New science and old wives

Old wives tales are being put to a scientific test. Fish oil results are negative, exercise positive.

One of the most interesting scientific trends of our time comes right out of the TV show Mythbusters.

Put all that stuff your mother told you, those "old wives tales" that get passed down from generation-to-generation, to a scientific test.

Two that jump off the page in today's news involve fish oil and exercise.

Taking fish oil won't slow Alzheimer's. The University of San Francisco did a random study of 402 Alzheimer's patients and found no effect. This is doubly sad because there seems no really effective treatment for the disease.

We think it's related to obesity, that the cause may indeed be high cholesterol. We hope for results from studies on monoclonal antibodies. There's research on these new things called GSMs. We think open source science might accelerate the search for cures.

Even here at Smartplanet we've written about Rapamycin and spinal fluid biomarkers . Hope abounds.

But words like known and proven aren't here.

Then there's the one your mother probably told you when you were a kid. Get outside and run around, it will keep the cold away.

That one may have some validity, according to a team at Appalachian State University. The school's Human Performance Lab studied over 1,000 people, collected data on exercise, and found those who worked out five days a week had 46% fewer colds, and a lower incidence of symptoms.

I might suggest that if you're feeling down you try a walk, run or ride around the neighborhood rather than sneezing on all your friends around the gym, but this result makes sense. Exercise does stimulate the immune system.

I was able to exercise this morning and had no tension during my ApacheCon keynote. It's always that way. I work better after a work out, and seem to sleep better too.

Try it. As with most old wives' tales, it can't hurt. Further research will show which help.

This post was originally published on


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