Studies show that as we age normal weight gain is one to two pounds a year. Along with this gain is a loss of muscle mass and a gain in fat tissue which is metabolically less active. An ideal weight loss program should include a weight training regimen. For every pound of weight we lose a majority of it is lost in muscle. The benefit of working with weights is to enable a person to hold on to much of the muscle which otherwise would be lost. A study was conducted at Forest University of Winston-Salem, N.C.. There were 249 participants all from different ethnic backgrounds. All of the participants diets were reduced by 300 calories a day. Group 1 dieted but did not exercise. Group 2 added a walking routine and group 3 added weight training. At the end of 18 months the group who trained with weights retained more muscle mass and an increase in overall strength. The researchers concluded that weight training might be the best way to supplement walking while reducing calorie intake.
Our auditory range is very limited as opposed to many animals. We are only able to distinguish between 300,000 to 400,000 tones and variations. However, we seldom take the time to stop and listen to what is actually going on around us. We are constantly assaulted by outside sounds and in turn choose to silence “the noise” with earplugs. Sometimes not even taking a moment to actually listen to what the other person in a conversation is saying. Taking the time to know someone is not only seeing what they look like it is also hearing their voice, and interestingly enough, listening to their footsteps which can even relay what mood a person is in. Why is it that certain people can enter a crowded room and are immediately able to pick up on the general mood of the assembled crowd? Is it that they have developed the use of all their senses? Sound is what warns us of impending danger. Why is it a mother wakes so quickly when she hears her baby cry? If it is such an important sense why has modern man tried to completely turn it off? Even the simplest sounds of a bird can be so soothing. Or even no sound at all. I recently went to a dance recital in which three women danced for one hour with no music. The silence was mesmerizing. Are we capable of cultivating our hearing so as to be able to close our eyes and decipher what surrounds us? If blind people can, why can’t we? There is an old saying “there is wisdom in hearing”. Instead of eliminating the sound of what is going on around us, it may be better to actually try to cultivate the art of listening.
A new study, done with animals, suggests that our bones may play a big part in controlling our appetite. Scientists believe that we have an internal bathroom scale that attempts to sustain a particular weight. It is usually a particular weight that we have maintained for a long period of time. Leptin is a hormone that controls appetite. When a person increases the fat storage of their body, more of this hormone is produced. When the brain receives this message it should in turn reduce appetite. If this were true people would not hold on to added weight. “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published results of studies done with rodents. Weights were implanted in the animals and immediately the animals began to eat less to accommodate the extra weight. The experiment was again repeated in animals who had little of the hormone leptin and again the animal ate less to accommodate the weight. This led scientists to come to the conclusion it is the production of new bone that is capable of keeping the body at a particular weight. Extra weight signals osteocytes (bone cells) to increase production. This in turn sends signals that there is a need to make changes so as to return to a particular weight. However since a good deal of us spend most of the day sitting our bones are not able to feel the stress of the extra weight and therefore there is no set weight that the body wishes to return to. Solution, stand as much as possible and walk after eating. This will help send clear messages to our bones.
When we hear about drones we tend to immediately think of spying, dropping bombs and spraying pesticides. However there are some incredible ways drones may save lives in the future. Drones in the future will be able to deliver medications, for asthma, blood pressure and diabetes to isolated pockets of Appalachia when they are given approval by the FAA. In 2016, a California based company named “Zipline”, started flying blood from a distribution center in Muhanga, Rwanda to two hospitals. The blood is used for transfusions in difficult surgeries. The company uses a fixed wing model which is able to withstand bad weather. It is monitored via satellite using an iPad and is able to make a drop within 15 feet of its target. In Sweden they have found that they are able to get a defibrillator to a destination 16 minutes earlier then an ambulance. William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Mississippi is developing a drone that can deliver telemedicine kits to doctors who may have to treat victims of natural disasters or terrorist attacks. An important component of the kit would be a pair of glasses known as Google glass. This pair of eye glasses will be able to transmit images to doctors in other locations enabling them to aid in treatment instructions.
Peanut allergies in children have tripled over the past two decades. The cause is unknown but a new treatment is having significant success. Australian researchers have conducted a small clinical trial that has had promising results. Children were separated into two groups. All had peanut allergies. One group received a daily probiotic which contained a protein found in peanuts. The other group received a placebo. The amounts given were slowly increased for a period lasting 18 months. Afterwards, 82% of the children treated with the probiotic group were deemed tolerant to peanuts as opposed to 4% in the placebo group. In the follow up study of these children, 70% of the tolerant group were able to later consume peanuts since they had developed a long term tolerance.
Working out has a positive effect on health but just how physiologically complex is exercise? Studies are now showing how movement demands coordination between different body systems. It seems that fat cells communicate with muscle cells who in turn communicate with the brain and finally the liver. The Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sidney, Australia has begun to look at what is known as vesicles within the cells. These are tiny microscopic globules, similar to little boats, that are responsible for transporting waste material out of the cells and into the blood to be excreted out of the body. It is now known they are also an important messenger carrier. After extracting blood samples from men before and while performing intense exercise they noted an increase in these tiny vesicles. Upon tracking these vesicles with fluorescent markers after injecting them into mice, it was noted that these vesicles travelled directly to the liver instructing it to rev up energy production in order to accommodate for the increase in energy expenditure. The study reveals the complexity of what happens in the blood during exercise.This is how the liver is aware of what is happening and how it is able to transfer that information to cells farthest away from itself that may also need energy. As a result, scientists are able to get clearer insight into how metabolism actually works.
Daydreaming, coasting on autopilot or absent mindedness are names sometimes given to mind-wandering. The experience usually happens when someone is involved in a task that is demanding but at times not very interesting. In fact when a person’s mind does not wander it is an indicator of how happy they are in the present and the activity they are engaged in. Research on this subject has determined that people spend about 47% of their waking hours thinking about something other then what they are doing. Problem is that these hours spent mind-wandering are not happy hours and can come at an emotional cost. Unlike animals, humans have a tendency to ruminate on the past and contemplate on what may happen in the future instead of taking part in the present and what it has to offer. In a research study of 2,250 people who were surveyed on 22 different activities, happiest activities were love-making, exercising and good conversation. The most unhappiest activities which encouraged mind wandering were resting, working at what was not their passion, or using a home computer. So it seems that a person’s mind-wandering is the cause, not the consequence, for a person’s unhappiness. Many philosophical and religious traditions teach their practitioners to live in the moment and resist mind wandering. All their teachings emphasize that not being present leaves more room for making errors while performing important tasks by limiting mental capacity. At times mind-wandering can expose one to an innovative idea but the majority of time spent daydreaming has proven to be more of a drain. Take time to fully engage your mind in what is surrounding you. Take pleasure in your home, family, pets and friends. If you find that you are constantly drifting off and thinking about something other then what you might be doing, maybe it is time to explore another avenue. Meditation, martial arts, dancing, yoga and breathing are all methods that may help one be more present.
Scientists have discovered that fish can become depressed and may be the key to developing antidepressants. According to the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences of Troy University in Alabama the neurochemistry between fish and humans is very similar. Fish are tested in what is called a “novel tank test’. A Zebrafish is dropped into the tank. If it sinks to the bottom it is a sign of depression as opposed to if it swims to the top and begins to explore. Severity is measured by how much time it spends in either location. It is by these observations that the researchers have determined that this is a form of depression. If depressed a fish usually loses interest in both food and exploration. Given a mild antidepressant the fish will eventually swim to the top of the tank a sign that it has overcome the depression. Not only do fish show the capability of using tools but they are also able to recognize faces. If a tank has an adequate amount of space and vegetation a fish will explore and be in constant motion, a sign that a fish is happy in its environment.
Planning meals can be extremely difficult, whether it is because of family activities or a busy demanding career. If your goal is to put together a healthy meal plan in the evening, having theme nights for the week may help. In other words make one night a “Breakfast for Dinner Night”. Just making an omelet with all the leftovers in the fridge and a salad is one quick way of putting together a healthy meal. Another night could be a “Meatless Monday”. Simply combining beans, frozen vegetables and a whole grain such as quinoa is enough for a light healthy meal which can also give your digestive system a rest. Another option could be a hearty soup and salad night. Having a menu schedule for the week takes the worry out of eating healthy. Planning also removes the possibility of overeating.
Fennel, cumin, dill, coriander, anise, caraway and of course parsley are all considered part of the same family. They all have the ability to suppress gas.The theory behind this is that they are rich in essential oils which can increase the effect of digestive juices and kill bad bacteria. Of all the above, fennel and coriander were found in a 2016 study to be natural bactericides. Their ability to delay gastric emptying showed great promise to those participants who suffered from colitis, abdominal pain and cramping. Start incorporating some of these herbs in your cooking not only for digestive health but also for a variety of new taste sensations.