T-cells

  1. Walking and jogging prevents metabolic syndrome

    Stay one step ahead of disease

    You can outrun disease like metabolic syndrome, and you don't even have to move very fast. A quick walk or a light jog is all it takes to stay a step ahead of diabetes, heart disease, and more.

    I've written to you before about the dangers of being sedentary as well as the benefits of even light movement. Now, a new study confirms that you can get fit, stay healthy, avoid disease, and more -- and it starts with a brisk walk.

    Researchers tracked more than 10,000 Danish adults from age 21 all the way up to 98 for up to a decade, quizzing them about their levels of physical activity along the way.

    Not at all surprisingly, the ones who engaged in either fast walking or jogging for between two and four hours a week -- that's as little as 20 minutes a day -- were 50 percent less likely to develop metabolic syndrome when compared to those who walked slower, walked less, or didn't walk at all.

    Metabolic syndrome is often a precursor to prediabetes, diabetes, and heart disease -- so you definitely want to take every step you can to avoid it.

    Just make sure it's a lively step. A slow walk for even an hour day, for example, may be a great habit to have -- but it won't lower the risk of metabolic syndrome, according to the study in BMJ Open.

    Along with preventing metabolic syndrome, a daily jog or run can help awaken the disease-fighting T-cells of the immune system. And in another new study, it actually helped transform those cells in cancer survivors.

    After just 12 weeks of jogging, their T-cells went from a weakened state to a much more powerful one better able to fight the cancer and keep it from returning.

    Maybe that's why joggers and runners have a lower risk of some cancers in the first place.

    And that's still not all getting up and moving around can do for you -- because another new study finds that simply not sitting all day can slash your risk of kidney disease.

    That's one of the nation's top 10 killers, responsible for more than 50,000 deaths every year. But if you sit less, you can avoid it.

    For women, sitting for less than 3 hours a day can slash the risk of the disease by 30 percent when compared to sitting for 8 hours a day or more. For men, the risk is cut by around 20 percent, according to the study of 5,650 Brits.

    The important thing to remember here is that a little daily exercise isn't going to make up for sitting all day long -- and in the new study, even people who got that exercise faced the same increased risk of kidney disease if they were sitting the rest of the time.

    So go out for a run, get some exercise, and keep moving.

    But just as importantly, remember to get out of your seat and on your feet throughout the day as well.

  2. Looks like you need your tonsils after all

    When I was a kid, I was incredibly jealous of my friends who had their tonsils removed. They got to miss some school and eat ice cream for several days straight -- which, let's face it, is pretty much every child's dream diet.

    And if that's not enough, most of them also got get-well gifts in the form of awesome toys.

    Me? I got to hear all about it.

    Well, today I'm glad I still have my tonsils because the latest research shows those infection-prone bumps in the back of your throat may actually have an important role to play after all: They can make T-cells.

    Those are the immune system cells your body needs to fight off cancers and autoimmune diseases. They're called T-cells because until now, researchers believed they all developed in the thymus -- an organ in the chest.

    Now, I guess, that "T" could stand for "tonsils" as well, since scientists at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center have discovered the cells in five different stages of development there.

    That alone is big news, since this is the first time T-cells were spotted in the tonsils. But the bigger news here is that four of the five groups of T-cells they found had the capacity to turn into the so-called "natural killer" cells the body needs to fight cancer.

    So maybe the tonsils aren't so useless after all -- and this isn't the first study to make the case against pulling them out.

    One small study found that kids who were candidates for tonsil removal but didn't actually get them removed had fewer doctor visits than those who did have them plucked -- a strong hint that there is indeed an immune system benefit to keeping them in place.

    Another study found that people without tonsils fidget less -- which might sound like a benefit at first. But a little fidgeting is good for us. The small and barely noticed movements we make throughout the day actually burn calories.

    In other words, losing your tonsils could cause you to gain weight.

    The team behind the latest study says the next step is to see how many T-cells are made in the tonsils vs. the thymus.

    The study I'd like to see next, however, is whether or not people without tonsils are more prone to cancer and autoimmune diseases, or if they have a harder time fighting those conditions when they do strike.

    Stay tuned.

  3. Natural hope for MS patients

    The mainstream "solutions" to multiple sclerosis can be even worse than the disease itself: Of all the dangerous meds MS patients are told to take, not a single one of them can stop or reverse the damage. And they all come with some horrific side effects.

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