Color & Control:

What we’re reading

A selection from Rehab’s editors

The benefits of getting stronger with endurance exercise
They go far beyond achieving Chris Hemsworth’s biceps or Halle Berry’s abs. Strong muscles can actually help people live longer and stay active later into their sunset years.

While it is established that cardio and weight lifting build muscle, new research shines the light on how endurance exercise boosts the growth of vital muscle stem cells and fundamentally changes their metabolism—setting off a cascade of regenerative effects. Exercise changes muscle cell metabolism and these changes are key events according to Alicia Kowaltowski, a biochemist at the University of
Sao Paula.

The study was conducted on mice over a five-week aerobic training program, complete with daily treadmill runs with periodic speed tests. Results were compared to the muscle tissue, metabolic changes and aerobic capacity of interactive mice. Findings showed that aerobic exercise changed how animals consumed oxygen, metabolized sugars and how tired they were when not exercising. After the program, the Brazilian researchers also examined the muscle tissue regenerative capacity in both groups. The endurance exercised animals repaired more efficiently.

Learnings from this research show that muscle maintenance is key to ensuring healthy aging. We can inform strategies to help people bounce back from injury, combat the loss of muscle mass that comes with getting older and find ways to gain benefits even if people are not able to work out.
Source: Inverse

Aging can be cured—and, in part, it soon will be
Who wants to live forever? In his new book, Ageless, Andrew Steele, who has a background in computational biology, evaluate, with verve, the many, sometimes dormant, tools in the burgeoning arsenal of biogerontologists. Suggesting that there is actually no good reason to assume an upper limit to longevity or that ageing must come with decline, Steele rallies for a life not cut short.

Recognizing 90 as good innings, Steele presents a somewhat hopeful message as he delves into everything from drugs that mimic the life-extending effects of dietary restriction to gene-editing tools such as CRISPR and computer models that simulate whole biological systems.

Temporarily, and with a bitter irony, he suggests that COVID-19 has slammed the brakes on this ear of research but feels that first dividends will emerge within a few years in perhaps senolytic drugs that can clear the accumulating cellular detritus of a long life. He makes the point that for every year of scientific endeavor, a year could be added to the average human lifespan and old age would recede into the future as quickly as it came.

Steele and many scientists say the interim goal is in reach for those who have chosen to take experimental anti-aging drugs. For some of these treatments he feels risks are small compared to the possible benefits… a real sign that a scientific revolution is in the offing if it is truly desirable.
Source: The Economist

Correctional services in crisis: the need for reform
In a Policy Briefing, released in January 2021, the Royal Society of Canada addresses the public discourse that has been sparked by COVID-19 and the new challenges it has created on our already strained correctional system. It also recognizes new opportunities to rethink various aspects of criminal justice practice. The briefing has two goals:
• To look at how the correctional system has and is managing COVID-19.
• To address the nature and structure of correctional systems that should be continued after the pandemic.

The brief makes extensive recommendations around the safety and health care needs of those who remain incarcerated in general and for Indigenous people in particular, as well as for those who are serving their sentences in the community. Stating that we are at a critical juncture where reflection and change are possible, there are also recommendations for those working in closed custody institutions and employed to support the re-entry experiences of formerly incarcerated persons. It also calls for reconsideration of sentencing of people accused of non-violent crimes during the pandemic.

Further investing in safe and sustainable housing are called for to support formerly incarcerated persons and easier ways for them to secure health care, receive medical care and resources as well as timely preventative, intervening and reactive measures to address mental health needs.
Source: Royal Society of Canada

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