USDA

Physical Activity Intervention for the Elderly

USDA Agricultural Research Service - Wed, 01/07/2015 - 07:15
Physical Activity Intervention for the Elderly / January 7, 2015 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service
Read the magazine story to find out more.

 A group of elderly women participating in an aerobic exercise class.  Link to photo information
An ARS study of people aged 70 to 89 years with sarcopenia—age-related muscle loss—showed that their overall physical function improved with exercise. Click the image for more information about it.


For further reading

Physical Activity Intervention for the Elderly

By Rosalie Marion Bliss
January 7, 2015

The holidays are over, and the annual New Year's resolutions to get more exercise have begun. Now, as explained in this month's issue of Agricultural Research magazine, the elderly have more reasons than ever to join the ranks of those determined to get moving. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)-funded scientists in Boston and co-investigators have reported that elders with relatively little muscle mass can benefit from preventive exercise.

The study was headed by geriatrician Christine Liu and co-authored by physiologist Roger Fielding, both with the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts University in Boston. They are with HNRCA's Nutrition, Exercise Physiology, and Sarcopenia Laboratory, which Fielding directs.

By age 80, an estimated 40 percent of the muscle mass that was present at age 20 is lost. Age-related muscle loss—which excludes disease-related muscle loss—is called "sarcopenia." This condition can lead to costly surgeries and hospital stays due to fractures after falls caused by weak muscles.

The researchers looked at data collected on 177 elders aged 70 to 89 years who were at risk of becoming disabled due to lack of mobility. The data were collected during the Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders study. One group of volunteers participated in a physical activity intervention that included aerobic, strength, balance, and flexibility training. The volunteers' body composition, including lean muscle and body fat, was measured—both before and after the intervention.

The results demonstrated that elders with sarcopenia are capable of improving their overall physical function, including balance, walking and strength, in response to physical activity. The study was published in January 2014 in the Journal of Nutrition, Health, and Aging.

The Agricultural Research Service (ARS)—USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency—supports the HNRCA through an agreement. Read more about this research, as well as newly developed tests for local healthcare practitioners' use to diagnose and treat sarcopenia, in the January 2015 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.

Categories: USDA

New Test Counts Total Phenolics in Fruits and Veggies

USDA Agricultural Research Service - Wed, 12/24/2014 - 08:25
Physical Activity Intervention for the Elderly / January 7, 2015 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service
Read the magazine story to find out more.

 A group of elderly women participating in an aerobic exercise class.  Link to photo information
An ARS study of people aged 70 to 89 years with sarcopenia—age-related muscle loss—showed that their overall physical function improved with exercise. Click the image for more information about it.


For further reading

Physical Activity Intervention for the Elderly

By Rosalie Marion Bliss
January 7, 2015

The holidays are over, and the annual New Year's resolutions to get more exercise have begun. Now, as explained in this month's issue of Agricultural Research magazine, the elderly have more reasons than ever to join the ranks of those determined to get moving. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)-funded scientists in Boston and co-investigators have reported that elders with relatively little muscle mass can benefit from preventive exercise.

The study was headed by geriatrician Christine Liu and co-authored by physiologist Roger Fielding, both with the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts University in Boston. They are with HNRCA's Nutrition, Exercise Physiology, and Sarcopenia Laboratory, which Fielding directs.

By age 80, an estimated 40 percent of the muscle mass that was present at age 20 is lost. Age-related muscle loss—which excludes disease-related muscle loss—is called "sarcopenia." This condition can lead to costly surgeries and hospital stays due to fractures after falls caused by weak muscles.

The researchers looked at data collected on 177 elders aged 70 to 89 years who were at risk of becoming disabled due to lack of mobility. The data were collected during the Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders study. One group of volunteers participated in a physical activity intervention that included aerobic, strength, balance, and flexibility training. The volunteers' body composition, including lean muscle and body fat, was measured—both before and after the intervention.

The results demonstrated that elders with sarcopenia are capable of improving their overall physical function, including balance, walking and strength, in response to physical activity. The study was published in January 2014 in the Journal of Nutrition, Health, and Aging.

The Agricultural Research Service (ARS)—USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency—supports the HNRCA through an agreement. Read more about this research, as well as newly developed tests for local healthcare practitioners' use to diagnose and treat sarcopenia, in the January 2015 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.

Categories: USDA

Using Weedy Rice Traits to Boost Cultivated Rice Yields

USDA Agricultural Research Service - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 12:56
Using Weedy Rice Traits to Boost Cultivated Rice Yields / December 10, 2014 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service
Read the magazine story to find out more.

 Taller weedy red rice scattered among cultivated rice in a field. Link to photo information
Genetic traits in the taller weedy red rice scattered in this field may help new varieties of cultivated rice adapt to climate change. Click the image for more information about it.


For further reading

Using Weedy Rice Traits to Boost Cultivated Rice Yields

By Sharon Durham
December 10, 2014

Genetic traits in weedy rice may someday be used to develop sturdy, high-yield varieties of cultivated rice that will flourish in the face of climate change, thanks to findings by scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This work, conducted by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) plant physiologist Lewis Ziska and his colleagues.

Ziska, who is with ARS's Crop Systems and Global Change Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, studied several rice cultivars to determine if changes in temperature and CO2 levels affected seed yields. He also looked for visible traits that could signal whether a plant cultivar has the genetic potential for adapting successfully to elevated CO2 levels.

The investigation included weedy red rice, which infests cultivated rice cropland. Despite the plant's downsides, previous assessments indicated that weedy rice growing under elevated CO2 levels had higher seed yields than cultivated rice growing under the same conditions.

Ziska monitored the different rice cultivars at current and future projections of atmospheric CO2 and a range of day/night air temperatures. He observed that on average, all the rice cultivars put out more aboveground biomass at elevated CO2 levels, although this response diminished as air temperatures rose.

For seed yield, only weedy rice and the rice cultivar 'Rondo' responded to elevated CO2 levels when grown at optimal day/night air temperatures of 84 °F and 70 °F. In addition, only the weedy rice gained significant increases of aboveground biomass and seed yield under elevated CO2 levels at the higher temperatures expected for rice-growing regions by 2050.

Seed yield is a trait linked to seed head and tiller production. Tillers are stalks put out by a growing rice plant. As the plant matures, the seed heads-where rice grain is produced-develop at the end of the tillers. This suggests that crop breeders might someday be able to use this weedy rice trait to develop commercial rice cultivars that can convert rising CO2 levels into higher seed yields.

These findings were published in Functional Plant Biology in 2013. This work supports the USDA priority of responding to climate change. ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency.

Read more about this work in the November/December 2014 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.

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