Health benefit of smoking: It can prevent Parkinson's disease.
Human population studies found that those who smoke are less likely to develop the disease.
Even passive smoking, which involves much less exposure to nicotine, seems to be protective.
Parkinson's is a progressive condition in which damage to brain cells eventually leads to tremors, rigidity and slow movement, and there is currently no cure. Nicotine is believed to lower down the chances of a person to have Parkinson's disease in the future. This chemical substance found in cigarettes and tobacco
s prevents the kind of nerve damage seen in Parkinson's. A newer study also proposes that eating vegetables containing an edible form of nicotine can ultimately protect against the condition. Examples of these foods are tomatoes, potatoes, aubergines, and peppers. Among those veggies that are mentioned, eating peppers twice a week could help reduce the risk of developing Parkinson's disease by up to a third.
Toxoplasma gondii is the name of the parasite, that is usually found in cat litters, is found out to be an etiologic in the development of schizophrenia. This is research was conducted by Czech biologist Jaroslav Flegr. Human sources of infection include any food or water contaminated with eggs from the parasite. T. gondii can also be picked up from eating undercooked food or raw meat from animals that carry the parasite.
When it reaches a human host, the parasite causes the disease toxoplasmosis. Pregnant women are warned to avoid cat litters for that reason — if an expectant mother picks up the parasite, it can be transmitted to the foetus resulting in brain damage or death.
In another research made by Lena Brundin, of Michigan State University, the said parasite can also cause suicide behaviors to persons who are most likely affected.
The study is the first to use a suicide assessment scale to assess risk in people infected with the parasite, including 54 who had attempted suicide and 30 controls. All patients were adults and were recruited between 2006 and 2010, and were tested for signs of the parasite. The 54 who had attempted suicide were inpatients at Lund University Hospital in Sweden, and the controls were randomly selected from the municipal population register in Lund.
The results showed testing positive for the parasite was significantly tied to higher scores on the scale, which would indicate a higher risk of a future suicide attempt.
"... we found that if you are positive for the parasite, you are seven times more likely to attempt suicide," said Brundin.
However, Brundin emphasized that most people infected with the parasite are unlikely to attempt suicide:
"Some individuals may for some reason be more susceptible to develop symptoms," she explained.
When World Health Organization released their position about cellphone usage being linked to brain tumors and brain cancer, people started to look at their handheld units and asked how dangerous is this mobile device to one's health?
It's all in the SAR - Specific Absorption Rate
, a measure of the amount of radio frequency (RF) energy absorbed by the body when using the handset. All cell phones emit RF energy and the SAR varies by handset model.
Mobile phones received a good-to-go sign (FCC Certificate
) if the SAR is met. However, every countries have their own specified SAR level. T
he United States, its maximum SAR level must be less than 1.6 watts per kilogram. In Europe, the level is capped at 2 watts per kilogram, while Canada allows a maximum of 1.6 watts per kilogram.
In order to have peace of mind, and not be bothered on how much radiation your cellphone is emitting, www.cnet.com, released the top 20 highest-radiation and 20 lowest-radiation cellphones in the US.
Top 20-highest radiation cell phones (us)
- Motorola Bravo( 1.592)
- Motorola Droid 2 Global (1.583)
- Sony Ericsson Satio (Idou) (1.56)
- Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini Pro (1.55) and Kyocera Jax S1300 (1.55)
- Motorola i335 (1.53)
- Nokia Astound (1.53)
- Motorola Defy (1.52); Motorola Grasp (1.52); ZTE Salute (1.52)
- LG Rumor 2 (1.51)
- Motorola Droid (1.49); Sanyo Vero (1.49); Motorola Droid 2 (1.49)
- HTC Desire (1.48)
- LG Chocolate Touch (1.47) and Motorola Atrix 4G (1.47)
- Kyocera Wild Card M1000 (1.46)
- Kyocera X-tc (1.45)
- Motorola i576 (1.45)
top 20-lowest radiation cell phones (us)
- Samsung Blue Earth (0.196)
- Samsung Infuse 4G (0.2)
- Samsung Acclaim (0.29)
- Samsung Replenish (0.3)
- Huawei Ideos X5 (0.34) and T-Mobile Sidekick 4G (0.34)
- LG Quantum (0.35)
- Samsung Haven (0.41); Samsung Evergreen (0.41)
- Samsung Captivate (0.42)
- Samsung Smiley (0.43)
- HTC Surround (0.439)
- Doro PhoneEasy 410 (0.445)
- Motorola Devour (0.45)
- Motorola i890 (0.45)
- Kyocera Neo E1100 (0.479)
- Samsung Contour (0.49)
- HTC Imagio (0.498)
- Motorola Flipside (0.5)
- Samsung Flight SGH-A797 (0.505)
DISCLAIMER: cnet.com writes: "we are in no way implying that cell phone use is harmful to your health. Research abounds, but there still is not conclusive or demonstrated evidence as to whether cell phones cause adverse health effects in humans. While some studies have found a possible link between long-term (10 years or longer) cell phone use and brain tumors, decreased sperm count, and other ailments, other research has found no such effects. The science will continue, and we will continue to monitor the results, but it can take years of exhaustive research before studies actually prove anything (if they ever do)."
I wrote something about increased brain activity when we use our cellphones in making calls (More Reasons to Use Your Cellphone?
Last May 31, the WHO/International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)
has classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields associated with wireless phone use as possibly carcinogenic
to humans (Group 2B). This means that cellphone could cause the development of brain glioma or brain cancer. The study concluded that the tumor would be more likely to be on the side that people use the phone.
According to WHO, "from May 24–31 2011, a Working Group of 31 scientists from 14 countries has been meeting at IARC in Lyon, France, to assess the potential carcinogenic hazards from exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields."
Click for larger image
"The Working Group did not quantitate the risk; however, one study of past cell phone use (up to the year 2004), showed a 40% increased risk for gliomas in the highest category of heavy users (reported average: 30 minutes per day over a 10‐year period," WHO added.
This research is highly important. Based on last year's estimates from Smart, Globe and Sun Cellular, there are 86.6 million cellphone users in the country. In 2008, the SMS count was almost 250 billion.
Ways to lower down the risk
- Use a wired headset. If you cannot really avoid accepting and making calls, and if the calls are constant, it is recommended that you use a headset. A bluetooth device is not also recommended since it also transmit the radiation signals
- Text me! It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out the importance of texting instead of calling in relation to this study. Since distance is the factor, (keep away from body at least 0.98 in or 5/8 away) when we text, the radiation cannot reach our brains that instantly.
- Put off that alarm! Most of us use our cellphones as an alarm clock. This allows us to put the unit near the head part of our bed (sometimes beside our pillow). Talking about sleeping with the enemy! As we sleep, radiation signals to our cellphone is constant.
- Don't carry your phone in your pocket. So this is not all about the brain. There is a related study that is cellphones can cause brain cancer, there is then the possibility that this can also result to infertility. For safety reasons, find a proper place for the cellphone that cannot hamper your reproductive capacities.
- Make use of radiation-blocking case. This cellphone accessory could save you (but unfortunately, this is only available for iPhone and BB phones) by blocking the radiation signals away from your brain (so the name..)
Announcer: Parents and caregivers have always been fascinated with the development of children- their physical and intellectual growth. Studying the development of the adolescent brain has been the life work of National Institute of Mental Health researcher Dr. Jay Giedd.
Dr. Giedd: At different ages of life certain parts of the brain have much more dynamic growth than at other times. And so for very early in life we have our five senses where our visual system and audio system is getting established and optimized for the world around us. In adolescents, the key changes are in the frontal part of the brain involved in controlling our impulses, long range planning, judgment, decision making.
Announcer: Imaging has shown by the time children reach the first grade the physical size of the brain is nearly complete. But what goes on within the brain is nothing short of remarkable.
Dr. Giedd: The brain can grow extra connections sort of like branches, twigs and roots to use a gardening metaphor and then after it has these connections there’s also another gardening metaphor called pruning or cutting back or eliminating the excess or unused connections. And it’s this process of overproducing and then having fierce competition amongst all these connections to see which ones are most useful and which are most helpful for us to adapt to the environment.
Announcer: Our brains have been challenged by the effects of multi-tasking in many ways brought on by the age of social media and use of computer gadgets.
Dr. Giedd: The way that we get information, entertain ourselves and interact with each other has changed more in the last ten years than in the previous five hundred- since Gutenberg’s introduction of the printing press. And so these changes are a real challenge for researchers because they happen so rapidly. So, that adolescents today average about eleven and a half hours of media time. And this is up from six and a half hours just five years ago so that the activities of children and teens has been changing so much. We’ve been challenged- how do we keep up with the changing world and how do we assess the impact for good or for bad on the developing brain.
Announcer: So how well are our children handing multi-tasking in a digital age that changes, seemingly, by the hour? Early evidence suggests -pretty well. In fact, the human brain has a track record of successfully adapting to challenges it wasn’t initially designed to take on- such as reading.
Dr. Giedd: It’s sobering to realize most humans that have lived and died have never read. And so, we’ve been able to change what our brain does based on having the written word and having this environment. And so now the questions is will we be able to change to keep up with the new flood of information coming from all kinds of sources. And up until now the human brain has done a great job of changing- adapting to these environments but there are limitations to this capacity. And so it will be very interesting to see that these so-called digital natives… the children that have grow up never not knowing the multimedia devices… whether their brains will be able to adapt differently than older people.
So, what was the human brain originally developed to do? Well, Dr. Giedd says our brains are fundamentally designed to learn through example.Dr. Giedd:
This learning by example is very powerful and that parents are teaching even when they don’t realize they are teaching just by how they handle everyday aspects of their life. How they treat each other as spouses. How they talk about work. When they get stuck in traffic. How they manage their time and their emotions. And this is how most of the teaching is done. It’s not when you set down at these special moments and have a conversation- it’s the everyday moments that really have a huge impact on how the brain forms and adapts.Announcer:
Through the work of Dr. Giedd and his colleagues, we’ve learned so much about the development of the adolescent brain. But researchers like Dr. Giedd may be entering a new golden age of research… as these so-called “digital natives” lead us to new findings in the ever-evolving childhood brain.Adapted from: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/media/video/giedd.shtml
Education for wanna-be nurses have undergone massive evolution. When Florence Nightingale started the era of Professional Nursing, she must have foreseen that nurses will need more medical knowledge (just like doctors) and evidenced-based practices in order to delivery quality patient care.
But with the massive information that we need to teach students on anatomy and physiology, basic and advanced nursing courses and specializations, not to mention the importance of research and advancing technology that they need to cope up, there is the improbability that learning may come short.
Maybe you would agree with me that aside from reading the voluminous textbooks and surfing the net for latest medical information, you would also include your search on "How to Pass Nursing School" or "Tips on Studying Nursing" just to appease yourself with the idea that you can compress every available data related to nursing into your cerebellum and make use of these knowledge if the need arises.
Well, suffer no more! In the lead article of Academic Medicine, brain scientists have recommended 10 tips on surviving medical school. Although the article specifically mentioned "education of doctors", I believe that this can also be applied in the education of nurses.
Found this video on http://www.newscientist.com
and it's good to know that it can be shared.
This video shows our brain activity as it is recorded by different scanning devices. It is amazing that our brain is a indeed a powerful machine as displayed by the various movements or activity that is being explained in this 2-minute film.
A very important body organ, and intricately loaded with millions of neurotransmitters, the brain is capable of performing higher intellectual or cognitive functions and helps in the coordination and movement of the whole body.
Photo courtesy from Flicker
"The morning I wake up, before I put on my make-up
I fill my cup with brewed coffee..." (singing to the tune of Say a Little Prayer.)
My addiction to coffee began during my college years when staying up late at night to finish my assignments and reading materials is not an obligation but a responsibility. From one cup a day, my intake of the energy-boosting hot drink increased to two, then three, and now, I'm up to an average of 4 - 5 cups per day (depending on my work load and schedule).
I admit that I have experienced several bodily symptoms associated with caffeine intake like palpitations, shortness of breath, heightened alertness and being jittery at times. Lately, I pondered on quiting because of my age since caffeine is also linked to vasoconstriction and can develop hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases. But I can't just do it easily!
Then came this new major study on women reported in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association that drinking coffee can offer protection against stroke! The study was conducted by Susanna Larsson of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden where she followed 34,670 women (49-83 years old) for an average of 10 years. A questionnaire was completed by these subjects but did not specify the type of coffee they drank - whether regular or decaffeinated.
RESULT: Women who drank more than a cup of coffee a day had 22% to 25% lower risk of stroke than those who drank less. These women presented with no cardiovascular disease or cancer at a baseline in 1997. Data collected by researchers on first stroke cases between January 1998 and December 2008 revealed 1,680 strokes.
Photo courtesy from Flicker
A few years back, coffee was found to be laden with anti-oxidants (even larger than tea) and polyphenols that can improve health. It can help prevent cognitive decline and can boost vision and heart health. It was also found to lower the risk of liver cancer.
This study will further correct the misconceptions of some people that drinking coffee is dangerous to one's health. But still, I believe that everything if taken in moderation is more beneficial compared to abusive behaviors.
So, for now, I'm holding on to my fresh cup of cafe americano and will ask for another refill after I published this article. A study was also conducted on men in 2008 by Larsson which yielded with similar results.
Read more: Cup of joe might actually lower stroke risk in women
I can still remember a friend in my elementary class who said that hair sprays can cause brain cancer. Although there was no related research on this matter, and nobody ever bothered to check if her news was reliable, not to mention scientific, because of the fear of dying from cancer, everybody stopped using hair sprays.
Several years after, when cellphone use is starting to rise, a hypothesis that the radiation emitted from cellphone use can cause some form of brain damage. Ah no, this time, the news did not prevented me from using my cellphone. =)
The latest cellphone-brain damage-related research now confirmed that increase cellphone usage can increase brain activity. The results of the study conducted on 47 participants proved that those who use their mobile devices are more often to experience increased glucose metabolism in their brain. When researchers grouped the participants into two - first group use their cellphones most of the time; second group only placed a powered-off phone near the head, the former group showed evidences of heightened activity on the area of the brain where the antenna was closely situated while the latter showed no activity at all.
As we all know, when glucose metabolism is increased, it means that brain activity is also increased. The researchers are honest enough to say that the increase brain activity does not specifically affirm if it has positive nor negative effects to the brain. Thus, more investigation on this matter is needed.
Readers may have varied reactions to this findings. Some may say, "Now, I have an excuse to use my phone whenever I want without the fear of having brain injury or brain cancer."
A relief indeed. But always remember that it still better to keep things in moderation and most importantly DON'T TEXT OR CALL WHILE DRIVING. Make sense? Read more: Cell phone exposure increases brain cell activity
Effects of Cell Phone Radiofrequency Signal Exposure on Brain Glucose Metabolism