News from the World of Medicine

Reader's Digest International - - Contents - BY SA­MAN­THA RIDEOUT

Many Se­niors Wear Ill-Fit­ting Shoes

Sup­port­ing the body takes a toll: with age, feet tend to get flat­ter, wider and longer. Two stud­ies from the Univer­sity of A Coruña in Spain suggest that older peo­ple pay a price when they don’t adapt their footwear to these changes. The first study looked at a sam­ple of 100 se­niors and found that 83 were wear­ing the wrong shoe size. The se­cond de­ter­mined that a poor fit leads to foot prob­lems such as bunions and toe­nail mal­for­ma­tions—prob­lems that can ul­ti­mately af­fect walk­ing, bal­ance and in­de­pen­dence.

Drink Tem­per­a­ture Mat­ters

When heat and ac­tiv­ity have you sweat­ing, both the amount of wa­ter you drink and its tem­per­a­ture make a big dif­fer­ence. Univer­sity of Mon­tana sci­en­tists mon­i­tored peo­ple walk­ing briskly on a tread­mill for three hours while the air was 31°C. Some re­freshed them­selves with ice-wa­ter slushie while oth­ers drank luke­warm wa­ter. It took twice as much of the warmer wa­ter to main­tain the same heart rate, phys­i­o­log­i­cal strain level and skin tem­per­a­ture. In other words, icecold liq­uids go a lot fur­ther to­wards help­ing the body reg­u­late it­self.

Drowsy Driv­ing Dou­bles Crash Risk

Driv­ers who are run­ning on only four to five hours of sleep are just as dan­ger­ous as drunk driv­ers, sta­tis­ti­cally speak­ing. Another find­ing from a De­cem­ber 2016 re­port by the Amer­i­can Au­to­mo­bile As­so­ci­a­tion Foun­da­tion for Traf­fic Safety: if you’ve got just five to six hours of sleep un­der your belt, you’re dou­bling your risk of a crash. The re­searchers rec­om­mended that driv­ers not rely on how tired they feel to gauge whether or not they should get be­hind the wheel. In­stead, aim to have at least seven hours of shut-eye.

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