Today’s Headlines: Music, Hand Washing and Foot Pain

Listening to music while you work out may boost performance. It seems like most people in today’s gyms are wearing headphones and a new study out this week shows why having some our own personal playlist may be so appealing. The authors “recruited 20 young, healthy adult volunteers, without experience in high-intensity interval training….Using stationary bicycles, they completed four 30-second bouts of what the researchers call “all-out” pedaling, at the highest intensity that each volunteer could stand. Each 30-second bout was followed by four minutes of recovery time.” The participants repeated the regimen on two other occasions, once with their own music and once without. “The volunteers all reported that the intervals had been hard. In fact, their feelings about the difficulty were almost identical, whether they had been listening to music or not. What is interesting is that their power output had been substantially greater when they were listening to music, but they did not find that effort to be more unpleasant.” Planning to push yourself during your next workout? Make sure you have some tunes to keep you company. (NYT)

Doctors are washing their hands but patients aren’t. While there’s been a big push to stop infection by having doctors wash their hands in the hospital, no similar encouragement has been given to patients. A new study has now indicated that “hand washing followed less than a third of bathroom visits, and washing or hand-sanitizer use happened only rarely after patients entered or left a room.” This is concerning because patients, like doctors, can carry serious infection. “One in 25 hospital patients has at least one infection contracted at the hospital at any given time…many of them serious or even life threatening.” The researchers found that many common spaces, like kitchens or common rooms, are used by patients without any hand washing. “The researchers point to a previous study that found requiring patients to disinfect their hands four times a day significantly reduced the number of respiratory and gastrointestinal disease outbreaks in a psychiatric ward.” The message? Stopping infection is everyone’s responsibility, not just your doctor’s. (Fox)

Extra depth shoes help all foot pain in older adults. Foot pain is a common complaint in old age, but it can prove very difficult to treat. “The structure and function of the foot changes significantly with age…. With advancing age, the foot to exhibits increased soft tissue stiffness, decreased range of motion, decreased strength, and a more pronated posture.” This changes the way weight is distributed on the foot, which can lead to problems down the road. The researchers set out to see if extra depth shoes, normally used in diabetic patients, might help with foot pain from other causes. “The extra-depth footwear group was more likely to report their foot pain had moderately or markedly improved over the four month period and they also developed fewer keratotic lesions, like corns or calluses, than the comparison group. When the participants took the foot health questionnaire again, the special footwear group scored 11 points better for pain and 10 points better for function than the comparison group.” These findings held regardless of the cause of foot pain. (Reuters)