Thursday, January 7, 2010

High heels prevail and other unbelievable health news

In this business I have seen hurting feet – plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, bunions, metatarsal pain, hammer toes, and more. If you suffer from any of these conditions, or simply have aching feet, you know how long and suffering a day can be, especially if you work on your feet. Read more on taking care of your feet.

One of the tried and true prescriptions for “happy” feet has always been to wear “sensible shoes.” The shoe industry has turned out all manner of options over the past couple of decades, catering to arches, wide toe boxes, and gel inserts for additional support and comfort. So, imagine my surprise to read today that a new study released on January 5, 2010,
finds that walking in high heels or running barefoot offers less stress to knees, hips and legs than running in running shoes. Go figure! It appears that while running shoes are great for your feet, they offer little to no protection to the other vital parts of your walking system.

Somehow, I just do not imagine this trend is going to catch on. Look for pumps at the next marathon and write me if you see any. I have heard that there are some runners who are choosing the barefoot method. Abibe Bekila, for instance, won a 1960 Olympics marathon running barefoot.

Don’t miss, too, the findings of another study released on January 6, 2010 using salamanders to re-grow missing limbs. Scientists say that this early research may illuminate a path to human limb regeneration, in spite of the myriad differences between salamanders and humans. Understanding the basics of regeneration will inform future work, say the biologists involved in this research. While it may be decades before the technology applies to humans, the fact that a living creature can successfully regenerate a missing complex limb, offers hope. Scientists are examining the human fingertip, which already has demonstrated a capacity to regenerate in some conditions, despite the presence of bone, tendons and nerves.

And, not the last of the unusual is that the most extensive study of gingko biloba, the herbal supplement that Chinese medicine has relied on for over 500 years and that nutritionists and those in the supplement industry built into a multimillion dollar business, concludes that it does not enhance memory or help ward off dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease.

Just when you thought there were a few things you could count on – running shoes, prosthetics as the only way to replace a limb, and gingko biloba– life throws another curve ball. “The more things change…”

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