Tuesday, December 31, 2013

VAPOR ‘NANOBUBBLES’ DETECT MALARIA THROUGH SKIN

A noninvasive technology can accurately detect even low levels of malaria infection through the skin in seconds with a laser scanner that requires no dyes, diagnostic chemicals, or needles.
As reported in a preclinical study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciencesthe technology detected a single malaria-infected cell among a million normal cells with zero false-positive readings.
The technology uses a low-powered laser that creates tiny vapor “nanobubbles” inside malaria-infected cells. The bursting bubbles have a unique acoustic signature that allows for an extremely sensitive diagnosis
Link.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

A New Approach to Gift Giving

Unstuff Gifts: Link

Super Short, Intense Workouts Won't Help You Lose Weight

Super short workouts sound fantastic. Who wouldn't want to pack 60 minutes worth of exercise into 20—or sometimes even less? We've discussed quite a few, but not a lot about what you can expect while doing them. Amby Burfoot, writing for Runner's World, decided to take a look at the numbers.
Link

National Geographic 2013 in Review

This a pretty visually stunning timeline
Uvealblues
Link

Why We Are So Materialistic Even If It Doesn't Make Us Happy

No matter who you are, it's easy to get a little caught up in the idea of getting new stuff. Here's a look at why your brain is so materialistic and what you can do to keep it from overwhelming you.

Smart Glasses Reveal What It's Like to Have Superpowers

Atheer's video suggested the potential in a future of wearable technology and 3D smart glasses. Watch it above; we dare you not to get excited.
"The experiences shown in the video from the user’s point of view can be available in 1-2 years," Atheer CEO Soulaiman Itani told Mashable. "Every functionality shown has been prototyped in a minimalistic way, but more with the core technology. Minimizing the hardware to be as small as in the video will probably take closer to eight years."

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The top 50 viral moments of 2013!

In 2013, we saw videos, posts and photos that made us laugh, touched our hearts and got us all sharing! On New Year's Eve, HLN counts down 50 of the most popular stories that made 2013 a 'What did you share?' year
Link

Thursday, December 26, 2013

BIOFILM BACTERIA LINGER ON TOYS, BOOKS, CRIBS

Numerous scientific studies have concluded that two common bacteria that cause colds, ear infections, strep throat, and more serious infections cannot live for long outside the human body. So conventional wisdom has long held that these bacteria won’t linger on inanimate objects like furniture, dishes, or toys.
But new research in Infection and Immunity shows that Streptococcus pneumoniae andStreptococcus pyogenes do persist on surfaces for far longer than has been appreciated. The findings suggest that additional precautions may be necessary to prevent infections, especially in settings such as schools, daycare centers, and hospital.

Are Cranberries a Better Way to Long Life?

Berries' Antioxidant Properties May Increase Longevity at Any Stage of Life

For Fitness, Intensity Matters

This year, exercise science expanded and fine-tuned our understanding of how physical activity affects our brainsjoints,hearts, and even genes, beginning before birth and continuing throughout our lifespans, which can be lengthened, it seems, by exercise, especially if we pick up the pace.
(..)
But the lesson that seemed to emerge most persistently from the fitness-related studies published this year was that intensity matters, especially if you wish to complete your workout quickly. The most popular column that I wrote this year, by a wide margin, detailed “The Scientific 7-Minute Workout,” a concept that appealed, I have no doubt, because the time commitment was so slight. But the vigor required was considerable; to gain health benefits from those seven minutes, you needed to maintain a thumping heart rate and spray sweat droplets around the room.
Almost halving the time spent exercising was also effective, a later and likewise popular column showed. In that study, out-of-shape volunteers who ran on a treadmill for a mere four minutes three times a week for 10 weeks raised their maximal oxygen uptake, or endurance capacity, by about 10 percent and significantly improved their blood sugar control and blood pressure profiles.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The 50 Most Popular All That Is Interesting Pictures

For over three years, we’ve published our favorite photographs and pictures from around the world on a daily basis. We crunched the numbers to determine the most-viewed pictures and the results were fascinating given their breadth and depth in subjects. From the frightening to the humorous to the bizarre and enlightening, we present the most popular All That Is Interesting pictures:
Read more at http://all-that-is-interesting.com/popular-interesting-pictures#zkfr5BqJcCoGKzLB.99

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Here's Why You Should Stop Setting Goals

And for most of us, the path to those things starts by setting a specific and actionable goal. At least, this is how I approached my life until recently. I would set goals for classes I took, for weights that I wanted to lift in the gym, and for clients I wanted in my business.
What I’m starting to realize, however, is that when it comes to actually getting things done and making progress in the areas that are important to you, there is a much better way to do things.
It all comes down to the difference between goals and systems.
Let me explain.


Read more: http://jamesclear.com/goals-systems#ixzz2oRDa6BhI

Sweeping Photos Span an Entire Day in a Single Frame

Stephen Wilkes is the first to admit the huge photos in his Day to Night series take an absurd amount of time and effort to produce. And he knows you might wonder why he’d spend 15 hours shooting an image and weeks editing it. But in an era when anyone with a phone can snap a pic and edit it in less time than it takes to say “OMG,” his fanatical approach is his way of cutting through the visual noise and make an impression on people.
Wilkes says he is “maniacal” in his attention to detail when making these his information-dense, hyper-curated and highly polished accounts of a single day in some of the world’s most iconic locations. Every inch of his photos, some as big as 10 feet wide, are meant to tell a story. He says telling that story is an all-consuming process.

Raising Children With an Attitude of Gratitude

Research Finds Real Benefits for Kids Who Say 'Thank You'

Giving thanks is no longer just holiday fare. A field of research on gratitude in kids is emerging, and early findings indicate parents' instincts to elevate the topic are spot-on. Concrete benefits come to kids who literally count their blessings.
Gratitude works like a muscle. Take time to recognize good fortune, and feelings of appreciation can increase. Even more, those who are less grateful gain the most from a concerted effort. "Gratitude treatments are most effective in those least grateful," says Eastern Washington University psychology professor Philip Watkins.
(..)
The old adage that virtues are caught, not taught, applies here," says University of California, Davis psychology professor Robert Emmons. Parents need to model this behavior to build their children's gratitude muscle. "It's not what parents want to hear, but you cannot give your kids something that you yourselves do not have," Dr. Emmons says.
This may seems obvious, but it eludes many parents, Dr. Watkins says. "I think the most important thing for us adults to realize is we're not very grateful either," he says.
(..)
Another study examined 1,035 high-school students outside New York City. The study, published in 2010 in the Journal of Happiness Studies, found that those who showed high levels of gratitude, for instance thankfulness for the beauty of nature and strong appreciation of other people, reported having stronger GPAs, less depression and envy and a more positive outlook than less grateful teens.
Further, teens who strongly connected buying and owning things with success and happiness reported having lower GPAs, more depression and a more negative outlook. "Materialism had just the opposite effect as gratitude—almost like a mirror," says study co-author Jeffrey Froh, associate professor of psychology at Hofstra University.

Alabaman Becomes Ray of Hope to Desperate Family in India

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Real-estate developer Chip Moore left his four-bedroom home here one morning in his GMC Yukon SUV, drove through his community's gate, past the golf course to a Publix supermarket.
There, he wired $1,000 to Rahima Sheikh, a gravely ill woman in a 240-square-foot home in India. He considered it a one-time thing.
"I thought I'd sling some money at the problem," he says, "and make it go away."
Instead, 10 months later, Mr. Moore was in northern India, sitting cross-legged on the roof of Mrs. Sheikh's tiny brick house on an August night, eating goat curry and talking with her husband about the business Mr. Moore had helped the family start as a way to escape poverty.
(..)
The Sheikhs' struggle is common in India, where two-thirds live below the international poverty level of $2 a day. Medical-care costs and other unforeseen expenses can plunge a family into destitution. The Sheikhs and most people in their district lack toilets and don't have electricity much of the day.
(..)
One family's helping another directly is "not a suitable model" to fight global poverty, says Cambridge University's Mr. Munshi. But, he says, Mr. Moore's and Mr. Srivastava's efforts will probably help the Sheikhs because the two avoided the pitfalls of many development efforts by tailoring their assistance to the situation. "One thing that never works is trying to provide generalizable solutions to all the problems that people face."
The Sheikhs' business has been thriving the past few months, with more orders than they can meet. Still, they were back with another request in November, for $3,000 to buy an adjacent lot to build a bathroom. Mr. Moore declined, saying he wanted them focused on their business and on curing Mrs. Sheikh. She used $180 in tailoring profits and borrowed $500 from a friend to buy a sliver of the land, anyway. "I hate that they borrowed," Mr. Moore says.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Outbreak! Watch How Quickly An Epidemic Would Spread Across The World

In March of 2009, the Mexican government confirmed it: A four-year-old boy in eastern Mexico’s La Gloria village had swine flu, or H1N1. Sixty percent of the village had reported an unknown respiratory illness back in February, and since, it looked like the virus had jumped. A flu case later confirmed to be H1N1 popped up in California. Then, it spanned an ocean. By late April, H1N1 had been reported in Spain, Israel, New Zealand, Austria, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland.
Within an increasingly globalized and mobile world, the spread of contagion doesn’t work how it used to. But by taking these factors into account, theoretical physicist Dirk Brockmann and his colleagues have a radical new model that could predict the arrival times of the next global pandemic. The model relies on something called “effective distance,” and it destroys a centuries-old way of thinking about maps

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Biggest Weight-Loss News of 2013

Another year, another 365 days to unlock the secrets to sustainable weight loss - and in 2013, researchers did not disappoint. From finding the best time to eat a big meal to finding yet another reason to chow down on chocolate, here are the most interesting weight-loss news stories of the year!
Link

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Wireless Speakers Let Music Roam Free

The simplicity and reduced size of many of the new wireless speakers make sense to me. They are easy to move physically and boss around mechanically, usually with simple controls on a smartphone. I like the idea of shifting my speakers to another place or banishing them from my sight, when I want to. With wireless speakers, especially smaller ones, this is reasonable.
Multiroom wireless systems, with speakers placed in as many rooms as you like, bring on different concerns. Until recently, I saw only three uses for them. One was to become a crisper family autocrat. (We will now all, in different rooms, listen to my No. 1 record of the year.) Another was to help with hearing podcasts, so you don’t forget where you are in someone’s run-on sentence while you move from the living room to the kitchen. And the third was to help you imagine that you live in a department store, where your ambulatory shopping experience is made more elegant by an unbroken soundtrack.
But my family and I just moved, and I’ve been rethinking the audio question down to the root. Maybe there’s more to it than I thought.
My rethinking really started when I got my hands on the wireless Sonos speakers. The company’s speakers have been justifiably popular since 2009, when it introduced what is now called the Play:5 speaker: $400 and roughly 8 inches by 14 inches, a rectangle that sits on its long end.


Are Nuts a Weight-Loss Aid?

The reports about their many benefitshave come thick and fast: studies finding that people who eat nuts (tree nuts like cashews, almonds and pistachios, along with their legume pal, the peanut) live longer and healthier lives, with less risk of chronic ailments like heart disease, respiratory problems and Type 2 diabetes.
But perhaps the most startling news is that nuts may help in maintaining a healthy weight. Research has found that people can snack on modest amounts of them without gaining pounds, and that nuts can even help in slimming down.
(..)
Why do nuts appease the appetite so well? Dr. Mattes pointed to several studies.
“They’re high in protein, and protein is satiating,” he said. “They’re high in fiber, and fiber is satiating. They’re rich in unsaturated fats, and there is some literature that suggests that has satiety value. They’re crunchy, and that would suggest just the mechanical aspect of chewing generates a satiety signal.”
Snacking on nuts makes it likely that you will eat less later in the same day, according to some research. That decrease in consumption can make up for many of the nuts’ calories — as much as three-fourths of them, studies have shown.
Nuts are also resistant to digestion, thanks to the tough walls of their cells. As much as one-fifth of the fat in nuts never gets absorbed by the body, Dr. Mattes estimated in a 2008 paper published by The Journal of Nutrition. He noted some weaker evidence that nuts may cause people to burn a little more energy as they simply sit around.
Even the fat that the body absorbs from nuts tends to be virtuous. It’s mostly unsaturated fat, with lesser amounts of the saturated type whose excessive consumption has been associated with heart disease.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

NO TWO NOSES SMELL THE SAME

How you sense a smell—as pleasant or offensive—may be decided by a difference at the smallest level of DNA—one amino acid on one gene, researchers say.
There are about 400 genes coding for the receptors in our noses, and according to the 1000 Genomes Project, there are more than 900,000 variations of those genes. These receptors control the sensors that determine how we smell odors. A given odor will activate a suite of receptors in the nose, creating a specific signal for the brain.
But the receptors don’t work the same for all of us, says Hiroaki Matsunami, associate professor of molecular genetics and microbiology at the Duke University School of Medicine. In fact, when comparing the receptors in any two people, they should be about 30 percent different.
(..)
While researchers had earlier identified the genes that encode for odor receptors, it has been a mystery how the receptors are activated. To determine what turns the receptors on, researchers cloned more than 500 receptors each from 20 people that had slight variations of only one or two amino acids and systematically exposed them to odor molecules that might excite the receptors.
By exposing each receptor to a very small concentration—1, 10, or 100 micromoles—of 73 odorants, such as vanillin or guaiacol, the group was able to identify 27 receptors that had a significant response to at least one odorant.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

TREATMENT SHOWS PROMISE FOR HUSHING TINNITUS

For tens of millions of Americans, there’s no such thing as the sound of silence. Instead, even in a quiet room, they hear a constant ringing, buzzing, hissing, humming, or other noise in their ears that isn’t real.
Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, may be the result of sensory nerves in the face and neck trying to compensate for a reduction of input from the ear’s cochlea, new research shows.
The findings by University of Michigan Medical School researchers offer a new target for treating the condition. The team has a patent pending and device in development based on the approach.
Susan Shore, the senior author of the paper, explains that her team has confirmed that a process called stimulus-timing dependent multisensory plasticity is altered in animals with tinnitus—and that this plasticity is “exquisitely sensitive” to the timing of signals coming in to a key area of the brain. The findings are published online in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Monday, December 16, 2013

DEVICE USES IPHONE CAMERA TO TEST CHOLESTERO

An iPhone app and an accessory that looks like a smartphone credit card reader can test your cholesterol in about a minute.
The Smartphone Cholesterol Application for Rapid Diagnostics, or “smartCARD,” uses the smartphone’s camera to read your cholesterol level.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Chowing Down On Meat, Dairy Alters Gut Bacteria A Lot, And Quickly

Looks like Harvard University scientists have given us another reason to walk past the cheese platter at holiday parties and reach for the carrot sticks instead: Your gut bacteria will thank you.
Switching to a diet packed with meat and cheese — and very few carbohydrates — alters the trillions of microbes living in the gut, scientists report Wednesday in the journal Nature.
The change happens quickly. Within two days, the types of microbes thriving in the gut shuffle around. And there are signs that some of these shifts might not be so good for your gut: One type of bacterium that flourishes under the meat-rich diet has been linked to inflammation and intestinal diseases in mice.
"I mean, I love meat," says microbiologist Lawrence David, who contributed to the study and is now at Duke University.
"But I will say that I definitely feel a lot more guilty ordering a hamburger ... since doing this work," he says.


Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Best Fitness Tracker

Every fitness tracker currently available has its shortcomings, but the $130 Fitbit Force’s flaws are easy to forgive given the convenience of its wrist-mounted design and legible screen that tracks your stats in real time. It is the only fitness tracker that combines all those features with the added accuracy of an altimeter. The fact that it’s a part of the most comprehensive fitness ecosystem around is gravy. Unfortunately, the wrist strap can be a bit tricky to latch and it’s not as water-resistant as other options, but it’s still the one we’d get.
Link

Global Study Finds Majority Believe Traditional Hospitals Will Be Obsolete In The Near Future

A global study was released this morning by the Intel Corporationindicating that around the world people’s health care wants and needs are principally focused on technology and personalization. The “Intel Health Innovation Barometer” found a consistent theme: customized care. At the intersection of health, care and technology, communities around the world consistently said they wanted to see their biological makeup and individual behaviors used to make receiving care more effective and efficient. This unsurprisingly was described by people through means such as telehealth, mobile health and the sharing of health information in real time. However, surprising methods of care were also common themes throughout the world such as ingestible monitoring systems and care that involves no utilization of hospitals.
(..)
Surprising Findings:
-       Traditional hospitals, according to 57% of people, will be obsolete in the future
-       Majority of people (84%) would be willing to share their personal health information to advance and lower costs in the health care system
-       More than 70% of people are receptive to using toilet sensors, prescription bottle sensors and swallowed health monitors
-       72% of those surveyed would be willing to see a doctor via video conference for non-urgent appointments
-       66% of people say they would prefer a care regimen that is designed specifically for them based on their genetic profile or biology
-       More than half of people (53%) would trust a test they personally administered as much or more than if that same test was performed by a doctor
-       About 30% of people would trust themselves to perform their own ultrasound

Link

Bike light with laser cannon creates a glowing, personal bike-lane

ThinkGeek's $25 Blazing Skull Bicycle Tail Light has a pair of "laser cannon" that draw six-foot lines of red light on either side of your bike, creating "your own glowing bike lane."

In Food Cravings, Sugar Trumps Fat

What makes a milkshake so irresistible?
Is it the sweet flavor that our taste buds are after? Or the smooth and creamy texture? Or perhaps it is the copious blend of fat and sugar?
An intriguing new study suggests that what really draws people to such treats, and prompts them to eat much more than perhaps they know they should, is not the fat that they contain, but primarily the sugar

Exercise as Potent Medicine

Exercise can be as effective as many frequently prescribed drugs in treating some of the leading causes of death, according to a new report. The study raises important questions about whether our health care system focuses too much on medications and too little on activity to combat physical ailments.
For the study, which was published in October in BMJ, researchers compared how well various drugs and exercise succeed in reducing deaths among people who have been diagnosed with several common and serious conditions, including heart disease and diabetes.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Differences in How Men and Women Think Are Hard-Wired

So many things come down to connections—especially the ones in your brain.
Women and men display distinctive differences in how nerve fibers connect various regions of their brains, according to a half-dozen recent studies that highlight gender variation in the brain's wiring diagram. There are trillions of these critical connections, and they are shaped by the interplay of heredity, experience and biochemistry.
No one knows how gender variations in brain wiring might translate into thought and behavior—whether they might influence the way men and women generally perceive reality, process information, form judgments and behave socially—but they are sparking controversy.
(..)
Dr. Verma's maps of neural circuitry document the brain at moments when it is in a fury of creation. Starting in infancy, the brain normally produces neurons at a rate of half a million a minute, and reaches out to make connections two million times a second. By age 5, brain size on average has grown to about 90% of adult size. By age 20, the average brain is packed with about 109,000 miles of white matter tissue fibers, according to a 2003 Danish study reported in the Journal of Comparative Neurology.
Spurred by the effects of diet, experience and biochemistry, neurons and synapses are ruthlessly pruned, starting in childhood. The winnowing continues in fits and starts throughout adolescence, then picks up again in middle age. "In childhood, we did not see much difference" between male and female, Dr. Verma said. "Most of the changes we see start happening in adolescence. That is when most of the male-female differences come about."

Can an App Improve Vision?

The Ache: In presbyopia, the eye's lens loses elasticity with age. The ability to focus on near objects deteriorates, resulting in the need for reading glasses.
The Claim: A 12-week, scientifically tested training program, newly available as an iPhoneapp, uses a technique called perceptual learning to reduce—or even eliminate—the need for reading glasses.
The Verdict: A 30-person study published in February 2012 in the journal Scientific Reports found that after trying the program—now on sale as an iPhone app calledGlassesOff GLSO -4.62% —participants on average could read letters 1.6 times smaller than they could previously. The program is much more likely to show improvement in adults 40 to 60 years old, scientists say.

5 Health Tech Trends to Watch in 2014


2013 was a big year for consumer health technology. According to mobile tech consultancy Research2Guidance, there are now close to 100,000 mobile health apps in 62 app stores, with the top 10 apps generating over 4 million free downloads every day.
This year also saw increased adoption of wearable tech, such as the Nike+ FuelBand and Fitbit — a market that is expected to grow to 100 million units by the end of 2014.
So if 2013 was the year of wearables and health apps, what’s on tap for next year? Here are five exciting health tech trends to keep an eye on for the new year.

What Does the Spleen Do?

Snacking Your Way to Better Health


The more often nuts were consumed, the less likely participants were to die of cancer, heart disease and respiratory disease, and not because nut eaters succumbed to other diseases. Their death rate from any cause was lower during the years they were followed. (The nuts in question were pistachios, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, peanuts and walnuts.)
Those who ate nuts seven or more times a week were 20 percent less likely to die from 1980 to 2010; even among those who consumed nuts less often than once a week, the death rate was 11 percent lower than for those who did not eat them.
I know what you’re thinking: Aren’t nuts fattening? Yes, an ounce of nuts has 160 to 200 calories, nearly 80 percent from fat.
But in study after study, the more often people ate nuts, the leaner they tended to be.

Your Contact Lens Might Someday Dispense Eye Drugs


Promising results in animal studies show they've delivered glaucoma meds continuously for a month

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Wasps and honeybees can remember individual faces

This blog is amazing for all who are fascinated by science... and this is an example of an article from it....
Uvealblues

When these insects view an individual (be it another insect or the person who just pissed them off by swinging a newspaper at them), their field of vision is broken up into hexagons from the thousands of ommatidia that make up the compound eye. Essentially, they process information based on these chunks from the structures in the eye that act as individual units and put the entire picture together. It might not be very clear compared to what we are used to since they don't have a pupil to regulate the amount of light coming in onto the retina, but it is good enough to allow wasps and bees to discern prominent facial features that can be used for identification. - 

Link
Photo credit: Hectonichus

Nelson Mandela and Freedom


Siri the Would Be Photographer

Most of you don’t know I grew up in Cupertino. Yep, graduated Cupertino High School class of 1970 (Go Pioneers!) Lived in Cupertino back when the big business in town was Mariani Brothers dried fruits. I had the pleasure of visiting again recently, and some of my Apple friends took me over to nearby Santa Cruz to show off some new photographic functions they’ve been working on. Here’s how it went:
Me: Siri, take a picture.
Siri: Here Thawm, I've found 242 things to take a picture of.
Me: Take a picture of the sunset.
Siri: Sure. Take a picture of the sunset. What would you like me to do with the dog in front of the camera?
Me: Silhouette the dog
For more--go to thegearophile.com  link

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Malcolm Gladwell on the Advantages of Disadvantages

In his new bestseller, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, Malcolm Gladwell looks at what happens when ordinary people confront powerful opponents. He starts the book by dissecting the classic tale of David and Goliath, challenging our beliefs about what the story tells us regarding underdogs and giants, and ultimately, our fundamental assumptions about power.
Wharton management professor Adam M. Grant recently interviewed Gladwell about his new book when he visited campus as a guest lecturer in the Authors@Wharton series. Gladwell shared why he never roots for the underdog, where he comes up with the ideas for his books and sets the record straight on the biggest misunderstandings about his work.
An edited transcript of the conversation follows.

The Most Commonly Awarded Grade at Harvard Is an A

Harvard students are enjoying some extreme grade inflation.
Link

Monday, November 25, 2013

13 Scientific Reasons To Drink Coffee

Coffee is actually very healthy. It is loaded with antioxidants and beneficial nutrients that can improve your health.
The studies show that coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of several serious diseases. Here are the top 13


Read more: http://authoritynutrition.com/top-13-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-coffee/#ixzz2lijmk0vC

Saturday, November 23, 2013

This Insane 3-D Printed Toothbrush Cleans Your Teeth In Just Six Seconds

Brushing your teeth is one of those pesky but important tasks that too many people skimp on--it's just so easy to brush for a couple seconds and wait for the consequences to set in later. A new 3-D-printed toothbrush, designed by dentists and engineers, can supposedly clean your teeth in just six seconds. It's almost too convenient to believe.
Link

Sweat Your Way To A Healthier Brain

Moving your body may be the best way to protect your brain.
Physical exercise can ease depression, slow age-related memory loss and prevent Parkinson-like symptoms, researchers reported at the Society for Neuroscience meeting underway in San Diego.
The findings — some in animals, some in people — suggest that people may be making a mistake if they're relying primarily on crossword puzzles and brain-training games for mental wellness.

Link

New Study Shows Brain Benefits Of Bilingualism

The largest study so far to ask whether speaking two languages might delay the onset of dementia symptoms in bilingual patients as compared to monolingual patients has reported a robust result. Bilingual patients suffer dementia onset an average of 4.5 years later than those who speak only a single language.
(..)
Only when I read the research report itself, though, published in the journal Neurology and written by Suvarna Alladi and 7 co-authors, did I realize fully the brilliance of conducting this study in Hyderabad, India.
That choice of location, I believe, lends extra credibility to the study's results.
Here's why. India, as the researchers note, is a nation of linguistic diversity. In the Hyderabad region, a language called Telugu is spoken by the majority Hindu group, and another called Dakkhini by the minority Muslim population. Hindi and English are also commonly spoken in formal contexts, including at school. Most people who grow up in the region, then, are bilingual, and routinely exposed to at least three languages.
(..)
The sounds of multiple languages swirling around me when I visit New York or Paris are enchanting, and I enjoy discussing with bilinguals the claims that switching between languages allows different personality traits to emerge within a single individual.
Being bilingual opens up new worlds of global connection and understanding, and almost certainly allows some degree of flexibility in personal expression, too.
Now we know, more concretely and convincingly than before, that there's a brain benefit to bilingualism, too.
Link

How Incredibly Lazy People Can Form Productive Habits

If you want to change your behavior but not try that hard, then pay attention to the friction involved.
Link

That focus on friction is something that leaders understand. President Obama, for instance, keeps a deliberately minimalist wardrobe, as he unpacked to Vanity Fair:
"You'll see I wear only gray or blue suits," [Obama] said. "I'm trying to pare down decisions. I don't want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make." He mentioned research that shows the simple act of making decisions degrades one’s ability to make further decisions. It’s why shopping is so exhausting. "You need to focus your decision-making energy. You need to routinize yourself. You can't be going through the day distracted by trivia."
The takeaway, then: rather than spending your energy on trivia, invest it in deep work or other productive habits--which reducing friction helps us do.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Harvard Yoga Scientists Find Proof of Meditation Benefit

Scientists are getting close to proving what yogis have held to be true for centuries -- yoga and meditation can ward off stress and disease.
John Denninger, a psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School, is leading a five-year study on how the ancient practices affect genes and brain activity in the chronically stressed. His latest work follows a study he and others published earlier this year showing how so-called mind-body techniques can switch on and off some genes linked to stress and immune function.
(..)
Unlike earlier studies, this one is the first to focus on participants with high levels of stress. The study published in May in the medical journal PloS One showed that one session of relaxation-response practice was enough to enhance the expression of genes involved in energy metabolism and insulin secretion and reduce expression of genes linked to inflammatory response and stress. There was an effect even among novices who had never practiced before.
Harvard isn’t the only place where scientists have started examining the biology behind yoga.
In a study published last year, scientists at the University of California at Los Angeles and Nobel Prize winner Elizabeth Blackburn found that 12 minutes of daily yoga meditation for eight weeks increased telomerase activity by 43 percent, suggesting an improvement in stress-induced aging. Blackburn of the University of California, San Francisco, shared the Nobel medicine prize in 2009 with Carol Greider and Jack Szostak for research on the telomerase “immortality enzyme,” which slows the cellular aging process.

How Doctors Die: Showing Others the Way

BRAVE. You hear that word a lot when people are sick. It’s all about the fight, the survival instinct, the courage. But when Dr. Elizabeth D. McKinley’s family and friends talk about bravery, it is not so much about the way Dr. McKinley, a 53-year-old internist from Cleveland, battled breast cancer for 17 years. It is about the courage she has shown in doing something so few of us are able to do: stop fighting.
Link

Monday, November 04, 2013

Friday, October 25, 2013

Your face may have been sculpted by junk DNA

Even the prettiest faces are built using junk. In mice, the shapes of the face and skull are finely tuned by junk DNA, so called because it was initially thought to lack function since it doesn't encode proteins. The same junk DNA sequences are found in humans, so they are probably also shaping our faces.
This finding could help us make sense of some congenital conditions, such as cleft palates, that can develop even when the genes that shape the face appear to be working normally

Slow metabolism 'obesity excuse' true

The mocked "obesity excuse" of being born with a slow metabolism is actually true for some people, say researchers.
A team at the University of Cambridge has found the first proof that mutated DNA does indeed slow metabolism.
The researchers say fewer than one in 100 people are affected and are often severely obese by early childhood.
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