Stretching, acne prevention, acne treatment, straight bar curls, E-Z bar curls, hypertension, high blood pressure

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Mike Furci offers research, trends and other info to help with your fitness, health and nutritional needs.

…U.S. citizens buy more medicine than any other nation? The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that approximately 130 million Americans swallow, inhale, inject, spray and rub on medication every month. The number of prescriptions written yearly has swelled to more than 3.5 billion, a 66% increase over the last 10 years. The downside to all this is well over 125,000 Americans die each year from drug reactions and mistakes. (The Chronicle Telegram, “U.S. is most drugged nation”)

…the jury is still out concerning stretching? According to Dr. Scott Riewald from the U.S. Tennis Association, there is no credible evidence that stretching prevents injuries or soreness. What is known is that pre-exercise stretching has been shown to decrease muscle strength and power performance in the vertical jump, so it is not wise to stretch immediately before a competition. Many studies also show that stretching improves range of motion but it is not known whether that translates into improved performance or reduced risk of injury. (Strength Cond J, 26: 58-59, 2004)

…there is a new strategy for fighting acne? Acne is a common skin condition that affects almost all people at some time. Acne is most commonly seen on the face, upper back, chest and shoulders. Men have more acne than women because of their higher testosterone levels. The treatment regimen of most doctors was to use antibiotics as the first-line therapy. However, according to The American Academy of Dermatology, topical retinols should be used as the first line of defense. The simple answer is because topical retinols alone can clear all forms of acne and keep the condition at bay more effectively than antibiotics alone. Another argument for discontinuing antibiotic therapy for acne is it may lead to antibiotic resistance. (, August 2004)

…straight bar curls are better than E-Z bar curls? Truman State University researchers measured the muscle activation of the biceps and brachioradialis using electromyography (EMG). EMG measures the electrical activity of muscles. The more a muscle is stimulated, the greater the electrical activity. The biceps were activated more with straight bar curls during both the concentric (positive) and eccentric (negative) phases of the lift. The brachioradialis was activated equally with both bars.
(NSCA Conference)

…that doctors are finding men in their teens and 20s with high blood pressure? Most of the problem is an increase in body mass among young men. We are becoming a nation of fat asses. As little as 10 years ago, we wouldn’t have seen hypertension in teens and 20 year olds, but it’s increasing along with obesity rates. Daniel Lakeland, spokesperson for the American Society of Hypertension, says that treatment guidelines for younger men are the same as with older men: weight reduction, reduce total fat consumption, increase vegetable and fruit consumption, increase physical activity, lower salt intake. Lakeland also reports that young men are less likely to believe they have hypertension and less likely to go back to the doctor for treatment. The longer one waits to treat hypertension, the more complications he WILL get. Don’t wait. (

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