The Plant that Hides from Humans…

Fritillaria Delavayi grows in the hillsides of China in the Hengduan mountains and in Nepal. It has been used for over 2,000 years for medicinal purposes. The plant is believed to have properties that can treat coughs and other respiratory ailments. What this plant has done is evolve to the point where it can change its color to blend in with its environment in much the same way as reptiles do. This is in response to the over harvesting of the plant and its attempt to survive. The over harvesting of the plant is the result of the high price it now brings on the market. Since the plant is not threatened by any animal that feeds on it, scientists determined that this is a defense mechanism against humans. In areas where it is not threatened it has a bright yellow flower and green leaves. In heavily harvested areas it can change to blend in with rocks. Since it only blooms every 5 years it is difficult to find and harvest the bulb of the plant. This is not the first time humans have had an effect on plant life. Until recently, this was not even considered.

 

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/plant-camouflage-people-china-traditional-medicine-fritillaria

Is there an Afterlife for all those CDs?

For the past 14 years, Bruce Bennett, has been in charge of the “CD Recycling Center” in Salem N.H. This is the place where CDs go to have an afterlife. Each truckload, about 44,000 lbs., is ground into raw polycarbonate plastic which in turn can be molded into car parts, building materials and eyeglasses. His concern for the environment began in 1988 when he himself was a CD manufacturer. One of his concerns at the time was how to dispose of all those damaged CDs. The material from which CDs are made takes 1,000,000 years in a landfill to decompose. By the year 2000 more then 900 million Compact Discs had been sold. A year later Apple released the ipod which made all these CDs undesirable. Another organization “GreenDisc” provides drop off boxes. These in turn are shipped to the National Industries for the Blind where they are sorted, turned into flakes and remade into spools for producing 3-D filament. These spools are in turn shipped to the Federal Government where they can be made into everything from parts for Humvees to missiles. There is a need to encourage more recycling of CDs just as there has for the recycling of glass, metal and cardboard.

 

https://www.greendisk.com/gdsite/default.aspx

http://lessismore.org/locations/278-the-compact-disc-recycling-center-of-america/

Workouts may slow Tumor Growth…

The American College of Sports Medicine reviewed past research on how exercise can reduce the risk of developing some cancers by as much as 69%. The data also showed how exercise can improve treatment outcomes which in turn can prolong life. One line of thought is that exercise can lower inflammation in the body and therefore cultivate an environment that is less friendly to malignancies. In a new study performed at Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, scientists inoculated two groups of rodents with cancer cells. One group was allowed to be extremely active while the other remained sedentary. They noted that in the group that was active there was very little evidence of tumor growth.  The T cell (immune fighter) that they attributed this to is the CD8+ T cell. What they also discovered was when they suppressed this particular T cell, regardless of how much activity, tumor cell growth was no longer suppressed. They then isolated and injected the CD8+ t cell from active rodents into sedentary rodents and found that their tumor growth was suppressed. After removing blood from the active rodents, they determined that their blood contained a large amount of lactate produced from exercise. Bathing T cells in lactate produced stronger cancer fighting T cells. There appears to be a profound effect that exercise has on the ability of the T cells to suppress tumor growth and how these cells remain persistent in fighting cancer over a period of time.

 

https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/exercise-linked-with-lower-risk-of-13-types-of-cancer.html

Jigsaw Puzzles and Our Minds…

Working on a jigsaw puzzle can be extremely gratifying. The fact that there is a conclusion to a puzzle, unlike some of the puzzles that we confront in our daily lives, is part of the gratification. Since solving a jigsaw demands so much intensity, it can actually shut off the neurological pathways that can lead to anxiety. A demand for puzzles has grown especially during this pandemic. They are available in everything from wood to cardboard to acrylic. Whenever there is a severe crisis, the last one was the Great Depression, there seems to be an upswing in demand. Because they are tactile, they provide a different sensation then just visual entertainment. There appears to be a hit of dopamine every time a piece fits into place. Puzzles encourage participation from either family members or friends which make them more collaborative as opposed to competitive and therefore relaxing. Putting together a puzzle can develop skill sets such as visual-spatial reasoning, short-term memory, pattern matching and patience. There are even companies such as “Completing the Puzzle” that can rent you a puzzle if you do not have space to store puzzles. Jigsaw sets can begin at 100 pieces and go up to as many as 32,000. They are available in every category which makes it easy to put together a visual you truly enjoy. Lastly, they can be extremely meditative if you just want to sit quiet and be alone.

 

https://www.goodnet.org/articles/7-surprising-ways-puzzles-are-good-for-your-brain

http://www.southmountainmemorycare.com/blog/30-7-surprising-benefits-of-doing-jigsaw-puzzles-for-all-ages-2