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Prevention and treatment of osteoporosis

Osteoporosis-

Osteoporosis is a complex condition characterized by reduced bone mass and weaker bone structure that increases the occurrence of fractures. Although bone strength, bone mass, and bone quality are mostly genetically determined, factors such as nutrition, environment, and life-style also influence bone.[1]

Nutrition is one important way of developing and maintaining bone mass, as well as of preventing and treating osteoporosis. Calcium and phosphorus account for approximately 80-90% of the minerals in bone. A diet for healthy bones requires protein which forms the collagen structure that holds the minerals together, plus calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, copper, iron, fluoride, vitamins D, A, C, and K. Many of these nutrients are co-dependent and simultaneously interact with genetic and environmental factors.

Exercise is one of the life-style factors that influences bone strength. Weight-bearing exercises have been shown to increase bone density and bone strength. You have to eat right and you cannot be a couch potato if you want to have strong bones.

[1] Jasminka Z. Ilich, PhD, RD and Jane E. Kerstetter, PhD, RD, Nutrition in Bone Health Revisited: A Story Beyond Calcium, University of Connecticut, School of Allied Health, Storrs, Connecticut

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2007-08-01 

Antibacterial properties of spices and condiments

Garlic as an antibiotic Garlic inhibits bacteria

Ever since life emerged on Earth, organisms have been waging chemical warfare against each other. One of the earliest examples was the poisoning of anaerobes by oxygen-producing cyanobacteria 2500 million years ago. The oxygen produced by photosynthetic organisms on the surface of the earth makes life possible for us today, and anaerobes seek refuge in the deep and dark recesses of the biosphere.

For millennia, humans have used salt, alcohol, and vinegar as preservatives for food. Alcohol is the product of fermentation by yeast, whereas vinegar is the result of fungal fermentation. In 1676 Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, the inventor of the microscope, published his first observations of single-celled organisms which now we characterize as bacteria, yeasts, and protozoa. It was only in the nineteenth century that Louis Pasteur's experiments determined that food fermentation was caused by microorganisms that could be killed by heat. In 1945, bacteriologist Alexander Fleming succeeded in isolating the antibiotic substance penicillin from a mold that had contaminated and suppressed growth of his bacterial cultures.

Plants have evolved to defend themselves chemically from insects, yeasts, and fungi. Since ancient times, garlic has been claimed to cure a variety of conditions. Although many claims about garlic remain unconfirmed by modern research, its antibiotic properties can be clearly demonstrated. The Petri dish, above, shows the powerful inhibition of bacterial growth by garlic.[1] A study conducted at the University of California Irvine Medical Center showed that garlic juice, even when diluted significantly, has antibacterial activity against many pathogenic bacteria including antibiotic-resistant staphylococci (MRSA), enterococci, and Pseudomonas.[2]

Eating raw garlic can sometimes provide relief for an upset stomach caused by spoiled food. This remedy can be a tasty treat: Make a sauce by grating half a tomato, add 2 cloves of crushed raw garlic, one teaspoon of olive oil, and a dash of salt and pepper. Spoon the sauce onto a slice of toasted bread, and eat to your health!

[1] Inquiry Lab: Spices as Antibiotics (http://www.woodrow.org/teachers/bi/1999/projects/group5/photos_spice.html)
[2] Lee YL, Cesario T, Wang Y, Shanbrom E, Thrupp L, Antibacterial activity of vegetables and juices, Nutrition, 2003 Nov-Dec; 19(11-12): 994-6, PMID: 14624951

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2007-07-30 

Your mortgage loan can affect your retirement income

Amortization and Annuities Calculator

The Dow Jones industrials dropped more than 500 points over two days as traders in the stock market worried about subprime mortgage loans. The weakening of the housing market has resulted in lower real estate prices and has made it harder to make short-term profits buying and selling homes, apartments, and condominiums. As interest rates have gone up, interest-only loans, negative amortization loans, or variable-rate loans have increased the burden on borrowers who end up defaulting on the loans because they are unable to refinance or sell at a profit.

Many of the borrowers who are now struggling with their mortgage loans could have had a better outcome if they had read and understood the terms of their home mortgage contract. An educated borrower also needs to understand how compound interest and mortgage amortization are calculated. A mortgage amortization schedule provides a detailed description of the principal and interest in each monthly payment during the life of the loan.

When planning your retirement, you need to know when your home will be paid off and how much money you will have in your savings account. An annuity calculator will help you determine the accumulation of capital from a single deposit or from regular deposits. Did you know that you can become a millionaire by investing $180 Dollars per month at 14% interest for 30 years? That is only $45 Dollars per week! You can also save a lot of interest on your home mortgage by paying additional principal in each monthly payment.
Free Download - Amortization and Annuities Calculator

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2007-07-28 

Is milk good for your health?

milk

Milk has been getting some negative publicity. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has a campaign against milk called "milk sucks!" in which they promote vegetarian literature and list illnesses that have been linked to dairy products, including allergies, heart disease, colic, flatulence, breast cancer, autism, etc. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) also states that "many Americans still consume substantial amounts of dairy products -- and government policies still promote them -- despite scientific evidence that questions their health benefits and indicates their potential health risks". The main agenda of PCRM is to convert people into vegetarians.

The truth is that humans are mammals who are supposed to get their nourishment from mother's milk for at least two years. Many people lose the ability to digest lactose, a milk sugar, as they get older, and they develop cramps and diarrhea after drinking milk. One study showed that 19 of 20 Oriental adults were lactose intolerant, whereas only 2 out of 20 Caucasians had this problem.[1]

Milk is a rich source of calcium and protein. Cheeses and fermented milk products, such as yogurt, are nutritious and generally do not cause digestive problems because they have little or no lactose. You do not have to fear milk. People have been herding goats and cattle and surviving on their milk for at least ten thousand years.
Learn more about lactose and other sugars

[1] Huang, Shi-Shung; Bayless, Theodore M., Milk and Lactose Intolerance in Healthy Orientals, Science, Volume 160, Issue 3823, pp. 83-84.

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2007-07-23 

Sugar will shorten your life

Sugar packet

For some time, scientists have suspected that the increase in insulin level caused by carbohydrates in food can reduce longevity. A recent experiment with genetically altered mice (Irs2 knockout mice) demonstrated that less insulin receptor substrate-2 (Irs2) signaling throughout the body or just in the brain extended life span up to eighteen percent.[1]

Usually, life extension has been achieved only by reducing the calories of the experimental animals. The interesting finding in this study was that it did not matter that the mice were overweight, hyperinsulinemic, and glucose intolerant. The mice with the disabled insulin receptor were more active and displayed greater glucose oxidation than the control mice. The scientists conclude that less insulin signaling in the brain can promote healthy metabolism, attenuate meal-induced oxidative stress, and extend the life span of overweight and insulin-resistant mice.

Some day, there may be a pill to make us live longer, but for now, the best bet is to eat moderately to prevent obesity and avoid the diseases associated with being overweight, such as diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease.
Learn about weight control

[1] Akiko Taguchi, Lynn M. Wartschow, Morris F. White, Brain IRS2 Signaling Coordinates Life Span and Nutrient Homeostasis, Science 20 July 2007: Vol. 317. no. 5836, pp. 369 - 372. DOI: 10.1126/science.1142179

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2007-07-21 

Checker-playing computer is unbeatable

Play Checkers Play Checkers

Professor Jonathan Schaeffer and his team at the University of Alberta have announced that the game of checkers is solved.[1] Dr Schaeffer is a world authority in artificial intelligence applied to computer games. He developed Chinook, the first program to win a human world championship in any game, and this accomplishment is noted in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Checkers became popular in Spain in the mid-16th century. It is a game played between two players by moving 12 red and 12 black pieces on an 8-by-8 square board. The opponent's pieces are eliminated by jumping over them. The player who first runs out of pieces or moves is the loser.

Schaeffer and his team proved that checkers, when played perfectly by both opponents, ends in a draw. The scientists worked for 18 years analyzing 500 billion-billion (5 × 1020) possible combinations of moves to find the perfect strategy in any situation.
Play Checkers on-line Now!

[1] Checkers Is Solved, Jonathan Schaeffer, et al, Science, (19 July 2007),[DOI: 10.1126/science.1144079]

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2007-07-20 

Basal Metabolic Rate as a biomarker for Calorie Restriction

In his book, Beyond the 120 Year Diet: How to Double Your Vital Years-, Dr. Walford describes Calorie Restriction as a method for extending maximum life span.[1] Chapter 2 describes functional tests for estimating the rate of aging. He calls these the "biomarkers of aging" and divides them into categories for determining functional age, predictive value for remaining life expectancy, and disease susceptibility or segmental aging (p. 32).

Dr. Walford also mentions "biomarkers of success" which determine whether a person is successfully following a CRON diet. He says, "Are you really doing what it takes to retard aging or are you just playing around? You don't have to wait six years to find the answer to this important question. Six months is time enough. Your doctor can do a number of tests before you start and then six months later, tests which show rapid changes if you are on track with the program, tests including levels of blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure, and a number of other parameters."

With regard to metabolism, Dr. Walford describes a study of 54 farmers (p. 64) that revealed "metabolic efficiency, expressed as work done in relation to energy intake, was actually 80 percent higher for the ten farmers with the lowest intake (1,535 calories) than for those with the highest intake (2,382 calories). Heights and weights did not differ and the two groups performed the same amount of labor." Dr. Walford goes on to say: "A major secret of health and longevity is to be always below your set point, maintaining yourself on a high enough quality diet that you are not deficient in any essentials, and to operate at maximum metabolic efficiency. This is, in fact, the central idea of my longevity program."

In describing his experience in the Biosphere[2], Dr. Walford describes that Keys showed in the Minnesota experiment that 6 mo of severe energy restriction reduced the resting metabolic rate (RMR) in absolute terms by 39% or by 16% when expressed per kilogram of metabolically active tissue. A more recent study showed that a 40% CR diet for 21 days reduced BMR by 12%.[3] Studies of anorexic patients, who are consistently calorically restricted, also demonstrate that their BMR is significantly lower than that of control subjects. One study found the BMR of anorexic patients to be lower by 20.8%, or by 11.5% after adjustment for fat-free mass.[4]

BMR seems like a good biomarker for Calorie Restriction because it decreases within a few days of the onset of CR, and because it remains lower as long as CR is continued. The absolute value of the BMR in kJ/min may be a useful biomarker for determining whether you are "really doing what it takes to retard aging".

Learn more about Calorie Restriction

[1] Roy Walford, M.D., "Beyond the 120 Year Diet: How to Double Your Vital Years", 2000.

[2] Christian Weyer, Roy L Walford, Inge T Harper, Mike Milner, Taber MacCallum, P Antonio Tataranni and Eric Ravussin, "Energy metabolism after 2 y of energy restriction: the Biosphere 2 experiment", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 72, No. 4, 946-953, October 2000.

[3] Friedlander AL, et al. "Three weeks of caloric restriction alters protein metabolism in normal-weight, young men" Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab., 2005 Sep;289(3):E446-55. Epub 2005 May 3. PMID: 15870104

Nine young, normal-weight men [23 +/- 5 y, 78.6 +/- 5.7 kg, peak oxygen consumption (Vo2 peak) 45.2 +/- 7.3 ml.kg(-1).min(-1), mean +/- SD] were underfed by 40% of the calories required to maintain body weight for 21 days and lost 3.8 +/- 0.3 kg body wt and 2.0 +/- 0.4 kg lean mass. Protein intake was kept at 1.2 g.kg(-1).day(-1). BMR declined from 1,898 +/- 262 to 1,670 +/- 203 kcal/day.

[4] Polito A, Fabbri A, Ferro-Luzzi A, Cuzzolaro M, Censi L, Ciarapica D, Fabbrini E, Giannini D. Basal metabolic rate in anorexia nervosa: relation to body composition and leptin concentrations. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Jun;71(6):1495-502. PMID: 10837290
The BMR of AN patients (2.73 ± 0.37 kJ/min) was significantly lower than that of control subjects (3.45 ± 0.34 kJ/min) (P < 0.001), even after adjustment for FFM (2.92 ± 0.33 kJ/min in AN patients and 3.30 ± 0.26 kJ/min in control subjects; P < 0.004).

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2007-07-18 

Can a soulmate make you happy?

Beating Hearts

Actually, that is a trick question. Your happiness should come from within yourself. Nobody can make you happy, just like nobody else can sleep for you. Certainly, it is easier to be happy with someone who meets your expectations and complements your personality rather than with someone who opposes you and makes it more difficult to achieve your goals.

We often think that a soulmate is someone who shares the same interests and is exactly like ourselves. This is not always the case. Some personality traits work better when the partner has balancing traits that result in a win-win relationship for both persons. Two dynamic individuals may be frustrated when both want different things. A dynamic individual and a passive individual may find happiness if they can adjust to the different pace of their partner.

The most important feature of a good relationship is honesty. Many relationships end when trust is broken or secrets are discovered. Financial problems or difficulties with relatives can also stress a relationship and end it. People often approach a relationship with great optimism, only to be disillusioned later. The problem of failed relationships is usually due to making decisions based on emotions rather than on impartial evaluation of the compatibility of the personalities.
Try the Personality Compatibility Analysis

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2007-07-16 

The origin of sex

Somerset Island

The arctic Canadian island of Somerset, located close to the Qikiqtaaluk Region of Nunavut, has some rocks containing fossils of red algae deposited approximately 1200 million years ago during the Mesoproterozoic Era. Because the fossils are very well preserved, it has been possible to identify the algae as Bangiomorpha pubescens and to study the cell-division patterns of the multicellular filaments in the geologic record.

The spore/gamete formation shows that the algae had been sexually reproducing, and this is the oldest reported occurrence in fossils.[1] Eukaryotes, which are organisms whose cells contain a distinct membrane-bound nucleus, appeared around 1600 million years ago and became successful because sex provided the advantages of genetic recombination and it allowed complex multicellularity. The first appearance of sexual reproduction is associated with the first stratigraphic occurrence of complex multiple-cell organisms. Eukaryotic multicellularity is the innovation that established organism morphology as a significant factor in biological evolution.
See the Geologic and Biological Timeline of the Earth

[1] Nicholas J. Butterfield, Bangiomorpha pubescens n. gen., n. sp.: implications for the evolution of sex, multicellularity, and the Mesoproterozoic/Neoproterozoic radiation of eukaryotes, Paleobiology; September 2000; v. 26; no. 3; p. 386-404.

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2007-07-15 

The silent E in English

In Spanish, the written language is a fairly accurate phonetic representation of the words. This is why "baseball" is spelled "beisbol". In English, the spelling of words is more the result of tradition, rather than phonetics. Every person who has ever tried to write English knows that the spelling of English words has to be memorized. The English language resulted from a mishmash of Germanic and Anglo-Saxon heritage modified by the influence of the Roman and Norman conquests.

What is the function of the silent "E"? The silent "E" is responsible for the difference between the pronunciation of "HAT" and "HATE" or between "CAP" and "CAPE" or between "HOP" and "HOPE". Although the final "E" is not pronounced, it indicates how the vowel preceding the consonant should be pronounced. The "A" in "HAT" is called a short vowel, whereas the "A" in "HATE" is called a long vowel. Long vowels are usually diphthongs, i.e., two adjacent vowels with a smooth transition from one vowel to another.

Learn how short and long vowels affect the patterns of conjugation of regular verbs in English.

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