Cinnamon Helps to Cool Your Stomach

Cinnamon Helps to Cool Your StomachCinnamon just not enhances taste but significantly contributes in improving health by cooling the body by up to two degrees, according to research.

The research published in the journal Scientific Reports said that the investigators used pigs for the study and found that cinnamon maintained the integrity of the stomach wall.

“When pigs feed at room temperature, carbon dioxide (CO2) gas increases in their stomach. Cinnamon in their food reduces this gas by decreasing the secretion of gastric acid and pepsin from the stomach walls, which in turn cools the pigs’ stomachs during digestion,” said Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh, Professor at the RMIT’s School of Engineering.

The researchers have developed swallowable gas sensor capsules or smart pills which the by-product of digestion and could provide valuable insights into the functioning and health of the gut.

“Our experiments with pigs and cinnamon show how swallowable gas sensor capsules can help provide new physiological information that will improve our understanding of diet or medicine. They are a highly reliable device for monitoring and diagnosing gastrointestinal disorders,” Kalantar-zadeh added.


Poverty Can Lead To Premature Ageing

Poverty Can Lead To Premature AgeingSustained financial hardship early in life may put youngsters at risk of developing worse cognitive functions as well as premature ageing, a study has found.

“Income is dynamic and individuals are likely to experience income changes and mobility especially between young adulthood and midlife,” said lead investigator Adina Zeki Al Hazzouri from University of Miami.

“The study places economic hardship as the pathway to cognitive ageing and as an important contributor to premature ageing among economically disadvantaged populations,” Hazzouri added.

The researchers found strong and graded associations between exposure to economic hardship and worse cognitive function, especially in processing speed.

In the study, individuals with all-time poverty performed significantly worse than individuals never in poverty.

Similar results were observed in persons with perceived financial difficulty, the reseachers said.

Previous research has shown that exposure to poor socio-economic conditions during childhood, adulthood or cumulatively is associated with cognitive deficits.

However, most of these studies involved older adults and so there is little data on whether economic adversity influences cognitive health much earlier in a person’s life.

For the new study, the team examined the effects of sustained poverty and perceived financial difficulty on cognitive function in midlife using income data for about 3,400 adults in US, aged between 18 to 30, at the start of the study in 1985-86.

Sustained poverty was defined as the percentage of time the participants’ household income was less than 200 per cent of the federal poverty level.

Participants were divided into four groups: never in poverty, less than one-third of the time, from one-third to nearly 100 per cent of the time, or always in poverty.

In 2010, at a mean age of 50 years, participants underwent three tests that are considered reliable to detect cognitive ageing.

“It is important to monitor how trends in income and other social and economic parameters influence health outcomes,” Hazzouri said in a paper published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.


Belly Fat May Increase Risk Of Heart Diseases

Belly Fat May Increase Risk Of Heart DiseasesIncreasing stomach fat — also known as the “hidden fat” in abdomen — can lead to worsening heart disease risk factors, according to a study.

The study adds to the growing evidence that regional fat deposits are harmful and further suggested that the density of the stomach fat (measured by CT scan) is important.

Previous studies have shown that people who carry excess abdominal fat around their midsection tend to face higher risks of heart disease compared to people who have fat elsewhere.

In general, the higher the fat content, the lower the attenuation, or fat density.

“The study shows that an increase in the amount of stomach fat and a lower density fat is associated with worse heart disease risk factors — even after accounting for how much weight was gained,” said Caroline Fox, researcher at the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute — a public research organization in Maryland.

Fox said the fat density results were particularly strong.

“Measuring fat density is a new measure that we are still working to understand and warrants further investigation. We used it as an indirect measure of fat quality and found that lower numbers were linked to greater heart disease risk,” Fox added.

Fox and her team sought to determine whether there was a link between anatomical changes in belly fat — both its volume (quantity) and density — and changes in a broad array of cardiovascular disease risk factors during the average six-year study period.

They reviewed CT scans to assess how much abdominal fat had accumulated, its location and its density in 1,106 participants whose average age was 45 years and 44 per cent were women.

Both subcutaneous adipose fat, the fat just under the skin, which is often visible ‘flab’ or love handles, and visceral adipose fat, the fat inside the abdominal cavity, were measured.

Over the six-year follow-up period, participants had a 22 per cent increase in fat just under the skin and a 45 per cent increase in fat inside the abdominal cavity on average.

In general, increases in the amount of fat and decreases in fat density were correlated with adverse changes in heart disease risk. Each additional pound of fat from baseline to follow up was associated with new onset high blood pressure, high triglycerides and metabolic syndrome.

Even though increase in both types of fat were linked to new and worsening cardiovascular disease risk factors, the relationship was even more pronounced for fat inside the abdominal cavity compared to fat just under the skin.

In particular, individuals with greater increases in fat inside the abdominal cavity showed substantial increases in metabolic risk factors including high blood sugar, high triglycerides and low HDL, or good cholesterol, the researchers stated, in the paper published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.


Lab-Grown Blood Vessels To Help Kids With Heart Defects

Lab-Grown Blood Vessels To Help Kids With Heart DefectsIn a groundbreaking feat, a team of biomedical engineers has successfully implanted lab-grown artificial blood vessels in young lambs which are capable of growth within the recipient.

If confirmed in humans, these new vessel grafts would prevent the need for repeated surgeries in some children with congenital heart defects, said the team from the University of Minnesota.

“This might be the first time we have an ‘off-the-shelf’ material that doctors can implant in a patient and it can grow in the body,” said professor Robert Tranquillo from the University of Minnesota Department of Biomedical Engineering.

“In the future, this could potentially mean one surgery instead of five or more surgeries that some children with heart defects have before adulthood,” he added.

One of the greatest challenges in vessel bio engineering is designing a vessel that will grow with its new owner.

In this study, Tranquillo and his colleagues generated vessel-like tubes in the lab from a post-natal donor’s skin cells and then removed the cells to minimize the chance of rejection.

When implanted in a lamb, the tube was then repopulated by the recipient’s own cells allowing it to grow.

To develop the material for the study, researchers combined sheep skin cells in a gelatin-like material, called fibrin, in the form of a tube and then rhythmically pumped in nutrients necessary for cell growth.

The researchers then used special detergents to wash away all the sheep cells, leaving behind a cell-free matrix that does not cause immune reaction when implanted.

The vessel graft replaced a part of the pulmonary artery in three lambs at five weeks of age.

The implanted vessels were soon populated by the lambs’ own cells, causing the vessel to bend its shape and grow together with the recipient until adulthood.

“What’s important is that when the graft was implanted in the sheep, the cells repopulated the blood vessel tube matrix,” Tranquillo noted.

“If the cells don’t repopulate the graft, the vessel can’t grow. This is the perfect marriage between tissue engineering and regenerative medicine where tissue is grown in the lab,” he added in a paper published in the journal Nature Communications.

At 50 weeks of age, the sheep’s blood vessel graft had increased 56 per cent in diameter and the amount of blood that could be pumped through the vessel increased 216 per cent.

No adverse effects such as clotting, vessel narrowing or calcification were observed.

Tranquillo said the next step is talking with doctors to determine the feasibility of requesting approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for human clinical trials within the next few years.


98% Indians Unaware of Life-Saving Technique During Heart Attack

98% Indians Unaware of Life-Saving Technique During Heart AttackAround 98 per cent Indians are not trained in basic life-saving technique of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) during sudden cardiac arrest, shows a survey conducted by Lybrate, an online doctor consultation platform.

In India, sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a major cause of death due to cardiovascular diseases (CVD), and shockingly 60 per cent of the people who suffer an SCA succumb to it even before they reach hospital.

The survey conducted in 20 Indian cities among the age group of 25-50 showed that less than two per cent of the 100,000 surveyed agreed to knowing the technique, while only 0.1 per cent said they have performed it at least once on someone in case of an emergency.

Even though people in metropolitan and Tier 1 cities are more proactive about their health, the knowledge of CPR is dismal even among them, with 95 per cent of the people claiming to have no knowledge about administration of the procedure.

“Indians are predisposed to heart conditions and even though cardiac-related conditions are taking a huge toll on human lives in the country, it is very sad that people are not aware about CPR or are trained to perform it,” said Saurabh Arora, founder and CEO of Lybrate, in a statement.


Dengue Deaths Touch 100 in Lucknow, More People Test Positive

Dengue Deaths Touch 100 in Lucknow, More People Test PositiveThe death toll from dengue has crossed the 100 mark here and still the vector borne disease shows no signs of relenting in Uttar Pradesh.

In the past two days, more than 150 patients have tested positive for dengue and the humid weather continues to add to the spread of the disease.

Health Department officials while refusing to admit the high toll, said the situation was “serious and worrisome”.

The number of dengue patients here touched 1,356, including a large number of children and aged people.

After a literal epidemic in a locality — Faizullaganj — more than 200 people are down with dengue here, A large number of people have migrated to safer places.

Garbage dumps and water-logged roads, they said, were adding to the breeding of mosquitoes, endangering their lives further.

While fogging and sprinkling of anti-larva pesticides is being done at some places, these steps are apparently not enough.

The health wing of the municipal corporation is also short staffed with just 85-odd employees to tackle the menace.

The Lucknow Nagar Nigam (LNN) has declared 15 local wards as sensitive zones for dengue spread.

These include Faizaullaganj, Jankipuram, Chitraguptanagar, Sarojininagar, Shardanagar, Kashmiri Mohalla, New Haiderganj, Ismailganj and Kanhaiyya Madhopur, an official informed IANS.

Facilities for platelets and beds at hospitals are also not adequate, relatives of patients complained.

Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and chief secretary Rahul Bhatnagar are monitoring the situation personally, but Lucknow and other districts of the state are still far from safe.


30 Simple Diet and Fitness Tips

Buy comfy sneaks

You shouldn’t buy kicks that hurt, bottom line! “Your shoes should feel comfortable from the first step,” says Andrew Kastor. So shop in the evening—your feet swell during the day and stop in the late afternoon, so you want to shop when they’re at their biggest. Also make sure the sneaks are a little roomy—enough so that you can wiggle your toes, but no more than that. They should be comfy from the get-go, but Kastor says they’ll be even more so once you have a good 20 to 40 miles on ’em.

Pick your perfect tunes

Running with music is a great way to get in a groove (just make sure it’s not blasting too loudly, or you won’t hear those cars!). To pick the ultimate iPod playlist, think about what gets you going. “I know several elite athletes that listen to what we’d consider ‘relaxing’ music, such as symphony music, while they do a hard workout,” says Andrew Kastor. So don’t feel like you have to download Lady Gaga because her tunes are supposed to pump you up—go with any music that you find uplifting.

When to weigh

You’ve been following your diet for a whole week. Weigh to go! Now it’s time to start tracking your progress (and make sure pesky pounds don’t find their way back on). “It’s best to step on the scale in the morning before eating or drinking—and prior to plunging into your daily activities,” says Newgent. For the most reliable number, be sure to check your poundage at a consistent time, whether daily or weekly.

Police your portions

Does your steak take up more than half your plate? Think about cutting your serving of beef in half. That’s because it’s best to try and fill half your plate with veggies or a mixture of veggies and fresh fruit, says Newgent, so that it’s harder to overdo it on the more caloric dishes (like cheesy potatoes or barbecue sauce–slathered ribs—yum!).

Combat cocktail hour

Is it ladies’ night? If you know you’ll be imbibing more than one drink, feel (and sip!) right by always ordering water between cocktails, says Newgent. That way, you won’t rack up sneaky liquid calories (and ruin your inhibition to resist those mozzarella sticks!). But your H20 doesn’t have to be ho-hum. “Make it festive by ordering the sparkling variety with plenty of fruit, like a lime, lemon, and orange wedge in a martini or highball glass,” adds Newgent.

Eat this, run that

When you have a 5- or 10K (you get to eat more with a half or full marathon) on your calendar, it’s important to plan out what you’re going to eat the morning of the big day—something that will keep you fueled and also go down easy. While everyone is different, “We always have good luck with a high-carbohydrate breakfast such as a small bowl of oatmeal with fruit or a couple of pieces of toast with peanut butter or cream cheese,” says Andrew Kastor, who also advises eating around 200 to 250 (primarily carb) calories about 90 minutes before you warm up for your run . And don’t worry about nixing your a.m. caffeine fix on race day. “Coffee is great for athletic performances,” Kastor adds, because it makes you sharper and may even give you extended energy. Talk about buzz-worthy!


Zika Virus Damage Can Mislead Parents, Experts Say

Image: Brazil Faces New Health Epidemic As Mosquito-Borne Zika Virus Spreads Rapidly

The 2-month-old baby looks exceptional. She’s crawling forward at an age when most infants cannot even roll over. Another tiny infant sits straight up when her foot is tickled.

Sometimes the parents are pleased, and see these behaviors as a sign that Zika may not have damaged their babies as badly as they feared.

Alice Vitoria Gomes Bezerra, who has microcephaly, is held by her mother Nadja Cristina Gomes Bezerra in Recife, Brazil. Mario Tama / Getty Images

But in fact, these reflexes are a sign of the profound mess the virus has made in their developing brains, said Dr. Vanessa Van der Linden, the pediatric neurologist in Recife, Brazil, who sounded the first public alert about Zika.

“That is not usual. That is not normal,” Van der Linden told a meeting on Zika virus in babies sponsored by the (NICHD) National institute of Child Health and Human Development, one of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

The reflexes making these young infants seem so developmentally accelerated come from the brain stem, and they are supposed to stop a few weeks after birth. They’re the same reflexes that cause a newborn to grasp her father’s finger or root for her mother’s breast.

The pediatricians, neurologists, and child development specialists in the small meeting room gasp and murmur as Van der Linden shows videos of some of the babies she’s treated at her clinic.

They squall and stiffen their limbs in a way familiar to pediatricians who deliberately startle young infants to check their reflexes.

But these babies aren’t startled, and they don’t relax as they should after a few seconds. They stay stiff — the medical term is hypertonic. And they cry.

“They cry a lot,” Van der Linden told the meeting. “Sometimes they cry 24 hours a day.”

How Does Zika Cause Birth Defects?0:37

Zika virus continues to spread in many parts of the world, explosively in the warmer parts of Latin America and the Caribbean. It’s caused at least two outbreaks in Florida, which now counts more than 100 homegrown Zika virus infections.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it’s tracking at least 749 pregnant women with Zika infections in the United States and another 1,348 in territories such as Puerto Rico.

The CDC says 20 babies have been born in the U.S. with Zika-related birth defects and five were miscarried, stillborn or aborted because of catastrophic defects.

What’s becoming clear is that Zika’s hallmark birth defect — microcephaly — is only the most obvious symptom. As babies damaged by Zika infection get to four months, six months, a year old, more problems are showing up.

“I think it is likely that the kinds of findings we are seeing now are the tip of the iceberg,” said Dr. Sonja Rasmussen of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To Van der Linden, it looks as if their underdeveloped brains continue to operate reflexively, in the way that keeps newborns alive and suckling. These reflexes are good at first, but babies need to outgrow them and behave consciously if they are to grow up normally.

Zika babies often don’t, she said.

Brain scans show seizure-like activity in many of the babies. It’s clearly uncomfortable for them, although giving them pain medication does not seem to help, Van der Linden said.

“Some patients improve only after we treat them for epilepsy,” she said.

Many also have terrible, painful reflux — caused when food and stomach acid bubble up into the esophagus. It’s being caused because the infants are not suckling properly, using the reflex instead of coordinated sucking, she said.

The result is many cannot eat enough. “They often have delayed or impaired gastric emptying,” Van der Linden said.

“The patients sometimes are able to eat only 30 ml of milk,” she said. That’s about a 10th of a cup. “They have a very small capacity to eat,” she said.

Based on that, many Zika-damaged babies may not live long, said Dr. Steven Miller of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada.

“I am not sure how many of the severely affected kids are going to get to school age,” Miller said. “It is hard to imagine the brain growing well without adequate nutrition.”

In addition, some babies born looking normal have regressed, Van der Linden said. “At birth, they were normal. Head circumference was normal. But now they have microcephaly,” she said.

That fits in with other reports showing Zika virus infections may continue to damage a newborn’s brain after birth.

Researchers at the meeting expressed concern about symptoms such as autism and schizophrenia as children who seem to have escaped Zika’s worst damage grow older.

Dr. Camila Ventura of the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami said her team’s also found some evidence on ongoing damage in the babies’ eyes.

“The babies that have congenital Zika syndrome, their vision is severely impaired,” she said. The eyes look normal, but they don’t function properly, Ventura said.

“The children need to be monitored for some time. Some of these manifestations are only beginning to show months out,” said NICHD director Dr. Catherine Spong.

“The impact on the family cannot be understated.”


Frequent Traveler? Expert Tips On How to Remain Fit On The Go

Frequent Traveler? Expert Tips On How to Remain Fit On The Go

Neil Hill, the founder of a world class fitness training programmes Y3T, has literally no time for rest. He keeps an extremely busy schedule, which involves a lot of traveling. Those of you who relentlessly live through the horrors of incessant traveling – and spend more days commuting than resting – would actually realise its aftermath on health. Not only does it mess around with your sleep cycle but also alters the appetite and takes away the time to exercise and remain fit.

As Neil Hill got in conversation with BodyPower, he revealed his secret to remain fit despite all the back and forth. “Right now I am in Australia and before that I was in the UK for a few days, and right before that it was America. My travel commitments can really become intense around this time of the year. Obviously, my sleep pattern gets interrupted greatly and keeping a watch on my diet or training becomes harder than ever, but I don’t let this get in my way. One needs to make adaptations, plan ahead and stick to it,” shared Neil.

If you are among those who are always on the go, don’t let your health take a hit. Neil Hill’s tips will help you be on top of your game, feel healthy and look fit.

1. The Basics

Make sure that your nutrition is taken care of, even if it’s at a basic level.

“I’m a huge follower of supporting gut health and this is something that never changes for me. You can read my books with Dr. Paul Rimmer to know how focused I am on this. Therefore, you will always find my probiotic drinks, digestive enzymes and other essentials traveling with me. I also ensure that I get some quality protein every two to four hours along with the essential fatty acids and the right complex carbs. I do whatever it takes to meet these dietary requirements every day. There are days when you can’t find exactly what you are looking for, meal replacement agents come in handy then – all your seeds, nuts, rice cakes, etc.” shared Hill.

2. Don’t Skip Training

There is never an excuse to skip your cardio. If you can’t find a gym or a training facility nearby, you can always go out for a run. Carry your running shoes with you always. Keeping your calorie turnover intact is of the utmost importance while you are traveling.
When it comes to strength training, there’s no reason why you can’t do a few exercises in your hotel room if nothing else is available. Of course you prefer to be in a gym, but it’s better to do something inside your hotel room or in a nearby park than nothing at all when you’re already pressing for options.

3. Keep Hydrated

Hydration is really important especially when you are flying across borders a lot. Your body needs an extra load of fluids when it experiences sudden change in weather, time zones and is struggling to keep the various bodily processes – specially sleep – in accord. Hydration is vital for your muscles too. Ensure you are drinking bottled water at regular intervals. Opt for electrolyte powder if need be. Coconut water is a great choice too.

Keep these tips handy to manage your stress better and battle the woes of frequent traveling.


That Horrible Morning Sickness You’re Having? It’s Actually A Good Sign For The Baby

That Horrible Morning Sickness You're Having? It's Actually A Good Sign For The BabyThe first three months of pregnancy, a time that parenting magazines and Hallmark cards often portray as magnificent and carefree, can actually be a wretched experience for many women.

As many as 90 percent of mothers-to-be experience some degree of nausea and vomiting, and scientists have long speculated about what, from an evolutionary standpoint, the function of all that unpleasantness might be. The leading theory has to do with food.

The idea, first proposed by physician Ernest Hook at Albany Medical College in 1976, is that a pregnant woman’s sickness significantly narrows the amount and variety of things she eats.

That protects the unborn baby — and its host, the mother — from bacteria, toxins and other nasty things that can be contained in food products. Think salmonella in raw eggs or toxoplasma gondii in under cooked meat. For most women, morning sickness lasts only for the first trimester, which also happens to be the most vulnerable period for a fetus — the period when its brain’s neurons and its organs are formed.

“Morning sickness and the aversion to potentially harmful foods is the body’s way of preserving wellness of the mother at a time when her immune system is naturally suppressed,” evolutionary biologists Samuel M. Flaxman and Paul W. Sherman of Cornell University wrote in a 2000 paper.
This mechanism still remains just a theory, and a somewhat controversial one at that. Perhaps the biggest question about it has been whether pregnancy sickness is actually linked to better pregnancy outcomes.

A new analysis published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine by researchers at the National Institutes of Health sides squarely with Hook in providing evidence that nausea and vomiting in pregnant women may indeed be a positive sign for the baby’s prognosis.

The study involved tracking nearly 800 women, and it’s important to note that there are a few unusual things about the cohort. One is that the group was highly homogeneous. Most of the women were white (96 percent), very young (63 percent age 29 and younger), married (95 percent) and employed (72 percent).

All the women in the study had also experienced one or two prior pregnancy losses and, as might be expected, the number of miscarriages in the group is higher than might be expected in the general population. Moreover, the women were also part of a randomized clinical trial about the effectiveness of low-dose aspirin in protecting against pregnancy loss.

Nonetheless, it stands as perhaps the most rigorously conducted research on the topic. Previous studies involved asking women well along in their pregnancies to try to recall how much nausea and vomiting they had experienced — a methodology that is error-prone because it relies on people’s imperfect memories. But this one began following women trying to get pregnant and was therefore able to get information on them — via daily diaries — from almost the first day of conception.

The women’s diaries showed that by the eighth week, nearly 85 percent reported having nausea alone or nausea with vomiting. Of the 797 women who had positive pregnancy tests, 188 of the pregnancies ended in loss. An analysis of that data found that women who had either nausea alone or nausea accompanied by vomiting were 50 to 75 percent less likely to experience a miscarriage. Those are huge differences.

“The results should be reassuring to women who are going through these symptoms and suffering through this hard time,” researcher Stefanie Hinkle, a staff scientist in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s epidemiology branch, said in an interview.

Hinkle and her colleagues wrote that it’s possible there may be “evolutionary advantage to change one’s dietary intake, increase consumption of carbohydrate-rich foods.” That explains the ice cream many women ingest by the pint when they are pregnant. Not so much the pickles.

Encouraging women to eat foods they dislike during pregnancy will not improve the pregnancy outcome and could increase the embryo’s exposure to pathogens and harmful chemicals, according to the researchers.

The NIH study also provides some evidence countering another hypothesis proposed by scientists about the function of pregnancy sickness — that it might have to do with forcing women to avoid risky behaviors like smoking and consuming alcohol and caffeine. The researchers noted that “our modeling strategy accounted” for this idea and suggested “the mechanism is likely not through avoidance of such substances.”

A third theory — that pregnancy sickness may be due to effects of human growth hormone — wasn’t tested in the study.

Hinkle emphasized that the findings shouldn’t lead the lucky women who are not experiencing pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting to panic.

“Every pregnancy is different,” she said, “and at an individual level this is not indicative of having or not having a healthy pregnancy.”