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Health Capsules: Feb. 21

By: Lisa Russell

Music may improve athletes’ mood, but not performance

Listening to motivational tunes before a sporting event doesn’t actually help athletes perform better, a recent experimental study found.

Athletes who listen to music to get “psyched up” just before a big game or competition do not perform better as a result, although they do tend to take more risks, according to a recent experimental study. The risk-taking effects were more noticeable among men compared to women, as well as among athletes who selected their own music playlist. Listening to music was also shown to boost the self-esteem of athletes who were already performing well – but not of those who were poor performers.

In recent years, listening to motivational music has become a popular way for athletes to prepare for sporting events. Those athletes point to benefits such as enhanced mood, higher motivation and greater self-confidence after cranking up the tunes, which are often those with strong lyrics and a pounding beat. However, the psychological processes behind the motivational power of music, as well as its impacts on performance, have not been well-researched or understood.

The study, which was conducted by the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics in Germany, divided 150 athletes into three groups: one listened to music they selected themselves, another listened to music selected by a researcher, and the third didn’t listen to music at all. All three groups then performed a ball-throwing task from fixed distances. To assess risk-taking behavior, the participants were also allowed to choose the distances to the basket themselves, and received points connected to monetary incentives for each successful trial.

The results showed that listening to music did not have either a positive or negative impact on overall performance. However, it did increase the sense of self-esteem in participants who were performing well, and also increased risk-taking behavior, especially in male participants and those who could choose their own motivational music. The researchers also found that those who made riskier choices also earned higher monetary rewards.

The study findings play an interesting role in “understanding the functions and effects of music in sports and exercise,” the authors stated, adding that more research is required to “better understand the impact of motivational music on the intricate phenomena of self-enhancement, performance and risky behavior during sports and exercise.” The study was published in Frontiers in Psychology.

FDA announces efforts to prevent loperamide abuse

Loperamide, a common over-the-counter medication sold under the brand name Imodium as well as in generic form, is an opioid-based drug which, in low doses, treats diarrhea by slowing down the movement of the gut. In recent years, however, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration [FDA] has noted an increasing number of loperamide abuse cases. After ingesting very large quantities far above the maximum recommended daily dose, either to self-treat symptoms of opioid withdrawal or to achieve an opioid “high,” some people have suffered life-threatening cardiac arrhythmia or cardiac arrest and, in several cases, have died.

To combat this growing problem, the FDA announced in late January new efforts to partner with manufacturers in changing the way loperamide is packaged. This includes using blister packs or other single-dose packaging, and limiting the number of doses in a package. The agency also is reaching out to online retailers of loperamide – who often sell the drug in large-volume containers – to ask them to cooperate in making these packaging changes as well.

“The abuse of loperamide requires the purchase of extremely large quantities …We’re requesting that packages contain a limited amount of loperamide appropriate for use for short-term diarrhea according to the product label,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD. “We asked the manufacturers to take the necessary steps to implement these changes in a timely fashion to address these public health concerns.”

On the calendar

St. Luke’s Hospital holds its annual Spirit of Women Day of Dance event from 9 a.m.-noon on Saturday, Feb. 24 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Conference Center, 16625 Swingley Ridge Road in Chesterfield. Attendance is free, but registration is required by visiting www.stlukes-stl.com. For more information, call (314) 205-6706.

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Missouri Baptist Medical Center holds its annual Heart Fair from 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 24 at the hospital’s campus, 3015 N. Ballas Road. Health screenings including blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose level, BMI and body composition measurement will be offered at no cost. The event also will feature live heart-healthy cooking demonstrations, free food samples, exercise classes, health presentations by physicians, and interactive activities for families and kids, along with a blood donation drive to benefit the American Red Cross. Advance registration is recommended by visiting www.missouribaptist.org/HeartFair.

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BJC sponsors a Family & Friends CPR course from 6:30-9 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 27 at the Missouri Baptist Medical Center Clinical Learning Institute, 3005 N. Ballas Road. The course provides instruction and hands-on practice for parents, childcare providers and babysitters for adult hands-only CPR; infant and child CPR with breaths; introduction to adult and child AED use; and relief of choking in an adult, child or infant. The course is taught by registered nurses using the American Heart Association video-led curriculum. The course does not include certification. Participants between the ages of 10 and 15 must be accompanied by an adult. The course fee is $25. To register online, visit https://classes-events.bjc.org/wlp2/ or call (314) 454-5437.

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A free information session on non-surgical weight loss options is offered from 6-7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 28 at Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital, Medical Office Building 3, 1020 N. Mason Road in Creve Coeur. Join a Washington University gastroenterologist to learn more about FDA-approved alternatives for those struggling with weight loss. For more information and to register, visit www.barnesjewishwestcounty.org or call (314) 542-9378.

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