NASA Curiosity Team Pinpoints Site for First Drive On Mars.


The scientists and engineers of NASA’s Curiosity rover mission have selected the first driving destination for their one-ton, six-wheeled mobile Mars laboratory. The target area, named Glenelg, is a natural intersection of three kinds of terrain. The choice was described by Curiosity Principal Investigator John Grotzinger of the California Institute of Technology during a media teleconference on Aug. 17.

“With such a great landing spot in Gale Crater, we literally had every degree of the compass to choose from for our first drive,” Grotzinger said. “We had a bunch of strong contenders. It is the kind of dilemma planetary scientists dream of, but you can only go one place for the first drilling for a rock sample on Mars. That first drilling will be a huge moment in the history of Mars exploration.”

The trek to Glenelg will send the rover 1,300 feet (400 meters) east-southeast of its landing site. One of the three types of terrain intersecting at Glenelg is layered bedrock, which is attractive as the first drilling target.

“We’re about ready to load our new destination into our GPS and head out onto the open road,” Grotzinger said. “Our challenge is there is no GPS on Mars, so we have a roomful of rover-driver engineers providing our turn-by-turn navigation for us.”

Prior to the rover’s trip to Glenelg, the team in charge of Curiosity’s Chemistry and Camera instrument, or ChemCam, is planning to give their mast-mounted, rock-zapping laser and telescope combination a thorough checkout. On Saturday night, Aug. 18, ChemCam is expected to “zap” its first rock in the name of planetary science. It will be the first time such a powerful laser has been used on the surface of another world.

“Rock N165 looks like your typical Mars rock, about three inches wide. It’s about 10 feet away,” said Roger Wiens, principal investigator of the ChemCam instrument from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. “We are going to hit it with 14 millijoules of energy 30 times in 10 seconds. It is not only going to be an excellent test of our system, it should be pretty cool too.”

Mission engineers are devoting more time to planning the first roll of Curiosity. In the coming days, the rover will exercise each of its four steerable (front and back) wheels, turning each of them side-to-side before ending up with each wheel pointing straight ahead. On a later day, the rover will drive forward about one rover-length (10 feet, or 3 meters), turn 90 degrees, and then kick into reverse for about 7 feet (2 meters).

“There will be a lot of important firsts that will be taking place for Curiosity over the next few weeks, but the first motion of its wheels, the first time our roving laboratory on Mars does some actual roving, that will be something special,” said Michael Watkins, mission manager for Curiosity from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

The Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft delivered Curiosity to its target area on Mars at 10:31:45 p.m. PDT on Aug. 5 (1:31:45 a.m. EDT on Aug. 6), which included the 13.8 minutes needed for confirmation of the touchdown to be radioed to Earth at the speed of light.

The audio and visuals of the teleconference are archived and available for viewing at: http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl

The mission is managed by JPL for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The rover was designed, developed and assembled at JPL, a division of Caltech. ChemCam was provided by Los Alamos National Laboratory. France provided ChemCam’s laser and telescope.

For more information about NASA’s Curiosity mission, visit: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/msl and http://www.nasa.gov/msl

Source: science daily

 

Imprisoned Molecules ‘Quantum Rattle’ in Their Cages.


Scientists have discovered that a space inside a special type of carbon molecule can be used to imprison other smaller molecules such as hydrogen or water.

The nano-metre sized cavity of the hollow spherical C60 Buckminsterfullerene — or bucky ball — effectively creates a ‘nanolaboratory’, allowing detailed study of the quantum mechanical principles that determine the motion of the caged molecule, including the mysterious wave-like behaviour that is a fundamental property of all matter.

Experiments by the international collaboration of researchers, including physicists from The University of Nottingham, have revealed the wave-like behaviour and show how the imprisoned H2 and H2O molecules ‘quantum rattle’ in their cage.

Professor Tony Horsewill, of the School of Physics and Astronomy at The University of Nottingham, said: “For me a lot of the motivation for carrying out this investigation came from the sheer pleasure of studying such a unique and beautiful molecule and teasing out the fascinating insights it gave into the fundamentals of quantum molecular dynamics. Intellectually, it’s been hugely enjoyable.

“However, as with any blue-skies research initiative there is always the promise of new, often unforeseen, applications. Indeed, in the case of water molecules inside bucky balls we have a guest molecule that possesses an electric dipole moment and the collaboration is already investigating its use in molecular electronics, including as an innovative component of a molecular transistor.”

The research, which involved scientists from the US, Japan, France, Estonia and the universities of Nottingham and Southampton in the UK, has recently been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The discovery of the C60 Buckminsterfullerene, and the related class of molecules the fullerenes, in the mid-1980s earned Professors Harry Kroto, Robert Curl and the late Richard Smalley the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1996.

It has a cage-like spherical structure made up for 20 hexagons and 12 pentagons and resembles a soccer ball, earning it the nickname ‘bucky ball’.

In a recent breakthrough in synthetic chemistry, the Japanese scientists from Kyoto have invented a molecular surgery technique allowing them to successfully permanently seal small molecules such as H2 and H2O inside C60.

They used a set of surgical synthetic procedures to open the C60 ‘cage’ producing an opening large enough to ‘push’ a H2 or H2O molecule inside at high temperature and pressure. The system was then cooled down to stabilise the entrapped molecule inside and the cage was surgically repaired to reproduce a C60.

Professor Horsewill added: “This technique succeeds in combining perhaps the universe’s most beautiful molecule C60 with its simplest.”

The Nottingham research group has employed a technique called inelastic neutron scattering (INS) where a beam of neutrons, fundamental particles that make up the atomic nucleus, is used to investigate the ‘cage rattling’ motion of the guest molecules within the C60.

Their investigations have given an insight into the wavelike nature of H20 and H2 molecules and their orbital and rotational motion as they move within the C60.

Professor Malcolm Levitt, of the School of Chemistry at The University of Southampton, who has used the technique nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to study the quantum properties of the caged molecules, said: “By confining small molecules such as water in fullerene cages we provide the controlled environment of a laboratory but on the scale of about one nanometre.

“Under these conditions, the confined molecules reveal a wave-like nature and behave according to the laws of quantum mechanics. Apart from their intrinsic interest, we expect that the special properties of these materials will lead to a variety of applications, such as new ways to brighten the images of MRI scans, and new types of computer memory.”

The work published in the PNAS paper has also separately identified two subtly different forms of H2O — ortho-water and para-water . These so called nuclear spin-isomers also owe their separate identities to quantum mechanical principles.

Source: Science

 

 

 

6-Foot Bar Pulled From Brazilian Man’s Brain.


Brazilian doctors have successfully removed a 6-foot metal bar from a construction worker’s brain, the Associated Press reported.

Eduardo Leite, 24, was wearing a hard hat Wednesday when the bar plunged five stories, piercing the back of his skull through the hat and exiting between his eyes.

“They told me he was laying down (in the ambulance) with the bar pointing upward,” Leite’s wife, Lilian Regina da Silva Costa, told the AP. “He was holding it and his face was covered in blood. His look was as if nothing had happened. When he arrived he told the doctors he wasn’t feeling anything, no pain, nothing. It’s unbelievable.”

See other amazing x-rays and medical scans

Surgeons at Miguel Couto Hospital in Rio de Janeiro spent five hours removing the bar from Leite’s brain, the AP reported.

“He was taken to the operating room, his skull was opened, they examined the brain and the surgeon decided to pull the metal bar out from the front in the same direction it entered the brain,” Luiz Alexandre Essinger, the hospital’s chief of staff, told the AP. “Today, he continues well, with few complaints for a five-hour-long surgery. … He says he feels little pain.”

Ruy Monteiro, the hospital’s head of neurosurgery, said Leite narrowly escaped the loss of one eye and paralysis on the left side of his body, telling the Globo TV network the bar entered a “noneloquent” area of his brain.

Leite will likely remain hospitalized for at least two weeks, the AP reported.

Source: abc new.

 

 

Echocardiography on the Space Station.


How do you detect heart disease when you’re in space and the nearest cardiologist is 230 miles below? Cleveland Clinic’s James Thomas, MD, helped find a way.

There is no Cleveland Clinic in space. Yet. But today’s space travelers benefit from innovations led by Cleveland Clinic cardiologist James D. Thomas, MD. Back in 1997, Dr. Thomas received a grant from NASA to develop a digital echocardiology services for the International Space Station (ISS). He and his team developed the means to read echocardiograms from the space station, and today, ultrasound equipment is part of the medical monitoring gear on the ISS.

Echocardiography stands out as the only thing that is going to work in space,” Dr. Thomas told theHeart.org in 1999, “It doesn’t have radiation, it doesn’t have a magnet. It’s relatively low power and it’s light-weight.”

Today, he is studying the effects of prolonged weightlessness on the astronauts’ hearts. “About once a month we can monitor echocardiograms being performed up in space as they are broadcast live via the secure NASA science network,” says Dr. Thomas. “This is going to teach us a great deal about what happens to the heart in space, and may explain why the astronauts have problems with low blood pressure when they come back to earth or difficulties exerting themselves. This is critical information that we need so that we can develop countermeasures that can keep astronauts healthy as we extend our reach ever farther from earth, perhaps even to Mars in the next few decades.”

In addition to being a staff cardiologist at Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Thomas is also Lead Scientist for Ultrasound at NASA.

Watch Dr Thomas on youtube:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f58Z2EHwEMM&feature=player_embedded

Source: Cleveland Clinic.

 

 

 

The First Book To Be Encoded in DNA.


Two Harvard scientists have produced 70 billion copies of a book in DNA code –and it’s smaller than the size of your thumbnail.
Despite the fact there are 70 billion copies of it in existence, very few people have actually read the book Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves in DNA, by George Church and Ed Regis. The reason? It is written in the basic building blocks of life: Deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA.

Church, along with his colleague Sriram Kosuri, both molecular geneticists from the Wyss Institute for Biomedical Engineering at Harvard, used the book to demonstrate a breakthrough in DNA data storage. By copying the 53,000 word book (alongside 11 jpeg images and a computer program) they’ve managed to squeeze a thousand times more data than ever previously encoded into strands of DNA, as reported in the August 17 issue of the journal Science. (To give you some idea of how much information we’re talking about, 70 billion copies is more than three times the total number of copies for the next 200 most popular books in the world combined.)

Part of DNA’s genius is just how conspicuously small it is: so dense and energy efficient that one gram of the stuff can hold 455 billion gigabytes. Four grams could in theory hold ever scrap of data the entire world produces in a year. Couple this with a theoretical lifespan of 3.5 billion years and you have a revolution in data storage, with wide ranging implications for the amount of information we could record and store.

Don’t expect your library to transform from paperbacks to vials of DNA anytime soon though. “It took a decade to work out the next generation of reading and writing of DNA – I’ve been working on reading for 38 years, and writing since the 90s,” Church tells TIME.

The actual work of encoding the book into DNA and then decoding it and copying it only took a couple weeks. “I did it with my own two hands!” says Dr. Church, “which is very rare to have that kind of time to spend doing something like this.” Church and Kosuri took a computer file of Regenesis and converted it into binary code — strings of ones and zeroes. They then translated that code into the basic building blocks of DNA. “The 1s stand for adenine (A) or cytosine (C) and the zero for guanine (G) and thymine (T),” says Kosuri.  Using a computer program, this translation was simple.

While the future implications and applications are not yet clear, the DNA storage industry is moving at an incredible speed. “Classical electronic technology is moving forward something like 1.5 fold per year,” says Dr. Church, “whereas reading and writing DNA is improving roughly ten fold per year. We’ve already had a million-fold improvement in the past few years, which is shocking.”

Given that the genomics field has attracted its fair share of criticism — witness, for example, the firestorm that greeted biologist Craig Venter and his colleagues when they created the first synthetic cell in 2010 — there are ethical questions to address. Dr. Church and co-author Ed Regis have decided not to include a DNA insert of the book with the actual paper copy when it comes out in October because of this sensitivity.

“We’re always trying to think proactively about the ethical, social and economic implications in this line of work,” says Dr. Church. He explains that the risks are relatively small, but both he and Dr. Kosuri mention that if it is possible to encode a book using DNA encode, it is also theoretically possible to encode a virus–though this would be a far-fetched scenario.

“The chances that something bad will come out of this is so small,” says Dr. Kosuri. “If someone really nefarious wanted to make a virus they would have to use a much larger chunk of DNA to encode function.”

Why make 70 billion copies of the book? “Oh that was a bit of fun,” says Dr. Church. “We calculated the total copies of the top 200 books of all time, including A Tale of Two Cities and the Bible and so on, and they add up to about 20 billion. We figured we needed to go well beyond that.”

Source: Time

 
Read more: http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/08/20/the-first-book-to-be-encoded-in-dna/#ixzz246tbt1He

 

Featherless Chicken.


Scientists at the genetics faculty at the Rehovot Agronomy Institute near Tel Aviv, Israel have created a mostly featherless chicken by cross breeding a broiler (which are the big, meaty ones) with a species that has a featherless neck. The idea behind the de-velopment of this ugly thang is that it will create a more ‘convenient’ and energy efficient chicken which can live in warm countries where feathered chickens don’t do well and cooling systems are too expensive to be commonly affordable.

Featherless Chicken facts

Professor Avigdor Cahaner, who led the project, defended the bird by saying, “This is not a genetically modified chicken – it comes from a natural breed whose characteristics have been known for 50 years. I am just transferring that to fast growing broiler chickens. It’s a normal chicken except for the fact it has no feathers.” The scientists also hope the new breed will grow faster because it won’t need to use energy to grow feathers and that will would also cause the chicken itself to grow larger.

The featherless chicken has so far not reached the large “broiler’ size, probably out of embarrassment. Other ‘benefits” which inspired the breeding of the chicken is energy conservation for the processing plants. Without feathers to pluck, energy would be saved and there would be no feathers to dispose of. Featherless chicken makes things easier!

Source: http://oddanimals.com

 

Attitudes to morphine in chronic heart failure patients.


Low-dose opioids are used for the palliation of pain, breathlessness and cough in advanced chronic heart failure (CHF) patients. The authors wanted to determine any potential barriers or facilitators to opioid administration in patients with CHF by assessing their knowledge, concerns and attitudes to morphine therapy.

Methods Semistructured interviews were held with a purposive sample of 10 men with symptoms of CHF. Data were analysed using a constant comparative approach until thematic saturation.

Results Four key areas emerged: medication use; symptoms; prior morphine experience; and attitudes, concerns and anxieties regarding morphine use. Despite polypharmacy, participants said that morphine would be acceptable if it was monitored by a trusted healthcare professional. Many patients had experienced morphine before, often in life-threatening situations such as myocardial infarction, when it had helped greatly. Opioids were not strongly associated exclusively with death and dying (in contrast to patient reports in the cancer literature).

Conclusions Although some concerns about morphine were expressed, these did not appear to override a willingness to consider its use if recommended by a trusted clinician. However, some participants perceived that their doctor was concerned about its use, holding it as a last reserve. Morphine appears to be an acceptable breathlessness treatment option to these people with CHF. Prescribers may need education and reassurance if these medicines are to be used to their full potential and views may be different in other communities.

Source: PMJ/BMJ

 

Simple Trick Removes Pesticides from Your Vegetables & Fruits.


Howard Garrett, also known as The Dirt Doctor, has compiled a number of uses for vinegar, including recipes for both internal use and use in your organic garden, which I will share with you here.

“Vinegar is a wonderful organic tool that was discovered by accident 10,000 years ago when wine was accidentally allowed to ferment too long and turned sour,” he writes.

“It can be made from many products, including beer, apples, berries, beets, corn, fruits, grains, honey, malt, maple syrup, melons, molasses, potatoes, rice, sorghum, and other foods containing sugar.

Natural sugars from these food products are fermented into alcohol, which is then fermented into vinegar.”

… The product label will identify the starting ingredients, such as “apple cider vinegar” or “wine vinegar.”  Malt vinegar is made from the fermentation of barley malt or other cereal grains.  Sugar vinegar is made from sugar, syrup, or molasses.

White, spirit, or distilled vinegar is made by fermenting distilled alcohol. Distilled white vinegar is made from 190 proof alcohol that is fermented by adding sugar and living bacteria.

… Vinegar that is made from the petroleum derivative, 99 percent acetic acid, is not acceptable in an organic program.”

The name “vinegar” comes from the French words for “sour wine.” But it’s important to realize that not all vinegars are created equally. Some can benefit your health when taken internally, while others should only be used for tasks such as cleaning, or horticultural purposes, while others are best avoided altogether.

White Vinegar—A Great Non-Toxic Cleaner and Herbicide Ingredient

Distilled white vinegar is the type of vinegar you’ll want to use for cleaning and laundry. Toward the end of this article I’ll also share Garrett’s recipe for a non-toxic weed killer formula, which calls for white vinegar. Vinegar and water makes an excellent window cleaner, for example, and vinegar combined with hydrogen peroxide works exceptionally well as both a disinfectant and sanitizer. According to Garrett:

“Sprinkling white vinegar atop a dusting of baking soda is terrific for cleaning sinks, tubs, tile floors and other surfaces. For cleaning, it can be diluted with water as much as 50-50. For the herbicide, it should be used full strength.  In all cases, the products to buy in this category are true vinegars made by distilling grain alcohol. For the purists, there is organic white vinegar made from corn.”

Avoid 20% Vinegar

Garrett warns against using 20 percent vinegar, which is made from 99 percent glacial ascetic acid, stating it’s far stronger than you’d ever really need, in addition to being overly expensive. Perhaps more importantly, this type of vinegar is actually a petroleum derivative, which is dangerous to breathe and can be damaging to your eyes and skin.

“One final warning is that some of the 10 percent vinegars being sold to naïve organic gardeners are the fake 20 percent product that has been cut with water. Proper vinegars should have on the label that they are made from distilled grain alcohol or other similar language indicating natural products from distilling,” Garrett warns.

Apple Cider Vinegar—Good for Your Health

The cider vinegars, made from fermenting fruits such as apples, have little value as cleaners or herbicides. Instead, these are the types of vinegar associated with a number of different health benefits when taken internally. There are two basic categories of cider vinegars:

  • Regular apple cider vinegar
  • Organic apple cider vinegar with the “mother” included

When purchasing an apple cider vinegar, you’ll want to avoid the perfectly clear, “sparkling clean” varieties you commonly see on grocery store shelves. Instead, you want organic, unfiltered, unprocessed apple cider vinegar, which is murky and brown. When you try to look through it, you will notice a cobweb-like substance floating in it. This is known as “mother,” and it indicates your vinegar is of good quality. While it may look suspicious at first, in this case, it’s the murky looking stuff you want. As with everything else, the more processed a food is, the less nutritious it is, and this holds true for apple cider vinegar.

Surprisingly enough, while apple cider vinegar has historically been prized for its health benefits, little research has been done to evaluate its therapeutic actions. However, lack of scientific studies is a common problem for many natural and alternative therapies.

Perhaps the most researched and the most promising of apple cider vinegar’s benefits are in the area of type 2 diabetes. Several studies have found that vinegar may help lower blood glucose levels. In 2004, a study cited in the American Diabetes Foundation’s publication Diabetes Care1 found that taking vinegar before meals significantly increased insulin sensitivity and dramatically reduced the insulin and glucose spikes that occur after meals. The study involved 29 people, divided into three groups:

  1. One third had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
  2. One third had prediabetic signs.
  3. One third were healthy.

The results were quite significant:

  • All three groups had better blood glucose readings with the vinegar than with the placebo.
  • People with prediabetic symptoms benefitted the most from the vinegar, cutting their blood glucose concentrations by nearly half.
  • People with diabetes improved their blood glucose levels by 25 percent with vinegar.
  • People with prediabetic symptoms had lower blood glucose than the healthy participants after both drank vinegar.

A follow-up study geared at testing vinegar’s long-term effects yielded an unexpected but pleasant side effect: moderate weight loss. In this study, participants taking two tablespoons of vinegar prior to two meals per day lost an average of two pounds over the four-week period, and some lost up to four pounds.  In 2007, another study cited by WebMD2 involving 11 people with type 2 diabetes found taking two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed lowered glucose levels in the morning by 4 to 6 percent. Although the research to date looks favorable, more studies are needed to confirm the extent of vinegar’s insulin stabilization benefits.

Other Apple Cider Vinegar “Cures”

Although this article and many others advocate the benefits of using vinegar therapeutically, I really think that this is an inferior approach. From my perspective it would be far better to use large quantities of fermented foods to get these types of acids because you will then also help to recolonize your gut with beneficial bacteria.  However, vinegar is easier and certainly safe to use, so you can put your toe in the water by trying it first.  Garrett, however, has been a long-time proponent of vinegar, recommending it for a number of uses.

“Apple cider vinegar might cure more ailments than any other folk remedy,” he writes. Vinegar apparently provides at least some cures for allergies (including pet, food and environmental), sinus infections, acne, high cholesterol, flu, chronic fatigue, Candida, acid reflux, sore throats, contact dermatitis, arthritis, gout and the list goes on… It also brings a healthy, rosy glow to the complexion and can cure rough scaly skin. Apple cider vinegar is also wonderful for animals, including dogs, cats and horses. It helps with arthritic conditions, controls fleas, repels flies, and gives a beautiful shine to their coats.”

As an example, Garrett has shared the following recipe with me, which can help soothe a sore throat:

“Use 3 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar, 3 tbsp. lemon juice, 2 tbsp. of honey and 16 oz. water, and warm to sipping temperature and sip. Adding juice from chopped ginger can be used for more power.”

What Can Account for Apple Cider Vinegar’s Health Benefits?

Many who tout apple cider vinegar’s wide-ranging benefits claim its healing power comes from the abundance of nutrients that remain after the apples are fermented. However, standard nutritional analyses of apple cider vinegar have found it to be a surprisingly poor source of most nutrients. For example, the one milligram of calcium found in a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar does not come close to the 1,000 milligrams a typical adult needs each day.

It has also been claimed that soluble fiber in the vinegar, in the form of pectin, binds to cholesterol and helps carry it out of your body, thereby improving your lipid profile. However, apple cider vinegar contains no measurable pectin or any other fiber, for that matter.

Its magic can also not be traced to vitamin content. According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), apple cider vinegar has no measurable vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, beta-carotene, or folate — and it’s equally lacking in amino acids, lycopene, or any other nutritional elements.

Still, despite the fact that it’s devoid of many of the traditionally valued nutrients, evidence of apple cider vinegar’s health benefits has been witnessed for hundreds — maybe thousands — of years. So, what can explain this mysteriously beneficial elixir?

It may be partially related to the fact that vinegar is a diluted acid, specifically acetic acid, which help to normalize your body’s pH. This likely improves nutrition, by optimizing your gut flora and helping eradicate pathogenic or disease-causing bacteria, and by serving as growth accelerators for beneficial bacteria that typically thrive in more acid environments. This is also one of the reasons why eating fermented foods is so important.

Apple Cider Vinegar for Dogs

Pet care is another area where vinegar can be a useful, non-toxic, all-natural tool. According to Garrett:

Vinegar is a remedy with multiple uses for dogs including alleviating allergies and arthritis, and helping to provide the correct pH balance. You can give apple cider vinegar to any animal by simply adding it to the water.

If your dog has itchy skin, the beginnings of a hot spot, incessantly washes its feet, has smelly ears, or is picky about his food, an application of apple cider vinegar can help. For poor appetite, use it in the food at 1 tablespoon, two times a day for a 50 lb. dog. For itchy skin or the beginning hot spots, put apple cider vinegar into a spray bottle, part the hair and spray on. Any skin eruption will dry up in as soon as 24 hours and shaving the dog won’t be necessary – which is good because I never recommend that. If the skin is already broken, dilute apple cider vinegar with an equal amount of water and spray on.

Taken internally, apple cider vinegar is credited with maintaining the acid/alkaline balance of the digestive tract. I take a large spoonful straight or in my “witches brew” in the morning that I drink at least once a day.

Another tip is if you have a dog that has clear, watery discharge from the eyes, a runny nose, or coughs with a liquid sound, use apple cider vinegar in his or her food. One teaspoon twice a day for a 50 lb. dog will do the job.

After grooming sessions, use a few drops in dogs’ ears after cleaning them to avoid ear infections. Fleas, flies, ticks and bacteria, external parasites, ring worm, fungus, staphylococcus, streptococcus, pneumococcus, mange, etc. are unlikely to inhabit a dog whose system is acidic inside and out.

Should you ever experience any of these with your dog, bathe with a nice gentle herbal shampoo – one that you would use on your own hair – rinse thoroughly with vinegar, and then sponge on apple cider vinegar diluted with equal amounts of warm water. Allow your dog to drip dry. It is not necessary to use harsh chemicals for minor flea infestations. All fleas drown in soapy water and the apple cider vinegar rinse makes the skin too acidic for a re-infestation. If you are worried about picking up fleas when you take your dog away from home, keep some apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle, and spray your dog before you leave home and when you get back. For raw spots caused by excessive licking, use a few drops in water, and sponge the affected areas with apple cider vinegar.

Horticultural Uses for Vinegar

Vinegar can also be used to control weeds in your garden. According to Garrett:

To keep the weeds out of a decorative or utility gravel area, the best approach is to design them out from the beginning or use organic products later to kill the weeds. Salt, toxic herbicides and bleach should never be used because they contaminate the soil long term. They also leach into the water stream. To head off the problem, install the gravel in a thick layer – 6 to 8 inches after scraping away all grasses and weeds.

Any weeds that grow through the gravel can be sprayed and killed with a mix of 10 percent pickling vinegar mixed with 2 ounces orange oil and 1 teaspoon liquid soap or you can use commercial organic herbicides. Vinegar sprays can also be used to kill weeds in the cracks in sidewalks and driveways. The best choice for herbicide use is 10 percent white vinegar made from grain alcohol. It should be used full strength. Avoid products that are made from 99 percent glacial acetic acid. This material is a petroleum derivative. Natural vinegars such those made from fermenting apples have little herbicidal value.

Herbicide Formula:

1 gallon of 10 percent (100 grain) vinegar

Add 1 ounce orange oil or d-limonene

Add 1 tablespoon molasses (optional – some say it doesn’t help)

1 teaspoon liquid soap or other surfactant (I use Bio Wash)

Do not add water

Shake well before each spraying and spot spray weeds. Keep the spray off desirable plants. This spray will injure any plant it touches. This natural spray works best on warm to hot days. Vinegar sprayed on the bases of trees and other woody plants will not hurt the plant at all. This technique was first learned about by spraying the suckers and weeds growing around the bases of grapevines.

If your water is alkaline, add 1 tablespoon of 50-grain (5 percent) natural apple cider vinegar to each gallon of water to improve the quality of the water for potted plants and bedding. This doesn’t have to be done with every watering, though it wouldn’t hurt. This technique is especially helpful when trying to grow acid-loving plants such as gardenias, azaleas, and dogwoods. A tablespoon of vinegar per gallon added to the sprayer when foliar feeding lawns, shrubs, flowers, and trees is also highly beneficial, especially where soil or water is alkaline. The other horticultural use for vinegar is in the watering can.

Other Uses for Vinegar

Last but not least, vinegar can be used to remove certain pesticides and bacteria from your fresh produce. Of course, you don’t need apple cider vinegar for this—any basic white vinegar will do. Gayle Povis Alleman, MS, RD recommends a solution of 10 percent vinegar to 90 percent water as a bath to briefly soak produce3. Just place your veggeis or fruit in the solution, swish it around, and rinse thoroughly. Just don’t use this process on fragile fruits (like berries), since they could be damaged in the process or soak up too much vinegar through their porous skins.

Apple cider vinegar has also long been used as a natural hair care product. Its acidity is close to that of human hair; it’s a good conditioner and cleaning agent, as well as an effective germ killer. You can visit www.apple-cider-vinegar-benefits.com for information on how to make a vinegar hair rinse.

While we need a great deal more research to investigate vinegar’s full healing potential, it can certainly be useful in a variety of ways, for a variety of conditions. It’s definitely a great multi-purpose tool to have in your pantry.

Source: Dr. Mercola

 

 

Which Oil Will Help You Absorb Nutrients Better?


You’re probably aware that in order to absorb all of the extremely healthy fat-soluble nutrients in your food, compounds like lutein, beta-carotene and vitamin E, for instance, you’ve got to eat them with some fat.

So perhaps you always add olive oil to your salads or eat your veggies with butter to absorb all of those valuable nutrients.

This is a smart health move, but did you know that not all oils are created equal when it comes to nutrient absorption? Some work better than others and can actually enhance the amount of nutrients your body receives from the food you eat.

Coconut Oil is Superior in Enhancing Nutrient Absorption

A new animal study compared the effects of feeding coconut oil (a saturated fat) versus safflower oil (a polyunsaturated fat) on the absorption of carotenoids from tomatoes. Coconut oil enhanced tissue uptake of tomato carotenoids to a greater degree than safflower oil, a benefit the researchers suggested may be due to coconut oil’s medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs):1

“These results may have been due to the large proportion of medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil, which might have caused a shift in cholesterol flux to favor extrahepatic carotenoid tissue deposition.”

Coconut oil is nature’s richest source of healthy MCFAs. By contrast, most common vegetable or seed oils are comprised of long chain fatty acids (LCFAs). There are several reasons why these long-chain fatty acids are not as healthy for you as the MCFAs in coconut oil.

Why Choose an Oil Like Coconut Oil?

In addition to its ability to potentially allow you to absorb more antioxidants and other nutrients from your food, MCFAs are smaller than LCFAs, which means they permeate cell membranes easily, and do not require lipoproteins or special enzymes to be utilized effectively by your body. Further:

  • MCFAs are easily digested, thus putting less strain on your digestive system. This is especially important for those of you with digestive or metabolic concerns.
  • MCFAs are sent directly to your liver, where they are immediately converted into energy rather than being stored as fat.
  • MCFAs in coconut oil can actually help stimulate your body’s metabolism, leading to weight loss.

There are numerous studies showing that MCFAs promote weight loss, including one study that showed rats fed LCFAs stored body fat, while rats fed MCFAs reduced body fat and improved insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance.2 Yet another study found that overweight men who ate a diet rich in MCFAs lost more fat tissue compared to those eating a high-LCFA diet, presumably due to increased energy expenditure and fat oxidation from the MCFA intake. Researchers concluded:3

“Thus, MCTs may be considered as agents that aid in the prevention of obesity or potentially stimulate weight loss.”

Coconut oil earns even more “points” because it’s rich in lauric acid, which converts in your body to monolaurin – a compound also found in breast milk that strengthens immunity. Caprylic acid, another coconut fatty acid present in smaller amounts, is another antimicrobial component. Plus, using coconut oil as your primary cooking oil is important because it is the only one that is stable enough to resist heat-induced damage. When choosing a coconut oil, make sure you choose an organic coconut oil that is unrefined, unbleached, made without heat processing or chemicals, and does not contain GM ingredients. On the other hand, in the case of LCFA-rich vegetable oils:

  • LCFAs are difficult for your body to break down — they must be packaged with lipoproteins or carrier proteins and require special enzymes for digestion.
  • LCFAs put more strain on your pancreas, your liver and your entire digestive system.
  • LCFAs are predominantly stored in your body as fat.
  • LCFAs, when oxidized, can both injure and deposit within arteries, contributing to both blood vessel inflammation and plaque build-up.

Polyunsaturated fats, which include common vegetable oils such as corn, soy, safflower, sunflower and canola, are absolutely the worst oils to use in cooking. These omega-6 oils are highly susceptible to heat damage because of their multiple double carbon bonds. If you’ve been shunning coconut oil because it’s a saturated fat, you needn’t worry. Saturated fats are actually essential and quite good for you.

Enzymes: Another Tool to Enhance Nutrient Absorption

Enzymes are composed of amino acids and are secreted by your body to help catalyze functions that would normally not occur at physiological temperatures. They literally make magic happen and are absolutely vital to your life.

More than 3,000 different enzymes have been identified, and some experts believe there may be another 50,000 we have yet to discover. Each enzyme has a different function—like 3,000 specialized keys cut to fit 3,000 different locks. In this analogy, the locks are biochemical reactions, which include not only energy production and absorption of oxygen, but getting nutrients into your cells.

Chronic malabsorption can lead to a variety of illnesses. Think about it—if your body doesn’t have the basic nutritional building blocks it needs, your health and ability to recover from illness will be compromised. Enzyme deficiency results in poor digestion and poor nutrient absorption. This creates a variety of gastrointestinal symptoms, including:

  • Constipation
  • Bloating
  • Cramping
  • Flatulence and belching
  • Heartburn and acid reflux

Many people are, unfortunately, lacking in the enzyme department, as diets heavy in cooked, processed, and sugary foods, combined with overuse of pharmaceutical drugs such as antibiotics, deplete your body’s ability to make enzymes. Heating your food above 116 degrees F also renders most enzymes inactive for destroys them. This is one of the reasons it’s so important to eat your foods raw. Raw foods are enzyme-rich, and consuming them decreases your body’s burden to produce its own enzymes. The more food that you can eat raw, the better.

A Healthy Gut Encourages Optimal Nutrient Absorption

Similar to enzymes, your gut flora, the microorganisms living in your intestines, continually and dynamically affect your health. In fact, these beneficial bacteria secrete essential enzymes for us. The Lactobacillus genus of probiotics, for instance, got their name from the fact that they break down lactose (milk sugar) into lactic acid with the enzyme lactase. This, in fact, is one reason why culturing was invented in the first place, as only a limited number of individuals with a particular European genotype are capable of producing the lactase enzyme late into life — most lose the ability soon after weaning from breast milk.

Good bacteria that you take in, either from fermented foods or in supplement form, also prevent the growth of less desirable ones by competing for both nutrition and attachment sites in the tissues of your alimentary canal. These friendly bacteria also aid digestion and nutrient absorption so that you’re able to get more benefit from the foods you eat.

In fact, without good gut bacteria, your body cannot absorb certain undigested starches, fiber, and sugars. The friendly bacteria in your digestive tract convert these carbohydrates into primary sources of important energy. These bacteria also produce a secondary layer of indispensable fermentation byproducts such as bacteriocins (which fight infection), beta glucans (which modulate immunity), and the entire B group vitamin series, to name but only a few of the nutrients they are capable of producing for us. Through this continual process of biotransformation that happens 24-7 in our gut, we are in many ways vitamin- and “medicine”-producing factories!

Eating fermented vegetables, and other fermented foods, like kefir, regularly is one of the best ways to nourish your gut flora for optimal nutrient absorption.

The common thread that you may have noticed here is a traditional, healthy diet. When you eat the foods your body is designed for, foods like coconut oil and other fresh, raw, minimally processed sources of fat, protein and healthy carbs, you will naturally encourage your body to utilize all that it can from the healthy foods you eat. So remember, when you need an oil to add to your meals, choosing coconut oil over polyunsaturated vegetable oils like safflower oil may be a simple way to boost your body’s nutrient intake for optimal health.

Just make sure that when you use coconut oil you are certain, like all your foods, you are getting the highest quality source possible.

Source: Dr. Mercola

Takotsubo cardiomyopathy: pathophysiology and treatment.


Since it was first described 20 years ago in Japan, takotsubo cardiomyopathy has received considerable interest from the medical community around the world, particularly in recent years. Although takotsubo cardiomyopathy was originally described as a transient, stress-induced dysfunction of the left ventricular apex, other morphological subtypes have now been described. The pathogenesis of this disorder is likely to be catecholamine mediated myocyte damage and microvascular dysfunction; however, a number of possible alternative theories have been suggested. These include oxidative stress, transient coronary obstruction and oestrogen deficiency, the last explaining the high prevalence of takotsubo cardiomyopathy in women. The treatment remains largely supportive; however, a number of agents have been implicated in the acute stage and long term. Although most of the patients show complete recovery, there is a high risk of complications at the initial presentation requiring intense support.

Source: PMJ/BMJ