This 10-Minute Core Routine Will Roast Your Abs

Old school standards get respect for a reason. They work.

Newfangled ideas about training usually sound exciting, and sometimes, they’re just as effective as advertised. But if you really want to be sure that your workout is going to be worth your time and effort, stick with what’s been proven, time and again.

If you’re ready to give the old standards a try, Ngo Okafor, C.P.T., has a 10-minute ab challenge designed just for you. The two-time Golden Gloves champion thinks that a good core workout should be more than just slow burn isolation movements like crunches, performed at a glacial pace. “You can raise your heart rate and burn a ton of calories while doing abs,” he says of the routine.

To perform the workout, all you need is 10 minutes, some space to spread out, and maybe a mat like this one from our affiliated Backslashfit brand to protect your backside. You’ll do a mix of dips, kicks, and twists with little to no rest, pushing every muscle in your core to keep up with the pace.

The four exercises flow seamlessly as a circuit, and you can add a dumbbell for some added resistance—but don’t worry if you have trouble with the weight. Make sure to hydrate, and follow Okafor’s cues from the video above as he performs the workout along with you. Happy sweating.

Round 1

Round 2

Round 3

If you want to try another workout from Okafor, check out this 10-minute cardio burner.

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Age-related immunity loss

The elderly suffer more serious complications from infections and benefit less from vaccination than the general population. Scientists have long known that a weakened immune system is to blame but the exact mechanisms behind this lagging immunity have remained largely unknown.

Now research led by investigators at Harvard Medical School suggests that weakened metabolism of immune T cells may be partly to blame.

The findings, published Dec. 10 in PNAS and based on experiments in mouse immune cells, pinpoint a specific metabolic pathway called one-carbon metabolism that is deficient in the aged T cells of rodents. The work also suggests possible ways to restore weakened immune function with the use of small-molecule compounds that boost T cell performance.

“We believe our findings may help explain the basic malfunction that drives loss of immune defenses with age,” said senior study author Marcia Haigis, professor of cell biology in the Blavatnik Institute at Harvard Medical School. “If affirmed in further studies, we hope that our findings can set the stage for the development of therapies to improve immune function.”

The role of T cells in the immune system is twofold: attacking illness-causing cells like bacteria, viruses and cancer and “remembering” past invaders — the body’s way of ensuring that it can spot a threat and mount a rapid defense during subsequent encounters with the same pathogens. In a healthy person, T cells circulate in the blood and quietly scan the body for threats using proteins on the cell’s surface. If a T cell encounters another cell it deems dangerous, the T cell undergoes activation, a molecular cascade in which it switches from surveillance mode to attack mode. The activated cells then rapidly replicate to build an army and destroy the enemy.

First, the researchers looked for overall differences between old and young T cells. They isolated T cells from the spleens of young and old mice and noticed that, in general, older mice had fewer T cells. Next, to gauge the cells’ immune fitness, the researchers activated the T cells by mimicking signals normally turned on by pathogens during infection. The older T cells showed diminished activation and overall function in response to these alarm signals. Specifically, they grew more slowly, secreted fewer immune-signaling molecules and died at a much faster rate than young T cells. The researchers also observed that aged T cells had lower metabolism, consumed less oxygen and broke down sugars less efficiently. They also had smaller than normal mitochondria, the cells’ power-generators that keep them alive.

It was as if these older immune cells had lost their “appetite” and their ability to process fuel into energy, Haigis and her colleagues observed.

To pinpoint the metabolic pathways behind this malfunction, the scientists analyzed all the different proteins in the cells, including those that might be important for coaxing a T cell from dormancy into a fighting state. The team found that the levels of some 150 proteins were lower-than-normal upon activation of the aged T cells, compared with young T cells. About 40 proteins showed higher than normal levels in aged versus young T cells. Many of these proteins have unknown functions, but the researchers found that proteins involved a specific type of metabolism, called one-carbon metabolism, were reduced by nearly 35 percent in aged T cells.

One-carbon metabolism comprises a set of chemical reactions that take place in the cell’s mitochondria and the cell cytosol to produce amino acids and nucleotides, the building blocks of proteins and DNA. This process is critical for cellular replication because it supplies the biologic material for building new cells.

The team’s previous work had shown that one-carbon metabolism plays a central role in supplying essential biological building blocks for the growing army of T cells during infection. So, the scientists wondered, could adding the products of this pathway to weakened T cells restore their fitness and function?

To test this hypothesis, the team added two molecules — formate and glycine, the main products of one-carbon metabolism — whose levels were markedly reduced in aged T cells. Indeed, adding the molecules boosted T cell proliferation and reduced cell death to normal levels.

The researchers caution that while encouraging, the effects were observed solely in mouse cells in lab dishes rather than in animals and must be confirmed in further experiments.

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New approach will help geneticists identify genes responsible for complex traits

In biomedical research, plant breeding, and countless other endeavors, geneticists are on the hunt for the specific genes responsible for disease susceptibility, yield, and other traits of interest. Essentially, they’re looking for needles in the enormous haystack that is the genome of an organism.

As a frame of reference, the human genome is made up of 3.2 billion base pairs, an estimated 30,000 genes. Where do geneticists even start?

For the past 15 years, many have relied on genome-wide association studies (GWAS).

“I view a GWAS as a way to reduce the size of the haystack into genomic regions that potentially could contain causal mutations underlying a trait,” says Alex Lipka, assistant professor of biometry in the Department of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois and author of a new Heredity study expanding the scope of GWAS.

To run a GWAS, scientists conduct computationally intensive statistical analyses to scour the genetic code for differences. Specific variations in DNA, called markers, that exhibit the highest degree of statistical association are thought to be near genes that make biological contributions to the trait. Sometimes, these associated markers are clustered together in a particular region of the genome, narrowing the haystack.

Lipka says the approach has been used in a wide variety of organisms to identify major genes contributing to key traits, but it falls short in detecting small-effect genes or gene interactions—a phenomenon known as epistasis—that may be just as important.

“The state-of-the-art statistical approach for GWAS is to test one marker at a time for the strength of its association with the trait,” he says. “If you think about the true genetic underpinnings of a trait, it’s not just one gene controlling things. Multiple genes contribute to phenotypic variation in an additive manner, and are epistatically interacting with one another. What we try to do in our study is explore the use of a statistical approach that is more biologically accurate. Not only are we finding statistical models that include multiple markers at a time, we also find multiple two-way interaction effects at a time.”

The researchers wanted to see if their new approach, which they call SPAEML, could accurately detect the underpinnings of simulated traits with genetic sources similar to Alzheimer’s disease in humans and flower structure in corn; these traits have already been described to some extent in the scientific literature. Using custom-built software, which they have made freely available to other researchers, and massive computers at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, the team tested whether SPAEML could detect simulations of the traits in the dataset.

“In both the human and corn datasets, we were able to identify our simulated markers,” Lipka says. “And in the human dataset we were able to distinguish between additive and interacting loci.”

The finding does not reveal new information about Alzheimer’s disease; remember, SPAEML was tested against existing knowledge of the trait’s genetic structure. Instead, it represents proof-of-concept that advanced GWAS methods like SPAEML can detect multiple markers that contribute to the disease, even in small ways. The researchers point out that the collective contributions of such markers can result in massive changes that may lead to the disease.

Although geneticists are well aware that complex traits are rarely controlled by a single gene, until now it had been too computationally difficult to test for multiple markers or their interactions.

“The problem is the combinatorial explosion of possibilities that must be tested, because we’re looking at pairs of markers,” says co-author Liudmila Mainzer, technical program manager for Genomics at NCSA. “The algorithm needs to evaluate tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of models in order to select the best one. It could take years in sheer computational time, which is why no one has ever done it.”

It took about four years for the team to develop and refine a method that could deal with that combinatorial explosion, bringing millions of data points down to about 15,000, a number SPAEML could handle easily. Going forward, the researchers plan to unleash SPAEML on datasets with unknown genetic structures. They’re already working with collaborators in the crop breeding industry and human health research to launch next steps.

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EU report looks at uptake of EHRs, ePrescribing, and online access to health information

The number of people seeking health information online across EU countries nearly doubled last year, compared to figures from 2008, according to research cited in a new report from the European Commission and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The Health at a Glance: Europe analysis, published in November, looks at the state of health of EU citizens and the performance of health systems in the 28 EU member states, along with five candidate countries and three from the European Free Trade Association.

Figures from an annual European Information and Communication Technologies survey mentioned in the report, including the responses from around 150,000 households and 200,000 individuals aged between 16-74, found that half of all EU residents sought health information online in 2017, with the number going up to around 70 per cent in the Netherlands and Finland.

But the 2016 version of the survey found that only 13 per cent of EU residents made a medical appointment online, although the number went up by five per cent compared to figures from 2012. Looking at individual countries, nearly half of all Danish residents reportedly made an appointment with a health care practitioner online in 2016.

Use of EHRs and ePrescribing 

The Commission and the OECD’s new report also shows that the use of electronic health records has been increasing across the EU.  A 2016 survey of OECD countries, which included 15 EU member states, revealed that all or nearly all primary care practices in Estonia, Finland, Greece and the UK had implemented such a system. The situation was different in Poland and Croatia, however, where it was reported to be “much more limited”.

Meanwhile, a 2018 survey from the Pharmaceutical Group of the EU found variation in the implementation of ePrescribing systems across EU countries. Although 90 per cent of prescriptions were transmitted to community pharmacies electronically in Denmark or Sweden, figures indicated that ePrescribing had not yet been implemented in Bulgaria, Malta or Poland. According to the Commission, these countries expressed an intention to implement ePrescribing at either regional or national levels during the coming years.

“Digital technology offers great opportunities to deliver health services more efficiently, and the European Commission supports a digital transformation of health systems to empower citizens to have access to their health data and to promote exchange of health data among health care providers across the EU,” the report reads.

“Every European citizen should have an electronic health record”

In a mid-term review on the implementation of the digital single market strategy, the Commission said it would take further action in three areas: ensuring citizens’ secure access to and sharing of health data beyond borders, connecting data to drive advancements in “research, disease prevention and personalised health care”, and empowering citizens to take control of their care through digital tools.

Until 20 December, the EU institution is accepting feedback on an initiative to create a recommendation for the establishment of a European EHR exchange format.

“Every European citizen should have an electronic health record – and this record should be easily exchangeable across Europe. We will soon publish a recommendation on how this should happen,” Roberto Viola, Director General of DG Connect, European Commission, recently said at the EU Health Summit.

Source: Health at a Glance: Europe report, published in November 2018.

Twitter: @1Leontina
Contact the author: [email protected]

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Stiftung Warentest advises against the use of combination preparations

Cold only need one thing: patience. About seven days it usually takes, to cough, runny nose and sore throat disappear. Because so far, no drug can change something – especially medical progress, in Spite of. What works, however, is to relieve the discomfort with drugs and something to make the time more bearable.

For the current issue Foundation has seen were test trials, to Cold remedies and recommendations developed. Anyone who has a cold, should be treated accordingly, symptoms such as fever, cough and stuffy nose individually and in combination preparations, are composed of several active ingredients. “Drug cocktails, such as in Wick MediNait or Grippostad C strain the body unnecessarily”, – stated in the test report.

In addition, the compositions contain according to the report, often a mucous membrane decongestant active ingredients that make tired, and lead to heart palpitations. Much better is to numb the mucous membranes in a stuffy nose with a Spray. Since the active ingredient is active only locally, he was friendly, write the Tester.

Another piece of advice: in the case of medicines, it is worthwhile to compare prices. Often there is besides the well-known brand products agents with the same active ingredients, half the cost. While Cold will have to pay according to the report, for example, for a pack of ACC Acute seven euros, there is the equivalent of coughing solver of 1A Pharma and AL Acute for almost three euros.

What helps with what?

Well documented is the Stiftung Warentest, the effect of pain pills with the usual drugs (Ibuprofen, acetylsalicylic acid and Paracetamol) for pain and fever. Vitamin C supplements are from a medical point of view, however, does not make sense, says the report. It is important not to exceed the dosage recommendations. This reduces the risk for side effects.

1. Wash your hands frequently. Water and normal soap is not enough, the special anti-bacterial soap is not necessary.

2. The hands from the face. You have touched a Virus contaminated object, is the risk to infect yourself if you touch the nose or the mouth.

3. During the Flu epidemic to keep distance to other persons in close contact to avoid. This also includes to give the other the Hand, to kiss or to hug.

Also well documented is the Use of decongestant nasal sprays for rhinitis. Due to the risk that the mucous membranes get used to the effect and addiction, should not be applied to the funds for longer than seven days. It is estimated that around 100,000 people in Germany suffer from Addiction have a nose spray.

In the case of slight neck pain, advises Stiftung Warentest to Emser salt lozenges. With stronger neck discomfort, you could use local anesthetic agents, their effect has not yet been demonstrated, however, is sufficient with studies, criticize the auditors.

Who among cough is suffering, should the funds on the Phase, vote: In the case of dry cough help cough suppressants. As soon as you start, mucus abzuhusten, expectorant, the drug of choice. However, it was also demonstrated here is the effect so far is sufficient, says the report of the Stiftung Warentest. Users should expect the most supportive effects.

Apart from the Placebo effect are not effective homeopathic remedies. The money for the beads and some Juice can save Cold, or in tea, soup or hot water bottle to invest. This can also do not healthy, but can embellish at least a little further in time, until the cold disappears.

To the doctor people with Cold symptoms should go, if you are developing for days, a fever of more than 39 degrees Celsius. This is a warning sign that a bacterial infection is behind it, which can lead to nasal sinuses, tonsils and lung inflammation. Then, and only then, is the taking of antibiotic useful. In the case of virus-induced colds, the means are ineffective.