Making Running Interactive

April 1, 2010

We all know that Apple’s App Store is full of apps for just about anything, but one app in particular caught my eye. RunKeeper is an application that allows you to track important information interactively on the web in real-time. Information like distance, time, elevation, pace, and route are all tracked and recorded to a website. You can then decide what information you’d like to share with others. Say you’d like to provide a co-worker with some information. By providing them with a passcode, they’ll be able to see, for example, time and distance but not route. This could allow your spouse be aware of you whereabouts while you go for a jog and make sure that you’re safe. A personal trainer could track and monitor progress. You can also share this information on Twitter and Facebook.

Other healthy apps have been launched for iphone, including apps to check blood pressure, WebMD mobile, and one by the American Heart Association for guidelines for First Aid and CPR.

I think that this has some pretty great implications. Imagine running a marathon and you’d like to know how much further till a rest station or the finish, you could log into you account and get that information. It could also help you to train and trim a few minutes off of your personal best. I wish I had an iphone or I’d get it for sure.


Should Healthy People Take Cholesterol Drugs?

April 1, 2010

In February the FDA approved the marketing of a cholesterol drug for the prevention of heart attack and stroke. AstraZeneca produces Crestor, a popular high-cholesterol prescription medication. Studies have indicated that it’s benefits could reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke in relatively healthy people. This raises the issue of whether the drug should be marketed to the public on the basis to prevent stroke and other heart conditions when in reality its primary function has been for high-cholesterol. Many have claimed that Crestor has been linked to an increase in Type II diabetes.

Let me know what you’re thought are. Should AstraZenaca be allowed to market Crestor to reduce heart attack and stroke? Should pharmaceuticals even be allowed to market to the general public?

Junk Food Addiction

March 31, 2010

We live in an environment that doesn’t set us up very well for healthy eating.  In a small radius around BYU campus there are numberless places to eat. Everything from fast-food, to frozen yogurt, to fine dining. With such a variety of convenient options, we don’t stand a very good chance of being lured int the produce aisle to pick up our servings of fruits and vegetables.

Recently released reports suggest that over-consumption of high-calorie foods can lead to addiction-like responses in individuals. These habits can create activity in our brain similar to that of those struggling with addictions. This is one of the major issues that is leading to a more overweight America. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have some great ideas for a more healthy diet on their website.

Happy Holiday!

March 30, 2010

Good news, dark chocolate can potentially reduce the risk of high blood pressure and insulin resistance!! So if you had any reservations about truly enjoying your Easter day celebrations, the American Heart Association as declared that eating a bar-sized amount dark chocolate, high in flavonol, each day can reduce the risk of hypertension.

It may not be exactly what we were all hoping. In a study by Hollenberg and Fisher, cacao, the plant from which cocoa powder is derived, is high in nutrients that can reduce the risk oh high blood pressure. Unfortunately, many of those nutrients are removed during the confection process that gives chocolate its sweet flavor. Cacao is naturally bitter, but one company, Theo Chocolate, is producing chocolates that are trying to maintain they’re nutritional value while making them sweet. I’ve actually toured the facility in Seattle. It was a lot of fun and the chocolate is pretty good. They have a whole bunch of flavors that are kind of different, but they are actually really good.


March 29, 2010

Over the past few years, devices call “e-cigarettes” have been gaining in popularity. Many people have been using them as a way to quit. Because they claim to not emit any smoke, second-hand or otherwise, there has been considerable debate about whether they should be allowed in public locations.

E-cigarettes have a mouthpiece, a heating element, and a rechargeable battery. The mouthpiece holds a flavored solution that may contain nicotine. It is connected to a heating element that heats up and vaporizes the solution in the mouthpiece. The majority of the stock is a battery that can be plugged into a USB drive of many computers and recharged.

The health consequences are unknown because it is relatively new. Many of those producing the product claim that because there is no combustion and tobacco in the product, many of the adverse health risks associated with traditional smoking are eliminated. In July 2009, the Food and Drug Administration issued a press release about the threat of these producing this product are primarily marketing it to adolescents. My personal opinion is that the tobacco industry has become more clever in the circumvention of policy to promote a product that is damaging to the health of individuals.

Let us know if you have any thoughts or questions about e-cigarettes and their emergence as a new public health concern.

Medication Errors for Heart, Stroke Patients

March 26, 2010

From time to time medical professionals demonstrate a degree of human-fallacy and periodically made mistakes. One of the most common types of medical malpractices that occurs is when it comes to prescription drugs. Cardiovascular medications are the most common drug class associated with medication errors. Even with the current safety strategies cardiovascular patients remain at high risk.

Hospitals have improved in many problem areas. The electronic medical record and other procedures help to avoid confusing look- and sound-alike drugs at the prescription, pharmacy, and administration levels.

There are many factors that may contribute to medication errors. The emergency department is one area that is particularly easy to make mistakes because of the speed at which patients receive treatment. Older patients experience many medication problems because they may already be taking several other medications. Also, their body may metabolize prescription drugs at a reduced rate. People experiencing chronic kidney disease are more prone to medication errors because drugs  don’t clear out of the body quite as quickly, contributing to greater risk of side-effects.

The American Heart Association also has other great information

The Run-around

March 25, 2010

Whether I’m on my way to class at 8 in the morning or headed back from the grocery store at midnight, there are always people out running. It is amazing how many people go for a quick jog here on campus. I’m no different. Especially when it starts to warm up and the weather is a little nicer, it makes me want to go running.

I decided to google “running events in utah.” I clicked on a site that gave me a list of all the different events which you can participate in. Almost all of them are supporting some kind of foundation with a minimal entry fee. The money is then donated to help the various associations sponsoring the event.

Check out the “Events” tab. I’ve listed some of the event details that will be coming up in the next few months.

Last fall I ran in a Ragnar relay marathon in Las Vegas. It was a lot of fun. How it works is that a team of 12 runners run a distance of about 180 miles. those 180 miles were broken up into 36 legs (each team member ran 3 of the legs or the race). because it is a 24-hour race, some of the legs which I ran were at about 3 or 4 in the morning after only about two hours of sleep. It was difficult to run those miles, but it felt good when our team finished. It was a great sense of accomplishment.

I’m sure that many of you have also ran in various events whether it’s been a 5k, charity walk, triathlon, or a marathon. We want to hear about your experiences. Tell us a little about what it was like, some of the good times, and some of the training that went into the preparation for the event. We want to hear your stories.