Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Osteoporetic? Consider Green Tea

image by kilokilo, sxc.hu

It's A Beverage That Can Rejuvenate The Bones

Remember the time when you were the fastest runner in town? Remember how you could hop across barriers without second thought? How you could jump from places of height with the full confidence that you will be able to land on your feet or on your fours unhurt? Now do the memory of these same feats bring shivers in your spine? That is what osteoporosis does for you. It shakes your confidence in your body's ability to withstand shock and to not buckle under any hits. You become prone to fractures in your structure.

image by magos, sxc.hu

Biologists say that the body at any point of time is buzzing with dynamic activity. While your eyes are reading these words, the cells in your body are being formed and destroyed simultaneously, a big portion of them being bone cells. The astonishing speed at which this is happening, it is a wonder that your body doesn't appear disintegrated to any onlooker. People studying osteochondropathy say that the state of osteoporosis, that is, proneness to fracture, comes about when more bone cells are destroyed than they are formed.

image by ascii, sxc.hu

While osteoporosis weakens the body's bony structure throughout the body, it is usually the wrists, the waist and the spine that are most susceptible. Though aging is the main culprit of it all - how we wish we could continue to remain youthful till eternity! -, our lifestyles are equally to blame. When life is cruising along at an easy clip, it is easy to lull ourselves into stupor and complacency. And we indulge in all sorts of sins that our grand-momma used to warn against. When the time comes and retribution catches up with us...ouch! The breakage of the brittle bones is the first message to us of how we have overlooked our body's condition all these years.

image by ascii, sxc.hu

The good news is that there are encouraging reports of certain naturally occurring substances that can restore the imbalance between bone-cell loss and new bone-cell formation. One of them is green tea leaves.

image by m_constant, sxc.hu

Dried leaves of the plant Camellia sinensis, which we pick up from the shelves of the local store and consume as tea, are choc-a-bloc with some divine polyphenols that can blow life back into the nooks and crevices of the body where new bone cells are formed. A team of researchers conducted an experiment involving middle-aged female rats. These ladies were experiencing menopause and consequently facing bone loss. The experiment involved treating them to water mixed with green tea polyphenols. Slurping on this laboratory tea for four months, when their bone density was checked at the end of this period, it was found that the tea had strengthened their skeletal system. Extrapolating the result of what a few drops of green tea extract in plain water could do to rats, it can be safely surmised that the same results can be obtained in human beings.

image by parisassoc, sxc.hu

While research is still in progress, perhaps we can begin treating our elders to a cup of green tea every day?

image by araddia, sxc.hu

[Brittleness of bones is a major issue facing the elderly, true. At the same time, there are others that engage their mind. Rumination and reflection become more affordable, for they are the only activities that you can do. Or are there others? Here is an article for you to ruminate and reflect: "Rediscovering The Self - At Sunset Time".]

image by eschu1952, sxc.hu
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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mobiles Entrain Your Brain's Electrical Activity

image by harrykeely, sxc.hu

The Brain Gets Habituated To The External Electromagnetic Pulses Very Quickly

There was a time when telephone operators would have those heavy earphones plugged around their ears for their entire working hours, as they connected and disconnected calls round the clock. Nobody ever gave any thought to the impact of the electromagnetic radiation on their brain's electrical activity, because science wasn't so advanced. Wonder how horrified that generation would feel when told of the impact of their constant usage of the equipment?

image by mzacha, sxc.hu

The mesh of neurons and other matter that make up the mass of the brain creates its own electricity. This electric activity is so weak that you need specialized equipment called the Electro-Encephalogram (EEG) to detect, measure and study it. The brain's activity manifests in the equipment in the form of gently undulating waves in now well-demarcated frequency bands. The presence of the brain's waves in a band is indicative of some very specific activity that the brain as a whole is performing, and which got that particular frequency to be created.

image by lusi, sxc.hu

Now, what happens when some external device too generates electromagnetic waves of its own, at certain frequencies, and in the close vicinity of the brain? As with any two devices in nature that are vibrating / generating waves of their own, a resonance begins to develop between the two. When one of the devices is geared to generating a specific frequency by brute force, then it is the other device that acquiesces and begins to resonate at this device's frequency. Substitute the device that is generating a specific frequency by brute force, with a mobile. And substitute the device that acquiesces, with your brain. What will happen? Your brain will begin to resonate at the mobile's frequency. They call it entraining the brain.

image by m_a_essam, sxc.hu

An experiment was conducted to observe this entrainment in human beings, and is reported here. They deployed two Nokia 6310 GSM mobile phones which worked on 900 Mhz and at maximum power, which is about 2 W. One phone was rigged to redirect the GSM power signal output into an internal load, instead of into the antenna, which effectively means that though the internal circuitry was active, no radiofrequency power was delivered in space by the antenna.

image by digi, sxc.hu

Ten volunteers from both the genders were made to listen to beeps of pre-set frequencies from the two mobiles on the left ear, and the consequent change in the brain's electrical activity was measured using the EEG in both the cases. They particularly zoomed in on the "initial contingent negative variation" (iCNV) amplitudes, their technical mumbo-jumbo in brainwave technology. The conclusion of the experiment was that the mobile's electromagnetic pulses influence the brain's own electric activity, causing it to "habituate" or "entrain". There is certain agitation and arousal, the brain becomes excited and shows behavior similar to what happens to it when experiencing conditions such as migraine.

image by digi, sxc.hu

Before we reach out for the panic button, we need to understand the other side, too. There are lobbies on both the sides, one advocating that excessive mobile usage has a health side-effect, and the other side counter-arguing that mobiles are as safe as child's pacifier. For every paper that presents authoritatively the one side, there is another paper that takes a diametrically opposite position. So it might be a sound idea to keep our perspective balanced, and wait for somebody to settle the issue once and for all.

image by mzacha, sxc.hu

And meanwhile also let's keep our mobile usage to a need-to-use basis. Remember how our forefathers relied on face-to-face communication?

image by beverlylr, sxc.hu

[While on this topic, here is another article on brain's entrainment: "The Brain's Electrical Activity".]
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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Pregnant? Abstain From Alcohol!

image by doriana_s, sxc.hu

Alcohol During Pregnancy Damages The Child's Life --- Irreversibly

Sad it is when obstetricians advice the gravida that it is alright to drink during the three trimesters, "as long as it is in moderation". For, after nodding her head, when she leaves the good doctor's clinic to reach home, who is to predict how the gravida is going to decide what "moderation" means? Till x number of sips, the baby is safe. But from x plus one-th sip on, the alcohol becomes a threat - who decides this? Unfortunately, there's nobody around to stop her from reaching for the next glass. That nobody can dare stop her, is another story. As you know, when the liquid drenches the tongue and sloshes down the gullet to reach the stomach, the brain goes out of control. That is the very nature of the liquid, that is the reason why we drink.

image by catwoman1, sxc.hu

The neonate, emerging fresh from the womb, has great many dreams about how they will enjoy the world. Little do they know how their alcohol-consuming mother has spiked all their chances of a good life, even before they have sucked the first breath in those still-collapsed lungs. Let's take just two examples. Which mother wouldn't be proud to have a son or a daughter who is good-looking? But take one sip too many of the broth brewed by Bacchus, just one sip too many, and you might end up with a child whose facial features are dysmorphic. Will the child remember you with love and affection when they get to read from the books later in life about the possible reasons why they ended up with facial dysmorphia, and then they suddenly remember how their mother used to always move around, drink in hand?

Hyper- and hypo-telorism, University of Florida_*

* Hyper- and hypo-telorism, University of Florida (http://www.peds.ufl.edu). This example of facial dysmorphology is about the distance between the eye-pupils. The left image is hypotelorism and the right image is hypertelorism; while the middle image shows normal inter-pupillary distance.

Or sample this. Would you like your child to be a front-runner in their career or vocation, would you like your child to develop into a well-rounded personality whose sharp brain and intellect wins them acclaim and honor from peers and colleagues and society, not to mention gets them a decent lifestyle? Or... would you rather see their feet chained by big steel balls of defeat before they even reach the starting line and before the referee fires the shot? It has been proven that people with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and fetal alcohol effects (FAE) often find themselves struggling with problem-solving strategies, and have difficulty in functioning appropriately in everyday life. All because the mother drowned herself in merriment at parties and social do's and wherever the opportunity presented itself, without bothering for a moment about what the fetus she was carrying will think. And then you gripe that the universe has been unfair to your child.

image by donzeladef, sxc.hu

Whatever the white coats have to say, if you are a gravida or intend to be one or know somebody who is, you can do your own research on the internet to find out for yourself, about what alcohol can and cannot do to the life that the womb is nurturing or has the potential to nurture. For sexually active women within the child-bearing age band, this holds doubly important, since awareness of pregnancy is not there in those crucial first and second months, especially when the pregnancy is unplanned as is often the case. The message is simple: if you are serious about motherhood and all that it means, then why not abstain from alcohol? Is just a matter of nine months. But if you aren't, serious that is... then, well, why go through the whole rigmarole of labor pains in the first place?

image by simmbarb, sxc.hu

[Would you like to know how to give birth to a Messiah? Along with the right nutrition, also send the right thoughts to the child. Here is the detail: "How A Child Gets To Become A Messiah Or Jesus".]

image by decar66, sxc.hu
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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Keep The Lard Levels Low In Kids

image by ba1969, sxc.hu

Take Proactive Action Against Obesity

Are we guilty of overstuffing our kids with goodies that can only do harm to them? Are we really careful and concerned about what the kids are consuming when in the house and when they go outside? By the looks of them, it appears that our love for them is blinding us to the weight they are putting on. Concerned public health officials say this is good for neither the growing child nor the society.

image by julosstock, sxc.hu

Child obesity is being viewed as an epidemic in the United States. According to reports, when schools open their gates to let off their wards for the day, the number of kids with abnormal girth ambling out of their premises has more than doubled in the past several decades, and the girth doesn't appear to be slimming any soon.

image by yodesigner, sxc.hu

The consequences of carrying around so much lard are well studied and documented. The edge gained in their ability to throw their weight around in a social interaction is easily offset by the pull-down that nature inherently builds in the kids because of their obesity. For instance, if, god forbid, any obese kid were to get involved in some accident involving motor vehicle collisions, they will take longer to convalesce and will often encounter more severe complications than their leaner friends. It is as if the body's defense mechanisms take longer time to negotiate around the fatty corners to reach their target site for healing. The kids also become vulnerable to conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, renal diseases and heart diseases, both faster and earlier than the rest of the population.

image by gugacurado, sxc.hu

To a large extent, it is not the parents alone who are responsible for this sorry state of affairs of the kids becoming obese. The contemporary urban environments too are to be held guilty. A lot of research has gone into how children going to school and recreation centers are repeatedly exposed to the advertisement hoardings, banners and come-hither signage deployed by eating establishments that come up around the schools. With as much as USD 8 billion spent on creating these advertisements, the message is sure to get delivered, and delivered powerfully! No wonder that the kid burns up all their pocket money munching foods and slurping on flavored drinks that are dense in energy but low in nutrition. The need for a more holistic, society-level action has perhaps been the motivation behind the publication of a book on actions that local governments can take to prevent childhood obesity.









An online book detailing suggestions for local governments to prevent child obesity.

But while waiting for governments to get into the act, we might decide to take up in real earnest the mission of reducing the weight of our children. Consuming healthy and nutritious foods, balancing studies with lot of physical activity, and instilling in the mind a sense of loathe towards that which tastes great but which is not good for the body...are the few mantras with which to begin the mission.

image by vancanjay, sxc.hu

[Have you read this article on why we binge? What are the reasons behind our stuffing our stomach with the worst form of garbage? Here it is: "The Stomach Is An Inflatable Sac, Sure".]

image by creactions, sxc.hu
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