You have to stay in shape. My grandmother, she started walking five miles a day when she was 60. She's 97 today and we don't know where the hell she is. Ellen DeGeneres

Asanas that chase away the blues

Nice article from the Times of India, citing research using Yoga Asanas: Among the many clinical researches being conducted at Nimhans , one involved patients of an old-age home who were exposed to six months of yoga therapy. MRI scans taken before and after showed an increase in the size of the hippocampus, the brain's memory index. "It was  larger than before because the grey matter had increased. The results will be published in a scientific journal shortly ," adds Gangadhar. The hippocampus is vulnerable to stress and atrophy is seen in patients of schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and severe depression. "Yoga acts as an antidepressant ," he says. Read the entire article here.

Ozone levels linked to cardiac arrest

Do you live in a metro area and are at risk for a heart attack? If so this article may be of interest to you: Ozone levels linked to cardiac arrest.

Quit smoking improves angioplasty outcomes

Patients who quit smoking at the time of undergoing angioplasty - a nonsurgical procedure used to improve blood flow to the heart - may benefit much more from the procedure than those who continue to smoke. This is according to a new study published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Interventions.

Patients who quit smoking when undergoing angioplasty reported better quality of life and were less likely to experience chest pain than those who carried on smoking.

Patients with atherosclerosis - an accumulation of fatty plaques in the blood vessels of the heart - may be required to undergo angioplasty if medications or lifestyle changes fail to improve heart health enough, or if a patient suffers a heart attack or chest pain as a result of their condition.
The procedure involves the insertion of a thin tube into an artery in the arm or the groin, which is threaded to the coronary arteries. The tube has a small balloon on the end, which is inflated to push any plaque against the wall of the artery. This relieves the blockage and improves blood flow.
During angioplasty, a small mesh tube called a stent is normally inserted, which expands and fixes to the artery wall as the balloon inflates. This stent reduces the likelihood of the artery becoming blocked again.
Each year, around 1 million adults in the US undergo angioplasty. In this latest study, senior author Dr. John Spertus, clinical director of outcomes research at Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, MO, and colleagues set out to see how quitting smoking affected patients' quality of life and chest pain following angioplasty.

The team recruited 2,765 adults from 10 hospitals across the US who were undergoing angioplasty for either heart attack or chest pain. Patients were then allocated to one of four groups: those who had never smoked, past smokers who quit before angioplasty, those who smoked but quit at the time of angioplasty, and those who continued to smoke after angioplasty. The patients were asked to complete a questionnaire at the time of angioplasty, which gathered information on their chest pain and overall quality of life. This questionnaire was completed again at 1, 6 and 12 months after the procedure.

Compared with patients who continued to smoke after angioplasty, those who quit the habit reported a better overall quality of life at 1 year after the procedure.
What is more, 21% of patients who quit smoking at the time of angioplasty continued to experience chest pain, compared with 31% who carried on smoking. Nineteen percent of patients who had never smoked or quit smoking before angioplasty continued to experience chest pain.
Commenting on the findings, Dr. Spertus says:
"It's a no-brainer. Stopping smoking seems like a relatively easy way to increase your chances of getting the best outcomes from angioplasty."

Breakfast and hearts

People should eat breakfast to keep their hearts in good condition, according to researchers in the US.
Their study of 27,000 men, in the journal Circulation, showed those skipping breakfast were at a greater risk of heart problems.
The team at the Harvard School of Public Health said missing the meal put an "extra strain" on the body.
The British Heart Foundation said breakfast helped people resist sugary snacks before lunch.
The men, aged 45-82, were studied for 16 years. During that time there were more than 1,500 heart attacks or cases of fatal heart failure.
However, people who skipped breakfast were 27% more likely to have heart problems than those who started the day with a meal. The researchers adjusted for other lifestyle risk factors such as smoking and exercise.
Researcher, Dr Leah Cahill told the BBC: "The take-home message is eat in the morning when you wake up, preferably within an hour.
"The results show that something is better than nothing, but it's always better to have something healthy and balanced."
She said the timing of the meal seemed to be key and waiting until lunch rather than "breaking fast" may be straining the body over time.
She said this could be increasing the risk of high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes which could in turn damage the heart.
"Don't skip breakfast," Dr Cahill concluded.
Victoria Taylor, a dietitian with the British Heart Foundation, said: "These researchers only looked at men aged over 45, so we would need to see further research to confirm that breakfast has the same impact on the heart health of other groups of people.
"What we do know is that a healthy and filling breakfast can make that mid-morning biscuit less tempting, as well as giving you another opportunity to widen the variety of foods in your diet.
"Wholegrain toast, or cereals like porridge with low fat milk are a good way to start the day. Try a sliced banana or dried fruit on top and you'll be on your way to five-a-day before you've even left the house."