Could A Lab Chip That Monitors Health Improve It?

When it comes to technological innovations in the medical field, there is so much potential that may be untapped. Rutgers University researchers compiled a hypothesis to determine what would happen if a device or chip could monitor certain aspects of an individual’s ever-changing health. Certain biomarkers show up via sweat or blood throughout the day and can show signs of specific health issues. Things like protein levels, exposure to bacteria and heart health can be readily read and available via a chip.

The engineers at Rutgers university have invented biosensor technology that can be both handheld or wearable which will help to monitor various fluctuations in health in real time. Mehdi Javanmard, who is an assistant professor in the school’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, says “this is really important in the context of personalized medicine or personalized health monitoring. Our technology enables true labs on chips. We’re talking about platforms the size of a USB flash drive or something that can be integrated onto an Apple Watch, for example, or a Fitbit.”

Present Technology

So the technology for the mechanisms to read such information is already present. The products mentioned above help to uncover things like activity level and heartbeat. A deeper, more integrated system would then be able to provide even more pertinent information about the state of our health, immune system, blood cell viability and so much more. The technology itself involves the electronic barcoding of micro-particles. Each barcode is used to identify them and is thus shown as disease and health shift indicators. This can be used for things like viruses and bacteria as well as specific air contaminants we may not even be aware of otherwise.

Specific health indicators, things like DNA molecules or proteins, have been studied and better understood in recent decades. Those are incredibly complex molecular mechanisms that lead to many human illnesses and ailments. Many patterns and precursors have been uncovered that can be further ascertained by the testing of bodily fluids for a countless number of biomarkers. The way that biomarkers work is although one may be able to provide a bit of information, the information is often incomplete because the heterogeneous nature of specific diseases usually result in more than one indication.

Analyzing Biomarkers

In order to get a more accurate diagnosis to better manage or prevent certain health issues, there is much benefit to being able to analyze multiple biomarkers at the same time. For example, there is a specific biomarker that tests for the antigens found in prostate cancer. For men who suffer from this cancer, having access to a chip that shows when the antigen first appears, would allow them to get treatment as soon as possible. This could really be the difference in positive prognosis and ultimately have a hand in saving lives.

The electronic detection of these micro-particles makes it easy for smaller devices to give accurate readings. The researchers at Rutgers made the barcoding particles process much easier and smoother as the biosensors can now be small enough to be easily wearable. The accuracy of these tiny readers to find and identify biomarkers is over 95 percent. The additional fine tuning to get that number to 100 percent accuracy is consistently taking place.

What Is Seje Oil?

Seje oil isn’t very popular or well known in any capacity in Westernized civilization, but its roots are historic and quite impressive. The oil itself is derived from the oenocarpus bataua plant, which is indigenous to specific parts of the world like Brazil, Colombia, Guyanas, Bolivia and Venezuela. It has also been found growing in certain parts of the Amazon. The fruit is typically gathered during a specific harvesting season when it is retrieved after falling to the ground. This oil is high in a myriad of nutrients and positively impacting acids such as linolenic, palmitic, stearic, oleic and linoleic acids. It is also incredibly high in stigmasterol and beta-sitosterol.

Face And Body

It’s especially impressive due to the amount of vitamins within the oil itself. The fruit that seje oil comes from has naturally high amounts of crucial vitamins like vitamins A, C and E. It is also a great source of amino acids and flavonoids. Due to these complex compounds and compositional makeups, it is very good for the skin for a number of reasons. It has been commonly used in specific face and body products for many decades, despite many people being unfamiliar with the oil itself. Add a bit of seje oil to your cleanser, toner or moisturizer to give your skin an added boost. It will even out your skin tone if you suffer from things like age spots or hyper-pigmentation.

Cold And Cough

The oil can also be used to help remedy common symptoms of a cold as well. If you are like most people, you suffer from the annual cold or cough that can be super annoying and may keep you from going about your daily tasks. Seje oil has been used historically as a way to remedy bronchitis, tuberculosis and other conditions that stem from respiratory sicknesses. Try the inhalation method with this oil when you start to notice a cold or cough coming on. You can add a couple of drops of the oil into a boiling pot of water and breathe in the steam. Or for an easier approach, add the oil to an oil diffuser or humidifier.

Hair And Scalp

Seje oil can also be used on the hair as it has been used by Amazonian tribes for eons to correct problems with the scalp. Do you suffer from dandruff or a dry and itchy scalp? This oil can correct that problem as it is naturally antibacterial and anti-fungal. The scalp is one of the most susceptible places on the body for this type of problem. In order to control and eradicate these scalp disorders, getting the bacterial infection under control is most important. After that, increasing the circulation and strengthening the hair follicle capillaries helps align your scalp back to its former health.

Seje oil is also known to be helpful to the hair itself as it increases shine, decreases frizz and helps to define curls. Due to its rapid absorption rate, it’s perfect for hair and won’t leave it looking or feeling greasy.

You can purchase seje oil online from several companies at amazon.com.

 

 

The Almond: A Bad Cholesterol Killer

While the allure of a snack isn’t lost on many, reaching for chips or popcorn isn’t a very healthy option for a number of reasons. Many health professionals have touted the benefits of almonds and other nuts as a great substitute for the more problematic crunchy food options. A recent study has shown exactly how almonds help to boost positive cholesterol, otherwise known as HDL, and simultaneously lowers bad cholesterol. Regular consumption of almonds was shown to functionally improve their cholesterol levels.

A notable and accomplished professor from Penn State, Penny Kris-Etherton, explained that much of the research revolving around almonds shows amazing things in conjunction with cholesterol. It helps to lower the low density lipoprotein, otherwise known as LDL, which is the bad type of cholesterol. High cholesterol is one of the leading causes of diseases such as heart disease and stroke. Implementing certain eating habits that can naturally curb that risk is always a good idea. The type of clogging of the arteries that happens as a result of an unhealthy diet can be potentially disastrous if not taken seriously and corrected.

In the study, a sample of 48 men and women who had elevated LDL cholesterol levels participated in two six-week programs where one ate a handful of almonds per day while the other had a banana muffin instead. After that amount of time had elapsed, it was shown that the positive HDL cholesterol levels had increased by 19 percent. What’s more is that the other group, who were offered the muffin, showed no real improvement in their cholesterol levels. This isn’t surprising considering many foods high in refined sugar and carbs don’t provide any type of health benefit. Instead, they can raise blood sugar, and excessive consumption of these foods often leads to a major health concern that is diabetes.

Healthy Decisions

Kris-Etherton explains that the data gathered from this study was meaningful because any increase in the HDL subpopulation is good news for cardiovascular health. In fact, the particles’ primary function is to decrease the overall risk of heart disease. As one of the leading causes of death in this country, it is imperative that we start to take our health seriously as a society. This is obviously easier said than done when we have such a ubiquitous access to such unhealthy foods. It’s also difficult when we realize that life is so stressful and many people find such comfort in foods that are unhealthy because of the additives and processing that they go through. Keeping this in mind is crucial to being able to make important and lasting diet changes.

Almonds are an amazing substitute, not only because of their heart healthy benefits but also because they have good fats, are high in fiber and vitamin E. Fats are not the enemy here as we’ve been told. Good fats, such as those that come from avocado, almonds, and fish, are essential. Fiber helps to keep the digestive system on track and prevents unnecessary clogging and stomach disturbances. Vitamin E is great for a many number of things but one of the most commonly stated benefits is that it is wonderful at helping skin. There are so many benefits associated with incorporating this tasty nut into your regular diet.

Winter Is The Best Season To Get Allergies Under Control

There is a misconception that allergies don’t affect sufferers in the wintertime. What many don’t think about when they hear about allergy and asthma is the triggers that don’t happen to be seasonal or environmental such as food allergies. While things like pollen aren’t typically high during this time of year, allergies and asthma can take place during any season.

Dress For Weather Warmth

The holiday season also happens to be cold and flu season. There are some ways that you can preemptively prepare for a random flair-up of your allergies and also get them under control for the coming season. A runny nose may be sparked by a virus that is going around, but it also may then trigger your allergic reactions such as sneezing, watery eyes and sore throat. Sometimes being sick does feel very close to having an allergic reaction that is typically called hay fever. Always stay as warm as possible, and don’t forget to button up your coats.

Chilly weather can be a real bummer when it comes to your health. Your nose can easily get stuffed up and cold while you navigate the packed retailers during the holiday season. Always dress appropriately for the weather.

Watch What You Eat

Be mindful of ingredients. There are so many holiday parties and fun festivities that reign during this time of the year. This means that you’ll have your fair share of food and then some. Depending on food allergies, this can get really tricky for some.

While many food allergies are found when individuals are much younger, sometimes allergies are developed later on in life. Make sure to keep your allergies in mind, as well as potential triggers for others in your close-knit circle of family and friends. No one wants to have a poor reaction that lands them in urgent care during the festive and fun holidays.

Watch What You Drink

Be wary of how much alcohol you drink. Some people don’t realize that the cloudy feeling that accompanies a hangover can also irritate your sinuses and spur on common allergy symptoms. Try not to go overboard on the open bars and bottomless champagne because those things can really catch up to you and make you feel sick in more ways than one.

It’s also important to note that often when someone’s face gets red while they drink it’s because they’re actually having an allergic reaction. They aren’t just getting warm or hot, their body is telling them that what they are putting in their system is simply not agreeable to them.

Consider A Fake Tree

You, or someone you know, may actually react poorly to the Christmas tree. This is the reason some opt for a fake tree. Sometimes people have a hard time with the strong odors. While you may love that Christmas tree smell, it isn’t exactly something that can’t negatively affect other people. Especially if the tree still happens to have pollen or mold spores on it somewhere.

There’s also something called terpene, which is found in the sap within a tree, that can be highly triggering to those who may have an allergy to it. If you notice you’re getting a bit stuffy when you get close to the tree, that may be the reason why. Treat your nose with warm water and a netti pot. It’s also recommended that if you are prone to asthma and allergies to have your inhaler and the appropriate dose of medicine on hand.

Seasonal Dry Eye Relief Tips And Other Recent Eye Care News

It’s once again that time of year when your eyes can feel like the Sahara desert or your vision may seem blurrier than usual. It may just be seasonal dry eye.

The most common type of dry eye is evaporative dry eye – which can often be worse in the wintertime. Evaporative dry eye is caused by inflammation on the eyelids – which is called blepharitis. This can lead to a poor tear film and quicker evaporation of tears, which are the eyes’ natural moisturizer Winter can make this condition worse because the air is dry and heaters are on. Symptoms can include blurry and fluctuating vision, a gritty feeling like sand in your eyes, and even excess tearing.

Tips To Help Relieve Seasonal Dry Eye

  • Reduce reading or heavy computer use, which can worsen dry eye because you don’t blink as often.
  • Have humidifiers on in the house and office.
  • Don’t have the car heater blowing directly on your face.
  • Take omega-3 as fish or flax seed oil – 1000-1500 milligrams of DHA/EPA – to help improve the quality of the tear film.
  • Use over-the-counter artificial tears or lubricant eye drops up to four times a day.
  • Contact lenses can make dry eye worse, so minimize contact lens use if possible.

It can take six to eight weeks to notice improvement, but if the symptoms last longer than that you should see a doctor to be sure nothing else is going on and to discuss alternative forms of treatment for dry eye. “A key point is that all dry eye treatments take time to work,” says Michelle D. Patel, M.D., assistant professor of ophthalmology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. “There aren’t any quick fixes. Each intervention can take a few months to make a significant difference and often you need a combination of treatments for relief.”

Beating Dry Eye Syndrome

Symptoms of dry eye syndrome – dry, red, itchy, gritty, sore eyes – are more common among contact lens wearers. Some relief appears to be on the horizon. A group of Stanford University researchers are exploring the mechanical interactions between the eye surface, the cornea, and contact lenses, with a goal to create better contact lenses that maximize comfort and alleviate dry eye symptoms.

When developing biomaterial-based devices that are in direct contact with cells – like contact lenses – their mechanical interaction with cells, biomaterial adhesion to cells and biocompatibility are all extremely important factors. “Our system, a live-cell monolayer rheometer, is built on a standard inverted microscope for cell biology,” says Juho Pokki, a postdoctoral research fellow in the chemical engineering department at Stanford University. “It can simultaneously observe the cells and test cell mechanisms and adhesion.”

The group also created an automated system to enable controllable experiments at the microscale. Cornea cell surfaces consist of a mechanically complex, soft material which you can think of as nature’s “smart material.” “It has properties that depend on stress-strain conditions and time,” Pokki says. “Corneal cell mechanics and cell adhesion are altered for different corneal surface conditions, such as changes caused by disease, and different contact lenses.”

By measuring mechanics and cellular or bacterial adhesion-related information, the group can compare biocompatible materials that are most suitable for contact lenses or for developing new biomedical devices such as prosthetic electronic skin. To date, one of the group’s key findings is that corneal surface cells, which have adapted to protect the eye surface, are mechanically complex.

“Their effective mechanical behavior is different between small and large strain conditions,” Pokki said. This behavior may be caused by changes within the cells, which the group plans to study in the future. “In terms of applications,” Pokki added, “beyond developing better contact lenses, our system can be used to screen and find optimal contact lens solutions or eye drops for people who have dry eye symptoms. This would allow people with dry eye syndrome to use contact lenses while maintaining corneal mechanics and adhesion similar to those of users without dry eye symptoms.”

A New Kind Of Eye Dropper

A new kind of eyedropper can deliver tiny droplets of medication to treat the eye more precisely than traditional eyedroppers while reducing waste and avoiding dangerous side effects, says the American Academy of Ophthalmology. This technology may prove to be especially advantageous in the treatment of dry eye and glaucoma, for which patients require daily use of medicated eye drops that can cost hundreds of dollars for a bottle that lasts only a month.

Researchers at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai showed that a microdose delivery system achieved a treatment effect comparable to a conventional eyedropper, while delivering less than four times the amount of drug. Microdosing also reduced the eye’s exposure to the drug and preservative by 75 to 80 percent.  Patients experienced reduced side effects, leading to a gentler treatment.

Delivering drugs in very small, precise dosage volumes not only avoids spillage, it can also decrease tearing and blinking, thereby limiting dilution of the medication. The hand-held system evaluated in the study could deliver precise, single-digit microliter doses of medication to the eye’s surface within 80 milliseconds, quicker than the blink of an eye.

While glaucoma treatment preserves sight by reducing pressure inside the eye, it can also cause painful, irritating side effects for patients. A conventional eyedropper’s opening creates a drop that’s four to five times larger in volume than the human eye can actually hold. When drops are too big, the overflow runs down the face or drains into the body through the ducts in the corner of the eye.

Oversized eye drops don’t just waste medication, they overdose the eye with medication and toxic preservatives that cause side effects, such as redness, itching, irritation, and dry eye. Some topical medications can cause the heart to beat too fast, too slow, or irregularly when too much is absorbed into the body.

Testing The System

To test the safety and effectiveness of microdosing, the researchers delivered a common drug ophthalmologists use to dilate the pupil and examine the back of the eye. Microdosing was used to treat one group of patients, while a conventional eye dropper was used to deliver the drug to another group.

They found that high-precision microdosing dilated the pupil as well as the conventional eye dropper method. At the same time, microdosed patients showed lower levels of the drug in their bloodstream. They also experienced a significantly lower rate of side effects – eight percent compared with 66 percent for patients treated with conventional eye drops.

“We believe that we have developed a viable 21st-century microdosing technology to transform the 100-year old eyedropper paradigm with modern, high-precision smart technology,” said lead researcher, Tsontcho Lanchulev, M.D. MPH, professor of ophthalmology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and director of the Ophthalmic Innovation Technology Program at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai Hospital.

Lanchulev expects additional clinical trials to begin within the next 12 months to further evaluate the technology for treating patients with glaucoma, as well as for pupil dilation. He believes the first micro-therapeutic formulations could be available for consumers by 2020. Lanchulev added that the microdosing approach could eventually be used to treat a wide variety of eye diseases and conditions, such as dry eye, allergic eye disease, and infections. He also believes that the smart electronics of the platform will be used for digital health applications, such as compliance monitoring by both patients and physicians.

Ask More Questions For Better Eye Care

Compare a patient’s self-reported eye symptoms to their electronic medical record and clear discrepancies can be seen. A study from the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center revealed wide disparities in the content of pre-appointment patient questionnaires and what a clinician wrote down to document the visit. The study, published in JAMA Ophthalmology, analyzed the symptoms of 162 Kellogg patients. Each completed a 10-point survey while waiting to see a physician; questions came from sources including the National Institutes of Health Toolbox.

“We found pretty noticeable differences between the two,” says Maria Woodward, M.D., M.S., an assistant professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences at U-M. “I think certainly the biggest takeaway is when people are presented things in different ways, they tell you different things.”

The doctors treating these patients weren’t told about the surveys, or that their record-keeping would be reviewed for comparison. The contrast was stark: Of the study’s group, “exact agreement” between an individual’s survey and what appeared on their medical record occurred in only 38 patients.

A Need For Focus

Symptom reporting drove the inconsistencies between surveys and medical records, the study found. The top discordant issue: glare. Of patients reporting concern about glare on their surveys, 91 percent didn’t have it on their medical record.

Eye redness was second-most common – 80 percent had no medical record mention – followed by eye pain – 74.4 percent. Blurry vision was the only symptom to tilt the scales with more instances of inclusion in medical records than in questionnaires.

As a result, other doctors treating the same patient in future visits could have an incomplete picture of their symptoms. Perhaps more risky, because digital medical records are increasingly used to guide clinical practice or research, the collective data may be shortsighted or misleading in some scenarios. “Many parties in health care use the electronic health records now and they expect the data to accurately reflect the interaction with the doctor,” Woodward said.

Explanations for the medical record/doctor-patient disconnect are understandable, with neither party at fault. The doctor-patient relationship is more nuanced than what is reflected in the medical record. A patient might not choose to mention all of their symptoms. Doctor dialogue may follow a conversational path versus a point-by-point checklist.

Time constraints of record keeping in the electronic chart can also be an issue. And not every detail of a given appointment — particularly minor concerns — is necessarily worth documenting. “The concern highlighted by this research is that important symptoms may be overlooked,” Woodward added. “If a patient has severe symptoms, all of those symptoms should be documented and addressed.”

Gaining Greater Clarity

The study highlights an opportunity to improve lines of communication between patients and doctors. For example, implementing pre-appointment eye symptom questionnaires similar to those in the study could prove simple and effective. A similar pilot program is underway in Woodward’s clinic. “This is definitely a pathway I see as very feasible to resolving this disconnect in the near future; the infrastructure is already there,” she says.

The concept also could help bring more clarity to what ends up on a patient’s medical record. Because the surveys Woodward and her team used asked participants to assess their conditions’ severity on a numeric scale, results could help practitioners better evaluate the depth of a patient’s symptoms — and even identify concerns that might have gone unnoticed.

The use of a self-report system before seeing the doctor could really change the conversation between the doctor and the patient. Rather than spending time identifying symptoms, doctors and patients could be talking about how to manage severe symptoms.

Top Reasons Why Wheat Germ Oil Is A Must Have

Those who have been introduced to or are well versed in the world of healthy, organic eating are familiar with wheat germ. It is similar to wheat grass, which is a green shot filled with antioxidants. It has cleansing and restorative properties that help the gut, digestive system and internal regulation of certain organs. Wheat germ oil, which is derived from the wheat grain kernels, actually has a number of positive effects that may be overlooked and under-appreciated by some.

Wheat germ oil is full of necessary and essential vitamins and nutrients. Magnesium, potassium, vitamin B complex and folic acid are some of the components within the oil itself. Along with the antioxidant properties, it is suggested for use on the skin in order to halt the signs of aging. Wheat germ has the same effect on the inside by helping to prevent cardiovascular diseases and cancer. The oil form can be used as part of a regimented skin care routine by providing the necessary amount of moisture that the skin so desperately needs. It will also help to protect the skin from environmental-free radicals that can sometimes cause the effects of aging.

Wheat germ oil is also known to boost energy. This is primarily due to the octacosanol that is within its compositional makeup. With this type of saturated, primary alcohol, the ability to generate energy naturally is increased. This has been used as a form of naturally boosting energy in athletes for years. The wheat germ oil provides the energy and the oxygen for them to perform at their optimum level. There are several places in which you can purchase food grade wheat germ oil that can be used specifically for this purpose.

This oil can also be used to help regulate your mood. Some people may find that they are irritable, tired or overstressed, while many may just write this off as typical and something that is just a part of life. It can actually be lessened and improved with the right nutritional supplementation and diet. If you find that you’re constantly on edge and can’t function the way that you need to, this oil can help. It helps to provide ease and calm to your system via the omega 3 fatty acids and the vitamin B complex.

Another great component of this oil is its ability to help correct and treat skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis, and dry, cracked skin. This oil can do your skin a tremendous amount of good. This is because when applied topically, much in a similar way as when it’s used on the face, it can soothe and repair your skin. The high amount of vitamin E is naturally restorative and healing for the skin.

You can purchase wheat germ oil online from several companies at amazon.com.

 

Large Doses Of Vitamin C May Reduce Cold Duration

The importance of vitamin C on the common cold and immune system is well documented. In fact, there are products that are chock full of vitamin C that are supposed to bolster the immune system and even prevent the onset of sickness. A new study is trying to distinctly pinpoint the connection between the amount of vitamin C ingested and its effects on common cold symptoms and their duration.

Vitamin C has an immense and formative effect on various types of infections. The common cold has been one of the most universally studied infections and the majority of the controlled trials only tested a modest dosage of the vitamin per day. What if the optimal dose is much more and what if, taken consistently, it can substantially shorten the amount of time you experience cold symptoms?

Upping The Dose

Dr. Hemila, who resides in Finland, wanted to dig deeper into this possibility. She upped the daily dose of vitamin C to at least 15 grams per day and saw a definite effect on duration of symptoms and the overall ability to still function in some capacity while fighting off the cold. Certain strains of the cold can feel more like the flu and can have the sufferer in bed for most of their highly symptomatic days.

The doctor noted: “Given the consistent effect of vitamin C on the duration of colds, and its safety and low cost, it would be worthwhile for individual common cold patients to test whether therapeutic 8 grams per day of vitamin C is beneficial for them. Self-dosing of vitamin C must be started as soon as possible after the onset of common cold symptoms to be most effective.”

It’s also good to note that during cold and flu season, having a higher level of vitamin C in your system will actually ward off the ability for the infection to fester and have a place to grow when your levels are already a bit higher than normal. Vitamin C has countless benefits but shortening the lifespan of a cold is impressive. The immune system is a highly complex thing and is fundamentally strengthened in the presence of vitamin C.

Speeding The Healing Process

Vitamin C can also actively help speed up the wound healing process as well as strengthen and maintain the body’s bones and teeth. The wound healing process is similar to the internal healing process from an infection. The body tissues are emboldened and strengthened to heal wherever it is lacking cell composition in a compromised state because of a cold infection or because of a cut or bruise.

Oranges are a great source of vitamin C, but you would actively have to consume quite a high number of oranges a day to achieve the amount of vitamin C talked about here. It’s best to consume a supplement, either in pill or powdered form. Powdered form may be best as it often tastes very pleasant and you can better control the amounts you are taking with powder.

You’ll likely also notice a positive change in your skin and your bodily fluids when you up the amount of vitamin C you take consistently. So stock up on the vitamin C, have plenty in your medicine cabinet, and make sure to not just take it when you’re feeling sick. Being preemptive with your supplements is a much better option.

Why Quality Of Diet Means More In Adulthood

There has been a recent steady incline in the number of people that struggle with obesity and weight-related issues like diabetes and heart disease. This shift can be intrinsically linked to certain lifestyle practices and diet choices. A recent study which questioned the importance of diet quality found that a substantial and healthy diet should be measured by four different variables. It was found that maintaining a diet high in quality helps to prevent certain weight issues and troublesome illnesses such as fatty liver disease.

This study took a group of individuals over a wide spectrum and had them go through various body scans, complete various tests and pinpoint their level of health. It found that those with long-term access to healthier foods are at less of a risk of developing cardio metabolic conditions that can be very debilitating and potentially dangerous. The researchers explained that it is quality of diet, not quantity, that matters most. It was found that healthcare providers should continually advocate their patients incorporate a quality healthy diet that they follow for the long haul, for the majority of their lives.

Fat Distribution

The study also found that the distribution of fat that occurs in certain places on the body is indicative of specific  diseases and precursors for more health trouble in the future. Gone are the days when we would take into consideration the Body Mass Index, BMI, on a person as some specific indicator of health when it actually isn’t. One of the most critical features of developing a metabolic issue or chronic consequence is fat distribution. Fat that accumulates in the midsection and around the liver can contribute to the diseases mentioned above. These diseases are some of the leading causes of death in our society.

This also speaks to the prevalence and popularity of organic foods in recent years. While the product itself matters tremendously, how it was farmed and raised matters a lot too. There are so many different additives and chemicals that are used in our food supply system that we are not often cognizant of. This can be incredibly damaging to the body. It’s the difference between knowing that certain types of fish are great for you and provide a tremendous source of healthy fats, but then realizing that there is a staunch difference between fish that is farm raised and fish that is wild.

High-Quality Foods

Quality over quantity is usually a saying that is geared toward other issues but the prevalence of health changes on a national level cannot be ignored. While we live in the land of excess, we have so much access to foods that are simply no good for us. Fried, battered, sugared-up dishes can be found on almost every street corner. Snacking becomes an easy way to manage and stuff down feelings yet what many people don’t understand is that they are bargaining with their health when they partake in these practices so readily. Start to take your health seriously and understand what you need to do to change the course of what might happen next.

As our bodies and metabolism shifts, we need to be mindful of how to also shift our diets to reflect that change. Protect your heart, blood, organs and mind by eating a balanced and nutrient-rich diet of high quality.

Cinnamon’s Effect On High Fat Consumption

In a recent study, a group of researchers had an interest in understanding how cinnamon affects the way that fat can lead to certain cardiovascular damage. They used an animal study, dealing with rats, to understand if the fat-storing process would be slower in the face of cinnamon. There were interesting results that can easily be tied to the positive qualities that cinnamon possesses. It is naturally anti-inflammatory as well as provides antioxidant properties to aid the body’s fat storage processes.

During the course of the study, the rats were given cinnamon supplements for three months on a daily basis. They were also fed a high-fat diet throughout the course of the study. The key findings were that the rats weighed less overall than when they started; they also had less belly fat and better levels of sugar in their blood.

These two things directly impact insulin levels, which greatly improved within the rats. The rats that were fed the fat also had fewer molecules involved in the process where the fat gets stored directly on the body. Instead, there were more anti-inflammatory and antioxidant molecules that were present which helps to protect the body from an uptick of stress.

Incredible Benefits

This makes sense, especially as it relates to sugar and insulin levels, because many diabetics speak to the positive effects that cinnamon consumption has on them. Cinnamon has specific elements that help certain aspects of the body that affect metabolic syndrome, insulin sensitivity, and inflammation and body weight. Many weight loss and management programs speak to the benefits associated with cinnamon to this end. It is a powerful spice that does have incredible benefits to the body in a myriad of ways.

Fat composition is something we also need to understand more thoroughly as it relates to the body, bad cholesterol, good cholesterol and healthy fats. When people see and think of the word fat, they think in a very singular manner. But all fat is not bad, in fact, fat actually doesn’t typically make you fat. This is evidenced by several studies, as well as the one referenced above, that showed the rats weighing less overall at the end of the study. This isn’t just cinnamon’s doing.

Healthy Fats

Healthy fat is what the body can easily fed on and burn – things like avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, butter, and hard cheeses. Bad fats are trans fats like processed fats that come from the sugar and fat combination – items like packaged cakes, cookies, French fries, and greasy food. This is the distinction so many don’t properly understand.

Options such as cinnamon and apple cider vinegar, even turmeric and baking soda, are all positive entities that help the regulation of the insulin which helps to combat the sugar. Sugar is a highly addictive substance and many say it’s just as habit forming and enticing as certain drugs. Yet, it is absolutely ubiquitous in our food supply. The rate of diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease is climbing.

Fat alone does not lead to this issue and epidemic – a harmful and high sugar rate of consumption does. A diet that includes healthy fats is a good one. It’s the sneaky sugars that need to be better controlled and monitored. Cinnamon can help the effects that sugar has overall on your body.

Why Cohune Oil Is The Next Big Thing

Hopefully we have successfully introduced you to a plethora of oils you had no idea even existed. One of our goals is to help you foster a healthy lifestyle by providing you with the necessary information to find out what could potentially work for you. Depending on what you are looking to treat or correct, the amount of oils available to you are really tremendous and almost never run out. Today we’ll be introducing you to one of the treasures of the Belize islands that has been found to be an amazing oil to have in your collection.

Cohune oil production is one of the biggest causes for economic growth on the islands of Belize. In many rural parts of Belize, those who work in the jobs of extracting the oil have been doing this type of work for years and years. It’s not a very easy job and does require a specific amount of manual labor. Certain communities have been able to see their villages and spaces thrive because of the work done to extract, bottle and sell this oil. For consumers, this oil provides many different benefits that are worth noting.

Mosquitoes hate the scent that this oil gives off. For this very reason, many islands and tropical places find that it’s a great way to repel those pesky nuisances. With the rise of mosquito-bred diseases, many people are more vigilant than ever when it comes to protecting themselves from those blood suckers. Using this oil in an oil lamp will help to keep the bugs at bay while you are enjoying your summer camping trips or picnics. If you’re adventurous, you can even use the oil to make candles that naturally give off the aroma of the cohune oil.

Cohune oil is also great for the skin. Due to its softening and hydrating qualities, it can be used to make soaps specifically for the face and body. If you don’t want to go through the trouble of making the soap, you can easily buy the oil and just add some to your own cleanser or moisturizer. It provides an added element of nutrients that will have your skin looking wrinkle free and feeling incredibly supple and soft. This nut oil is even used in specific body butters to keep the skin well moisturized, which is incredibly important. Typically, keeping the skin properly moisturized can alleviate some skin concerns.

This oil has also been historically used as a means of seasoning certain dishes. Due to its very distinct taste, it can be added in food grade form to certain soups and dishes. Enjoying flavorful food is a part of many cultures and this oil contributes to the yummy tastiness of its region via this impressive and versatile oil. Order some to keep on hand for all the many ways it can be used.

You can purchase cohune oil online.

 

How To Prevent Hand Rashes In The Winter

One exceedingly tough thing about the winter months, besides shorter days and the stress of the holidays, is how the weather can badly compromise the skin of the hands. Sometimes the extra dryness in the air can lead to hands becoming irritated. Things such as washing dishes and constant hand washing can also contribute to this issue. What dermatologists have uncovered is that typically hand rashes occur because of something you touched, the environment, or something going on in your body.

“There are many reasons for hand rashes,” says Dr. Melissa Piliang, a board-certified dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. “The most common cause is eczema, but some hand rashes may have an allergic cause. Sometimes, an allergy can develop after years of touching the same things daily without a problem, like your wedding ring, skin care products or foods such as fish, garlic or citrus fruits.” There are certain ways that you can prevent these type of rashes from occurring on your hands. Preventative measures are not always 100 percent foul proof but they do often provide healthy benefits that can prevent issues.

Protective Gloves

Always try to wear protective gloves when doing gardening or housework of any kind – as well as when you’re doing the dishes, cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms, or touching any type of chemical or relatively foreign entity. As mentioned above, just because you’ve been able to touch something without issue for a portion of time, does not mean that will always be the case. It does not mean that an ingredient within a specific cleaner or fertilizer won’t cause your skin to start reacting badly.

Wear gloves out in cold temperatures. Protecting your hands isn’t just for chores. The chilling winds can be absolutely disastrous on hands if you aren’t mindful. Opt for insulated gloves when you are outside in low temperatures.

Moisturizing Cleanser

Choose a mild moisturizing cleanser. You have to wash your hands to keep up with basic hygiene. In doing so, you should be mindful of what you’re using on your hands. Make sure that there aren’t any harsh or stripping chemicals in your hand soap. Also, make sure to opt for a rich hand cream that will make sure to replenish the oils that are stripped away in the washing process. You should apply the cream immediately after washing and drying your hands.

Don’t let your hands get in a position to be dry because that’s the perfect breeding ground for irritated skin to take place. “Thousands of things can cause a hand rash, yet most hand rashes look a lot alike to the untrained eye. If you get a hand rash, see a board-certified dermatologist to help identify the cause and prevent it from becoming painful or disabling,” suggests Dr. Piliang.

Ointments

While there are certain anti-itch and rash ointments and creams you can purchase over the counter at your local drug store, you’ll want to check with a doctor to properly diagnosis the problem. It’s also possible that you’ll need an ointment that you can only get via a prescription if the rash is really bad or becomes something that you can’t easily control in other ways. Take care of your hands during these cold and bitter months. Prevent the onslaught of hand rashes.

Dentists Get Cracking On The Stem Cell Front

Stem cells. Few research discoveries hold as much promise of single-handedly expanding medical treatment options as they do. Miraculously able to act as transformers – either re-creating or morphing into a variety of cell types found within the organisms they originate from – stem cells offer humanity hope for new, more effective therapies against a number of chronic and terminal diseases. And finding them is surprisingly easy.

“Stem cells can be extracted from nearly any living tissue,” says Dr. James Mah, director of UNLV’s advanced education program in orthodontics, doctor of dental surgery, and dental researcher. “In fact, stem cells can even be found in tissues of the deceased.” But in spite of all their potential, there’s a catch: “The biggest challenges with stem cells are gathering enough of them to work with and keeping them viable until they are needed,” Dr. Mah said.

He and UNLV biomedical sciences professor Karl Kingsley – along with a handful of undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral dental students – decided to take on this challenge, cutting their teeth in stem cell research by exploring those pearly whites in new ways. In the process, they developed a new method for extracting large numbers of stem cells they could then preserve from a surprisingly abundant source: wisdom teeth.

“More and more adults – approximately 5 million throughout the country – have their wisdom teeth, or third molars, removed,” Kingsley said. “Extracting teeth is relatively common among patients undergoing orthodontic treatments. And the majority of those teeth are healthy, containing viable tooth root pulp that offers opportunities for reproducing cells that have been damaged or destroyed by injuries or disease.”

A Tough Nut To Crack

Tooth root pulp is home to two types of prized stem cells. The first, pluripotent stem cells, have the ability to become any cell in the organism from which they’re drawn. The second, multi-potent stem cells, transform into specific types of cells within that organism. Knowing where to find these cells was one thing. Recovering them, the researchers knew, would be another.

Common methods for extracting root pulp involve drilling into, removing the top of, or shattering the tooth. Each method has its detriments, Dr. Mah said, all of which lead to a low stem-cell recovery rate: damaging heat from drilling, corrosive elements in the water teeth are rinsed in, contaminating enamel particulates, and more. So the researchers sought to discover how to extract pulp in a manner that consistently produced a higher yield. “Initially, the answer seemed simple: crack the tooth in half like a nut and remove the pulp,” Dr. Mah said.

Unfortunately, teeth have irregular surfaces and non-uniform shapes, so cracking teeth usually produces the same shattering effect as a hammer, thereby reducing the number of viable stem cells.

Happy Ghag, then a dental student working with Dr. Mah and Kingsley on the project, thought he might have solution to the dilemma. He approached Mohamed Trabia, UNLV Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering’s associate dean for research, graduate studies, and computing, and Brendan O’Toole, Mendenhall Innovation Program director and mechanical engineering researcher, to discuss fracture analysis.

“Happy had reviewed fracture mechanics literature and decided on a technique that scored the tooth to enable a clean break, similar to the process for custom-cut glass,” O’Toole said. After a few discussions, some of Engineering’s personnel helped Ghag fabricate the device.

The completed instrument, which the research team facetiously dubbed the Tooth Cracker 5000, uses a clamp to hold a tooth in position for a cutting tool to score the surface and a blade to crack it. The result: a perfectly halved tooth, with immediate access to undamaged and uncontaminated root pulp. For O’Toole, this was just another successful collaboration between the two units, as mechanical engineering had been interacting with the School of Dental Medicine’s orthodontic program for a few years.

“Orthodontics, by definition, is a bioengineering topic,” O’Toole said. “They design and place mechanisms in people’s mouths that help move teeth into optimum position. The interaction between our departments makes a lot of sense.” With the Tooth Cracker 5000 complete, Dr. Mah and Kingsley tested the fracture rate of 25 teeth, achieving a 100 percent rate of success. The fracture idea and design prototype had worked perfectly.

Excavating For Success

Now that the researchers had cracked the challenge of accessing the root pulp, it was on to determining how many viable stem cells they could recover from the fractured teeth. Average pulp recovery rates employing common extraction methods – shattering, drilling, etc. – come in at around 20 percent, Dr. Mah noted.

It was time to test the mettle of their new fracture method. Dr. Mah and Kingsley dyed 31 fractured teeth pulp samples to highlight any viable stem cells the teeth contained. Dead cells would turn blue when exposed to the dye. Living cells would appear clear. They looked under the microscope. Eighty percent of their extracted cells remained clear after the dye was introduced.

“Saying the test results were promising is a gross understatement,” Dr. Mah said. “We realized we’d invented an extraction process that produced four times the recovery success rate for viable stem cells. The potential application is enormous.”

Replicating For A Rainy Day

After mastering fracturing and extraction, it was time for the team to determine what kind of stem cells could be harvested and how best to store them.

Normal cells within the body typically die after 10 replications or passages, whereas stem cells can replicate indefinitely, Kingsley indicated. To isolate the stem cells from the rest of the root pulp, the researchers harvested cells from the pulp and cultured them on a petri dish. Once the cells covered the dish, they split the culture in half and repeated the process between 10 and 20 times.

By the end of the culturing, all non-stem cells had expired. Kingsley captured the remaining stem cells and collected their ribonucleic acid (RNA), which is converted into proteins that become biomarkers his team could use to characterize each stem cell type and its respective rate of replication.

“Scientists around the world are trying to figure out what type of stem cells can be coaxed into becoming new cells or different tissue types,” Kingsley said. “We already know some populations of dental pulp stem cells can be converted into neurons, which could become therapies for cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.”

Kingsley noted that teams of scientists around the world are working with animal models to test using stem cells to treat neurological conditions. Early indications, he said, are positive. Although there is still a need for additional tests, Kingsley indicated that the next logical step in this research would be to test stem cells in humans to treat any number of chronic illnesses people face.

“There are potential applications of stem cells for multiple diseases, including cancer, arthritis, and lung disease,” Kingsley said. “The next challenge is reliably collecting the stem cells early enough and storing them successfully so they can be used when needed.”

Preserving The Prize

According to multiple studies, the number of pluripotent stem cells found in teeth decrease dramatically after adults reach the age of 30, Kingsley said. However, people could donate stem cells found in their teeth much like they may donate their blood prior to a surgical procedure or preserve their umbilical cords. If people elected to have their wisdom teeth removed or were having a root canal performed, their stem cells could be harvested at that time and stored for future use.

Creating that possibility has led Dr. Mah and Kingsley to the next step in their research: the cryogenic process. “There is no standard cryogenesis, or freezing process, for storing stem cells,” Kingsley said. “There are multiple organizations that collect and freeze teeth for future studies and use, but there is no evidence about the long-term effects of cryopreservation. We can’t answer yet just how long the cells will survive.”

In 2011, dental student Allison Tomlin studied different populations of stem cells and their viability after being thawed. Every year since, Kingsley and his team have thawed a portion of Tomlin’s sample and evaluated the viability of remaining stem cells.

Initial findings – which Kingsley, Tomlin, and R. Michael Sanders, clinical sciences professor in the dental school, published in their Biomaterials and Biomechanics in Bioengineering article The Effects of Cryopreservation on Human Dental Pulp-derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells – indicate that rapidly dividing cells have higher rates of viability year after year compared to slower dividing cells. If these results remain constant, the stem cells could be sorted before the freezing process based on when they might be needed.

“The work Dr. Kingsley and I are doing is part of a paradigm shift,” Dr. Mah said. “Our fracturing process could hasten the collection and cryogenesis process, thereby preserving a high stem-cell count that furthers research into how using these cells can aid healing and potentially cure diseases.”

Approaches To Using Nutmeg Oil

Consistently known as a common spice that is frequently used to cook with, or even to season hot refreshments, nutmeg has numerous different uses that many may not actually be mindful of – particularly in its oil or butter form. The nutmeg tree itself is often found to be exceptionally tall in its natural habitat, in some cases coming up to 70 feet in length. The seed is where the benefits and flavors of nutmeg are directly derived from. Despite the fact it’s typically used in a ground up consistency, nutmeg oil and butter are both turning out to be progressively well known because of the numerous medical advantages. Here are some impressive benefits associated with the oil itself.

Bad Breath Cure

Many individuals who experience the ill effects of awful breath, or halitosis, do so on account of poor oral cleanliness, medical problems or, on the other hand, a microorganism that has flourished in the back of the mouth or throat. Because of the antibacterial properties of nutmeg, a drop or two in some warm water is a decent approach to intensify your oral care. Rinse with this liquid mixture twice every day to keep awful breath under control.

Heartburn Relief

Sometimes you may struggle with digestive issues on account of what you ingest. This is pretty common. Sometimes the family barbecue or a night out on the town has you eating a bit more than you should be. This prompts many stomach-related problems and issues – one of the most common being indigestion. Abdominal distress, cramping, bloating and the runs are standard side effects that many suffer from. A touch of nutmeg oil can offer some relief. Add a couple of drops to a carrier oil and rub it into your stomach. Additonally, you can add a few drops to your bathwater after a day of too much eating.

Skincare

Because of its disinfectant and antibacterial properties, skin flourishes off of this sort of oil. It can even be used to help diminish the outward indications of aging. Are you experiencing untimely wrinkles, hanging, or dull skin? Take a stab at including this oil into your regimen and watch how your skin is changed. Interestingly enough, it is common for skincare items to fuse nutmeg into their products. You can basically include two or three drops of the oil to your face wash and enjoy the effects the nutmeg oil has to offer.

Sedative

Getting enough rest is so indispensable to our physical facilities and how we handle ourselves consistently. When you experience difficulty dozing off from lack of sleep, it can totally divert from your capacity to perform at the level you should. Sleep deprivation caused by the inability to fall and stay asleep can feel miserable. Prescription medication can be expensive and also incredibly risky. Only a couple drops of nutmeg oil can unwind the body and prompt soothing, profound rest. A couple of drops blended with coconut oil, rubbed on your chest, neck and shoulders, will help relieve you and calm your nerves. Nutmeg oil enhances your natural rest receptors and can be used daily. Attempt this strategy around 30 to 45 minutes before bedtime.

You can purchase nutmeg oil online from several companies at amazon.com.

The Avocado: A Way To Thwart Metabolic Syndrome

There are many different health risk factors that are a growing concern to countless individuals. Things like high blood sugar, blood pressure, increased body mass index, cholesterol, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. A new review is investigating how one particular superfood can potentially help a variety of these metabolic issues. Avocado is regarded as one of the most nutritionally dense foods you can consume. As such, it is believed that its tremendous components can potentially protect the body from some of these health concerns.

Avocados have a high lipid profile which helps to increase your good cholesterol levels, lower your bad cholesterol levels and alter your triglycerides. What’s incredible about the avocado is that the peel, seed, leaves and flesh all have differing affects on metabolic syndrome. The amount of fatty acids, minerals, carotenoids and vitamins are exceptional across the board. “The lipid-lowering, antihypertensive, anti diabetic, anti-obesity, anti thrombotic, antiatheroscherotic and cardioprotective effects of avocado have been demonstrated in several studies,” an author for the Phytotherapy Research review stated.

Lipid-Lowering Properties

What’s so impressive about avocados that many other healthy foods can’t claim is how beneficial they are to so many different aspects of health. With their lipid lowering properties, the heart can thrive and arteries won’t be unnecessarily clogged by the gunk and grit that comes with so many other savory types of fats that actually do more harm than good. The hypertension that comes with a bad diet is also subverted in the face of avocado. The reason avocado is such a rariety is that it’s a healthy fat and a vegetable. So it does more than many other foods can do.

The fat content in the food is great for diabetics because the struggle with carbs and sugar are constantly ongoing for them. Not only can a diet in fats help overcome that issue by balancing out their blood sugar and allowing healthy fats to fuel their bodies, but also the fact that avocado helps to better regulate the levels of insulin that diabetics so desperately need. There has been much said about fat in our food industry and much of the low-fat craze was actually very harmful to the general public. Sugar is often more dangerous than fat even comes close to being.

Extraordinary Benefits

Sugar actually contributes more to obesity, weight gain and the sudden increase in diabetes than anything else. Yet fat is blamed for people getting fat. It’s simply what we believe and what we understand about how food works. Avocados are nutrient rich, flavorful fruits that go well with many different foods. Not only are they tasty but the benefits they are shown to provide simply can’t be found in any other single food item. Pretty extraordinary.

The amount of vitamins and minerals in avocados are exceptional as it’s a great source of potassium and calcium, both things that are essential to the body. Not only do these things help the nervous system and how strong bones are, but they both effect mood and your brain as well. Avocados are also high in electrolytes which are essential for the overall functioning of your immune system. This helps you ward off things like colds, flus and viruses.

All in all, avocados are pretty close to pure nutritional gold.

Get Those Steps In: Climbing Stairs Is A Practical Fitness Boost

Ensuring that you are getting the necessary amounts of exercise can sometimes seem difficult. Especially if you are leading a very busy life. Remaining active is imperative and some simply felt that they don’t have the time to  hit the gym as they would like. There is a solution to this issue as researchers have found that stair climbing is a great way to maintain heart health and boost overall fitness. This is a great option as stairs are everywhere and can be used at any time.

Having no time or zero access to a gym is no longer a viable excuse as climbing stairs in intense bursts can get the job done. This helps to elevate the heart rate and gives the body a way to work through activating important and vital muscle groups. This is a great option for those who have to sit at a desk all day or who have sedentary jobs. “Stair climbing is a form of exercise anyone can do in their own home, after work or during their lunch hour. This research takes interval training out of the lab and makes it accessible to everyone,” says Martin Gibala, who is a professor of kinesiology at McMaster and who also lead the study.

Research And Benefits

Researchers took 31 sedentary individuals with otherwise healthy profiles and split them into two groups. Each group had a different exercise protocol and a 10-minute time commitment that included a warm-up, cool down and recovery time period. The sessions were done over the course of a six-week period at three times a week. The first group did 20 second intervals of climbing as fast as they could while the second group climbed up and down a flight of stairs for at least 60 seconds.

After the six-week period had elapsed, results showed that by doing this type of activity, cardiorespiratory fitness was increased. This has imperative benefits for the overall framework of health and wellness. Keeping your body in motion will do tremendous things for your heart, brain and other organs as well. Using a portion of your lunch break to climb stairs to get your steps in is a great use of your time. If you can take 15 to 20 minutes after your work day to go up and down some stairs nearby it will do well for your joints and muscles. It will also help you maintain a healthy weight.

Exercise is an integral part of life and a healthy existence. It is a false notion that you need to slave away tirelessly at the gym or in an aerobics class to have a specific level of fitness. You only need to walk. With the added dimension of climbing, you are elevating your body and heart rate to another level. One that it desperately needs to keep functioning at its optimal level. It’s also important to note that simply taking the stairs instead of an escalator or elevator is also a great option for increased health and fitness. Even if you don’t have the full 20 to 30 minutes of allotted time that is recommended, any time when you get your heart rate elevated via psychical activity is a good thing. Try it out the next time you see a set of stairs nearby.