Solitary acoustic waves observed to propagate at a lipid membrane interface


Defining the essential character of the action potential of neurons has proven to be an elusive task. As typically happens, the biggest advances seem to have been made early on. In this case it was Hodgkin and Huxley working with the giant unmyelinated axons of squids. By squeezing out the “axoplasm” and replacing it with various concoctions these guys could isolate the effects of different ions and the channels through which they flowed. Using their data, they were able to create one of the most successful models known to science.

A couple of concerns remained through all of this, perhaps best highlighted by the ever intriguing and often beguiling Gerald Pollack in his book Cells, Gells, and the Engines of Life. For one thing, membranes seemed to be excitable all by themselves. Pollack notes that patches of bare held within the tip of a patch pipet electrode show tiny “channel” currents even without any protein channels. These heretical mini-spikelets don’t seem to be simple leaks at the borders but are more likely transient membrane effects which created tiny pores.

Perhaps even more alarming was the fact that good old axoplasm itself, when stripped of its channel-bearing membrane, still shows some ability to transduce a spike (albeit much attenuated and slowed). Pollack attributes this ability to a propagating phase change in the cytoplasmic gel which unmasks largely immobile negative charges on proteins, previously bound with cations and an ordered hydration shell. This water layer, an interface reaching up to several molecules deep, is also critical to understanding the behavior of the lipid membrane. Some the most novel incites in neuroscience now spring from the thermodynamic characterization of this interface.

In the spirit of physical chemistry a new breed of physical neuroscientists are now combining fairly old, low tech instruments with high tech optics to explore membranes. A recent paper from Shamit Shrivastava and Matthias Schneider in The Journal of the Royal Society publication Interface takes the field a bold step forward with its claims to have caught a glimpse of the elusive creature that has come to be known as the solitary pulse. The mathematical construct known to many as “solitions” are special cases of these more general pulses. This would be the first time that solitary elastic waves have been observed propagating in .

The membranes they studied were monolayers of Dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DCCP), more familiar to us as standard lung surfactant. Most organisms, with exception of a few Archae that have fused two phospholipid tails together, use bilayer membranes which work great for cells. For membrane experiments however, researchers typically use a device known as a Langmuir trough. This workhorse of membrane biophysics (in service since 1917) is basically a small pan with an air-water interface comprised of single amphiphilic monolayer. The membrane can be squeezed from the side as needed, and the lateral surface pressure and membrane tension in the lipid measured with a Wilhelmy plate. This gauge is basically a sensitive electrobalance hooked to vertical plate that is dipped into the trough and wetted. The resultant forces acting on the plate can then be directly quantified.

To initiate longitudinal pulses a razor blade was placed into the trough and actuated horizontally by a piezoelectric element. In some incarnations of the setup a Kelvin or AFM probe can be used to detect surface potential or charge. The refinement that permitted the researchers to remotely sense solitary waves was to use fluorescence resonance energy transfer, or FRET. Here a donor chromophore transfers energy through nonradiative dipole-dipole coupling to an acceptor chromophore when it is within its near field. It can therefore be used as a convenient and fast way to measure the separation between two molecules, and hence their perturbation by a pulse. In ratiometric FRET signal to noise is improved by simultaneously acquiring emission intensity at two wavelengths, here 535 and 605 nm. Critical for these experiments, the longitudinal compression component can be distinguished from the transverse capillary components of a pulse.

Solitary pulses with a threshold of excitation are dependant upon the existence of a nonlinearity in the elasticity of the interface. For both mono- and bilayers this can arise as a peak in their compressibility, or susceptibility (cp,kT, etc.). In a dissipative medium, amplitude decay will eventually result in broadening of the pulse to the point where the nonlinearity can no longer balance the dispersion. At some point the amplitude of the pulse will slip below threshold. For real nerves where spike shape is maintained for long distances, it has been suggested that the pulse is replenished by ion channels along the axons or at their nodes.

Shrivastava says they are now collaborating with Ronald Netz in Berlin to computationally study interstitial sound waves starting from scratch. The properties of the surrounding media play an important role in dissipation and propagation of waves. Of particular interest here is how myelin might aide and abet nerve pulses by virtue of its unique construction or phase transitions of its own. It is also worthwhile to note that cell membranes are not just found at their periphery, cells are filled with them. Transport phenomena, and the trafficking and segregation of proteins through various membrane fluctuations are fascinating new areas of study we might encourage you to read more about on this site.

One prediction of the Hodgkin-Huxely model mentioned above, is that because of channel inactivation, collision of two pulses should result in their annhilation. In many real neurophysiology experiments where so-called “antidromic stimulation” has used to identify which regions of the brain are connected to each other (and how fast the conduction pathways are), this has been found to be the case. However recent studies have found that nerve pulses can and do survive collisions, in agreement with a soliton theory for electromechanical nerve pulse propagation. Although Shrivastava and Schneider found pulse velocities compareable to those of action potentials in unmyelinated axons, they suggest that velocity and pulse shape are not the best criteria to gauge spike propagation. They offer that the variation in velocity as a function of state, the variation of pulse shape as a function of degree of nonlinearity, and the existence of a thermodynamically-defined threshold are the key properties.

There is still a bit of mismatch between this emerging field and traditional biologists who don’t typically quantify cells using equations of state. Stepping outward for a moment, we might recall that Schrodinger’s wave equation was initially considered by many to be a mathematical fiction. It was eventually concluded that the wave function, meaning a packet of vibrations, depicted probabilities rather than energy. When luminaries like Steven Hawking now speak of a universal wave function—the state function of the entire universe—most physicists will still want more than a psi symbol and a couple more characters. In the same way, biologists want more for the cell.

In starting from the ground up and building membranes from scratch, we now have a way to fully address the spike experimentally. Constructing artificial axon-like geometries from membranes might be the next goal along this path. Adding channels, proteins, subsurface actin or spectrin, and a contiguous internal cytoskeleton will be even more illuminating. If we can then myelinate these structures, as has been already achieved for artificial tubes in a culture setting, we might begin to probe questions famously raised by the late Ichiji Tasaki. A pioneer in measuring all things mechanical and thermal regarding spikes, Ichiji also discovered the insulating function of myelin, saltatory conduction between nodes, and how sound vibrations are transduced into spikes in the auditory system.

Showing that membranes can support solitary elastic signalling is a huge step; demonstrating that they are in fact the physical basis of nerve pulses and communication remains as the challenge.

8 Health Warnings Your Fingernails May Be Sending


Your eyes may be the window to your soul, but, in many ways your, nails are the window to what’s going on inside your body. Here are some common nail problems and what they mean:

Take a good look at your fingernails and you may notice subtle variations in the texture or color; white spots, a rosy tinge, rippling or bumps in the surface to mention a few. These imperfections may not look like much to you, but it’s more important than you might think to maintain healthy fingernails. That’s because to the trained eye, nails can provide valuable indications about your overall health.
Hold a hand level with your nose about a foot out from your face and scrutinize each one. Look at the grooves, curves, ridges and dips. Notice how thick or thin they are and if there are any stark differences. Are your nails are chipped or broken. Make a note of the color of the nail itself, the skin under it as well as the skin around the nail. You need to get into the habit of knowing your nails and any changes that can occur. Changes are a good indication of the onset of several health problems. Here are 8 of the most common nail issues:

8 Health WARNINGS Your Fingernails May Be Sending
1. RIDGES: Healthy nails should have no obvious ridge lines and should be virtually smooth to the naked eye. Ridges can indicate several health issues including:
•Inflammatory arthritis
•Iron deficiency
•Lupus (with red lines at the base of your nails)
Don’t ignore these ridges by using a nail buffer to smooth the surface – these are warnings to be noticed!
2. THICK NAILS: It is fairly obvious is you have a thickening of the nails and they can have several causes including:
•Thick/separated nails can indicate thyroid disease or psoriasis
•Thick/rough-surfaced nails can be a sign of fungal infection
•Unusually thick nails could be a symptom of a circulation problem
•Thick nails alone could even signal lung disease
Thickening is fairly easy to notice when it first appears but please note that allergic reactions to some medications manifest themselves as thick nails!
3. DISCOLORED NAILS: A healthy nail bed should be pink with a slight pinky white moon shape at the base. Streaks of any other stronger shades or colors can indicate health issues, as can nails that are tinged by other colors such as:

•Dark stripes towards the top of the nail are associated with aging and congestive heart failure
•Blueish tinge to the nails can be a sign of depleted oxygen levels in your blood
•Green nails are usually a sign of a bacterial infection
•White nails indicate liver disease, such as hepatitis
•Red streaks on the nail bed could be a warning of an infection of the heart valves
•Dull nails in general mean a deficiency of vitamins

Inspect your nails when they are clean and you should know when the color changes
4: PITTED NAILS: Sometimes small dips can just be the result of a bash to the hand in general, but sometimes more attention should be paid as they can be a symptom of:
•Zinc deficiency (usually the pit will form a line across the middle of the nailbed)
•Connective tissue disorder
•Psoriasis
•Alopecia areata, which is an autoimmune disorder that results in hair loss

Learn the difference between an injury related imperfection which should not last too long, and a potential disease related imperfection which will not clear up.
5. DRY AND BRITTLE NAILS: Healthy nails should not require cuticle oil and moisturizers as they should maintain themselves. Excessively dry or brittle nails can be a sign of a hormonal balance problem or a bacterial infection.

•Thyroid disease can result in brittle, dry nails that also crack and split very easily
•Fungus can cause nails to become dry or even crumbly and is a common problem
Both these potential problems can be treated and the nails will return to good health once a full growing cycle has passed (hand nails grow at about 1 mm per week so on average the full life cycle of human nail is about 6 months).
6. CONCAVE OR SPOON SHAPED NAILS: What are known as ‘full spoon’ nails are very soft and curve upwards with the dip being pronounced enough to hold a drop or two of liquid. This usually is an indication of:
•Heart disease
•Iron deficiency (usually from anemia)
•Hypothyroidism
•Hemachromatosis, which is a liver disorder caused by the body absorbing too much iron
If medical intervention clears up the root cause then the nails will return to a normal healthy shape with time.
7. CLUBBED NAILS: This is when the skin around the nail bed can appear inflamed or unusually puffy. This can mean:
•Liver disease
•Lung disease, especially if you already have trouble breathing
•Inflammatory bowel disease

•AIDS
Most of these health issues will often have already given you other symptoms but the corresponding nail condition can help with diagnosis.

8. SPLIT NAILS: Often our nails split if we have injured them. But when no trauma has occured but the nail flakes away layer by layer it can be a result of several issues:
•Chronic malnutrition
•Deficiency of Vitamin C, folic acid or proteins
•Split nails together with a pitted nail bed can indicate psoriasis
Eating a healthy well balanced diet can eliminate many of these causes.
Obviously our fingernails will not be the only signs of these diseases, but they can provide confirmation or else the motivation to seek further medical attention.

Strong, healthy nails reflect a strong, healthy you. Share with anyone you know may need to pay attention to their nails.

REFERENCES/SOURCES:

http://www.losethebackpain.com/blog/2012/01/11/fingernail-health-warnings/

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Mapping Ebola’s Deadly Spread


The Ebola outbreak that has killed hundreds of people in West Africa since it started in Guinea months ago has reached its second wave and is “totally out of control,” said an official for Doctors Without Borders.

As of Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put the number of cases at 362 — more than any other outbreak on record. Ebola is extremely deadly and this outbreak has killed 330 people, according to the World Health Organization.

Infographic by Jan Diehm for The Huffington Post.
An earlier version of this graphic was published in March.

Ebola In West Africa Is ‘Totally Out Of Control,’ Medical Group Says


The Ebola outbreak ravaging West Africa is “totally out of control,” according to a senior official for Doctors Without Borders, who says the medical group is stretched to the limit in responding.

The outbreak has caused more deaths than any other of the disease, said another official with the medical charity. Ebola has been linked to more than 330 deaths in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, according to the World Health Organization.

International organizations and the governments involved need to send in more health experts and increase public education messages about how to stop the spread of the disease, Bart Janssens, the director of operations for the medical group in Brussels, told The Associated Press on Friday.

“The reality is clear that the epidemic is now in a second wave,” Janssens said. “And, for me, it is totally out of control.”

The Ebola virus, which causes internal bleeding and organ failure, spreads through direct contact with infected people. There is no cure or vaccine, so containing an outbreak focuses on supportive care for the ill and isolating them to limit the spread of the virus.

The current outbreak, which began in Guinea either late last year or early this year, had appeared to slow before picking up pace again in recent weeks, including spreading to the Liberian capital for the first time.

“This is the highest outbreak on record and has the highest number of deaths, so this is unprecedented so far,” said Armand Sprecher, a public health specialist with Doctors Without Borders.

According to the WHO, the highest previous death toll was in the first recorded Ebola outbreak in Congo in 1976, when 280 deaths were reported. Because Ebola often touches remote areas and the first cases sometimes go unrecognized, it is likely that there are deaths that go uncounted during outbreaks.

The multiple locations of the current outbreak and its movement across borders make it one of the “most challenging Ebola outbreaks ever,” Fadela Chaib, a spokeswoman for the World Health Organization, said earlier in the week.

But Janssens’ description of the Ebola outbreak was even more alarming, and he warned that the countries involved had not recognized the gravity of the situation. He criticized WHO for not doing enough to prod local leaders; the U.N. health agency did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“There needs to be a real political commitment that this is a very big emergency,” he said. “Otherwise, it will continue to spread, and for sure it will spread to more countries.”

But Tolbert Nyenswah, Liberia’s deputy minister of health, said the highest levels of government are working to contain the outbreak, noting that Liberia had a long period with no new cases before this second wave.

EBOLA AFRICA

Governments and international agencies are definitely struggling to keep up with the outbreak, said Unni Krishnan of Plan International, which is providing equipment to the three countries. But he noted that the disease is striking in one of the world’s poorest regions, where public health systems are already fragile.

With more than 40 international staff currently on the ground and four treatment centers, Doctors Without Borders has reached its limit to respond, Janssens said. It is unclear, for instance, if the group will be able to set up a treatment center in Liberia, like the ones it is running in in Guinea and Sierra Leone, he said.

Janssens said the only way to stop the disease’s spread is to persuade people to come forward when symptoms occur and to avoid touching the sick and dead.

He said this outbreak is particularly challenging because it began in an area where people are very mobile and has spread to even more densely populated areas, like the capitals of Guinea and Liberia. The disease typically strikes sparsely populated areas in central or eastern Africa, where it spreads less easily, he said.

By contrast, the epicenter of this outbreak is near a major regional transport hub, the Guinean city of Gueckedou.

What is Manopause? 5 Facts Every Man Should Know.


Manopause, also known as andropause or male menopause, is the term used to describe the changes in hormone production that men experience as they age. The effects can be profound. Hormone levels affect mental and physical health, and sex drive, too. While it sounds a lot like the menopause that middle-age women know all too well, manopause is more of a continuous process, potentially affecting a man for decades. In fact, for many men, “age related slowdown” can begin as early as their 30′s. Let’s take a look at a few of the facts every man needs to know.

1. What Causes Manopause?

Testosterone encourages muscle growth, a strong libido, and mental focus. It also helps to burn fat and support energy levels. Many people attribute slow-downs in these areas to simple “aging” which is indirectly correct, as research suggests that circulating testosterone declines with age, around 1% a year, and tends to speed up the older a man gets.[1] Although the process is largely inevitable, diet, obesity and disease can accelerate the reduction in testosterone production, while other measures can seek to preserve it. [2]

2. When Does Manopause Begin?

For some men, testosterone levels can begin to decline as early as age 19. However, that’s not common and noticeable symptoms typically appear around age 40; men 51-60 are most likely to be in full swing of manopause. It’s estimated 25% of men over 70 experience testosterone deficiency and 50% over 80 years old suffer from sexual and erectile dysfunction.[3]

3. The Symptoms of Manopause

Symptoms of manopause include fatigue, decreased muscle mass, increased body fat, strength reductions, cognitive decline and mood disorders. Low testosterone levels have been tied to elevated risk of heart disease and osteoporosis. However, out of all the symptoms, erectile dysfunction, or ED, gets the most attention. You’ve undoubtedly seen the commercials for the various pills. Do a little more research and you’ll quickly stumble across ads for miracle creams and pumps. Why so many zany products full of false promises? Because the opportunists know that no man wants to suffer from sexual dysfunction or the stigma that surrounds it.

4. Testosterone Replacement isn’t the Answer

The pharmaceutical industry promotes a variety of testosterone therapies, and when you listen to the testimonials, they must work, right? Slow down. Although symptoms may improve, there is a trade off and several points need to be considered before taking supplemental testosterone:

  • Testosterone replacement is not part of a man’s natural body rhythms.
  • Long-term safety has not been determined for hormone replacement therapy.
  • It may be dangerous for men with prostate cancer.
  • Long-term testosterone therapies may increase the risk of breast cancer in men.

Not to mention the recent reports of testosterone replacement being linked to heart damage. In my opinion, testosterone replacement is not the way to go.

5. There are Natural Remedies for Manopause

Around the world, for millenia, plants and herbs have been used to encourage male vitality. A few of these are Tribulus terrestris, Muira puama, ashwagandha, and Eurycoma longifolia Jack, commonly known as tongkat ali. Supplementing with these herbs is traditionally used to counteract the typical experiences that come along with manopause.

All in all, the best approach to managing age related changes is for every man to take inventory of his behavior and identify what encourages normal hormone production (a nutrient rich diet, supplements, regular exercise) and what discourages it (smoking, drinking, inadequate nutrition, living a sedentary life). It is essential to avoid behaviors that worsen manopause symptoms!

Manopause – Is It Happening to You?

Does any of this sound familiar to you? If you’ve found a way to enjoy your golden years with the libido of a young man, please leave a comment and share your experience with us!

-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM

Article References:

  1. Mooradian AD, Korenman SG. Management of the cardinal features of andropause. Am J Ther. 2006 Mar-Apr;13(2):145-60.
  2. Cardarelli R, Singh M, Meyer J, Balyakina E, Perez O, King M. The Association of Free Testosterone Levels in Men and Lifestyle Factors and Chronic Disease Status: A North Texas Healthy Heart Study. J Prim Care Community Health. 2014 Jan 26.
  3. Stanley G Korenman. Manopause. West J Med. 2000 August; 173(2): 80.

 

Infectious Tuberculosis Moving Across U.S. Border, Ice Whistleblower Confirms Alex Jones’ Infowars.


The Ebola outbreak ravaging West Africa is “totally out of control,” according to a senior official for Doctors Without Borders, who says the medical group is stretched to the limit in responding.

The outbreak has caused more deaths than any other of the disease, said another official with the medical charity. Ebola has been linked to more than 330 deaths in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, according to the World Health Organization.

International organizations and the governments involved need to send in more health experts and increase public education messages about how to stop the spread of the disease, Bart Janssens, the director of operations for the medical group in Brussels, told The Associated Press on Friday.

“The reality is clear that the epidemic is now in a second wave,” Janssens said. “And, for me, it is totally out of control.”

The Ebola virus, which causes internal bleeding and organ failure, spreads through direct contact with infected people. There is no cure or vaccine, so containing an outbreak focuses on supportive care for the ill and isolating them to limit the spread of the virus.

The current outbreak, which began in Guinea either late last year or early this year, had appeared to slow before picking up pace again in recent weeks, including spreading to the Liberian capital for the first time.

“This is the highest outbreak on record and has the highest number of deaths, so this is unprecedented so far,” said Armand Sprecher, a public health specialist with Doctors Without Borders.

According to the WHO, the highest previous death toll was in the first recorded Ebola outbreak in Congo in 1976, when 280 deaths were reported. Because Ebola often touches remote areas and the first cases sometimes go unrecognized, it is likely that there are deaths that go uncounted during outbreaks.

The multiple locations of the current outbreak and its movement across borders make it one of the “most challenging Ebola outbreaks ever,” Fadela Chaib, a spokeswoman for the World Health Organization, said earlier in the week.

But Janssens’ description of the Ebola outbreak was even more alarming, and he warned that the countries involved had not recognized the gravity of the situation. He criticized WHO for not doing enough to prod local leaders; the U.N. health agency did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“There needs to be a real political commitment that this is a very big emergency,” he said. “Otherwise, it will continue to spread, and for sure it will spread to more countries.”

But Tolbert Nyenswah, Liberia’s deputy minister of health, said the highest levels of government are working to contain the outbreak, noting that Liberia had a long period with no new cases before this second wave.

Governments and international agencies are definitely struggling to keep up with the outbreak, said Unni Krishnan of Plan International, which is providing equipment to the three countries. But he noted that the disease is striking in one of the world’s poorest regions, where public health systems are already fragile.

With more than 40 international staff currently on the ground and four treatment centers, Doctors Without Borders has reached its limit to respond, Janssens said. It is unclear, for instance, if the group will be able to set up a treatment center in Liberia, like the ones it is running in in Guinea and Sierra Leone, he said.

Janssens said the only way to stop the disease’s spread is to persuade people to come forward when symptoms occur and to avoid touching the sick and dead.

He said this outbreak is particularly challenging because it began in an area where people are very mobile and has spread to even more densely populated areas, like the capitals of Guinea and Liberia. The disease typically strikes sparsely populated areas in central or eastern Africa, where it spreads less easily, he said.

By contrast, the epicenter of this outbreak is near a major regional transport hub, the Guinean city of Gueckedou.

COPD patients at significantly higher risk of heart failure.


As if increased risks of high blood pressure, respiratory infections, lung cancer and even depression weren’t enough, researchers say patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have another complication to worry about: heart failure. That’s according to a new study from the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, which found the prevalence of heart failure is significantly higher in patients with COPD compared to the rest of the study population. They also found that the risk was especially high among African-American patients with COPD.

The study’s findings were presented at the ATS 2014 International Conference.

“The relationship between COPD and coronary heart disease has been well studied, but substantially less information exists concerning the coexistence of COPD and heart failure,” said lead author Srinadh Annangi, MBBS. “For our study, we analyzed hospital discharge data from the National Hospital Discharge Survey (NHDS) to investigate the frequency and impact of heart failure on hospitalizations for subjects with COPD.”

The researchers reviewed 386,186,183 hospital discharge records from 2001 through 2010 and identified 33,338,505 patients aged 40 years and over who had COPD. Those records were further analyzed to identify patients who also had heart failure, and then stratified by race and age.

After analysis, they found that 28.7% of COPD patients had heart failure, compared to 13.0% in the background population. Looking at race, the researchers reported the following findings:

 

  • 28.3% of European Americans with COPD had heart failure compared to 12.9% of the non-COPD European American population;
  • 35.1% of African Americans with COPD had heart failure compared to 15.2% of the non-COPD African American population; and
  • 25.3% of COPD patients from other populations had heart failure compared to 11.3% in their counterparts who did not have COPD.
  • In cases where race was not reported, 28.1% of COPD patients had heart failure compared to 13.6% of those who did not have COPD.

With regard to age, they found:

 

  • For patients from 40 to 59 years of age, 18.0% of patients with COPD also had heart failure compared to 5.4% of patients without COPD;
  • For patients from 60 to 79 years of age, 27.5% of COPD patients had heart disease compared to 13.6% without COPD; and
  • Among patients aged 80 years and older, heart failure was present in 38.6% of those with COPD and 24.4% of those who did not have COPD.

The researchers also found that patients with both COPD and heart failure had longer average hospital stays, higher in-hospital mortality rates and were discharged to long-term care facilities more often than patients with COPD alone.

“The co-existence of COPD and heart failure, which share common symptoms, may pose diagnostic and therapeutic challenges,” said study corresponding author Marilyn G. Foreman, M.D., M.S. “The long-term effect of both diagnoses over time remains to be determined.”

“As the prevalence of COPD gains traction in individuals of low socioeconomic status, the impact of simultaneous co-morbid diagnoses over decades of life could pose substantial fiscal, therapeutic, and social challenges,” she added.

 

HowStuffWorks “Does sugar make us age faster?”


Most people avoid sugar for one particular reason — eating too much sugar is an easy way to gain weight. But even if you don’t gain weight easily, there are some other negative effects of sugar to watch out for: It’s possible that too many sweets could make you age faster in a number of ways.

Recent research does show a relationship between lower-calorie diets — often relating to less sugar consumption — and longer life spans. While sugar itself is not necessarily the enemy, the way the cells in your body recognize and use sugar may speed up the body’s aging process and make your skin look older .

To understand this interaction, take a closer look at the way sugar works in your blood. When you gobble down a serving of sugar, whether in your favorite slice of pie or from the carbohydrates in a basket of bread sticks, your body converts that sugar to glucose . You need glucose, as it serves as the main source of fuel for your body. However, too much of a good thing can lead to problems down the road.

One major health issue linked to high blood glucose is diabetes. Your body naturally releases insulin after you eat to keep your blood glucose at a certain level. If you’re diabetic, your blood glucose levels rise unchecked. Diabetes itself is dangerous enough, but it can also lead to further health problems such as cardiovascular disease, kidney damage or nerve damage . Diabetics might also experience skin, mouth and bone problems that make the body look and feel older than it should.

Researchers also recently found a link between blood sugar and Alzheimer’s disease . It appears that high blood glucose levels lead to a decreased level of brain activity in the hippocampus. Since the hippocampus is important for memory and learning, a decrease in brain activity here can make Alzheimer’s more pronounced. It’s important to note that many patients in the early stages of Alzheimer’s have damage to the hippocampus region of their brain.

So while your body needs some sugar for energy, too much may age your body in unexpected ways. To learn more about substances that contribute to aging, follow the links on the next page.

Sources

  • Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation. “Blood Sugar Linked to Aging Brain.” (Accessed 9/24/09)http://www.alzinfo.org/newsarticle/templates/newstemplate-diagnosis.asp?articleid=329&zoneid=11
  • Mayo Clinic. “Diabetes.” (Accessed 9/24/09)http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/diabetes/DS01121/DSECTION=complications
  • Science Daily. “Not So Sweet: Over-consumption of Sugar Linked to Aging.” (Accessed 9/24/09)http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090305204328.htm
  • WebMD. “Blood Glucose.” (Accessed 9/24/09)http://diabetes.webmd.com/blood-glucose

Overcoming loneliness.


Loneliness can take root deeply within you. Maybe your daily routine is punctuated by this pain emanating from an emptiness in your chest. If so, you know that you are in trouble. It is a symptom of your severed connection from humanity. But while it can instill a sense of worthlessness and hopelessness, it can also be soothed.

The healing agents for loneliness are awareness, acceptance, and compassion. Here’s how it works:

Awareness. Choose to bring your awareness to your experience. Pay attention to how your body feels—the hollowness in your chest, the constriction in your throat, the heaviness of your body. If you feel the sadness well up within you, allow yourself to cry without restraint.

Acceptance. Many people instinctively try to run from loneliness. Sometimes they try to hide from it by numbing themselves. They might sleep, watch TV, or play video games. Or, they might try to distract themselves with chores and activities. They keep busy and superficially engaged in life. But none of this really works—at least not for the long haul. The aching emptiness breaks through numbed bodies and mindless activity.

Sometimes, people try to get rid of the pain by blaming themselves for it. They criticize themselves for being unworthy of others. They see all their flaws or mistakes and demean themselves for them. Frequently, their unconscious hope is that if they could identify what’s wrong with themselves and fix it, then they can make the pain go away. Or, if they can’t make it go away, they can at least make sense of it. But they only feel worse for their efforts.

Instead, choose to stay with the feeling. Acknowledge your loneliness and choose to continue being aware of it.

Compassion. Practice reminding yourself that others feel lonely, too. It is part of the human experience that most people share at some time or other. And just as you would show compassion for anyone else who suffers from being lonely, you also deserve this caring response. So, choose to see yourself with perspective—as you would see someone else—and tell yourself that it is sad that you feel so alone.

If you have supportive others in your life, reach out to them. Take a deep breath, pick up the phone to text or call, and ask for support in whatever form you need it. Allowing yourself to truly connect with others will help you feel emotionally stronger and less alone.

Strange as it might seem, there are benefits to loneliness, so you don’t necessarily want to be totally without it. By feeling lonely, you are able to understand and have compassion for others who feel similarly. Your loneliness can also be a crucial signal that your relationships are not as emotionally close, supportive, or engaging as you really want them to be. So it offers you a chance to identify this problem and make efforts to fix it.

As you consider these ideas, keep this in mind: The person who you are right now is in pain, a very human kind of pain in which you feel different from all other people and yearn to feel connected. Just as it would be sad to see others struggle with this, it is sad that you feel this way. And just as you would naturally feel compassion for their pain, you deserve the same compassion. So accept and feel your loneliness. Then offer yourself compassion. Doing this will help to ease your pain, open you up to experiencing a sense of feeling connected, and help you to take the necessary steps to reach out to others.

Swarm reveals Earth’s changing magnetism .


The first set of high-resolution results from ESA’s three-satellite Swarm constellation reveals the most recent changes in the magnetic field that protects our planet. Launched in November 2013, Swarm is providing unprecedented insights into the complex workings of Earth’s magnetic field, which safeguards us from the bombarding cosmic radiation and charged particles. Measurements made over the past six months confirm the general trend of the field’s weakening, with the most dramatic declines over the Western Hemisphere.

Changes in Earth’s magnetic field from January to June 2014 as measured by the Swarm constellation of satellites. These changes are based on the magnetic signals that stem from Earth’s core. Shades of red represent areas of strengthening, while blues show areas of weakening over the 6-month period.
Credit: ESA/DTU Space

The first set of high-resolution results from ESA’s three-satellite Swarm constellation reveals the most recent changes in the magnetic field that protects our planet.

Launched in November 2013, Swarm is providing unprecedented insights into the complex workings of Earth’s magnetic field, which safeguards us from the bombarding cosmic radiation and charged particles.

Measurements made over the past six months confirm the general trend of the field’s weakening, with the most dramatic declines over the Western Hemisphere.

But in other areas, such as the southern Indian Ocean, the magnetic field has strengthened since January.

The latest measurements also confirm the movement of magnetic North towards Siberia.

These changes are based on the magnetic signals stemming from Earth’s core. Over the coming months, scientists will analyse the data to unravel the magnetic contributions from other sources, namely the mantle, crust, oceans, ionosphere and magnetosphere.

This will provide new insight into many natural processes, from those occurring deep inside our planet to space weather triggered by solar activity. In turn, this information will yield a better understanding of why the magnetic field is weakening.

“These initial results demonstrate the excellent performance of Swarm,” said Rune Floberghagen, ESA’s Swarm Mission Manager.

“With unprecedented resolution, the data also exhibit Swarm’s capability to map fine-scale features of the magnetic field.”

The first results were presented June 19, 2014 at the ‘Third Swarm Science Meeting’ in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Sofie Carsten Nielsen, Danish Minister of Higher Education and Science, highlighted the Danish contribution to the mission. Swarm continues the legacy of the Danish Ørsted satellite, which is still operational, as well as the German Champ mission. Swarm’s core instrument — the Vector Field Magnetometer — was provided by the Technical University of Denmark.

Denmark’s National Space Institute, DTU Space, has a leading role — together with 10 European and Canadian research institutes — in the Swarm Satellite Constellation Application and Research Facility, which produces advanced models based on Swarm data describing each of the various sources of the measured field.

“I’m extremely happy to see that Swarm has materialised,” said Kristian Pedersen, Director of DTU Space.