Cardio Fitness for Cognitive Fitness

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Boy playing the chessCould more exercise make you smarter?  Yes, according to a large population study that showed a positive association between cardiovascular fitness and cognitive performance.

The authors looked at information from more than 1 million men from Sweden born between 1950 and 1976.  They analyzed the physical activity and intelligence measures in these men at age 15 and again at age 18.   Improved cardiovascular fitness at age 18 was associated with improvements in logical, verbal and other aspects of intelligence.

These results held even after adjusting for genetics and shared environment.  The authors caution that since only men were included in the study, the results might not be applicable to women.

So, whether you want to get better grades, wow your boss, or just feel better, AICR has some ideas to help you start and maintain your physical activity this holiday season.

Check out these creative ideas from AICR’s December E-news articles:

Twelve Days of Holiday Fitness

Sweat the Small Stuff

AICR’s expert panel found convincing evidence that physical activity decreases risk for colon cancer, probably decreases risk for post menopausal breast cancer and cancer of the endometrium.  Check our earlier blog postings from the AICR Research Conference on physical activity – how it impacts cancer prevention and survival and how we can improve our sedentary habits.

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    Sea Cucumbers: Possible Cancer Fighters?

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    This beautiful picture of a translucent sea cucumber — released last week by the Census of Marine Life and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution – reminded me of some interesting research presented at AICR’s conference.

    SeaCucThe lab research, presented in a poster session, found that a compound in sea cucumber decreased the growth of breast cancer tumors in mice and decreased cancer growth in cells. Previous lab studies have found that this same sea cucumber compound  — called Frondoside A – inhibited the growth of human pancreatic cancer cells.

    The research is still only in the laboratory phase but if you want to try a new seafood, look for dried sea cucumbers in Asian markets.  (Sea cucumber are a common delicacy in many Asian dishes.)

    Sea cucumbers are pretty fascinating. They are generally cucumber-shaped and there’s over 1,000 different species of them. To escape predators, sea cucumbers can jettison some of their internal organs, and then grow them back again.

    You can see more newly-identified deep-sea organisms here.

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      Marvelous Mushrooms

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      From button and cremini to Chinese “cloud ears” and portabellos, mushrooms  come in all shapes and flavors. They are used often as a meat substitute when cooked because of thFD002153_47eir sFD002152_47atisfying taste and texture — as in grilled portabello sandwiches that stand in for burgers on many restaurant menus. But they’re easy to prepare and enjoy at home: This week’s AICR Health-e-Recipe pairs warm, savory mushrooms with dark greens, garlic and shallot — all found to have high amounts of phytochemicals and fiber for cancer prevention. Mushrooms themselves are being studied for potential cancer-fighting compounds. Fit them into your meals with whole grains like barley or in a delicious crostini appetizer for guests this holiday season.

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