Category Archives: Body Image

Study Says: Exercise Helps Even More as you Age

Everyone knows that regular exercise is essential for a healthy body. Here’s something new: researchers have been busy researching ways to delay the muscle shrinkage that comes with aging and sedentary lifestyle.

Dafna Benayahu, with the Tel Aviv University in Israel, and his colleagues studied lab rats to see whether endurance exercise would increase the number of muscle stem cells, which are the cells that decrease as humans age, leading to muscle weakness in the elderly.

They compared rats of different ages and sexes. What they found was pretty amazing: the number of muscle stem cells grew after the rats ran on a treadmill for 20 minutes a day for a 13-week period.

Although the younger rats showed a 20% to 35% increase in the average number of stem cells per muscle fiber retained, the older rats benefited even more, with a 33% to 47% increase in stem cells!

The researchers are hoping that this study will help them identify new ways to increase muscle stem cells in humans, so we could help maintain muscle strength as we age.

To your health & beauty,

Vip Dev, MD


Depressed and Older Patients Are More Satisfied With Surgery Outcomes

A recent study, which was published in the Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, found that older patients and patients being treated for depression were more likely to be satisfied with the outcome of their plastic surgery.  The study, which surveyed patients undergoing elective facial surgery, also found that generalized pessimism and optimism had no correlation to one’s satisfaction with surgical outcomes.

The study was conducted by Jill L. Hessler, M.D., of Premier Plastic Surgery in California and her colleagues. The group surveyed Fifty-one patients undergoing facial cosmetic between 2007 and 2008. Patients were evaluated by their demographics as well as their levels of optimism and pessimism. In addition, the subjects were asked to complete a surgical outcome survey specific to their cosmetic procedure. The same surveys were issued again four to six months later.

According to the study, patients younger than the average age of 53 were less satisfied with their results than their older counterparts.  The study also found that patients being treated for depression were more satisfied with their results than patients who were not treated for depression.

“The ability to preoperatively identify patient characteristics (psychological, social or demographic) that might impact the subjective perception of surgical outcome and predict dissatisfaction with facial plastic surgery could be highly useful to surgeons,” said the authors. “Although preliminary, our observations provide insight into these relationships and identify potential associations, which establish a basis upon which future studies can be built. In particular, it will be interesting to design larger scale studies to examine the potential associations between perceived surgical outcomes and sex, education, marital status, depression and/or inclination toward optimism/pessimism.”

The authors also noted that older patients may be more satisfied with elective surgery outcomes because they have more realistic

To Your Health & Beauty,

Vipul R. Dev, M.D.

Study: Reality TV Influences Choice to Undergo Plastic Surgery

There’s no denying that teenagers are an impressionable group. Appearance often plays a large role in the social hierarchy of high school, and therefore teens are vulnerable to the influences of the media on their body image. A recent study by a Rutgers-Camden psychologist has now found that teens who watch reality TV are more likely to undergo elective cosmetic surgery.

Charlotte Markey, an associate professor of psychology at Rutgers-Camden, and her husband Patrick Markey of Villanova University conducted the study, which was recently published in the academic journal Body Image. The duo surveyed nearly 200 subjects with an average age of 20-years-old. The immediate responses of both men and women were monitored after they watched both an extreme makeover show and a home improvement program.

The researchers found that women were more likely to want plastic surgery than men and the subjects who viewed the makeover show were more likely to consider plastic surgery than those who didn’t watch the program. The written responses from subjects including comments describing the show as “inspirational” and “I saw an unhappy girl get her dreams.”

For young bodies and minds, the influence of reality TV on body image can stay with them after high school graduation.

Says Charlotte Markey:
“When we think of cosmetic surgery, we don’t think of it as a lifetime issue. There is lots of pressure to look a certain way and I don’t blame them for succumbing; we’re all guilty of feeling vulnerable. But what young men and women think of their bodies now will culminate over time and contribute to their overall health. What troubles me is that there’s no conclusive data that cosmetic surgery even makes people happier, what has been documented is that it makes repeat customers…if plastic surgery makes you feel better about yourself, then why do you keep getting it done? This mindset is very similar to that of an anorexic wanting to lose just five more pounds.”

Reality shows like ABC’s Extreme Makeover, MTV’s I Want a Famous Face, E!’s Dr. 90210 and Oxygen’s Addicted to Beauty all glorify plastic surgery to a young demographic of viewers. This so-called ‘reality’ entertainment is also not an accurate portrayal of real life.

Markey acknowledges that there is a cultural context to never be satisfied with our physical appearance. These messages are prevalent in almost every aspect of our lives and are the reason why Americans have an unhealthy level of insecurity. Children are exposed to unachievable beauty ideals at such a young age that it can permanently cripple their ability to foster self-esteem.  By teaching individuals to be critical of these messages, we may be able to minimize the prevalence of socially ignited mental conditions such as bulimia or body dysmorphic disorder.

To Your Health & Beauty,

Vipul R. Dev, M.D.