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Life Science / Singing cells in our brain
« on: September 30, 2015, 02:16:27 PM »
A recent study by Bengaluru-based scientists has found that the nerve cells found at the base of the brain - cerebellum - send out electrical signals in either a constant hum or in sudden bursts.

The decision to pick one of these two tunes is made by the cell based on the "voltage across their cell membranes and on input from a specific region of the brain under certain conditions."

The study conducted by Mohini Sengupta and Vatsala Thirumalai, from the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), in North Bengaluru here has been able to demonstrate this.

The cerebellum is a small leaf-like structure at the base of our brain that is important for controlling balance, coordination and for learning new motor skills such as riding a bicycle or playing a piano.

Allowing these functions are nerve cells called 'Purkinje cells', which are neatly arranged in a single layer within the cerebellum.

The Purkinje cells' tune theory demonstrated by the scientists says that these cells receive signals from many different regions of the brain and send out messages to the deeper layers of cerebellum.

Food / 10 breath freshening foods
« on: September 30, 2015, 02:14:00 PM »
Here's is a list of foods that freshens your breath

1. Water! Water! Water!: Water is a quick and an easily accessible remedy for rapidly making that breath fresh. And it is a simple tip to follow. Just swish and swirl some water in the mouth as if you are gargling ( but softly, not loudly) and drink it up or rinse it out. The logic behind doing this is when we get dehydrated, the saliva generated in our mouth automatically decreases. This is because our body tries to conserve moisture. Saliva tends to clean our mouth by diluting the bacteria. Bacteria and their by-products are responsible for that offensive bad breath or that a person might have. Therefore rinsing the mouth with water clears out these odour generating bacteria. Water is a short term but a super fast way of freshening up breath in a jiffy.

2. Oranges, sweet lime, lemons, kiwis, and all citrus fruits rich in Vitamin C: These help in keeping the breath fresh. Vitamin C is known to fight the bacteria. It is also an antioxidant - thus it helps in reducing the toxins in the body, this includes those produced by the bacteria in the mouth. You may have these fruits as whole or even drink up or sip on their juices.

3. Spices and herbs: These are super amazing at keeping the breath free of any malodour for a good period of time. Examples are cardamom (elaichi), fennel (saunf), spear mint, parsley, rosemary, eucalyptus, coriander (dhania daal),cinnamon( dal chini), cloves(laung) etc. From amongst these, the following are favorites with most folks -

Cardamom and Eucalyptus both contain a substance called cineole. Cineole has antibacterial, antiseptic properties and thus attacks the stinker bacteria in the mouth. With these harbingers of foul smell gone for good, the mouth feels and smells fresh. Cardamom seeds can be kept as such in the mouth and biting into them intermittently to release that typical delicate flavor and aroma of elaichi which most of us tend to like.

Parsley and coriander: These are rich in the green pigment chlorophyll which because of it's alkaline properties cleanses the body in a generic sense. It attacks the bacteria of the mouth thus rendering them ineffective. Chlorophyll also possesses detoxifying ability.

Cinnamon (dal chini): The essential oil present in cinnamon is antiseptic and kills the germs giving rise to bad breath.

Fennel seed (saunf) is an age old Indian remedy to keep the mouth fresh and the breath smelling sweet. Fennel is known to possess aromatic and medicinal properties.

4. Probiotics: Probiotics such as yogurt rid mouth of hydrogen sulphide. For instance Lactobacillus salivarius also helps in case of dental and gum related problems. It enables healing of the sores in mouth. Gum and teeth related conditions make the oral environment conducive to bacterial growth which in turn makes the breath smell lousy. Probiotics thus help those with bad breath.

5. Veggie land: Broccoli, carrots and cucumber are known to keep the mouth fresh by diminishing the bacterial content of the mouth. Chewing onto them floods the mouth with saliva.

6. Apples: When we crunch on to an apple, salivary secretion gets stimulated. This literally bathes the mouth and rinses out the odour generating bacteria in mouth thereby making the breath fresh.

7. Chewing gum: This also increases the secretion of saliva. Chewing gum helps in dislodging the stuck up food particles in the mouth. This prevents stink formation. Sugar free xylitol containing chewing gum is better than the sugared one.

8. Whole wheat bread: Consuming this prevents formation of ketones which otherwise get generated on a low carb diet. Ketones are secreted in urine, sweat and mouth and give a typical foul smell to the breath. Eating whole wheat bread helps checking ketones and in keeping the breath fresh.

9. Green tea: Green tea is rich in flavonoids. These reduce and prevent the adhesion of stink causing germs to the teeth. Cinnamon tea is in particular helpful in keeping the mouth and breath fresh.

10. Fibre: Fibre cleans the gut. One of the chief reasons of bad breath is poor sluggish unclean gut than the mouth. Fibre increases the fitness of the digestive tract. This prevents bad breath and helps in keeping the breath fresh. Target consuming 25 -38 gms of fibre everyday to enable this.

Life Science / Protein system can detect viral infection, kill cancer cells
« on: September 24, 2015, 12:29:59 PM »
MIT engineers have developed a modular system of proteins that can detect a particular DNA sequence in a cell and then trigger a desired response, including killing cancer cells or cells infected with a virus.

The technology is based on a type of DNA-binding proteins known as zinc fingers. These proteins can be designed to recognise any DNA sequence.

"The technologies are out there to engineer proteins to bind to virtually any DNA sequence that you want," said Shimyn Slomovic, a postdoc at Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Institute of Medical Engineering and Science (IMES) and the paper's lead author.

"We felt that there was a lot of potential in harnessing this designable DNA-binding technology for detection," Slomovic said.

To create their new system, the researchers needed to link zinc fingers' DNA-binding capability with a consequence - either turning on a fluorescent protein to reveal that the target DNA is present or generating another type of action inside the cell.

The researchers achieved this by exploiting a type of protein known as an "intein" - a short protein that can be inserted into a larger protein, splitting it into two pieces.

The split protein pieces, known as "exteins," only become functional once the intein removes itself while rejoining the two halves. The researchers decided to divide an intein in two and then attach each portion to a split extein half and a zinc finger protein.

The zinc finger proteins are engineered to recognise adjacent DNA sequences within the targeted gene, so if they both find their sequences, the inteins line up and are then cut out, allowing the extein halves to rejoin and form a functional protein.

The extein protein is a transcription factor designed to turn on any gene the researchers want.

In the study, researchers linked green fluorescent protein (GFP) production to the zinc fingers' recognition of a DNA sequence from an adenovirus, so that any cell infected with this virus would glow green.

The researchers can programme the system to produce proteins that alert immune cells to fight the infection, instead of GFP.

"Since this is modular, you can potentially evoke any response that you want. You could programme the cell to kill itself, or to secrete proteins that would allow the immune system to identify it as an enemy cell so the immune system would take care of it," Slomovic said.

The MIT researchers also deployed this system to kill cells by linking detection of the DNA target to production of an enzyme called NTR. This enzyme activates a harmless drug precursor called CB 1954, which the researchers added to the petri dish where the cells were growing. When activated by NTR, CB 1954 kills the cells.

Future versions of the system could be designed to bind to DNA sequences found in cancerous genes and then produce transcription factors that would activate the cells' own programmed cell death pathways.

Health Tips / Study: Sitting is bad for children, too
« on: September 24, 2015, 12:27:33 PM »
Children who sit too much may face adult-sized health consequences, according to a sobering new study of healthy young girls. The study found that after a single session of prolonged inactivity, the children developed changes in their blood flow and arteries that, in grown-ups, would signal the start of serious cardiovascular problems.

There is plenty of evidence, of course, that uninterrupted sitting dents the health of adults. For the new study , Ali McManus, an asso ciate professor of pediatric exercise physiology at the University of British Columbia in Kelowna, and her colleagues decided to ask children to sit still.

In general, today's children are doing plenty of that. One recent large-scale epidemiological study reported that children across the globe sit for about 8.5 hours every day . Another recent study found that activity levels among children drop precipitously after about age 8 and continue to fall through adolescence, with young people trading movement for sitting.

Teeth / Three herbs for sensitive teeth
« on: September 21, 2015, 02:39:02 PM »
Teeth sensitivity is a problem that many of us face.

It is an uncomfortable feeling that one suffers when one's tooth comes in contact with hot, cold, sour or sweet food items. The pain can be sharp and felt in the nerves of the teeth. Lack of protective enamel on the teeth, or lack of calcium, or exposure of the dentin layer can be a few of the causes for sensitive teeth. We list a few natural herbs for those with sensitive teeth.

Arnica: It is one of the best herbs to sooth the nervous system. It also helps reduce inflammation and pain and gives instant relief. It is very effective for sensitive teeth, cures wounds of the mouth and soothes the gums and inflammation. If you have sensitive teeth, apply arnica gel, that can be extracted from the plant, on the sensitive parts.

Cinnamon: Cinnamon kills the bacteria in the mouth and when consumed along with cloves, is considered one of the best remedies for sensitive teeth. Boil cinnamon with cloves and gargle twice a day. You can also consume two to three grams of the bark regularly, as it is one of the ideal remedies to prevent tooth decay. It is effective as a pain killer too, when you experience pain in the gums.

Thyme: Thyme is usually used to improve the immune system, but a tea made out of the herb is highly beneficial for mouth disorders. Mix thyme with sage and make a tea. Have one cup in the morning and one in the evening for a better and faster cure. Thyme kills germs in the mouth and refreshes the breath and at the same time reduces sensitivity of the teeth.

Brain / Can you escape Alzheimer’s?
« on: September 21, 2015, 02:37:19 PM »
Alzheimer's Disease is the most common type of dementia, in which the mental ability of a person declines and gradually reaches a stage where it becomes difficult for them to lead a normal life.

It is an incurable disease with a long and progressive course. According to an IANS report, in India there are more than 50 lakh people suffering from dementia, of which nearly 80 percent have Alzheimer's. According to doctors, this number is expected to double by 2030.

But how do we determine Alzheimer's and how can we steer clear of it? Dr Rajesh Garg, Head of Department & Director, Neurology, Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh explains, "Often, memory loss is one of the first or more recognizable signs of dementia."

Other early signs may include
Asking the same questions repeatedly
Forgetting common words when speaking
Mixing words up — saying "bed" instead of "table," for example
Taking longer to complete familiar tasks, such as following a recipe
Misplacing items in inappropriate places, such as putting a wallet in a kitchen drawer
Getting lost while walking or driving around a familiar neighborhood
Undergoing sudden changes in mood or behavior for no apparent reason
Becoming less able to follow directions

Ways to prevent memory loss
While there is no scientific data to prove this theory, doctors believe that there are ways to prevent memory loss related to old age. Dr Garg elaborates
Keep your brain occupied and not let it be idle.
Risk factors such as diabetes, high BP and cholesterol should be closely monitored and kept under control.
Avoid smoking and drinking
Take healthy diet including fresh fruits, greens and dry fruits.
Be happy, and avoid stress and anxiety, as they could impair memory.

Nutrition for Alzheimer patients
Just like any other disease, nutrition plays a very important role in the prevention and tackling of Alzheimer's. Ms. Aditi Midha, Neuro Physiotherapist at AktivOrtho shares, "The brain needs its own brand of fuel. It requires healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and adequate vitamins and minerals. Consuming too little of these foods and too many complex carbohydrates, processed foods and sugar stimulates the production of toxins in the body. Those toxins can lead to inflammation, the build-up of plaques in the brain and, as a result, impaired cognitive function."

Here are some diet essentials
Processed cheeses build up proteins in the body that have been associated with Alzheimer's.
Processed meats contain nitrosamines, which cause the liver to produce fats that are toxic to the brain.
Beer contains nitrites, which have been linked to Alzheimer's.
White foods, including pasta, cakes, white sugar, white rice and white bread etc causes a spike in insulin production and sends toxins to the brain.
Microwave popcorn contains diacetyl, a chemical that may increase amyloid plaques in the brain. Research has linked a buildup of amyloid plaques to Alzheimer's disease.

A growing number of herbal remedies, dietary supplements and "medical foods" are promoted as memory enhancers or treatments to delay or prevent Alzheimer's disease and related dementias.

Some of the medical foods include
Leafy green vegetables
Salmon and other cold-water fish
Berries and dark-skinned fruits
Coffee and chocolate
Extra virgin olive oil
Cold-pressed virgin coconut oil

Quick Tips for Nutrition
Eat variety of food like fruits vegetables whole grains lean meat and dairy products.
Keep healthy weight , Alzheimer may feel less hungry or thirsty have problem chewing or swallowing have trouble using this situation it is quite possible that they lose weight quickly.
Offer them smaller meals or snacks more often eating small and frequent meal will be easier than getting only 3 big meals in a day.
Focus on more nutritious high calorie food be the first meal.
Good option for them is bite size, finger food like chicken nuggets tuna sandwich fruit slice.
Limit food with high saturated fats and cholesterol like fatty meats and fried food
Cut down on sugar.
Avoiding eating too much salt.
Drink plenty of water.

Food / Top 5 facts about water
« on: September 20, 2015, 03:39:49 PM »
Billions of people, worldwide, live in chronic hunger with abysmal water resources. However, while it is lack of water that affects overall health in poverty-stricken areas, it is general unawareness about water's importance to health that affects health among metro dwellers.

Today we have with us Bangalore-based, registered dietitian and Wellness Consultant, Sheela Krishnaswamy, who will unearth the top 5 must-know facts about how water affects our health.

Understanding the ideal amount of water one should be drinking on a daily basis. There is no 'ideal' amount or fixed quantity of water which would suit everyone for daily consumption. But as a guideline, 30 ml of water per kg body weight should suffice for a normal healthy adult. Other influencing factors for amount of water intake are climate, illness, age, thirst, physical activity, etc. Sportspersons require a lot more hydration than non-sportspersons.

Overall maintenance: Water helps us in multiple ways and is a part of the cells in the body. Apart from quenching thirst, it regulates body temperature, helps to flush out waste products from the kidneys, keeps mucous membranes moist, helps in digestion, lubricates joints, maintains the viscosity of blood, and moisturises the skin.

Water helps in prevention of diseases. Water helps to prevent constipation by softening the stools and making it easy to evacuate the bowels. It helps to prevent urinary tract infection. It prevents premature wrinkling of skin by keeping the skin moist. It helps to prevent frequent infections and allergies by keeping the mucous membranes of the nose, throat, eyes, etc moist. Adequate water intake prevents dehydration and its effects.

Importance of getting daily requirement of water content through your food. Water can be taken plain in the required quantity or can be combined with fluids to maintain the hydration levels in the body. Nourishing fluids would include beverages like buttermilk, fresh lime juice, fresh fruit juice, tender coconut water, plain milk, clear soup. Some of the vegetables and fruits are high in water content and their intake helps in boosting the hydration in the body, especially in the hot summer months. Some examples are cucumber, ash gourd, watermelon, tomato and celery.

Water and weight loss. Drinking water right before a meal aids in suppressing appetite to some extent, thus, making one eat less. However, this does not contribute to weight loss directly. Weight loss takes effort and involves balanced food intake, physical activity, exercise, and so on. As far as water is concerned it has no calories and creates a false feel of fullness and might just contribute to weight loss indirectly.

The biggest take-home here is that water helps promote healthy metabolism, which in turn affects how our bodies handle energy production and fat storage. So get healthy, and drink up today!

Eyes / Eye health: Top 20 tips for good vision
« on: September 20, 2015, 03:33:38 PM »
Today more and more people are turning to a victim of vision impairment due to erratic lifestyles.

Stuck to their computers, LCDs every body is busy ruining their eye sight for the sake of entertainment or work. Ophthalmologist Dr. Vijay Bhatt, gives simple tips for your eyes and improve vision.

Tip for Good Vision # 1: Load up with fish

Adding fish to your diet at least once to twice a week, is the best way to avoid dry-eye syndrome, as fishes are loaded with Omega 3 fatty acids.

Tip for Good Vision # 2: Get a regular check-up

Even if you have good vision and have no trouble in reading, go for a vision check at least once a year. This is very good way to detect various eye related ailments and prevent it with proper treatment.

Tip for Good Vision # 3: Keep blinking

Constantly blinking your eyes is a very simple way to keep your eyes fresh and avoid eyestrain. Computer users tend to blink their eyes very less, thus it is recommended that they should follow the exercise of blinking their eyes every three-four seconds.

Tip for Good Vision # 4: Do relaxation exercise

Performing relaxation exercises like placing your hands together, palm to palm and rubbing them to create some heat and placing them on your eyes is a great method to avoid eyestrain. Another great way to relax your eyes is by shutting your eyes and imagining something you like it can be a place, clothes or your wonderland.

Tip for Good Vision # 5: Focus on distance

Since we spent most of the time starring at close objects, adopt a habit of looking at distant things. Try looking at distant objects in your surrounding while walking or sitting.

Tip for Good Vision # 6: Go get some sunshine

Sunshine is the best free treatment for your eyes. Getting some morning or late evening sunshine will help to improve the eyes and pupils, by loosening the tight nerve muscles.

Tip for Good Vision # 7: Treat blurry vision with a glass of water

Water is the best remedy for all your problems. Keep sipping lots of water at regular intervals, because a less frequent blurry vision can be due to dehydration.

Tip for Good Vision # 8: Avoid dry air

Never let the air-conditioned air from your car or your office suck all the moisture from your eyes. Always vent down your A/C panel downwards or away from your face. Air conditioner air can cause serious dryness, which can further cause blindness or any other cornea disorder.

Tip for Good Vision # 9: Wear safety goggles

Eye injuries can also impair your vision in a great way, in order to avoid it always remember to wear safety goggles or eyewear, while working with chemicals, playing sports, bursting crackers or while swimming.

Tip for Good Vision # 10: Lower the brightness level

If you use computer for a longer duration, make sure to lower down the brightness level in order to help your eyes to relax. Don't lower it too much, keep it in moderation.

Tip for Good Vision # 11: Eat eggs

Eating eggs will help you to load your body with lutein and zeaxanthin, which helps to promote sharp vision and reduce age-related eye diseases, which can cause blindness.

Tip for Good Vision # 12: Wash your eyes frequently

If you feel that your eyes are strained, go to the washroom and wash your eyes thoroughly. Make this a daily habit. Splashing your eyes with water will help to relieve your eyes from excessive stress and make them fresh.

Tip for Good Vision # 13: Quit smoking

Excessive smoking can make you more prone to eye problems like cataracts, optic nerve damage and macular degeneration. In order to avoid these eye problems, quit smoking for better eye health.

Tip for Good Vision # 14: Wear sunglasses

Wearing sunglasses when you are outdoors will help to protect your eyes from sun damage. The UV rays from your sun can increase your risk to cataracts and other eye related problems. While choosing sunglasses make sure that, you pick the ones, which provide 100% UV protection.

Tip for Good Vision # 15: Remove eye make-up

Before going to bed, make sure you remove all you eye make-up. Removing eye make at night will help to prevent pieces of make-up from entering your eye, which can create irritation in the eye.

Tip for Good Vision # 16: Have lots of spinach

Steam it or saute, but make sure to add spinach to your diet at its maximum. Spinach is loaded with lutein and various other nutrients, which can helps to prevent many eye related problems like cataracts and blurry vision.

Tip for Good Vision # 17: Take breaks

If you are hooked to some book or work for longer duration, then take regular breaks. Look up or go for a walk, this will help to prevent eyestrain and eye fatigue.

Tip for Good Vision # 18: Get a head massage

Once in a week dab some essential oil like jasmine or massage your head with coconut oil on your head. This will help to increase the beta waves in your front brain, which will enhance wakefulness and enable you to focus better.

Tip for Good Vision # 19: Sleep well

Inadequate sleep can make your tired and give you a headache, which can make your vision blurry. Thus, sleep well, which can assist in better vision and help your eye muscles to relax.

Tip for Good Vision # 20: Eat eye food

Nourish your eyes with eye foods like carrots, apricots and blueberries. All these foods are rich in beta-carotene and are good for your eyes.

Astronomy / Earth's gravitational pull shrinking the Moon: Nasa
« on: September 17, 2015, 02:53:26 PM »
Earth's gravity has influenced the orientation of thousands of faults that form in the lunar surface as the Moon shrinks, Nasa has revealed.

After more than six years in orbit, the US space agency's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has imaged nearly three-fourths of the lunar surface at high resolution, allowing the discovery of over 3,000 faults.

These globally distributed faults have emerged as the most common tectonic landform on the moon.

An analysis of the orientations of these small scarps yielded a surprising result.

The faults, created as the moon shrinks, are being influenced by an unexpected source -- gravitational tidal forces from Earth.

Global contraction alone should generate an array of thrust faults with no particular pattern in the orientations of the faults, because the contracting forces have equal magnitude in all directions.

"But there is a pattern in the orientations of the thousands of faults and it suggests something else is influencing their formation, something that is also acting on a global scale -- 'massaging' and realigning them," explained Smithsonian senior scientist Thomas Watters from the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

The gravitational forces the Moon and Sun exert are responsible for Earth's rising and falling tides. Similarly, Earth's gravity also exerts forces on the Moon in the form of solid body tides that distort its shape.

The Moon is slowly receding away from Earth and forces build as the Moon's tidal distortion diminishes with distance and its rotation period slows with time.

The fault scarps are very young -- so young that they are likely still actively forming today.

The team's modeling shows that the peak stresses are reached when the moon is farthest from Earth in its orbit.

If the faults are still active, the occurrence of shallow moonquakes related to slip events on the faults may be most frequent when the moon is at apogee.

This hypothesis can be tested with a long-lived lunar seismic network.

"The LRO data set enables us to tease out subtle but important processes that would otherwise remain hidden," noted John Keller, LRO project scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, in a paper published in the journal Geology.

Launched on June 18, 2009, LRO has collected a treasure trove of data with its seven powerful instruments, making an invaluable contribution to our knowledge about the moon.

Reduce Fat /Weight Loss / 6 reasons you aren’t burning enough fat
« on: September 17, 2015, 02:27:06 PM »
Trying your best to burn all that extra fat but but not quite achieving your target? Here are some tips that will give your metabolism a boost and increase lean muscle mass...

1. Protein's the way to go: Are you getting enough protein? If you want to increase lean muscle in the body, you need to ensure that you eat enough protein. Tuna is an excellent source of protein as is yogurt, chicken breast, cheese, nuts and lentils.

2. Take strength training seriously: Many people often think that strength training isn't important enough when it comes to burning fat but they're mistaken. While your daily run is important, strength training is a type of physical exercise that uses resistance to build endurance and strength, and also burn fat. Experts recommend strength training at least twice a week.

3. Avoid emotional eating: If you're seriously considering going on a diet, strengthen your resolve and stick to it. Thinking that you'll allow yourself just that one nibble of dessert will not help you achieve your goal. Eat when you're hungry and not because an opportunity presents itself. And recognise those moments when you give in to emotional eating.

4. Keep challenging your body: Once you've made up your mind about your fitness goal, it is imperative that you chalk out a plan. This will help you stick to your timetable. And don't stick to the same routine every time. Incorporate different technique in your regime so that you don't get bored after a while. This way you will also keep challenging your body.

5. Maintain a food journal: Keep a journal of everything that you eat. And this literally means every single bite. Very often, people don't realise the things they eat during the day — a bite from a co-workers lunch, a small piece of cake, a snack in-between meals, i cola while travelling — and then wonder why they're finding it so tough to burn fat.

6. Never stay hungry for long: While keeping a close eye on the calories you're consuming is fine, don't go overboard and starve yourself either. The more you deprive your body for food, the more fat it will store, making your entire exercise of burning fat, very futile. Going hungry also means slowing down your metabolism — the last thing you want.

Life Science / New drug approach could overcome antibiotic resistance
« on: September 16, 2015, 03:35:09 PM »
Researchers have discovered a new group of antibiotics that may provide relief to those affected by antibiotic resistance.

The new antibiotics target the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, or staph, and the antibiotic resistant strains commonly known as MRSA, short for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

In 2013, invasive MRSA infections were responsible for an estimated 9,937 deaths in the US, researchers said.

Although current infection rates are declining, the majority of these deaths, about 8,150, were associated with inpatient stays in health care facilities, according to the Active Bacterial Core surveillance report by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in US.

The discovery shows that the potential new antibiotics are unlike contemporary antibiotics because they contain iridium, a silvery-white transition metal.

New transition metal complexes do not easily breakdown, which is important for delivery of antibiotics to where they are needed to fight infections in the body.

Even though these compounds contain iridium, further testing by the researchers shows that they are nontoxic to animals and animal cells.

"So far our findings show that these compounds are safer than other compounds made from transition metals," said corresponding author Joseph Merola, a professor at the Virginia Institute of Technology.

"One of the reasons for this is that the compounds in this paper that target MRSA are very specific, meaning that a specific structure-function relationship must be met in order to kill the bacteria," Merola said.

Researchers showed the antibiotics effectively kill the bacteria without inhibiting mammalian cells. A version of the antibiotic was tested for toxicity in mice with no ill effects.

"Within the next few years, we hope to identify various characteristics of these antibiotics, such as their stability, their distribution and concentration in animal tissue, their penetration into white blood cells, and their metabolism in animals," said Joseph Falkinham, a professor of microbiology in the College of Science and an affiliate of the Virginia Tech Centre for Drug Discovery.

The team is currently testing the compounds in human cell lines and, so far, the cells have remained normal and healthy.

The study was published in the journal Medicinal Chemistry Communications.

Liver / Ways to save your liver
« on: September 16, 2015, 03:15:22 PM »
According to WHO data published in May 2014, liver disease deaths in India reached 216,865 or 2.44% of total deaths.

Most doctors warn that it is imperative for people to be alert of liver diseases, as they are silent killers. "In most of the cases, patients don't realize they are suffering from a liver ailment until it's too late. Blood tests are not able to detect liver ailments at an early stage. Only when it becomes serious, does the condition presents itself," says Dr Rupali Datta, nutritionist, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute (FEHI). And even the later symptoms may be like simple fatigue, anemia, jaundice or swelling in leg.

Dr Ajay Kumar, Chief & Executive Director, Fortis Escorts Liver & Digestive Diseases Institute shares, "Alcohol abuse remains to be the primary reason of liver cirrhosis. Having said that, India has a major burden of all Hepatitis B and C viruses, which are the major sources of liver diseases. In addition to this, obesity, diabetes and sedentary lifestyle are affecting a large population of the country."

Here are the things you should keep in mind to protect your liver:

- Say NO to alcohol: While all fatty livers don't happen because of alcohol, it is a primary catalyst for many liver disorders. Hence, an alcohol-free lifestyle is a big step towards the well being of your liver. Dr Kumar adds, "It is important for people to know beyond which point, alcohol consumption can pose a health risk. Some may be able to take a big quantity for a long time without showing danger signs; others may succumb to liver ailment even with a small quantity. I often tell people, 1/3rd of those who drink develop liver ailments and an equal number live to preach it doesn't harm." If you have to drink, avoid spirits as they have higher alcohol content over wine. Also, don't drink on an empty stomach, which puts your liver in a tough spot, working overtime to handle the rush of concentrated alcohol.

- LOSE extra flab: Obesity is one of the primary reasons for a dysfunctional liver. Thereby the first step to guard your liver is to lose excess weight. Regular fitness regime helps you attain a healthy body weight and lowers the risk of fatty liver disease. Not only that. Exercise helps improve the function of liver enzymes.

- WATER to detoxify: The core function of liver is to render harmless toxic chemicals that we take in through our food, water and air. As we all know, water plays a pivotal role in detoxifying the body. Hence, it is advised to consume at least 8-10 glasses of water every day to pump up the detoxification process.

- FIVE fruits and vegetables rule: Have you ever asked your doctor how to determine if you are eating adequate fruits and vegetables? Well, here is the answer. Dr Rupali suggests a diet that has at least 5 fruits and vegetables (combined) in a day. It defines a healthy nutritious diet.

- PROBIOTICS: There have been studies indicating a strong link between fatty liver and disordered intestinal function. Probiotics can help normalize the gut balance and flush out toxins from the body and ensure better circulation.

- VITAMIN C and B: Vitamin C has healing properties and also helps in building immunity. Its cousin Vitamin B complex helps aid liver function.

- PROTEIN: Protein majorly helps in regeneration of healthy liver cells.

- FIBRE and mineral rich: Your breakfast should be low in fat and rich in vitamins and minerals. You can have multi-grain cereal or diet rich in choker, bran and more.

- DANDELION tea: This is a tested remedy for liver disorders. It acts as a catalyst to mobilize stagnant bile from your liver.

Teeth / Smokers at increased risk of tooth loss
« on: September 15, 2015, 03:38:08 PM »
Regular and heavy smokers have a significantly increased risk of tooth loss, warns a study.

Male smokers are up to 3.6 times more likely to lose their teeth than non-smokers, whereas female smokers have 2.5 times greater risk, the findings showed.

"Most teeth are lost as a result of either caries (tooth decay) or chronic periodontitis (gum disease). We know that smoking is a strong risk factor for periodontitis, so that may go a long way towards explaining the higher rate of tooth loss in smokers," said lead author Thomas Dietrich, professor at University of Birmingham in England.

Tooth loss remains a major public health problem worldwide. Nearly 30 percent of 65-74 year olds in the world are edentate (have lost all of their natural teeth), the study said.

Smoking can mask gum bleeding, a key symptom of periodontitis. As a result, the gums of a smoker can appear to be healthier than they actually are.

"It is really unfortunate that smoking can hide the effects of gum disease as people often don't see the problem until it is quite far down the line," Dietrich noted.

"The good news is that quitting smoking can reduce the risk fairly quickly. Eventually, an ex-smoker would have the same risk for tooth loss as someone who had never smoked, although this can take more than ten years," Dietrich pointed out.

The findings are based on data from 23,376 participants.

The study aimed to evaluate the associations between smoking, smoking cessation and tooth loss in three different age groups.

The association between smoking and tooth loss was stronger among younger people than in the older groups.

In addition, the results clearly demonstrated that the association was dose-dependent; heavy smokers had higher risk of losing their teeth than smokers who smoked fewer cigarettes.

The study was published in the Journal of Dental Research.

Health Tips / 7-8 hour sleep must to avoid body inflammation
« on: September 15, 2015, 03:37:07 PM »
Middle-aged men who sleep less than six hours or more than 10 hours suffer from low-grade inflammation more often than men sleeping seven-eight hours per night, finds a new study.

Furthermore, low-grade inflammation occurs more in people who are overweight, depressed and have diabetes.

The study is the first to analyse the association between sleep duration and serum micronutrient concentrations.

It found a link between high serum copper concentration and long sleep duration. Serum micronutrient concentrations are affected by many factors, including an individual's general health and diet.

"Based on this study, however, it is impossible to say whether sleeping long results in high serum copper concentrations or vice versa," said Maria Luojus, one of the study researchers from University of Eastern Finland.

It has been suggested that high serum copper concentration associates with pro-oxidative stress.

Pro-oxidative stress is found in many chronic diseases, such as coronary artery disease.

"Nevertheless, when the participants' cardiovascular diseases were taken account for, our results remained unchanged. The association between serum copper concentration and sleep duration persisted independently of cardiovascular diseases," Luojus explained.

The study involved 2,682 men living in Eastern Finland.

Fast Food / 4 tricks to help you stay away from junk food
« on: September 14, 2015, 02:28:51 PM »
Take a look at your daily consumption of food. No matter how much you try to control yourself, there are times when you can't help but reach out for processed or junk food. A few quick tips might just ensure you stay away from the temptation...

Keep the right snacks handy: Get rid of those packets of fried chips and delicious but harmful desserts in your refrigerator. Replace them with healthier options like roasted nuts and dry fruits. You can also opt for roasted potato chips, roasted papad, barbequed paneer and mushrooms that give your taste buds the same kind of satisfaction — minus the oil and excess fat. nFresh over frozen: Frozen and packaged food is convenient, but is nothing compared to using freshly available vegetables and meat.

Meal time cravings: One is often in the mood for fast food. But you can still make a conscious effort while ordering. For instance, opt for whole wheat or brown bread for your sandwich. Opt for greener veggies as fillings and keep away from the mayo and other fatty sauces as much as possible.

At the parties: Staying away from junk food on your own may still seem like a possibility. But it is at parties and gatherings that you tend to let go and indulge in all that is being served. Set an example and ensure your party menu includes healthier options. Opt for fruits platters and innovative salads, and fresh juice instead of aerated drinks to make an impact.

Have cheat days: You could choose to zero in on one or two days a month when you can give in to your cravings. It keeps you motivated to stick to staying away from junk food until the D-day. But remember not to overdo it.

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