Check Yourself for Skin Cancer

Between 40 and 50% of Americans who live to age 65 will have either basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma at least once.
(go to article)

A Look at Some Effective Home Remedies

Even though prescription drugs and over-the-counter products may be available for some conditions, home remedies may also be effective at a fraction of the cost.
(go to article)

Can We Stave Off The Age of WALL-E?

The sheer complacency with which the humans in the movie experience their plus-sized dystopia clearly dooms them to live in it forever.
(go to article)

B12 Deficiency Can Be Serious

Some people don’t consume enough vitamin B12 to meet their needs, while others can’t absorb enough, no matter how much they consume.
(go to article)

The Health Benefits of Thinking Positive

Compassion and kindness meditation resulted in improved function of one of the main nerves that helps control heart rate.
(go to article)

The Medicalization of Common Conditions

The parade of new prescription drug commercials — with their comically long list of side effects seeming to far outweigh the “solution” to the condition advertised — is relentless.
(go to article)

The Clinic

Alternative Exercises to Ease Shoulder Pain
(go to article)

Ganglion Cyst or Fibroma?
(go to article)

Beware of Too Much, Too Often, Too Hard
(go to article)

The Heel Can Be Tough to Treat
(go to article)

The Back Page

Boston Marathon 2017 – A look at what inspired us all
(go to page)

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The Fate of FitNews: Just
Two Issues Left

On the Back Page of the Nov/Dec 2016 issue, executive director Dave Watt announced big changes ahead for the American Running Association (and its professional medical arm, AMAA). At that time, details were still being sorted out; now the ARA is prepared to announce that the last regularly published issue of Running & FitNews® will be May/June 2017.

While it is at this point conceivable that some version of this publication may emerge in the undetermined future, it is accurate to say that FitNews will not continue as we now know it.

The genesis of this and other major changes in the structure of both the ARA and AMAA was the decision by the Boston Athletic Association in June of last year to alter the rules for charity eligibility in the Boston Marathon, the cornerstone of the ARA/AMAA funding model.

The BAA’s new rules for granting charity slots in the marathon require that a charity only be given an allotment of race entries if the group is directly tied to helping the greater Boston area. For the D.C.-based ARA, this requirement will go unmet, and so it effectively eliminates funding for the ARA’s core programs such as the Youth Fitness initiative, specifically NATIONAL RUN A MILE DAYS.

Over the past several years, AMAA’s race entry allotment had already been shrinking; according to Dave Watt, in 2012 AMAA enjoyed 115 entries, but held just 75 by 2016. Now the allotment has been altogether eliminated, with zero entries granted for would-be symposium goers in 2017.

While the future of the ARA and AMAA is uncertain, the goals of both organizations have not disappeared. While AMAA is presently looking for a new home, some incarnation of the ARA may regrow that can still focus on increasing the physical activity of Americans, raise obesity awareness, and educate and motivate both the sedentary and the already active, from the very young to the very old.

Whether a rebirth is successful won’t undo the work that has already been done, and the mission lives on in millions of citizens who have already embraced the fitness message and will continue to share it going forward regardless of the fate of any given not-for-profit. The fitness movement is here to stay, and Running & FitNews has for nearly four decades been proud to have been a part of it.

Beach Umbrellas Not Enough to Protect Against Sun

As beach season approaches, a useful and somewhat counterintuitive new study published in JAMA Dermatology is worth keeping in mind.

To explore the effects of sun exposure on people using different forms of protection, the study randomized 80 subjects into two groups. One group was instructed to apply sunscreen every two hours while on the beach for 3.5 hours beginning at midday. The other group used UV-blocking beach umbrellas to protect them from the sun at the same time of day and for the same duration.

The sunscreen group, which utilized a very strong SPF-100 sunblock, fared better than the group seeking shade under beach umbrellas. One day after sun exposure, the participants were evaluated for sunburn by a clinician. The umbrella group had a total of 142 sunburned areas, as opposed to only 17 such areas in the sunscreen group.

Another way to frame this data is to compare the differences between the two groups as measured against their baseline level of sunburn. Compared with baseline, global sunburn scores increased significantly in 78% of the subjects in the umbrella group versus 25% in the sunscreen group.

While the study was relatively small, the differences in the outcomes between umbrella shading and strong sunscreen are certainly meaningful. It is worth noting here, as the authors do in the study, that even still, neither method completely prevented sunburn from all seven areas of exposure on the body that were examined after the day of sunbathing. And this study highlights what is known about UV exposure: shade works by physically shielding skin from direct harmful UV rays, but skin may still remain exposed to reflected and indirect UV rays. It remains a best practice to use a combination of sun screen protections to minimize risk of UV ray exposure, especially given the significant rise of skin cancers in recent years.

Sun exposure is one major way for humans to get sufficient vitamin D—our skin manufactures it when in contact with sunlight. Yet, as we explored in the previous issue, several leading endocrinologists have been arguing lately for a lowering of the currently accepted threshold level of 20, feeling that many clinicians are overscreening for and unnecessarily treating perceived vitamin D deficiency.

Over the past three decades, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined. With statistics like this, it may be time to prioritize aggressive UV protection over the benefits of exposure on vitamin D production. For more info on identifying potentially cancerous skin irregularities, see “Check Yourself for Skin Cancer” in this issue.

JAMA Dermatology, 2017, Vol. 153, No.3, pp. 304-308,

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
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

Running & FitNews is published by the American Running Association. Address inquiries to ARA, Attention: FitNews Editor, 4405 East-West Highway., Suite 405, Bethesda, MD 20814 or send e-mail to

The American Running Association is a nonprofit educational organization, designated 501(c)3 by the IRS. Running & FitNews provides sports medicine and nutrition information. For personal medical advice, consult your physician.

FitNews design by Paras Productions, Inc.

© 2017 The American Running Association.
All rights reserved.
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