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SCIENTISTS THINK THEY KNOW HOW STRESS CAUSES GRAY HAIR
Gray Hair Share on PinterestExperts say the graying of hair could be related to our “fight or flight” response. Getty Images
Researchers say they now think they know how stress causes gray hair.
The hair color change may be linked to nerves in the “fight or flight” response system.
Experts say stress is only one factor that can cause gray hair. Genetics also plays a major role.
Sorry Mom and Dad: It turns out you might not have been exaggerating when you told us your children made your hair turn gray.
Stress may play a key role in just how quickly hair goes from colored to ashen, a studyTrusted Source published this past week in the journal Nature suggests.
Scientists have long understood some link is possible between stress and gray hair, but this new research from Harvard University in Massachusetts more deeply probes the exact mechanisms at play.
The researchers’ initial tests looked closely at cortisol, the “stress hormone” that surges in the body when a person experiences a “fight or flight” response.
It’s an important bodily function, but the long-term presence of heightened cortisol is linked to a host of negative health outcomes.
But the culprit ended up being a different part of the body’s fight or flight response — the sympathetic nervous system.
These nerves are all over the body, including making inroads to each hair follicle, the researchers reported.
Chemicals released during the stress response — specifically norepinephrine — causes pigment producing stem cells to activate prematurely, depleting the hair’s “reserves” of color.
The detrimental impact of stress that we discovered was beyond what I imagined,” Ya-Chieh Hsu, PhD, a lead study author and an associate professor of stem cell and regenerative biology at Harvard, said in a press release. “After just a few days, all of the pigment-regenerating stem cells were lost. Once they’re gone, you can’t regenerate pigments anymore. The damage is permanent.”
Why we go gray
But stress isn’t the only — or even the primary — reason that most people get gray hair.
In most cases, it’s simple genetics.
Gray hair is caused by loss of melanocytes (pigment cells) in the hair follicle. This happens as we age and, unfortunately, there is no treatment that can restore these cells and the pigment they produce, melanin,” Dr. Lindsey A. Bordone, a dermatologist at ColumbiaDoctors and an assistant professor of dermatology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, told Healthline. Genetic factors determine when you go gray. There is nothing that can be done medically to prevent this from happening when it is genetically predetermined to happen.”
That doesn’t mean environmental factors — such as stress — don’t play a role.
Smoking, for instance, is a known risk factor for premature graying, according to a 2013 studyTrusted Source. So kick the habit if you want to keep that color a little longer.
Other contributing factors to premature graying include deficiencies in protein, vitamin B-12, copper, and iron as well as aging due in part to an accumulation of oxidative stress.
That stress is prompted by an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in your body that can damage tissue, proteins, and DNA, Kasey Nichols, NMD, an Arizona physician and a health expert at Rave Reviews, told Healthline.
And some degree of oxidative stress is a natural part of life.
We would expect increasing gray hair as we advance in age, and we see about a 10 percent increase n the chance of developing gray hair for every decade after age 30,” Nichols said.
Changes you can pursue to delay premature grays include eating a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids such as walnuts and fatty fish, not spending too much time in the skin-damaging and hair-damaging ultraviolet light of the sun, and taking vitamin B-12 and vitamin B-6 supplements.
That said, if you are going gray prematurely, it wouldn’t hurt to go have a checkup just in case natural genetic factors aren’t the sole culprit.
The new Harvard research is only a mouse study, so replicating the same results in a human study would be necessary to strengthen the findings.
But the Harvard research has implications far beyond graying hair, with the hair color change merely one obvious sign of other internal changes as a result of prolonged stress.
By understanding precisely how stress affects stem cells that regenerate pigment, we’ve laid the groundwork for understanding how stress affects other tissues and organs in the body,” said Hsu. Understanding how our tissues change under stress is the first critical step towards eventual treatment that can halt or revert the detrimental impact of stress.”
Might that also mean someday halting and reverting the march of premature gray hair? It’s too sooto tell.
We still have a lot to learn in this area,” Hsu said.
By Robert W. Service
The last of living is the best;
The olden years are golden years,
When there will come a rhythmic rest
Beyond the tempest and the tears;
When memories of wine and song
Are bravely buried in the past,
And we to home and love belong,
The best of living is the last.
The shawl and slipper days are good,
This I can stalwartly affirm,
As I defy in mellow mood
The petulance of waiting worm,
For now I am my utter own,
Playing the pantaloons with zest,
A monarch on an armchair throne,
The last of living is the best.
And so, sweet people, have no fear,
I tell you from a brimming heart,
Old age is rich with hope and cheer,
You may rejoice ere you depart.
A childwise calm will come to you,
The pain and passion overpast,
Ah, you will see my say is true,
The best of living is the last.
30 Ways to Kill An Organization
1.Don’t attend meetings.
2.If you do attend, come late.
3.If you don’t like the weather, don’t go.
4.If you do go, criticize the work of the officers and members.
5.Never hold an office, as it is easier to find fault with others than to get involved.
6.Get upset if you’re not appointed to a committee. If you are appointed, never attend committee meetings.
7.When asked for your opinion on something, say you have nothing to say. After the meeting, complain and say it all.
8.Don’t do anything unless it’s absolutely necessary. But when others attempt to get things done, complain that the organization is controlled by a clique.
9.Don’t attempt to recruit new members, let somebody else do it.
10.When a function is planned, complain loudly that the organization is wasting money.
11.When no functions are planned, complain that the organization lacks life.
12.Don’t try to obtain a function ticket until they are all sold out.
13.Then complain that you were cheated out of yours.
14.If you do manage to get a ticket, don’t pay for it.
15.If asked to sit at the head of the table, of course, refuse.
16.If you are not asked, resign.
17.Don’t pay your dues, or at least hold back from paying as long as possible.
18.If you’re not asked to pay your dues, don’t volunteer to pay them.
19.When you do receive a bill for dues, don’t pay until you get a second bill.
20.If you are billed for dues that have been paid, resign, or at least complain that the treasurer is misusing funds.
21.Don’t let the organization know how it can help you, but if it doesn’t resign
22.If you obtain some of the benefits without officially joining the organization, don’t join.
23.If your organization doesn’t call attention to the abuses in other’s business, complain nothing is being done.
24.If it calls attention to abuses in your own, resign.
25.Keep searching for something wrong in the organization. When you find it, resign.
26.At every opportunity, threaten to resign.
27.And get your friends to resign, too.
28.When you do go to a meeting, vote to do something, then go home and do the opposite.
29.Agree to everything that is said at the meeting, then disagree after the meeting is over.
30.Delay replying to communication from the organization, or better yet, don’t answer at all.
Take a hard look at these problems. Are you guilty of any of these actions? Let’s work TOGETHER to keep our wonderful organizations growing and strong.
Cheddar Beer Bread
There’s no downside to freshly baked bread - it tastes great and makes the house smell wonderful. Making bread can be a bit time-consuming though; if done the old fashioned way it can take hours of kneading and proofing. That’s why you’ll love this quick beer bread - no kneading and no proofing. You go from the bowl to great smells in your house in under an hour.
Light beer is what’s leaned towards, but feel free to experiment with what’s in your fridge. You can also add tons of other ingredients depending on how you feel, i.e., crumbled bacon or sausage, softly-fried onions, sauteed peppers. Delicious. Just make sure whatever you’re adding isn’t watery or you’ll end up with a loose, runny final product.
Makes 1 loaf
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
Salt, to taste
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 cans beer - light or whatever is in your fridge
1. Set oven at 375F degrees and oil a loaf pan. Whisk together both flours, sugar, baking powder and salt, toss shredded cheddar into the dry ingredients, then pour both cans of beer over the top. Mix with a rubber spatula until the dough comes together with no dry spots, then place in the greased loaf pan.
2. Bake for 45 minutes, then test by poking the loaf with a skewer - the skewer should come out clean. Remove from the loaf pan when it’s cool enough to handle and serve warm with butter.
“Pick up the pace!”
by Haley R. Tucker, 3rd yr Nursing Student
This article summarizes research published in Annals of Internal Medicine by Dr. Robert Ross at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Dr. Ross is an exercise physiologist in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies. His research focuses on the effects of exercise on obesity and glucose tolerance.
Many older Canadians have heart disease, or know someone who does. Heart disease, also known as cardiovascular disease, occurs when our heart and blood vessels are no longer able to provide the oxygen and energy we need for everyday activities. It is the number one cause of death worldwide. The World Health Organization predicts that by 2030, more than 23 million people will die from the disease.
What many people don’t know is that small changes in your exercise routine can go a long way in preventing heart disease. With a few simple changes, your next walk around the neighbourhood or on the treadmill will gain you more protection from heart disease.
How can faster walking prevent heart disease?
Canada’s Physical Activity Guidelines recommend that we get at least 150 minutes of physical activity, such as walking, each week. Managing to find the time or opportunity to exercise for 150 minutes can be challenging. So how do you make it worth your while?
Researchers have found that increasing the intensity of your walk or jog by even small amounts can reduce your risk of heart disease. When you choose to exercise at a higher intensity, you reduce your risk of heart disease twice as much compared to exercising at a low intensity.
Older Canadians with diabetes can also benefit from these findings since high-intensity exercise helps to control blood glucose. Researchers found that 200 minutes a week of higher intensity exercise improved the way the body processes sugar. That helps your heart because poor glucose tolerance is a known risk factor for heart disease.
How can I increase the intensity of my exercise?
·When walking on a treadmill, increase your speed.
·When walking outdoors, time yourself and try to beat your best time.
·Challenge yourself by including bursts of jogging in your walk.
·Try walking or hiking on a terrain that has hills or inclines.
·Try a faster-paced physical activity such as zumba, swimming, or cross country skiing.
·Try stair climbing machines at a fitness facility.
Exercise at a pace that works best for you and that fits your schedule. Physical activity can be broken up into 10-minute bouts throughout the week, with the ultimate goal of reaching 150 minutes. Begin at a pace that is comfortable for you, and keep building up the intensity until your heart is beating faster and your breathing picks up
An excellent starting point is walking, since it is considered a moderate-intensity activity. And it’s something we do naturally, without special equipment. No matter what activity you choose, ensure that it is pleasurable and challenging so that you feel motivated to do it regularly.
Other ways to get more from your exercise
If you find it hard to step up the intensity of your workout, there are still ways to protect your heart. You can also reduce your risk of heart disease by simply walking or jogging at a comfortable pace for longer periods of time. Researchers suggest about 300 minutes per week.
Exercising for longer periods of time at a moderate intensity can reduce your waist circumference – the measurement around your waist. By doing this, you help to decrease your risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
How to find the extra time? Build it into your day-to-day activities. Do simple things like taking the stairs instead of an elevator, walking instead of driving, and opting for activities that get you up and moving.
Next time you are out and about, challenge yourself by picking up the pace just a little. It really is good for the health of your heart.
Ross, R., Hudson, R., Stotz, P., & Lam, M. (2015). Effects of Exercise Amount and Intensity on Abdominal Obesity and Glucose Tolerance in Obese Adults. Annals of Internal Medicine, 325-334.
Waist size matters, from the Harvard School of Public Health
About the Author
Haley Tucker is a third year nursing student at McMaster University, in Hamilton Ontario. She was hired as a Health Promotion and Research Assistant for ALCOA over the summer of 2015.
Do you know how to compensate when you move?
by John C. Griffin, MSc
As people get older, they lose mobility. It is the first area where most older adults become impaired or disabled. In fact, De Brito and colleagues (2013) found that the ability to rise from the floor was a significant predictor of mortality in 51- to 80-year-olds. That means that people who could not get up after sitting on the floor were more likely to die early than others in their age group.
You have a role to play in preventing mobility loss
When you start to have trouble with certain tasks or activities, it is called a preclinical stage. The preclinical stage is a critical time for intervention. You can slow this down! Mobility problems can take one of three courses:
1.Cessation: The worst option is to stop doing things that you used to do. For instance, someone who is starting to have trouble reaching up over their head might give up a favourite sport, like tennis or squash. This could lead to a more sedentary lifestyle, and that would lead to losing even more mobility.
2.Retraining or repairing: It is often possible to regain performance in the area where mobility is becoming difficult. So many older adults are reluctant to visit a physiotherapist when they have a joint or muscle problem. But these health professionals can help you to regain mobility and step back into your active lifestyle. Or, they might help you to modify a task or activity so that you can still do it safely. This is called compensation.
3.Compensation: Compensation can be both good and bad. If you alter a movement pattern so that you can still do it, but in the wrong way, it could lead to injury. For instance, someone who had weak leg muscles might start to bend from the waist to lift things, instead of bending their knees. That’s a sure-fire way to injure your back. On the other hand, a well-designed modification to a task or activity can slow down mobility decline. A good example of safe compensation is using Nordic poles when hiking to help with balance and reduce knee strain.
A good compensation strategy for getting up off the floor
Aging makes it harder to get down on the floor to do things like play with a child, clean out a cupboard, or do a floor exercise. We may have decreased upper and lower body strength, less range of motion, balance issues, or all three. We fear that we cannot get back up again without looking clumsy or losing our balance.
But researchers have described a technique that makes getting up off the floor much easier (Moxley, 2012). It might work for you, unless you have had a total knee or hip replacement or some other serious issue
This chart shows the decline of physical function with age
How to do it:
1.From your side, roll onto your stomach.
2.Bring your knees in one by one to a position of all fours.
3.Bring one leg up and forward under your chest, with your foot on the floor.
4.Bring your hand to your thigh.
5.Press your hand on one thigh as you bring the other leg up.
For safety: Place a sturdy chair nearby for support or in case you get dizzy.
de Brito, L.B.B. et al. 2013. Ability to sit and rise from the floor as a predictor of all-cause mortality. European Journal of Preventive Cardiology 2014 July; 21(7):892-8.
Griffin, J.C. 2015. Client-Centered Exercise Prescription. Third edition. Champaign, Il.: Human Kinetics, www.HumanKinetics.com.
Moxley, C. 2012. Floor freedom: How to get up from the floor. Functional U (ICAA) 10(5): 1-10.
About the Author
John C. Griffin, MSc, , is an award-winning retired professor, private consultant, speaker, writer, and coach. He has authored more than 100 publications, including Client-Centered Exercise Prescription and chapters in the grade 12 Exercise Sciences and Healthy Active Living textbooks. Recently, he has conducted research on the functional mobility of older adults and developed a screening tool and exercise prescription algorithm. John worked with the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology on the national certification for personal fitness trainers and is a national course conductor and examiner. Working with the National Fitness Leadership Advisory Council, John co-authored the first national standards for exercise leaders in Canada.