Tuesday, July 31, 2018

This Is the Effect Working Out Has on Your Bones

From Vice
How active you are as a kid affects your bones forever.

Nick Veasey/Getty Images
Bone is a living tissue that reacts to the stresses we place on it. Every year, about 10 percent of our oldest bone matter is expelled from the body and replaced by fresh bone, and exercise and sports can make that incoming fresh bone denser and stronger than it'd be if we just sat on the couch, says Michael Econs, a physician and member of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research and a professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine.

Many articles will tell you this effect is all about "building bone," but calling it “building bone” makes it sound like building muscle, and the effect isn't quite that straightforward. A person retains the ability to build muscle throughout life. When we ask too much of a muscle during exercise—like a grueling weight training session or running a marathon—the damaged muscle responds by repairing itself to be even stronger.

Bone, too, grows stronger through adolescence and young adulthood by responding to heavy impacts and loads, such as running and lifting weights, by regrowing bigger and stronger. But unlike muscle, there's an age cutoff by which bones can't grow larger. Peak bone mass is the point at which a person's skeleton has grown as big as it'll ever be, and although the right kind of exercise can maintain that size by replenishing it with strong, dense bone, from that point forward you can only maintain or slow down gradual age-related bone loss. Research by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control says we reach peak bone mass between 25 and 30 years old.

Bone is constantly turning over through a process in which cells called osteoclasts dig tunnels through bone, and then cells called osteoblasts re-pave those tunnels with new bone. Econs acknowledges that it sounds like an inefficient system, but it has to work this way because you obviously need to be able to use your bones while those repairs are taking place.

"If you think about it in terms of building a bridge that you can't touch for 80 or 90 years, you want to build in a self-repair mechanism,' he says, 'so if you have a micro-crack, (those cells) can come in and dig out the bad or old bone and lay down new, fresh bone."

Nobody has to work as hard to regain bone mass as astronauts returning from orbit. After a mission of four to six months in space, astronauts lose two to nine percent of bone mass throughout their whole bodies, according to NASA, which they spend many months trying to regain after returning to Earth. “There was a long-standing knowledge gap about the ability of the astronauts to gain back the bone mass that was lost in space,” says Jean Sibonga, lead scientist of NASA's Bone and Mineral Laboratory at Johnson Space Center.

It's possible, Sibonga says, for an adult to gain net bone mass by training with weights two to three times one's bodyweight. The problem is how you measure bone mass. To measure the progress of bone regeneration in the months after astronauts return to Earth, the Laboratory uses areal bone mineral density (BMD), a common technique in which two X-ray beams of different energy are fired into a bone. Areal BMD is limited to two-dimensional measurements and unable to detect three-dimensional changes in size and shape, Sibonga says, “so, while we report that areal BMD can be recovered, the overall structure and 'strength' of the bone itself may be different.”

Read: Working Out a Lot Doesn’t Always Increase Your Appetite

If, through genetics or good exercise and nutrition during adolescence, you achieved a high peak bone mass, you'll fare better as you age, Sibonga says. Age-related bone loss percentage will be lower, and it'll have a lower effect on the bone's strength overall. “We have seen net gain in bone mineral density when assessing on an individual basis,” Sibonga says, pointing out that blog-site headlines talking about "building bone" are trying to make observations of trends on a population-wide scale.

In other words, your ship most likely sailed a long time ago, back when you were a student who cared more about pizza and skipping class than worrying about the size of your future self's skeleton. “For the most part, standard exercise interventions after 30 will not increase bone mass,” Econs says. “[But] the next-worse thing you can do for bone—besides spaceflight—is to sit on the couch and not get any weight-bearing exercise.”

To encourage bone to regrowth as strong as existing bone and not waste away, you have to perform activities with hard impacts or heavy loading of the skeletal system, such as weight lifting and running, Econs says. Cycling and swimming don't induce stronger bones because they don't load the skeletal system enough. Even walking, Econs says, is enough to preserve the skeleton.

Few studies and few words are said about bone regeneration in young and middle-aged adults. Nearly all studies and talk focus on elderly men and postmenopausal women, so when an organization such as the US Department of Health and Human Services says regular exercise increases bone density, the advice tends to be interpreted as “the sky's the limit” and extrapolated to all ages and populations, giving false hope to people who want to turn their scraggly toothpick arm bones into those like the Croods'.

Dig a little further into that 2008 Committee Report, and you see that talk of bone gains is not about net gains—ending up with bones larger than when you started—but about stemming the loss of bone, or breaking even. “Although a benefit of one to two percent (of increased BMD) per year may seem small,” it reads, “this is roughly equivalent to preventing the decrease in BMD that would typically occur over one to four years in postmenopausal women and elderly men.”

You work out to maintain what bone you have by adulthood, not to keep growing it bigger like a muscle. Aside from those few individual cases Sibonga alludes to, you've got all the bone you're going to get. The trick now is to work hard to keep from losing it.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

What I learned in Kindergarten

Robert Fulghum wrote a book entitled: All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

I did not read the book, but I did get the part about “Please” and “Thank you”. We strive mightily to recruit sponsors. It’s an almost daily pursuit. These people are in business and it’s only reasonable to expect some kind of a return on their investment (read: ROI).

The metric (money) can be hard to ascertain. As they say, only 6% of advertising dollars work. The problem, no one knows which 6%.

In the instant case, i.e., the Firefighter Combat Challenge®— we have a wide array of sponsors. Rare is it the case in the world of sponsorship that we have companies like 3M | Scott, Lion, Simulaids or RWC that have been with us for more than two decades.

I can assert with high probability that sponsors want to hear from you. And the words that they look forward to hearing is “Thank you.”

SKB Cases came on board this year and have donated nuclear-hardened, mil-spec, waterproof cases for the T0p 10. Inside each case is a note card with an email address. It only takes a few seconds to send a note that will be greatly appreciated. Same with all of our sponsors.

If you were fortunate to have received one of the SKB cases, send a quick note. I can pretty much warranty that if the appreciation level is where it should be, they’ll be back.

Click here to send an email

Oh, and copy us...

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Norfolk Police Department answers the lip sync challenge

If you’re not yet one of the million viewers, well, jump on in. I’d like to see our FCC crew and competitors do one of these!

Check it out here; the whole ensemble, Fire, Cops and dispatch join in the fun:

From the Washington Post

Saturday, June 30, 2018

New Addition to the Challenge Team: Enter Ben May

Ben May

Ben May is a recently retired director of global business and alliances for the Walt Disney Company. He worked with Disney to create interactive social marketing experiences dedicated to the betterment of society as well international alliances. Among these interactive attractions, May conceived and developed with Disney executives and Imagineers, in an alliance with Liberty Mutual Insurance, the largest public fire education experience in the world at Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort: "Where's the Fire?" He has been a firefighter for Hillandale Fire and Rescue in Montgomery County, Maryland, and fire commissioner for Woodinville Fire and Rescue in Washington State. May has been a marketing consultant to Fire Service Publications of Oklahoma State University's School of Fire Protection Technology, the United States Fire Administration, and metro fire departments across the country in the creation of strategic marketing communications plans. He is a member of the National Society of Executive Fire Officers, the Institution of Fire Engineers, the American Meteorological Society, the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, Vision 20/20 for Fire Prevention and Education, and the Society of Fire Protection Engineers. May has a bachelor's degree in public affairs and a master's degree in international communication.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

MAYO CLINIC - DRINKING WATER, very interesting!

Water and Aspirin...
A cardiologist determined that heart attacks can be triggered by dehydration. How many folks do you know who say they don't want to drink anything before going to bed because they'll have to get up during the night?

Heart Attack and Water - Drinking one glass of water before going to bed avoids stroke or heart attack. Interesting. I asked my Doctor why people need to urinate so much at night time.

Answer from my Cardiac Doctor: Gravity holds water in the lower part of your body when you are upright (legs swell). When you lie down and the lower body (legs and etc.) seeks level with the kidneys, it is then that the kidneys remove the water because it is easier. I knew you need your minimum water to help flush the toxins out of your body, but this was news to me.

The correct time to drink water...
Drinking water at a certain time maximizes its effectiveness on the body:
2 glasses of water after waking up - helps activate internal organs
1 glass of water 30 minutes before a meal - helps digestion
1 glass of water before taking a bath - helps lower blood pressure
1 glass of water before going to bed - avoids stroke or heart attack
I can also add to this... My Physician told me that water at bedtime will also help prevent night time leg cramps. Your leg muscles are seeking hydration when they cramp and wake you up with a Charlie Horse.

Mayo Clinic on Aspirin - Dr. Virend Somers is a Cardiologist from the Mayo Clinic who is the lead author of the report in the July 29, 2008 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Most heart attacks occur in the day, generally between 6 A.M. and noon. Having one during the night, when the heart should be most at rest, means that something unusual happened. Somers and his colleagues have been working for a decade to show that sleep apnea is to blame. If you take an aspirin or a baby aspirin once a day, take it at night.

The Reason: Aspirin has a 24-hour "half-life"; therefore, if most heart attacks happen in the wee hours of the morning, the Aspirin would be strongest in your system. Aspirin lasts a really long time in your medicine chest – years! (When it gets old, it smells like vinegar).

Something that we can do to help ourselves - nice to know. Bayer is making crystal aspirin to dissolve instantly on the tongue. They work much faster than the tablets. Why keep Aspirin by your bedside?

It's about Heart Attacks - There are other symptoms of a heart attack, besides the pain on the left arm. One must also be aware of an intense pain on the chin, as well as nausea and lots of sweating; however, these symptoms may also occur less frequently.

Note: There may be NO pain in the chest during a heart attack.
The majority of people (about 60%) who had a heart attack during their sleep did not wake up. However, if it occurs, the chest pain may wake you up from your deep sleep. If that happens, immediately dissolve two aspirins in your mouth and swallow them with a bit of water.

Afterward: - Call 911. - Phone a neighbor or a family member who lives very close by. Say "Heart Attack!" - Say that you have taken 2 Aspirins. -
Take a seat on a chair or sofa near the front door, and wait for their arrival and...

Friday, June 22, 2018

LookOnVRTU Won the First Prize at NIST VR HUD Challenge

The winning team in the Virtual Reality Competition for Firefighter Safety

We are proud to announce that VRT-U in collaboration with LookOn Media has won first place at the National Institute for Standards and Technology’s (NIST) 2018 Virtual Reality (VR) Heads-Up-Display (HUD) Navigation Challenge for First Responders. After narrowing down all competitors through four stages only six teams were invited to present at the Public Safety Broadband Stakeholders (PSCR) Annual Meeting in San Diego and to compete for a share of the total purse of $125,000. The PSCR team awarded a joint first prize to LookOnVRTU and ENGR Dynamics with both teams scoring 89 points for a winning tie.

Our winning HUD solution guides firefighters to find the victim as quickly as possible and to evacuate the victim through the fastest and safest path possible. This solution dynamically adjusts the best route based on obstacles, fire hazards and other changes in the environment while safely guiding the rescue team through smoke, haze, and complete darkness.

In designing the HUD Navigation UI, LookOnVRTU consulted with Dr. Paul Davis, the President of First Responder Institute, to select and prioritize the most important features. Upon seeing the demo video, his response was “This is ground-breaking!”.

First responders are exposed to great risks and put their own lives in danger to rescue others. Reducing that risk is the number one goal of all first responder teams. Having been able to provide a solution that improves the safety of those firefighters fills us with great pride. We look forward to continuing working with the first responder community to implement solutions that save lives.

For more information on Virtual Reality for firefighters click here

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Ukraine Inks Firefighter Combat Challenge Deal With On•Target

Dr. Paul Davis, the creator of the 3M/Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge spent 7 days with personnel from the Department of Emergency Services this past week, crafting an agreement to bring the Challenge to Ukraine. 

His visit, covering thousands of kilometers, involved tours of Fire Department museums, training academies, sports facilities and fire stations, including two stations in Chernobyl, as well as meeting with Trade Representatives at the US Embassy in the capital city of Kiev. 

The target date for the Challenge is September 15 of this year, at the Kontraktova Square, strategically located at city center. Invitations have been extended to Dr. Davis, dignitaries of the US Embassy and the President of Ukraine, the honorable Petro Poroshenko.

Mr. Kamil Górecki, the CEO of KZP, the Polish-based fire helmet manufacturer was in attendance for discussions to include the participation of the Good Deeds International Foundation, a European non-profit he represents. The Foundation is providing, at no-cost, assets that are essential for an official Challenge event. 

Colonel Eduard Drach, Commanding Officer of the Special Forces Unit, acting on behalf of the Chief of Department Myolka Chechotkin, functioned as an emissary for the Chief and executed the Memorandum of Understanding at a signing ceremony pictured below at the Department’s Headquarters in Kiev. 

The Official Verbiage for Competition Categories of the Firefighter Combat Challenge®

Individual Defined – a competitor running the entire course, on air, in full turnout gear; automatically considered for the specific respective age or sex category that is in effect at the event, as well as the open category.

Team Defined – a team is made up of 3 to 5 members, each of whom runs the course individually (that is, on air, in full turnout gear) and receives an individual time. The team time is composed of the three fastest individual times from team members added together. If there are less than three members with times due to disqualifications, no-shows etc. there is no time and the team will not receive consideration for placement.

Relay Defined – a group of 3 to 5 members, each of whom completes part of the course before handing a baton over to another member who continues. The members are in full turnout gear, except that face pieces are not worn, and they are not running on air. At regional events, they are normally seeded with their first race, and then enter an elimination bracket based on their seeding time.

Tandem Defined – a pair of competitors each of whom completes roughly half the course, with the handoff coming before or after the Keiser Forcible Entry Evolution. The members are in full turnout gear, except that face pieces are not worn, and they are not running on air. A tandem team may qualify for multiple categories but must specify beforehand which category they wish to compete in. (To compete in more than one category, it necessitates running more than one race, each designated as the specific category for consideration).

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Sport and the Ukrainian Fire Service

It’s difficult to wrap our minds around how European fire brigade integrate sport into their budgets. It’s not like here where everything that rings of “sport” is an arms-length relationship. You may have watched some of the events in which firefighters participate in on YouTube.

While in Kiev, the firefighters put on a demonstration for me. A video compendium can be viewed on our Vimeo account here:

Kiev Firefighters participating in sports events

Over the next several postings, I’ll be providing narrative and photos of the sights and activities from Ukraine, including the visit to Chernobyl.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

More Ukrainian Emergency Services info

We’ve visited several of the fire stations in Ukraine, including HQ and the Training Academy. They have a maze-smoke building and an incredible gym that includes a four-lane track, pool, basketball-volleyball court.
Firefighters and their families live in this apartment building above the apparatus bay
My wife got a shot at the Jaws of Life and cut a piece of rebar. Debbie wielding the Jaws of LIfe at the Kiev FD

There are four lanes for sprinting in the obstacle course where a ladder might be carried and a balance beam transversed.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

The Kiev, Ukraine Fire Service

I’m sharing with you some of the highlights from my visit to several of the fire stations in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine.
The newest piece of apparatus is a Ford engine
Kiev is a city of more than 3.5M and a fire service of approximately 3500. There are over 25 stations. Julia, wife of Special Operations Chief served as our translator. 

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Dateline: Kiev Ukraine

Travels this week take us to the capital of Ukraine, where discussions surrounding the implementation of the Firefighter Combat Challenge are taking place. Photos tell the story better than words.
View from the tower of the Headquarters Station in Kiev, Ukraine

Meeting with the Chief of Department and review of video of Challenge site
We’ll continue to post more photos and narrative as the week continues. Looking for some North American competitors that would be interested in coming to Ukraine.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Exercise can slow the ageing process – a professor explains how

Professor of Immune Cell Biology, University of Birmingham

The tradition of sending a telegram to every British citizen on their 100th birthday was started just over 100 years ago by George V, who sent out just nine letters. Last year, the Queen had to sign over 16,000 birthday letters. The UK has an aging society, with falling birth rates and increasing life expectancy. Improvements in public health and medicine have helped to achieve this amazing effect on lifespan.

But for far too many, old age is endured and not enjoyed, being associated with disease and physical and mental frailty. Today’s baby boomers may be less likely than previous generations to accept that old age is a time for taking it easy, getting to know your GP and developing a taste for the settee, slippers and daytime TV.

My latest research project, conducted with colleagues at the University of Birmingham and Professor Stephen Harridge at King’s College London, aims to understand which aspects of human aging are inevitable, and which are a result of our modern lifestyles – and therefore under our control.
Staying strong

Prehistoric hunter-gatherer tribes were highly active, spending a lot of time and energy sourcing their food. If they weren’t successful, they would also spend days with or little or no food. By contrast, today we are a highly sedentary society; one study by the Heart Foundation revealed that most adults spend 15 hours a day sitting down. Together with eight hours of sleep, this leaves just one hour for physical activity. An MRI scan of the thigh: as people age, muscle mass declines and turns to fat. Janet Lord/University of Birmingham., Author provided

As we get older, our physical activity levels decline even further. In our research, we have tried to determine how much this low level of physical activity contributes to the aging of many body systems, including muscle, bone and the immune system.

We examined 125 male and female cyclists, aged 55 to 79, who had maintained a high level of cycling throughout most of their adult lives. These were not Olympians, but very keen cyclists who were able to cycle 100km in under 6.5 hours for the men, and 60km in under 5.5 hours for the women.

We have previously looked at several body systems that we know decline with age, such as muscle and bone. At mid-life, people start losing muscle mass and strength at a rate of 1% to 2% per year, making it harder to carry out their normal activities such as climbing stairs. Our bones also become thinner with age and this can eventually lead to diseases such as osteoporosis.

We showed that the cyclists did not lose muscle mass or strength as they age, and their bones only became slightly thinner. We then went on to examine a body system that was not so obviously influenced by physical activity – the immune system.
Start ‘em young

The immune system declines with age, making older adults more susceptible to infections such as flu and pneumonia. They also respond less well to vaccines, so this preventive measure doesn’t offer the same protection which it can to younger people. When we compared the immune system of the cyclists to older adults who had not done regular exercise, and to young people in their twenties we found that their immune systems looked most like the young persons’.

In particular, we found that the cyclists still made lots of new immune T cells, produced by an organ called the thymus, which normally starts to shrink after we reach puberty. The older cyclists seemed to have a thymus that was making as many new T cells as the young people’s. The lifelong cycling seemed to have slowed down the aging of their immune systems.The thymus shrinks with age, affecting immune system function. Janet Lord/University of Birmingham, Author provided

We investigated why this happened and found that the cyclists had high levels of a hormone called interleukin 7 in their blood, which helps to stop the thymus shrinking. Interleukin 7 is made by many cells in the body, including muscle cells, so we think that active muscles will make more of this hormone and keep the immune system, and especially the thymus, young.

So it is possible to take back control of your body and prevent its deterioration with age. The UK’s chief medical officer Sally Davies suggests that people do at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week. We don’t know if this is enough to protect your immune system, but it’s a good place to start.

Our physical activity levels start to decline from the age of 25 in the UK, so don’t leave exercise until old age – start now.

Monday, March 19, 2018

How exercise in old age prevents the immune system from declining

Fergus Walsh, Medical Correspondent, BBC

Doing lots of exercise in older age can prevent the immune system from declining and protect people against infections, scientists say.

They followed 125 long-distance cyclists, some now in their 80s, and found they had the immune systems of 20-year-olds.

Prof Norman Lazarus, 82, of King's College London, who took part in and co-authored the research, said: "If exercise was a pill, everyone would be taking it.

"It has wide-ranging benefits for the body, the mind, for our muscles and our immune system."

The research was published in the journal Aging Cell.

Prof Janet Lord, director of the Institute of Inflammation and Ageing, at the University of Birmingham, and co-author of the research, said: "The immune system declines by about 2-3% a year from our 20s, which is why older people are more susceptible to infections, conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and, potentially, cancer.

"Because the cyclists have the immune system of a 20-year-old rather than a 70- or 80-year-old, it means they have added protection against all these issues."

The researchers looked at markers in the blood for T-cells, which help the immune system respond to new infections.

These are produced in the thymus, a gland in the chest, which normally shrinks in size in adulthood.

Out of puff

They found that the endurance cyclists were producing the same level of T-cells as adults in their 20s, whereas a group of inactive older adults were producing very few.

The researchers believe that being physically active in old age will help people respond better to vaccines, and so be better protected against infections such as flu.

Steve Harridge, co-author and professor of physiology at King's College London, said: "Being sedentary goes against evolution because humans are designed to be physically active.

One elderly cyclist said he had the body fat of a 19-year-old

"You don't need to be a competitive athlete to reap the benefits - or be an endurance cyclist - anything which gets you moving and a little bit out of puff will help."

Prof Harridge and Prof Lazarus believe that highly physically active older people represent the perfect group in which to analyze the true effects of biological ageing.

A separate paper in Aging Cell found that the cyclists did not lose muscle mass or strength, and did not see an increase in body fat - which are usually associated with ageing.

I met a dozen of the cyclists, on a morning ride in Surrey. Despite the bitter cold, they were universally cheerful, and clearly used to riding in all weathers.

They are members of Audax, a long-distance cycling organization that organizes events ranging from 100km to 300km.

The older members - in their 80s - say they do only the "short" 100km (62-mile) rides, but this is still highly impressive.

So why do they do it?

Pam Jones, 79, told me: "I do it for my health, because it's sociable, and because I enjoy the freedom it gives you."

Brian Matkins, 82, said: "One of the first results I got from the medical study was I was told my body fat was comparable to that of a 19-year-old."

Aged just 64, Jim Woods, is a comparative youngster in the group. He averages 100 miles a week on his bike, with more during the summer.

He said: "I cycle for a sense of wellbeing and to enjoy our wonderful countryside."

Cycling 60 miles or more may not be your idea of fun, but these riders have found something that gives them pleasure, which is a key reason why they continue.

Monday, March 5, 2018

What is the Most Accurate Predictor of Early Death?

Let us ask you perhaps the biggest question in the medical world:
What’s the most accurate predictor of early death?

If you’re not sure - you’re not alone...
Because for decades, this “longevity question” has stumped top labs across the country, leading many in the science community to call this the “holy grail” of our research... but thanks to an incredible new study, it turns out the “true indicator” of a long, healthy life may have finally been cracked.

Because your REAL age might be predicted inside your cells. You see, researchers at Ohio State University conducted a wide-scale human study on a very specific biological marker inside all of us -
They’re called telomeres.

Telomeres are the genetic “caps” on your DNA, responsible for holding together the entire blueprint of you. Think of telomeres like the plastic cap on a shoelace. Over time, as the cap becomes frayed, that shoelace begins to unravel.

Well, your telomeres work the same way - only as they wear down, it’s your DNA that begins to unravel. And when your DNA begins to unravel, you can experience declining health and rapid aging.

So with this in mind, the researchers tested people of similar age and gender... but with varying degrees of health. And amazingly, they discovered that although all his test subjects were the same age - there was actually one MAJOR difference inside them:

The group with worse health had SIGNIFICANTLY shorter telomeres. 1.
And some scientists believe the main culprit of shorter telomeres was “cellular stress.”

This is VERY important. Because when left unchecked, this stress could eat away at your telomeres, leading to:
• Excess weight gain
• Low energy
• Sore muscles and achy joints
• And worst of all, perhaps vastly reduced longevity...

In fact, the people in this study with the most cellular stress had literally aged 9 years more than their counterparts on the cellular level... even though they were the exact same age.2

Which is why you’ve probably noticed how some people in their 80s look perfectly healthy, while others as young as 40 can already seem so old...

It’s not necessarily the number of years you’ve been alive that determines your healthy lifespan... Some of it is actually the amount of cellular stress inside you.


1. Damjanovic AK, Yang Y, Glaser R et al. Accelerated telomere erosion is associated with a declining immune function of caregivers of Alzheimer's disease patients. J Immunol 2007;179:4249-54.

2. Auddy B, Hazra J, Mitra A, Abedon B, Ghosal S. A standardized Withania somnifera extract significantly reduces stress-related parameters in chronically stressed humans: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. J Am Nutraceutical Assoc. 2008;11:50-6.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

A Retrospective Analysis of Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge Athletes

We aggregated data from 2007 forward (≈20K firefighters) to build this dataset, and looked at average and top performers time (in seconds) on the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge (five linked fire ground activities). [We have over 40,000 records going back to our inception in 1991]

The Firefighter Combat Challenge has been touted as the "Toughest Two Minutes in Sports" by ESPN, our broadcast partners. At the World Championships in Louisville this past October 2017, a sample of male firefighters participated in a blood lactate study, that confirmed the intense, anaerobic nature of this all-out sport. This study will be a doctoral dissertation and published in the not too distant future.

The results are not surprising, but nevertheless, striking.

The validity of the five fire suppression tasks has been repeatedly linked to actual on-the-job behavioral requirements through formal job task analyses. All competitors were wearing SCBA and their PPE (personal protective ensemble- a version of MOPP gear) with a total weight of ≈40 pounds. The climb of a five-story tower, with a 42lb (19Kg) shoulder load, that can be accomplished in as little as 12 seconds by the elite participant, is a calculated energy production is 1.5 HP. The final task, lifting and dragging backward a ≈80Kg (175lb) anatomically correct mannequin a distance of 106 feet is frequently accomplished in as little as 12 seconds.

Keep in mind, that virtually every firefighter could (or should) be capable of performing the Combat Test in about six minutes (the official cut-off time for the Scott Combat Challenge). What makes this a real Challenge is to see what insane time, under six minutes, you do.

Each of the gender groups is large samples. These are self-selected participants, and to that end, are probably not representative of the North American fire service.(I.e., they are more likely to be in the 85th percentile and above.) There are some repeated measures in this cohort. But, with 942 female data points, and 18,021 males, it's a reasonable way to examine trends over a career. Female firefighters are a very small cohort of this universe (≈3.5%) and 5% of the firefighter population.

Some observations from these data: The top-performing women are consistently above the male average at any age. Their small numbers show a trend line that is more variable (as would be expected). The males continue to show amazing performance time at ages when most firefighters have retired (i.e, in their 50's and 60's). Of course, that fact that they're still competing is in and of itself, remarkable.

From a leadership perspective, this speaks loudly as to viability and sustainability of public safety employees, particularly firefighters, who see the value of a personal fitness program as a protection against the ravages of a physically demanding and dangerous occupation. (The one, radially up-sloping datapoint at the extreme right side is the retired 69-year-old Fire Chief of Carlsbad NM. (We do not recommend 70-year-olds to try this competition!)

If you're talking about leading from the front, there's no better platform by which to demonstrate that you can be fit across the entire spectrum of public safety employment - but it will not happen by accident.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

12 Of The Most Potent Disease-fighting Foods On The Planet

The most harmful and deadly diseases plaguing America today are caused, in part, by food--cheap, low-quality processed foods high in sugar, fat, salt, genetically modified ingredients-and pesticides. But when you reach for whole, nutrient-dense, organic foods, you get a food-remedy toolkit that not only will help ward off cancer and heart disease, but also colds, flu, allergies, and a host of other ailments that plague us every day. The Green Pharmacy Guide to Healing Foods by James A. Duke, Ph.D., recommends 12 foods to allow your body to better ward off everything from cancer and colds to arthritis and menopause.

1. Beans - Beans are one of the cheapest healthy foods you can buy, and their high isoflavone content helps ward off heart disease, improve bone and prostate health, and ease some symptoms of menopause. Being low in fat and high in protein, beans are easy swaps for red meat, so add them to soups, stews, dips, and even pasta sauces (pureed white beans can be used as a substitute for high-fat Alfredo sauces). Nutrient-wise, it doesn't make much difference if you use dried or canned.

2. Garlic and Onions - Members of the same plant family, garlic and onions do so many things for your heart and immune system; it's hard to list them all. Garlic's 70 active phytochemicals may decrease high blood pressure by as much as 30 points, and it's been shown to lower rates of ovarian, colorectal, and other cancers, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Onions are the single best source of quercetin, a flavonoid (also found in apples) shown to keep your blood healthy and prevent clots. Both are must-haves for natural allergy prevention.

3. Caffeinators - Caffeinated foods, including coffee, chocolate, and tea, have high levels of polyphenols, dubbed "super" antioxidants for their ability to fight everything from cancer to depression. A Harvard University study even found that drinking five cups of coffee daily cuts the risk of developing diabetes in half. Dark chocolate is better than sugary milk chocolate or white.

4. Celery - Rich in minerals, vitamin C, and phenolic acids, it helps ward off cancer, cold and flu, and allergies. Compounds called phthalides make it a good cholesterol-lowering food remedy, too. The more the better, most research suggests. Duke says to eat at least four stalks a day.

5. Cinnamon - Cinnamon's most notable and studied benefit to the immune system has been its ability to lower blood sugar. A U.S. Department of Agriculture study found that the Christmas-y spice could lower blood sugar by 13 to 23 percent. The author of that study suspected that had to do with cinnamon's antioxidants, which activate insulin receptors in your cells. A German study showed that it could suppress Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria, the cause of most urinary tract infections, and Candida albicans, the fungus responsible for vaginal yeast infections.

6. Citrus Fruits - The stars of the fall and winter fruit season, citrus fruits contain close to 200 cancer-fighting compounds, cholesterol-lowering fiber, and inflammation-lowering flavonoids. An Australian review of 48 studies on diet and cancer found that consuming a daily serving of citrus fruit may cut your risk of mouth, throat, and stomach cancer by up to one half. Grapefruits are also high in lycopene, a cancer-fighter usually found in tomatoes, which are out of season when grapefruit is at its peak.

7. Ginger - Though widely used as an effective antidote to queasiness, it can also keep cholesterol levels under control, lower blood pressure, and help ease the inflammation associated with arthritis. Researchers have also found that ginger helps kill the influenza virus, plus it helps the immune system fight infection. A study at the Miami Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the University of Miami found that ginger extract significantly reduced pain related to osteoarthritis of the knee. About an ounce a day will bring benefits, Duke says.

8. Mint - There are actually hundreds of plants in the mint family that you may have never realized were technically classified as mints, including basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, lavender, sage, and lemon balm. When used in teas, these herbs can soothe an upset stomach, but emerging research suggests that their individual compounds can prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that helps keep your memory sharp.

9. Peppers - Spicy chile peppers have high levels of capsaicin, which interferes with your mind's pain receptors, and therefore act as natural painkillers. Capsaicin, which gives peppers their heat, has also been found to aid in weight loss by keeping your metabolism in check. Sweet peppers have a similar compound called dihydrocapsiate that comes without the spicy kick of capsaicin but with the same effects on pain and weight loss. They also contain loads of vitamin C and beta-carotene.

10. Pomegranates - Pomegranates have been used for centuries in the Middle East, Iran, and India as a folk remedy, Duke writes, and for good reason. They're a good source of potassium, vitamin C, and antioxidants that ward off cancer. They could also help fight Alzheimer's disease. Loma Linda University researchers discovered that mice that consumed pomegranate juice experienced 50 percent less brain degeneration than animals that drank sugar-water. Pace University researchers found that pomegranate juice can kill the S. mutans bacteria, one of the main causes of cavities.

11. Turmeric - A relative of ginger, turmeric is the spice that gives curries their vivid golden hue and yellow mustard its bright color. For thousands of years, people in India have considered turmeric a healing herb. Studies show that it protects the stomach, helping to prevent ulcers, and it aids in the digestion of fats. The spice may also fight Alzheimer's disease. Researchers have found that elderly villagers in India appear to have the world's lowest rate of the disease, possibly because of the anti-inflammatory compound curcumin in turmeric.

12. Walnuts - A great source of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that curbs your appetite, as well as vitamin E, magnesium, folate, protein, and fiber. Walnuts boast more heart-healthy omega-3 fats than salmon, making them a good antidote to seasonal depression. This wonder nut is also packed with anti-inflammatory polyphenols. Many of the compounds in walnuts, such as vitamin B5 and folic acid, can be destroyed by heat, so it's best to eat them raw. 

Rodale's Organic Life has the report.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Mudslides in Santa Barbara County

While in Sacramento last week with Chief Walt White, we had non-stop rain. But, not as bad as S.B. County.

This news segment from ABC is a must watch.


I’ll have a report and heads up within the next couple of weeks.