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The Unlikely Story Of England’s All-Female, Middle-Aged Punk Scene

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An Easy Hack To Counteract The Harmful Health Effects Of Sitting All Day | The Optimist Daily

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Humans are not designed to spend the entire day seated. Nonetheless, billions of us do it at least five days per week, as Western work patterns dictate.

The health consequences of remaining on our bums all day are significant. According to studies, those who sit for extended durations are more likely to develop chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Even daily bursts of exercise are not necessarily a cure for lengthy periods of desk work, despite their value.

The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) acknowledges that there is insufficient data to establish a daily restriction on the amount of time people should spend sitting. 

Fortunately, academics at Columbia University in the United States are attempting to fill this gap in the research. They intended to find out how to limit the hazards of sitting all day without having to do anything extreme like quit your work.

The resulting study, led by Keith Diaz, associate professor of behavioral medicine, was admittedly modest in size. Only 11 adults participated. Still, it offers a launching pad for further research.

What’s the bare minimum that we have to walk to offset health effects? 

Over the course of five days, each participant was asked to sit in a lab for eight hours, mimicking a regular workday. On one of those days, participants sat all day, only getting up to use the restroom. Diaz and his crew tested a variety of various walking tactics on the others to break up the sitting.

“Our goal was to find the least amount of walking one could do to offset the harmful health effects of sitting,” Diaz wrote for The Conversation in a blog post. “In particular, we measured changes in blood sugar levels and blood pressure, two important risk factors for heart disease.”

According to their results, the only method that effectively reduced blood sugar levels was a five-minute light walk every half-hour, which reduced the blood sugar surge after eating by over 60 percent when compared to sitting down.

During the study, researchers also used a questionnaire to ask participants to score their mental health.

“We found that compared with sitting all day, a five-minute light walk every half-hour reduced feelings of fatigue, put participants in a better mood, and helped them feel more energized,” he wrote. “We also found that even walks just once every hour were enough to boost mood and reduce feelings of fatigue.”

Short and frequent or long and infrequent?

More research is needed, but the results agree with advice from the UK government’s Health and Safety Executive, which suggests “short breaks often, rather than longer ones less often”. It recommends five to ten minutes every hour.

Diaz and his colleagues are currently studying additional ways for mitigating the health risks of extended sitting, particularly for people who can’t just get out of their seats, such as cab drivers.

“Finding alternative strategies that yield comparable results can provide the public with several different options, and ultimately allow people to pick the strategy that works best for them and their lifestyle,” said Diaz.

Source study: Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise— Breaking up prolonged sitting to improve cardio metabolic risk: Dose-response analysis of a randomized cross-over trial

The post An easy hack to counteract the harmful health effects of sitting all day first appeared on The Optimist Daily: Making Solutions the News.

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Avatar’s Motion AI Tech Helps Researchers Detect Rare Diseases | The Optimist Daily

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Researchers are using motion capture artificial intelligence technology that brings characters to life in films like Avatar to track the onset of diseases that affect movement, according to a recent BBC article.

The new system uses artificial intelligence to analyze body movements and diagnose disorders twice as quickly as the best doctors.

Dr. Valeria Ricotti, a member of the team working on the new breakthrough, told BBC News that she was “completely blown away by the results”.

“The impact on diagnosis and developing new drugs for a wide range of diseases could be absolutely massive.”

A 10-year-old system with proven results

The technology, which has been in development for ten years, was already evaluated in two different studies on individuals with Friedreich’s ataxia (FA) and Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD).

Professor Aldo Faisal of Imperial College London, one of the experts who came up with the idea, said it has numerous advantages over traditional techniques of diagnosis.

“Our new approach detects subtle movements that humans can’t pick up on,” he explained. “It has the capability to transform clinical trials as well as improve diagnosis and monitoring for patients.”

It also offers the ability to expedite and reduce the cost of medication studies.

“We will be able to trial more drugs with less patients at a lower cost,” remarked Professor Paola Giunti, Head of University College London’s Ataxia Centre.

”This is going to attract the pharmaceutical industry to invest in rare diseases,” added Professor Richard Festenstein from the Medical Research Council’s London Institute of Medical Sciences who aided in developing the new tech.

“The main beneficiary from our research is going to be patients because the technology is going to be able to come up with new treatments much more quickly.’’

The system’s key advantage is its advanced, quick prognostic skills.

A team at Imperial College tested it on FA patients and discovered that it could forecast disease progression over a twelve-month period in less than half the time it would ordinarily take an industry expert.

Another team at Great Ormond Street Hospital tested it on 21 boys with DMD and discovered that it could anticipate how their movement will be affected six months later far more accurately than a doctor.

Early detection: critical for disease surveillance

At the moment, there is no cure for either FA or DMD, and early detection is critical for disease monitoring. FA affects one out of every 50,000 adults, but DMD affects 20,000 children worldwide each year.

By enabling early detection, the new technology can give new hope to patients suffering from debilitating hereditary disorders with no widely available treatments. The earlier a diagnosis is made, the better the prospects patients have of effectively controlling their diseases.

James Cameron directed, wrote, co-produced, and co-edited the 2009 science fiction picture Avatar.

A sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water, was released in 2022.

The post Avatar’s motion AI tech helps researchers detect rare diseases first appeared on The Optimist Daily: Making Solutions the News.

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