Is RO filter system a threat to public health?

The reverse-osmosis water purifier at home seems to be a benign invention, allowing people to drink clean, healthy water. But now scientists are warning that rampant use of the RO technology could pose a serious threat to public health.

One of the most popular water purifying technologies in India, the RO process is efficient in terms of filtering out toxic substances like arsenic and fluoride, especially in areas where groundwater is heavily contaminated.

Simultaneously, though, RO systems, at both household and industrial levels plough back concentrated amounts of these substances back into the aquifers.

Experts suggest that regulations are needed to stop the unchecked use of RO, or at least the disposal of the stuff left behind after filtering.

“What we found with our survey is that industrial firms, like bottled-water ones, and households have no way out but to put it back into the soil and aquifers,” said Saradindu Bhaduri, Assistant Professor, Centre for Studies in Science Policy, School of Social Sciences at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).

The arsenic and fluoride-laden waste water generated by RO systems could have “adverse consequences” for human and animal health after it is dumped back into the groundwater aquifers, he told IANS. This could affect the population in the surrounding area which is dependent on this water source.

“The waste water contains high amount of total dissolved salts like sulphates, calcium, bicarbonates and organic matter and higher concentration of arsenic and fluoride in areas where originally these elements were reported in ground water,” co-author of the study, Aviram Sharma of the JNU, said.

Published on April 25 in Current Science, the survey report titled ‘Growth of water purification technologies in the era of regulatory vacuum in India’ also questions the absence of proper methods to dispose of the contaminated waste water.

The research shows that bottled water firms of all sizes and classes, ranging from major multinationals to the vast majority of India’s 2,700 small proprietory firms, use RO-based water purification technologies in their manufacturing plants.

The USP of RO-based system is that it can produce higher amount of filtered water with less supervision in comparison to methods like ion-exchange, explained Sharma.

However, there is a drawback. During industrial use, waste water amounts to between 30 and 40 percent of the total water used. At the household level too there is a huge wastage.

This can have a “disastrous impact” in water-starved areas due to over extraction of ground water, which is a major source of fresh water in most of the regions in India, said Sharma.

Originally invented to make seawater potable, RO technology is being used in India without regulation.

Most of the countries where the technology is used extensively, the feed water is primarily sea water or brackish water, according to the researchers.

Namit Bajoria, Director, Kutchina, which entered into the water purifier market with an RO-based system, conceded that wastage was a concern.

“It is like an equal and opposite reaction. 100 litres of water will give only 10 to 12 litres of pure water. So wastage is a big problem. But I don’t agree that it can cause harm to the groundwater. You are taking from it and giving it back,” Bajoria said.

Bhaduri, however, says that “We have regulations for water quality but we don’t have regulations for the application of these processes.”

He also said that more epidemiological studies were needed so that customers can make an informed choice.

Uploading human brain for eternal life is possible .

Reuters/Michaela Rehle

“People could probably live inside a machine. Potentially, I think it is definitely a possibility,” Dr Hannah Critchlow of the Cambridge Neuroscience said at the popular Hay Festival in Wales, as quoted by The Telegraph.

Although the human brain is enormously complex, scientists are beginning to better understand its separate parts’ functions, Critchlow said, describing the brain as a complex circuit board. The scientist claimed it “would be possible” to recreate it as a computer program: “If you had a computer that could make those 100 trillion circuit connections – then that circuit is what makes us us.”

“We are about 100 billion nerve cells and the most complicated circuit board you could image,” the neuroscientist, who produces and presents brainy interactive experiences for the public and has been named among the UK’s Top 100 scientists by the Science Council, told the audience.

She also debunked a common myth that humans only use some 10 percent of their brain, explaining the whole thing is constantly running in idle mode to save energy and certain areas are only powered up when needed. She noted that despite only weighing about 1.5 kilos and taking up just two percent of the body’s mass, the brain “takes about 20 percent of all energy consumption.”

The neuroscientist confirmed that the brain’s right and left hemispheres are different, and that there is some evidence to support the belief that left-handed people are more creative.

It is known that the right hemisphere of the brain, which is more active in left-handed people, is linked to creativity. Recent studies have shown that creative thought can be externally improved by special devices stimulating that part of the brain. It is now possible to buy hats containing electrodes to stimulate the area for around $80, the scientist said.

The 10 Best Foods for Your Abs

The 10 Best Foods for Your Abs

International Mediterranean Diet Month 2015: Everything You Need To Know About This Sea Of Flavor, Health

By now many of us are familiar with the Mediterranean Diet. But during the month of May, the Oldways’ Mediterranean Foods Alliance likes to “shine an extra special light” on all the diet has to offer.


According to their website, Oldways — a food think tank based in Boston — launched the alliance as a way to help people discover Mediterranean foods, flavors, as well as help food companies build their brands around the diet. While the diet is inspired by the traditional food and drink of countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, such as Spain, Italy, and Greece, Oldways, the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), and the European Office of the World Health Organization reportedly introduced the “classic Mediterranean Diet” in 1993 at a conference in Cambridge, MA. The Mediterranean Diet Pyramid was also introduced as a way to make complying with the diet easier.

Mediterranean DietThe Mediterranean Diet Pyramid Oldways


Lifehacker reported “food pyramids break up macronutrients into more specific categories;” the ones at the top of the pyramid should be avoided or eaten sparingly compared to what’s towards the middle and bottom. In the case of the Mediterranean diet, that would be fewer meat and sweets, a moderate amount of poultry and dairy, and a whole lot of fish, fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, oil, legumes, and physical activity.

Sea of Health Benefits

US News & World Report ranked the Mediterranean Diet the number one plant-based diet, as well as the third best diet overall. It’s also the third best diet for healthy eating and the third easiest diet to follow, as well as the fourth best diet for heart-health. And there’s no short supply of research to support these rankings.

Research presented during this year’s American College of Cardiology’s 64th Annual Scientific Session found the Mediterranean diet helps cut risk for heart disease in half. The more Mediterranean options study participants ate — at least 11 of the 55 available — the less likely they were to develop disease. What’s more is a 2014 study published in the journal Strokefound this particular diet controls blood pressure, thus lowers risk of first-time stroke, whileadditional research shows sourcing more of the Mediterranean’s extra-virgin olive oil and nuts lowers risk of developing peripheral artery disease.

That heart disease causes 80 percent of erectile dysfunction cases is why many men are referred to the diet. Though the heart (and sometimes impotence) isn’t all that stands to improve when eating like an Italian, or Spaniard, or Greek.

Studies show following a Mediterranean diet can improve cognition and memory, as well aslessen risk for kidney disease; diabetes; and dementia. If that weren’t enough, two different studies have linked the Mediterranean diet to longevity; women especially are 40 percent more likely to live past the age of 70.

“The evidence base for the Mediterranean diet in preventing all of the chronic diseases plaguing the western world is overwhelming,” Aseem Malhotra, an interventional cardiology specialist, said in a previous statement. “Policymakers and the public need to know that such a diet is far more potent than the often dubious benefit of many medications and without side-effects.”

Sum of Its Parts

The individual foods recommended under the Mediterranean diet are healthy in their own right. Eating more fruits and vegetables (full of antioxidants), for example, reduces risk for mortality — and fruits and vegetables are among the core group of foods each Mediterranean meal should be based off. If not fruits and vegetables, than it’s a choice between whole grains, olive oil, beans, nuts, legumes and seeds, and/or herbs and spices.

There’s also something to be said for the amount of fish Mediterranean diets consume, at least two servings each week. Oily fish, like salmon and mackerel, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids (as are some vegetable oils, green vegetables, and walnuts). The HSPH reported, “we need omega-3 fatty acids for numerous normal body functions, such as controlling blood clotting and building cell membranes in the brain.” HSPH added omega-3s might protect against heart disease and stroke, as well as cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and other autoimmune diseases, like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, too.

The body can’t make omega-3s on its own, adding further value to these nutrient-rich foods.

“Omega-3 fatty acids are really important to human health, whether you’re talking about CVD, brain or immune health,” Philip Calder, a metabolic biochemist and nutritionist from the University of Southampton, said in a press release. “Heath professionals have a key role to play in educating the public about the beneficial effects of including fish in their diets.”

Olive oil and nuts tend to be the staple Mediterranean foods placed under scrutiny; these are, after all, high in fat. The thing is, they’re high in healthy fat. Monounsaturated fats are fat molecules that have one unsaturated carbon bond, or a double bond, and they can help reduce bad cholesterol levels, the American Heart Association reported.

Better Together

The Mediterranean diet essentially combines foods individually high in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and good-for-you fat for an even healthier eating experience; it doesn’t ban entire food groups, making it easier for dieters comply long-term. Depending on the meals dieters enjoy, foods can also be high in healthy nutrients and vitamins, like fiber, potassium, calcium, and vitamin D.

Perhaps more healthy than the Mediterranean’s traditional menu is their tradition, even ritual, to sit down and eat with each other. Communal eating occurs less in today’s society, but taking the time to eat and drink in someone else’s company can boost social connection, happiness, and individual sense of belonging.  Bonus: a 2010 study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior found children of families who ate together also made healthier choices throughout the week.

“Food and drink are the lifeblood of social cohesion, integration and differentiation, and are active ingredients in humans’ perceived ties to the sacred and the supernatural,” Dr. Thomas M. Wilson, a professor of anthropology at Binghamton University, said. “Both food and alcohol build and enhance peoples’ senses of belonging and becoming, the twin bases to social identity.”

Don’t worry; the Mediterranean diet doesn’t skimp on alcohol. Wine is actually listed on Oldways’ pyramid, an alcoholic beverage with its own set of health benefits. That said, there are some caveats. For one, the diet isn’t necessarily conducive to weight loss, or at least science has yet to find a strong enough relationship. And two, some of the diet’s staple foods may cost you more than usual at the grocery store.

“[The Mediterranean Diet is] moderately pricey,” US News reported. “While some ingredients (olive oil, nuts, fish and fresh produce in particular) can be expensive, you can find ways to keep the tab reasonable. Can’t spring for the $50 bottle of wine? Grab one for $15 instead. And snag whatever veggies are on sale that day, rather than the $3-a-piece artichokes.”

Gym Motivation: 6 Ways To Get You Into The Gym After A Long Day

Gym Motivation

We’ve all either used or heard the excuse, “I’ll start working out tomorrow.” Of course, by the time tomorrow comes you’re no closer to stepping foot inside a gym than you were the day before. Aside from coffee or a sugar-laden energy drink, there are very few quick fixes for getting you ready to workout after a long day at the office. Motivation that will turn your first gym session into a routine has to be built up over time. Here are some long-term tips for getting you into the gym and keeping you there:

1. Plan Your Meals Accordingly

If you’re heading to the gym after work, which most people do, there’s a good chance you ate lunch a couple of hours earlier. While you don’t want to head to the gym on a full stomach, you also don’t want to go on an empty stomach. A pre-workout meal with a healthy balance of protein and complex carbohydrates (green vegetables, oatmeal, whole-grain bread or pasta) is the key to a steady release of energy before and during your workout. My personal go-to is banana and peanut butter (natural, of course) on whole-wheat pita or bread.

2. Get Some New Gear

You gotta look good to play good. Upon entering the gym for your first time, you may notice that people are wearing a lot of vibrant colors. No, this is not an elaborate way of saying, “look at me” (in most cases). Buying a new pair of running shoes or clothing with neon green lining could be your answer to getting into a public gym. If you really like the way your new gear looks, then you are most certainly going to be excited about showing it off. Where’s the only place you can show off running shoes, basketball shorts, or multicolored leggings? The gym.

3. Bring Your Gear To The Office

Now that you have a brand new set of running shoes and some flashy clothes, pack it all up in your gym bag and bring it to the office. Let’s be honest, your ambition to make it to the gym usually hits a snag when you get back home and get comfortable. Circumvent this common bump in the road by bringing your workout gear to the office and changing right before you leave. Just the prospect of spending time in a sweaty gym locker room can be enough to deter you from going to the gym. If you’re already dressed for the gym at the end of your 15- to 45-minute commute, you’re less likely to skip out on actually making it there.

4. Find A Workout Buddy

There’s a good chance one of your friends is in the exact same predicament as you. Their lack of motivation is definitely something you can relate to. Solve your mutual animosity toward the gym by planning a specified day and time for you two to meet up at your local gym. Just make sure it’s someone you can stand to be around for more than a half hour and someone who will hold you accountable for slacking off. If you’re new health conscious frame of mind doesn’t jibe well with your friends, make some new friends at the gym. Plan to attend classes together or be each other’s spotting partner on low reps, more weight days.

5. Track Your Progress

We should all have a pretty good sense of what our goals are coming into the start of our gym takeover. The secret behind reaching our goals is being realistic about where we expect to be in a month from now. When your goals are unrealistic you tend to get down on yourself for not reaching them, even though they probably weren’t that attainable to begin with. On the other hand, when you set up goals that are well within your wheelhouse you’ll find yourself meeting those goals more often. After hitting your first goal, you may find yourself more motivated to get back in the gym to reach your next goal.

6. Reward Yourself For Making It

Noticeable changes to your physique take time and no one is going to reward you for working out. So don’t be afraid to reward yourself for making it to the gym. Just to be clear, rewarding yourself with an entire pizza pie or 500-calorie meal is not an advantageous move for your new healthy lifestyle. However, rewarding yourself with a tasty smoothie or chocolate milk, which actually provides you with much needed protein after a workout, will make hitting the gym well worth it. Over time, your little rewards will condition your brain into relating a trip to the gym with an enjoyable experience afterward.

Solar power plane pilot set for six-day leg of world journey .

Moore’s Law Keeps Going, Defying Expectations .

Personal computers, cellphones, self-driving cars—Gordon Moore predicted the invention of all these technologies half a century ago in a 1965 article for Electronics magazine. The enabling force behind those inventions would be computing power, and Moore laid out how he thought computing power would evolve over the coming decade. Last week the tech world celebrated his predictionhere because it has held true with uncanny accuracy—for the past 50 years.

It is now called Moore’s law, although Moore (who co-founded the chip maker Intel) doesn’t much like the name. “For the first 20 years I couldn’t utter the term Moore’s law. It was embarrassing,” the 86-year-old visionary said in an interview with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman at the gala event, held at Exploratorium science museum. “Finally, I got accustomed to it where now I could say it with a straight face.” He and Friedman chatted in front of a rapt audience, with Moore cracking jokes the whole time and doling out advice, like how once you’ve made one successful prediction, you should avoid making another. In the background Intel’s latest gadgets whirred quietly: collision-avoidance drones, dancing spider robots, a braille printer—technologies all made possible via advances in processing power anticipated by Moore’s law.

Of course, Moore’s law is not really a law like those describing gravity or the conservation of energy. It is a prediction that the number of transistors (a computer’s electrical switches used to represent 0s and 1s) that can fit on a silicon chip will double every two years as technology advances. This leads to incredibly fast growth in computing power without a concomitant expense and has led to laptops and pocket-size gadgets with enormous processing ability at fairly low prices. Advances under Moore’s law have also enabled smartphone verbal search technologies such as Siri—it takes enormous computing power to analyze spoken words, turn them into digital representations of sound and then interpret them to give a spoken answer in a matter of seconds.

Another way to think about Moore’s law is to apply it to a car. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich explained that if a 1971 Volkswagen Beetle had advanced at the pace of Moore’s law over the past 34 years, today “you would be able to go with that car 300,000 miles per hour. You would get two million miles per gallon of gas, and all that for the mere cost of four cents.”

Moore anticipated the two-year doubling trend based on what he had seen happen in the early years of computer-chip manufacture. In his 1965 paper he plotted the number of transistors that fit on a chip since 1959 and saw a pattern of yearly doubling that he then extrapolated for the next 10 years. (He later revised the trend to a doubling about every two years.) “Moore was just making an observation,” says Peter Denning, a computer scientist at the Naval Postgraduate School in California. “He was the head of research at Fairchild Semiconductor and wanted to look down the road at how much computing power they’d have in a decade. And in 1975 his prediction came pretty darn close.”

But Moore never thought his prediction would last 50 years. “The original prediction was to look at 10 years, which I thought was a stretch,” he told Friedman last week, “This was going from about 60 elements on an integrated circuit to 60,000—a 1,000-fold extrapolation over 10 years. I thought that was pretty wild. The fact that something similar is going on for 50 years is truly amazing.”

Just why Moore’s law has endured so long is hard to say. His doubling prediction turned into an industry objective for competing companies. “It might be a self-fulfilling law,” Denning explains. But it is not clear why it is a constant doubling every couple of years, as opposed to a different rate or fluctuating spikes in progress. “Science has mysteries, and in some ways this is one of those mysteries,” Denning adds. Certainly, if the rate could have gone faster, someone would have done it, notes computer scientist Calvin Lin of the University of Texas at Austin.

Many technologists have forecast the demise of Moore’s doubling over the years, and Moore himself states that this exponential growth can’t last forever. Still, his law persists today, and hence the computational growth it predicts will continue to profoundly change our world. As he put it: “We’ve just seen the beginning of what computers are going to do for us.”

Women Hospitalized For Asthma More Than Men Lung Disease News

Despite often being considered a stereotype, it is statistically true that women more often seek out medical care than men do. A recent study published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology revealed that women suffering from acute asthma are treated in emergency rooms 60 percent more often than men. The study is from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) and was focused on sex differences between patients and the risk of hospitalization in 2,000 emergency department patients suffering of acute asthma.

“It’s important to note the men and women whose charts we studied had certain things in common. Most had not been seen by an allergist, and had not used controller medications (inhaled corticosteroids) for their asthma. In addition, many were overweight and some were active smokers. A fairly high percentage did not have health insurance, although women had it more often than men. After adjusting for all those factors, we found that women were still 60 percent more likely to be hospitalized after being seen in an ED for acute asthma than men,” said Rose Chasm, the lead author of the study.

More studies are required in order to confirm the exact reasons for such differences, but researchers speculate that hormones, altered perception of airflow obstruction, health behavior and bronchial hyper-responsiveness might be related to this fact.

 12 percent of the men and about 13 percent of women had at some point been intubated with a plastic tube in their windpipe for asthma, while 32 percent of the men and 36 percent of the women had been hospitalized for asthma. Moreover, 13 percent of the men and 16 percent of the women had been hospitalized for asthma in the last year, indicating poorly controlled asthma.

“It’s long been known that after puberty, asthma is more common in women than men. Only 10 percent of the women in this study had been seen by an allergist in the last year. Many people aren’t aware that allergists are asthma specialists, and are among the best-equipped experts to help keep asthma under control. Those who see an allergist and use controller medications find themselves in the ED much less often, and experience fewer hospitalizations related to their asthma,” said James Sublett, an allergist.

Asthma care provided by allergists seems to be associated with better patient outcomes compared to care provided by generalists, regardless of gender.

How Many Times A Week Is Masturbation Healthy?

Curejoy Expert Kailas Explains:

According to Ayurveda, those individuals with a heavy Kapha body-type can have more sex than other types because the Kapha dosha is more stable than Pitta or Vata. So if you have more flesh and are a more “juicy” person – you can masturbate more often.

One of the other reasons a Kapha type can masturbate more frequently is that they need to self-stimulate a greater degree of life energy to stay healthy. For example, a Pitta person will easily have an active lifestyle, but a Kapha person can often be more sedentary by nature.

However, a Pitta type can often overdo physical and sensual activities also because they have “too much energy”. A Vata person can overdo because they tend to fixate mentally and obsess over ideas and feelings and fantasies.

So it’s important to understand the nature of your body and mind to determine how many times a week masturbating is healthy for you. You have to look at factors such as whether you are just misdirecting your energy mentally, or whether you are escaping from your pain by distracting yourself with masturbation. Also whether you are wasting time, such as spending hours each night looking at porn.

Also consider that often in marriage, sex once a week can be about as much as you can get. And during the first few years of having a child, sex can be infrequent. So you could consider having good masturbation once or twice a week as a blessing! Because then you could get married and not have sex for months!

The main thing is that you masturbate more with a sense of true and nourishing pleasure and not shame or desperation. And that you take into account your sleep and rest, diet and your devotion to Dharma in all that you do. Then when you masturbate you will feel in balance. And when you go without, you will feel at rest.

New cancer drug wows doctors with half of ‘terminal’ patients now looking at recovery .

HALF of patients suffering deadly cancers could make full recoveries thanks to a new treatment which has stunned doctors with its success.

Cancers previously considered ‘terminal’ may have be relabelled
In medical trials, people with advanced skin cancer who were given a combination of drugs to “take the brakes off” their immune system saw patients is expected to show similarly dramatic findings.

Advanced stages of skin and lung cancer had both previously been considered terminal.

Experts believe the combined drugs will also work on other strains of the disease including bladder and kidney cancer.

They predict “increasingly fast progress” in the field.

Results of early trials of the therapy on skin cancer patients in the UK, the US, Israel and France were published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Scientists studied 142 patients, 72 of whom were given a combination of immune-system boosting Nivolumab and Ipilimumab, while others were given one of the drugs and a placebo.

Of those given both drugs, 61 per cent saw their tumours shrink over the next 12 months.

Professor Peter Johnson

Professor Peter Johnson, the chief clinician at Cancer Research UK has hailed the drug test results.

Professor Peter Johnson, the chief clinician at Cancer Research UK, said: “These results are far better than we expected and we are surprised and impressed by how good they are, even while the trials are still in progress.
“We think this treatment will be similarly effective in other cancers including bladder, head and neck, kidney and some types of bowel cancer.

“This has opened up a whole avenue of treatment for patients for whom previously we had little to offer.”

Professor Johnson added: “I believe that over the next five to 10 years we will see that many patients have excellent responses to this treatment and we believe up to half of these patients will turn out to be cured.”

Cancer cells survive and multiply by releasing signals that stop the immune system from doing its job of destroying them.

The new treatment with Nivolumab and Ipilimumab involves an infusion of two different antibodies that “takes the brakes off” the immune system, allowing it to seek and destroy malignant cells.

Previous research on more than 4,000 patients across Europe and the States found that up to a fifth who were given a less sophisticated version of therapy using just one immune system boosting drug were cancer free after 10 years.

Results better than expected

Scientists say more research is needed before the treatment using the combined drugs is available to patients outside medical trials.

But Professor Johnson, who is also head of cancer medicine at the University of Southampton, said: “These results suggest the treatment is working in a higher proportion of patients and is effective.”

Results of separate trials using the combination therapy on patients with advanced lung or skin cancer are to be presented at the American Society Of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago which starts on Saturday.

They are also expected to show impressive findings.

Professor Johnson, said the advance had already started to lead to a shift in the treatment of some terminally ill skin and lung cancer patients.

He said: “It is a measure of the success of these treatments that we are now starting to wonder about life in the longer term for these people.

“Previously we were talking about end of life care and now we are saving sperm to ensure they can have children.

“We will see increasingly fast progress in this area as more results come through.”

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