December 5th, 2011

Table of Contents:

SFA Debuts Online Learning Center (Industry news)

Stand Up Against Cancer (It works!)

New Hope for Humans and Horses (Osteoarthritis research)

A Low-Fat, Whole-Grain Treat (Healthy, tasty nutrition)

Balance Training (Try this quick safety tip)

Depression and Stroke (What's the connection?)

Inactivity and Diverticular Disease (Another reason to exercise)

Aging in America 2012 (Major conference coming soon)

A Graceful Season (Reflection)

SFA Debuts Online Learning Center

by American Senior Fitness Association


SFA’s innovative Brain Fitness for Older Adults educational program is now available on-line! And, to help us introduce our new online learning center, this $249.00 course is being offered at a special introductory price.

Until January 2, 2012:

  • Non-members: $199.00
  • SFA Members: $179.00

As many Experience! readers know, on-line testing for SFA’s certificate of completion programs is already available. Now complete on-line editions of our award winning courses are becoming available. SFA’s online courses include all of the valuable information and instructional resources contained in our “hard copy” programs, and they are accepted for continuing education credit by many fitness organizations. For example, the American Council on Exercise awards Brain Fitness for Older Adults 20 hours continuing education credit (2.0 CECs).

Please click here to check-out our "Learning Center." While you’re there, you can even try our "Dowel Exercise" course for free. "Dowel Exercise" is a brief sample on-line educational program that’s very similar in format to our in-depth educational programs. 

So, whether you’re an internet veteran that already knows about the speed and convenience of on-line education or you’re newcomer looking to learn more, don’t miss this opportunity to try our sample Dowell Exercise course and, if desired, enroll in Brain Fitness for Older Adults at a special introductory price.

Note: Special introductory pricing only applies to the on-line edition of Brain Fitness for Older Adults.

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Stand Up Against Cancer

by American Senior Fitness Association

Sitting on the couch or in a chair for too much of the day may increase one’s risk for cancer, according to Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV, a service affiliated with the National Institutes of Health. It is not uncommon for people to sit for more than 15 hours per day — on the job, in their cars and/or while watching television. Getting up and moving around more may help to prevent the disease.

In a recent Canadian study, older women who exercised five days per week for a year appeared to have have less inflammation in their bodies. Less inflammation may be protective against cancer. Researchers believe that becoming more physically active could reduce one’s risk for breast or colon cancer by 25 percent or more.

The American Institute for Cancer Research offers these easy tips for incorporating more movement into one’s daily routine:

  • Set your watch or computer alarm to sound off every hour as a reminder to stand up and move about for a few minutes;
  • Stand up while talking on the telephone;
  • Instead of calling or emailing a coworker, walk over to his or her office; and
  • If you need to talk with someone for several minutes, take a walk during the conversation.
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New Hope for Humans and Horses

by American Senior Fitness Association

Like other senior fitness professionals, Janie Clark, president of the American Senior Fitness Association (SFA), has served many clients with osteoarthritis. In addition, Janie’s all-time favorite mare, the late great “Squall Moon,” suffered from the condition during her senior years. So here at SFA we are especially pleased to share the following University of Florida Health Science Center news release describing new progress in the fight against osteoarthritis:

University of Florida researchers are developing a gene therapy technique that could help both humans and horses fight osteoarthritis, a debilitating condition that causes inflammation and deterioration of the joints. The goal is to create a one-time treatment that works long term.

The research team received a highly competitive one-year, $900,000 grant from the National Institute of Health’s National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease to fund the work. The new effort will expand laboratory studies into trials that better approximate osteoarthritis in humans.

The work will involve the use of viruses, called adeno-associated viruses, or AAV, as vehicles to deliver genetic material to the joints of horses, where it would produce a therapeutic protein directly at the site of the disease.

“We’re uniquely poised to do this study, because UF has a leading program in equine medicine and research and is one of the homes of AAV technology,” said principal investigator Steven Ghivizzani, Ph.D., a professor of orthopaedics and rehabilitation in the UF College of Medicine, and a member of the UF Genetics Institute. Researchers at UF’s Powell Gene Therapy Center are among the pioneers of AAV technology and gene therapy applications for a number of diseases./p>

Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, is a chronic condition that affects large weight-bearing joints such as the knees and hips. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage in the joints that usually allows bones to move smoothly over each other wears away, causing bones to rub. The result is pain, stiffness and swelling. About 27 million Americans age 25 and older have the disease, according to the National Institutes of Health. The economic cost of arthritis and other rheumatic conditions is estimated at close to $130 billion a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There is no cure for osteoarthritis.

Joint replacement surgery can help ease the disabling effects of the condition. The few medicines that exist for osteoarthritis mostly offer only limited symptom relief. In addition, those drugs can have unwanted consequences. Corticosteroid injections, for example, which are given to both people and horses, also suppress other healthy activities in the joint, such as processes important for healing. The injections also have to be administered repeatedly, which increases the chance of infection.

In contrast, the new gene therapies being developed at UF would require a one-time treatment and would not hinder the body’s healing processes.

Research suggests that the pain, joint inflammation and loss of cartilage associated with osteoarthritis are linked to a protein called interleukin-1. A therapeutic gene used to treat the arthritic joints produces a second protein that naturally counteracts the effects of interleukin-1, but that has not yet translated into effective treatments for patients because of difficulty getting high enough concentrations inside affected joints.

The UF researchers are devising a gene therapy approach that would allow continued production of therapeutic protein within the joints, directly at the disease site. Unlike existing drugs, the potential one-time treatment would not just address symptoms, but change the course of the disease.

“Dr. Ghivizzani is at the forefront of trying to develop new technologies for treating osteoarthritis and other joint diseases by gene therapy,” said Christopher Evans, D.Sc., Ph.D., theMaurice Müller professor of orthopaedic surgery at Harvard Medical School, who is not involved in the UF study. “There’s a lot riding on this.”

Previous studies in small animals such as rats demonstrated that delivery of the gene therapy resulted in meaningful levels of gene expression within affected joints. The researchers will examine how that translates to the larger joints of horses, which are more similar to human joints in terms of size, tissue structure and weight-bearing stance.

The new studies will determine the therapy dose that can be given safely, how much of the therapeutic protein is produced in the joint — and for how long — and the effectiveness of the therapy.

The researchers will use techniques such as a minimally invasive procedure called arthroscopy, imaging studies such as MRI and X-ray, as well as hands-on clinical evaluations to check for inflammation and cartilage degradation. Motion capture analysis will help with evaluation of changes in gait, a good measure of pain.

“We hope that this will be at least the first step in a therapy that will benefit both people and animals,” said Patrick Colahan, D.V.M., a board-certified equine surgeon in the UF College of Veterinary Medicine and co-investigator on the study. “It has the potential to help lots of different species, and from a veterinarian’s perspective, that’s what we’d like.”

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A Low-Fat, Whole-Grain Treat

by American Senior Fitness Association

With the holiday season upon us, there will be visitors and house guests — perhaps including grandchildren. What to serve them as a healthy snack? The American Diabetic Association recommends popcorn, but without the salt and butter. Instead, try flavoring popcorn with:

  • Low-fat parmesan cheese;
  • Garlic and basil seasoning;
  • A dash of spice (for example, pepper, paprika or chili powder);
  • A few chocolate chips; or
  • A dab of peanut butter.
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Balance Training

by American Senior Fitness Association

This simple safety hint may prove especially practical for senior personal trainers working with an older adult fitness participant in the client’s home: When conducting the one-legged stand, have your client stand in an open doorway. That way, he or she will have balance support near at hand on both sides from the door frame if needed.

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Depression and Stroke

by American Senior Fitness Association

Chinese researchers have analyzed the results of 17 studies (involving more than 200,000 subjects) that investigated the relationship between depression and stroke. They found that persons who had experienced depression at some time in their lives were approximately one-third more likely to have a stroke compared to persons who had not been depressed, according to a Reuters Health Information report.

Each of the 17 studies started out with subjects who hadn’t had a stroke, and then tracked them over time. Most of the studies showed a clear link between depression and increased stroke risk. Overall, the risk for stroke was 34 percent higher in persons with depression.

Even though the connection between depression and stroke was seen to be strong, it is not yet known whether depression actually causes an increase in stroke risk. That is an issue that will be addressed by further research. It may be that depression hampers an individual’s ability to follow healthful behaviors. Depression has also been linked to the development of both hypertension and diabetes. Future studies will tackle the question: Can successfully treating the symptoms of depression lead to a lower risk for stroke?

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Inactivity and Diverticular Disease

by American Senior Fitness Association

In diverticular disease, bulging pouches develop in the lining of the large intestine. The condition is fairly prevalent in older adults and is often treated by increasing a patient’s consumption of dietary fiber. Now Swedish researchers, reporting in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, have found that obese, physically inactive subjects are at a higher risk for hospitalization due to diverticular disease.

Like many scientific studies, the Swedish analysis of health-survey data (which was collected over the course of 10-plus years from 40,000 female participants) does not prove a cause-and-effect relationship. In this case, that means that a cause-and-effect association has not been established between being heavy or sedentary and developing diverticular disease. However, the paper’s lead author suggests that exercising and losing weight may help to prevent the symptoms.

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Aging in America 2012

by American Senior Fitness Association

Senior health-fitness professionals, be sure and make note of the following announcement from the American Society on Aging (ASA):

What – 2012 ASA Aging in America Conference;
When — March 28-April 1, 2012;
Where — Washington, D.C.

Following is ASA’s description of this upcoming national event:

“Aging in America, the 2012 annual conference of the American Society on Aging, is the largest multidisciplinary aging conference in the country. It is recognized as the leading platform for sharing knowledge, perspectives, best practices and replicable models that help participants enhance their skills and be more effective in their work with older adults. There’s no better professional development opportunity for the people and organizations whose missions support quality of life and care for elders.”

For more information, click here.

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A Graceful Season

by American Senior Fitness Association

Using just a few short lines, this poet captures the beauty, elegance and joyous movement potential of winter’s arrival:

“Winter came down to our home one night
Quietly pirouetting in on silvery-toed slippers of snow,
And we, we were children once again.”

– Bill Morgan, Jr.

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