The human tongue has about 2,000–8,000 taste buds. On each one there are hundreds of thousands of receptor cells. Since the number of taste buds is so different from person to person, taste sensations vary greatly. However, taste buds can be fooled. For example, spoons made from copper or zinc can enhance a food’s saltiness. Temperature is another important factor. Warm beer may taste bitter and cold ham may taste saltier. Recalling a pleasant memory of an item on your plate will actually make it taste more delicious. Color can also influence temperature. Forty eight participants in a French study actually preferred soda from a blue glass because they felt it tasted colder. Our environment can play a big part as to what degree we enjoy our food.
Projecting a three dimensional image of a person’s brain, heart, lung or any organ in question while operating may be the future of medicine. The ability to look through a person in a 3 dimensional way can help physicians more accurately plan and perform surgeries. This will help in removing tumors, taking biopsies and even guiding the placement of catheters in the brain. Within the next 10 years surgeons will be able to glance at these holograms and not be restricted to looking up at a screen. Progress is already under way at Duke University Robotics Program’s Brain Tool Laboratory. A proposal for a Hololens Development Kit was already accepted by Microsoft and is in development.
While most spitting by individuals is uncalled for and unsanitary, it seems that there is a hidden purpose that it is often done by elite athletes. A member of a team will take a mouthful of liquid, rinse and then instead of swallowing spit it out. They choose a particular sports drink recipe which is usually their own concoction. Reluctant to discuss the ingredients, this technique is known as “carb rinsing” or “mouthing washing”. After a decade of research it has been discovered that athletes can gain an edge or boost in performance by rinsing with a carb solution. Messages are sent to the brain that there is extra energy being ingested and this in turn allows the muscles to push further. The 10 second process can increase performance by as much as 30 Minutes. It is the oral receptors in the mouth receiving signals that carbohydrates are being ingested. This is a way of simply tricking the brain into thinking it is receiving more energy. However, this can have its limits in which the body will actually need carb intake. Not beneficial or acceptable when performed on subway platforms or while walking in the street.
-1/2 avocado pitted and peeled
-1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
– 2 slices of whole grain toasted
-1/4 cup diced watermelon
-2 tablespoons feta cheese (low fat if you prefer)
-2 teaspoons chopped mint
-1 teaspoon lemon zest
– Mash avocado and lemon juice together and spread over bread
– Divide watermelon and feta and spread on top of avocado
– Garnish with mint and lemon zest
There is always the risk of danger if you are an outdoor enthusiast who is on the hunt for a new adventure. However, odds are you will most likely survive whatever situation you find yourself in. Dylan McWilliams of Grand Junction Colorado is one of those people who has proven statistics wrong. Within a period of three years this 20 year old was bitten first by a snake in Utah, then by a black bear in Colorado and lastly by a tiger shark in Hawaii. Odds of being bitten by a venomous snake in the US are 1 in 37,000, by a bear 1 in 2.1 million and by a shark 1 in 11.5 million. This would mean that the odds of all three happening to one person are 1 in 893.4 quadrillion. Seems like he would be a great candidate to win a major lottery. He did survive all three attacks and manage to accumulate a variety of interesting scars.
What exactly is meant by brisk walking? What is the pace that should be sustained? Some say it is that which is faster then a leisurely stroll. Some say that it requires that we increase our metabolic rate to three times that of sitting still. Other say that it should increase our heart rate to 70% of its maximum. The Centers for Disease Control recommend a pace in which you can talk but not sing. How are we able to figure this out? A study published in The British Journal of Sports Medicine put together the results of 38 previous studies that concentrated on the number of steps per minute, heart rates, respiration intensity, different ages and varying body mass indexes to try to come up with a number of steps per minute that would constitute brisk walking. What they came up with was 2.7 miles per hour or simply 100 steps per minute. How do we make this as simple as possible to figure out? Just count the number of steps you take in 6 seconds and multiply it by 10. Following this pace for 30 minutes should be enough for most people to maintain a healthy blood flow throughout their body.
New technology is changing the science of transplants as we now know it. Through use of 3D printers everything from ears to most organs will someday be possible to reproduce. Bio-printing, although in the experimental stage, is expected to be a big part of the future of the medical field. At present many patients die while waiting for a suitable organ donor. Researchers at Wade Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine have been creating porous frames resembling the shape of a particular organ they wish to reproduce. The unoccupied spaces can be filled with living cells using the printer’s bio-ink marker. At present bio-printed tissue is being used for drug testing and the first transplantable tissues are expected to be approved within one year. The process involves spraying layer upon layer of different cells and at the same time spraying polymers to help keep a particular shape. If the stems cells come from the patient receiving the transplant, there is little possibility of rejection. Approximately 125,000 people die yearly because they are unable to find a suitable organ donor. The success of 3D printers and bio-technology will make it possible to replace blood vessels, skin, bones, cartilage, organs and tissue in the near future.
Research into the microbes that lie within our gut is constantly being explored. These microbes can affect our weight, mood, our vulnerability to allergies, disease and infection. They can also have an effect on how sexy we are perceived. Researchers at M.I.T. are calling it the “glow of health”. They are finding that these microbes may have a strong effect on our skin, hair and even our stride when walking. Tests were done on male mice in which they were given human breast milk. They not only developed thick lustrous fur but had an increase in testosterone which resulted in larger testicles making them a rodent heartthrob. Female mice showed stronger anti-inflammatory markers, had healthier pregnancies and tended to their off springs in a more caring and loving way. This may suggest that not only do these healthy microbes create hormones that have a tendency to draw healthier people together but in so doing can also ensure their own survival. In another study done in Switzerland, researchers concentrated on the microbes that were responsible for body odor. Women were asked to sniff tee shirts worn by various men. The women preferred the tee shirt worn by a man whose immune system was opposite theirs. This in turn would ensure a healthier offspring with a wider variety of microbes. Having healthy gut bacteria may prove more beneficial then hair gel when seeking a mate.
Just like dogs, rats have an incredible sense of smell. They can pick up scents and extremely faint odors that humans cannot even detect. The African Giant Pouched Rat has a super strong sense of smell which has enabled them to detect land mines and other explosives. They are trained in Tanzania as early as 4 months. They are accustomed to being handled by people and even to ride in vehicles until they reach their destination. By 6 months they have learned to detect the scent of TNT. The rats wear a harness and run along a suspended wire. They are not heavy enough to detonate any of the mines. Since the program began 21 years ago these rats have detected over 100,000 mines also in Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. They are now being trained to detect tuberculosis and shipments of endangered animals.
The large-scale intervention by many countries in an attempt to counteract the effects of climate change has been given the term Geo-engineering. One area of concern is the removal of excess Carbon Dioxide. Roughly half of all emissions are removed naturally from the earth. To counteract some of the CO2 emissions a Canadian Village began dispersing 100 lbs of iron rich dust in the gulf of Alaska. Their hope was that it would encourage the growth of plankton a vital food for feeding salmon. The thought process behind this is that plankton growth is sustained by iron deposits usually produced from volcanic eruptions. There is great controversy over this method called iron seeding. Some fishermen report great spurts in salmon hauls while at the same time it is an attempt at absorbing some of the excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Whether it works or not it is obvious that new means of reducing our carbon footprint need to be explored.