Pulled Hamstring? Try These Stretches

The third installment of our 2014 injury series continues with a malady many have experienced at one time or another: a pulled hamstring.
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The Latest from the Sports Foods Front

Are there special nutrients or components of food that can really help runners go faster and stronger?
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Cruise Season Concerns Over Outbreak

New transmissions in the Western Hemisphere of a mosquito-borne virus called chikungunya have some travelers worried. (go to article)

Nix the “Drinkable Sunscreen”

The latest effrontery for profit is particularly alarming as we approach the dog days of summer.
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Wearable Biometric Collectors: Coming Soon?

If recent developments in Silicon Valley are any indication, you may soon be hearing terms like “wireless health care.”
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Brain Cancer Risk and Smartphones

Decades-old concerns over cell phone use and brain cancer risk are, according to the most recent data, still unfounded.
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The Clinic

Unraveling SI Joint and Hamstring Trouble
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Tibia Stress That Just Won’t Heal
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Pain After Only 10 Minutes of Walking
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Donít Shirk Stretching for a Fractured Calf
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The Back Page

RUN A MILE DAYS 2014 – BE A MILER resonates from East to West

High School Coaching Update: PENN RELAYS and National Outdoor Championships

Seen and Heard While Running
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Exercise is Good for the Gut

A study of professional athletes published recently in the journal Gut has found a benefit to the microbial diversity of the human gut through intense exercise. The researchers think that diet plays an important role as well. Specifically, protein intake was also significantly higher among the athletes, and correlated positively with gut biodiversity.

Professional rugby players in Ireland were matched to controls based on age, sex and (for half of the controls) BMI. Fecal samples were collected from the 80 subjects for analysis, and participants filled out food-frequency questionnaires. The diversity of gut microbiota was significantly higher among the athletes than controls. This is looking to be of increasing importance to health

In December patients with colorectal cancer were found to have a narrower range of fecal bacteria, according to a study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Researchers analyzed bacterial DNA from fecal samples that were collected roughly 25 years ago in a case-control study of patients with colorectal cancer. There were 47 colorectal cancer patients and 94 controls.

The control group was comprised of patients undergoing elective surgery. Samples were collected after confirmation of the diagnosis, but before therapy. Taxonomic classification to microbial genomes was confirmed and differences adjusted for false discovery rate.

Patients with cancer had decreased overall diversity of bacteria in their gut relative to the controls. For example, they had a lower relative abundance of Clostridia species, but an increased presence of Fusobacterium.

Since this and similar findings suggest a beneficial role for diversity of microbiota in preventing colorectal cancer, intense exercise may turn out to be somewhat protective from cancer onset. In the present study of athletes, plasma creatine kinase—a marker of extreme exercise—as well as inflammatory and metabolic markers differed significantly between the rugby players and controls. But the athletes also had 22 distinct phyla of gut micro-organisms, a high count which, again, was also positively correlated with higher protein consumption. Many more studies are needed to confirm a link and it is important to keep in mind that certain dietary extremes—most notably increased protein intake—also appear to be involved.

Gut, doi:10.1136/gutjnl-2013-306541

J. Natl. Cancer Inst., Dec. 2013, djt300doi: 10.1093/jnci/djt300


Risk of Hearing Loss in a Common Pill?

A Harvard study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology has found a possible link between over-the-counter pain reliever use and, of all things, hearing loss. The unusual nature of this connection poignantly reminds us that unforeseen consequences can accompany long-term use of just about any medication.

In the study, frequent use of ibuprofen (e.g., Advil, Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) among female subjects was associated with more hearing loss. “Frequent use” was defined as twice a week. Most notably, more frequent use increased the risk by up to 24%. The findings are similar to a study of men and hearing loss, although aspirin was also found to contribute to risk in that study.

The theory right now is that ibuprofen can reduce blood flow to the cochlea, the familiar snail-shaped organ for hearing in your ear. In the case of acetaminophen, it is thought that the antioxidant glutathione may become depleted. Both of these outcomes could lead to cochlear damage—the former from cell death, the latter because the antioxidant specifically protects the cochlea from damage.

It’s important to take medications only as needed, and to avoid falling prey to blind habits and overuse. Now that the American Medical Association has declined to recommend a daily baby aspirin as cardioprotective for the general (older) public, despite heavy lobbying from that industry, we may be seeing a shift at last away from pharmacology-as-panacea. To be sure, o.t.c. medicines do provide good pain relief for many people, and need not be scorned or ruled out as an option for a vast number of temporary ailments. However, frequent use of these medications and use over long periods of time may increase the risk of hearing loss and may cause other adverse health effects. Therefore, it is important to take these medications mindfully and to limit their use as much as possible. As always, talk to your doctor before making any changes in your medication use.

Hearing loss may be a somewhat underreported problem in the U.S. The CDC says that only 39% of adults have had a hearing test in the last three years. Most of us have likely suffered some hearing loss already, if only by virtue of the routine loud noises all around us. And yet hearing loss is a largely preventable problem.

Music is one such common noise source, all too easy to forget to turn down. Runners, cyclists and skaters who routinely amp up with earphones and a favorite playlist, beware of cranking that volume too loud. Workout volumes tend to be on the loud end of the spectrum, but this is not only harmful to your hearing, it can be distracting and isolate you from important environmental cues. Car horns, the polite calls of passing cyclists and many other stimuli should not go unheard, for everyone else’s safety as much as for your own.

Am. J. Epidemiol., 2012, doi: 10.1093/aje/kws146,

editorial board

Kenneth Cooper, MD
Kevin Beck
Jack Daniels, PhD
Randy Eichner, MD
Mary Jo Feeney, MS, RD
Mitchell Goldflies, MD
Paul Kiell, MD
Sarah Harding Laidlaw, MS, RD
Paul Langer, DPM
Douglas Lentz, CSCS
Todd Miller, MD
Gabe Mirkin, MD
Col Francis O’Connor, MD
Stephen Perle, DC, CCSP
Pete Pfitzinger, MS
Charles L. Schulman, MD
Bruce Wilk, PT, OCS
Mel Williams, PhD
Michael Yessis, PhD
Jeff Venables, Editor

board of directors

Jeff Harbison, President
Bill Young, Secretary-Treasurer
Immediate Past-President
(Vacant) Vice President
Robert Corliss
Charles L. Schulman, MD, AMAA Pres.
AMAA President
Terry Adirim, MD, MPH
Gayle Barron
Sue Golden
Senator Bill Frist, MD
Jeff Galloway
Jeff Harbison
Ronald M. Lawrence, MD, PhD
Jeff Moore
Noel D. Nequin, MD
David Pattillo

Association Staff

Executive Director: Dave Watt
Project Consultant: Barbara Baldwin, MPH

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