Exercise and Depression, Weightlifting and Lowered Colon Cancer Risk and More from the Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports & Science®

Can Resistance Exercise Help Prevent Muscle Wasting in Women with Cancer?

Up to 70% of cancer patients experience a condition called cachexia, which is characterized by muscle wasting and unintentional weight loss. This condition decreases treatment effectiveness, quality of life and survival rate. Recent studies suggest that resistance exercise (e.g., weightlifting) is a promising therapy to fight against cancer cachexia in men, yet research in women is lacking. In this study, the investigators used electric stimulation to cause muscle contractions in female mice with cachexia. Results showed that a single session of the treatment could cause positive changes within the stimulated skeletal muscle. Two weeks of multiple sessions improved the size and quality of the muscle without any signs of damage. Although type and frequency of exercise need to be studied further, these preclinical findings indicate that resistance-type exercise could be beneficial for female cancer patients who suffer from cachexia. View the abstract or contact the investigator.

 

Weight Training is Related to Lower Risk of Colon Cancer

Studies have shown that participation in aerobic physical activity (e.g., walking, jogging) is associated with lower risk of cancer, yet it is unknown whether strength training can also lower cancer risk. In this study, the authors examined time spent weightlifting and how it is related to future risk of 10 different types of cancer. More than 215,000 adults completed a questionnaire that asked about various lifestyle factors, including time spent weightlifting. After 6-7 years of follow-up, the investigators found colon cancer diagnoses to be 22-25% lower in participants who lifted weights weekly compared to those who did not lift weights. Participants who lifted weights also appeared to have a modest reduction of kidney cancer risk, but the authors noted that more research is needed to confirm this finding. This study underlines the importance of strength training for health, including the possible prevention of certain cancers. View the article or contact the investigator.

 

Obesity Prevalence and Injury History in Probation Officers: A Growing Public Safety Concern

Probation officers fulfill a unique and valuable public safety role, helping criminal offenders transition into civilian life. Little is known about these officers’ current health status. In this study, investigators surveyed the health characteristics of 1,323 North Carolina probation officers. Results showed that more than 80% were overweight or obese, with nearly 10% classified as severely obese. Probation officers who had sustained musculoskeletal injuries were more likely to have been older and/or severely obese.  Furthermore, lower physical activity levels were reported in those who were female, employed longer and who were overweight/obese. Public safety administrators might consider worksite exercise/diet interventions and annual physical employment standards to combat the high rates of obesity among probation officers. View the abstract or contact the investigator.

 

The Role of Exercise in Preventing and Treating Depression

Depression is a leading cause of global burden. The mainstay of treatment is pharmacological and psychological interventions. While effective, not all people will respond to those treatments, and alternative approaches for preventing and treating depression are required. Recent literature has demonstrated that higher physical activity (PA) levels and exercise confer protective effects on incident depression. Also, exercise has demonstrated efficacy on reducing symptoms for people with depression. Despite its effectiveness, similar to other treatments, some people may benefit more from exercise and identifying these potential predictors of response is necessary to deal with patients’ and professionals’ expectations. Dropout from exercise interventions is comparable to dropout from other treatments for depression and similar to dropout from exercise in other clinical populations. However, some strategies to increase adherence are important. Authors provide an updated overview of the use of PA and exercise for the prevention and treatment of depression. View the article.

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