Even short periods of physical inactivity are damaging to our health



That two-week beach vacation you’ve been dreaming of could have long-term effects on your health.
PVStudio/ Shutterstock

Tori Sprung, Liverpool John Moores University and Kelly Bowden Davies, Newcastle University

As a society, we aren’t getting as much exercise as we should. In fact, current activity guidelines state that adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderately intense activity – or 75 minutes of vigorous activity – every week. But research has found that one in four adults aren’t active enough.

It’s easy to see why. Many of us drive to work instead of walking – and for those of us who work desk jobs, many are often so focused on what we’re doing we rarely get up from our desks except to visit the bathroom or get a drink. In short, though we might be busy, we aren’t moving very much. But after dealing with the stress of work week after week, it’s easy to daydream about unwinding on a warm beach, doing nothing but lounge around for a fortnight. But this might not be what our bodies need. In fact, it might actually be more harmful than we realise.

Our research looked at what effect even short periods of physical inactivity had on our bodies. We found that even just two weeks of low activity actually increased participants’ risk of later developing serious health conditions such as cardiovascular disease.

Keeping active

We know that physical activity is good for us. This is irrefutable, and we’ve known this for a long time. As far back as the 1950s, the link between day-to-day physical activity and health was first identified in the London transport workers study.

The study found that bus drivers were more likely to experience a heart attack compared to their bus conductor counterparts. The main difference between these two groups was that conductors spent their working day on their feet collecting fares from commuters, while bus drivers spent their days sitting down.

Since then, some have branded physical activity a “miracle cure” for cardiovascular risk. Yet, as a society, we are more sedentary than ever, and cardiovascular-related deaths remain the leading cause of death worldwide.

While we know that having a physically active lifestyle will improve our health, surely we aren’t doing any additional harm, even if we choose not to be physically active? We decided to examine exactly what the harmful effects of being physically inactive are.




Read more:
Q&A: How often do we need to go to the gym? (And other exercise questions answered)


For our study, we recruited young (aged 18-50 years), healthy weight (BMI less than 30), physically active individuals (meaning that they take more than 10,000 steps per day on average). After carrying out assessments to measure blood vessel health, body composition and blood sugar control, we asked them to become inactive for two weeks.

To achieve this, participants were provided with a step counter and asked not to exceed 1,500 steps per day, which equates to approximately two laps of a full sized football pitch. After two weeks, we reassessed their blood vessel health, body composition and blood sugar control to examine what effects two weeks of inactivity had on them. We then asked them to resume their usual routine and behaviours. Two weeks after resuming their normal daily lifestyles, we checked participants’ health markers to see if they’d returned to where they were when they’d started the trial.

Our group of participants successfully reduced their step count by an average of around 10,000 steps per day and, in doing so, increased their waking sedentary time by an average of 103 minutes per day. Artery function decreased following this two-week period of relative inactivity, but returned to their normal levels after two weeks following their usual lifestyles.

Decreased artery function is an early sign of cardiovascular disease.
Rost9/ Shutterstock

We were interested in seeing how activity levels influenced blood vessel health, since this is where most cardiovascular disease starts. Most of us don’t realise that our blood vessels are a complex system. They’re lined with muscle and constantly adapt to our needs by dilating (opening) and constricting (closing) to distribute blood where it’s most needed. For example, during exercise vessels feeding organs such as the stomach will constrict, as it is inactive at this time, and so blood is redistributed to our working muscles to fuel movement. One of the earliest detectable signs of cardiovascular risk is a reduced function of this dilatory capacity.

To measure this, we used an imaging technique called flow-mediated dilation or FMD. FMD measures how well the arteries dilate and constrict, and it has been found to predict our future cardiovascular risk.

Heart health

We found that after as little as two weeks of inactivity there was a reduction in artery function. This indicates the start of cardiovascular disease development as a result of being inactive. We also observed an increase in traditional risk factors, such as body fat, waist circumference, fitness and diabetes markers, including liver fat, and insulin sensitivity.

Something we also observed – which we initially weren’t researching – was that resuming normal activity levels following two weeks of being physically inactive was below baseline. That is to say, our participants did not return back to normal within two weeks of completing the intervention.

This is interesting to consider, especially regarding the potential longer-term effects of acute physical inactivity. In real-world terms, acute physical inactivity could mean a bout of flu or a two-week beach holiday – anything that can have a potential longer-term effect on our usual habits and behaviour.

These results show us that we need to make changes to public health messages and emphasise the harmful effect of even short-term physical inactivity. Small alterations to daily living can have a significant impact on health – positively, or negatively. People should be encouraged to increase their physical activity levels, in any way possible. Simply increasing daily physical activity can have measurable benefits. This could include having a ten-minute walk during your lunch hour, standing from your desk on an hourly basis to break up sitting time or parking your car at the back of the supermarket car park to get more steps in.

The impact of spending a large proportion of the day being inactive has received a lot of research in recent years. In fact, it has become a hot point of discussion among exercise scientists. As technology advances and our lives become increasingly geared towards convenience, it’s important this kind of research continues.

The health consequences of sedentary behaviour are severe and numerous. Moving more in everyday life could be key in improving your overall health.The Conversation

Tori Sprung, Senior Lecturer in Sport & Exercise Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University and Kelly Bowden Davies, Teaching Fellow in Sport and Exercise Science, Newcastle University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

It’s easy to get us walking more if we have somewhere to walk to near our home and work



It doesn’t take much to get us walking more.
Flickr/alina gnerre , CC BY

Rebecca Bentley, University of Melbourne and Hannah Badland, RMIT University

We know walking more and increasing our levels of exercise are good for our health.

But how can we walk more in our busy lives?

Our research shows people walk more if the city’s design provides them with places to walk to near where they live, work or study.




Read more:
Health Check: do we really need to take 10,000 steps a day?


The research also shows people walk even more if they live in a place that has good public transport and plenty of jobs or employment opportunities they can easily access.

What gets us walking

Our study examined walking behaviours in nearly 5,000 adult commuters in Melbourne, drawn from the Victorian Integrated Survey of Travel and Activity between 2012 to 2014.

We looked at what level of access they had for destinations to walk to, typically within about 800 metres, close to their home, work or study place. This could be local cafes, shops, supermarkets, libraries and other services, often referred to as local accessibility.

The amount walked on an average day by those with good local accessibility at home or near where they worked or studied was around 12 minutes. Those with limited access to local facilities walked only seven minutes.

People with good local accessibility near their homes walked five minutes more per day than those with poor local accessibility. People with good local accessibility near where they worked or studied walked nine minutes more.




Read more:
Young people want walkable neighbourhoods, but safety is a worry


But to get our activity to the next level we needed to look beyond what was locally accessible to people.

We looked at people’s relative travel commute time by public transport compared with driving, the level of public transport service accessible from where they lived, worked or studied, and the number of jobs within 30 minutes of people’s homes by public transport. These are sometimes referred to as measures of regional accessibility.

We found that the greater access people had to resources and public transport regionally, the more they walked.

For example, after accounting for local accessibility, people living in places with a higher number of jobs available within a 30-minute public transport journey walked just over four minutes more on average than people in areas with very low job availability.

People living in places where taking public transport was more efficient timewise than driving, walked more than seven minutes extra a day compared with people with low levels of public transport.

A little extra help

Our study also looked at the combination of local and regional accessibility to see if they encouraged people to walk even more.

We found that high exposure to both local accessibility and public transport accessible opportunities beyond the immediate neighbourhood was associated with greater walking benefits than exposure to just one or the other alone.

This combination of factors supported people to do around ten minutes more (give or take depending on the measures used) of walking on average per day.

We know people who travel by public transport are likely to walk more than those who travel by car.

Public transport effectively separates people from their own vehicle, be it at home or a park-and-ride stop. Public transport delivers them as pedestrians close to their destination, which in turn promotes walking throughout the day.

If people walk more in their residential environment (say to the shops, library, or post office), take public transport to their workplace or place of study and then walk more in this environment too (at lunchtime for example), they do ten more minutes of physical activity in a day than their counterparts who drive.

A message to planners

The message this new research tells us is simple.

City and urban design and transport planning have the potential to deliver a regular extra dose of what’s been described as the “miracle cure” of exercise by encouraging us to walk more.

A variety of walkable destinations that support people’s daily living needs to be designed into existing and, more importantly, new developments. That means at locations where we live, work, and study.




Read more:
Making our cities more accessible for people with disability is easier than we think


This can be done by locating shops, schools, post offices, GPs and public transport stops within good walking distance. Jobs need to be located close to where people live. This will encourage walking, cycling and public transport commuting. When this is not possible, employment opportunities should be embedded within well connected and efficient public transport networks.

Cities that support people to walk more will provide population health benefits through increased physical activity, helping them to become truly smart and healthy cities.The Conversation

Rebecca Bentley, Associate Professor, Centre for Health Equity, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne and Hannah Badland, Principal Research Fellow, Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

It’s not just athletes who get Achilles tendon pain, but exercising is the answer


Sean Docking, La Trobe University; Ebonie Rio, La Trobe University, and Jill Cook, La Trobe University

Basketball fans around the world were recently sickened by the footage of NBA star Kevin Durant’s Achilles tendon rupturing during a game.

But while many think it’s only elite athletes who suffer from Achilles tendon issues, a fifth of the over-50 population actually suffers from Achilles tendinopathy (pain). And while very few of these will be ruptures, the pain can be frustratingly persistent and limit our ability to exercise and enjoy life.

What is Achilles tendinopathy?

The Achilles tendon is one of the strongest tendons in the human body. It attaches the calf muscles to the heel bone of the foot, helping you to run fast, jump high, and change direction quickly. During these types of exercises the tendon acts like a spring that propels you forward more efficiently.

Many labels are used to describe what’s going on when the tendon is injured. People are often told their tendon is torn and may think of it as a rope hanging on by a thread. These descriptions are unhelpful and inaccurate, often leading to expensive and unnecessary treatments.

We know words are extremely powerful and influence what treatment you think you need. For example, would you do the exercises your physiotherapist gave you if you believed your tendon was hanging on by a thread? Probably not.

Our work has found a painful tendon is not like a torn rope at all. It’s more like doughnuts stacked on top of each other. Even though changes in tendon structure are seen as a “hole” in the middle of the tendon, there is still a lot of delicious doughnut (in other words healthy tendon) surrounding the damaged area. The tendon adapts by getting thicker, making it stronger and allowing you to exercise.

Critically, pain poorly reflects damage. Tendon pain is not present because the tendon is damaged, weak or hanging on by a thread. More than 30% of AFL players have a “hole” in their tendon when we scan them but are able to play at the highest level with no pain.




Read more:
Health Check: why do my muscles ache the day after exercise?


Who gets it?

Achilles tendinopathy can affect athletes who participate in sports that involve running or explosive movements (Australian football, track and field). Most players do not miss competition as a result of Achilles tendon pain.

But our research found more than 20% of AFL players report that pain in their Achilles tendon significantly affects their training and performance. That’s four or five of your favourite 22 athletes playing this weekend.

Some 20% of AFL players suffer from pain in the Achilles tendon that affects their performance.
http://www.shutterstock.com

But most people who experience this type of pain are aged 40-64 years.

That’s because the Achilles tendon bears the brunt of activities like running, playing golf, walking the dog, and stepping off the kerb throughout life. Being overweight, having diabetes, and high cholesterol all increase the risk of developing Achilles tendon pain. Tendon pain can lead to further weight gain and a greater impact on someone’s health beyond just their ability to run and exercise.

Overcoming tendon pain

The good news is that painful Achilles tendons rarely rupture. Some 80-90% of people who rupture their tendon have never had Achilles tendon pain. Your brain is clever as it uses pain to protect your Achilles tendon by changing your behaviour. But it’s easy to become overprotective.

Completely resting the tendon, either by using crutches or a walking boot, is one thing that should be avoided. This is because of the “use it or lose it” principle. With even two weeks’ rest, your tendon and calf muscles become weaker, meaning a longer recovery time.

Just like muscles, tendons get stronger with exercise. Starting exercise that produces no or minimal pain and progressively increasing the intensity of exercise is by far the best option, based on research.




Read more:
How to prevent injury from sport and exercise


In consultation with an experienced physiotherapist, this program should include strength training to help strengthen the tendon and the calf muscles. If you want to get back to running, slowly introduce exercise that requires the tendon to act like a spring, such as skipping and jumping.

It can be tempting to look for a quick fix for your pain. But interventions such as surgery or injections are often ineffective, costly, and can be harmful.

These approaches should be a last resort, and actually all still require exercise to strengthen the tendon. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts when recovering from a tendon injury.

Unlike Achilles in Greek mythology, your Achilles tendon does not have to be a point of weakness. Consulting with an experienced physiotherapist to develop a progressive exercise program is the best protection you can have against further injury.The Conversation

Sean Docking, Post-doctoral researcher, La Trobe University; Ebonie Rio, NHMRC Research Fellow, La Trobe University, and Jill Cook, Professor, Sports Medicine Research, La Trobe University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Health Check: do we really need to take 10,000 steps a day?



File 20190204 193226 1dq99ek.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
Walking has a variety of health benefits.
From shutterstock.com

Corneel Vandelanotte, CQUniversity Australia; Kerry Mummery, University of Alberta; Mitch Duncan, University of Newcastle, and Wendy Brown, The University of Queensland

Regular walking produces many health benefits, including reducing our risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and depression.

Best of all, it’s free, we can do it anywhere and, for most of us, it’s relatively easy to fit into our daily routines.

We often hear 10,000 as the golden number of steps to strive for in a day. But do we really need to take 10,000 steps a day?

Not necessarily. This figure was originally popularised as part of a marketing campaign, and has been subject to some criticism. But if it gets you walking more, it might be a good goal to work towards.




Read more:
Health Check: in terms of exercise, is walking enough?


Where did 10,000 come from?

The 10,000 steps concept was initially formulated in Japan in the lead-up to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. There was no real evidence to support this target. Rather, it was a marketing strategy to sell step counters.

There was very little interest in the idea until the turn of the century, when the concept was revisited by Australian health promotion researchers in 2001 to encourage people to be more active.

Based on accumulated evidence, many physical activity guidelines around the world – including the Australian guidelines – recommend a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a week. This equates to 30 minutes on most days. A half hour of activity corresponds to about 3,000 to 4,000 dedicated steps at a moderate pace.

In Australia, the average adult accumulates about 7,400 steps a day. So an additional 3,000 to 4,000 steps through dedicated walking will get you to the 10,000 steps target.




Read more:
Are you walking your dog enough?


One size doesn’t fit all

Of course, some people accumulate a lot fewer steps per day – for example, older people, those with a chronic disease, and office workers. And others do a lot more: children, runners, and some blue-collar workers. So the 10,000 goal is not suitable for everyone.

Setting a lower individual step goal is fine as long as you try to add about 3,000 to 4,000 steps to your day. This means you will have done your 30 minutes of activity.

People measure their daily steps using a variety of activity trackers.
From shutterstock.com

Studies that examine how the number of daily steps relates to health benefits have mainly been cross-sectional. This means they present a snapshot, and don’t look at how changes in steps affect people’s health over time. Therefore, what we call “reverse causality” may occur. So rather than more steps leading to increased health benefits, being healthier may in fact lead to taking more steps.

Nonetheless, most studies do find taking more steps is associated with better health outcomes.

Several studies have shown improved health outcomes even in participants who take less than 10,000 steps. An Australian study, for example, found people who took more than 5,000 steps a day had a much lower risk of heart disease and stroke than those who took less than 5,000 steps.

Another study found that women who did 5,000 steps a day had a significantly lower risk of being overweight or having high blood pressure than those who did not.

The more the better

Many studies do, however, show a greater number of steps leads to increased health benefits.

An American study from 2010 found a 10% reduction in the occurrence of metabolic syndrome (a collection of conditions that increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke) for each 1,000-step increase per day.

An Australian study from 2015 demonstrated that each 1,000-step increase per day reduced the risk of dying prematurely of any cause by 6%, with those taking 10,000 or more steps having a 46% lower risk of early death.




Read more:
The faster you walk, the better for long term health – especially as you age


Another Australian study from 2017 showed people with increasingly higher step counts spent less time in hospital.

So the bottom line is the more steps, the better.

Step it up

It’s important to recognise that no public health guideline is entirely appropriate for every person; public health messages are aimed at the population at large.

That being said, we shouldn’t underestimate the power of a simple public health message: 10,000 steps is an easily remembered goal and you can readily measure and assess your progress. You can use an activity tracker, or follow your progress through a program such as 10,000 Steps Australia.

Increasing your activity levels, through increasing your daily step count, is worthwhile; even if 10,000 steps is not the right goal for you. The most important thing is being as active as you can. Striving for 10,000 steps is just one way of doing this.The Conversation

Corneel Vandelanotte, Professorial Research Fellow: Physical Activity and Health, CQUniversity Australia; Kerry Mummery, Dean, Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport and Recreation, University of Alberta; Mitch Duncan, , University of Newcastle, and Wendy Brown, Professor of Human Movement Studies, The University of Queensland

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The faster you walk, the better for long term health – especially as you age



File 20180530 120484 1r92o7l.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
OK, you don’t need the poles. But you should pick up the pace.
from http://www.shutterstock.com

Emmanuel Stamatakis, University of Sydney

Some of us like to stroll along and smell the roses, while others march to their destination as quickly as their feet will carry them. A new study out today has found those who report faster walking have lower risk of premature death.

We studied just over 50,000 walkers over 30 years of age who lived in Britain between 1994 and 2008. We collected data on these walkers, including how quickly they think they walk, and we then looked at their health outcomes (after controlling to make sure the results weren’t due to poor health or other habits such as smoking and exercise).

We found any pace above slow reduced the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, such as heart disease or stroke. Compared to slow walkers, average pace walkers had a 20% lower risk of early death from any cause, and a 24% lower risk of death from heart disease or stroke.

Australian Science Media Centre.



Read more:
We asked five experts: is walking enough exercise?


Those who reported walking at a brisk or fast pace had a 24% lower risk of early death from any cause and a 21% lower risk of death from cardiovascular causes.

We also found the beneficial effects of fast walking were more pronounced in older age groups. For example, average pace walkers aged 60 years or over experienced a 46% reduction in risk of death from cardiovascular causes, and fast walkers experienced a 53% reduction. Compared to slow walkers, brisk or fast walkers aged 45-59 had 36% lower risk of early death from any cause.

In these older age groups (but not in the whole sample or the younger age groups), we also found there was a linearly higher reduction in the risk of early death the higher the pace.

What it all means

Our results suggest walking at an average, brisk or fast pace may be beneficial for long term health and longevity compared to slow walking, particularly for older people.

But we also need to be mindful our study was observational, and we did not have full control of all likely influences to be able to establish it was the walking alone causing the beneficial health effects. For example, it could be that the least healthy people reported slow walking pace as a result of their poor health, and also ended up dying earlier for the same reason.

Fast walking for some might not seem it for others.
from http://www.shutterstock.com

To minimise the chances of this reverse causality, we excluded all those who had heart disease, had experienced a stroke, or had cancer when the study started, as well as those who died in the first two years of follow up.




Read more:
New study shows more time walking means less time in hospital


Another important point is that participants in our study self-reported their usual pace, which means the responses were about perceived pace. There are no established standards for what “slow”, “average” or “brisk” walking means in terms of speed. What is perceived as “fast” walking pace by a very sedentary and physically unfit 70-year-old will be very different from a sporty and fit 45-year-old.

For this reason, our results could be interpreted as reflecting relative (to one’s physical capacity) intensity of walking. That is, the higher the physical exertion while walking, the better health results.

For the general relatively healthy middle-aged population, a walking speed between 6 and 7.5 km/h will be fast and if sustained, will make most people slightly out of breath. A walking pace of 100 steps per minute is considered roughly equivalent to moderate intensity physical activity.

We know walking is an excellent activity for health, accessible by most people of all ages. Our findings suggest it’s a good idea to step up to a pace that will challenge our physiology and may even make walking more of a workout.

The ConversationLong term-health benefits aside, a faster pace will get us to our destination faster and free up time for all those other things that can make our daily routines special, such as spending time with loved ones or reading a good book.

Emmanuel Stamatakis, Professor of Physical Activity, Lifestyle, and Population Health, University of Sydney

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Iran: government security forces burned hundreds of Bibles


Ati News, a site belonging to Morteza Talaee who is the previous head of the security forces and the current member of the Tehran’s city council, in its usual anti-Christian propaganda reported that their social-life reporter had disclosed that shipments of so called, "Perverted Torah and Gospels" had entered Iran through its Western borders, reports FCNN.

Two days later, on May 31st, the same report was reiterated by the official anti-crime website of the Pasdaran Army called "Gerdaub" that a large shipment of Jewish and Christian Scriptures has entered Iran through the Western Azerbaijan province and according to security officials of that province the "occupier forces" that operate in the Western regions of Iraq were responsible for such activities.

Gerdaub, the official website of the Pasdaran Army continued its report by quoting the security official who had stated that:

Some of these books are distributed locally, but most of the books are smuggled and distributed all over the country. In just the last few months, hundreds of such "perverted Bibles" have been seized and burned in the border town of Sardasht.

The same unidentified security source adds that his intention has been to inform and enlighten people.

While the depiction of the Prophet of Islam and other historical religious leaders, whether in good or bad taste, has caused uproar and violent protests, threats of retaliation and assassinations, closure of embassies, long and mournful marches in various parts of countries of the world such as Pakistan, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, its quite interesting that the official website of the most powerful military wing of the Islamic Republic of Iran engages in the shameful act of reporting the burning
of Bibles.

Of course, the security officials have not clarified the difference between these so called "perverted Bibles" and those that are commonly used by people around the world – including Iran.

These officials shamefully label the Holy Scriptures of the Christians contraband without realizing the over two billion people around the world and at least five hundred thousand people in Iran revere and consider holy. This action is no different than what the government has wrongfully accused many Christians of insulting the sacred beliefs of Islam.

On the hand the defenders of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the international organizations and human rights forums claim that religious minorities such as Jews and Christians enjoy constitutional protection and the adherents of these religions not only can elect their own representatives to the parliament, but exercise their religious rights freely and openly. But, as with many other rights and freedoms granted to the people in the constitution, this fundamental right has also been violated
and repressed by the Islamic government.

The leaders of the Islamic Republic not only use the weapon of their pre-selected parliamentary candidates to control who gets into the legislature, but severely suppresses the religious minorities by demanding the names of those attending church services, banning the entry of Farsi-speaking members into church building and any preaching in the Farsi language, rejecting any building permits for church buildings, and the publishing of Bibles and other Christian literature which amounts to nothing
but direct interference in the religious affairs of the very people it claims to be protecting.

For these reasons Christians have taken refuge at homes and congregate in home-style churches form small home-based churches. Even then, many of these Christians are harassed and often pursued by security agents and are arrested and detained. Many Christian leaders have been detained for long periods of time in undisclosed locations and often very expensive bails have to be posted to secure their freedom.

The question remains as to how long the Christian community outside of Iran can tolerate such persecutions and atrocities? Moreover, and not withstanding the fact that Iranian Christians do not have the right to publish their holy scriptures, those Christians from around the world who donate Bibles to their brothers and sisters inside Iran are insulted by labeling their donated Bibles as contraband and burned by the security agents.

It is only appropriate that the official website of the Pasdaran army that has published this report and has confirmed the validity of this news through one of its security agents be condemned by the international Christian community and the world to demand the identification of those perpetrated this shameful act.

Such insults and offensive actions in burning the Christian Bible coincides with the Islamic community’s full enjoyment, freedom, and the blessings of the Western nations that allow them to publish the Islamic Holy Book, the Quran, and to build as many mosques as its needed in various European and North America cities.

The Quran states that the Torah and the Gospels are Holy Scriptures as well. Nevertheless, the Islamic leaders claim that the Bibles used by Christians and Jews are not the authentic scriptures but have been changed by the church. Considering the fact that the Quran also states that no man can destroy the word of God, the question remains that if the currently used Bible is, as the Islamic leaders so claim, a changed and untrustworthy document where is the real Torah and the Gospels?

If the Quranic claim that the word of God can never be perverted and changed, then there must be a copy of the real Torah and the Gospels somewhere. To this question Muslims have not credible answers. There is no such difference or variance between today’s Scriptures and the original writings. Our modern Bibles go back to the very ancient copies of the scriptures that in some cases date back to only 50 years from Christ Himself. There are even copies of the Old Testament that date several hundred
years before Christ.

Definitely and for sure, one can not find any ancient writings that have been as carefully and precisely copied and preserved as the Bible has been. There are thousands of ancient manuscripts in world museums that testify to this fact. Therefore the claim that the Bible is a changed and false scripture is totally baseless and is nothing but a ploy to confuse and mislead people by the Islamic leaders.

In any event, the burning of any book, especially one that is honored and revered by a great majority of people around the world, is an unacceptable and immoral act and must be condemned by the world community.

Report from the Christian Telegraph

Officials Threaten to Burn Shelters of Expelled Christians


Village heads tell church members they must recant faith or move elsewhere.

DUBLIN, March 16 (CDN) — Officials in southern Laos in the next 48 hours plan to burn temporary shelters built by expelled Christians unless they recant their faith, according to advocacy group Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom (HRWLRF).

Authorities including a religious affairs official, the district head, district police and the chief of Katin village in Ta-Oyl district, Saravan province, expelled the 48 Christians at gunpoint on Jan. 18.

Prior to the expulsion, officials raided a worship service, destroyed homes and belongings and demanded that the Christians renounce their faith. (See www.compassdirect.org, “Lao Officials Force Christians from Worship at Gunpoint,” Feb. 8.)

Left to survive in the open, the Christians began to build temporary shelters, and then more permanent homes, on the edge of the jungle, according to HRWLRF. They continued to do so even after deputy district head Khammun, identified only by his surname, arrived at the site on Feb. 9 and ordered them to cease construction.

More officials arrived on Feb. 18 and ordered the Christians to cease building and either renounce their faith or relocate to another area. When the group insisted on retaining their Christian identity, the officials left in frustration.

On Monday (March 15), district head Bounma, identified only by his surname, summoned seven of the believers to his office, HRWLRF reported.

Bounma declared that although the republic’s law and constitution allowed for freedom of religious belief, he would not allow Christian beliefs and practices in areas under his control. If the Katin believers would not give up their faith, he said, they must relocate to a district where Christianity was tolerated.

When the seven Christians asked Bounma to supply them with a written eviction order, he refused.

The Christians later heard through local sources that the chiefs of Katin and neighboring Ta Loong village planned to burn down their temporary shelters and 11 partially-constructed homes erected on land owned by Ta Loong, according to HRWLRF.

These threats have left the Christians in a dilemma, as permission is required to move into another district.

Both adults and children in the group are also suffering from a lack of adequate food and shelter, according to HRWLRF.

“They are without light, food and clean water, except for a small stream nearby,” a spokesman said. Officials also forced them to leave the village with minimal clothing and other items necessary for basic survival.

Village officials have said they will only allow spirit worship in the area. A communist country, Laos is 1.5 percent Christian and 67 percent Buddhist, with the remainder unspecified. Article 6 and Article 30 of the Lao Constitution guarantee the right of Christians and other religious minorities to practice the religion of their choice without discrimination or penalty.

Decree 92, promulgated in July 2002 by the prime minister to “manage and protect” religious activities in Laos, also declares the central government’s intent to “ensure the exercise of the right of Lao people to believe or not to believe.”

Report from Compass Direct News