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Saturday, 21 Feb, 2009

Health & Fitness

By Giving Up Smoking Women Start To Look 13 Years Younger

Smoking epidemic had taken the lives of 100 million people during the 20th century. Nowadays, smoking is the cause of death of 5.4 million people each year. This number may increase up to 8 million by 2030. In the 21st century, smoking may kill almost 1 billion people.

Italian scientists with their latest discovery could inspire a lot of women to give up their habit of smoking. According to the results of a research, women who stop smoking cigarettes start looking 13 years younger in just 9 months.

This is the conclusion to which the dietologist Lydia Levandovsky and the dermatologist Adele Sparavigna had come after carrying out 2 major studies. At the beginning, scientists analyzed and appreciated the skin condition of 200 non-smoking women. Relying on objective parameters of skin (elasticity, firmness, microrelief), they elaborated the scheme of determining the age of the skin on the face.

In the second research, 64 smoking women had to give up their smoking habits. During 9 months they have been closely monitorized and were taken medical analyses. The results were stunning: the skin of the women who gave up smoking had rejuvenated with 13 years in average. Besides, their weight registered a significant decrease.

The results of the research are already used by the Italian Society Against Smoking in their campaigns. Recently, new publicity panels with the inscription "Give up smoking and you will be beautiful!" appeared all over the country.

Another interesting fact about smoking is the difference between the reasons of why the two sexes start smoking. After studying some of the German smokers it was determined that cigarettes for a man are just a source of energy, while for a woman they are a remedy against stress, irritation and overweight.

"Men smoke more often in order to get pleasure from this, and women do this for fighting stress and calming their nerves", scientists say.

Anoter explanation why women smoke is the popular opinion that nicotine helps lose weight.

Saturday, 21 Feb, 2009

Health & Fitness

Lonely People Have Weak Health

Psychologists affirm that loneliness is not less dangerous for a person than smoking and overweight.

The lack of relationships with other people not only makes us unhappy, but also influences negatively on our body and mind. These are the last scientific facts, received during a research.

The feeling of rejection or isolation increases the blood pressure, the level of stress and the general level of tiredness. It also increases the risk of the development of Alzheimer's disease.

Besides, this feeling decreases the strength of one's will and insistence, which is reflected later on the capability of leading a healthy lifestyle, scientists report.

The received results were presented by Professor John Kacioppo from the University of Chicago in the annual conference of the American Association Favouring Science Development.

According to Professor Kacioppo, loneliness not only leads to changes in behaviour, but it is also related to the development of the normal blood flow's resistance through the cardiovascular system.

Loneliness leads to the morning increase of the stress hormone's level (cortisol), which, in its turn, has its influence on the immune system, raising blood pressure and leading to the development of depression.

Loneliness or social isolation also cause sleep disturbances and a quick progression of Alzheimer's disease.

The professor affirms that the difference between a lonely and a socially popular man is similar to the difference between "a smoker and a non-smoker".

"This discovery has totally surprised us all – me and my colleagues – because of the consequences brought about by loneliness. This fact shows how important human communication is for every one of us", he says.

"Lonely people, as a rule, have a weak health. They rarely make physical exercises and consume more calories. In order to feel comfortable, they eat more sweet and fat food. Loneliness also decreases the capability of self-control. It is very easy for these people to have 2 or 3 drinks of alcohol at the end of a bad day", the professor added.

Professor Kacioppo is the founder of a new subject, called social neurology. According to him, the human necessity in other people has deep evolutional roots.

In the past, in order to survive people had to cooperate, besides it was easier for them to raise their children in this way. This is how, during the process of evolution, loneliness became a "signal" to action, to the necessity of repairing social relationships, just like physical pain is a signal of the necessity not to touch fire for example.

Thursday, 19 Feb, 2009

Health & Fitness

White Wine Is Also Useful For Health

Scientists have given credit to those who enjoy drinking white wine: it results that this wine have the same positive influence on our organism as red wine.

Rats that were given white wine for a long period of time, during their heart stop, have suffered less in comparison with the animals that were given only water or ethylic alcohol. This positive effect is similar to the consequences of the animals' utilization into nutrition of red wine or its wonderful component, called resveratrol, found only in the grapes' skin, reports.

White wine, made of grapes that were cleaned of their skin, doesn't contain resveratrol. It is considered that resveratrol is the cause of the so-called "French paradox" (a high level of fat in the French food and a low level of cardiovascular diseases among the population), with the condition of a moderate utilization of red wine.

According to Deepak Duss, a molecular biologist in the medicine school of the University of Connecticut in Farmington, not only red wines can cause such phenomena. He considers that the fruit itself can have the same effect as its skin.

Deepak Duss and his colleagues have given their laboratory rats white or red Italian wine, equivalent to 1 or 2 glasses of wine per day for humans, other rats have received the chemical substance polifenols. It is considered that polifenols are more useful for health than wine.

Among all laboratory rats, who have suffered heart attacks, the animals that were given wine or polifenols, had a lesser impact on heart, in comparison with rats that drank water and alcoholic drinks. Their blood pressure had also lowered.

The molecular studies of heart cells have showed that white wine protects the main energetic source of the cell – the mitochondria. These organelles are destroyed because of lack of oxygen and nutritive substances. In such case, cells have only one choice – "committing suicide", the so-called apoptosis.

The mitochondria of the rats that drank wine looked better and only a small number of their heart cells have passed to apoptosis. The same thing happened to the rats that were given polifenols, including resveratrol contained in red wine, and tirosol and hidroxitirosol from white wine.

According to Duss, the chemical structures of the three substances are not completely identical, but they have common features that allow them to activate the same reactions inside the cells.

This means that the results Duss received in his studies prove that white wine protects the laboratory rats from the consequences of heart attacks.

However, heart attacks in humans often take place because of blood clots in the arteries, and not necessarily because of mitochondria's destruction. Similar experiments made on dogs showed that red wine has advantages over the white.

Still, Duss expects that studies made in the nearest future will prove the value of white wine. He says: "we will surely be able to say that one or two glasses of white wine per day will have the same effect as red wine has".

He affirms that the "French paradox" hasn't included white wine because of a scientific report on this subject made in 1992, and also because of the "obsession" the researchers had with resveratrol.

While there aren't enough proofs, soon we will be able to observe the "English paradox". Duss says that, "beer is also healthy for the heart".

Wednesday, 18 Feb, 2009

Health & Fitness

Doctors Succeeded In Saving A Girl Born With A Half Of The Heart

According to the statistics, approximately 1 child out of 100 is born with one or other deficiency of heart. But such a serious pathology as the one Mira Larrison was born with is a rarity.

The disease that Mira was diagnosed with even before she was born is called "hypoplasia of the heart's left ventricle" (or the Rauhfus-Kissel syndrome). This means that the left ventricle of the girl's heart was underdeveloped and practically non-functional. Usually, the first symptoms of the disease appear in the first 2 days of life and are presented by a strong vascular insufficiency. The disease intensively makes headway and quickly kills the patient.

The Rauhfus-Kissel syndrome can be met in circa 7 per cent of children with congenital heart deficiencies and represents their most frequent cause of death. Even if the disturbance is diagnosed in the uterus of the mother, it is very hard to save the baby – a series of complicated surgical operations or a heart transplantation is needed. About 97 per cent of children sick with this disease die in their first year of life.

Mira's state was more severe than it was expected. According to the doctors, she wouldn't have survived the operation on the open heart, and would have died in a matter of some days without treatment. Besides, the girl was diagnosed with the Shereshevsky-Turner syndrome – a serious disease, associated with anomalies in the development of the heart.

But the girl's life could still be saved. The doctors have made a set of procedures while she was still inside the uterus and some surgical operations after she was born.

"She will still need some other operations, but the hardest one was already performed", Science Daily reports quotes cardiologist Imy Armstrong, one of the doctors from the group that had treated Mira, as saying.

Now the 2-weeks-old girl is ready to go home with her parents. Katie and Jeremy Larrison already have a baby, that's why they might need help to take care after the elder one and after their younger ill daughter. But they don't give up: the most important thing is that their daughter was saved, despite the pessimistic prognoses of the doctors. The girl will need 2 other operations (when she will be 4 months- and 2 years-old), in order to correct the lung blood flow, but these will not be so risky, according to the doctors.

Tuesday, 17 Feb, 2009

Health & Fitness

Not Only Age Influences The Appearance Of Wrinkles

Not only age adds wrinkles on one's face: a study made on 186 identical twins had showed that, apart from the genes responsible for the appearance, certain external factors may also influence the way we look, reports.

American surgeons from the University Hospitals Case Medical Center have established that divorce, the administration of antidepressants and excessively thin figure may cause serious harm to the face. Thus, by avoiding these factors, one can cheat on the inner biological clock and prevent the apparition of additional and useless wrinkles, doctors affirm.

Dermatological examination and different inquiries have determined that divorced twins looked 2 years older than married or even widowed brothers and sisters. Besides, antidepressants and underweight were also associated with quicker rhythms of ageing: very thin people who used to take antidepressants, even younger than 40, looked older, while 40-years-old people with a healthy overweight looked a lot younger for their age.

Doctors suspect that the administration of antidepressants weakens the facial muscles, divorce influences negatively the appearance because of high levels of psychological stress, and anomalous weight loss has negative consequences for the whole organism. However, the results of this research don't mean that overweight helps one in looking younger, physicians warn.

Sunday, 15 Feb, 2009

Health & Fitness

Mediterranean Diet Preserves The Intellect

Scientists from the Medicine Center in Columbia University (USA) have established the interrelationship between one's diet and intellectual abilities. It resulted that people following the Mediterranean diet may not fear about unimportant cognitive disturbances turning into Alzheimer's disease. There are certain alimentary preferences that play a significant role in the development and prevention of this severe pathology.

The Mediterranean diet is based on the consumption of fish, vegetables, fruits, cereals, milk products, fatless meat, olive oil and a small quantity of alcohol.

In the period between 1992 and 1999, researchers have observed 1393 volunteers with normal intellectual abilities and 482 patients with light cognitive disturbances. Specialists have made tests, taken interviews, studied their intellectual abilities and have determined the patients who followed the Mediterranean system of nutrition.

In average, scientists studie each participant over a period of 4.5 years. During this time, 275 persons from the healthy group have been noted to have light intellectual disturbances. However, in those who have followed strictly the Mediterranean diet and in those who haven't followed it so strictly, the risk of cognitive abilities' worsening was lowered by 28 and 17 per cent respectively, compared to those who refused to follow it.

In the second group of patients, after 4.3 years, Alzheimer's disease was noted to appear in 106 persons. The risk of this disease was 48 per cent lower in people who led a healthy lifestyle than in those who haven't consumed the products prescribed by the diet. Those who have followed this diet from time to time had a 45 per cent lower risk.

According to specialists, the Mediterranean diet decreases the level of cholesterol and glucose in the blood, and heals the blood vessels. This means that it removes all the symptoms linked with the worsening of intellectual abilities.

Friday, 13 Feb, 2009

Health & Fitness

Kisses Never Lie

According to a saying, eyes are mirror reflection of the soul. But British scientists from the University of Belfast affirm that eyes can lie, while lips can never do that. The way one kisses can say a lot about him/her, reports.

For example, the majority of men and women, circa 80 per cent of them, tend to incline towards the right side before kissing, which is a proof of a high level of sensibility, while the rest of 20 per cent, who incline their heads to the left side, have a very low emotional level.

This affirmation scientists explain by the fact that, as it is known, every hemisphere of the brain is responsible for the opposite side of the body, that's why, when opening the left cheek to the partner, precisely the right hemisphere, responsible for our emotional-sensitive sphere, influences our actions. On the contrary, by opening the left cheek to the partner while kissing, one is led by cold mathematical reasons.

Some people consider that, during a kiss, partners interchange a lot of pathogenic bacteria and microorganisms, but scientists say that it's not that bad: kisses consolidate the nervous system, making us more resistant to psychological problems.

The proof to this is the following: German scientists have established that the ones who kiss more often live in average with 5 years more than those who don't like kissing. Besides, the persons from the first group also are rarely involved in car accidents, suffer less from professional diseases and, more than that, they receive higher salaries.

This isn't surprising since one's psychological state of mind, consolidated by kissing, becomes more stable, which, without doubt, has a positive influence on all aspects of life.

Another interesting fact is that a lovers' kiss not only has an emotional energy, but also a complicated hormonal and chemical composition. Some studies determined that during kissing the level of cortisol in the organisms of the lovers is lowered. Cortisol is a hormone responsible for the intensity of stress and general anxiety.

Researchers also established that, in the same time, in men the activeness of the hormone oxytocin is increased (the increasing, in its turn, the general level of their tonus) and in women it is lowered.

Friday, 13 Feb, 2009

Health & Fitness

Woman Carrying A Dead Baby In Her Uterus For 60 Years

Doctors who have examined an old woman that addressed them with complaints of pains in the abdomen were totally perplexed. They have found that the old lady was pregnant. More than that, the unborn baby had been kept inside the woman for more than 60 years.

The history of pregnancy of Huang Yuidjun, 92, from Huandjaotan (South China) had started in 1948. At that time, the doctors told her that the baby had died before being born and that she needed a surgical operation in order to remove the fetus from her uterus. The doctors asked 200 dollars for that operation, but Huang had refused to give that sum of money.

"In those times this was a huge sum of money, it was more than many families were earning per year. That's why I decided not to do anything and simply ignored it", said Mrs. Yuidjun.

But the dead fetus in the uterus of the old woman had recently reminded the woman of its existence. Huang had received a trauma of her abdomen and her inner organs had started to ache. The Chinese woman had addressed the doctors for help and they have directed her to Ultrasonography scanning. The results were shocking.

"I could not believe my own eyes when it turned out that Yuidjun has a baby in her uterus. I haven't seen anything more surprising and more strange in all my 40 years of practice as a doctor", confessed Dr. Lyu Anbin from the Gwingshen hospital.

The doctors didn't let go of the old lady. She was admitted to the hospital for other auxiliary researches. The most important thing now is to determine whether an operation and removal of the baby from Yuidjun's uterus are necessary.

According to the consultant of the gynecology section from the respective hospital, Xu Xyanming, "usually the dead fetus is being disintegrated, but this case is a rare one. It isn't clear yet how comes that Mrs. Yuidjun has been in a good state of health all this time."

Monday, 09 Feb, 2009

Health & Fitness

The Most Popular Causes of Death In 2030

At the end of 2008, a list with a prognostic of the most "popular" causes of mortality in the year 2030 was published by the World Health Organization. Nowadays, these are: tumors, ischemic disease of heart and disturbances of the cerebral blood circulation.

According to this list, the 3 causes will still keep their positions in future; more than that, the frequency of these diseases will increase. Other frequent causes of mortality today are infarctions and heart attacks in an older age. Besides, in such cases, the patient's life often depends on the extreme measures taken in the first minutes or hours, which is a problem for doctors both in big cities, and in villages, because of the distance that may separate them. By 2030 the situation is less likely to change.

The number of deaths in car accidents will also increase. It isn't surprising since the number of cars is in a continuous growth and, in the history of humanity, technical development has always outrun culture evolution.

A social cause, which may increase the mortality in rich countries, is the refusal of some people from prophylactic vaccination. There already exists a set of epidemics of diseases as a consequence. The first one took place in Stockholm between 1873 and 1874. Similar events took place in Great Britain in the 1970s and in Netherlands, Ireland, Nigeria and USA in 2000.

According to the same prognostic, the mortality from acute respiratory diseases, tuberculosis, malaria and delivery mortality will decrease. AIDS, as a cause of death, will be very spread till 2015 but the the level of mortality will decrease. It seems that the authors of this prognosis consider the creation of an effective vaccine against this virus in the nearest future. Today, this is complicated because of the rapid genetic modifications of the virus.

This document created by specialists from the World Health Organization isn't the only trial to predict the future of medicine. The famous astrophysician Steven Hoking has predicted in 1998 that in the nearest future there will be an era of planned evolution, linked with discoveries in genetic engineering. Hoking considered that people would be able to live up to 120 years. At the same time, along with genetic technologies' development, there will also appear new viruses dangerous for humanity.

Some of the prognostics are shocking. The professor of the University of Oxford Brian Sux affirms that, as a consequence of the continuous accumulation of defects in the Y-chromosome, which plays the role of decision of the male sex, this chromosome will finally disappear, and, along with it, men will disappear too. This hypothesis is confirmed by the fact that, over the last 50 years, the quantity of formed spermatozoa has decreased with 20 per cent. According to Sux, this will happen in 125,000 years.

According to Arthur Clark, another "fantasy" scientist, in 1980's artificial organisms had to be created, by 2010 humans would reach the control over heredity, by 2030 rational animals would appear and by 2090 humans would reach immortality. His biological prognostics still remain just interesting, curious facts.

In 1999 Clark had elaborated a new version of his prognostics. This time he affirmed that by 2005 humanity will be able to "replace nose, eyes and skin with artificial and more effective organs". Human cloning, according to Clark, should have taken place in 2004.

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Monday, 09 Feb, 2009

Health & Fitness

Good Physical Shape With Short High-Intensity Trainings Is Possible

A healthy lifestyle and fitness has become a luxury, which many people can't afford. Our busy timetables sometimes give us lack of sleep, not even mentioning lack of physical exercises. Fortunately, British scientists advise us not to worry too much about it. According to them, daily trainings in the pool or in the gym are not compulsory for maintaining a good shape at all.

Professor James Timmons from the Harriota-Watta University in Great Britain has decided to check the influence of periodical high-intensity trainings on human metabolism. The experiment was carried out on 25 volunteers, all of them are men who lead a sedentary lifestyle. They had to ride a bicycle every 2 days (and also a set of other physical exercises).

During the study it was found that regular high-intensity trainings, lasting only 7 minutes, in a matter of 2 weeks, enhance the digestion of carbohydrates in the human organism not worse than daily tiresome trainings.

"The risk of the development of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes of the second type is lowered if the person makes physical exercises regularly. We have come to the conclusion that, in order to reach the same effect, only some 30-second lasting exercises with an intensive work of the muscles are enough. The improvement of the metabolism can be felt in a pair of weeks", says Timmons in the press-release of the university.

As one of the variants of replacing trainings in the gym the professor proposes running over 4 sets of stairs up and down for 3 times, twice a week.

Of course, if one wants to have a body similar to world champions in bodybuilding, such trainings will not make a difference. But they are quite enough for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Saturday, 31 Jan, 2009

Health & Fitness

The Relation Between The Sex And The Occurence Of The Diseases

Scientists claim that some diseases may be characteristic only for the masculine or feminine sex.

It isn't necessary to be a scientist to notice that there are some differences in the type and frequency of the disease in women and in men. For example, the opinion that men rarely visit doctors and that they prefer to stay sick at home is widely spread. They complain about their health more often. Women, in their turn, suffer less from pain and that's why they tolerate better any kind of diseases.

But all of these are only opinions without any scientific basis. All that scientist had mentioned is limited to the fact that, in average, women live longer than men.

Why? Because they smoke and drink less, because they lead an active way of life and because they visit doctors more often. Besides, it is considered that feminine hormones protect women from cardiovascular diseases till they are in menopause.

A recent Finnish study has shown that women's health is not as strong as it seems. During their work, doctors have studied how the same disease (rheumatic arthritis) influences the health of women and men. They found that women suffer from it a lot more. Its symptoms in women are stronger and more painful.

According to Professor Alan Silman, the director of the Arthritis Study Organization, hormones play an important part here. Feminine sexual hormones, estrogens, substantially intensify the swelling of the joints, which leads to pain.

The difference in the constitution of men and women is also important. Men have a bigger muscle mass than women, which allows the joints to work longer and get worn out slower. Besides, women's weight is not distributed as men's – most of it influences on the knees' and hips' joints.

Another disease, whose gravity depends on the sex of the patient, is chicken pox. The older the man is, the harder it is for him to tolerate it. In adults, the mortality resulted from chicken pox is higher than in children. Men die from chicken pox 2 times more often than women do. In men, the symptoms of this disease are more complicated than in women, for example, chicken pox can cause orchitis in men, which can lead to problems with fertility.

Asthma, on the contrary, is more dangerous for women. The number of women dying every day from this disease is 2 times higher than the number of men. Women also get hospitalized more often. Hormones are the main cause once again, according to doctors. Till boys reach sexual maturity, they are more predisposed to asthma than girls, but, afterwards, when hormones' level is more stable, women are the most probable victims as estrogen and progesterone increases the sensibility of the respiratory ways. Testosterone, in its turn, has a contrary effect.

But the most interesting fact is that women are more sensible to pain than men. When the organism feels pain, it begins secreting its own opyoides, endorphins and encephalins – natural analgesics. Estrogen, as it seems, troubles this process. There is a psychological explanation too: men consider pain as a discomfort, not as a threatening, that's why they suffer less. In a delivery, on the contrary, women are ready to feel the delivery pain and they know what to expect from it, that's why it helps them get over it.

Friday, 30 Jan, 2009

Health & Fitness

Dirt Is Good For Our Health

Recently, an interesting article about the use of belly parasites, viruses and bacteria was published in The New York Times by reporter Jane Braudey.

It is widely known that children tend to put into their mouths all they can grab on to, which also includes all types of dirt. It is considered that they do it instinctively. Since instinctive models of behaviour give an evolutionary advantage, there is a possibility that this one also helped humans survive, Braudey says. She also affirms that there are proofs that back the hypothesis, according to which dirt is useful for our health.

The mechanism of the useful influence of microorganisms, viruses and parasites on the human organism is the following: being introduced into the organism, they stimulate the development of the healthy immune system. More than that, according to some data of unfinished yet researches, belly worms even help repair some "mistakes" in the immune system - mistakes that can lead to asthma, allergy and autoimmune diseases.

The microbiologist-immunologist Mary Rubush, who recently published a book called "Why Dirt Is Good", has claimed in an interview that "by introducing different objects into their mouths, children give their immune systems the opportunity to study their surroundings".

This is absolutely necessary for the right functioning of the immune system, because in a newborn "it's similar to an unprogrammed computer. It needs instructions", says Dr. Joel Weinstock from the Medicine Center Tufts in Boston. According to him, "the majority of belly worms are harmless, especially for people who eat well".

Belly worms have a very good influence on the human immune system, according to Dr. David Elliot who is a gastroenterologist at the University of Iowa. Together with Weinstock, they made experiments on mice, during which, with the help of worms, they could not only prevent autoimmune diseases, but also treat them.

Dr. Rubush recommends refusing the use of antibacterial soap, in order not to kill the necessary human bacteria. He advices using common soap or cleaning the hands with special alcoholic solutions. Dr. Weinstock goes far than that: he advices letting children out barefooted, allowing them playing in dirt and not to wash their hands before eating, and, for a better effect, living with a pair of dogs and a cat under one roof.

Thursday, 29 Jan, 2009

Health & Fitness

Brain Hemispheres Make War For Neurons

The majority of animals, including human beings, have an unequal division of functions between the 2 brain hemispheres. One part of the functions is carried out by the right hemisphere and the other part – by the left one. But it isn't that simple since the hemispheres are involved in a real "war" in order to obtain one or another responsibility.

This theory works in a species of fish, called Danio.

During the study of scientists from the University College of London on the brain development in the fish embryos, the biologists found that the "war for neurons" is responsible for at least a part of the asymmetry.

Scientists know that the cells of the nervous tissue of a brain in process of growing can move at big distances. It turned out that the removal of the neurons between the hemispheres is conditioned by the protein Fgf8. It attracts the maximal number of nervous cells on its side like a magnet.

As a result, neurons in different halves of the brain are different in type and binding, "though the absolute quantity of nervous cells is practically the same on both sides", according to Professor Stephen Wilson, the lead researcher.

The protein Fgf8 is present in the both hemispheres and attracts neurons of a certain type. "But this war is not led fairly since in the left hemisphere of the brain Fgf8 has an accomplice", says Jenny Regan, one of the participants in the research.

Another protein, called Nodal, helps the first protein win the battle. It also happens that the activeness of this protein is lowered and then the war is a little bit fairer.

Perhaps, this removal of the cells as a consequence of their attraction by one of these 2 proteins determines the hand with which the person will write. It is known that left-handed people make 10-12 percent of the planet's population. If we suppose that the same processes that happen in the brain of Danio take place in the human brain too, then the conclusion is: the presence of auxiliary factors in the left hemisphere determines whether the person will be left- or right-handed. This is why there are more right-handed people on Earth (the left hemisphere of the brain is responsible for the right half of the body).

If there was no protein Nodal, the war would be fair and there would be an equal number of right- and left-handed people.

But no matter how much we tend to equality and symmetry, nature has its own answer to this, scientists say. Brain asymmetry is necessary and it has a logic explanation.

The other functions of the organism do not depend on one's writing hand (a part of them is inherited by certain areas of the brain, another part is obtained with the ageing of the person, the third part is divided in a jumble).

Throughout evolution, the brain has divided its functions with the aim of preventing conflicts for an efficient information processing by both hemispheres simultaneously.

This discovery will help learn more about the activity of the brain, and it is valuable not only for fish, but also for more complicated human beings, researchers consider. Take for example the fact that some scientists tend to link the development of schizophrenia with the insufficient asymmetry of the brain.

Tuesday, 27 Jan, 2009

Health & Fitness

Spermatozoa's Quality Plays An Important Role In Evolution

Though the question about the influence of spermatozoa's sizes and speed on one's individual success is still to be discussed, according to John Fitzpatrick and his colleagues from the University of Western Australia and McMaster University from Canada, these criteria certainly have an influence on the creation of new species and even on the natural selection.

Scientists had kept up to this theory for a long time, but more detailed research showed that it isn't a very reliable one.

In order to increase a spermatozoon's speed, scientists need to lengthen its tail and energy reserves. However, this leads to the increase of its size and, as a consequence, to its liquid resistance. A number of mathematical and practical studies on mammals' spermatozoa showed that a big size and length do not result in maximum speed at all.

The second theory, submitted to critics lately is linked to the relation between speed and success. As biologists proved, "the fastest" doesn't always mean "the most efficient". The mechanisms of the selection after the end of a sexual act can work as well, being characteristic for the sexual organs of female mammals. These mechanisms allow the females to stop the spermatozoa they didn't like.

Thus, the theories viewing spermatozoa's evolution are always changing, because of this multitude of factors.

Some scientists consider that the main factor is the speed, others consider it's the size of the spermatozoa. The last ones are also divided into 2 groups: some of the arguments are for big gametes, and others – for small ones. The arguments for small gametes are motivated by the ability of some small gametes to remain invisible for the protective systems of the female sexual organs.

This is partially the reason why Fitzpatrick chose for his experiment a certain species of fish from the family of cichlids. These species live in the African lake Tanganyika. Thanks to their external reproductive system the maternal role in sperm selection is minimal. The authors of the publication in the Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences also showed interest in intensive new species creation. Besides, their spawn may be fertilized by some males in the same time.

Scientists decided to carry out a "contest" for the spermatozoa of 29 genetically similar types of these species of fish, all of them living in the same lake. It wasn't hard for them to establish the motivation of the natural selection.

As they predicted, the natural selection was made on the basis of 4 factors: length, size, vitality and quantity of spermatozoa in the ejaculation.

This doesn't mean that only the parameters of gametes play a role in natural selection. The ability of finding food and hiding from animals that might eat them is also very important – only such species can reach a sexually mature age. Thus, even the fastest spermatozoa will give start to a new organism, but they won't be able to continue their generation.

Saturday, 24 Jan, 2009

Health & Fitness

Want To Live Longer? - Be Positive, Believe And Work

If you want to prolong your life by 8 full years you must be optimist. This is the advice given by American scientists from a clinic in Mayo.

They have established that optimistic people not only have a more interesting and filled with different positive events lifestyle, but they also get sick less. As it turned out, a person's mood and his attitude towards the surrounding world directly influence the capability of his immune system to overcome and prevent different diseases. This information has been published in "How to add supplementary years to your life", a book which must appear this same year.

In its turn, active faith adds 7 years to human life, as it was counted by specialists from a university in the American state Iowa. They have found out that even if one attends church once a week, it positively influences his/her life length. Attending church can be replaced by individual meditation, but this will add only 3 supplementary years to life, according to researchers.

Recently Western researches have proved that mental activity, including reading newspapers, visiting museums, listening to the radio, solving crosswords, Internet navigation also increase life's length by 7 years. In addition, all these activities decrease the risk of Alzheimer's disease development in an older age. Active sexual life can add up to 4 years and a beautiful view out of the window of your house – up to 2 years. A pet will prolong your life by 2 years. A regular sleep after lunch will prolong it by a year, with the condition that it lasts not more than 30 minutes.

Another theory has been put forward by specialists from California. They have come to the conclusion that hard work is the main cause of a happy and long life. This is due to the fact that hard work guarantees quite useful personality qualities.

People who work too much are usually ambitious, organized and conscientious. These are the qualities that prolong life by 4 years, according to scientists.

Self-discipline also makes many bad human habits disappear and allows one to be more resistant to stress.

Besides, hard-working people are more careful, reliable, rational and polite.

These are the conclusions made on the basis of 20 researches dedicated to the influence of work on the psychological and physical state of health of people, with the participation of more than 8900 volunteers from USA, Canada, Japan, Germany, Norway and Switzerland.

Friday, 23 Jan, 2009

Health & Fitness

Computer Necrosis Of The Teeth - A New Technology Disease?

Over the last three years, dentists have confronted a new, completely surprising and practically unstudied pathologic process of the teeth, characterized by their systemic affection, more intensive than the one found after being exposed to radiance, MIGNews reports.

First of all, the most surprising was the following:

- All the patients had previously worked with different models of computers, for about 3-5 years.

- None of the patients had respected the work's timetable, the professional protection and the work hygiene (their working day lasted not less than 8-10 hours, often it was on Saturdays).

- The most intensely affected was the side of the teeth pointed to the monitor.

- All the patients were practically healthy before that.

- None of them complained of toothache.

- None of them had been exposed to radiations or to the action of chemical and toxic substances.

- The average age of all the patients was 25-35 years.

A detailed analysis of the patients with such histories was performed. This also included the analysis of their work conditions at the computer and the length of their working day, the name of the computer's producer, the year of its production etc. Along with this, a clinical picture of this affection was made. It was characterized by a systemic, general affection of the teeth, similar to a necrosis of the enamel and of the dentine, reminding somehow their affection as a result of radiance, but at the same time very different from it. This state was called "computer necrosis of the teeth".

The computer itself is not the only one guilty of this pathology of the teeth. Judging by the time spent by the patients in front of the computer, the same teeth affections could appear in persons who enjoy watching TV series in front of their home TVs. The question is how much time should be spent in front of a monitor, at what distance from it and in what conditions.

Thursday, 22 Jan, 2009

Health & Fitness

List Of Products Making Our Life Longer Created

A list of 20 products stimulating the regeneration of the whole organism and leading to life prolonging was elaborated as a result of common researches made by scientists from several universities in USA and Europe, including the British University in Leeds.

The list was made on the basis of recent discoveries, linked with the biochemical mechanism of human cells' ageing. Every "long-life" product in this list contains exclusively active biological substances, which have a positive and efficient influence on the complicated biological processes.

The menu included strong antioxidants, such as black chocolate, tea and coffee. All of them are rich in polifenols, substances capable of restoring the affected cells and prolonging their life.

Other products in the list were: apples, black gooseberry, broccoli, cherries, tomatoes and oranges. After their research, scientists affirm that meat, fish, milk and cereals only give the human organism the needed nutrients.

In their turn, fruits and vegetables have biochemical components, which make our life longer.

Earlier, scientists announced that regular apple consumption leads to the prolonging of human life and also to the full rejuvenation of the organism. Substances contained in apples, and especially quercetine, are capable of stopping the development of tumor cells. Besides, quercetine has an anti-inflammatory effect and decreases the negative action of the so-called free oxygen radicals. Apples are also irreplaceable for a normal digestion in the stomach: their acids prevent the development of different bacteria, and pectin contained in large quantities in apples eliminates toxic substances from the organism.

Thursday, 22 Jan, 2009

Health & Fitness

New Method Of Treating Infarctions By Using Cold Air Invented

British scientists have found a new method of heart and brain's protection from infarction and attacks, New Scientist magazine reports.

According to specialists, during exposure to cold, the secretion of dangerous chemical substances from nervous cells is substantially decreased, respectively, their action on the main organs is slowed down in patients exposed to the risk of undergoing infarctions or heart attacks.

The magazine also mentioned that some clinics have already started trying special devices meant to cool the skull, and also devices conducting cold air under the skin with the help of a network of pseudo-capillaries. These days, the new technologies elaborated in the University of Edinburgh are the subject of clinical experiments.

There have also been created special nasal sprays, capable of filling up the lungs of the patient with cool air in case of an infarction or an attack.

The specialists from Edinburgh have named the method they had created hypothermotherapy. Earlier, this method was limited to using special cooling panels, packages with ice or direct injections with special cooling serum into the blood in case of emergencies.

Still, after the first experiments with hypothermotherapy have proved their efficiency, physiologists began creating other methods of cooling heart and brain, more efficient than the respective one. They say that the most perfect method would be the one allowing to lower the temperature of the brain by 4 degrees, quickly and without cooling other organs too.

Nowadays, British specialists have invented new cooling helmets, capable of conducting cold air under the skull by using the dense network of skull's blood vessels. With the help of this method the doctors could reach the speed of lowering brain's temperature by 1 degree per hour.

American researchers, though, have proposed another solution for this problem. They advise using a special spray made on a chemical basis.

This chemical substance is capable of cooling the brain by 2.4 degrees per hour. American specialists have also proposed using this "ice" spray directly into the lungs, which increases a lot the chances to reanimate a patient if there is a need.

When this happens, doctors don't have time to cool the patient's brain and heart gradually, that's why when using it directly into the lungs the temperature is lowered by 4 degrees instantaneously, in 15 minutes.

Friday, 16 Jan, 2009

Health & Fitness

Coffee And LSD Have A Similar Effect

People who drink too much coffee are more predisposed to have auditory and visual hallucinations. This is the conclusion of a research made by British scientists from the Dahrems University. Its results have been published in the journal "Personality and Individual Differences".

According to scientists, people, who daily consume a quantity of caffeine equivalent to 7 cups of natural coffee, hear voices 3 times more often in comparison to those who consume less than an equivalent of coffee per day.

The leading author of the research Simon Jones says that, "Hallucinations are not necessarily a sign of a psychic disease. The majority of people have been in situations when they heard voices while being alone, circa 3 percent of people regularly hear voices. Many of them cope well with it and live a normal life."

Together with his colleagues, Jones studied 200 students in order to find their level of caffeine consumption – including tea, coffee, chocolate, energetic drinks or medical remedies. The team also studied the frequency of hallucination cases and the level of stress.

Some of the students were mentioning visual and auditory hallucinations, the feeling of presence of people who have died.

Researchers assume that the high spreading of hallucinations is related to the capability of caffeine to intensify the physiological effect of stress – under the influence of caffeine the organism elaborates more of the "stress hormone" cortisol – which can be linked to hallucinations.

The authors of the research say that their work is the first step to the discovery of factors leading to hallucinations. They say that changing the alimentary diet, and especially caffeine consumption, can make people more resistant and can also lower the probability of hallucinatory phenomenons.

The simple smell of coffee can help the brain cope with the consequences of stress brought about by lack of sleep. Scientists from South Korea, Germany and Japan in their experiments on mice have showed that the smell of fried coffee beans leads to such changes in the activity of some genes and the synthesis of the respective proteins in the brain that help lower stress' consequences from lack of sleep.

Earlier, scientists from Harvard have proved that alcohol and smoking don't increase the risk of ovarian cancer in women, and caffeine even lowers this probability. Still, scientists believe that the consumption of 2 and more cups of coffee per day during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage.

Thursday, 15 Jan, 2009

Health & Fitness

Laughing Therapy

Laughing therapy has been practiced in western clinics for a long time. One of the International Laughing Society congresses (Birmingham) has given evidence of facts referring to tumors: patients who are regularly made to laugh have a higher percent of treatment results.

People who laugh a lot have a 40 percent lower risk of having cardiovascular diseases than sad people. This fact has been proved during a research. It seems like we don't pay too much attention to such a serious therapeutic method of treatment as laughing. But laughing therapy is more and more popular all over the world.

Humans have copied the first "threatening" smile from animals: take for example the threatening "smiles" of tigers and the teasing smiles of monkeys. Laughing has appeared as unloading after a dangerous game, when the primitive man, protected by the stony walls of his cave, realized that he can tease a tiger with a smile without any bad consequences for himself.

Laughing when it isn't funny. The analgesic effect of laughing has been showed in many studies. This is especially available for the relief of chronic pain in arthritis, spine lesions, neurological diseases etc. Some doctors think that laughing brings about the secretion of endorphins into the blood - biological active substances with analgesic action. More than that, it is known that laughing is a strong muscle-relaxing method, which also relieves pain.

Virus fighting. Our immune system's reaction to laughter is quite opposite to its reaction to stress. People who like to laugh a lot rarely get sick – this is a proven scientific fact. An experiment has even showed that mothers who laugh a lot have babies who seldom catch cold!

Laughing lowers blood pressure. Laughing can also be called "inner jogging". Like in common morning jogging, the blood pressure increases and then it gradually lowers till it gets lower than the initial blood pressure. A person with hypertension, however, should not consider experimenting - laughing isn't a method of intensive therapy.

Laughing your lungs out. As a matter of fact, laughing is a type of respiratory gymnastics. It corresponds to the Sanskrit name of "hasya-yoga". "Ho-ho" goes from the abdomen (diaphragm), "ha-ha" goes from the heart or from the thorax, "hi-hi" – from… the third eye. It would be perfect to learn and use all these types of laughing with therapeutic purposes, but the most important laugh today is considered to be the deep one, the so-called guffaw.

Sugar melting. Laughing is considered to be a method of fighting stress (it inhibits the secretion of 4 main stress hormones). Recently, Japanese scientists discovered that laughing directly influences glucose level in the blood.

Weight loss. Greek researchers have found through an experiment that 10-15 minutes of laughing burn from 10 to 40 calories, which leads to almost 4.5 lb (2 kg) weight loss per year.

It is known that men laugh more intensely than women do. The longest continuous laugh "attack" has lasted 45 seconds.

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