What a difference exercise makes!

Holy smokes! Athlete muscles – old man muscles – old athlete muscles. “The incredible unaging triathlete.”

Compression garments reinforce proprioceptive sense

Pressure on the skin surface helps us to tell where our limbs are. Compression reduces muscle vibration and thus muscle damage.

How are are minds shaped

A Replicated Typo has a long article about the origin of our minds.

Charles Darwin… proposed that there is “no fundamental difference between man and the higher mammals in their mental faculties.”

…The notion that we can identify a sequence of adaptations accounting for the evolution of minds in animals stems from research into social cognition, particularly surrounding Premack & Woodruff’s (1978) concept of a Theory of Mind.

…Even though there are differing degrees of behavioural complexity across various animal domains, can a sequence of adaptations be established?

…Highly relevant to social behaviour influencing brain gene expression is a gene known as egr1….

Our brains are affected by genes, but our surroundings and experiences influence how our brains develop. This summary and exploration is a fascinating peek into a complex problem.

Ironman Canada live on the web

I stayed up last night and watched the finishers come in for about two hours. This event was not televised, but video & audio and liveblogging commentary could be had via the Ironman web site. I heard it announced when the man with a transplanted heart came in. Some people were accompanied for the last little bit by family members.

Ironman finisher

Ironman finisher

This is surely a pair of grandchildren, possibly with the oldest man in the race.

Live on the Web: Ironman Canada

swimmers emerging from the water

Ironman Canada 2008: swimmers emerging from Lake Okanagan

Canada’s Ironman triathlon is running in Penticton, B.C. today. I’m watching the streaming video & audio (announcements and their choice of music on the speakers at the start/finish lines! Check it out at Ironman.com. Just keep following the links to live video. The results/transcription window pops up automatically.

The competitors are divided into professionals (pros) and amateurs (age-groupers). The pros compete for the overall win. The age-groupers have separate prizes for each age group (about a decade). 2230 people started.

Ironman criteria:

  • Swim 3.8 km or 2.4 miles
  • Bike 180 km or 112 miles
  • Run a full marathon (42 km or 26.2 mile)
  • Cut-off time, 17 hours
swimmers approaching the finish

Ironman Canada 2008: swimmers approaching the finish

The youngest competitor a woman of 18 and the oldest a 78-year-old nun. The oldest man is 77. I saw one man with a full grey beard, no one with large breasts.

Swim cut-off:

  • 2 hours, 20 minutes (9:20 a.m.)
  • Bike cut-off, 5:30 p.m.
  • Run cut-off, midnight


more funny cat pictures

We’re taking Andie biking.

Canada adopts “leaner” growth charts

These are the World Health Organization’s charts showing normal, healthy weights for children at each age. There are separate charts for boys and girls. The horizontal axis is age and the vertical axis is weight.

WHO age-for-weight charts for boys 5 to 10 years old

Canadian health organizations are ready to adopt standard growth charts for babies and children that are based on World Health Organization standards. The charts use the growth pattern of a healthy, breast-fed baby. The charts being discarded are the U.S. charts created by the Centers for Disease Control, which are patterned on a bottle-fed baby. Breast-fed babies grow more slowly and with less fat. The new charts will put children at the top of the U.S. “healthy” range into the “obese” category. And fewer children will be marked as failing to thrive.

While they [the charts] are a standard tool for detecting potentially serious dips in a child’s development, they don’t always capture the whole picture. This is especially true of breast-fed infants, who can be leaner than formula-fed babies, especially in the six- to nine-month age range.

Now, a number of Canadian public health organizations representing doctors, nurses and dietitians are poised to adopt the 2006 World Health Organization international growth charts in place of the U.S.-based growth charts that were created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In addition to recognizing the growth patterns of breast-fed babies, the WHO charts are also likely to reclassify those whom the CDC charts may have termed normal as overweight or obese.

“The WHO is the newest kid on the block in evaluating growth,” says Calgary pediatrician Ted Prince, adding that with the U.S. charts, weight has been steadily climbing, and the WHO standards “have been more constant.”

The Canadian Paediatric Society’s nutrition and gastroenterology committee, led by Valérie Marchand, a pediatric gastroenterologist at St. Justine’s Hospital in Montreal, is one of the groups looking at updating measurement policy. Dr. Marchand expects the committee to release the new policy by the end of the year.

The CDC charts are based on data gathered in five nationally representative surveys conducted between 1963 and 1994 in the United States. The 2000 charts are based on a representative sample of breast-fed and formula-fed children.

The recent WHO charts are based on a sample of 8,500 children between 1997 and 2003 in Brazil, Ghana, India, Norway, Oman and the United States.

Only breast-fed children in healthy environments – non-smoking households, for instance – are included in the sample. Measurements were taken 21 times between birth and the age of 5.

“The WHO charts are excellent because they are based on how a child in the best condition should grow,” Dr. Marchand says. She and her colleagues will recommend the adoption of the organization’s weight, height, BMI (body mass index) and head circumference measurements, based on age.

By conducting an international study, the WHO found there is actually little difference between children from different races or continents, Dr. Prince says. “Even across different socioeconomic populations, the growth is pretty constant.”

It may also be a relief for parents of breast-fed children. The growth of those babies often slows for a few months at around the age of six months.The CDC charts can create doubt in a mother’s mind, Dr. Marchand says.

“You’ll think, well, my child is not growing properly,” she says. “Maybe I don’t have enough milk, maybe I’m doing something wrong. Using growth charts that are for breast-fed babies will help those mothers feel more secure about their breastfeeding.

“Now that we are promoting breastfeeding, we really want to have a growth chart to reflect that to avoid misconceptions about growth and breast-fed infants.”

Over all, the weight-for-height and BMI figures are a little lower on the WHO charts compared with the CDC’s. As excess weight and obesity have grown in the United States, the heavier weights have been normalized.

WHO girls weight-for-age charts, age 5 to 10 years

Squid dissection online

logo of Te Papa museum in New ZealandI got a comment last week from “tepapamuseum”

If you are interested in giant and colossal squid, Te Papa will host and webcast the dissection of 4 giant and 2 colossal squid starting Sunday 27 April. More info can be found on our website: http://www.tepapa.govt.nz/squid/ and of course, on our blog.

For more information, visit the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

Colossal Squid being caught

You can see the Architeuthis here: “Rare giant squid washes up in Australia.”

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