behavior.  The present study, conducted between 2011 and 2015, investigated a large cohort of older women (n=16,741; mean age, 72 years)  who were asked to wear these devices for a week – thus, providing detailed physical activity and sedentary behavior measures.  During an average follow-up of about two-and-a-half years, 207 women died.  The study confirmed that physical activity is related to lower mortality rates. What is new and important is how strong this association is when we have more precise measures of physical activity – the most active women had a 60-70% reduction in mortality rates, compared with the least active, during the study.  For context, non-smokers have about a 50% risk reduction, compared to smokers, which is why patients (and doctors) should pay attention to being physically active. (more…)
Author Interviews, CMAJ, Exercise - Fitness, Frailty, Geriatrics, Lifestyle & Health / 21.08.2017 Interview with: Olga Theou, MSc PhD Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Dalhousie University Affiliated Scientist, Geriatric Medicine, Nova Scotia Health Authority Adjunct Senior Lecturer, School of Medicine, University of Adelaide Halifax, Nova Scotia What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We already know that moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity, such as time accumulated during exercise, is associated with numerous health benefits. More recent studies also have shown that sedentary time, such as time accumulated during prolonged sitting at work, transportation, and leisure, can also increase the risk of adverse outcomes. What was not known was whether prolonged sitting affects people across different levels of frailty similarly. This is what we examined in our study. We found that there were differences. Low frailty levels (people who are extremely healthy; frailty index score < 0.1) seemed to eliminate the increased risk of mortality associated with prolonged sitting, even among people who did not meet recommended physical activity guidelines. Among people with higher frailty levels, sedentary time was associated with mortality but only among those who did not meet recommended physical activity guidelines (more…)
Author Interviews, Lifestyle & Health, Weight Research / 23.03.2017 Interview with: Jill Gonzalez WalletHub Analyst What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We based our research on recent findings that suggest that 70 percent of the adult U.S. population is overweight or obese. With that in mind, we wanted to find which metro areas offer the best environments for a healthy and active lifestyle. Based on the report's methodology, we concluded that areas in the south tend to have higher overweight and obese rates, as some fail to offer residents healthy environments and amenities that would facilitate a more active lifestyle. Please find the report's main findings here: (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Lifestyle & Health, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 01.03.2017 Interview with: Lu Qi, MD, PhD, FAHA HCA Regents Distinguished Chair and Professor Director, Tulane University Obesity Research Center Department of Epidemiology Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine New Orleans, LA 70112 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Adherence to healthy lifestyle (high physical activity, less smoking, moderate alcohol consumption, healthy diet, and low adiposity) has been related to substantially reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases in large cohorts from the US and Europe, however, similar evidence in Asians such as Chinese is lacking. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, CMAJ, Lifestyle & Health / 23.02.2017 Interview with: Ellen Warner, MD, FRCPC, FACP, M.Sc. Affiliate scientist Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Toronto, ON What is the background for this review? Response: As a medical oncologist who has treated breast cancer patients for over 30 years, I have found that most of the women in my practice are desperately looking for things they can do beyond standard surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, etc. to increase their chance of cure.  Unfortunately, many fall prey to false claims they read over the Internet or hear from well-meaning friends and relatives.  As a result they turn to absurdly restrictive diets (eg. No meat, dairy or sugar) or to ‘supplements’ with unproven effectiveness or even safety. So I thought it would be helpful to review the literature to determine what evidence-based lifestyle changes these women could make that would at least improve their overall health and, ideally, reduce their risk of dying of recurrent breast cancer.  For this review I thought it would be great to team up with Julia Hamer, a pre-med student with a degree in nutrition who just happens to also be an Olympic level athlete! (more…)
Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, Heart Disease / 03.12.2016 Interview with: Bjarne M. Nes, PhD K.G. Jebsen Center for Exercise in Medicine, Department of Circulation and Medical Imaging Norwegian University of Science and Technology Trondheim, Norway. What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: It is well known that cardiorespiratory fitness is an important predictor of future cardiovascular disease risk. Still, fitness levels are rarely measured in clinical practice, likely because of costly and time-consuming procedures that requires quite a lot of training. Therefore, we wanted to test the ability of a simple estimation of fitness, from a so-called non-exercise algorithm, to identify individuals at high and low risk of cardiovascular mortality. We tested fitness alone and in combination with traditional risk factors such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking and family history of heart disease and diabetes, among 38,480 men and women from the Nord-Trondelag Health Study in Norway. We found that estimated fitness strongly predicts premature deaths from all causes and that traditional clinical risk factors added little above and beyond fitness in terms of predicting risk. (more…)
Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, Global Health, Lancet, Lifestyle & Health / 29.07.2016 Interview with: Ding Ding (Melody), Ph.D., MPH NHMRC Early Career Senior Research Fellow Sydney University Postdoctoral Research Fellow Prevention Research Collaboration Sydney School of Public Health The University of Sydney What is the background for this study? Response: Understanding the true burden of a pandemic is indispensable for informed decision making. After decades of research, we now have established knowledge about how physical inactivity contributes to pre-mature deaths and chronic diseases, but the economic burden of physical inactivity remains unquantified at the global level. Through estimating the economic burden of physical inactivity for the first time, we hope to create a business case for investing in cost-effective actions to promote physical activity at the global levels. (more…)
Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, JAMA, Lifestyle & Health / 23.05.2016 Interview with: Steven C. Moore PhD, MPH Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics Rockville, MD What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Moore: More than half of Americans fail to meet recommended levels of regular physical activity; physical inactivity has become a major public health concern. Physical activity during leisure time is known to reduce risks of heart-disease and all-cause mortality, as well as risks of colon, breast, and endometrial cancers. However, less is known about whether physical activity reduces risk of other cancers. Hundreds of prospective studies have examined associations between physical activity and risk of different cancers. Due to small case numbers, results have been inconclusive for most cancer types. In this study, we examined how leisure-time physical activity relates to risk of 26 different cancer types in a pooled analysis of 12 prospective cohort studies with 1.44 million participants. Our objectives were to identify cancers associated with leisure-time physical activity, and determine whether associations varied by body size and/or smoking history. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cancer Research, JAMA, Lifestyle & Health / 23.05.2016 Interview with: Mingyang Song
Research Fellow
Department of Nutrition
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Although substantial data support the importance of lifestyle factors for cancer risk, a study published in Science early last year “led some to conclude that only a third of the variation in cancer risk among tissues is attributable to environmental factors or inherited predispositions, while most is due to random mutations arising during stem cell divisions, so-called bad luck.” That study “has been widely covered by the press and has created confusion for the public regarding the preventability of cancer.” In response to that study, we conducted this study to estimate how many cancer cases and deaths in the US can be potentially attributed to common lifestyle factors. Our study showed that about 20-30% of cancer incidences and 40-50% of cancer deaths may be avoided if everyone in the US adopted a lifestyle pattern that is characterized by “never or past smoking (pack-years <5), no or moderate alcohol drinking ([1]1 drink/d for women,[1]2 drinks/d for men), BMI of at least 18.5 but lower than 27.5, and weekly aerobic physical activity of at least 75 vigorous-intensity or 150 moderate-intensity minutes”. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Lifestyle & Health, Social Issues / 16.05.2016 Interview with: Dr. Tyler VanderWeele PhD Professor of Epidemiology Department of Epidemiology Department of Biostatistics Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. VanderWeele: There have been some prior studies on religious service attendance and mortality. Many of these have been criticized for poor methodology including the possibility of reverse causation – that only those who are healthy can attend services, so that attendance isn’t necessarily influencing health. We tried to address some of these criticisms with better methodology. We used repeated measures of attendance and health over time to address this, and a very large sample, and controlled for an extensive range of common causes of religious service attendance and health. This was arguably the strongest study on the topic to date and addressed many of the methodological critiques of prior literature. We found that compared with women who never attended religious services, women who attended more than once per week had 33% lower mortality risk during the study period. Those who attended weekly had 26% lower risk and those who attended less than once a week had 13% lower risk. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Diabetes Care, Exercise - Fitness, Lifestyle & Health / 20.04.2016 Interview with: Paddy Dempsey MPhEd, PhD in Medicine (expected June 2016) Physical Physical Activity and Behavioural Epidemiology Laboratory Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute Melbourne VIC What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In addition to too little physical activity (PA), sedentary behavior – defined as any waking sitting or reclining behavior with low energy expenditure – has emerged as a ubiquitous and significant population-wide influence on cardiometabolic health outcomes, with potentially distinct and modifiable environmental and social determinants. There is now a consistent base of epidemiologic evidence reporting deleterious associations of excessive sedentary behaviors (e.g. TV viewing, car use, and desk work) with mortality and cardiometabolic morbidity, independent of moderate-vigorous PA. To date, efforts to influence participation in moderate-to-vigorous exercise (i.e. 30 min a day of ‘exercise’ on most days a week for health) at the population level, such as through large-scale campaigns to promote walking, and other initiatives to encourage people to exercise during their leisure time have achieved only modest success. There may, however, be untapped preventive-health and clinical management potential through shifting the high volume of time spent sedentary to light-intensity physical activity interspersed throughout the day. As such, sedentary behavior represents a potentially feasible and therapeutic target, particularly in the promotion of metabolic health. We posited that people with type 2 diabetes (T2D) were likely to derive the greatest benefits from interrupting their sitting time. However, until now the contributions of prolonged sitting and/or interrupting prolonged sitting with very-brief bouts of light-intensity PA had never been experimentally tested in patients with T2D. Moreover, this study for the first time moved beyond interrupting sitting with standing or ambulatory bouts (although walking bouts were also examined), which may have differing levels of metabolic stimulus (i.e. not physiologically taxing the body enough), practicality, or health efficacy, to examine a potential addition/alternative: simple resistance activities (SRA). A key premise behind these SRA bouts (half-squats, calf raises, gluteal contractions, and knee raises) were that they required no specialized equipment, only small amounts of space, and could be easily performed in a fixed position behind a work desk or at home with minimal disruption to work tasks or leisure pursuits. In addition, they also markedly increase muscle activity, and may also have other longer-term benefits (for example physical function, muscle strength, bone density), however we can only speculate on these aspects at present. In this study in men and women with type 2 diabetes, plasma glucose, insulin and C-peptide (marker of insulin secretion and pancreatic beta cell function) levels following standardized breakfast and lunch meals were all markedly attenuated when prolonged sitting was regularly interrupted with light walking or resistance activities (3 min every 30 min) over an 8 hour day. Plasma triglyceride levels were also reduced for both types of activity bout; however, the reduction was only significant for the SRAs. Interestingly, the magnitude of glucose reduction for the walking bouts was greater in women for glucose levels. (more…)
Author Interviews, Lifestyle & Health, Weight Research / 17.03.2016 Interview with: Dr Ellen Flint Lecturer in Population Health MRC Strategic Skills Fellow Department of Social & Environmental Health Research London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine London What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Flint: Globally, physical inactivity is a major cause of obesity, chronic disease and premature mortality. Improving population levels of physical activity is therefore a key public health policy aim, in high and middle income countries. In the past, functional active travel was a key source of physical activity for many people. However, since the mass adoption of private motorised travel in the 20th century, the vast majority (63%) of working adults in the UK commute to by car. Using UK Biobank data from more than 150,000 middle-aged adults, we found that those who commuted to work via cycling or walking had significantly lower body fat percentage and lower body mass index (BMI) compared to adults who commuted by car. The strongest associations were seen for adults who commuted via bicycle. For the average man in the sample (age 53 years; height 176.7cm; weight 85.9kg), cycling to work rather than driving was associated with a weight difference of 5kg or 11lbs (1.71 BMI points). For the average woman in the sample (age 52 years; height 163.6cm; weight 70.6kg), the weight difference was 4.4kg or 9.7lbs (1.65 BMI points). Even people who commuted via public transport also showed significant reductions in BMI and percentage body fat compared with those who commuted only by car. This suggests that even the incidental physical activity involved in public transport journeys may be important. The link between active commuting and obesity reduction was independent of other factors such as income, area deprivation, urban or rural residence, education, alcohol intake, smoking, general physical activity, dietary energy intake and overall health and disability. If you're often using public transport, particularly around the New York Area, check out this babylon schedule. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Lifestyle & Health / 15.03.2016 Interview with: Ding Ding (Melody), Ph.D., MPH NHMRC Early Career Senior Research Fellow/Sydney University Postdoctoral Research Fellow Prevention Research Collaboration Sydney School of Public Health The University of Sydney What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Ding: This study used data from the Sax Institute’s 45 and Up Study, a large Australia based cohort of adults aged 45 or older. We followed around 25,000 participants who were working at baseline (2006-2008) for an average of 3 years (follow-up in 2010). During the follow-up period, around 3,000 participants retired from the workforce. Participants were asked to report their health-related lifestyle behaviors, such as physical activity, smoking, and sleep time at both baseline and follow-up. We found that those who retired overall had significant improvement in their lifestyle as compared with those who did not, including more physical activity, less sitting time, and more sleep. Female smokers who retired were also more likely to have quit smoking. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Lifestyle & Health / 03.02.2016 Interview with: David Drozek, D.O. Assistant Professor of Surgery Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine Athens, Ohio 45701 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Response: Half of the U.S. population has diabetes or prediabetes.  The rate is even higher in Appalachia.  As a society, we cannot sustain this level of disease.  It exacts a heavy toll on our productivity and our health care costs. Current approaches to diabetes, primarily with medication, are not sufficient.  More attention needs to be placed on the underlying cause of diabetes, and its traveling partners, overweight / obesity, heart disease and many common cancers.  That cause is our lifestyle.  Medical Research: What are the main findings? Response: As has been demonstrated in many other studies of lifestyle modification programs, chronic illnesses, like diabetes, can actually be reversed, and in some cases, even cured, by instituting a plant-based, whole food diet, increased physical activity and stress management techniques.  Our study reinforces that this is possible, even in a rural, poverty stricken region, when people are ready to make healthy changes.  Our study participants, on average, lost weight, and improved their blood sugar, lipid panel and blood pressure, by participating in The Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP), a lifestyle medicine program. (more…)
Author Interviews, Lifestyle & Health, PLoS / 06.12.2015 Interview with: Ding Ding (Melody), Ph.D., MPH NHMRC Early Career Senior Research Fellow Sydney University Postdoctoral Research Fellow Prevention Research Collaboration Sydney School of Public Health The University of Sydney  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response:  The study followed a large sample (around 200,000) of Australian adults aged 45 or older. Participants reported their lifestyle behaviours (smoking, excessive alcohol use, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, prolonged sitting, short/long sleep duration) at baseline (2006-2009) and were followed up for around 6 years (up to June 2014). Based on linked administrative data (death records), we found a clear relationship between the total number of lifestyle risk behaviours and the risk of mortality---the more risk behaviours, the higher risk for mortality. This pattern of associations was consistent in men and women, participants in different age groups, of different socioeconomic status, and with and without major chronic disease. Certain behavioural risk factors have synergistic associations with mortality and appear more harmful together than individually. For example, if people only sit for long hours (defined as >7 hours a day), without having other co-occurring risk behaviours, the risk for mortality was only elevated by 15%, and if people are only physically inactive without having other co-occurring risk behaviours, the risk for mortality was elevated by 60%. However when the two risk factors were combined, say if one is not physically active AND sit for long hours, the combined risk has become much larger (increased by 140%, compared with those with zero risk behaviours).  Similarly, the combination of smoking and excessive alcohol use appeared a lot more “deadly” than the two risk factors alone. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Diabetes Care, Lifestyle & Health / 14.08.2015

Dr. Kaberi Dasgupta MD, MSc, FRCPC Associate Professor, Department of Medicine Divisions of Internal Medicine, Clinical Epidemiology, and Endocrinology and Metabolism Royal Victoria Hospital Quebec, Canada Interview with: Dr. Kaberi Dasgupta MD, MSc, FRCPC Associate Professor, Department of Medicine Divisions of Internal Medicine, Clinical Epidemiology, and Endocrinology and Metabolism Royal Victoria Hospital Quebec, Canada   Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Dasgupta: We know that health behaviours can contribute to developing gestational diabetes and type 2 diabetes (e.g., eating out frequently, lack of fruits and vegetables, not walking enough, spending most of the day sitting). We also know that genetic factors are important. Sometimes we focus more on the genetic factors than on health behaviours. By showing that spouses share diabetes risk, we highlight the importance that behaviour and environment play as spouses are not generally related biologically. In a previous meta-analysis, we showed that spouses were concordant for diabetes (if one had it, there was a 24% relative risk increase that the other did too.) In the study Gestational Diabetes Mellitus in Mothers as a Diabetes Predictor in Fathers: A Retrospective Cohort Analysis, we took it further and compared men whose partners had gestational diabetes and men whose partners did not. Over a 13 year period of follow-up, the men whose partners had gestational diabetes were 33% more likely to develop diabetes.  (more…)