Wednesday, January 14, 2015

#196 Extreme Cold

I don't find much use for cold like this other than the spectacular color of the sky on a clear day. But surprisingly, there are a few theories out there about the benefits.

Extreme cold will off disease-mongering insects and microorganisms. Though, let's face it, those suckers will evolve in to it - probably way faster than we've managed to.

Cold weather may also help us slim down by stimulating metabolically active brown fat. Brown fat is the heat-producing, calorie-burning fat that babies need to regulate their body temperatures. Most of it disappears with age, but PET scans have shown that adults retain some brown fat.  So if you want to loose a few, go out and shiver for half an hour. Of course you might catch a cold, but that will shed a few more pounds.
"Whole-body cryotherapy" was developed in Japan to treat pain and inflammation from rheumatic and other conditions. Patients spend one to three minutes in a room cooled to -166. Finnish researchers reported the results of a study of 10 women who for three months took cold-water plunges (20 seconds in water just above freezing) and submitted to whole-body cryotherapy sessions. Blood tests were unremarkable except for a two- to threefold jump in norepinephrine levels minutes after cold exposure. Norepinephrine is a chemical in the nervous system that wears many hats, including, possibly, a role in pain suppression.

This was kind of interesting too. Taller people tend to get cold faster than shorter people because a larger surface area means more heat loss. And fat's reputation as an insulating material is well deserved, although for warmth during the winter, you want it to be the subcutaneous fat layered under the skin, not the visceral fat that collects in the abdomen.

Extreme Cold • 10" X 10" acrylic framed to 18" X 18" • $500

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