How much water do we need?

Water is now so cool that you can see celebrities carrying around gallons of water as the new accessory. The claims made on social media for excess water consumption include improved memory, mental health, increased energy, and better complexion. What does it mean to stay hydrated? Dehydration to most people means loss of fluids. Does the simple act of drinking water make people healthier? Hydration is really the balance of electrolytes in the body like sodium and water. We have all heard that the magic number is eight-eight ounce glasses a day. We need to take into consideration body size, outdoor temperature, how you are breathing and sweating. Then there are certain health conditions to consider like heart disease, kidney stones, diuretic drugs. It seems that the best way to stay hydrated is to drink when you feel thirsty. Even darker urine may not necessarily mean that you are dehydrated according to exercising scientists. Is water the only drink we need to stay hydrated. According to a study of 72 men the hydrating effects of water, coffee or tea were almost identical. Water also comes from fruits, vegetables, and soups. Are sports drinks necessary? Not really, there are hormones that send signals to the kidney when there is a need for anything in the blood. So, drink when you feel like drinking and your body will inform you if it needs more.

Metabolism and Assumptions:

We have all been told that after 20 years of age your metabolism starts to slow down, and you eventually gain weight. That men have a faster metabolism then women. That women have a harder time losing weight as opposed to men especially after menopause. Now after a new publication in “Science” these assumptions seem a little misguided. Data from 6,500 people ranging from 8 days to 95 years of age, allowed researchers to divide a lifetime into 4 distinct periods of metabolism. The study involved 80 co-authors who shared data along with information from 6 labs using data from the past 40 years. Calories were measured by what is considered the “Gold Standard”. This measures the number of calories burned by tracking the amount of carbon dioxide expelled after daily activities. All factors were taken into consideration- height, weight, percentage of body fat. 1) Infancy -metabolic rate is 50% higher than adults, 2) Age 1 to 20 metabolism slows about 3% a year, 3) 20 to 60 it holds steady, 4) after 60 declines about 0.7% per year. They found no difference between men and women. Although the metabolic rate of individuals varies, the general pattern holds true for life. The results dispute the notion that there is a constant rate of expenditure per pound. Metabolic rate is shown in these studies to be dependent on age.

Drops the New Eyeglasses…

If you have difficulty reading up close you may not need to run for your glasses. As many as 128 million people have difficulty with age-related near vision. Vuity is a new eye drop which was approved By the FDA in October will be available this week. about to be given the okay. It will enable a person to see up close without affection distant vision. Presbyopia enables one to  focus on near objects in which the eye lens must change shape. This ability diminishes as we age. Vuity constricts the pupil, restricts peripheral light creating a pin hole effect. The active ingredient is pilocarpine which has been used for decades to treat glaucoma. In test trials Vuity improved near vision from 6 to 10 hours with just one drop in each eye. Its use is not to replace reading glasses but to limit the time you may need them. However, the cost is $80 for a 30-day supply and is not covered by insurance.

Virtual Reality and Physical Therapy…

After a serious and sometimes debilitating injury, virtual reality can sometimes motivate the patient into seeing what is possible. Over the past several years VR has been used for pain management and for PTSD. Researchers are finding that it may be a helpful tool for physical and occupational therapists. Most patients leave a session, go home and forget exactly what it is or how an exercise should be performed. Virtual Reality can help with not only showing how to do a certain exercise correctly but may also provide a little extra motivation. It is becoming more and more popular with younger practitioners who are well accustomed to gaming. At present it is expensive since most insurance companies will not foot the bill which can be as high as $180 monthly. Not all the programs are fun, some enable patients to practice real life skills such as dishing washing or shopping. However, a well-trained therapist in the use of VR should be on hand to oversee and make sure the patient is not overdoing or hurting themselves. Virtual Reality as a therapy is in its beginning stages. I can tell you from personal experiences with both shoulder and back injuries that I don’t think it can ever replace one to one contact with a practitioner but maybe be useful in addition to.