Tag Archives: health

Red Wine Antioxidant Could Prevent Falls – Eventually

For several years now we have been told about the many good qualities that are in red wine.  Things like antioxidants and resveratrol can improve heart health, of course as those studies conclude, that is only if the wine is consumed in moderation.  The antioxidants are said to raise the “good” cholesterol and protecting your arteries from damage — again, in moderation.  Too much alcohol, even if it is red wine, can and does have a very negative affect on your health.

Well, researchers at Duquesne University have been studying the effects of that other scientific word, “resveratrol’s” effects on lab mice, and have found some interesting results.  Suspecting that this antioxidant might have other benefits, such as protecting nerves from damage caused by so called “free radicles” the scientists wanted to know how treating elderly lab mice with it (resveratrol) might affect their abilities.

Well, upon they discovered that the elderly mice that were treated with this antioxidant showed dexterity that was about on par with their younger peers.  The treated mice were able to walk across narrow beams without stumbling, while the elderly mice that weren’t treated had a harder time at completing the same task.

The implications are pretty clear.  Resveratrol can help prevent the falls in elderly humans; but before you go out and buy yourself a bottle of red wine, there is a catch — there is always a catch, isn’t there?  The thing about those lab mice is that the amount of resveratrol they were given would equate to a human having to consume 108 bottles of red wine; which would more than likely cause you to not just fall down drunk, but more than likely cause you to fall down dead.  However, I can only imagine that there will be a day when the pharmaceutical industry will figure out a way to put this antioxidant in pill form, so that we human’s might one day not have to worry so much about falling down in our old age.

 

Walnuts Can Make Healthy Sperm

It wasn’t too long ago when men ate what they wanted, when they wanted, and as much as they wanted, with little to no thought about the health consequences or benefits of whatever it was he was ingesting.  We were men damn it and men live their lives like, well, I guess like ogres.  Well, as Bob Dylan sang, “Times They are a-Changing,” or more accurately, times have changed, because not just men, but the adult population on the whole has really woken up to the fact that what we eat can and does affect all aspects of our health — I know, shocker right?

Science has actually created many of the “foods,” to use that word loosely, that we eat, or if nothing else, science has “enhanced” some foods too.  Take for example margarine; it was long touted as being the safer, healthier alternative to butter.  However, margarine is a man-made substance.  Did you know that margarine is but one chemical molecule away from being plastic?  Sounds delicious doesn’t it?  Margarine is but one example of laboratory produced foods, there are many more, too many to list here.

Well, where eating healthy used to be seen as the domain of women who were watching their figures, many men are now recognizing that eating like an ogre doesn’t make them more manly, it makes them dead.  So, more and more men are turning to eating foods that are natural, and reducing portion sizes.  And now medical science is beginning to observe and see how some of these foods are having beneficial results on men’s health.

Recently medical researchers in the UK conducted a study on the effect of eating walnuts on sperm development in men.  Their results show that men who eat about 3 ounces of whole walnuts per day essentially have healthier sperm than those who do not.  The results are preliminary, and as such the researchers do not know if walnuts actually improve fertility, but they are encouraged nonetheless.  What is more manly than knowing your “manhood” is healthy?

Camel’s Milk Controls Diabetes

It is no secret that diabetes is /has reached epidemic proportions in this country, and the numbers are rising worldwide of those who are diagnosed with this disease.  There are many suspected reasons for this rise.  Modern societies are increasingly more sedentary, the eating of too many starches, the intake of too many sweets and alcohol, and so the list goes on and on from there.  Regardless of the causes, the numbers diagnosed continues to rise, posing health problems for millions of people, which has prompted doctors to not just better understand this disease, but to search for a cure.

As many of us know, diabetes happens when the pancreas essentially stops producing insulin, which is integral in controlling the amount of sugar in our blood.  The thing about the pancreas is that once it stops, you cannot simply get a pancreas transplant.  Modern medicine has yet to figure how to do this, and it may never be possible.  Uncontrolled, diabetes will kill those afflicted, so for years sufferers of this disease have had to give themselves shots of insulin and monitor their own blood sugar, with mixed results.

Well, like I said earlier researchers and doctors are literally combing the world for a cure, as well as food stuffs that could be beneficial to diabetics, and they have stumbled upon something rather “interesting.”  Researchers at the Diabetes Care & Research Centre, in Bikaner India have found that camel’s milk has a rather miraculous effect on the reduction of blood sugar in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes suffers.  A two year study on 12 diabetics drinking camel milk showing that 3 of that 12 no longer needed insulin injections afterwards, while far from a cure, I would say that 25% success rate is a pretty damn good start.

Lying is Detrimental to Your Health

Undoubtedly we are all aware of the saying, “honesty is the best policy.”  It kind of goes hand in hand with the Golden Rule, “Do unto others, as you would have done unto you;” and it is a close cousin to another old saying, “patience is a virtue.”  These sayings have been said so many times as to make them cliché.  We tend to dismiss clichés as being trite and, to an extent, essentially meaningless; but here’s the thing about clichés, to become a cliché, whatever “it” is, means that “it” has essentially become a universal truth.  Well, with regards to the “honesty is the best policy” cliché researchers have actually discovered it’s the truth of it.

Dr. Anita Kelly, a professor at the University of Notre Dame, conducted a ten week study on 110 individuals, ranging in age from 18-71 to see if there is a correlation between lying/honesty and those individuals health.  The study involved the participants to take weekly lie detector tests and then undergo health and relationship measures to look for the effects lying had on the participants’ health.

Half of the participants were told to refrain from even telling the littlest lies.  They were allowed omissions and refusals to answer questions, but under no circumstances could they say anything that they know to be false.  According to the results of this study, Dr. Kelly found that there is a direct correlation between lying and health.  She found that those in the “no lie” group who told only three fewer lies from one week to the next had a similar decrease in health related issues, like mental health complaints and physical ailments.

It shouldn’t be too hard to understand why there is this correlation.  When we tell a lie we then have the added stress of hoping that lie does not get exposed as being a lie, and often times we have to cover that lie with another lie, which of course compounds the stress.  When we tell the truth, our conscious is clean and thus we are able to relax.  So, for the sake of all of our health, may I suggest that we all endeavor to be more truthful to everyone else?  I mean it has now been scientifically proven that honesty really is the best policy.

Emma’s Magic Arms

I’m not really what you would call a “technophile,” meaning that I don’t really have the latest and greatest gizmos out there.  In fact I am what is called a “late adopter” of many technologies.  I was probably the last human in the civilized world to buy a CD player, I was the last of my friends to buy a cell phone, and then I was late to adding text messaging to my wireless plan.  I was late to the smartphone game too, buying one just last year.  My flat screen television isn’t that old either, though it isn’t exactly top of the line, nor is it loaded with all of the preinstalled aps that are on the newest televisions now.  I guess you could say that I have a healthy skepticism for some new technology, plus you could say that I am a little cheap too, because I do tend to wait until prices come down before I commit to buying the then not so new thing.  Every now and then though there is something that just makes me say, “Wow, that is awesome!”

Meet Emma, like most two years olds she is simply adorable.  Unlike most two years olds though she was born with a rare disorder called arthrogryposis multiplex congenital, that causes muscle weakness and shortened joints, which left her unable to lift her arms and thus preventing her from being to do what every toddler loves doing — playing.  Well, thanks to the incredible technology known as 3-D printing and the genius of invention the people at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Del created a robotic exoskeleton that allows Emma the ability to play, just like any other child.  I think the most adorable thing though is that Emma calls this wonderment of technology her “magic arms.”  It is moments like this when even the most hardened cynic has to admit that we truly are living in extraordinary times and feel there is actual good in the world.

Anxiety Can Damage Your Chromosomes, and that’s Not Good

Almost daily there is one study or another released by well-educated researchers and quite honestly most of them leave me saying, “You can get a research grant for that?”  In short the subject area being researched lends very little insight into the advance of human understanding, modern medicine, or whatever that research’s stated goal was.  However, every once in a while scientists and researchers actually earn their grant money and uncover something, well, scientific; and researchers as Brigham and Woman’s Hospital in Boston did just that.

These researchers have found that anxiety can lead to a shortened life, which many of you right now are saying, “DUH!” to.  That isn’t really what they were studying though, they wanted to know the “why,” beyond the macro reasons, they wanted to know the micro reasons, and when I say micro, I mean micro.  The researchers went beyond the cellular level, which we all can agree is small, they went all the way to the chromosomal level, and in reality they went a little smaller than that.

The researchers specifically were studying things called telomeres which are located at the ends of each strand of chromosomes and are thought to serve as a kind of tie that prevents the chromosome from unraveling, and I think we can understand that an unraveling chromosome would be bad.  These telomeres are also believed to kind of demarcate our life spans.  The longer the telomere the more protected the chromosome from damage and unraveling, the shorter, the sooner there can be chromosomal damage.  This is where the researchers discovered these tiny little ties on the end of our chromosomes and their relationship to anxiety.  According to their research results, anxiety actually leads to the deterioration of out telomeres, meaning that before long that anxiety will lead to chromosomal damage, which is not good.  Not exactly the kind of news one wants to hear if you are a bit of a hypochondriac and prone to anxiety attacks, like me.  Don’t worry, be happy, indeed.

Stoned Mice Lead Scientists to New Brain Discovery

Marijuana, it has been illegal in this country for as long as anyone can remember.  Many of the early state laws enacted to ban this plant were done so more out of outright prejudice than for worries over the narcotic affects caused from smoking it.  Then in the 1930’s marijuana made its film debut in the now cult classic, “Reefer Madness.”  Before you know it marijuana became the gateway drug that would lead to certain ruin and damnation for all who ever even contemplated touching it, despite the fact that marijuana, specifically its very close relative, hemp, was one of the cash crops for many states in this country.

Ever since marijuana’s criminalization there has been efforts to decriminalize this plant, which is basically a weed, and between the words of those who wish to keep it illegal and the words of those who wish to make it re-legal has led to some confusion over how bad or good it is.  Well, I am not going to get into all of those conflicting reports and opinions, instead let’s look at the results from a recent study.

At the University of Bordeaux, in France, researchers decided that they would get a bunch of lab mice stoned out of their gourds and then give them a sort of memory test.  The goal was to see how marijuana impairs memory functions and without going through all of the science mumbo jumbo that would take a neurologist to fully understand what they discovered is that it is the glia and not the long believed neurons which are involved in our ability to remember things — well at least in mice.  What does this mean in the argument between the good and evil of marijuana?  Well, I’m not really sure that it will have any impact, because I doubt either side of the argument can fully understand what this study says, or means; except that marijuana helped scientists discover something new about the brain, which they previously didn’t know — even though they apparently weren’t looking for this specific result.  I guess that’s something though right?  I mean penicillin was discovered by accident too, and that turned out rather well.

Movies with Smoking in them Should Get an “R” Rating

By now I think we all know that smoking is not exactly what one can call a healthy habit.  I mean you are inhaling smoke for crying out loud!  If that was not bad for you then why do firefighters wear a breathing apparatus?  All of that being said though, I think that if you wish to smoke then that is your business.  The question that hangs out there though is what should be done to discourage young people from smoking?  Many believe that once tobacco and its insidious sidekick nicotine gets their grip on our young people then they will be hooked FOREVER.

Okay, that is a little cynical hyperbole on my part, and I really do not want to down play the serious health consequence of smoking, nor do I want to make out like I don’t think steps shouldn’t be taken to discourage not just our youth, but anyone, from picking up this bad habit.  However, I think that some steps people are willing to take towards discouragement border a little on the despotic side of things.

For example there is a recent study that showed a statistical link between scenes with smoking in movies and the increased likelihood of children 10 to 14 years in experimenting with tobacco; which lead Doctor James D. Sargent to push for all movies with scenes of smoking in them to receive an automatic “R” rating.  Umm, okay, but seriously?!  First of all these kids are only 10 to 14 years old, so the question that needs to be asked is who in the hell is buying these cigarettes for them?  Now I am not naïve enough or too old to know that kids have ways in getting things that they aren’t supposed to, but there is your deeper problem right there, not the film industry.  Maybe it is an older sibling that buys these kids their smokes?  If it is I am willing to bet that that older sibling smokes too, and presto there ladies and gentlemen is the real culprit, not Brad Pitt.  Again, I understand the sentiment and want to prevent young people from smoking, I do, I really do, but putting an “R” rating on all movies that shows someone smoking is not going to have a sizeable impact on the issue.  Besides, kids in that age group routinely see rated “R” movies, so it isn’t like doing this would prevent them from seeing those smoking scenes.  Short of putting all our youngsters on a pristine secluded island, where they would be isolated from all of the ills of society, I really don’t think we are going to see much of a change in their behavior — oh wait, that would be very much like “Lord of the Flies;” and that turned out oh so well.

 

New Research Shows that Being Overweight Isn’t as Bad as We Thought

We have been told for years now that if we wish to live a long and fruitful life then we need to watch what, and how much we eat and work to keep the pounds off our waistlines.  While, that is very good advice it unfortunately does not guarantee that it will extend our lifespans.  Of course I think we all know that there are no guarantees in life, but what may come as a bit of a shock to many is that according to the results of a recent study those who have a few extra pounds on them appear to actually live a bit longer.

Medical researchers at the University of California, Davis, have studied the medical records of nearly 51,000 people over a six year time frame, and they have found that people who fall in the mildly obese category showed a lower death rate (for lack of a better term) than those who would fall into the normal weight category, and that those who fall into the severely obese category only showed that they had only a 1.26 times the rate of death over those in the normal weight group.  However, once the researchers factored out those that had health and weight associated conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension from the severely obese group, then there was essentially no increase in mortality over their normal weight peers.  The surprising statistic that was found is that the group with the highest rate of premature death was the underweight group.

While this study is illuminating, I don’t think it necessarily gives everyone the green light to go slam a couple of bacon cheeseburgers and mainline a 3 liter bottle of Mountain Dew, simply because the research showed that thus suffering from diabetes and hypertension are at a higher risk of premature death, and I am pretty sure scarfing down a couple of Peanut Buster Parfaits from Dairy Queen will certainly increase your risk of developing either of those medical conditions.  That being said, this research should allow some of those who are overweight, and are eating right to not be too obsessive over their weight and that isn’t such a bad thing now is it?

Psychiatrists Discover New “Epidemic” in Teens

Who wants to be young again?  Okay, maybe not young, but younger?  That is a subjective question, to be sure; I mean at what age are we talking about here, or how much younger?  Most of us usually use the caveat of, “if I could know what I know now,” and that is understandable.  What would be the point of revisiting younger version of ourselves, if we would have to revisit all of the naivety and lack of knowledge too?  Presumably any of our want to be young/younger again would be so that we could/would do something(s) differently.  Well, I am here to tell you that given the current state of being a teenager these days that I don’t think that I would want to revisit that era of my life again — ever.

First of all there is the fact that I was a gangly, awkward teenager, complete with zits on my face — not full blown acne mind you, but I did have visible blemishes.  Those would be reasons that most of us would opt out of being a teen again, but I think there are other, perhaps more serious reasons that would keep me from rejoining the teen set.  Those reasons are medical, specifically psychological.  There is no question that the study of human behavior has made light year like advances in the last 100 years or so, but it seems to me that field of study has targeted children and adolescents the most lately.  There’s ADD and ADHD, to name two of the most prevalent (over diagnosed?) maladies afflicting the youth and now it seems that teens there is a new boogey man that psychiatry has found in teens, and it is called Intermittent Explosive Disorder, or IED for short.

Wow, that sounds absolutely horrible!  And the fact that its abbreviation is the same as improvised explosive devices (the roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan) makes it seem all the more horrific.  Well, according to a recent study, 1.7 to 7.8 percent of the nearly 6,500 teens studied revealed that they are prone to outburst of anger that is out of proportion to the trigger for that anger.  Umm, while I am no psychiatrist I would say that those results fail in the epidemic test, but I am sure that there will be many who feel that those numbers are too high and thus teens will start being prescribed valium, or some other “calming” drug, to ensure that they never “blow-up.”  Before too long our teens will be on as many medications as their grandparents, taking a veritable cocktail of pills every morning that will make them all behave like the good little Stepford automatons that apparently everyone wants them to be.

So, no, I definitely would not wish to be a teen again, at least not in this day and age; and when you factor in this little example for parent of the year, then you will see that maybe Western Civilization has become a little too fixated on the idea of perfection – whatever that is.