• Cutting a Round Cake on scientific principles

    Jul 19 • Hacks-Beyond Science • 3600 Views

    Cutting a Round Cake on Scientific Principles

    cutting a round cake on scientific principles

    Scientific principles behind cutting a round cake

    Scientific principles behind cutting a round cake

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  • fake articles in science journals

    Over 100 published science journal articles just gibberish

    Mar 1 • Featured, News, Research • 13945 Views

    Over 100 published science journal articles  just gibberish

    Do scientific papers ever seem like unreadable gibberish to you? Well, sometimes they really are.

    Some 120 papers published in established scientific journals over the last few years have been found to be frauds, created by nothing more than an automated word generator that puts random, fancy-sounding words together in plausible sentence structures. As a result they have been pulled from the journals that originally published them.

    The fake papers are in the fields of computer science and math andhave titles such as “Application and Research of Smalltalk Harnessing Based on Game-Theoretic Symmetries”; “An Evaluation of E-Business with Fin”; and “Simulating Flip-Flop Gates Using Peer-to-Peer Methodologies.” The authors of those papers did not respond to requests for comment from FoxNews.com.

    This is not the first time nonsense papers have been published.

    In 1996, as a test, a physics professor submitted a fake paper to the philosophy journal Social Text. His paper argued that gravity is “postmodern” because it is “free from any dependence on the concept of objective truth.” Yet it was accepted and published.

    ‘We are in the process of investigating… [and] taking the papers down as quickly as possible.’

    – Eric Merkel-Sobotta, a spokesman for the publisher Springer

    But how could gibberish end up in respectable science papers? The man who discovered the recent frauds said it showed slipping standards among scientists.

    “High pressure on scientists leads directly to too prolific and less meaningful publications,” computer scientist Cyril Labbé of Joseph Fourier University in France, told FoxNews.com.

    But he has no explanation as to why the journals published meaningless papers.

    “They all should have been evaluated by a peer-review process. I’ve no explanation for them being here. I guess each of them needs an investigation,” he said.

    The publishers also could not explain it, admitting that the papers “are all nonsense.”

    “We are in the process of investigating… [and] taking the papers down as quickly as possible. A placeholder notice will be put up once the papers have been removed. Since we publish over 2,200 journals and 8,400 books annually, this will take some time,” Eric Merkel-Sobotta, a spokesman for the publisher Springer, which published 16 of the fake papers, told FoxNews.com.

    The fraud was first reported in the journal Nature.

    Labbé has made it his mission to detect fakes, and ironically has published a paper in a Springer journal about how to automatically detect fake papers. He also built a website that detects whether papers are computer generated.

    “Our tools are very efficient to detect SCIgen papers and also to detect duplicates and plagiarisms,” Labbé said. SCIgen is the program that generates random papers.

    Some professors said that pay rules that base professor salaries on the number of papers they publish may lead to fakes.

    “Most schools have merit raise systems of some kind, and a professor’s merit score is affected by his or her success in publishing scholarly papers,” Robert Archibald, a professor of economics at the College of William and Mary, who studies the economics of higher education, told FoxNews.com.

    He noted that because other professors may not read the paper, “publishing a paper that was computer-generated might help with merit pay.”

    Labbé also said that overly numerical measures might encourage fraud.

    “In aiming at measuring science it is perturbing science,” he said.

    The author of this piece, Maxim Lott, can be reached on twitter at @maximlott or at maxim.lott@foxnews.com

    Over 100 published science journal articles  just gibberish

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  • Alcohol effect on women

    Alcohol effect on women

    Dec 27 • HEALTH • 3495 Views

    Alcohol effect on Women

    Alcohol affects women differently than men. Find out about the risks that women face when they drink and how to know if you might have a problem with alcohol.

     

    The effects of alcohol are stronger in women than in men, and women who drink too much alcohol are more likely to suffer from significant alcohol problems than men, studies show. In addition, women who have alcohol problems have higher death rates due to suicide, accidents, and other health related issues — more than twice the rate of men. Given these facts, you may be wondering: Why do women drink, and what can you do to enjoy alcohol without risks to your health?

     

    Understanding Why Women Drink
    Women drink for many of the same reasons that men drink: to relax, to gain confidence in social situations, to get to sleep, and to relieve stress.
    Other reasons why women may drink alcohol include the following:

    • Women are more likely to drink if they have problems with a loved one.
    • Alcohol problems are more common in women who are unmarried, divorced, or separated.
    • Women whose husbands have alcohol problems are more likely to drink themselves.
    • Women who have been sexually abused are more likely to drink to excess.
    • Women may start out drinking more. Seventeen percent of ninth grade girls admit that they had more than five drinks at one time in the past month. This is a higher rate of drinking than for boys of the same age.
    Alcohol Affects Women Differently Than Men

    The blood alcohol level in a woman who just drank the same amount of alcohol as a man will be higher because women are usually smaller, have less water in their bodies, and metabolize alcohol more slowly than men.

    This means that the brain and liver of a woman who drinks are exposed to more alcohol pound for pound than a man’s brain and liver. Women who have alcohol problems may drink less than men but still experience the same level of impairment. They can also develop liver damage and other alcohol-related health problems more quickly than men, even though they may be drinking less.

    Benefits of Alcohol in Women

    If you are a woman over the age of 55, one drink per day may lower your risk for heart disease. Moderate drinking for a woman is defined as one alcoholic drink per day. This translates to one 5-ounce glass of wine, a 12-ounce bottle of beer, or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor.

    On the other hand, women who drink beyond moderation may increase their risk of heart disease. If you are younger than 55, there may be no health benefits to alcohol consumption.

    Risks of Alcohol in Women

    Too much alcohol consumption clearly has risks for both men and women. Other risks to women who drink alcohol include:
    • Cancer. Women who drink alcohol may increase their risk of breast cancer and head and neck cancers.
    • Brain damage. Alcohol kills brain cells and women are more susceptible to this alcohol effect than men.
    • Pregnancy. Alcohol can affect a woman’s ability to get pregnant. In addition, alcohol use during pregnancy can have serious harmful consequences on the unborn child. No amount of alcohol consumption is safe during pregnancy.
    • Victimization. Women who have alcohol problems have a higher risk of becoming victims of sexual assault or other acts of violence.
    • Depression and personal injury. In addition, alcohol consumption can contribute to depression,sleeping problems, heart failure, falls, and poor nutrition in women, especially older women.
    • Cancer. Women who drink alcohol may increase their risk of breast cancer and head and neck cancers. One recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that consuming as few as three to six alcoholic drinks a week may be linked to a 15 percent increased risk of breast cancer.
    Warning Signs of Alcohol Problems

    If the effects of alcohol are causing problems for you or for others, you may have an alcohol problem. The risk of developing an alcohol problem is greater if you have a family history of alcoholism. Some warning signs of alcohol problems are:

    • Missing work or school because of drinking
    • Driving while impaired by alcohol
    • Having a strong urge to drink
    • Needing more alcohol than you previously did to get a pleasurable response
    • Finding that people who care about you are concerned about your drinking
    • Having more than seven drinks per week
    • Finding yourself drinking alone or early in the day

    If you think you might have an alcohol problem, it’s important to get help. Experts believe that the hardest part of getting better is admitting you have a problem. Contact Alcoholics Anonymous or talk to your doctor if you are concerned that you may have an alcohol problem.

    Learn more in the Everyday Health Women’s Health Center.

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  • Party Girls...Caution : Higher risk of liver disease in Women drinkers

    Party Girls…Caution : Higher risk of liver disease in Women drinkers

    Dec 27 • HEALTH, Health News • 3348 Views

    Higher risk of liver disease in Women drinkers

     

    Women are more vulnerable to the damaging effects of alcohol than men because they are generally smaller in stature and have less body water, a US scientist has claimed.

    According to Dr Howard Monsour, chief of hepatology at Houston Methodist Hospital, women who are already predisposed by genetics to have liver disease should limit their alcohol consumption or stay away from alcohol altogether.

    “There is a misconception that you have to be an alcoholic to develop serious liver disease. Not true. In fact, if you have a genetic disposition, drinking more than a moderate amount could be very damaging, especially for women,” Monsour said.

    About 20 to 30 per cent of the population has a genetic disposition to cirrhosis of the liver and Monsour said it is important for people to know if they have a family history of cirrhosis before making the decisions to drink large amounts of alcohol.

    “One drink a day might be too much for a woman who has a genetic pre-disposition to cirrhosis of the liver,” Monsour said.

    “One drink for a woman has about twice the effect as it does for the same amount consumed by a man,” he said. The liver stores energy and nutrients and produces proteins and enzymes necessary for optimum health. It protects the body from disease and eliminates toxins like alcohol. “When women drink the same amount less is dispersed and the concentration is higher. They also have a lower activity of a metabolising enzyme in the stomach called alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH),” Monsour said.

    ADH helps convert alcohol to acetaldehyde, which eventually is metabolised to carbon dioxide and water. This causes a larger amount of the alcohol to reach the blood and eventually in susceptible persons can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, a disease that normally has no visible signs until liver damage is too extensive.

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  • BioPen repair broken bone 3D printing

    BioPen repair broken bone 3D printing

    Dec 27 • Innovation • 3113 Views

    Biopen in Action:

    BioPen repair broken bone 3D printing

    BioPen repair broken bone 3D printing

    Doctors may soon be able to ‘draw’ new bone, skin and muscle on to patients, after scientists created a pen-like device that can apply human cells directly on to seriously injured people.

    The device contains stem cells and growth factors and will give surgeons greater control over where the materials are deposited.

    It will also reduce the time the patient is in surgery by delivering live cells and growth factors directly to the site of injury, accelerating the regeneration of functional bone and cartilage, scientists said.

    The device developed at the University of Wollongong (UOW) will eliminate the need to harvest cartilage and grow it for weeks in a lab.

    The Bio Pen works similar to 3D printing methods by delivering cell material inside a bio-polymer such as alginate, a seaweed extract, protected by a second, outer layer of gel material.

    The two layers of gel are combined in the pen head as it is extruded onto the bone surface and the surgeon ‘draws’ with the ink to fill in the damaged bone section.

    A low powered ultra-violet light source is fixed to the device that solidifies the inks during dispensing, providing protection for the embedded cells while they are built up layer-by-layer to construct a 3D scaffold in the wound site.

    Once the cells are ‘drawn’ onto the surgery site they will multiply, become differentiated into nerve cells, muscle cells or bone cells and will eventually turn from individual cells into a thriving community of cells in the form of a functioning a tissue, such as nerves, or a muscle.

    The device can also be seeded with growth factors or other drugs to assist regrowth and recovery, while the hand-held design allows for precision in theatre and ease of transportation.

    The BioPen prototype was designed and built using the 3D printing equipment in the labs at Wollongong and was handed over to clinical partners at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, led by Professor Peter Choong, who will work on optimising the cell material for use in clinical trials.

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  • IMP privacy settings you should enable in iOS 7 immediately

    Installed IO7 : IMP privacy settings you should enable iOS7 immediately… Check U R PRIVACY…..

    Sep 27 • Hacks-Beyond Science • 2447 Views

    IMP privacy settings you should enable in iOS 7 immediately

    Summary: If you downloaded and installed iOS 7, there are a few privacy settings that are turned off by default that you should enable right away.

    Data backed up? Check.

    iOS 7 installed? Check.

    Data restored? Check.

    Life is good and time to fire up your favorite iTunes Radio station, right?

    Not so fast.

    Before diving into the beautiful, parallaxy, candy-colored world that is iOS 7, you need to adjust your privacy settings on your iPhone or iPad. If you like your Privacy, that is. Installing iOS 7 is pretty easy and, even if you don’t back up your data ahead of time, it will usually put everything back right where it belongs.

    Simple, right?

    Well yes, that’s how iOS 7 is designed to work. But don’t let Apple’s thin Helvetica Neue and and serene, dynamic wallpapers lull you into complacency. A whole number iOS upgrade is a big deal and it resets a bunch of your settings and adds other new ones that you should be aware of

    Apple hides its System Services settings all the way down at the bottom of the Privacy > Location Services panel. If you’ve owned your iPhone for more than a few months you’ll have dozens (if not a hundred plus) app lists on this screen, making it a very long scroll. If you actually make it to the bottom of the list (most people don’t) you’ll see the fabled System Services setting and the explanation of what that little purple arrow icons means.

    ios7-system-services-status-bar-ogrady-400x600

     

    Learn this screen and commit the meanings of the three little arrow icons to memory. Then notice when they appear in the top right of your iOS menu bar and come back to Settings > Privacy > Location Services to see which apps are using your location data. Audit this screen frequently to disable location access for apps that don’t need it.

    Then touch System Services to reveal the most important privacy settings on your iPhone or iPad.

    • Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services
    ios7-system-services-ogrady-400x600

    I recommend turning OFF the following:

    • Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services > Diagnostics & Usage

    The Diagnostics & Usage setting monitors everything you do on your iPhone and “anonymously” sends it to Apple for “improving iOS.” Whatever. It’s just like when all the major software companies changed their install screens from “send usage data” to “customer experience program” or some such  If that option is on you’re basically giving Apple your permission to monitor and record everything you do on your device.

    • Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services > Frequent Locations

    Frequent Locations is equally bad, if not more so. There was a big stir about this when iOS 7 beta 5 was released and the data it captures about your “frequent locations” can be downright creepy. In fact, for many it brought back memories of the Locationgate fiasco from iOS 4 in April 2011 when a “database of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers around your current location” (a.k.a. Consolidated.db) was discovered on iOS 4 devices — and the computers they’re backed up to.

    • Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services > Location-Based iAds

    iAds created it’s own privacy uproar in June 2010 when a 45-page update to Apple’s privacy policywhich detailed how your location information could be used to allow the company – and their “partners and licensees” – to “collect, use, and share precise location data, including the real-time geographic location of your Apple computer or device.” The privacy policy has been toned down quite a bit since then and Apple posted a knowledge base article titled “How to opt out of interest-based ads from the iAd network.” I turn this off and am happy with “less relevant” ads being shown.

    You should also turn ON “Limit Ad Tracking” here:

    • Settings > Privacy > Advertising

    …and for bonus points, touch “Reset Advertising Identifier” below that. I wrote about both of these back in January 2013:

    Apple dropped support for the UDID with iOS 6.0 in September 2012 and replaced it with a new feature called the Advertising Identifier.

    Unlike the UDID, which could be tied to a specific iOS device’s hardware (and its user by extension), the new Advertising Identifier does not contain any device information and isn’t permanent.

    reset-ad-identifier-ogrady-200x355

    Lastly, you should turn ON:

    • Settings > Safari > Do Not Track

    Apple’s one of the few companies that still supports the aging Do Not Track standard in its mobile Web browser. Even if it is considered dead and my colleague here at ZDNet Ed Bott called it “worse that a miserable failure,” I turn it on anyway, for the few web servers that actually respect it.

    ios7-settings-safari-do-not-track-ogrady-v2-400x600

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  • Eating smaller portions

    Decrease Portion Sizes : Get started eating smaller portions

    Sep 22 • FITNESS, FOOD, Weight Loss • 7394 Views

    Decrease Portion Sizes : Get started eating smaller portions

    Eating smaller portions

    Eating smaller portions

     

    The Dietary Guidelines encourage you to enjoy your food, but eat less and to avoid oversized portions.

    The amount you eat or drink plays an important role in your energy balance strategy. Most people eat and drink more when served larger portions. Choosing smaller portions can help you lose weight and keep it off.

    Portions have increased over time. See examples here. You may be eating more than you realize. Some common food portions can equal the amount that is recommended for the whole day. For example, on a 1600 calorie Daily Food Plan, 5 ounces a day of grains are suggested. Some bagels weigh up to 5 ounces – the entire day’s allotment of grains!

     


     

    Your Daily Food Plan helps you manage your daily intake by recommending the amount of food you need from each food group.

    Your portions at each meal do not need to be any specific  amount-but to stay within your energy needs, the total amount you eat each day should match the total amount recommended for each group. For example, 1 regular slice of bread counts as 1 ounce of grains. This doesn’t mean that you have to eat a sandwich with one piece of bread. It just means that if you eat two slices, you should count them both toward your total grain intake for the day.

    Get Started                             Overcome Stumbling Blocks

     


     

     

    Get started eating smaller portions:

     

    • Figure out how big your portions really are:
      • Measure how much the bowls, glasses, cups, and plates you usually use hold. Pour your breakfast cereal into your regular bowl.  Then, pour it into a measuring cup.  How many cups of cereal do you eat each day?
    • Measure a fixed amount of some foods and drinks to see what they look like in your glasses and plates. For example, measure 1 cup of juice to see what 1 cup of liquid looks like in your favorite glass.
      • To see what 1 cup, ½ cup, or 1 ounce of some different foods looks like, visit the food gallery and find some of the foods you eat in each group.
      • Prepare, serve, and eat smaller portions of food. Start by portioning out small amounts to eat and drink. Only go back for more if you are still hungry.
    • Pay attention to feelings of hunger. Stop eating when you are satisfied, not full. If there is still food on your plate or on the table, put it away (or throw it out). Repeat the phrase “a moment on the lips, a year on the hips” as you do this.
    • A simple trick to help you eat less is to use a smaller plate, bowl, or glass. One cup of food on a small plate looks like more than the same cup of food on a large plate.
    • It is important to think about portion sizes when eating out. Order a smaller size option, when it’s available. Manage larger portions by sharing or taking home part of your meal. When Eating Out, Make Better Choiceshas lots of tips to help you eat only the amount you need when eating out.
    • If you tend to overeat, be aware of the time of day, place, and your mood while eating so you can better control the amount you eat. Some people overeat when stressed or upset. Try walking instead of eating, or snack on a healthier option. For example, instead of eating a bag of chips, crunch on some celery, or instead of eating a bowl of ice cream, enjoy a low-fat yogurt with fresh blueberries. Making healthier choices is better for your weight and can also help you feel better.

     


     

    Stumbling Blocks:

    Concerned about eating smaller portion sizes? Here are some common “stumbling blocks” and ideas to help you overcome these barriers:

    “I don’t have time to measure out my foods all the time.” Being successful at decreasing portion sizes doesn’t mean that you have to measure every meal or snack you eat. Once you’ve taken the time to measure out a few examples, you will be able to estimate portion sizes better. Plus, just eating or drinking less than you normally would means you are decreasing your portion sizes.
    “My Daily Food Plan tells me to eat more of some things but also to decrease portion sizes. I don’t understand if I should eat more or less.” The recommendation to decrease portion sizes is particularly important for high calorie foods or for foods with a lot of empty calories, such as cakes, cookies, sugary drinks, and pizza. It is important to Focus on Foods You Need. For example, eat a large portion of steamed broccoli (but with only a very small amount of butter or cheese sauce, if any).
    “I like to eat a big burger every once in a while. Are there other ways to eat less?” In general, it is a good rule to eat and drink smaller portions. You can occasionally eat or drink foods in larger portions, but not as part of your daily diet. Make that big burger a “once-in-a-while” special treat, and on most days choose the smaller options.
    “I was always told to clean my plate.” Resign from the “clean your plate” club now.  Stop eating when you are satisfied, not when your plate is empty. Start your meal by only eating half of what’s on your plate. Stop for a moment and decide if you really want to eat more. Don’t forget that you can save some leftovers for another meal or snack. Learn more about keeping food safe to eat. Nothing has to go to waste, and the food will taste better when you are hungry again!

     

    Source

     

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  • Eat the Right Amount of Calories for You

    Eat Right Amount Calories : Brainstrom

    Sep 22 • Featured, FOOD, Weight Loss • 13218 Views

     

    Eat the Right Amount of Calories for You

    Eat Right Amount Calories

    Everyone has a personal calorie limit. Staying within yours can help you get to or maintain a healthy weight. Reaching a healthier weight is a balancing act. The secret is learning how to balance your “energy in” and “energy out” over the long run. “Energy in” is the calories from foods and beverages you have each day. “Energy out” is the calories you burn for basic body functions and physical activity.

     


     

    A balancing act:  Where is your energy balance?

    • Maintaining weight — Your weight will stay the same when the calories you eat and drink equal the calories you burn.
    • Losing weight — You will lose weight when the calories you eat and drink are less than the calories you burn.
    • Gaining weight — You will gain weight when the calories you eat and drink are greater than the calories you burn.

    The current high rates of overweight and obesity in the United States mean that many people are taking in more calories than they burn.

    Get Started                             Overcome Stumbling Blocks

     


     

    Get started eating the right amount of calories for you:

    • Get your personal daily calorie limit. Enter your age, sex, height, weight, and activity level in the Daily Food Plan entry box. If you are not within your healthy weight range, pick the “move toward a healthier weight” option. This option provides 200 to 400 calories less per day than the average calorie needs to maintain your weight. Your Daily Food Plan will include a total calorie limit.
    • Keep your calorie limit in mind when deciding what to eat and drink. For example, if your calorie limit is 1,800 calories per day, think about how those calories can be split up among meals, snacks, and beverages over the course of a day. Click here to view sample meal plans. It doesn’t have to be the same each day. If you eat a larger lunch, think about eating a smaller meal at dinner.
    • Compare food and beverage options and think about how they fit within your calorie limit. For example, a snack with 200 calories may be a better option than another with 500 calories. Use your daily calorie limit to help you decide which foods and drinks to choose.
    • For a healthier you, use the Nutrition Facts label to make smart food choices quickly and easily. Check the label of similar products for calories, and choose the food with fewer calories. Be sure to look at the serving size and how many servings you are actually consuming, as well. If you eat twice the serving size, you double the calories. When eating out, calorie information may be available on menus, in a pamphlet, or online. You can also find calorie information about a specific food using Food-a-pedia.

     


     

     

    Stumbling Blocks:

     

    Concerned about being able to eat the right amount of calories? Here are some common “stumbling blocks” and ideas to help you overcome these barriers:

    “I don’t understand calories.”   “Calorie” is just the term used to describe the amount of energy a food or drink provides when you eat it. Carbohydrates, fat, protein, and alcohol all provide energy – and this energy is measured in calories. Think of calories as a measurement unit – like inches, pounds, or gallons. You need energy from foods and drinks to fuel your body – for everything from breathing to physical activity. But if your foods provide more energy than you use, your body stores the rest as fat.
    If I use a calorie counter, why do I have to pay attention to my Daily Food Plan? It’s important to consider more than just calories when making food choices. YourDaily Food Plan is designed to provide the nutrients you need while staying within your calorie limits. Use your Daily Food Plan to determine how much you should eat from each of the 5 food groups.
    “I don’t have time to count calories.” People who are successful at managing their weight have found ways to keep track of how much they eat in a day, even if they don’t count every calorie. Most people eat the same general types of food on a regular basis. Take some time up front to compare calorie labels, and over time, you will learn which options are the better choices.Also, if you Focus on Foods You Need and Eat Fewer Empty Calories  you will be a big step closer to eating the right amount of calories for you.
    “I have no idea how many calories I am supposed to eat to manage my weight.” Your calorie needs depend on a number of factors including: your height, weight, and physical activity level. You can get your personal daily calorie limit with your Daily Food Plan. Try to stay at (or a little below) this number each day. Taking in more calories (even just 100 calories more each day) can result in gradual weight gain over time.The calories in your Daily Food Plan are averages.  For best results, track your body weight over time. If you are gaining weight, or not losing at all, decrease your calorie intake (or increase your physical activity).

     

    source

    Eat Right Amount Calories : Brainstrom

    Eat the Right Amount of Calories for You

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  • Safety debate grows as e-cigarettes gain popularity

    Safety debate grows as e-cigarettes gain popularity

    Sep 22 • Featured, Health News • 13943 Views

    Safety debate grows as e-cigarettes gain popularity

    Safety debate grows as e-cigarettes gain popularity

    Safety debate grows as e-cigarettes gain popularity

    Safety debate grows as e-cigarettes gain popularity

    Safety debate grows as e-cigarettes gain popularity

    As a nurse at Royal Oak Beaumont Hospital, Len Kincaid wants to make sure people are living healthy lifestyles.

    But even as he encouraged patients to quit smoking, he was struggling with his own long-term tobacco habit. Nothing seemed to be working — until he tried electronic cigarettes a year and a half ago.

    “It felt like I had completely quit smoking,” said Kincaid, 48. “To this day, I’ve never felt the need for a cigarette.”

    Now Kincaid has two jobs: After his shift at the hospital ends, he heads to Vaporcraft Electronic Cigarette Specialists in Clawson, a shop and “vaping” lounge he opened with his wife, Barbara, in April.

    Demand is high at the shop, and the trend is growing across the country, according to figures from Bloomberg Industries. The devices began appearing around 2006.

    They are expected to account for as much as $1.7 billion in sales this year, according to the forecasting firm, which says tobacco cigarettes are an $80 billion-a-year industry. The firm predicts e-cigarette sales will surpass traditional cigarette sales by 2047.

    And as the popularity of “vaping” grows, debate continues over possible health effects of smoking the electronic devices.

    Health officials warn that the cigarette substitute, while tobacco-free, delivers nicotine, an addictive substance that raises a user’s heart rate and blood pressure, according to the National Institutes of Health.

    “Based on the studies that have been done, it’s not a safe alternative,” said Angela Minicuci, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Health.

    Advocates for e-cigarettes say they allow smokers to transition away from tobacco, which has been linked to cancer and emphysema.

    “We’ve known since the early 1960s that smoking kills you, and we’ve been searching for some way to quit,” said Beaumont’s Kincaid. “Finally we’re got this miracle way to quit smoking.”

    E-cigarettes come in a variety of models and styles but all are battery-powered devices that provide inhaled doses of nicotine through a vaporized solution. At the Kincaids’ shop, models cost $41 to $200, and accessories and “e-juice” — liquid nicotine that fills an e-cigarette cartridge — add to the cost.

    Some people prefer disposable e-cigarettes, which can cost as little as $3 per unit. A pack of regular cigarettes costs $6.54 in Michigan, according to the American Lung Association.

    The Federal Drug Administration appears to be on the cusp of regulating e-cigarettes, but at least for the time being, there’s nothing preventing sales to minors in Michigan or 29 other states. Many shop owners, including the Kincaids, refuse to sell to anyone under age 18.

    E-cigarettes aren’t covered under Michigan’s Smoke-Free Air law, which prevents smokers from lighting up inside businesses and bars.

    At Central Michigan Univeristy, electronic cigarettes have been banned in residence halls and in most areas on campus since 2010.

    “The decision was made because the FDA still hasn’t made a decision on the safety of them, so until it’s done, we’re going to treat it as if it’s second-hand smoke,” said Shaun Holtgreive, executive director of campus life at the Mount Pleasant school.

    Vaping is just as successful as nicotine patches in helping smokers break the habit, according to a study completed by researchers in New Zealand and released last month in the medical journal The Lancet.

    But according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a growing number of children are being introduced to nicotine through e-cigarettes.

    The CDC report, released this month, is the first large national study to gauge use by middle and high school students. It found use by those groups doubled between 2011 and 2012.

    About 2 percent of the students said they had used an e-cigarette in the previous month, according to a survey done last year. That was up from 1 percent in 2011. The study is based on a questionnaire filled out by nearly 19,000 students in grades 6 through 12 in 2011 and another 25,000 in 2012.

    More young people smoke traditional cigarettes than the new electronic ones, according to the report.But the study seems to indicate some children are starting with electronic versions and then moving on to tobacco products.

    The CDC study showed that 20 percent of middle school vapers and 7 percent of high school vapers had never tried conventional cigarettes.

    Electronic cigarettes come in a variety of flavors, which can appeal to children, said Dr. Samuel A. Allen, a pulmonary and critical care specialist with Beaumont Hospital.

    “I frequently have patients who tell me peach is the best flavor,” said Allen. “With all the different flavors out there, you can tell they are marketing this to minors.”

    Allen said he doesn’t recommend e-cigarettes to his patients who are trying to quit smoking, but if they insist on using them, he shows them how to gradually swap out regular cigarettes.

    “I tell them this is the lesser of two evils,” said Allen. “There is no real data to show these are less harmful or more harmful than cigarettes. They just haven’t been around that long for there to be any studies on the long-term effects.”

    Some users swear by the devices, like former trial lawyer Don Petrulis, who started smoking again when he retired, four years after quitting.

    “My wife said, ‘Uh uh, you’re not going back there. Why don’t you try those electronic cigarettes,’” said Petrulis, 69, who lives in Troy.

    A month in, he swears by his plastic, disposable substitute, saying he’s got no more craving and feels better. “If you’ve got to smoke, this is the best alternative,” he said.

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  • Health kick 'reverses cell ageing'

    Health kick ‘reverses cell ageing’

    Sep 22 • Featured, Research • 12962 Views

    Going on a health kick reverses ageing at the cellular level, researchers say.

    The University of California team says it has found the first evidence a strict regime of exercise, diet and meditation can have such an effect.

    But experts say although the study in Lancet Oncology is intriguing, it is too early to draw any firm conclusions.

    The study looked at just 35 men with prostate cancer. Those who changed their lifestyle had demonstrably younger cells in genetic terms.

    Safety caps

    The researchers saw visible cellular changes in the group of 10 men who switched to a vegetarian diet and stuck to a recommended timetable of exercise and stress-busting meditation and yoga.

    The changes related to protective caps at the end of our chromosomes, called telomeres.

    Their role is to safeguard the end of the chromosome and to prevent the loss of genetic information during cell division.

    Researchers have been questioning whether this process might be inevitable or something that could be halted or even reversed.

    The latest work by Prof Dean Ornish and colleagues suggests telomeres can be lengthened, given the right encouragement.

    They measured telomere length at the beginning of their study and again after five years.

    Among the 10 men with low-risk prostate cancer who made comprehensive lifestyle changes, telomere length increased significantly by an average of 10%.

    In comparison, telomere length decreased by an average of 3% in the remaining 25 men who were not asked to make any lifestyle changes.

    Jury’s out

    Shorter telomeres have been linked with a broad range of age-related diseases, including heart disease, and a variety of cancers.


    “Start Quote

    I’m definitely going to wait to see whether this can be replicated on a larger scale and with more sizeable effects before I get excited”

    Dr Tom Vulliamy of Queen Mary University of London

    The study did not set out to check if lifestyle changes and telomere lengthening would improve cancer outcomes, but the researchers say this is something that should be investigated.

    Prof Ornish said: “The implications of this relatively small pilot study may go beyond men with prostate cancer. If validated by large-scale randomised controlled trials, these comprehensive lifestyle changes may significantly reduce the risk of a wide variety of diseases and premature mortality.

    “Our genes, and our telomeres, are a predisposition, but they are not necessarily our fate.”

    Dr Lyn Cox, a biochemistry expert at Oxford University in the UK, said it was not possible to draw any conclusions from the research, but added: “Overall, though, the findings of this paper that changes in lifestyle can have a positive effect on markers of ageing support the calls for adoption of and adherence to healthier lifestyles.”

    Dr Tom Vulliamy, senior lecturer in Molecular Biology at Queen Mary University of London, said: “It is really important to highlight that this is a small pilot study.

    “Given this, I’m definitely going to wait to see whether this can be replicated on a larger scale and with more sizeable effects before I get excited.”

    Health kick 'reverses cell ageing'

    Health kick ‘reverses cell ageing’

    Experts agree that telomere shortening is unlikely to be the sole explanation for human ageing.

    For example, humans have much shorter telomeres than primates and mice, yet live for far longer.

    But past work has shown that people who lead a sedentary lifestyle can experience accelerated cellular ageing in the form of more rapid shortening of their telomeres.

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  • Does Arm Exercise Make Your Legs Tired

    Does Arm Exercise Make Your Legs Tired

    Sep 22 • Clinical trail, Research • 318 Views

    Strenuous activity wears you out. No news there. But it turns out that exercising your biceps will make your legs just as tired as working out your quads. And for the first time, researchers seem to know why.

    Researchers at Britain’s Nottingham Trent University tested subjects on two different exercise setups: one group did two rounds of intense leg exercises, the other did arms followed by legs. Each group’s second set of exercises showed about a 33% decline in performance — despite half of the subjects starting with fresh legs. Physiologically, this is puzzling: each muscle contains its own fuel (glycogen, ATP and phosphocreatine, for you science types), and your arms can’t steal energy stored away in your legs. So what gives?

    The hypothesis is that, while fuel use is contained to the muscle being exercised, the buildup of metabolites in the blood affects the whole body. In other words, the lactate, hydrogen and potassium your arms spit out while you’re blasting curls will slow down your “fresh” legs almost as much as if you were grinding out squats, despite your quads having a full tank of fuel. So while exercise enthusiasts tend to work on each muscle group as its own ecosystem, it turns out the human body operates more like one integrated machine. [Runner’s World]

    Imagine doing 10 minutes of intense arm-cycling. (Wait, you’ve never arm-cycled? It’s a hideous cross-training device where you basically use your arms to spin the pedals of a “bike.”) Anyway, you take a couple minutes of rest after the arm-cycling, then you hop on a normal bike and do an all-out time trial. Will your performance on the normal bike be affected by the prior arm-cycling?

    I think for most of us, the intuitive answer would be “Duh, of course! You just did some tiring exercise, so of course you’re going to ride slower, even if the prior exercise used different muscles.” And in fact, according to a forthcoming article in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise by researchers at Nottingham Trent University in Britain, that is what happens. Surprisingly, the magnitude of the performance decline (~32%) is very similar to what previous studies have found after a similar bout of leg exercise (~34%)! But the interesting question is: why? What specifically causes you to go slower in this situation?

    Previous studies of this protocol have shown that your leg muscles still have the same concentration of glycogen, ATP, and phosphocreatine — the main sources of fuel in the muscle itself — after the arm exercise, so that’s not the explanation. And this particular protocol involved short, very intense bouts of arm exercise (8 x 60s with 30s rest, followed by 4:00 break before the cycling), so it’s not a question of oxygen debt. Heart rate was still a bit elevated after the arm exercise, but by the end of the cycling test to exhaustion, it was actually lower than when the cycling test was performed fresh. In other words, the prior arm exercise prevented subjects from reaching their maximum heart rate during the cycling test. Here’s what the oxygen use (VO2) looked like during an incremental cycling test to exhaustion with (open squares) and without (closed squares) prior arm-cycling:

    Does Arm Exercise Make Your Legs Tired

    Does Arm Exercise Make Your Legs Tired

    So what’s going on? This should be an easy question, but it’s really not. The hypothesis advanced by the authors of the paper is that the effect results from the accumulation of metabolites like lactate, hydrogen, and potassium ions in the blood. Unlike muscle energy stores, whose effects are local, increasing the level of metabolites in the blood affects the whole body. The researchers seem to be arguing that these effects are “mechanical”: the presence of metabolites in the blood affects the function of the muscles themselves. There’s another possibility, not discussed at all in the paper, which is that the brain senses metabolite levels which then contributes to the sensation of “central fatigue.” And of course, there’s the possibility that both of these mechanisms — along with others — contribute. I don’t know the answers here, but I think it’s fascinating that such a simple and “obvious” question can still be so controversial.

    Image: Shutterstock/holbox

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  • TEN Reasons to Wish You Had an Endless Supply of Liquid Nitrogen

    TEN Reasons to Wish You Had an Endless Supply of Liquid Nitrogen

    Sep 22 • Uncategorized • 2212 Views

    TEN Reasons to Wish You Had an Endless Supply of Liquid Nitrogen

    In a perfect world, all faucets have three knobs: hot, cold, and liquid nitrogen. We’re not there (yet!) but these ten little party tricks from The King of Random are the perfect reason to wish we were.

    To be fair, some of the applications are better than others. Self-inflating balloons can’t hold a candle to crazy-flaming-soda-can. But if you were really hard-pressed to find more uses to make up for it, it seems like liquid nitrogen + literally any food = endless amusement.

    So if you need to make your next party dope as hell, make sure to grab a Dewar flask and start pestering your favorite chemistry student for the goods. What could be cooler? [The King of Random]
    L

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