SEARCH

Entries in Cold Weather (3)

Thursday
Jan272011

Cold Temperatures Help With Weight Loss, Say Researchers

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LONDON) -- While a warm, toasty house may feel great in the winter, some researchers suggest warm temperatures also may play a role in the obesity epidemic.

Fiona Johnson of University College London and her colleagues analyzed a number of studies that examined the relationship between exposure to cold temperatures and the ability to burn off energy.  Their research is published in the journal Obesity Reviews.

They found evidence that over the past several decades, people in the U.S. and the U.K. have been steadily raising the temperatures in their homes.

They also found indirect evidence that the body's response to cold, which consists of shivering and hormonal actions, plays a major role in energy expenditure.  Regulation of body temperature, they say, is associated with weight.

But some weight loss experts said the connection between cold temperatures and weight isn't yet very strong and they can't say for certain whether there's any association with obesity.

Experts do agree that one of the study's findings raises interesting questions about the role of a type of tissue that previously received little attention.  The authors found that brown adipose tissue, a kind of fat, plays a very significant role in burning energy when exposed to cold.

Dr. Jana Klauer, a physician in private practice in New York, said small animals and babies have brown adipose tissue, but as people get older, they tend to lose it.  Studies have shown, however, that some adults do have it, though it hasn't been determined how common it is.

Klauer cited a recent study done in Japan that exposed two groups of men to cold.  One group had brown adipose tissue and the other didn't.

"They found that in people that had the brown fat, energy expenditure went up 400 more calories per day when they were exposed to cold," said Klauer.  "They were using 400 more calories to generate heat."

The results suggest that weight loss in cold temperatures may be easier for people with brown adipose tissue.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jan252011

Arctic Blast Increases Risk of Frostbite, Hypothermia

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- As many Americans feel the arctic blast moving across the country, doctors are warning people to take extra care in bundling up and staying out of the cold.

Frostbite, in particular, is a major threat; it can occur in under a minute at extremely cold temperatures.  The term is shorthand for the literal freezing of body tissue, usually skin.  The most vulnerable areas to frostbite include fingers, toes, noses, cheeks, and ears.

According to the National Weather Service, frostbite can occur within 5 minutes in temperatures between 0 degrees and -19 degrees Fahrenheit.

The initial stage of frostbite usually affects the top skin layers and does not lead to long-term damage.  As freezing continues, second-degree frostbite may set in.  The skin can become hard and waxy, and blisters may form a day or two after the freezing.

Third degree frostbite consists of a deep frostbite, where the skin turns blue or black, and the muscles, nerves, and vessels have all frozen as well.  The area is temporarily debilitated, and, in some cases, permanently damaged.

In extreme cases of frostbite, the area can be infected with gangrene, where the affected body part will eventually fall off if it is not amputated first.

And, in a tidbit that could surprise even the most avid of winter athletes, Dr. Sandra Schneider, professor and chair emeritus of the department of emergency medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center said: "It's better to leave a frostbitten area frozen then to go through a freeze, thaw, freeze, and thaw period."

Repetitive warming and freezing can cause ice crystals in the tissue, which only multiplies the damage done to the frostbitten skin.

Along with frostbite, hypothermia is another cold weather condition that can be dangerous to people unprepared for the weather.  It occurs when body temperature falls below 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

"As the body temperature goes down, people will begin to shiver in order for the body to generate heat," said Dr. Lewis Marshall, chairman of emergency medicine at Brookdale University Hospital Medical Center, in Brooklyn, New York.  "As the body temperature falls below 90 degrees, shivering stops and body can no longer regulate temperature. "

Other symptoms of hypothermia include clumsiness and confusion, drowsiness, a weak pulse, and shallow breathing.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec152010

Brr! Can Frigid Temps Lead to Weight Loss?

Author Tim Ferriss; Photo Courtesy - ABC News (NEW YORK) -- Finally, an upside to the frigid temperatures that have gripped much of the nation -- all the shivering could help shed a few pounds.

"The body wants to maintain a balance, a homeostasis of 98.6 degrees," said author Tim Ferriss, who promotes this type of "thermal dieting." "If you make it cold, the body will do everything it can to get back to 98.6. And it has to burn calories to do that -- heat equals calories."

Ferriss, the best-selling author behind The 4-Hour Workweek and the just-released The 4-Hour Body, is known for his lessons on how to manipulate the body to your advantage.

Using winter to lose that winter weight is just one example. He said people can burn up to 50 percent more calories by exposing themselves to below-freezing temperatures, which causes the body to work overtime.

"There's actually a type of fat called brown adipose tissue -- BAT," he said. "Cold can trigger this BAT. It actually produces heat, and you burn fat tissue."

But Dr. David Katz, director and founder of the Integrative Medicine Center and professor at Yale University, was doubtful and said if people were really that desperate to lose weight, they should just try diet and exercise.

He also warned that exposure to extreme cold, especially through ice baths, could cause complications in people with cardiovascular problems or even induce cardiac arrhythmia in those at risk. Ferriss himself also notes in his book that readers should consult a physician before attempting some of these techniques.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 







ABC News Radio