A new study from Penn State is dispelling the myth that exercise can aggravate hot flashes. In fact, they found it does "just the opposite in a group of women who reported "mild to moderate" menopausal symptoms. The 92 women who participated in the study wore accelerometers to monitor their physical activity, as well as monitors to measure skin conductance, which varies with the moisture level of the skin. Each woman also recorded her own hot flashes. After 15 days of gathering data, the researchers compared the women's reports with results from the monitors. The study team defined a "true" hot flash as an event that was reported by a woman and recorded by her monitor within five minutes of each other. The investigators found that the average woman in the study experienced fewer hot flashes after exercising, although they reported that overweight and less fit women noticed the smallest reduction in symptoms. They added that it's too soon to say whether diet and exercise to lose weight would cut down on hot flashes but suggested that more study is warranted."
From the American Medical Association (AMA) newsletter I get:
Exercise may reduce cancer risk by altering cell microenvironment.
USA Today ran a number of articles discussing breast cancer, focusing in particular on the role of inflammation.
USA Today (10/3, Szabo) reports that "recently," scientists have "begun to untangle how staying active helps keep cancer at bay." In particular, exercise may change the microenvironment of cells, including "surrounding tissue, blood vessels and immune cells." Exercise may "prevent chronic inflammation, a process that can fuel cancers," lower "levels of both insulin and sex hormones, such as estrogen, which release growth factors that let tumor cells survive and spread," and "relieve psychological stress, which may further reduce inflammation."
In a separate article, USA Today (10/3, Szabo) reports, "Researchers are investigating the benefits of 'anti-cancer' diets that may help regulate both inflammation and new blood vessel growth." Research is ongoing in anti-inflammatory drugs, "such as aspirin, as a way to reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer." In addition, "doctors are testing a diabetes drug, called metformin, which lowers insulin levels, as a way to prevent relapses in women who have had breast cancer." Other work focuses on beta blockers, which reduce blood pressure. "Preliminary studies suggest that breast cancer patients who took the drugs before and after breast cancer diagnosis had a lower risk of relapse and death."
Weight, fitness may reduce disease risk. USA Today (10/3, Szabo) reports, "Women can't control the things that most strongly shape their risk: age, race, family history and the ages at which they hit puberty and menopause. ... Yet experts say women can embrace one prevention strategy with unequivocal benefits: exercise," and eating a healthful diet in order to maintain a healthy weight. Notably, "avoiding extra pounds reduces the risk of not only breast cancer, but tumors of the kidneys, esophagus, colon and uterine lining, says the National Cancer Institute. Staying lean also reduces risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, joint problems and other ailments." Other tips given include drinking in moderation, avoiding unnecessary radiation exposure, avoiding hormone replacement therapy, and avoiding chemicals that interfere with hormones, such as BPA or phthalates. A separate USA Today (10/3, Szabo) article also discusses the role of exercise and fitness in lowering "the risk of cancer coming back."
Dr. Maltz earned a Medical Degree and Master in Public Health from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston, TX. She completed a combined Internal and Preventive Medicine Residency at UTMB in June, 2011. She then completed a 2-year Integrative Medicine Fellowship at Stamford Hospital in Stamford, CT, during which she simultaneously underwent an intensive 1000-hour curriculum created by The University of Arizona Integrative Medicine Program founded by Dr. Andrew Weil.