Reversing Brain Trauma

Writer: Teresa Madaleno

 

If you are familiar with competitive sports then you know that TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) is real. TBI ranges from a mild concussion after colliding with a teammate to something severe, such as a blow to the head when you are slammed into something with great force. These jolts to the cranium can lead to permanent brain injury and even death. Now, there is hope for traumatic brain injury patients.

As the mother of an avid hockey player, I have witnessed multiple head traumas at the rink so I was pleased when I heard about the recent discovery by scientists at the University of California in San Francisco. If you haven’t already heard the news, a team of researchers found that a new experimental drug could restore normal brain function in mice following two types of TBI’s.

Until now, medical experts thought there was no way to reverse cognitive decline and memory loss for those with traumatic brain injury. As for surgery, well that has to be carried out within hours of an injury to be effective. However, the University of California research team gave mice a compound and those mice developed memory capabilities similar to mice that never had brain injuries.

The drug that was administered during the study is called ISRIB and is pronounced, “iz-rib”. It was actually discovered back in 2013 by a biochemistry professor at UCSF. Doctor Peter Walter calls the findings with the mice “extraordinary”. He recently stated the following: “We think that ISRIB may uncover an untapped reservoir in the brain that allows damaged memory circuits to be repaired.”

What is particularly remarkable about the discovery is that in one phase of the study, the researchers waited until several weeks after the mice sustained the injury before administering the drug. Co-author of the study, Susanna Rosi indicated that animals with these types of brain injuries normally never learn well again, yet the drug ISRIB could restore ability to form memories even when giving the drug was delayed for four weeks after the injury; something that was considered impossible before.

While more research is needed before human studies can be conducted, the researchers have publicly stated that they have “high hopes” that the drug ISRIB can one day help those who have suffered brain injuries.

According to the U.S National Library of Medicine concussions account for up to 14 percent of hockey injuries at all levels of the sport. While prevention should be the name of the game, we all know that every season there will be players of various ages that will experience head trauma, which means we must support the advancement of research, like the work being done at the University of California in San Francisco.

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Protein Supplements: Do you need them?

Contributing Writer: Michael Cameron

 

I was with a friend last week, talking about our diets and the challenges that I face with mine. Carbs, no carbs, low fat, high fat, and a million other variations were passed between us. Eventually we began discussing protein supplements and whether or not I should be using them. My friend, Rob Sinclair of Cross Fit Solid Ground, has a wealth of experience in the area of health and nutrition. Besides owning a Cross Fit gym, he also has a B. Sc. in Biology with a minor in Exercise Science, is a certified personal trainer, as well as a nutrition and wellness specialist, so when he speaks, I listen. For him, it is very simple – “Know your protein requirements, figure out if you’re meeting them and if you have a protein deficiency, then you should be taking some type of protein supplement,” he said.

Rob went on further to explain that my body uses protein to build and repair tissues and to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. Protein is ultimately an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. He said if I wasn’t getting enough of it, my body wouldn’t be able to function properly and I may experience the following:

  • Food cravings,
  • Muscle and joint pain,
  • Slow recovery from injuries,
  • Fluid retention,
  • Regular illness
  • A cloudy mind

So, how much protein does a person need? The average person needs about .8 g of protein for 1 kg of body weight but there are certain exceptions and in fact, certain groups of people are susceptible to not meeting those needs, resulting in protein deficiencies. Check out the following categories below:

  • The elderly. As we age, our bodies become less efficient at processing our food.
  • Many sports require levels of high energy, strength and muscle.  Protein plays a key role in that relationship.
  • If you’re injured or ill, you need about 1.5 times your regular protein requirements to recover.
  • If you are stressed, you breakdown muscle and tissue faster than if you weren’t.
  • People that try to lose weight and cut calories.

Now I know how much I need and I know why I need it, but how do I figure out if I’m getting enough protein in my diet? I learned there are great meal tracking options to figure out if you are getting enough protein (I like myfitnesspal.com). If you use one and figure out that you’re not getting enough protein, there are a lot of really great options for increasing your protein intake. For instance, eating more whole foods (meat, dairy, fruits and vegetables) and fewer processed foods (carbs and sugars), minimizing stress by learning how to meditate or manage your anxiety through other means and finally, if you don’t like traditional sources of protein like meats, soy, peas, grains, then taking a protein supplement.

Contributing Writer, Michael Cameron is a martial artist and avid sports enthusiast who loves to spend time with his family, as well as write about sports and recreation in his spare time.

Kickboxing: A Different Kind of Workout

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Writer: Teresa Madaleno

It is becoming a popular form of exercise for a number of reasons – it doesn’t require heavy investment in equipment and you can pick the routine up at any time. I am referring to kickboxing. Once a man’s sport, more and more women are now enjoying it and here’s why:

  • Helps you break a sweat within minutes
  • Promotes weight loss
  • Helps you develop lean body
  • Great stress reliever
  • Increases confidence and self-esteem
  • Great for self-defence
  • Good for the heart

Aside from these health benefits, anyone who has ever taken a kickboxing class will tell you that it is a whole lot of “fun”.

One of the nicest parts of kickboxing is that you don’t have to be an athlete to enjoy it. People from all walks of life and from all fitness levels take part in this form of exercise. Most kickboxing studios have beginner up to advanced classes. Some places offer one on one lesson.

Kickboxing has its origins in the 2,000-year-old discipline of Muay Tai fighting. It was initially developed as a self-defence tool, but slowly developed into a sport when unarmed combat in warfare became less effective. Today kickboxing is the national sport of Thailand.

Sara Madaleno is a kickboxing instructor and my niece. Sara spent several years as a competitive athlete, specifically in the sports of hockey and soccer. With a degree in psychology and sports studies, as well as a diploma in pre-health sciences, Sara combines her knowledge of human behaviour and her love for fitness to help students at “ilovekickboxing” in Vaughan, Ontario gain confidence in themselves and learn fun, invigorating kickboxing moves. Who can participate in kickboxing? Well, both men and women of all ages. At ilovekickboxing clients range from 13 to 70 years old.

“For some people it is not just about burning hundreds of calories- it’s mentally transformational,” Sara has said.

If you are interested in having a lot of fun, toning those muscles or shedding some pounds, Sara tells me that ilovekickboxing is always offering specials. So take some time to check them out.

http://www.ilovekickboxingvaughanon.com

 

Zorbing – A different kind of sport

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Writer: Teresa Madaleno

Have you ever considered zorbing? Those who have played call it, a “wild experience.”

To play you need a zorb or orb, as some people refer to it. Essentially, it is a transparent plastic ball that you literally crawl inside and then roll down a hill in. Zorbing was invented in New Zealand back in 1994, but is catching on around the world, including here in Canada.

Zorbing works best on gentle slopes and can also be done on flat surfaces, which can allow riders to have more control. There are some zorbing areas that have runs up to a half a mile long. Now if you have never seen or heard of this extreme activity, you are likely wondering about bouncing around and getting injured. The fact is, these spheres are designed to minimize the impact of bumps while you are inside riding them. They are built with a ball inside a ball and with a layer of air between those balls, thus providing protection.

Zorbs or Orbs come in two different styles – harnessed and non-harnessed. Usually, harnessed orbs are built for one or two people and include a seatbelt-like mechanism. Non-harnessed can take up to three riders, but there are no seatbelts and they bounce more than the harnessed orb.

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Even though most people enjoy zorbing on land, you can add water inside the ball and make it a wet experience. There are theme parks in the U.K that allow “water walking” by placing the water orbs in a lake or large pool.

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If you think zorbing is something you’d like to try, check with some of your local resorts. A number of resorts, including ski hills have been known to offer zorbing.

This extreme sport is not without risk, as is the case with many extreme physical activities. According to the Mail Online, back in 2013 a Russian man died when his inflatable ball accidently plunged off a cliff at a resort. Onlookers reported that they thought the ball was going in one direction when it “suddenly veered” in another and headed straight for the cliff. The tragic accident brought about calls for barriers when zorbing and is a stark reminder to sports enthusiasts to do their homework when choosing a place to go zorbing. You need to know the lay-of-the land before you step foot inside a ball.

Those who have enjoyed zorbing for years say they believe that it can be fun and safe if it is played under the right conditions.

What to know before entering a Mud Run

Madaleno Magazine Guest Contributor: Sam Zeitz

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Although many would like to believe they could wake up one day and run a marathon, this isn’t the case. It takes lots of training and dedication, especially if you throw a bunch of obstacles and a slew of mud into the mix.

Mud runs aren’t your traditional race but they have been skyrocketing in popularity over the past few years. They combine the fun and benefits of a marathon and an obstacle course, but with mud splattered all over.

Here is what I have learned and can share about Mud Runs:

Preparing for an event can be very motivational and fulfilling. Having a goal in mind, makes getting in shape seem more of an accomplishment, rather than a task. But where do you start?

Mud runs are tough on the body so you should be sure you’re in good health before you sign up. With the word “run” right in the title you should be expecting lots of cardio. However, take into account the terrain you’ll be running on during the race. It won’t be anything like your treadmill at home! Do your best to work on your cardio outside. It will get your legs ready for the work that is about to come.

Don’t just focus on the running. It is a big part of the event but don’t forget about the obstacles. Body strength is important when it comes to finishing the race. Design a fitness plan that works for you. Make sure to incorporate exercises for all parts of the body. In the event you can face crawling under barbed wire, scaling walls, climbing cargo nets, etc. Some good exercises for training include, burpees, push-ups, pull-ups and lunges.

Since it is a mud run, don’t expect to only get your shoes dirty. There will be mud everywhere but there are showers at the end of the race. Be careful, the sticky mud adds extra weight to your clothes as you continue.

Don’t be nervous. Whether you’re doing this race to be competitive or to see what it’s like, there will be others just like you. When the race starts there are too many bodies to just sprint ahead. Once people get moving the group will spread out and you can move at your own pace.

Samantha Zeitz is an avid sports fan and hockey player. She has played hockey for over 12 years and is currently studying sports broadcasting.