Archive for Saturday, March 10, 2001

Well being

March 10, 2001


Getting the right ride

Just plunking down $700 on a cushiony new cycle won't guarantee a pleasurable ride. Comfort is a function of proper sizing.

Here are some sources for information about frame size and riding position. Any good bicycle shop can help you address problems with fit that can lead to pain, soreness and abandonment of a promise to get back in shape.

About Bikes. A Tallahassee, Fla., bike shop with its own three-step online bike fit guide.

B & J Bicycle Shop. This San Antonio bike shop charges $35 to convert your measurements into corresponding seat height and tube lengths.

Ergobike. A highly technical site that includes a calculator to determine bike sizing. Be prepared to take your measurements in centimeters.

BRAT diet may do more harm than good

For as long as anyone can remember, doctors and nurses have suggested the BRAT diet for children suffering from diarrhea.

But the diet like the children its name connotes should be given a time out.

The diet's name stands for the first initials of its ingredients bananas, rice, applesauce or apple juice, and toast. Doctors once thought those foods would allow the digestive tract to rest while the viral infection that commonly causes diarrhea ran its course.

But restricting a child's diet to those foods is now believed to do more harm than good. The American Academy of Pediatrics no longer recommends the diet because it does not provide adequate nutrition and can actually worsen diarrhea.

Instead, the pediatrics group recommends reintroduction of the child's regular diet within 24 hours of the first episode of diarrhea, although parents should avoid spicy and fried foods until the child has recovered.

Red wine, with a caveat

A panel of physicians is urging doctors to downplay the potential heart-healthy effects of red wine and encourage patients to exercise and eat more fruits and vegetables.

The appealing idea that red wine can protect against heart disease has gained currency among people who regularly drink moderate amounts of wine.

But it remains unclear whether components in wine or the heart-healthy lifestyles of wine lovers are behind the cardiac protection, say researchers writing in a recent issue of Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Assn.

Wine drinkers, for example, tend to be thinner, to exercise more and to drink with meals, all of which may help remove artery-clogging fats from their bloodstreams, they explain. Exercise can boost HDL or "good" cholesterol levels more than red wine, and fruits and vegetables contain even greater amounts of antioxidants than a glass of wine.

Betting on longevity

The longest anyone is known to have lived is 122 years, a mark set by a French woman who died in 1997. Now, two experts on aging have made a wager about whether life spans will grow by a little or a lot over the next 150 years.

It's not that big a wager now so far each has put up $150 but they calculate that with small annual contributions from themselves (and, they hope, others), by 2150, the kitty could grow to $500 million. The money will go to universities and research institutions on aging.

By that time, Dr. Jay Olshansky of the University of Illinois at Chicago predicts, someone will have lived to reach 130; Dr. Steven Austad, a zoology professor at the University of Idaho, predicts 150 years.

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