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Pot Smoking May Leave Mark On Teen Brains

Teenagers who frequently smoke marijuana may be setting themselves up for declines in intelligence and mental function that persist well into adulthood, new research suggests.



In a decades-long study of more than 1,000 New Zealanders, researchers found that adolescents who used marijuana at least four days per week lost an average of eight IQ points between the ages of 13 and 38—a pattern not seen among people who began smoking heavily only in adulthood.

Heavy pot smokers tended to show deficits in memory, concentration, and overall brainpower in relation to their peers, but these problems were more pronounced—and seemingly more lasting—among those who picked up the habit as teens, the study found.

Individuals who smoked heavily in adolescence had consistently lower IQs at age 38, even if they’d cut back in the previous year. By contrast, the IQ of the relative latecomers to marijuana was more closely linked with how much pot they’d smoked recently.

“The effect of persistent cannabis use on intellectual functioning is really confined to adolescents, [which] suggests that adolescents, in particular, are vulnerable to the effect of cannabis,” says lead author Madeline H. Meier, Ph.D., a psychologist and postdoctoral researcher at Duke University, in Durham, North Carolina.
Related links:

    Binge Drinking, Pot May Harm Teen Brains
    Does Occasionally Smoking Marijuana Affect Your Health?
    Medical Marijuana, State By State

An eight-point decline in IQ isn’t negligible, the authors say. Previous research suggests a drop in intelligence of that magnitude could, for instance, affect a person’s long-term career prospects, job performance, and income.

It’s reasonable to suspect that still-growing teen brains might be especially sensitive to the cumulative effects of marijuana, says Jeffrey Brosco, M.D., a professor of pediatrics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

“In the developing brain, neurons are growing and changing, synapses are forming,” says Brosco, who was not involved in the study. “When there’s a lot of change in any part of the body, particularly the brain, that usually means it’s more vulnerable to environmental influences.”

The new study, which was published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, doesn’t prove that marijuana use directly impairs intelligence. It does, however, provide some of the strongest evidence to date of a cause-and-effect relationship.

The study participants underwent IQ tests when they were 13—before they’d ever tried marijuana—and again as adults, which provided the researchers a before-and-after snapshot of their intelligence. Earlier studies that found a link between mental ability and pot smoking have generally looked at a single point in time, raising the possibility that low IQ increases the likelihood of marijuana use, rather than vice versa, Meier says.

But Meier and her colleagues weren’t able to entirely rule out alternative explanations for the IQ declines seen in the study. For instance, although they controlled for alcohol and drug use, they focused on full-blown dependence (as opposed to more casual use) and therefore may have underestimated the effects of teen drinking.

“It’s hard to be dependent as a teenager, so you worry about [whether] you can be sure it’s the cannabis,” Brosco says. “Alcohol is well known to be a neurotoxin.”

Only 5% of the study participants began smoking marijuana regularly before age 18, and it’s not clear from the findings whether less-frequent users might experience similar declines in IQ and mental function. More research will be needed to determine the minimum dosage of marijuana associated with these problems, the authors say.



Source : Health

Energy Drinks May Improve Heart Health

Contrary to popular belief, drinking energy drinks containing caffeine and taurine may actually improve health and boost heart function in healthy people, a new study reveals.


 

"With energy drinks containing both caffeine and taurine concerns have been raised of adverse effects on the heart. While caffeine increases blood pressure, studies suggest that taurine may stimulate the release of calcium from the sarcoplasmic reticulum," Dr. Matteo Cameli, a researcher at the University of Siena in Italy and co- author of the study, said in a statement today.

Italian researchers measured the blood pressure, heart rate and left and right ventricular function of 35 healthy participants with an average age of 25, and found that the function in the left and right ventricles that pump blood to the body increased an hour after drinking an energy drink.


Researchers presenting at the European Society of Cardiology conference in Munich, Germany also found that consuming energy drinks increase diastolic blood pressure by 6 percent, but not heart rate and systolic blood pressure.

Cameli said that the improvement in heart function may be caused by taurine, an amino acid in many energy drinks that is known to stimulate calcium production in muscle.

"Our study was performed in young healthy individuals at rest. Future studies need to focus on whether such benefits persist after long term consumption of energy drinks, and what the effects are of consuming these drinks during physical activity," Cameli said.

"It will also be important to determine which of the effects are induced in patients with cardiac disease to further our understanding of the potential benefits or risks of energy drink consumption," he added.

However other experts warn that too much caffeine can make people sweat and experience heart palpitations.

"People are showing up in the emergency room and doctor's office after having these drinks and not feeling well," said W. Douglas Weaver, former president of the American College of Cardiology, according to Bloomberg. "Now we can see some of the physiological effects."


Source : http://www.medicaldaily.com/articles/11761/20120827/energy-drinks-may-improve-heart-health.htm

Diet 33 Ways to Eat Environmentally Friendly

The sustainable food movement is sweeping the country. Farmer’s markets, organic produce, genetically modified foods, cage-free eggs — they’ve all become part of the cultural lingo. While a lot of this conversation focuses around whether organic foods are better for people’s health, let’s not forget that these trends are also good for the planet. Read on to learn about the 33 environmentally friendly eating habits that are making a difference for our bodies and our earth.



At the store:

1. Reuse it. Bring a reusable bag on your next shopping trip, and you’ve already helped out the planet. The U.S. alone uses about 100 billion new plastic bags each year, and (brace yourself) this massive production costs 12 million barrels of oil. Worldwide, only about 1% of plastic bags are recycled — which means that the rest end up in landfills, oceans or elsewhere in the environment. Why does it matter? Plastic bags don’t biodegrade, but light exposure can degrade them enough to release toxic polymer particles — most of which end up in the ocean. Approximately 1 million birds and 100,000 turtles and other sea animals die of starvation each year after ingesting plastic bags, which block their digestive tracts. And public agencies spend millions of dollars on litter clean-up each year. (In case you’re wondering, paper bags aren’t much better. Each year, 14 million trees are cut down to make paper shopping bags via a process that requires even more energy than the making of plastic bags.)

2. Strip down. Look for products with minimal packaging, like unwrapped produce or meat straight from the deli counter or butcher. Excess packaging is often made out of unsustainable materials and contributes to waste that ends up in landfills. Perhaps the worst culprit is polystyrene (a.k.a. Styrofoam), which is a suspected carcinogen and is manufactured through an energy-intensive process that creates hazardous waste and greenhouse gases.

3. Don’t buy the bottle. Millions of tons of plastic are used to produce billions of plastic water bottles each year. Save money and lessen waste by drinking tap water from a reusable water bottle. Worried about your health? Try a water filter, or take courage from the fact that a lot of bottled water is likely no better than what’s on tap.

4. Shop different. Choose to give your money to stores that demonstrate care for the planet, both in their company practices and in the food selections they provide. Look for a selection of local and organic foods as well as store practices that limit waste (think doors on the refrigerated sections so that energy isn’t wasted, minimal and/or recyclable packaging and a store-wide recycling program).

Produce:

5. Go local. Eating locally grown foods is possibly the best way to lower your carbon footprint when it comes to what you eat. Bonus: Eating locally means that food will be fresher — and therefore taste better and perhaps retain more nutrients — than food shipped across the globe.

6. Eat more of it. Eat more produce than any other food category, and you’ve already made an impact for the planet (not to mention your body!).

7. Go organic. The definition of organic can be a little confusing, but food labels can help. Certified organic foods are grown and processed using farming methods that recycle resources and promote biodiversity, without the use of synthetic pesticides, bioengineered genes or petroleum- or sewage-sludge-based fertilizers. (Weird. Who wouldn’t want their food grown in sewage sludge?) Though their benefits to the environment have a long-term payoff, organic foods can be pricier — if you’re on a budget, find out which foods are most worth buying organic, and limit your organic purchases to the ones that make the biggest impact.

8. Eat it raw. Chomp down on a raw carrot instead of boiling or sautéing it, and save energy that would otherwise have been used to power cooking appliances.

9. Eat in season. Seasonal nomming allows you to eat locally — and we’ve already covered how important local purchasing is for the environment. Check out what’s growing nearby right now.

10. Preserve it. Want to eat more locally, but love to eat strawberries year-round? Learn how to preserve fruits and vegetables so you can eat locally grown produce all year long (it’s bound to impress Grandma, too).

11. Grow it. You don’t need to live in the wild to grow your own fruits and veggies. Join a community garden, or, if you’re cramped for space, create a vertical garden right inside your window.

12. Get some community support. Not into the idea of growing your own? Consider joining a CSA (short for community supported agriculture), which allows you to reap the benefits of locally grown produce without getting your hands dirty.

Meat:

13. Eat less of it. Industrially farmed meat has the greatest impact of any food product on the environment. In addition to the tips outlined below, consider making meat less of a staple in your diet. Can’t give up the stuff? Try going meat-free for just one day per week (or one meal per week if you’re really attached).

14. You guessed it: buy local. We’ve said it before and we’re saying it again: buying local is a great way to cut down on the environmental impact of your food. Just imagine how much energy it would take to haul a side of beef from, say, New Zealand, in comparison to transporting it from the local butcher shop.

15. Go organic. When it comes to meat, the definition of “organic” changes a little. Obviously, chickens aren’t grown in the soil, nor are they (we hope!) conventionally grown with pesticides. Rather, organic livestock must have access to the outdoors and cannot be supplemented with antibiotics or growth hormones.

16. Be anti-antibiotics. It’s common practice these days to feed growth-producing antibiotics to animals raised for meat, but this results in health risks for the animals — and, by extension, the people who eat them.

17. Go out to pasture. Pasture-raised livestock make less of a negative environmental impact. They’re also treated more humanely than their industrially raised counterparts.

Seafood:

18. Look for the label. Figuring out how to buy sustainable seafood is tough: turns out “wild caught” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s environmentally friendly, after all, while some farmed fish are. The easiest way to sort through all the confusion is to look for the label of the Marine Stewardship Council, which guarantees that a product has successfully met requirements for sustainability.

19. Know your fish. Check out these guides to figure out which fish are least endangered and most likely to be farmed sustainably, and use them to guide your buying decisions.

20. Be a patriot. Buy U.S. caught or farmed fish. It’s as close as you can get to buying “local” when you live in a land-locked state, and it also means that the product has had the chance to be reviewed by the Marine Stewardship Council, so you have a better sense of the conditions under which the fish were caught.

21. Try something new. Instead of eating the ever-popular Alaskan salmon along with everybody else at the restaurant, expand your diet and distribute your impact by trying different varieties of fish. Check out these alternatives to some of our fishy favorites — you might even find a variety that you like more than tuna. In the process, you’ll reduce the risk of endangering key species.

Dairy:

22. Be hormone-free. (Wouldn’t that have made adolescence easier…) Just as livestock raised for consumption are often pumped full of antibiotics, dairy cows are often fed artificial hormones to up their milk production. This has big health impacts for the cows, the people who consume their milk and other dairy products, and the environment (manure lagoons sure don’t sound like a good thing to us). Industrial dairy production is also linked to massive greenhouse gas emissions. Luckily, hormone-free dairy products are readily available.

23. Surprise! Go local.
As always when buying local, you’ll be reducing the distance that food must travel — and the energy it takes to do so — on its way to your plate.

24. Go organic. It’s better for the environment and for your body.

25. Cut back. The production of one pound of cheese might produce upwards of 11 lbs. of carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas emitted by human activities and a big driver of climate change. As with meat, you can quickly lessen your environmental impact simply by eating less dairy. Bonus: eliminating common staples from your diet one or two days a week is a chance to experiment with fun new recipes.

At a restaurant:

26. Order from the tap. Cut down on packaging; ask for tap water instead of bottled. Likewise, save the beer bottle and order on tap.

27. Eat local. Just because you’re not at the farmer’s market doesn’t mean the market’s bounty isn’t available to you. More and more restaurants are incorporating locally sourced items into their menus.

28. Don’t be afraid to ask. There’s no shame in asking your server or a manager how your food was grown or processed (though it’s probably best not to take it to this extreme).

Eating at home:

29. Reduce waste. Use cloth napkins and real plates, bowls and utensils.

30. Turn waste into a resource. If you’ve got the inclination and a little bit of free time, give composting a try and turn food scraps into a resource that keeps on giving.

31. Revamp leftovers. Instead of dumping leftovers in the trash, turn them into new meals. It’ll reduce waste and also save on the energy it would have taken to cook a different meal the next day.

32. Double your recipes. Leftovers will last twice as long, and you’ll use less energy than you would if you cooked multiple meals.

33. Cook one local meal per week. Challenge yourself to cook one meal a week (or month) that is composed completely of local ingredients. Get some friends in on the action and revel in doing something good for your health and the health of the planet.

Source : http://healthland.time.com/2012/08/24/33-ways-to-eat-environmentally-friendly/

Vitamin C Might Protect Lungs On High-Pollution Days

An antioxidant-rich diet could do your lungs a favor when exposed to air pollution, according to a small new study.

Polution on the city
 
Researchers from Imperial College London found that asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients were more likely to be admitted to the hospital on days when there were high particulate matter levels outside, Environmental Health News reported. Particulate matter is a pollutant that causes oxidative stress in the body (raising the risk of health problems like heart attack).

However, the researchers found that people who had higher levels of vitamin C in their blood were less likely than those with low vitamin C levels to go to the hospital on these high-pollution days, MyHealthNewsDaily reported.

The findings add to "a small but growing body of evidence that the effects of air pollution might be modified by antioxidants," Michael Brauer, an environmental health scientist at the University of British Columbia who was not involved in the study, told MyHealthNewsDaily.

The study, published in the journal Epidemiology, included 209 people who were admitted to London hospitals. While researchers did find a link between vitamin C levels and hospital admission, they did not find as strong of a link for uric acid and vitamin E levels. They found no link between vitamin A levels and hospital admission, according to the study.

Previously, Cornell University researchers found that a diet rich in antioxidants could help to preserve lung function, the Cornell Chronicle reported. That study, presented at a meeting of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology in 2008, showed protective benefits of selenium and vitamins C and E in particular.

Plus, in 2001, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers found that vitamin C supplements seemed to protect lungs against ozone, WebMD reported.

And humans aren't the only ones who can benefit from vitamin C. University of California, Riverside, researchers found that even plants can get some help defending against harmful effects of ozone when they are engineered to have increased vitamin C levels in their leaves. 



Mysterious New AIDS-Like Disease Affects Asians

Researchers have identified a mysterious new disease that has left scores of people in Asia and some in the United States with AIDS-like symptoms even though they are not infected with HIV.

 

The patients’ immune systems become damaged, leaving them unable to fend off germs as healthy people do. What triggers this isn’t known, but the disease does not seem to be contagious.

This is another kind of acquired immune deficiency that is not inherited and occurs in adults, but doesn’t spread the way AIDS does through a virus, said Dr. Sarah Browne, a scientist at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

She helped lead the study with researchers in Thailand and Taiwan where most of the cases have been found since 2004. Their report is in Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine.

“This is absolutely fascinating. I’ve seen probably at least three patients in the last 10 years or so” who might have had this, said Dr. Dennis Maki, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

It’s still possible that an infection of some sort could trigger the disease, even though the disease itself doesn’t seem to spread person-to-person, he said.

The disease develops around age 50 on average but does not run in families, which makes it unlikely that a single gene is responsible, Browne said. Some patients have died of overwhelming infections, including some Asians now living in the U.S., although Browne could not estimate how many.

Kim Nguyen, 62, a seamstress from Vietnam who has lived in Tennessee since 1975, was gravely ill when she sought help for a persistent fever, infections throughout her bones and other bizarre symptoms in 2009. She had been sick off and on for several years and had visited Vietnam in 1995 and again in early 2009.

“She was wasting away from this systemic infection” that at first seemed like tuberculosis but wasn’t, said Dr. Carlton Hays Jr., a family physician at the Jackson Clinic in Jackson, Tenn. “She’s a small woman to begin with, but when I first saw her, her weight was 91 pounds, and she lost down to 69 pounds.”

Nguyen (pronounced “when”) was referred to specialists at the National Institutes of Health who had been tracking similar cases. She spent nearly a year at an NIH hospital in Bethesda, Md., and is there now for monitoring and further treatment.

“I feel great now,” she said Wednesday. But when she was sick, “I felt dizzy, headaches, almost fell down,” she said. “I could not eat anything.”

AIDS is a specific disease, and it stands for acquired immune deficiency syndrome. That means the immune system becomes impaired during someone’s lifetime, rather than from inherited gene defects like the “bubble babies” who are born unable to fight off germs.


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Mysterious New AIDS-Like Disease Affects Asians
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Researchers have identified a mysterious new disease that has left scores of people in Asia and some in the United States with AIDS-like symptoms even though they are not infected with HIV.

The patients’ immune systems become damaged, leaving them unable to fend off germs as healthy people do. What triggers this isn’t known, but the disease does not seem to be contagious.

This is another kind of acquired immune deficiency that is not inherited and occurs in adults, but doesn’t spread the way AIDS does through a virus, said Dr. Sarah Browne, a scientist at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

She helped lead the study with researchers in Thailand and Taiwan where most of the cases have been found since 2004. Their report is in Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine.

“This is absolutely fascinating. I’ve seen probably at least three patients in the last 10 years or so” who might have had this, said Dr. Dennis Maki, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

It’s still possible that an infection of some sort could trigger the disease, even though the disease itself doesn’t seem to spread person-to-person, he said.

(MORE: How the Global War on Drugs Drives HIV and AIDS)

The disease develops around age 50 on average but does not run in families, which makes it unlikely that a single gene is responsible, Browne said. Some patients have died of overwhelming infections, including some Asians now living in the U.S., although Browne could not estimate how many.

Kim Nguyen, 62, a seamstress from Vietnam who has lived in Tennessee since 1975, was gravely ill when she sought help for a persistent fever, infections throughout her bones and other bizarre symptoms in 2009. She had been sick off and on for several years and had visited Vietnam in 1995 and again in early 2009.

“She was wasting away from this systemic infection” that at first seemed like tuberculosis but wasn’t, said Dr. Carlton Hays Jr., a family physician at the Jackson Clinic in Jackson, Tenn. “She’s a small woman to begin with, but when I first saw her, her weight was 91 pounds, and she lost down to 69 pounds.”

Nguyen (pronounced “when”) was referred to specialists at the National Institutes of Health who had been tracking similar cases. She spent nearly a year at an NIH hospital in Bethesda, Md., and is there now for monitoring and further treatment.

“I feel great now,” she said Wednesday. But when she was sick, “I felt dizzy, headaches, almost fell down,” she said. “I could not eat anything.”

AIDS is a specific disease, and it stands for acquired immune deficiency syndrome. That means the immune system becomes impaired during someone’s lifetime, rather than from inherited gene defects like the “bubble babies” who are born unable to fight off germs.

(MORE: H1N1′s Death Toll: 15 Times Higher than Previously Thought)

The virus that causes AIDS — HIV — destroys T-cells, key soldiers of the immune system that fight germs. The new disease doesn’t affect those cells, but causes a different kind of damage. Browne’s study of more than 200 people in Taiwan and Thailand found that most of those with the disease make substances called autoantibodies that block interferon-gamma, a chemical signal that helps the body clear infections.

Blocking that signal leaves people like those with AIDS – vulnerable to viruses, fungal infections and parasites, but especially micobacteria, a group of germs similar to tuberculosis that can cause severe lung damage. Researchers are calling this new disease an “adult-onset” immunodeficiency syndrome because it develops later in life and they don’t know why or how.

“Fundamentally, we do not know what’s causing them to make these antibodies,” Browne said.

Antibiotics aren’t always effective, so doctors have tried a variety of other approaches, including a cancer drug that helps suppress production of antibodies. The disease quiets in some patients once the infections are tamed, but the faulty immune system is likely a chronic condition, researchers believe.

The fact that nearly all the patients so far have been Asian or Asian-born people living elsewhere suggests that genetic factors and something in the environment such as an infection may trigger the disease, researchers conclude.

The first cases turned up in 2004 and Browne’s study enrolled about 100 people in six months.

“We know there are many others out there,” including many cases mistaken as tuberculosis in some countries, she said.



Source : http://healthland.time.com/2012/08/22/mysterious-new-aids-like-disease-affects-in-asians/

How to treat spider bites

Along with the warm days of summer comes the influx of insect bites. Although mosquitoes garnish a lot of attention with their sting, the spider can pack an even meaner bite.


Spiders don't hunt down human flesh for dinner like mosquitoes but the creepy crawly arachnids will bite if provoked or if their nest is disturbed. Read on for spider bite symptoms, types of poisonous spiders and how best to treat a spider bite


Spider bite symptoms
Among the 50,000 different species of spiders, most are harmless. However, some do produce venom that is expelled through their hollow fangs and injected into the victim. Fortunately, most spider fangs are too small or not strong enough to penetrate human skin. But, some spider bites will leave a small painful puncture that becomes red, itchy and swollen. The toxin produced by a spider's venom can cause headache, rash, painful joints and muscles, spasms, nausea, vomiting, fever and chills. Although potentially painful, bites from non-venomous spiders are not dangerous. The danger of poisonous spiders depends on the type of spider.

Most common poisonous spiders
The United States is home to three types of poisonous spiders: black widow, brown recluse and tarantula. A black widow spider's venom is classified as a neurotoxin, which means it is poisonous to the nervous system whereas the venom of a brown recluse spider causes necrosis – essentially a breakdown of skin and tissue. The tarantula injects venom into its prey through the hair on its body and legs, causing a severe allergic reaction that sometimes leads to anaphylactic shock.
 
Black widow spider
The black widow spider is easy to identify because of its black shiny body with red- to orange-colored markings visible on its underside. This spider lives in dark places such as trash cans, attics, closets, and woodpiles and is found in parts of California and southern parts of Canada. Black widows have also been known to hitch a ride with shipments of fresh fruit and make an appearance in other states and other Canadian destinations.

Although death via a black widow spider bite is uncommon, its bite can be serious. Once bitten, the victim will notice a painful pale area of skin surrounded by a red ring. Within the first few hours, severe cramping may occur in the shoulders, back, abdomen and thighs. In addition, the spider's bite may cause itching, sweating, headache, weakness, nausea, vomiting, increased blood pressure and breathing difficulties. Although most reactions to a black widow spider bite are not severe, medical attention is paramount if breathing is compromised and muscle cramps develop. Young children, the elderly and individuals with high blood pressure are more prone to develop severe adverse reactions to a black widow bite.

Brown recluse spider
The brown recluse spider is also feared for its painful bite and subsequent physical reactions. This spider is native to Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas and Mississippi but can surface anywhere thanks to modern transportation. The brown recluse spider prefers dark, quiet surroundings and doesn't venture out into open areas very often. It grows to a half-inch in length and its body is light brown in color. It's often referred to as the violin or fiddleneck spider because the markings on its back resemble a violin. Unlike other spiders, the recluse has six eyes instead of eight and the lower part of its body has no markings.

A brown recluse spider's bite will leave a wound resembling a bull's eye; a red ring with a blister in the center. The blister will break giving way to an ulcer type sore that will scab over. In some cases, the ulcer will get larger and affect the underlying skin and muscle tissue and be accompanied by severe pain. Within 24 to 48 hours, an itchy, red rash will appear and may be accompanied by chills, fever, muscle aches, nausea and vomiting. In some instances, hemolytic anemia, which is a condition where red blood cells are destroyed, may occur.

Tarantula
Tarantulas are native to the southern United States and are noted for their large size and hairy body. Once the victim has been injected with thousands of tiny hairs from the tarantula, redness and localized pain will commence and itchy bumps will surface that can last up to several weeks.

Treatment of spider bites
The first rule to treating a spider bite is to clean the bite, apply ice immediately and elevate the bite area. Bites from any of these three spiders should be evaluated by a medical professional.

If the bite is mild, treatment includes analgesics, antihistamines and antibiotics and Antivenin. A black widow bite may require a muscle relaxant introduced through intravenous or high blood pressure medication to guard against elevated blood pressure caused by the venom.

A brown recluse spider bite may require hospitalization if hemolysis (the destruction of red blood cells leading to the release of hemoglobin into the blood plasma) occurs and the tissue surrounding the bite starts to die. A tarantula's bite can be treated with antihistamines or glucocorticoids to ease the adverse symptoms. With all spider bites, a tetanus shot is recommended.

Take precautions and avoid getting a spider bite
Prevention is the key to avoiding a painful spider bite. Avoid areas in which spiders dwell and if your path crosses a spider's web, be careful not to disturb it or provoke the spider. Be extra cautious when using an outhouse – spiders often find refuge in the lowly outdoor commode.


Source : sheknows.com

Alternatives for Cellulite Reduction

Are there any cellulite reduction alternatives besides liposuction? Of course, liposuction is not considered medically necessary.

 

The decision is up to you whether or not to undergo liposuction. You may decide that it is not right for you. And you can make that determination right up to the point of actually having the procedure.

Liposuction Alternatives

  • Exercise. 
  • Accept your body and appearance as it is.
  • Change your diet to lose some excess body fat.
  • Use clothing or makeup to downplay or emphasize body or facial features.
  • Try some of the other methods such as topicals or body wrapping.

Whatever method you select for cellulite reduction make certain that you have done your due diligence and select the most suitable method with the least amount of risk to obtain the results you desire.


Source : mydailymoment.com

Healthy eating for children, Best Nutrition

Although their growth is slower than in infancy, school-aged children still have high nutritional needs but fairly small appetites. So it's crucial all meals and snacks continue to be rich in nutrients and energy. The food choices children make during the crucial years of development can influence their future health risk and can also influence food habits in later life.



A structured eating plan with regular meals and snacks is important to establish good eating habits. Ensure there's also plenty of variety - burgers and chips are fine occasionally, but not for every meal.

A limited number of foods makes it difficult to obtain the full range of nutrients. Make sure your child has a range of foods based on each of the main food groups.
 
Energy

School children still have a high energy requirement for growth and activity, but increasing numbers are becoming overweight. This is because they’re eating too many calories and not being active enough to use up the extra energy they’ve eaten.

If you think your child is putting on too much weight, don't make a big issue of it. Instead, encourage physical activity in whatever form (football, netball, walking the dog, cycling, swimming and so on).

Base meals and snacks on the five main food groups, but limit fatty and sugary snacks.

An overweight child still needs a nutrient-packed diet that provides all the essential building blocks for growth and development. Encouraging healthy eating should ensure children maintain a healthy weight. Make sure the whole family is eating healthily to provide good role models.
 

Calcium

This mineral is important for healthy bone development. Good sources include dairy products such as milk, cheese, yoghurt and fromage frais, as well as fortified orange juice, green leafy vegetables, cereals, sesame seeds and tofu.

Your child should ideally aim for three servings of calcium-rich food a day - for example, a 150ml glass of milk, a small pot of yoghurt and a small matchbox-sized piece of cheese.
 
Folate

This vitamin is important for growth, but intake is low in some children, especially those who skip breakfast because fortified cereals are a good source of folate. Other sources include bread, green leafy vegetables and pulses.
 
Iron

This mineral helps to keep red blood cells healthy. Insufficient iron intake can lead to iron-deficiency anaemia, but this is much less common in primary school–aged children than their younger and older siblings.

Good sources of iron include red meat, liver, fortified breakfast cereals, beans and pulses.

To help absorb the iron more effectively from non-meat sources, combine it with vitamin C-rich foods such as citrus fruits and fruit juice.
 
Fatty and sugary foods

This group includes spreading fats (such as butter), cooking oils, sugar, biscuits, cakes, crisps, sweets, cream and ice cream, chocolate and sugary drinks. These foods shouldn't be eaten too often and, when they are, should only be consumed in small amounts.

They're loaded with calories, fat and sugar, and don't necessarily contain many vitamins and minerals. Also, sugary foods and drinks (including fruit juice) can increase the risk of dental decay.

Limit the amount of sugar and sweets eaten, and offer them at the end of meals, rather than in-between.

Some sugar-free or diet drinks can also cause decay because of their acidity. Milk or water is the best drink between meals.


Source : bbc

Dark chocolate 'may lower blood pressure'

There may be good news for people looking for an excuse to munch on a couple of squares of chocolate after a review showed the treat could reduce blood pressure.

 

An analysis of 20 studies showed that eating dark chocolate daily resulted in a slight reduction in blood pressure.

The Cochrane Group's report said chemicals in cocoa, chocolate's key ingredient, relaxed blood vessels.

However, there are healthier ways of lowering blood pressure.

The theory is that cocoa contains flavanols which produce a chemical in the body called nitric oxide. This 'relaxes' blood vessels making it easier for blood to pass through them, lowering the blood pressure.
Continue reading the main story   
“Start Quote

    The 100g of chocolate that had to be consumed daily in a number of the studies would also come with 500 calories - that's a quarter of a woman's recommended daily intake”

Victoria Taylor British Heart Foundation

However, studies have thrown up mixed results. The Cochrane analysis combined previous studies to see if there was really an effect.

There was a huge range in the amount of cocoa consumed, from 3g to 105g a day, by each participant. However, the overall picture was a small reduction in blood pressure.

A systolic blood pressure under 120mmHg (millimetres of mercury) is considered normal. Cocoa resulted in a 2-3mmHg reduction in blood pressure. However, the length of the trials was only two weeks so the longer term effects are unknown.

Lead researcher Karin Ried, from the National Institute of Integrative Medicine in Melbourne, Australia, said: "Although we don't yet have evidence for any sustained decrease in blood pressure, the small reduction we saw over the short term might complement other treatment options and might contribute to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease."

High blood pressure is both common and deadly. It has been linked to 54% of strokes worldwide and 47% of cases of coronary heart disease.

However, chocolate packs plenty of fat and sugar as well as cocoa so is not the ideal way of lowering blood pressure.
Dark or milk?

There has also been a warning in the Lancet medical journal that dark chocolate may contain fewer flavanols than you might think. Dark chocolate contains a higher cocoa count than milk chocolate so should contain more flavanols, however, they can also be removed as they have a bitter taste.

Victoria Taylor, of the British Heart Foundation, said: "It's difficult to tell exactly what sort of quantities of flavanol-rich cocoa would be needed to observe a beneficial effect and the best way for people to obtain it.

"With most of the studies carried out over a short period of time it's also not possible to know for sure whether the benefits could be sustained in the long term. The 100g of chocolate that had to be consumed daily in a number of the studies would also come with 500 calories - that's a quarter of a woman's recommended daily intake.

"Beans, apricots, blackberries and apples also contain flavanols and, while containing lower amounts than in cocoa, they won't come with the unhealthy extras found in chocolate."



Source : bbc

Sun tan cream: how much is safe?

 Now summer has finally arrived, should we slather on the sunscreen to protect against skin cancer, or expose ourselves to the sun’s rays to boost vitamin D levels?


Safety first: 'There is unfortunately no established level of sun exposure guaranteed to produce enough vitamin D without harming your skin'

Experts have linked over-conscientious use of sun creams with low levels of the “sunshine vitamin”, which is vital for strong bones and has additional health benefits. On the other hand, Cancer Research UK revealed last week that annual diagnoses of malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, in middle-aged people have risen from 500 in the late Seventies to more than 2,000 today.

The NHS advises spending 10-15 minutes in the sun daily without sunscreen for a vitamin D boost, but some specialists recommend taking a vitamin D supplement rather than leaving off the sunscreen. Dr Stefanie Williams, a London dermatologist, explains: “How much vitamin D your skin produces depends on many factors, including its colour —pale skins synthesise vitamin D faster but also burn more easily. There is unfortunately no established level of sun exposure guaranteed to produce enough vitamin D without harming your skin.”

She advises a vitamin D supplement of 1000IU (0.025mg) daily for most people (official advice is for supplements to be taken only by those at risk of deficiency).

Dr Howard Murad, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California Los Angeles, agrees that taking a supplement is better than relying on the sun. “Sunlight is not a surefire way to receive the 'right’ amount of Vitamin D,” he says.


 Cancer Research UK recommends using a product with an SPF of at least 15 to protect against the UVB rays that cause sunburn. However, the SPF does not indicate whether a product protects against the UVA rays that cause skin ageing and are implicated in skin cancer. The best UVA protection is given by products that contain filters such as zinc oxide or titanium oxide, says Dr Williams.

“To get a good indication about a product’s UVA, you may want to check the manufacturer’s website. A good product would provide an SPF of 30-50 and a PPD (persistent pigment darkening) factor of at least 15.”

Some products contain added ingredients such as antioxidants, which are said to repair skin damage or prevent blemishes. Do they do any good?

“Antioxidants such as vitamin C or E can help to protect your skin,” says Dr Williams, “but they should never be a substitute for UV filters and behaving sensibly in the sun.”

Says Dr Murad: ''Good sunscreens should always include hydrators, anti-inflammatory agents and antioxidants.”

No sunscreen, no matter how high its SPF, can provide 100 per cent protection, warns Jennifer Richards, a nurse skin specialist at The Mole Clinic in London. “It is crucial that you apply sunscreen generously and regularly. For an average person, this means about two teaspoonfuls for the head, arms and neck, and about two tablespoonfuls if you’re covering all areas left exposed by a swimming costume.”

Me? I’m getting a large hat and sitting in the shade.

Source : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/features/9434762/Sun-tan-cream-how-much-is-safe.html

Blood Type Linked With Heart Disease Risk: Study

Not all blood types may be alike when it comes to heart disease risk.

Harvard researchers found certain blood types seem to be associated with a higher risk of coronary heart disease than others. Specifically, people with type AB -- only about 7 percent of the U.S. population -- have a 23 percent increased risk of the condition, compared with type Os.


Meanwhile, people with type B blood had an 11 percent higher risk of coronary heart disease, and people with type A blood had a 5 percent higher risk compared with people with type O blood, according to the Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology study.

The researchers noted that about 43 percent of people in the U.S have Type O blood.

"While people cannot change their blood type, our findings may help physicians better understand who is at risk for developing heart disease," study researcher Dr. Lu Qi, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, said in a statement.

"It's good to know your blood type the same way you should know your cholesterol or blood pressure numbers," Qi added in the statement. "If you know you're at higher risk, you can reduce the risk by adopting a healthier lifestyle, such as eating right, exercising and not smoking."

The study included blood type analysis from nearly 100,000 people between ages 30 and 75, who participated in the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, in which they were followed for at least 20 years.


The researchers said they have yet to understand the exact cause for this blood type-heart disease connection. But, they did say that past research has suggested a link between having A type blood and higher levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol, and a link between having AB type blood and inflammation.

Last year, a study presented at the conference of the American Heart Association suggested a link between blood type and stroke risk, too. That study showed that AB type blood in men and women, and B type blood in women, is linked with an increased risk of stroke, compared with people with O type blood, the Associated Press reported.

That study was conducted by researchers from the Brigham and Women's Hospital, and included health data from 90,000 people. 



Source : http://www.huffingtonpost.com

Can Meditation Make You Smarter?

Most of us know that meditating is a great way to reduce stress. But meditative practice goes beyond taking a chill pill. Meditating is also associated with structural changes in the brain that help sharpen focus and improve memory and multitasking skills. But can this mind-body practice really help you get straight A’s?


Smarty (Yoga) Pants — Why It Matters
It’s not just tree huggers and ultra-yogis who meditate. In 2007, about 9% of American adults tried getting into their Zen zones at least once in the past year. Most people say they meditate to manage stress, but meditative practice affects the brain in many other ways.

While people have been meditating for thousands of years, it wasn’t until the 1970s that scientists started focusing on its brainy benefits. Numerous studies suggest that regular meditation (about six hours a week) may actually change brain structure. Scientists have found meditation is associated with a thicker cerebral cortex and more gray matter — i.e., the parts of the brain linked to memory, attention span, decisionmaking and learning. But a year of silent meditation isn’t always necessary. One study found people who meditated at least once a week for four years showed increased cortical gyrification, the folding of the cerebral cortex that helps people process information.

It’s still unclear how meditation actually changes the brain, but some scientists say devoting complete attention to one specific object or thought actually alters our neural networks. And just remember, these studies don’t imply meditating will cause any changes in our brains, just that these cognitive abilities are associated with meditation.

Other research skips the brain scans and suggests some practical benefits of meditation. Om-ing is connected to better concentration and multitasking skills — things some of us might wish for when losing focus on the job. Researchers think meditation helps people deal with interruptions and work on multiple assignments more efficiently. Meditation can also help students battle stress on exam day, possibly boosting their academic performance. But before replacing the GCal with breathing exercises, beware of conflicting scientific findings.

Breathe In, Breathe Out — The Answer/Debate
So what’s the real deal? Meditation may be linked to some short-term perks, like acing a memory test, but scientists have yet to figure out how long the potential cognitive benefits of meditation last. Meanwhile, one study failed to find any correlation between short-term breathing meditation and cognitive abilities like memory, intelligence and academic achievement. And some scientists argue that meditation only has brain-boosting power when we expect to see those kind of results.

It’s also worth noting that there are many different types of meditation, and certain people may benefit more from one meditation style over another. So if you’re looking to get some big results from a little inward reflection, choose a type of meditation you like and feel most comfortable doing. From mantra to mindfulness and Zen to qigong, there are plenty of ways to get that third eye in focus.

Source : http://healthland.time.com/2012/08/10/can-meditation-make-you-smarter/

5 Health Benefits Honey

Although it contains high levels of sugar, but honey has many positive benefits for health. A recent study revealed the benefits of honey to relieve cough toddler at night.

 

In addition to relieve cough and make sleep more calmly, here are some benefits of honey.

1. topical antibiotics
Research shows some skin diseases, such as burns, scratches, stitches up to the former operation, a response to the "honey therapy" is applied on the wound. The content of hydrogen perioksida natural honey produced from bees enzyme is thought to work as a natural antibiotic that has the power to heal.

2. reduce itching
The anti-inflammatory in the honey shown to help reduce the itching and irritation from mosquito bites.

3. Boost immunity
Honey is rich in polyphenols, an antioxidant that helps protect cells from free radical damage, which can lead to cancer and heart disease.

4. Relieve digestive disorders
In a 2006 study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, the researchers concluded that replacing sugar with honey in processed foods will increase in the intestinal microflora. But a new study conducted on laboratory rats.

5. treating acne
According to preliminary studies, Manuka and Kanuka honey types effectively treat acne vulgaris, the skin disorder caused by inflammation and infection of the pilosebaceous follicles on the face, back, or chest.

Best Juicy Fruits For Your Kids

You must have often noticed your kids tired and wearied out after they come back from a game. Kids suffer from a lot of dehydration problems. Moreover you have to keep giving them snacks in the middle of meals as they often feel hungry. Many kids also have a distaste for milk. So, look for some other healthy food for kids. Fruit is good for kids. Apart from being tasty, they are also a healthy snack that kids will enjoy. Let us look at some juicy fruit options for kids.



Pineapple- Pineapple is a good fruit for kids. It is a rich source of vitamin B and C. it improves digestion and is also very effective in curing sore throats and cold. So, if your child has cold, do not hesitate to give him/her a glass full of pineapple juice or raw slices. High in water content, this will also compensate for the loss of water in the child's body.

Mangoes : They are a rich source of vitamin A. One mango a day is enough for your kid. The vitamin A in mango helps in improving the eye sight of the young kid. The best part of this fruit is that, it is very tasty and attractive to look at. Children love to have this juicy and pulpy fruit. Mango is one of the most healthiest foods for kids. Give it to them in between meals whenever they are hungry. This can act as an excellent healthy snack option for kids.

Pomegranate : Pomegranate is loaded with vitamins, sodium, calcium and antioxidants. Consuming pomegranate is very healthy for a child. One or a half pomegranate regularly is enough for your kid. The antioxidants found in this fruit fight against harmful diseases. It also increases your child's immunity. The nutrients in a pomegranate also protects the brain of your child from any internal damage.

Kiwi : Kiwi is rich in vitamin C and potassium. It is thus a very healthy fruit as the minerals and vitamins in the fruit help in increasing the blood count of your child. You may give this fruit as a healthy snack to your kids. Butdo not forget to peel the fruit before making a juice as it might give a bitter taste.

Orange : This can be considered as a healthy juicy fruit for kids. Oranges boost the immune system and is very effective in preventing cold and other infections. It also calms the nervous system. If your child suffers from anxiety or nervousness, then it is very good for him/her to have an orange as its an effective home remedy for such problems.

You should include a fruit in your kids diet as it is going to benefit him/her in multi-faceted ways.



Source : boldsky.com

Skin Care Tips For Working Women

Working women seldom find out time to care for themselves. In such busy schedules, it becomes very difficult to look after their skin. This is why, early ageing, tanning and dark spots are common skin problems of working women. If you are a working lady and do not have much time to care for your skin, try these easy beauty tips that can be easily followed even in busy schedules.


Sunscreens: Many working women have to work outdoors and protecting their skin from harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun is very important. If you think that sunscreens are only for sportspersons and people who are always out in the sun, then think again. Sunscreens form a protective layer on the skin that prevents ageing and tanning. Always apply a sunscreen on your face and arms (all exposed skin) 30 minutes before stepping out in the bright sun.


Moisturise skin: Working women would not have to spend much time on following this and it is one easy tip to care for your skin. Moisturise your skin regularly to keep it soft and shiny. To get rid of dry, freckled and wrinkled skin, always use a moisturiser. After a shower, apply a cream or moisturizer that leaves the skin soft, nourished and shiny. If you apply makeup, coat the skin with moisturizer before applying makeup to retain the moisture in the skin.

Cleanse: Always indulge in cleansing your skin. Even after a hectic day, working women should always follow this tip to care for their skin. Cleansing takes out all the dead skin cells, rejuvenates skin and opens clogged pores. Many women believe that washing their face with a face wash or soapy solution 4-5 times a day cleanses the skin. Well, washing the face with face wash only cleans the dirt and pollutants that stick to the skin. Moreover, excessive usage of face wash can damage the sensitive skin cells and tissues. This can cause cracks, lines on the skin and also make it rough. Face washes take away all the moisture from the skin. Limit the use of face wash and go for cleansing solutions like cleansing milk. Deep cleansing is required to have a clear and flawless skin.

Water:
Drink lots of water to stay hydrated. Water protects the skin and hair. Working women often have an unhealthy lifestyle and this affects their skin and hair. To maintain a glowing and nourished skin and hair, this is an effective beauty tip for working women. Have lots of water as it helps flush out toxins from the body.

Diet: Take out some time for your health. Working women should know that they can only work if they have the energy inside their body. Unhealthy diet can never keep them healthy and active. Include fresh green vegetables and fruits to stay fit and have a glowing skin.

Are you a working woman? How do you care for your skin?



Source : boldsky.com

Doctors use eggs to reverse egg allergies in kids

First peanuts, now eggs. Doctors have reversed allergies in some children and teens by giving them tiny daily doses of problem foods, gradually training their immune systems to accept them.

 

In the best test of this yet, about a dozen kids were able to overcome allergies to eggs, one of the most ubiquitous foods, lurking in everything from pasta and veggie burgers to mayonnaise and even marshmallows. Some of the same doctors used a similar approach on several kids with peanut allergies a few years ago.

Don't try this yourself, though. It takes special products, a year or more and close supervision because severe reactions remain a risk, say doctors involved in the study, published in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine.

"This experimental therapy can safely be done only by properly trained physicians," says a statement from Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the federal agency that sponsored the study.

It didn't work for everyone, and some dropped out of the study because of allergic reactions. But the results "really do show there is promise for future treatment" and should be tested now in a wider group of kids, said the study's leader, Dr. A. Wesley Burks, pediatrics chief at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

More than 2 percent of young children have egg allergies, suffering wheezing and tight throats or even life-threatening reactions if they eat any egg, Burks said. Many will outgrow

this by age 4 or 5, and more will by the time they are teens, but 10 to 20 percent never do. The big worry is that these kids will eat eggs as an ingredient in a food they don't realize contains them, and have a severe reaction. Training a child's immune system to tolerate even small amounts of egg to prevent this was the goal of the study.

It enrolled 55 children ages 5 to 18. Forty were given tiny daily amounts of powdered egg white, the part that usually causes the allergy. The other 15 were given cornstarch - a dummy treatment - for comparison. The amounts were increased every two weeks until kids in the treatment group were eating about one third of an egg each day.

They periodically went to their doctors to try eating eggs. They failed the test if a doctor could see any symptoms such as wheezing.

At about a year, none receiving the dummy treatment passed the egg challenge. Those on the egg white powder fared better.

"At the end of the year, half of them passed. At the end of two years, 75 percent of them passed," Burks said.

Next, he went a step further, to see if participants could maintain tolerance without the daily powder. Those who passed the second test stopped using the powder, avoided eggs entirely for four to six weeks, then tried eating eggs again as they wished. Eleven of the 30 kids were able to do this with no problem.

The treatment worked for 10-year-old Nicholas Redmond of Huntersville, N.C., near Charlotte. Avoiding eggs has been "a huge problem," said his father, Chris Redmond. Now Nicholas has some egg nearly every day to maintain his tolerance, which his father finds terribly ironic.

"You spend 2 1/2 years avoiding eggs" and now have to make sure he gets some, Chris Redmond said.

Nicholas said the hardest part of his allergy was turning down birthday treats at school.

"I would say 'no thank you' and I had this little treat box with stuff filled for class parties," he said.

Now, "I can have eggs in cake and cookies" - if they don't contain peanuts, he said. He's also allergic to those, and will start sensitization therapy for peanuts next month.



Source : http://www.dailynews.com

Onions and cantaloupes latest cause of worry

Gill’s Onions, based in Oxnard, Calif., has issued voluntary recalls of diced and slivered onions because of a possible risk of listeriosis, the company has reported on its website.

Gill's Onions in Oxnard, Calif., has recalled diced and slivered onions after one package tested positive for listeria.

 
The large recall, triggered when the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes were detected at a processing plant, has stores across the country (including Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Market) pulling “tons of ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook foods” off their shelves, WebMD reported Thursday.

Separately, a North Carolina grower has recalled cantaloupes, also citing worries about listeria contamination.        

Elderly people, pregnant women and individuals with weakened immune systems are most at risk of serious illness from listeria infection, according to this website from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Listeriosis can cause fever, muscle aches and diarrhea, as well as miscarriage. There are about 1,600 cases each year in the U.S.

One bright spot in the onion recall: No one has been sickened by tainted onions, and only one bag of onions has tested positive for listeria, Gill’s said on its website. According to CDC reports, a listeria outbreak in 2011 — which originated in cantaloupes from Colorado’s Jensen Farms and spread through 28 states across the U.S. — infected 146 people, killing 30 and possibly causing a miscarriage in a pregnant woman who fell ill.

The recalls coincide with recent reports that the country is not meeting its goals for reducing foodborne illnesses such as salmonella and listeria.  In this July 28  story about the CDC statistics from the Washington Post, consumer advocates complained that the government has been too slow to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act, which should help prevent foodborne illness. 



Source : LATimes

Tips Reduce Weight Without Dieting



A strict diet is often the choice of many people to get the ideal body shape. But in some people eat these restrictions would cause side effects such as decreasing the body's metabolism to less energy to work. In addition to diet, you can actually implement a strategy of downsizing is easy but should be part of the lifestyle. One of these six steps:

Breakfast
Research shows that regular breakfast will maintain weight. But the menu chosen should be low fat, complex carbohydrates, protein, fiber and equipped.

Eat foods low in calories
Fill your plate with low-calorie foods such as fruits, vegetables, or complex carbohydrates. These foods make the stomach full longer so you will not "go crazy" when she saw other foods.

Start with Soup
At lunch or dinner, vegetable-based soup menu pilihlh or contain vegetables. Soup will overcome excessive hunger so you will not be tempted to enjoy food with high calories.

Came too late
Arriving late at the party or banquet will make your meal is reduced.

Divide the lunch menu
At lunchtime, try to divide the menu into a half eaten at lunch, you enjoy the other half in the afternoon.

Exchange with mustard mayonnaise
One teaspoon of mayonnaise has 100 calories, while a teaspoon of mustard has 10 calories.
 
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