Posts tagged with "NYU-Langone Medical Center"

Run for your life: Training for your first marathon may reverse aging

January 8, 2020

Training for six months and completing your first 26-mile marathon run can add back up to four years to your heart health, according to new UK research findings, ABC News reports.

The study, published January 6 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, says the training can lower blood pressure and aortic stiffness to the equivalent of a four-year reduction in vascular health.

This result isn’t surprising to Dr. Alton Barron, clinical associate professor of Orthopedic Surgery at NYU Langone Medical Center, who was not involved in the study but has run 15 marathons and 50 half-marathons.

“Running has long-term health benefits,” he told ABC News. “The beautiful part of running is that it’s just our body—it doesn’t require a membership fee or using equipment. You just go outside and start running.”

Aerobic exercise is good for your health because it decreases blood vessel stiffness and increases blood flow. It reduces vessel stiffness by reducing inflammation and ramping up wall stress. Wall stress causes the release of nitric oxide, which relaxes the smooth muscle in the blood vessels.

Marathons attract millions of people every year, ranging from first-time enthusiasts to professional athletes. According to RunRepeat’s State of Running 2019, participation in races peaked in 2016 with a total of 9.1 million—with the highest number of participants running in 5-kilometer races and half marathons.

For the study, researchers from various institutions in the United Kingdom examined 138 untrained, relatively healthy adults who underwent six months of training for their first marathon in London.

They found that after six months of training and completion of the marathon, it was possible to have reduced blood pressure and vessel stiffness and reversed the consequences of aging large vessels by approximately four years. Older males with slower marathon run times and higher blood pressure at baseline benefited the most.

However, doing so is a major commitment: Training for marathons can be expensive and experts suggest that long-distance runners should cover a minimum distance of 18.6 miles per week before a marathon to reduce their risk of running related injury. What’s more, first-time runners may encounter additional barriers such as being overweight, out of sharp, and lacking motivation, Barron told ABC News.

“Starting anything can be intimidating and scary. I would suggest you find a companion who is on your level or has the same desires and start with small goals. For non-runners, walk every day and gradually build.” Barron advised.

“Stress fractures and shin splints occur by doing too much too fast,” Barron told ABC News.

Research contact: @abcnews

A change of heart? Tiny wearable sensors will help expectant moms track fetuses’ heartbeat, movements

August 23, 2019

About 2.6 million women and their loved ones experience the pain and loss of a stillbirth each year, according to The World Health Organization. Now, researchers have developed a device that will give expectant mothers more “control” over and knowledge about their pregnancies—in real-time, with a tiny, non-invasive fetal heartrate monitor, which they claim is more accurate than anything else yet on the market.

The thump, thump of a baby’s heartbeat is a milestone in any pregnancy. Researchers at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey,  have conducted a pilot study in which a sensor—worn on the mother’s abdomen—records vibrations when her baby’s heart beats or when the fetus squirms and kicks. 

. “Almost a third of stillbirths occur in the absence of complicating factors,” said Negar Tavassolian, director of the Stevens Bio-Electromagnetics Laboratory.”Our device could let a pregnant woman know if her fetus is compromised and she needs to go to the doctor.”

Many stillbirths are preceded by variations in fetal movement and heartrate, so affordable, lightweight monitors that detect vibrations generated from a heartbeat could be worn continuously in the final weeks of pregnancy to ensure that distressed fetuses receive prompt medical attention. The work is reported in the early access issue of IEEE Sensors Journal.

Tavassolian and first author Chenxi Yang, a graduate student at Stevens, teamed up with Bruce Young and Clarel Antoine, two OB-GYNs at New York University-Langone Medical Center to test their sensors. In experiments on 10 pregnant women, they found the device could detect fetal heartrate with about the same accuracy as fetal cardiotocograms (f-CTG), which measure the baby’s heart electrical activity (ECG) together with mother’s uterine contractions—and is considered the current standard for fetal monitoring.

A vibration monitor offers important advantages over existing tools based on ECG or Doppler ultrasound technology, which require specialized knowledge to use, and can be bulky and expensive. One leading monitor system currently on the market weighs more than 11 pounds and has a battery life of four hours; by contrast, the Stevens team’s sensors are barely a fifth-of-an-inch long, weigh next to nothing, and can run off a 3-volt battery for more than 24 hours.

The new monitor poses no risk to the fetus—a concern with ultrasound monitors, which can heat tissue if used continuously for long periods. The Stevens team’s monitor simply detects existing vibrations, like a doctor listening with a stethoscope. “Our monitors are completely passive, so there’s no health concern,” Tavassolian said.

Vibration monitors can also offer an objective measure of fetal movement, which is currently assessed simply by asking moms to count the times their baby kicks. Combining heart-rate and movement data could provide vital insights into fetal health, surpassing anything that’s currently available, Yang explained. “That’s the big plan — to fuse these different modalities into a single device,” he said.

The current device uses commercially available sensors, but the long-term goal is to patent and market a custom-built device.

Research contact: @FollowStevens