Why injecting yourself with the blood of young people might slow aging


Billionaire Peter Thiel, who wants to prolong his life as long as possible, is a proponent of a strange process called parabiosis that would inject young people’s blood into old people. But its benefits are far from proven in humans, and there is a lot more research that has to be done before people actually start doing it.

Read more. URL: http://www.businessinsider.in/Why-injecting-yourself-with-the-blood-of-young-people-might-slow-aging/articleshow/53747441.cms

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6 Insane Things The Government Says Are Healthy


In case you missed it, the nutrition-conscious folks over at the FDA have proven themselves to have a pretty whacked-out definition of the word “healthy.” Case in point: The agency attacked Kind bars—a snack made mostly of good-for-you nuts, seeds, and dried fruit—for using the claim when it technically shouldn’t have.

Because believe it or not, any food that packs more than 5 grams of fat and 2 grams of saturated fat cannot, by law, call itself healthy. So, according to the government, Kind bars are out. Almond butter and olive oil are out. Even avocados and salmon, which are widely considered to be two of the healthiest foods you can possibly eat, are out.

poptarts

It’s so insane that Kind decided to fight back by issuing a petition calling for the FDA to pull its definition of healthy out of the 1980s and into the 21st century.

Hopefully it works, but until then, we’re stuck with some pretty weird healthy—by government standards—foods. Take a look at this list. (And no, there isn’t something wrong with your monitor.)

1. Frosted Breakfast Pastries

Think a pastry made with refined flour, filled with neon colored goo, and topped with icing and sprinkles is the stuff that healthy breakfasts are made of? So does the FDA. At just 190 empty calories, 5 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, and more than 4 teaspoons of sugar, these babies are clearly a health nut’s dream.

 

2. Sugar-Free, Fat-Free Chocolate Pudding

pudding cup

Who cares if it’s made of modified cornstarch, maltodextrin, and aspartame? This delectable dessert has zero grams of fat and saturated fat and only 13 percent of your daily sodium. Eat it for a treat—or heck, maybe you should have it instead of that fat-laden salmon for dinner.

3. Sugary Breakfast Cereals

fruit loops

You should probably start your day with a bowl of refined flour–based loops or flakes that pack 10 grams or more of sugar per serving. Because they’re really low in fat and sodium and are fortified with nutrients—like calcium, iron, and vitamin C—that you could never find in real food.

4. Frozen Bagels

At 230 calories of purely empty carbs, this is about as wholesome as you can get. Just don’t ruin the thing by slathering on any fatty peanut butter or almond butter so you actually stay full for more than five minutes. Because then it won’t be healthy anymore.

 

5. Fat-Free Strawberry Milk

strawberry milk

Whole milk packs 8 grams of fat and 5 grams of saturated fat per 8-ounce glass, so it’s clearly not healthy. But fat-free strawberry milk, which delivers 5 teaspoons of sugar per serving, totally is. FDA, you’re blowing our minds.

6. Chewy Fruit Snacks

gummies

Leathers, gummies, you name it. As long as they contain at least 10 percent of your daily vitamin C, these babies are healthy. The fact that they also contain nearly 2 teaspoons of sugar per serving along with a generous dose of artificial colors? Irrelevant. So you definitely shouldn’t feel bad about picking these over actual fruit.

Zika now spreading in Miami Beach


Mosquitoes are spreading Zika virus in Miami Beach, according to sources familiar with discussions held by the Florida Department of Health on Thursday to alert local officials.

Interactive feature: Daily Florida Zika virus tracker

The health department’s daily report said only that there were two new local infections in Miami-Dade acquired through mosquitoes — both outside of the Wynwood neighborhood identified as the only area in the state with ongoing transmission. The department did not respond to questions about active transmission of Zika in Miami Beach, the heart of the region’s tourism industry.

But in an email to Miami Beach commissioners, City Manager Jimmy Morales noted that the two new Zika infections were found in the resort city.

“I have been informed that two Zika cases have been linked to Miami Beach, one a tourist who visited the Beach approximately two weeks ago, and another a resident who also works on the Beach,” Morales said in the email.

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, fresh off a plane from New York late Thursday, urged calm.

“There is no epidemic, no outbreak of Zika in Miami Beach,” he said.

Levine said health officials told him there were two cases of Zika being investigated with possible links to Miami Beach, and he insisted there was no confirmation yet that they were transmitted in the city.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to advise pregnant women to avoid domestic travel to a one-square-mile area of Wynwood. And Florida Gov. Rick Scott repeated on Thursday that he believes Zika is spreading only in that area, even as the number of local infections outside the square mile increased to nine cases, with one in Palm Beach County and eight in other parts of Miami-Dade.

 Scott announced the new local cases Thursday before Florida’s health department issued its daily report. In his news release, he emphasized a new program to help Miami-Dade’s tourism industry fight Zika with measures such as spraying for mosquitoes at state expense.

“Tourism is a driving force of Florida’s economy and this industry has the full support of our state in the fight against the Zika virus,” Scott said in the statement, noting that the state’s Department of Economic Opportunity would be surveying local businesses to assess their needs.

Scott also ordered the state’s health agency and the Department of Business and Professional Regulation to provide educational materials and free pesticide spraying to local businesses.

While the state devotes resources to protecting Florida’s tourism industry, however, it lacks the ability to provide free Zika testing for more than just all pregnant women, as Scott has ordered.

Demand for Zika testing increased almost tenfold in Florida over the past weeks, according to a report issued Thursday by Aetna, one of the nation’s largest health insurers, which noted that the number of Florida members who received Zika testing rose from 27 the week of July 25 to 200 the week of Aug. 8.

The state health department has tested more than 3,673 people statewide for the disease, and Florida currently has the capacity to test 4,997 people for active Zika virus and 2,799 for Zika antibodies.

“It seems to be absurd that people who want to be tested to quantify the severity of this virus can’t even be tested,” said Miami Beach Commissioner Ricky Arriola, who called on the CDC and federal government to send more test kits and resources to Florida.

Florida health officials have confirmed 35 local Zika infections so far, with all but nine cases occurring in the Wynwood area. The health department said it is conducting nine active investigations into local Zika cases.

In addition, the department announced 18 new travel-related cases on Thursday, with seven in Miami-Dade, four in Palm Beach, three in Broward, one in Brevard, one in Lee, one in Marion and one in Pinellas counties. A total of 577 people in Florida have contracted Zika this year, according to the health department, including 63 pregnant women.

South Florida’s hospitality industry has dreaded the possibility of Zika spreading to Miami Beach because the region’s economy relies heavily on its $24 billion-a-year tourism industry. More than half of the hotel rooms in Miami-Dade are located in Miami Beach.

Starting early Thursday morning, Miami Beach public works officials and code compliance officers were dispatched to neighborhoods to inspect for mosquito breeding sites.

Morales said in the email to commissioners that the city is in constant communication with the health department regarding the most effective approach to mosquito control.

“Our strategy has been and will continue to be focusing on the elimination of potential breeding sites and educating our residents and businesses on what they need to do,” Morales said in the email. “We are also working with the county and they are also inspecting and as needed mitigating through techniques like clean ups, larvicides and fogging.”

The first area in the continental United States with ongoing Zika transmission was identified by Scott on July 29, when he announced that the virus was being spread by local mosquitoes in Wynwood.

 But at least nine new local cases of Zika have cropped up outside of that zone in Wynwood since then, including one in Southwest Miami-Dade that state Surgeon General Celeste Philip acknowledged on Aug. 2.

Since then the number of new Zika infections outside of Wynwood has risen steadily. On Wednesday, the health department reported three new local Zika infections in Miami-Dade, including one inside the Wynwood zone and two others outside of it.

Epidemiologists continue to interview residents and collect blood and urine samples inside the designated zone, but they also have launched investigations in other areas with local cases.

Florida health officials have said repeatedly that one case does not mean active transmission is occurring in an area. Instead, health officials investigate each case by interviewing and taking blood and urine samples from close contacts and neighbors around each infected person.

The Zika response plan published by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in June notes that “a starting point” for defining an area of local transmission is two or more infections (not related to travel or sex) among people who do not share the same household, occurring within a one-mile diameter in two or more weeks.

Zika can infect adult brain cells, not just fetal cells, study suggests


The more researchers learn about the Zika virus, the worse it seems.

A growing body of research has established that the virus can cause severe birth defects — most notably microcephaly, a condition characterized by an abnormally small head and often incomplete brain development. The virus also has been linked to cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome in adults, a rare autoimmune disorder that can result in paralysis and even death.

“This was kind of a surprise,” Joseph Gleeson, a professor at Rockefeller University and one of the authors of the study published Thursday in the journal Cell Stem Cell, said in an interview. “We think of Zika health concerns being limited mostly to pregnant women.”

But some neural progenitor cells remain in adults, where they replenish the brain’s neurons over a lifetime. These pockets of stem cells are vital for learning and memory. Gleeson and his colleagues suspected that if Zika can infect fetal neural progenitor cells, the virus might have the same ability to infect adult neural progenitor cells. That’s precisely what they found.

“We asked whether [these cells] were vulnerable to Zika in the same way the fetal brain is,” Glesson said. “The answer is definitely yes.”

Gleeson is the first to admit that the findings represent only an initial step in discovering whether Zika can endanger adult human brain cells. For starters, the study was conducted only in mice, and only at a single point in time. More research will be necessary to see whether the results of the mouse model translates to humans, and whether the damage to adult brain cells can cause long-term neurological damage or affect behavior.

But the initial findings suggest that the Zika virus, which has spread to the United States and more than 60 other countries over the past year, may not be as innocuous as it seems for adults, most of whom never realize they have been infected. Researchers found that infected mice had more cell death in their brains and reduced generation of new neurons, which is key to learning and memory. The possible consequences of damaged neural progenitor cells in humans would include cognitive problems and a higher likelihood for conditions such as depression and Alzheimer’s disease.

William Schaffner, an infectious-disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, agreed Thursday that the findings are preliminary. But he also called it troubling.

“Here’s the deal: The more we’ve learned about the Zika virus, the nastier it is,” said Schaffner, who was not involved in the study. He said scientists have had concerns all along about Zika’s ability to damage the brain, but until now the worries have focused mostly on the developing brain. “This mouse study will increase our anxiety. … It’s an additional potential way that this virus can cause human illness.”

That’s a possibility that demands further examination, he said, given the hundreds of thousands of people already infected by Zika — a number that continues to grow daily.

“Our attention, quite understandably, has been devoted to pregnant women and newborns, and preventing those infections,” Schaffner said. “This mouse study will tell investigators that, in addition to pregnant women, you have to establish some studies in older children and adults as well.”

Gleeson agreed. “We don’t want to have this be a panic. Zika, for the most part, is a benign condition in healthy humans,” he said. “But we also need to look at the potential consequences in a careful way.”

Virtual reality treadmills help prevent falls in elderly


Adding a virtual reality obstacle course to treadmill workouts may help prevent more falls among vulnerable adults than using a treadmill on its own, a small study suggests.

Researchers asked about 300 adults aged 60 to 90 who had already experienced at least one prior fall to exercise on a treadmill three times a week for six weeks, randomly assigning half of them to use virtual reality systems during the workouts.

When training started, both groups had similar experiences with falls – the treadmill-only group had an incident rate of 10.7 falls in the previous six months compared with rate of 11.9 for the virtual reality group.

Six months after training, however, the incident rate dropped significantly only in the virtual reality group – to six falls in six months – while it was little changed for the treadmill-only group, researchers report in The Lancet.

“Our idea was to use the virtual reality environment to safely train both the motor or gait aspects that are important to fall risk, while also implicitly teaching the participants to improve the cognitive functions that are important for safe ambulation,” said lead study author Anat Mirelman of Tel Aviv University in Israel.

“The study showed that this type of training is effective in reducing falls and fall risk in a large diverse population,” Mirelman added by email. “Thus the findings support the use of motor cognitive training to enhance health and reduce fall risk in a growing older population.”

In addition to a history of falls, the participants also had other risk factors for repeat tumbles such as impaired motor skills or cognitive function.

Participants were around 73 to 74 years old on average.

About 130 of them had Parkinson’s disease, which can rob people of motor control, 43 had mild cognitive impairment and 109 had a history of falls without a clear medical reason.

Researchers asked each participant to move at a comfortable pace during 45-minute sessions on the treadmill.

Half of the participants also used virtual reality systems consisting of a motion-capture camera and a computer-generated simulation projected on to a large screen.

This virtual reality experience was designed to lower the risk of falls by improving how well participants could navigate obstacles, multiple pathways and distractions that required a constant adjustment in the way they stepped on the treadmills.

Immediately after the six weeks of training, participants in both groups had improvements in walking speed in usual situations as well as those with obstacles.

But the virtual reality group generally had a more varied gait while maneuvering around obstacles, the study found. Obstacle clearance was also better in the virtual reality group.

While this technology appeared effective, the study didn’t assess how much it would cost to provide virtual reality treadmill training to a broad population of older adults at risk for falls.

One limitation of the study is its reliance on self-reported data on falls before training, which makes it possible that the measurement of improvements attributed to the training may have been inaccurate, the authors note.

Even so, the study adds to growing evidence suggesting fall prevention for the elderly needs to address both motor skills and cognitive skills necessary to safely navigate an environment that may not always include perfectly flat, well-lit paths.

Studies in Europe, the U.S. and Australia show that roughly a third of people aged 65 years or older living outside institutions fall at least once per year, with half of this number having multiple falls in this period, writes Stephen Lord, a researcher at the University of New South Wales in Australia, in an accompanying commentary.

“There have been several pilot studies that have found exergames involving balance and step training have improved balance reaction time, stepping performance and cognitive function – known risk factors for falls,” Lord told Reuters health by email.

“The published study is the first with a sufficiently large sample to show an effect on falls themselves,” he added.

Astronomers prepare for 2017 solar eclipse spectacle


Eeriness creeps in. Colors change and shadows sharpen. The last minutes before a total solar eclipse trigger a primal reaction in the human psyche, says astronomer Jay Pasachoff.

On August 21, 2017, moon’s shadow will race across U.S. from Oregon to South Carolina

eclipse

“You don’t know what’s going on,” says Pasachoff, of Williams College in Williamstown, Mass. “But you know something is wrong.”

Millions of people will know something is wrong on August 21, 2017, when a total eclipse of the sun sweeps across the country, the first to grace the continental United States since 1979 (and the first to go coast-to-coast since 1918). The roughly 120-kilometer-wide path of totality created by the moon’s shadow will travel through 12 states, from Oregon to South Carolina. And although it’s still a year away, researchers and nonresearchers alike are gearing up to make the most of this rare spectacle — they won’t get another chance in the United States until 2024.

Shadow show

This animation shows the path of the moon’s shadow during the 2017 eclipse. Wherever the gray shadow falls, people will see a partial eclipse. Only those standing in the path of the black dot will see a total eclipse. Time is given in Universal time; central duration time (lower right) tracks how long the sun will appear blacked out to an observer on the ground.

Eclipse enthusiasts will travel from all over the world to experience up to nearly three minutes of midday twilight and glimpse the seldom-seen solar corona, a halo of light from plasma that will frame the blacked-out sun. “People cheer and people cry,” says Pasachoff, who has seen 33 total solar eclipses and 30 partial ones.

Though some of the corona is visible all the time to a few telescopes in space, the region where the corona meets the surface is masked by the sun’s intensity. “Only on days of eclipses can we put together a complete view of the sun,” Pasachoff says. For researchers, the 2017 eclipse is another chance to connect what they see on the surface of the sun to what’s happening in the outer reaches of the corona.

One enduring mystery is why the corona is millions of degrees hotter than the surface of the sun, which is a relatively balmy 5,500° Celsius. “The consensus is that the sun’s magnetic field is responsible,” says Paul Bryans, a solar physicist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. “But it’s not clear how.”

The magnetic field in the corona is too tenuous to study directly. Instead, researchers want to look at the effect of magnetism on certain wavelengths of infrared light emitted by the corona. Bryans is leading a team that will point a spectrometer at the sun during the eclipse to detect that light. “The plan is to put us in the back of a trailer, drive north to Wyoming and just sit and stare at the sun,” says Bryans, for whom the 2017 eclipse will be his first. “People keep telling me it’s a terrible thing to do because I’ll be stuck in the back of the trailer.”

This experiment will test whether the corona emits light at the predicted wavelengths and, if so, how brightly. (Scientists will have to wait for improved instruments and another eclipse to see how these wavelengths are distorted by the magnetic field.) One of the advantages of a mobile observatory, Bryans says, is that the team can look at weather forecasts the day before and drive to clear skies.

Another option is to point an infrared spectrometer out the window of a Gulfstream V jet and cruise at an altitude of about 15 kilometers along the path of the eclipse. That is what Jenna Samra, a Harvard University applied physics graduate student, will be doing. Aside from getting away from weather intrusions, the flying telescope will soar above much of Earth’s water vapor, which absorbs a lot of infrared light.

Only on days of eclipses can we put together a complete view of the sun.

— Jay Pasachoff

The moon’s shadow, racing across the country at about 2,700 kilometers per hour, will catch up with the jet in southwest Kentucky. “We won’t be able to keep up with it,” Samra says. “But we will be able to stay in for about four minutes.” That’s more than a minute longer than for anyone stuck on the ground.

For earthbound observers, the eclipse first touches U.S. soil at 10:16 a.m. Pacific time near Oregon’s Depoe Bay. The shadow moves through five state capitals — Salem, Ore.; Lincoln, Neb.; Jefferson City, Mo.; Nashville; and Columbia, S.C. — and even a few national parks: Grand Teton, Great Smoky Mountains and Congaree. A spot in the Shawnee National Forest (just southeast of Carbondale, Ill.) has the honor of longest time in darkness: about 2 minutes, 42 seconds. Cape Island, S.C., is the shadow’s final stop, before leaving the continent around 2:49 p.m. Eastern time, just about an hour and a half after entering Oregon.

Based on typical weather patterns in late August, the weather has a better chance of cooperating in the western half of the eclipse path, from Oregon to western Nebraska. That’s why Pasachoff will be setting up in Salem. He won’t be looking for elusive infrared photons, but instead will be taking rapid-fire images of plasma loops — coils of ionized gas trapped in billowing magnetic fields — arcing off the sun and peeking out from behind the moon. One idea for why the corona is so hot is that these loops subtly jiggle, which stirs up the surrounding plasma and heats the corona. By looking for subsecond oscillations along the loops, Pasachoff’s team will see if this hypothesis holds up.

 

U.S. path of 2017 solar eclipse

Twelve states lie in the path of the 2017 total solar eclipse, which will zip from Oregon to South Carolina in roughly an hour and a half on August 21, 2017. All times in the map below are local.

The sun won’t be the only thing scrutinized during the eclipse. Some researchers will be keeping an eye on Earth’s atmosphere to see how it responds to a sudden loss of sunlight. The National Eclipse Ballooning Project, led by Angela Des Jardins, a solar physicist at Montana State University in Bozeman, will launch over 100 weather balloons at various times along the path of totality and measure changes in such parameters as temperature and wind speed.

For those who can’t make it to the eclipse path, or who get stuck under cloudy skies, the ballooning project will serve up live feeds from a vantage point unlike any other: roughly 30 kilometers above the ground. More than 50 teams of high school and college students will launch cameras on additional balloons from 30 sites along the eclipse path. Video and images will be transmitted in real time and be accessible via a website.

From an altitude of 30 kilometers, “you can really see the curvature of Earth and the blackness of space,” says Des Jardins. “Seeing the shadow of the moon come across the Earth gives you an amazing perspective of what’s going on.”

How To Lose Your Pregnancy Weight While Taking Care Of A Newborn Baby


After nine (or so) months of carrying a baby, a new mother’s body has gone through stages of weight gain to keep the baby healthy throughout the term. Women who start out at a normal weight should gain between 25 and 35 pounds by the time they give birth. But what do they do with all that weight after their newborn arrives?

Experts provide tips on what to eat, when to exercise and sleep, and how to breastfeed in the weeks and months following birth. New moms may be eager to resume their pre-pregnancy weight, but that can be difficult with all that her body has gone through over the course of gestation and the physically demanding birthing process. By practicing patience, maintaining a balanced diet, and staying active, new moms can lose baby weight the healthy way.

“All the magazines ask, ‘How did she do it?’ The more important question is, ‘Why did she do it?'” said Melinda Johnson, registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, in an interview. “They do this with very, very strict diets, and a lot of them do it by getting back into activity before their body is really ready for it.”

It’s important for a new mom to know how pregnancy weight is distributed once she gives birth. According to Parents magazine, out of the roughly 30 pounds she gained, the baby will make up between 6 and 8 pounds. The increased fluid volume and blood volume each take up 3 to 4 pounds, the placenta weighs a little under 2 pounds, and the amniotic fluid, enlarged uterus, and enlarged breasts all take up about two pounds each. The body will also store some extra fat and protein for later lactation (breastfeeding), which will add on another 6 to 8 pounds.

Adding on 300 to 400 calories a day during your last months of pregnancy is ideal for a growing baby, but after giving birth it may be difficult to pull back on the extra snacks and second helpings. No matter how much weight you want to lose, beware of falling below 1,800 calories a day, especially during breastfeeding. Try to stay between 2,000 and 2,400 calories. Load up on super foods that are packed with nutrients and light in calories and fat.

EATING

Salmon provides mothers and their breastfeeding babies with essential omega-3 fatty acids that help the newborn develop a healthy brain and nervous system. Choose foods that are high in calcium, like milk and yogurt, and protein sources that are high in fiber, like chicken, beans, and quinoa. In addition to protein and dairy, try to incorporate at least four servings of whole grains, four servings of veggies, and three servings of fruit a day. Don’t forgot to treat yourself every two or three days to keep in balance and avoid feeling deprived, and always stay hydrated.

BREASTFEEDING

Breastfeeding can help moms return to pre-baby weight faster. A study conducted by the Institute of Preventive Medicine found breastfeeding for six months was able to eliminate postpartum weight in new moms.  Newborns will suck between 300 and 600 calories a day out of mom, while breastfeeding provides a healthy flow of nutrition.

SLEEPING

During the early stages of postpartum life, moms will gradually adjust to a new sleeping pattern. It may be difficult to get a full eight hours of sleep, which can make it harder to lose weight. The sleep-deprived body releases cortisol, a stress hormone that promotes weight gain. Try to sneak in naps that coincide with the baby’s. Sleep deprivation also increases the risk of binge eating, which is why finding time to close your eyes is helpful to avoid opening up the fridge.

“When you’re exhausted, you don’t feel like taking good care of yourself,” Johnson said. “You’re less likely to choose healthy food. You’re more likely to grab something through a drive-through. You’re also less likely to get physical activity.”

EXERCISING

When it comes to exercise, moms need to tread lightly. Physical activity tends to be a more delicate balance because the mother’s body just underwent an immense amount of change and won’t be ready for strenuous exercise until six weeks after birth. Start by a walk around the block three times a week and then work your way to 20 or 30 minutes each morning. Weight lifting will also help speed up your metabolism and help burn calories. Pick up some dumbbells for bicep curls or practice lunges behind the stroller on your morning walk.

Food As Medicine: 5 Dietary Changes That Treat Diseases, Including Epilepsy And High Blood Pressure


Food can work either to treat a disease or feed one. The simple idea that food could be used as preventive medication is an antiquated yet underrated one. In 431 BC,  Hippocrates, known as the founder of medicine, is recorded as having said: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

Hippocrates was conceptually ahead of his time in believing illness to have a physical and rational explanation, stemming from functional foods. These types of foods, particularly fruits, herbs, and spices, exert positive health effects beyond the body’s basic dietary needs. They fight off a myriad of physiological problems, including infection, alleviate pain, boost the immune system, lower stress levels, and diminish digestive problems.

Over the centuries, diets have been designed, altered, and adjusted as the medical field has come to more intimately understand the human body’s relationship with food. In many cases, doctors discover a diet plan to treat and alleviate symptoms of a disease or condition when they fail to uncover a curative approach.

Here are 5 Diets Prescribed For Diseases:

1. MEDITERRANEAN DIET: HEART DISEASE

Heart disease is the number one cause of death among both men and women, killing nearly 800,000 people every year. The heart is the engine of the body, which requires clean fuel in order to run properly. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), a healthy diet and lifestyle are the best weapons against heart disease risk.

In 2015, a group of cardiologists from the Cleveland Clinic created a wellness plan designed to address the pitfalls in America’s diet. Central to their recommendations were wholesome foods that most closely align with the Mediterranean diet, including olive oil, fatty fish high in omega fatty acids, and cultured yogurt. The AHA’s current recommendations also follow the basis for the Mediterranean diet, which is the elimination or minimization of processed foods, sugars, salts, and an emphasis on healthy, whole foods.

The Mediterranean diet is based on the typical meal found on Crete, one of the small Greek islands in the Mediterranean Sea. Its people have the lowest death rate from diseases ranging from heart disease to cancer. They eat off the land, which provides them plenty of fruits, vegetables, unrefined whole grains, nuts, and legumes. The small portion of protein they consume is typically fish or lamb cooked in olive oil and served with greens and fibrous whole grains.

2. DASH DIET: HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE

According to the Mayo Clinic, high blood pressure can quietly cause damage to your body for years before symptoms present themselves. Your heart pumps blood throughout your entire body by means of arteries and veins. Healthy arteries are flexible, strong, and elastic in order to efficiently pump blood to the necessary organs, and to your brain and extremities. High blood pressure increases the pressure of blood flowing through the arteries, which can damage the inner lining or cause a bulge (aneurysm), which can ultimately lead to heart attack, heart failure, kidney failure, stroke, arterial disease, eye damage, and life-threatening internal bleeding.

Turning to the DASH (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) diet can help prevent damage before it occurs or stop it from worsening. The 2,000-calorie diet plan includes daily 7 to 8 servings of whole grains and unrefined breads, 4 to 5 servings of vegetables, 4 to 5 servings of fruits, 2 to 3 servings of low-fat or nonfat dairy, 6-ounces or less of meat, poultry or fish, and 4 to 5 servings of nuts, seeds, and dry beans a week. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, when participants with high blood pressure followed the Dash diet it led to a reduction in blood pressure regardless of age, gender, or race.

3. KETOGENIC DIET: EPILEPSY

In the 1920s, a team of researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine recruited hundreds of children to undergo a radical diet overhaul called the ketogenic diet. The diet, which is very high in fat and low in carbohydrates, was designed to treat childhood epilepsy. When the body is in a fasting state, the brain triggers the body to convert sugar into fat by-products called ketones. According to the Harvard Gazette, the ketones activate a potassium channel in the brain cells that provide enough activity to maintain normal function in the brain.

Epilepsy causes seizures, which are essentially an electrical misfiring of the brain. When the brain is on the cusp of triggering a seizure, the potassium shuts the malfunction down and acts as a neurological surge protector. Researchers found 50 percent of patients stopped seizing permanently after 2 years on the dietary treatment.

4. GLUTEN-FREE DIET: AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES

Autoimmune diseases affect up to 50 million Americans and have as many as 80 different types of autoimmune diseases with similar symptoms that are often difficult to diagnose. It occurs when your immune system incorrectly defends the body against healthy cells, and as a result causes damage or abnormal tissue growth. Currently, there are no cure-all treatments for autoimmune disease, however there are treatments that focus on relieving symptoms and staving off their adverse and often painful effects.

One of the most well-known autoimmune diseases has been spotlighted recently because of the gluten-free fad. Celiac disease is an immune disorder in which people cannot tolerate gluten because it damages the inner lining of their small intestine and prevents their body from absorbing nutrients. Gluten, which is a protein found in many breads and other grain-based products, is often avoided by those who suffer from Celiac disease in order for them to maintain a healthy inner lining and avoid malnourishment.

Gluten is also a major trigger for Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism because the thyroid hormone receptors are nearly identical to gluten. When the body recognizes gluten as an allergy, the thyroid becomes confused and produces antibodies to attack. Roughly 30 percent of those with Celiac disease also have this autoimmune condition named after the Japanese specialist Hakaru Hashimoto who first wrote about it.

Sales of gluten-free products are projected to grow nearly 20 percent through 2019 and reach billions, reflecting the growing demand. Celiac disease varies in severity, so while some sufferers cannot stomach any gluten without experiencing damage, others can do so in moderation. Although avoiding gluten isn’t a cure to the Celiac disease, doctors increasingly recommend cutting gluten out to prevent flare-ups, which makes the disease easier and nearly symptom-free to live with.

5. HIGH-FIBER DIET: DIVERTICULITIS

The condition of diverticulitis is a painful inflammatory reaction that occurs in the colon or large intestine. Small pouches bulge outward along the line of the digestive tract to cause cramps, bloating, and constipation, and in serious cases, bleeding, tears, and blockages. Doctors aren’t sure what causes diverticulitis, however bacteria is found to grow inside the pouches, which accounts for the tears and infection within the intestinal walls. Treatment may include antibiotics and pain relievers; however doctors recommend a high-fiber diet to prevent reoccurrence.

Fiber is found in plant material, which helps the stool move smoothly through the colon. A lack of fiber can cause constipation, which makes stools harder and more difficult to pass, ultimately putting stress on the muscles of the colon. The domino effect increases the risk of diverticulitis, and can wind up sending the person into surgery.

Experts recommend including 20 to 35 grams of fiber a day into their diet to keep things moving nicely. Foods include cereals like shredded wheat, grains like whole wheat pasta, oatmeal, brown rice, black beans, lentils, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, carrots, raspberries, blackberries, avocados, prunes, and raisins.

What Are Ketones? Scientists Find ‘Food Group’ For Better Cognition, Physical Fitness


Basic food groups, like whole grains, fruits, and dairy have been a staple of the modern diet for centuries, but could another soon be added? A team of researchers from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology has revealed the physical and mental benefits of ketones, a natural chemical the body produces when it confronts periods of starvation or food scarcity. Their findings may lead to the advent of a new food group to boost endurance and memory.

The body typically runs on glucose for energy, but when there isn’t enough, ketones kick in. Knowing this, researchers fed rats a blend of ketone ester supplements while they cut back on 30 percent of their daily calorie intake, while a second group of rats were only fed a diet of carbohydrates and fat. After five days on the new diet, rats ran 32 percent further on the treadmill and 38 percent faster and had a healthier, stronger heartbeat compared to rats that were not fed ketones. When placed in a maze to test the rats’ memory, researchers found the rats fed the ketone diet were able to complete the maze faster and more accurately compared to rats that weren’t taking ketone supplements.

“The dramatic improvements in exercise performance and cognitive function will no doubt interest athletes and professional sports teams worldwide,” said the study’s co-author Andrew J. Murray, a researcher in the department of physiology, development and neuroscience at the University of Cambridge, in a statement.

Foods that are high in fat help initiate ketone production, along with a moderate portion of protein. However, not all fats were created equal, which is why choosing your ketone-inducing food items strategically is key to getting the most out of your carb sacrifice. Nuts, avocados, eggs, cheeses, lean meats, fish, and poultry are all excellent sources to choose from.

Previous research has found the ketogenic diet can be a beneficial weight loss approach for overweight or obese people. Carbohydrates break down into glucose, which is why the key to a ketogenic diet is to make an extreme cut back on carbohydratesin order to trigger ketone production. In the long term, obese patients experience significant weight loss after 16 to 24 weeks of carbohydrate restriction, however experts warn dieters to eventually ease back into carbohydrates. The newly discovered cognitive and physical benefits of ketogenic diets are a bonus.

“This may be a new horizon on the energy balance sheet in certain nutrional or physiological situations” Murray said. “Further research into the potential benefits of ketone ester for human health is vital, and only just beginning.”

Ayahuasca Benefits And Risks: Hallucinogenic Drug May Enhance Meditation


LSD and shrooms are among the popular hallucinogenic drugs that allow users to be fully aware of visually hallucinating. During a trip, voices are heard and colors start to become more prismatic. A new hallucinogenic, ayahuasca, is now being used to deliver a powerful trip while also containing promising medicinal properties.

In ASAPScience’s latest video, “Your Brain On Ayahuasca: The Hallucinogenic Drug,” hosts Mitchell Moffit and Greggory Brown take a look at how the drug actually affects parts of the brain, and how it’s different from LSD and shrooms.

Ayahuasca is a combination of leaves of psychotria viridis and the leaves of another banisteriopsis caapi, neither of which have any hallucinogenic power on their own. However, the leaves do contain N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), which is structurally similar to the neurotransmitter serotonin, and to the chemical found in magic mushrooms. Normally, gut enzymes deactivate DMT before it’s absorbed into your bloodstream, but the vines inhibit the gut enzymes from working properly, and allow DMT to travel within the blood to cross the blood-brain barrier.

The effects of the drink usually hit around half an hour after consumption with hallucinations peaking after one hour and subsiding within four to six hours. However, hallucinations are reported to be different from drugs like LSD and shrooms in that most people are fully aware that they are visually hallucinating. In addition, instead of hearing voices, the sounds heard are usually exaggerations of the noises already occurring around them. Drinkers seek this as a means to reconcile with their thoughts and emotions, as well as past and present traumatic events.

fMRI scans show ayahuasca causes a significant decrease in activity within the default mode network, an area of the brain that if overactive, is associated with depression, anxiety, and social phobia. This is usually linked with a meditative state and explains why some users feel at peace with themselves and a renewed sense of purpose after their trip.

Medicinally speaking, ayahuasca has been shown to to kill certain cancerous cells with the help of alkaloids in the veins, and may hold future possibilities for cancer research.

Drinkers should beware of potential side effects: they can suffer violent retching, vomiting, and even diarrhea as the brew is extremely acidic and can cause an upset stomach even in experienced drinkers. Fatalities have been linked to its ingestion, particularly among tourists, though the manner of death is often reported undetermined.

The recreational use and efficacy of this drug for medicinal purposes is limited, and researchers say it warrants further investigation.

Watch the video. URL:https://youtu.be/cRsJB0taAak