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March 01, 1996 - Image 65

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1996-03-01

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

right way. And the people here
really try to help each other," she
says.
Ken Morris is 73 and comes to
work out every day.
"What else do I have to do with
my life?" says the retired Mr.
Morris. "This is my home away
from home."
CMI isn't the only club that of-
fers programs for seniors in
the area. The Maple-Drake Jew-
ish Community Center has
been offering classes for several
years now, and their "Life
Weights" classes for older people
or those recovering from sick-
ness or injuries are also well-
attended.
Sylvia Ritchie has been teach-
ing seniors for several years at
the JCC. She believes that as one
gets older, it's even more impor-
tant to exercise.
"As you start to exercise," Ms.
Ritchie says, "the muscles get
stronger. As the muscles get
stronger, they support the bones
to make the body stronger."
The JCC class involves very
light weights (two or three
pounds) and the repetitions are
done while sitting in a chair. The
sessions last 45 minutes and are

offered Monday and Friday
mornings.
Other classes geared toward
seniors these days include differ-
ent kinds of swimming and water
exercise.
"There are far fewer injuries
that take place in water," ex-
plains Ms. Ritchie. "And people
with arthritis or pre-existing in-
juries find it much easier to move
in the water."
Some of the classes offered at
area health clubs include water
exercise, water aerobics and "hy-
dratone," using boots and dumb-
bells in the water to create extra
resistance.
Most of the seniors who attend
these classes are finding more
benefits than they had expected.
They find friendships with peo-
ple who have similar interests
and realize the hour in the weight
room doesn't have to be just hard
work.
, "This setting is a wonderful
and friendly place to make us all
feel comfortable," says Libby
Sherbin, a retired speech pathol-
ogist from Birmingham. "We
don't feel as if we are competing
with each other. We all have the
same goal in mind."

Feeding The Fetus:
A New Method Shown

new method for delivering
a vital nutrient that might
prevent severe develop-
ental problems in fetus-
es has been demonstrated in a
Weizmann Institute study de-
scribed in a recent issue of the

Am

Journal of Neurochemistry.

Professor Ephraim Yavin and
doctoral student Pnina Green of
the Weizmann Institute's De-
partment of Neurobiology showed
that a fatty acid of the omega-3
family can be supplied to mam-
malian fetuses by injection into
the amniotic fluid, which fills the
sac enclosing the embryo. Until
now, this nutrient could only be
provided as a supplement to the
fetus through the mother's diet—
an indirect and inefficient proce-
dure.
Because this fatty acid is es-
sential for the formation of nerve
endings in the brain, eyes and oth-
er organs, it might be beneficial
in the prevention of intrauterine
growth retardation (GR), a seri-
ous pathological condition that oc-
curs in 5 to 10 percent of
pregnancies and is responsible for
about a third of low-birth-weight
infants. Although up to 30 percent
of GR infants "catch up" to their
contemporaries within a few
years, the condition is strongly
linked to infant and early child-
hood mortality, cerebral palsy, as-
sorted speech and learning
disabilities and small body size.

The scientists found that a sin-
gle injection of a derivative of the
omega-3 fatty acid known as do-
cosahexaenoic acid (DHA) into the
amniotic fluid of fetal rats signif-
icantly increased the fatty acid
content in both the brain and liv-
er of the fetus. They now plan to
study the special effects of this
DHA increase in growth-related
animal fetuses. Only when the an-
imal studies are completed will
the researchers begin to explore
the applicability of their new
method to human fetuses.
In a related study, Professor
Yavin and Ms. Green showed a
dramatic natural increase of DHA
in fetal rat brains during the three
or four days before birth.
"This is another indication of
the importance of this fatty acid
in development," Professor Yavin
says. 'The sharp increase in DHA
is a sort of farewell present from
the expectant mother to her soon- •
to-be-born baby, whose brain and
nervous system might have to rely
heavily upon this extra DHA sup-
ply as it continues to develop dur-
ing infancy."
Professor Yavin — in collab-
oration with Professor Shaul
Harel of the Tel Aviv Medical Cen-
ter and Tel Aviv University — is
continuing to work on a new di-
agnostic procedure that will make
it possible to detect GR in human
fetuses as early as four to six
weeks after conception. O

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