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My son is in now college in San Francisco. Being from the East Coast, I think San Francisco is a lovely city built on a fault line and I keep waiting for him to report when he feels his first tremors. Oddly enough, I found a study that has found the positive advantage in living on shaky ground.

Apparently, when they took laboratory mice and put them for 15 minutes a day on a vibrating platform, they grew to develop over 25% less fat than other mice. This was a study done at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and the research was apparently being done to try to create a way of off- setting bone loss in astronauts. Well, it seems that the vibrations can stimulate the growth of stem cells. These are cells in the body that can develop into other cells where they are needed. The shaking stimulates the stem cells to become muscle cells or bone cells instead of fat cells.

It didn’t take a lot of stimulation. These were very, very minute vibrations for just 15 minutes a day, although the vibration of the whole body seemed important, versus let say the fat jiggling belts that people buy over the Internet or on late night TV that are supposed to make you lose weight.
This study seems to add to the growing body of research that suggests that exercise and things that mimic exercise in the body can help to train the body to gain less fat in a way that involves genetics and metabolism and not just calorie loss. That is, minute vibrations for 15 minutes were not burning off calories; rather they are training the cells of the body to form less fat. So, if you don’t live on a fault line, it seems that a good choice is still to do regular exercise as a way of stimulating the body’s loss of fat and gaining of muscle and bone cells.

And by the way, the University of San Francisco turns out to be on bedrock. So if my son comes home from school and he has lost some weight, it is not because of vibrations from living on a fault line. It is more likely due to the Ramen noodles and the other junk foods that students tend to live on for the semester.

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