THE FIRST WEDNESDAY IN THE MONTH OF APRIL IS DESIGNATED AS NATIONAL WALKING DAY.
MY FAVORITE NON-COMPETITIVE SPORT! BUT ACCORDING TO THE C-D-C, EIGHTY PERCENT OF AMERICANS DO NOT GET THE RECOMMENDED TWO AND A HALF HOURS OF MODERATE-INTENSITY AEROBIC EXERCISE EACH WEEK.
ERICA STEPTEAU IS A HEALTH COACH AT CLEVELAND CLINIC. SHE SAYS THAT STARTING A WALKING ROUTINE IS THE FIRST STEP TOWARDS GETTING YOUR BODY MORE ACTIVE.
CG: Erica Stepteau, MPH/Cleveland Clinic “Get up every five to ten minutes. Put a timer on your phone and see that those are ways that can actually help you get up more instead of just sitting all day.”[00:08]
STEPTEAU SAYS WE TEND TO UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF WALKING.
SHE SAYS IT DOESN’T TAKE A GYM MEMBERSHIP OR A PERSONAL TRAINER TO GET YOURSELF UP AND MOVING.
WALKING IS SOMETHING THAT YOU CAN FIT INTO YOUR DAY ALMOST ANYWHERE. AND IT NOT ONLY HELPS YOUR HEALTH, BUT CAN ALSO BOOST YOUR MOOD.
STEPTEAU RECOMMENDS WALKING DURING YOUR LUNCH BREAK, TAKING THE STAIRS, AND WHEN YOU GET HOME, GET YOUR PETS OUT AND MOVING WITH YOU.
SHE ALSO SAID THAT SPRING IS A GREAT TIME TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE WEATHER CHANGING TO START WALKING OUTDOORS.
IF BRISK WALKING IS YOUR GOAL, SHE SAYS YOU WANT TO WORK YOUR WAY UP TO THE POINT WHERE IT’S A LITTLE CHALLENGING TO TALK WHILE WALKING.
AND LIKE ANY EXERCISE PLAN, STEPTEAU SAYS YOU’LL HAVE BETTER RESULTS IF YOU CAN FIND A BUDDY TO WALK WITH.
CG: Erica Stepteau/Cleveland Clinic “It can help you push you beyond your own limits because that person may be at a different level than you; higher or lower, depending; but it helps you either be the encouragement that that person needs to step it up, or it could be the encouragement for you to step it up for yourself.”[00:14]
IF GETTING YOURSELF MOVING IS A REAL CHALLENGE, STEPTEAU SAYS THAT IT’S IMPORTANT NOT TO BEAT YOURSELF UP ABOUT IT AND TO JUST START SLOW.
SHE SAYS IF YOU’VE BEEN INACTIVE FOR A LONG PERIOD OF TIME, IT’S A GOOD IDEA TO CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE STARTING A NEW EXERCISE ROUTINE.
[MEDIA SEE Pathfire#:10752 FOR VT]
HAPPY NATIONAL WALKING DAY! Stay healthy. -Maria Dorfner
We are saddened to share that our patient, Lindsey, recently experienced a sudden complication that led to the removal of her transplanted uterus.
On February 25, Cleveland Clinic announced the first uterus transplant as part of a clinical study for women who suffer from uterine factor infertility. At this time, the circumstance of the complication is under review and more information will be shared as it becomes available.
There is a known risk in solid organ transplantation that the transplanted organ may have to be removed should a complication arise. The medical team took all necessary precautions and measures to ensure the safety of our patient.
While this has been difficult for both the patient and the medical team, Lindsey is doing well and recovering.
The study, which has been planned to include 10 women, is still ongoing with a commitment to the advancement of medical research to provide an additional option for women and their families.”
Statement from Lindsey
“I just wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude towards all of my doctors. They acted very quickly to ensure my health and safety. Unfortunately I did lose the uterus to complications. However, I am doing okay and appreciate all of your prayers and good thoughts.”
Surgeons at the Cleveland Clinic have performed the first uterus transplant in the United States on a 26-year-old, using a uterus from a deceased organ donor.
The operation took 9 hours and the woman is in stable condition.
The procedure is to help women who had their uterus removed, or were born without one.
Following a transplant, the woman needs to wait a year before trying to become pregnant.
Then she will need in vitro fertilization to become pregnant.
Before the transplant, the patient had eggs removed surgically, fertilized with her husband’s sperm and frozen.
The embryos will be transferred into her uterus.
If the procedure is successful, any children will be born by cesarean section and the mother will have the transplanted uterus removed after having one or two babies.
The transplant will be temporary: The uterus will be removed after the recipient has had one or two babies, so she can stop taking anti-rejection drugs.
The Cleveland hospital’s ethics panel has given it permission to perform the procedure 10 times, as an experiment.
Officials will then decide whether to continue, and whether to offer the operation as a standard procedure. The clinic is still screening women who may be candidates for the operation.
The leader of the surgical team is Dr. Andreas G. Tzakis, who has performed 4,000 to 5,000 transplants of kidneys, livers and other abdominal organs.
To prepare for uterus transplants, he traveled to Sweden and worked with doctors at the University of Gothenburg, the only ones in the world to have performed the procedure successfully so far.
About 50,000 women in the United States are thought to be candidates for transplanted uteruses.
THE DONOR Surgeons remove the uterus, cervix and part of the vagina from an organ donor who has recently died, along with the small uterine vessels that carry blood to the organ. The uterus can survive outside the body for at least six to eight hours if kept cold.
THE RECIPIENT The donor’s uterus is connected to the recipient’s vagina and the uterine vessels are redirected to large blood vessels running outside the pelvis. The recipient’s ovaries are left in place, and if she has any remnant fallopian tubes, they are not connected to the transplant. The recipient will wait a year to heal before having in vitro fertilization.
Sources: Dr. Tommaso Falcone, Cleveland Clinic; BioDigital
By The New York Times
In an interview in October, Dr. Tzakis said that although women without a uterus could adopt children or hire surrogates to carry a pregnancy for them, many find those options unacceptable “for reasons that are personal, cultural or religious.”
At that time, a 26-year-old woman who was being screened as a potential candidate explained why she wanted a chance to become pregnant and give birth.
“I crave that experience,” she said. “I want the morning sickness, the backaches, the feet swelling. I want to feel the baby move. That is something I’ve wanted for as long as I can remember.”
If you read one article on cancer prevention and treatment prior to seeing a doctor, this is it. -Maria Dorfner
About the Guest Author: Gary Hyman, MD is Director at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, The UltraWellness Center and The Institute for Functional Medicine
A Functional Medicine Approach to Cancer by Gary Hyman, MD
Functional medicine empowers patients and practitioners to achieve the highest expression of health by working collaboratively to address the root causes of disease. It is an emerging, personalized model of diagnosis and treatment that better addresses the need to prevent and manage chronic disease. In a word, it is the medicine of WHY, not WHAT.
Functional Medicine doctors are like soil farmers. They create a healthy soil, so pests can’t come and weeds can’t flourish. A healthy soil means disease can’t take hold.
So with cancer, a Functional Medicine practitioner would say that yes, we still need radiation and other conventional approaches, but what else can we do? How can we properly cultivate a healthy soil?
Cancer results because of in an imbalance in the system. So many people are walking around with tumors and don’t know it. We can do something to prevent them from growing by maintaining a healthy soil.
Instead of dividing everything into diseases and labels, emerging science points to a different way of thinking about diseases. Rather than divide the body into organs, Functional Medicine approaches disease as a systemic problem, and we have to treat the system, not the symptom; the cause, not the disease. This completely redefines the whole notion of disease. The landscape of illness is changing.
How we label cancer is no longer synced up with what we know about the origins of cancer or the fact that two people who have cancer with the same name—like breast cancer—can have two completely different diseases which require different treatments. Just because you know the name of your disease doesn’t mean you know what’s wrong with you or what to do about it.
Classifying tumors by body site — lung, liver, brain, breast, colon, etc. — misses the underlying causes, mechanisms, and pathways involved in a particular cancer. What’s more, it gives us no information about how it manifested in a given patient. Two people with cancers in different parts of the body may have developed it for the same reasons.
Similarly, two people with cancers in the same part of the body may have developed it for different reasons. A patient with prostate cancer and one with colon cancer may have more in common with each other than two patients who have colon cancer.
We need to look under the hood and find out what caused the illness to begin with.
Cultivating a Healthy Soil
Numerous things can contribute to cancer. Studies show diet, exercise, thoughts, feelings, and environmental toxins all influence the initiation, growth, and progression of cancer.
We can also alter how our genes are expressed by changing the inputs that control that expression: Diet, nutrients, phytonutrients, toxins, stress, and other sources of inflammation. And we can focus on less divisive and more generative thoughts that, in turn, create more uplifting emotions — all good fertilizer for the soil in the garden of our body.
The Number One Thing You Can Do to Prevent or Control Cancer
Diabesity, the continuum of health problems ranging from mild insulin resistance and overweight to obesity and diabetes, is the single biggest global health epidemic of our time. It is one of the leading causes of heart disease, dementia, cancer, and premature death in the world and is almost entirely caused by environmental and lifestyle factors.
This means that it is almost 100 percent preventable and curable.
Diabesity affects over 1.7 billion people worldwide. Scientists conservatively estimate it will affect one in two Americans by 2020; 90 percent of whom will not be diagnosed.
Obesity (almost always related to diabesity) is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States and around the world. The link between obesity and cancer is well documented and is driven by insulin resistance. Insulin, the fat storage hormone, also drives more inflammation, oxidative stress, and a myriad of downstream effects including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, low HDL, high triglycerides, poor sex drive, infertility, thickening of the blood, and increased risk of cancer, Alzheimer’s, and depression.
The best thing you can do to prevent or control cancer is to control insulin levels with a high-fiber diet rich in real, fresh, whole foods and minimize or eliminate sugary, processed, insulin-raising foods.
Dr. Dean Ornish showed that after just three months on an intensive lifestyle program including a whole-foods, plant-based diet, over 500 genes that regulate cancer were beneficially affected, either turning off the cancer-causing genes or turning on the cancer-protective genes. No medication can do that.
5 Strategies to Reduce Cancer Formation and Growth
Cancer results from an imbalance in our system where the immune system can’t fight off tumors. We can do many things to prevent that cancer from getting to its full stage, and if you have cancer, you can make your body inhospitable to that cancer.
Eliminate food sensitivities. In a major study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, hidden gluten sensitivity was shown to increase risk of death by 35 to 75 percent, mostly by causing heart disease and cancer. By just this mechanism alone, more than 20 million Americans are at risk for heart attack, obesity, cancer, and death. Dairy and gluten are the most common triggers of food allergies that are linked to insulin resistance. Cutting them out of the diet allows the inflamed gut and an inflamed body to heal.
Reduce inflammation. Inflammation is the common thread connecting most chronic disease including cancer. In fact, out-of-control inflammation causes insulin resistance, which, as we now know, is the main factor in all these diseases apart from autoimmunity and allergy. The insulin resistance then creates even more inflammation, and the whole biological house burns down. Besides removing sugar and food sensitivities like gluten and dairy, we want to eat plenty of anti-inflammatory foods, including omega-3 rich foods like wild fish and flaxseeds.
Improve gut health. Cancer often originates in your gut. Not just colon cancer, but with many cancers. We are currently studying about the gut microbiome and breast and prostate cancers. Beyond avoiding inflammatory foods, adding in probiotics, prebiotics, and lots of phytonutrients, like curcumin (found in turmeric) and resveratrol (found in grapes), can reduce gut-based inflammation.
Reduce toxic exposure. The average newborn has 287 chemicals in her umbilical cord blood, 217 of which are neurotoxic (poisonous to nerves or nerve cells). The chemicals these infants are exposed to include pesticides, phthalates, bisphenol A, flame retardants, and heavy metals such as mercury, lead, and arsenic. These chemicals have a broad range of negative effects on human biology; they damage the nervous system and increase the risk of cancer, and now they have been shown to contribute to obesity. Going clean and green means becoming more aware about how environmental toxins affect your health. I encourage you to visit the Environmental Working Group (EWG) to learn more.
Change your thoughts to change your immune system. Science is now proving what we all knew intuitively — that how we live, the quality of our relationships, the food we eat, and how we use our bodies determines much more than our genes ever will. There are numerous strategies to combat or prevent cancer, including getting sufficient sleep, controlling stress levels, and exercising regularly.
The important thing is to figure out what works for you and develop a plan to stick with it. That might involve working with a Functional Medicine doctor or a chronic disease specialist.
Whether you have been diagnosed with cancer or have become concerned about family and friends being diagnosed, the most important thing is mindset and not playing into fear.
While we all hope there will one day be a miracle cure for cancer, there are things that we know now will combat cancer or keep our quality of life high while our body is fighting the cancer.
The science of cancer genetics is changing. Two people who have the same cancer could be completely different in terms of how the cancer performs. That’s why I’m very excited about the work that Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong is doing in California on the cancer genome and creating targeted therapies to treat the cancer in every patient individually. This and other emerging technologies, combined with the Functional Medicine approach to cancer, give me great hope about our ability to further prevent and treat this disease in the future.
I encourage you to think about cancer differently and more importantly, not lose hope.
Stay healthy, everyone! -Maria
Maria Dorfner (formerly Pallante Bianco) is the founder of MedCrunch, covering What’s Hot in Health.
At 24, she helped launch CNBC after working full-time at NBC for two years and part-time throughout college. She then joined Ailes Communications as director of research and producer for TV pilots successfully syndicated. She then co-anchored and senior produced several health series airing on CNBC for three years. She wrote, produced and directed medical documentaries for Discovery Health Channel and helped launch the Cleveland Clinic News Service. She is the owner of NewsMD Communications, a full-service production company specializing in health content and distribution. She is the author of three books. Her awards include an Outstanding Leadership Abilities and Commitment to the Advancement of Women in Media award from her alma mater and a Media Recognition Award from the American Heart Association for her “Heart Smart” series and a Medical Reporting Scholarship. Maria is in Who’s Who in American Women, 22nd edition, 2000/2001. She is a native of Brooklyn, New York. Her health blog is a division of Healthy Within Network, which is her existing labor of love. It connects the dots in medicine, media and marketing. Contact: email@example.com
Time for some gray hair myth busting. Parents often joke stress caused by their children is to blame for gray hair.
But Cleveland Clinic Dermatologist, Dr. Wilma Bergfeld says that’s not true.
Stress actually creates a whole different hair hassle.
CG: Dr. Wilma Bergfeld/Cleveland Clinic
“It does have an impact on hair loss because stress elevates your adrenal gland’s activity and also activates some of the receptors at the hair follicle level, which induce a shed, which is hair falling out by the roots.” :16
NICE. YOU WON’T GRAY, BUT YOU MAY BALD. THANKS FOR CLEARING THAT UP.
“Most people will naturally gray as they age.”
DR. BERGFELD adds hair turns gray when pigment-producing cells die.
GENES AND HEREDITY WILL USUALLY DETERMINE WHEN YOUR HAIR TURNS GRAY.
SO, WHETHER YOU HAVE FAMILY MEMBERS WHO GRAY IN THEIR TEENS OR INTO THEIR FIFTIES – YOU MAY AS WELL.
AND IF YOU’VE HEARD THAT PLUCKING ONE GRAY HAIR, WILL RESULT IN TWO MORE – DON’T BELIEVE IT.
ACCORDING TO DR. BERGFELD, THAT’S A MYTH TOO.
CG: Dr. Wilma Bergfeld/Cleveland Clinic
“When you pluck the hair it generally returns gray. It doesn’t return in multiples though. ” :05
DR. BERGFELD SAYS THAT OTHER THAN COLORING YOUR HAIR, THERE’S USUALLY NOTHING YOU CAN DO TO PREVENT GRAYING.
SHE ADDS THAT AGING IS BEAUTIFUL AND ENCOURAGES WOMEN TO EMBRACE IT BY KEEPING THEIR SKIN AND HAIR HEALTHY.
“My favorites are pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds for getting a good night’s sleep and recent studies have shown that drinking a cup of tart cherry juice about a half-hour before bedtime may also be helpful for getting to sleep,” says Edwards.
She recommends half a cup of pumpkin seeds once or twice a day.
And for women approaching menopause, she recommends adding foods containing magnesium or adding it as a supplement.
So this Halloween remember these 4 treats that may help you sleep like a baby:
1. Pumpkin seeds (bonus: they are high in magnesium)
2. Sunflower seeds
3. Tart cherry juice
4. Foods with magnesium or adding a supplement
MEDIA: Contact the Cleveland Clinic News Service for B-roll and SOT, On Pathfire
MEDCruch is a division of Healthy Within Network, and was founded by Maria Dorfner, an award-winning health journalist. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. In 2001, she founded the Cleveland Clinic News Service. The Cleveland Clinic is a world-class medical institution in medicine, research, education and technology, consistently ranked #1.
There are many ways parents can help their children and teens cope. It is important for parents to make themselves available to their children, such that the kids can approach their parents if they are having any difficulties. It is appropriate for parents to check in and ask how their children are doing, but it is also important to be aware that not all children will want to talk or ask questions, and parents can take cues from their kids.
If parents are observing that their children seem upset but are not wanting to discuss, they can try and engage them in distracting activities such as a family movie night, going on an outing (i.e., dinner or a fun activity), or every day errands such as to the grocery, anything to assist in getting the children’s minds off of what is bothering them.
2. Does maintaining daily routines help, such as sitting down to dinner nightly?
Maintaining a routine is definitely important, as it assists in keeping some normalcy, even if things do not seem “normal.” Continuing to have the same expectation of the children’s behavior and activity is important, though if there are significant things going on, it may be okay to have a little more flexibility around those routines. Nightly, or at least regular, dinners are always important. This is a great opportunity to ask your children questions and/ or allow them to discuss their day. This will also be a good time for parents to observe/ assess for any changes in their children’s mood or behavior.
3. What questions should parents ask children who seem withdrawn or anxious?
There are not necessarily specific questions that should be asked, but rather very general questions such as “how was your day?” or “anything on your mind?” More important than the specific question, is parents’ inquiring into how the child is doing, showing that they care and are interested in what the child is thinking/ feeling, and providing the opportunity for the child to discuss if (s)he is interested.
4. What healthy habits help? Should anything be increased/decreased during highly stressful times?
Healthy habits include eating well, getting rest, and being physically active. While these are relatively simple concepts, they are not always easy to implement, and can often be the first to go when times become busy and stressful. It may be helpful to prioritize what needs to be done and by when, and making sure to schedule in the healthy activities (i.e., finding a time to go to the grocery so there is food in the house, avoiding the need to stop and grab fast food on the way home, or planning to start a homework project on the weekend, so a child is not up late the night(s) before it is due). It is also important to maintain fun and enjoyable activities during stressful time, to provide a break from the stressors and an opportunity to relax and enjoy one’s self.
5. Should parents share their own fears with kids or not?
This one probably depends on several things. As a general rule of thumb, children should not have to worry about adult issues, as they are plenty busy worrying about kids’ issues. If it can be avoided, it is recommended that parents not openly discuss their concerns with or in front of the children. It is also important to note that children, beginning from an early age, take their cues from their parents, so even if parents are not verbalizing their thoughts and concerns, the children may be aware of what is going on, thus it is important for parents to monitor their own behavior and reactions. This being said, it is important for parents to tell their children the truth in a developmentally appropriate way, so if there is something happening that is directly affecting the children, it will be important for children to have some awareness of those things.
Today, the Cleveland Clinic News Service (which yours truly helped create and launch) talks about barefoot running vs. shoes.
In 2011, I predicted barefoot running would take off. Today, more and more runners are leaving their shoes behind.
But a recent study out of Taiwan found that with or without shoes, it’s HOW your foot strikes the ground that increases your chance of injury. Dr. Susan Joy did not take part in the study, but treats patients at Cleveland Clinic SPORTS HEALTH.
CG: Dr. Susan Joy/Cleveland Clinic Sports Health
Joy says, “The problem is that if you hit the ground really hard with your heel, that bone to bone contact there is not making use of all of the natural shock absorbers in the foot and the lower leg transmitting a lot of force up through the body and that can lead to injuries.“ [:12]
THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BAREFOOT RUNNERS AND SHOE WEARING RUNNERS IS THE LANDING PATTERN.
BAREFOOT RUNNERS TEND TO LAND ON THEIR FOREFOOT AND NOT THEIR HEELS, WHICH PROVIDES BETTER SHOCK ABSORPTION AND REDUCES INJURY RATES.
THE STUDY FOUND BOTH BAREFOOT AND SHOE-WEARING RUNNERS CAN GAIN MORE SHOCK ABSORPTION BY CHANGING THEIR STRIKING PATTERN TO A FOREFOOT STRIKE AND THAT YOUR CALF MUSCLES WILL ALSO HELP CARRY THE LOAD.
BUT SHOE-WEARING RUNNERS MAY BE MORE SUSCEPTIBLE TO INJURY IF THEY DECIDE TO RUN BAREFOOT AND CONTINUE TO USE A HEEL-STRIKE PATTERN.
DR. JOY AGREES.
CG: Dr. Susan Joy/Cleveland Clinic Sports Health
Joy says, “If you’re thinking either a barefoot technology or a minimalist or a lighter weight shoe you just have to make sure you’re paying extra attention to your gait. Because you can’t take a less-efficient gait and just put those on and expect the shoe to make the changes. What the shoe does is it makes you concentrate more on how you’re hitting the ground, which then, slowly over time allows you to adapt better to a new gait pattern.“ [:21]
COMPLETE FINDINGS FOR THIS STUDY ARE PUBLISHED IN JOURNAL “GAIT AND POSTURE.”
[VT of Dr. Susan Joy’s soundbites/VO on Pathfire #9139 from Cleveland Clinic News Service]
Two years ago, I wrote the following article about barefoot running shoes. It was inspired by my seeing someone wearing them at the gym. Her name was Vena Cook-Clark. It was the first time I had seen them, and they looked so odd. I asked lots of questions, and thought readers could benefit from what I learned.
Barefoot running shoes have gained popularity since then, since I spotted a lot of them used in the Boston Marathon. I spotted them in Boston Magazine’s cover photo with runner’s sneakers in the shape of a heart. I posted the beautiful cover on my Facebook wall, and later that evening Anderson Cooper ended his program with a full-screen shot of it.
Here’s a glimpse back:
photo: Vena Cook-Clark on the treadmill in her barefoot running shoes
Running the Distance by Maria Dorfner
Following a good workout, my head was lowered as I sat in the sauna sweating like a turkey on Thanksgiving Eve. My lowered eyes couldn’t help but notice and follow what was the oddest footwear that I’d ever seen at the gym. They sauntered into the sauna like an alien entering a spaceship.
At first, I thought sweat was clouding my vision. As I wiped the dripping water from my weary eyeballs, I realized I wasn’t seeing things. These toes were webbed into a bright royal blue, ribbed, rubber-like material.
I instantly recalled a pair of socks fitted for all five toes, which I had seen in stores around the holidays in bright Christmas colors of red, green and white.
I’ve never tried those type of socks on, as I figured it’d take too long to wiggle my fat toes into them. Ideally, when my feet are cold, I like to pull my socks on like a fireman reaching for gear at a four-alarm-fire. No time for messing around. I want my gloves and socks without complications.
But these weren’t socks. Before me were half socks, half water shoes.
When I raised my eyes, sitting beside me was a woman listening to music on her iPod. She probably didn’t want to be disturbed. But my curiosity got the best of me. So, I tapped her on her shoulder to inquire about her odd footwear. What on earth were they? She laughed, and said they were her new running shoes.
Running shoes? Did I hear her right? Were my ears waterlogged from swimming? Apparently not, as she went on to say she absolutely loved them because they made her run faster and they were healthier for her feet.
Healthier? As someone who specializes in health, my interest was peaked even more now. I asked more questions. Her name was Vena Cook-Clark, age 27, and she’d been running as a hobby for 6 years.
Originally, the unusual look and lightness of the shoes grabbed her attention. She read that barefoot running was better for her alignment, and it was enough to make her plunk down the asking price of $100.00 to give them a try.
When she brought them home, her husband joked they looked like she had “alien toes,” but now, she exclaims he wants a pair too. I asked if they were difficult to put on. She said it gets easier after the first few times, and it’s worth the trouble. She added, “It was awkward running with them initially, but after about 2 weeks I got used to them and now want another pair for hiking.”
She boasted about how easy it is to toss them in the wash with the rest of her running or working out clothing. She told me they were manufactured by a company named Vibram and told me I could find them on the internet by Googling “Vibram Five Fingers.”
When I got home that evening, I did just that. I instantly found what was called a “Barefoot Movement.” Purists preferred the term, “Minimalist Movement,” since you’re not really barefoot while wearing them. First, I wanted to find out if there really were health benefits to wearing them.
Turns out, a 2010 study from India says children who wore shoes before the age of 6 were more likely to develop flat feet than kids who ran around barefoot. They also had better developed longitudinal arches. Statistically, 8.2% of kids who wore shoes regularly suffered from flat feet compared to 2.8% of barefoot kids. The study was published in The Times of India.
I also learned I’m not the first person to discover this study. In 2009, Christopher McDougall wrote a New York Time’s bestseller called, “Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Super Athletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen”. It offered an in-depth look at the Tarahumara Indians in Mexico’s Copper Canyons. They ran hundreds of miles over rugged terrain in bare feet, and they ran into their 70’s without any sign of injury. Die-hard runners took note, and made the switch.
I wondered what physicians thought about them.
Last year, Harvard scientists, demonstrated that people who run barefoot or with minimal shoes – as people have done for millions of years – often land on their feet in a way that avoids a jarring impact. Less pounding equates to less stress and injury on the foot.
PBS has a video that visually demonstrates what your feet look like when they are running with regular sneaker vs. what they look like when you’re running barefoot or with minimalist sneakers. It’s interesting to note how your feet land on the ground differently. Minimalist shoes have you land on the ball of your foot instead of the heel.
The majority of physicians claim they are indeed better for your feet and “may” prevent injury. There’s that word “may” instead of can, which doctors say when they want to cover themselves. Non-committal, yet they state anyone with plantar fasciitis or any type of foot injury from running may benefit from them.
Physicians offer the following advice if you switch from your regular running sneakers to minimalist sneakers. Start slowly. They recommend you start by using them on trails and grassy surfaces before hitting cement or pavement.
If you’re interested in gaining the benefits of running barefoot, experts say that you need to prepare your feet before you make the switch. You can do so by:
1. fanning your toes, holding for 10 seconds, 10 times a day per foot.
2. Flex your feet for 5 seconds, then release.
3. Trace letters in the alphabet with your feet in mid-air each day.
4. Stand on your tippy-toes, and
5. Side walk.
The above seems like a lot of fancy footwork, but wearers like Vena Cook-Clark rave about them, and won’t be going back to regular running shoes anytime soon. Clark says, “I look at my old running shoes and can’t believe I used to lug those heavy things around in my gym bag. I love these and I run so much faster now and my feet feel so much better afterwards.”
They were founded by Dan Lieberman and Peter Von Conta. Fitness experts have since made the switch and word-of-mouth about them is rapidly spreading because the footwear causes curious people, like myself, to inquire about them.
Stephen Meade, founder of BigBamboo, LLC says he’s seen a guy wear them to meetings under a suit. He said you can’t help but notice and inquire about them. He did and says the guy who wears them is a marathoner and swears by them. Meade can’t wait to get a pair himself.
Although, Brian Cuban, an avid runner who has run 8 marathons with his best time being 3:27 in the Marine Corps. Marathon says he’d never use them.
Cuban, who in addition to running marathons, is also an attorney, writer, blogger and speaker, believes they will always be a niche item for high distance runners. He doesn’t see them ever catching on mainstream.
Cuban said, “I have too many existing foot and knee issues to make them viable. I need to decrease my strike force, not increase it.”
U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Andrew Baldwin, M.D. who is also an avid marathon runner agrees.
Baldwin is not a big fan of minimalist shoes. He says, “They’re correct in theory, but with our overweight society with bone structure accustomed to heavy lifting, it can be dangerous and lead to injury.”
Andy Baldwin, M.D. knows a bit about health and fitness, both professionally and personally. He’s been running since he was a kid, and has completed 35 marathons and 8 iron mans.
Baldwin is a triathlete, humanitarian, U.S. Navy diver and media personality currently serving as a family medicine resident at the Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton in Southern California. He has also served at the Navy’s Bureau of Medicine and Surgery in Washington, D.C. as a spokesman and advocate for Navy medicine.
While in D.C. he assisted the U.S. Surgeon General with a program called Healthy Youth for a Healthy Future and currently serves as an advocate for the Let’s Move Campaign headed by First Lady Michelle Obama. Both of these programs target childhood overweight and obesity.
On a side note, he was also the star of the ABC hit show, “The Bachelor: An Officer and a Gentleman.”
Yet, despite low opinions, sales are on the rise.
Sales for the Vibram Five Finger shoes have tripled every year since their launch in 2006. And sales continue to grow. So these rubber-soled, light as air running shoes may be more than a passing fad within the fitness industry.
The biggest complaint from consumers to date has been that the seams tear after 90-days. Consequently, the warranty on them is you guessed it, 90-days. But, the upside about that is the manufacturer, Vibram, will promptly replace them at no cost if that happens. So far, the customer service has been excellent, and they’ve been around since 2006. The second complaint is blisters. But traditional running shoes can give you blisters too.
The webbed running shoes may look dorky and weird, but they’re super comfortable, like being barefoot, only your feet are completely protected from sharp objects and stones. They also keep your feet warm. If you’re renovating your home and have nails on the floor, they could be a benefit or if you have small children who leave all sorts of things lying around, they could also be a smart substitute for wearing socks around your home.
I also bumped into Vena Cook-Clark at the gym again, and she ran up to me in her Vibrams to tell me she was thrilled to announce she had gotten a second pair for hiking, and that her husband was now sporting a pair, loving them.
Skeptics who may not want to use them for running, are using them for comfort and grip during weight lifting, yoga, bike-riding or plain old walking.
I recently walked through a mall, and couldn’t help but spot them in all the footwear stores. They come in a variety of attractive, vibrant colors for both men and women. When you lift them it’s exciting to feel how light and flexible they are and there is a buzz in stores with people talking about them.
Last month, runners wore them in a 5K race in the Oshkosh Half Marathon. And you can’t walk into an athletic footwear store without seeing them on the shelves. Top brands are starting to get into the race. Nike and New Balance just introduced “Minimalist Sneakers” this week.
Current Top 5 Brands for “Minimalist Sneakers” which cost approx. $100. are:
As for me, I still want my gloves, socks and sneakers without complications. But I’m willing to give these a try, if only for the light weight for carrying them around. I’m also thinking they’d be great for walking on the beach in the sand. I love the feel of sand of my toes, but there’s always a chance of stepping on something sharp. I like to walk/run by the ocean and these seem like a good alternative to bulky traditional shoes. I also like the non-webbed toe version, which are even lighter in weight than the Vibrams. They’re easier to toss into a beach bag than traditional running shoes. I recently tried Stand-Up Paddle boarding and I could see using them for that as well.
Vibrams weight is 5.7 ounces. The Mizuno Universe 3 (price $119.99) weighs 3.6 ounces and has a closed toe as you’d see on a traditional sneaker, so no alien toes.
As summer approaches, you may see more and more of these minimalist running shoes, and do a double-take as I did. If they are durable and people like them, I believe word-of-mouth will have these minimalist shoes going the distance like a Tarahumara Indian in Mexico’s Copper Canyons.
If your kids are graduating from college wondering what to do with the rest of their lives, and they’re interested in the health field, but avoid it to make more money elsewhere, keep reading. If not, keep reading anyway! Thank you.
Today, “kids” are encouraged to be entrepreneurs. Start a company at the age of 3!
All before they EVEN know what to do with money (reminds me of a blog Brian Cuban wrote about why sports figures or celebs end up broke). I think the future is going to include founders. How many “founders” are there today and where will they be in 20 years?
I understand why it’s happening. You get fired up every time you read about a dumb idea getting millions of dollars in funding. It’s frustrating because you think your ideas are FAR BETTER.
Those articles encourage kids to quit their jobs or not attend college at all. The unhealthy message they get is just come up with the next great thing, get funded and you’ll be fine.
Let’s peak behind-the-scenes. Some crappy idea getting millions in investments may be one college buddy who is now a VC helping another college buddy. No intention to “save the world” which a lot use as their mission statement. That buddy VC attracts others, who have no idea they are going to lose money because it was just a gift to a friend, and not a real investment in anything real. The Nancy Drew in me can spot scams before they become public. We need a delete/block in life for folks who try to take advantage or exploit others. Lots of snake oil salesmen out there feeding off of hungry entrepreneurs.
There’s also other little factors you can’t control. So, your idea being better means nothing.
Additionally, even if it’s legitimate, the majority of those companies will fail. Proven fact. Even if you get funding, expect to work your you know what off for one VERY expensive lesson.
I digress. Back to HOTTEST HEALTH CAREER of the FUTURE.
If you REALLY want to change the world and have an interest in health –take a look at the future and where there will be ACTUAL demand.
HERE’S A GLIMPSE through my eyes. My parents always say, “Maria has a big heart.” So, if eyes are the windows of the soul…my green peeps would be shaped like this.
They’re not, but thanks to the San Diego Eye Institute my vision is 20/20 to see the future:
FUTURE IN HEALTH CAREERS:
20% of all U.S. physicians are 55 or older, including more than HALF of the 5,000 active board-certified thoracic surgeons. Approximately 70% are expected to retire in the next 13 years, dramatically shrinking the provider pool leading to a critical work shortage JUST when aging baby boomers are sick and tired of stomping on grapes.
Most of these sick baby boomers will suffer from heart disease creating quite a demand for well-trained heart surgeons, even if that surgeon is in another room or at home while doing this robotic or digital surgery. In real estate they say, Location, Location, Location. When it comes to a career in health, I say it’s
DEMAND. DEMAND. DEMAND.
By 2025, some experts predict the number will be almost 2,000 short of what’s needed in the U.S. The demand for heart surgeons will explode. They battle both heart disease AND lung cancer –another baby boomer problemo.
Average starting salary for a heart /lung surgeon? 350K
That’s right. Your kid makes 350K right out of college. CA-CHING!
How long do they need to study? Residency required is 5 years followed by 2 fellowship years. You may work 50 hours a week, but you’ll do that if you’re entrepreneur too. Only you’re creating crazy things in the HOPES of creating demand.
Even if there IS a demand, you HAVE to convince friends, family or PWM (People. With. Money) you haven’t lost your marbles. Does the product or service create the demand or vice versa? I say when people need something it’s subconscious. When it shows up, they recognize it because the need (demand) was already there. It does NOT exist first. I aced marketing in college with one other person. That tells me 2 out 10 people in a room understand. The other 8 wait to “see” something first. They lack vision.
Now, let’s look at a man with all his marbles AND vision in tact. He is one of the best cardiothoracic surgeons in the world. I say THE best. His name is Delos “Toby” M. Cosgrove. I am honored to call Mr. and Mrs. Cosgrove friends. When I first met them in 2001, Toby was Chief Cardiothoracic Surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic.
Today, he is Chairman. Under his leadership, the Cleveland Clinic’s heart program is consistently ranked NUMERO UNO. He presides over the $6B healthcare system that is The Cleveland Clinic. Calling him an innovator is also an understatement. He holds 30 patents and is absolutely brilliant.
I spoke with Toby about what it takes to be a resident at the #1 heart program and will share that later.
I followed him and went behind-the-scenes as he interviewed the best and brightest students to be selected for a residency at The Cleveland Clinic. Since it’s ranked #1, it attracts the smartest students from around the world. Interestingly enough, there was only one woman in the group. In general, 66% of physicians are male. Only 29% are female. Another shortage and demand for the future.
Tie this with the current obesity epidemic, a leading cause of heart disease.
Most recently, Cosgrove warned people about the link between heart disease connected to the foods you eat. You know when a man who would profit from your heart disease issues a warning –it’s time to listen.
May 2, 2013 How Our Guts – and What We Eat – Contribute to Heart Disease, Stroke and the National Debt
by Delos M. Cosgrove
We’re gorging ourselves into an epidemic of chronic disease, the costs of which will soon overwhelm our ability to pay and continue to be a contributing factor to the ever-increasing national debt. More proof of this has emerged with two studies that have uncovered new links between common foods and heart disease, stroke and death.
The culprit is a little-known substance called TMAO, or trimethylamine-N-oxide. It’s created when bacteria in the gut interact with two specific dietary nutrients – carnitine (found in red meat and dairy products) and lecithin (found in egg yolks, liver, beef, pork and wheat germ).
We now know that TMAO helps fatty substances in the blood to accumulate in the walls of the coronary arteries. These accumulations, called plaques, are the frequent cause of chest pains and heart attacks.
These findings were made in two recent studies by researchers in the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute and reported in the New England Journal of Medicine and Nature Medicine. It’s interesting to note the usual bad guy in heart disease, dietary fat, is not the person of interest here. Carnitine, the substance that gut bacteria convert into TMAO, is not in the fatty part of the meat. It’s in the red, meaty part. So it doesn’t matter if you cut the fat off your steak, or if you buy lean cuts.
So there’s no getting away from it. We have to be more careful about what we put in our mouths. We need to be aware of the foods that contain high amounts of carnitine and lecithin. But the real message of this research is broader – each person’s unique gut flora has a tremendous impact in how our bodies react to these nutrients. Those with TMAO levels among the top 25 percent had 2.5 times the risk of a heart attack or stroke compared to people in the bottom 25 percent.
Such a finding could change the way we prevent and treat heart disease, by using TMAO blood levels as a marker of cardiovascular risk and possibly a treatment target.
No one is suggesting the complete elimination of red meat and egg yolk from your diet. Like so much in life, moderation is key. You can continue to enjoy a good steak, but you may want to limit it to about 4 to 6 ounces every other week.
We’re facing an avalanche of chronic disease in the coming years. Anything we can do to mitigate this avalanche of heart disease — and other chronic conditions like cancer and diabetes — will not only give us longer and happier lives, it will improve the economic outlook for our children and grandchildren who will ultimately have to pay for our poor lifestyle choices.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2010, there were over 850K licensed physicians in the United States. In the United States, there are approximately 24,000 physicians for every 10,000 people.
I wanted to find out how many physicians per people there were in the healthiest countries. Turns out, the average is 34.9 physicians for every 10,000 people.
So, the shortage isn’t just in the field of cardiovascular surgery. I am a HUGE fan of preventing disease instead of treating it. Will we no longer need physicians or surgeons if we are able to prevent disease?
Too late. Even if you are healthy today, you still exposed an inordinate amount of toxins in the environment AND stress caused by factors you can’t control. Staying healthy involves continually being educated on what toxins to avoid AND learning and relearning healthy strategies and HOW to remain calm in the face of adversity.
There is A LOT of adversity in the world. Enough to make you sick.
So, any disease that exists now or in the future has already been created and needs to either be REVERSED or TREATED. It will take as long as it did to create this disease to rid it from the existing population in the world. The only people who can completely benefit from PREVENTION are those who are A) already healthy or B) newborns.
And these two groups still need to be consistently educated on prevention from people like Delos M. Cosgrove.
So, if you’re smart and want to help change the world, it’s a field that will have an opening for you when you graduate with a good starting salary.
Of course, I know everyone isn’t “cut” out to be a heart surgeon or can be. All I’m saying is if you CAN, do it. The only question is do you have the academic grades for it? If yes, you can find financial resources. If you don’t have the grades for it or it’s too late to select this field –then encourage a smart kid to explore it as a career.
I know recent college grads who make between $7 to $15 an hour or $20K, which was the starting salary THIRTY years ago AND the economy was thriving then. So, if you or your kid is smart –think longterm.
You need patience to be an entrepreneur OR a heart surgeon. The latter guarantees success & innovation as dexterity is now a criterion as robotics and computers enter operating rooms. Think of it as fun playing video games while saving lives.
More importantly, it’s a career with HEART that won’t have you screaming, “I can’t take it anymore!” at the end.
p.s. I was a founder before it was cool or part of a herd mentality.
The decision will require most Americans to obtain minimum health insurance coverage. CLEVELAND CLINIC President and CEO, Dr. Toby Cosgrove, says the law will ultimately change the face of healthcare.
CG: Dr. Toby Cosgrove/Cleveland Clinic
“I’m really pleased that we’ve seen the healthcare law held up. I think that what this means is that we’re moving ahead, we’re continuing on a journey of reforming healthcare in the United States . We’re addressing access for people who haven’t had access before. We’re beginning to address quality and developing a more efficient healthcare delivery system. I think one of the things I’d like to see more of however is more emphasis on wellness and reducing the incidence of chronic diseases that we see, secondary to behavior.”
“We started out with a healthcare system that was really designed for the 1950’s, a different set of diseases, different things we could do for patients and a different level of sophistication that we can bring to patient’s problems. All that’s changed now. We have a bigger population. We have an older population. We have more things we can do for people. Now we have to change the system in order to accommodate those changes.”
DR. COSGROVE HOPES TODAY’S DECISION WILL HELP TO CLEAR UP SOME OF THE CONFUSION OVER THE FUTURE OF HEALTHCARE.
CG: Dr. Toby Cosgrove/Cleveland Clinic
“I’m delighted we finally have a decision. It’s taken one more unknown out of the equation. For a long time we haven’t known what the rules of the game are, now we’re starting to know the rules of the game and that’s going to continue over a long period of time as we understand the law better, but we’ve got the first steps.“
Here are some fantastic tips from Dr. Oz on how to boost your metabolism all day long:
6:30 A.M. Do a little yoga.It can double your metabolic rate first thing in the morning. I recommend a gentle cycle of two sun salutations. If you’re new to yoga, check out my seven-minute morning routine (which also includes a few strength-building exercises).
6:40 A.M. Drink cold water. Five hundred milliliters of H2O (a little more than a pint) may spike metabolism by 30 percent for as long as an hour. Water triggers the sympathetic nervous system, which in turn stimulates your metabolism. Cold water may also force your body to use energy to warm it.
6:50 A.M. Take 500 milligrams of white bean extract. In a 2007 study, people who took the extract (which may slow the absorption of carbs) for 30 days experienced a significant improvement in their muscle-to-fat ratio. That’s good news for metabolism since muscle burns about three times more calories than fat.
7:00 A.M. Eat a protein-packed breakfast. Digesting protein takes up to seven times more energy than digesting carbohydrates or fat. Try making a dozen hard-boiled eggs on Sunday, and eat one or two each day.
8:00 A.M. Enjoy a cup of joe. Caffeine promotes an increase in norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that keeps your sympathetic nervous system activated and your metabolic rate humming. According to research, coffee may increase the amount of energy you burn by 16 percent for up to two hours.
9:30 A.M. Take 50 milligrams of forskolin. Recent studies indicate that compounds in forskolin—an extract derived from a medicinal plant—might break down fat and help raise levels of thyroid hormones, which play an important role in regulating the speed of metabolism.
10:00 A.M. Snack on tahini dip. Tahini is made from sesame seeds, a rich source of zinc. And zinc may increase the production of leptin, a hormone that improves metabolism and curbs appetite.
11:15 A.M. Chew a stick of sugarless gum. A New England Journal of Medicinestudy found that this mindless activity can help your body burn 19 percent more calories per hour. (At that rate, if you chewed gum every waking hour, you’d lose 11 pounds over the course of a year! And likely drive everyone around you nuts.)
12:00 P.M. Go for a brisk 15-minute walk. A trip around the block can triple your metabolic rate. This boost continues after you stop moving because the body consumes more oxygen, a crucial player in metabolism, when it’s recovering from exertion.
12:45 P.M. Spice up lunch with peppers. Capsaicin, the key substance that makes chili peppers hot, stimulates your “fight or flight” stress response and may increase metabolism by 23 percent. Peppers may even improve your muscle-to-fat ratio: Research suggests that capsaicin inhibits the generation of fat cells.
2:00 P.M. Sip a cup of green tea. This miracle beverage pairs caffeine with a compound known as EGCG—and together they create an even greater bump in metabolism than caffeine alone. Studies also indicate that green tea may reduce body fatand trim the waistline.
5:00 P.M. Use your muscles—with your mind. Believe it or not, visualizing a workout can actually trick your body into strengthening your calorie-zapping muscle: A Cleveland Clinicstudy discovered that participants who spent 15 minutes a day imagining flexing their biceps had a 13.5 percent increase in their strength after three months.
5:15 P.M. Use your muscles—with your muscles.After age 30, we lose 3 to 8 percent of our muscle mass per decade, which is one of the main reasons metabolism slows. To counteract that loss, aim to do two to three 30-minute strength-training sessions a week, using moves that engage as many muscles as possible, like squats, planks, and lunges.
6:30 P.M. Cook dinner with coconut oil.Most of the oils we eat are converted largely into fat. But coconut oil, with its unique molecular makeup, is rapidly converted into energy—and may causea 12 percent bump in your metabolism.
6:55 P.M. Add dairy to your meal.Calcium can help improve your muscle-to-fat ratio in two ways: It binds with fat to reduce the body’s absorption of fat. And any remaining calcium typically circulates in your bloodstream, helping to break down fat cells.
7:00 P.M. Garnish with dill weed or chives. Both of these herbs are packed with kaempferol, a flavonoid that has been shown to increase the production of metabolism-spurring thyroid hormones by about 150 percent.
7:45 P.M. Unwind with a glass of wine. Alcohol can raise your metabolic rate for up to 95 minutes. In fact, a large peer-reviewed study found that women who regularly enjoy a drink are seven to eight pounds lighter, on average, than teetotalers.
10:30 P.M. Hit the hay. Irregular sleep patterns can disrupt the circadian rhythm of your cells, throwing your metabolism out of whack. Do your best to get a steady eight hours of rest each night.