Health Lifestyle

5 Chamomile Tea Benefits Your Body and Mind Need

I just recently returned from a trip to England, and out of all the habits or rituals I could have picked up from there, I think the one I’ll hang onto is tea, tea, and more tea.

You have it with breakfast, some at lunch, then there’s afternoon tea – or cream tea, my favorite – and some to finish your day. And when I say tea, I’m not talking one cup; most British people have an entire pot going all throughout the day, even for just one person.

Besides the fact that I love how afternoon tea is just an excuse to eat a small meal between lunch and dinner, the great thing about regularly adding tea into your life is the benefits a lot of teas have for your body and mind.

Chamomile has a range of benefits, for example, from sleep or digestion aid to mental health to heart health and more.

The chamomile flower contains flavonoids, sesquiterpenes, and antioxidants, and in a dried form, it can also be utilized for natural and herbal remedies. And it’s caffeine-free!

It’s not magic; the benefits of drinking chamomile tea are real, and here are a few of them.

Sleep

I think what we all know chamomile tea best for is that drinking a cup of it before you go to bed helps you get to sleep faster and have better quality sleep.

Thanks to an antioxidant called apigenin, which binds to certain receptors in your brain to reduce anxiety and initiate sleep, it has a natural and gentle calming effect.

A study was done in 2016 to find the links between sleep quality and depression in women and chamomile tea found that the group who drank chamomile before bed every night for two weeks had better sleep than those who didn’t; what’s more, when they stopped, the effects were reversed!

Anxiety

Anxiety has nearly become a chronic illness these days; in fact, 40 million Americans suffer from anxiety disorders, according to Medical News Today.  It’s the most common mental illness in America, and while some people use medication, this isn’t the answer for everyone.

Many people have begun using chamomile as a stress-reducer, either by dinking of cup of tea or using it in capsule form, as it benefits anxiety symptoms and helps to calm and ease insomnia.

If you’re struggling with anxiety and depression, you should consult a doctor. Chamomile may not work the same for you as it does for another.

Stomach Issues

If you ever suffer from menstrual cramps, an upset stomach, abdominal gas, indigestion, or irritable bowel syndrome, the anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and carminative properties chamomile tea contains help to soothe your stomach line.

It may even help decrease acid reflux, though more research needs to be done in order to confirm this.

Blood Sugar

If you or someone you know has diabetes, take note of this:

Drinking chamomile contains an antioxidant called quercetin which impacts particular enzymes that play a part in the diabetic process, so drinking chamomile tea may help lower blood sugar, according to research from Tabriz University of Medical Sciences in Iran.

The university conducted a small-scale study where 64 participants, between the ages of 30-60, with type 2 diabetes were observed. Half of them had chamomile every day at every meal for eight weeks while the other half just drank water.

After the eight weeks were up, the blood pressure of the first group was significantly lower on average than the latter group. More research needs to be conducted before these findings are conclusive, however.

Heart Health

Finally, some of the antioxidants you’ll find in chamomile are flavones, which have been studied over the years to measure their effectiveness in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol – including “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

Since drinking chamomile tea regularly reduces stress, promotes sleep, and relaxes the blood vessels and arteries, it has the potential to help maintain healthy blood pressure levels if you drink it regularly.

Warning: If you’re on blood thinners, note that chamomile could increase the risk of bleeding, so be sure to consult your doctor.

So, maybe we should all do as the British do – or at least take up the habit of having a cup of chamomile tea before we go to bed at night.

Just like any other herbal tea, however, chamomile has some side effects, such as severe allergic reaction, eye irritation, hypersensitivity reactions, and vomiting.

Most likely you won’t encounter any of these, but it’s good to know the good and the bad and to check in with your doctor before you make it a regular part of your routine!

I just recently returned from a trip to England, and out of all the habits or rituals I could have picked up from there, I think the one I’ll hang...

Health Humans Are Awesome Inspiring Stories

Social Media Actually Saves a Girl

Ashley Rosenbaum & J.P. Say A Commenter On Social Media Diagnosed Daughter’s Torticollis

Ashley is the mom of a son Fordham, age 4, and a daughter Essex, age 2. Although everyone has an opinion when it comes to online comments but for some reason, the Bachelorette star Ashley Rosenbaum paid close attention to one commenter on social media.

The commenter said that her daughter, Essex should be taken to her doctor.  It seems the commenter’s diagnosis was actually very accurate.

Twisted?

J.P. said this all started when Ashley posted pictures of Essex on social media.  He said someone sent him a message saying that we should get Essex checked out by our doctor because she always looked twisted, leaving the commenter to believe she has torticollis.

The commenter said that getting her checked out was important because their son had the same thing. Torticollis is an issue that involves the muscles of the neck to tilt downward.  Tortus means twisted in Latin and collum means neck.  It is suggested if your baby has suffered from this condition from birth, it’s medically called congenital muscular torticollis.

Wry Neck is another term for this condition which is pointed out by a disproportional, lopsided position of the head or neck.  This condition is caused by a number of reasons.

Ashley Rosenbaum & J.P. Say A Commenter On Social Media Diagnosed Daughter’s Torticollis

Ashley is the mom of a son Fordham, age 4, and a...

City Life Health

Science Proves Cat Ladies Aren’t Crazy

This is for all you cat-lovers out there – it turns out that you were a lot smarter than you thought when you decided to have a cat for a pet as studies are showing they’re the solution to decreasing stress, anxiety, and improving your cardiovascular health.

Somewhere around 68% of American households have pets according to NIH, and all animal companions provide positive benefits, but scientists are seeing that cats are exceptional mood and health boosters.

Yes, they’re entertaining and great for keeping away loneliness, but they’re also good for your heart. Scientists at the University of Minnesota’s Stroke Institute actually did a ten-year study to discover how cats benefit cardiovascular health with over 4,000 participants. The results were phenomenal; it turns out that cats are crucial for decreasing stress and anxiety.

Compared to humans who don’t own cats, cat-owners may have a reduced risk of experiencing a heart attack by 30 percent. In addition, since cats simply love getting petted on your lap, they’re perfect for those times when you need a morale boost – both physically and emotionally.

While you’re petting your cat, heart rate, blood pressure, and stress levels all go down. Dogs can do similarly, but the problem is that they also encourage stress since they require more attention than cats do.

Cats Are Good For You

Some people might have a thing against cats because of allergies, but actually, if you are exposed to cats more as a child, you’re less likely to develop allergies and infections. In fact, living with a cat can also reduce the likelihood of your developing asthma! The scientists also found that after interacting with a cat, kids with autism displayed better communication efforts.

And there’s more! A cat’s purr has healing powers – no, I’m not pulling your leg on this one. The frequency of a cat’s purr falls between 20 to 140 Hz, which helps mend broken bones and wounds. Cats help keep depression away, which has been associated to developing various types of illness.

Doctors should be prescribing a 15-minute dose of playing with a cat every day as it improves your mood and keeps you active! Cats know how to slow down, take it easy, and take a nap. Take a cue from them, and do the same sometimes!

I don’t know if you’ve noticed it, but there are cat videos and posts all over the internet – they seem to be taking over. There are a ton of cat lovers out there, and the war of whether cats of dogs are better has been going on for quite some time, but from the results of these studies, it seems that cats have finally come out the victor!

They’re low-maintenance, relaxing, laid-back, empathetic of human feelings, and easy to be around. So, if you don’t already have one, the doctor’s orders are in: go get a cat – or two, or three!

This is for all you cat-lovers out there – it turns out that you were a lot smarter than you thought when you decided to have a cat for a pet as...

Category - Health

Health news and tips for your life

Health Lifestyle

Sore Back From Sitting? Try This Simple Solution

Are you like me, sitting in a chair most of the day? It’s quite sore, isn’t it?

For someone who is comfortably over the average height, too, living a quite sedentary life means having consistent back pain. It’s an irritant most of the time, but it can be a properly debilitating experience when it’s at its worst.

So, I have suffered from back pain since my late teenage years, and it has never gotten any better: well, until now. Now? I might have just found the perfect solution to a sore back that won’t go away.

If you are like me and you manage to spend most of the say slouched forward or leaning back in equal measures, you’ll have all manner of pains and aches in the body. Well, I want to help you understand that it does not have to be this way. In fact, all it takes is a very simple change to how you sit!

What can I do to help my back problems from sitting?

So, for me, the best thing I can recommend is simply sitting a bit straighter. I know, it’s not the most revolutionary idea in the world, but a change in how you sit is essential to reducing back strains. Often, we sit in a manner that means our neck, spine, and back – as well as our hips – are out of sync with one another. This leads to the strains and complications that we often end up facing for most of the afternoon.

So, the best way to sit is to avoid slouching forward or leaning too far back. Hunching over means putting excess pressure on the muscles that you are supposed to be keeping stable and supported. This forces needless pressure on the discs in the back, leading to the pain that you feel.

The best way to solve that, though, is to simply roll up a thick jumper, or even a pair of jumpers. Once you have it around 6” in thickness when rolled up, and now sit yourself as straight as you can. Basically, get the seating potion that you know you should take, but often find it hard to maintain.

Now, take your rolled-up object and shove it down between the back of your chair and down to where your belt would normally sit. This makes it easier for you to have no space to slouch into; it will force you to retain the position that you just took. As such, your back will remain much straighter.

The closer to where your spine meets the pelvis that you can get the jumper, the better. This will leave you to get the help that you need to avoid excess extensions on the back and should play a role in helping you to avoid the curve in your back becoming a source of needless, excess support.

This simple but effective tip – the simple rolling-up of a jumper – can be all that you need to turn poor posture into a perfect posture in a short space of time.

Are you like me, sitting in a chair most of the day? It’s quite sore, isn’t it?

For someone who is comfortably over the average height, too, living a quite sedentary life means having consistent back pain. It’s an irritant most of the time, but it can...

Health Inspiring Stories Lifestyle

3 Ways to Avoid Burnout When You’re Trying To ‘Do It All’

There are certain times in life that call for us to be constantly busy, struggling to balance all the things on our plate all at once. While it cannot be avoided, burnout can! It’s the times that you feel you haven’t a minute to spare to take care of yourself that it’s more important than ever that you do.

Maybe you’re running your kids around while simultaneously juggling everything at home in addition to working a part-time job. The only rest is when your head hits the pillow for those few sweet hours late at night before you’re back at it early the next morning. Your kids and loved ones need you, so what can you do?

Phases like these are what I like to call “soldiering.” Let me be clear, however, that soldiering is not a negative thing. It shows strength and momentum, self-discipline to get done what needs to be done and love for those you do it for. Sometimes, it’s sacrificing what you want for the sake of others, putting yourself second. All this is okay.

Soldiering isn’t a phase that’s meant to last forever. You can only press on with such energy for so long, so know that an end is in sight and that you can carry on until then. And at the end, you can pause to look back at all your hard work has accomplished.

If this is a stage you’ve found yourself in before or are in right now, here are three things to keep in mind to keep from burning out.

  1. Acknowledge that you are soldiering.

Soldiering becomes much more manageable when you acknowledge that’s the state you are in. When you have life on autopilot, you miss out on what goes on day-to-day; you’re not fully present to those around you. But when you’re able to acknowledge to yourself and those around you that you are doing what needs to be done, clarity comes, and you’re able to think through the outcome – the reason you’re in this phase of soldiering to begin with.

  1. Practice self-awareness.

We often avoid self-awareness more than we practice it; sometimes, taking a close look at yourself is just plain scary – we’d rather go on, blissful and ignorant to what is really going on within us. So, self-awareness rarely comes naturally.

But when you habitually make yourself do it, you notice more your behaviours, your reactions, why you feel the way you do. You have insight to see why your environment or your hectic schedule affects you the way it does, both physically and emotionally.

As you look within and understand yourself better, you can make more informed and conscious decisions and impact the quality of your life and relationships positively – both during your soldiering phase as well as when your pace slows.

  1. Take time for self-care.

Yes, it’s appropriate to put others first, to be selfless, but if we don’t take time to care for ourselves, we end up having little to give others. We often feel guilty doing things for ourselves or feel that it shouldn’t be a priority during busy times, but self-care is crucial.

During times like these, you become so energy-depleted and so emotionally drained. There’s no way to continue on if you don’t intentionally replenish and restore these! Take time to grab your favorite meal, read a novel, take a nature walk, or whatever it is that allows your mind and body to rest and recuperate. Just a few moments doing something restorative gives you the energy to tackle each new day afresh!

This season of soldiering won’t last forever, but while it does, utilize these tips to give you strength and help you cope!

There are certain times in life that call for us to be constantly busy, struggling to balance all the things on our plate all at once. While it cannot be avoided, burnout can! It’s the times that you feel you haven’t a minute to spare to take care of...

Health Lifestyle

Study Suggests Diet Soda Can Cause Weight Gain

A recent study published in the journal Pediatric Obesity, presents new evidence which suggests that children who drink diet soda are consuming 200 extra calories each day.  The study suggests that opting for the low-calorie option in an attempt to lose weight can actually cause weight gain.

The scientists compared teens who consumed diet soda to those that drank water.    A surprising finding was that those drinking diet soda were still receiving the same total dietary intake of calories as those drinking the regular sugary version.

Water is the best choice

The study, which took place at the George Washington University, was headed by Dr. Allison Sylvetsky.  The findings recommend water as the best option and confirms that the results of the study challenge the commonly accepted opinion that low-calorie or diet drinks were useful in weight management.

Dr. Syletsky’s team have conducted may studies on drinks over the years, and have found that as well as low-calorie sweeteners in drinks, children and young adults also eat these sweeteners in other food and drinks.  In fact, during the period between 1999 and 2012 their consumption in this age group leapt by a massive 200%.

Despite the growing popularity of low-calorie sweeteners, there is still no concrete knowledge as to how this affects a child’s calorie intake, and there is no guarantee that the sweeteners contribute to weight loss.

Diet drinks don’t reduce calorie intake

Between 2011 and 2016 Dr. Sylvetsky and her team examined the dietary records of 7,026 children and teens who had been enrolled in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.  In the survey, the participants self-reported everything they ate and dank within a 24-hour period.

The research was focused on those who were drinking sodas – either with low-calorie sweeteners or regular sugar.  The team compared those drinking the soda with water drinkers and discovered that those having diet drinks were consuming extra calories and they were taking in more sugar from other types of food and drink.

Accounting for body weight, the researchers compared the results for soda drinkers and water drinkers and found that:

  • Those children who consumed diet sodas increased their daily intake by 196 additional calories.
  • Drinking regular soda (sugar-based) led to an intake of an extra 312 calories each day.
  • Drinking both the diet and regular versions of drinks resulted in an additional 450 calories being consumed each day.

Weight gain can kill

The findings of Dr. Sylvetsky and her team are important because of the health effects of weight gain.

At present, the figures for American children state that 1 in 3 is overweight or diagnosed as obese.  Weight gain is a key factor for increased risk of type II diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and other health issues.

The data suggests that there is a link between drinking low-calorie drinks and consuming more calories and sugar throughout the day.  They are skeptical about claims that diet drinks help in weight loss.

Experts continue to give advice to parents with organizations like The American Heart Association advising against long term consumption of these low-calorie drinks.  Dr. Sylvestky confirms that this is good advice.  Children, teens, and adults drink should drink more water and add whole grains, fruit and vegetables to their diet.

A good alternative to diet sodas, she suggests, is to add some 100% fruit juice to some sparkling water.

A recent study published in the journal Pediatric Obesity, presents new evidence which suggests that children who drink diet soda are consuming 200 extra calories each day.  The study suggests that opting for the low-calorie option in an attempt to lose...

Health Tech News

Advancement of AI Opens Health Data Privacy to Attack

A new study led by professor Anil Aswani of the Industrial Engineering & Operations Research Department (IEOR) in the College of Engineering at UC Berkeley has revealed that what we’ve seen as exciting advances in artificial intelligence may be just the opposite.

He and his team discovered that the advances open the door for more and new threats to the privacy of health data. In the midst of current AI developments, current laws and regulations are no longer enough to keep our health statuses private. You can view all of their research on JAMA Network Open.

Aswani’s study, partially funded by UC Berkeley’s Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity, proved that artificial intelligence can identify individuals through tracking and learning daily patterns in step data (like that collected by activity trackers, smartwatches, and smartphones) and then correlating it to demographic data.

After gathering two years’ worth of data encompassing over 15,000 Americans, he concluded that the privacy standards associated with 1996’s HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) legislation require dire change.

We Need to Look at That

“We wanted to use NHANES (the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) to look at privacy questions because this data is representative of the diverse population in the U.S.,” Aswani says.

“The results point out a major problem. If you strip all the identifying information, it doesn’t protect you as much as you’d think. Someone else can come back and put it all back together if they have the right kind of information.”

“In principle, you could imagine Facebook gathering step data from the app on your smartphone, then buying health care data from another company and matching the two,” he explains. “Now they would have health care data that’s matched to names, and they could either start selling advertising based on that or they could sell the data to others.”

The problem is not with the advancements and devices themselves but with how one can misuse these devices for their own personal gain.

“I’m not saying we should abandon these devices,” he says. “But we need to be very careful about how we are using this data. We need to protect the information. If we can do that, it’s a net positive.”

From this study covering step data, Aswani suggests that more than just the specific area of research could be affected. “HIPAA regulations make your health care private, but they don’t cover as much as you think,” he says.

“Many groups, like tech companies, are not covered by HIPAA, and only very specific pieces of information are not allowed to be shared by current HIPAA rules. There are companies buying health data. It’s supposed to be anonymous data, but their whole business model is to find a way to attach names to this data and sell it.”

As AI advance, information is easier to retrieve, and employers, mortgage lenders, credit card companies, and others could begin to use it in illegal and unethical ways.

“Ideally, what I’d like to see from this are new regulations or rules that protect health data,” he says. “But there is actually a big push to even weaken the regulations right now. For instance, the rule-making group for HIPAA has requested comments on increasing data sharing.

The risk is that if people are not aware of what’s happening, the rules we have will be weakened. And the fact is the risks of us losing control of our privacy when it comes to health care are actually increasing and not decreasing.”

A new study led by professor Anil Aswani of the Industrial Engineering & Operations Research Department (IEOR) in the College of Engineering at UC Berkeley has revealed that what we’ve seen as exciting advances in artificial intelligence may be just...

Health

What You Need To Know If Your Dog Has Eaten Marijuana

Since the rise of marijuana being legal in various states across the nation, more animals have ingested this weed and ending up in their vet’s office.  According to veterinary clinics, they have seen more cases of animals accidentally ingesting recreational marijuana and approximately 97% are dogs.

It’s not really clear how many of these dogs accidentally consumed weed or whether owners are just concerned if their pet actually did eat marijuana or not. Either way, it’s really important that dog owners know the signs if their pets are in harm’s way from marijuana.

The Symptoms Owners Should Recognize If Their Dog Eats Marijuana:

Whether your dog inhales second-hand smoke from marijuana or grabs a marijuana brownie off the counter, you need to know the signs.  To ensure your dog stays healthy and safe, no food laced with marijuana should be anywhere near them and you should not smoke the substance in the same room or even the same house.

The Symptoms Your Dog Will Show:

  • Breathing problems
  • Low blood pressure
  • Lethargy
  • Abnormal heartbeats
  • Loss of balance
  • The loss of restraint for urinating

What Should I Do If My Dog Has Consumed Marijuana?

Contact your vet as soon as possible.  Your vet will try to induce vomiting to remove anything eaten.  If your dog is really lethargic, the THC from the marijuana is already in their bloodstream, you should try to induce vomiting with hydrogen peroxide.

Your vet will probably keep your dog for a short period of time and watch for seizures and give them fluids to try and clear out their system much faster.  Seizures can happen if your dog has consumed a large amount of the drug.  At this point, it’s a matter of just watching and waiting.

This is not just for dogs who have consumed marijuana.  If your dog has consumed something else, but you don’t know what, get your dog to your vet as quickly as possible.

Will Weed Kill My Dog?

The chances are slim unless they consumed a very large amount.  Recent studies have shown that a dog’s reaction to cannabis in legalized states, 2 out of 125 have died. The most common ingestion is cannabis butter extract which is extremely toxic to dogs. Your vet will probably ask several questions to determine if your dog consumed weed or some other substance such as chocolate.  If your dog is getting on in years, is sick or really small, you should be very aware what your pet consumes.

Can I Give Marijuana To My Dog For Pain Relief?

You should never, ever give your dog anything that has THC! Cannabidiol (CBD) might be an option which is a compound found in the flowers of cannabis. CBD has been used for thousands of years for curing many disorders.  THC, on the other, hand, causes the effect of feeling high.

Because CBD is not psychoactive, it can possibly help your dog with certain discomforts associated with inflammation, anxiety, chronic pain, etc.

The bottom line, unless recommended by your vet, keep anything toxic, such as marijuana, away from your dog and definitely bring your pet to your vet as quickly as possible.  If you consume recreational marijuana, it’s really important you make sure all consumed items are kept far away from your pets.

The makeup of your dog’s brain and nervous system are not just like yours.  You could cause a great deal of harm and in some cases, could cost them their lives.  Your pets rely on you for protection so do the right thing by them, just like children.  Take good care of your dog so you can both have many wonderful years together!

Since the rise of marijuana being legal in various states across the nation, more animals have ingested this weed and ending up in their vet’s office.  According to veterinary clinics, they have seen more cases of animals accidentally ingesting...

Health

Apple Watch Develops New Features to Detect Heart Problems:

A new study shows that the Apple Watch could help detect A-fib

Every year, we marvel more and more at the feats Apple Inc. is able to accomplish. From iPhones to Macs to iPads and iPad minis – their ingenuity seems to have no end.

The lives of people everywhere in the world are being impacted by Apple’s latest technology, and what studies are beginning to reveal about their Apple Watch could be even more life-changing than any of their technology has been before.

Watches have always been a great accessory. Not only do they accent your wrist, help you keep track of time, and give you a look of maturity, but now this particular watch has the potential to save your life. As if the Apple Watch wasn’t already amazing, now it has the potential to detect possible heart conditions right when they arise.

A recent study based on 419,000 Apple Watch users illustrated that the watch had the capacity to detect irregular heartbeats. Though it’s nowhere near ready to be a completely dependable source, the possibility is undoubtedly there and is already showing that it works. So, what does this mean for heart health?

Atrial Fibrillation – The Silent Killer

Stanford University carried out the study to see if the Apple Watch picked up on a particular heart condition; the test pool, 419,000 users, is one of the largest pools that screened healthy people for this specific heart condition called atrial fibrillation which often causes strokes when it goes untreated.

As the system is not yet perfect, the study flagged a high number of 2,100 participants as possibly having a problem.

As they took the study to its next step, the results of Apple Watch’s technology were even more promising. Those who were flagged were made to consult with a doctor and measure their heart rhythms for a week by wearing an EKG patch. One-third of the group tested positive for Atrial Fibrillation!

The Facts about A-Fib

A-fib is so dangerous because, most often, patients can’t even tell they have it. In fact, the condition causes 130,000 deaths a year and a greater number of hospitalizations. The condition occurs when the bottom and top chambers of the heart are out of sync with each other which results in heart fluttering at times and heart racing at others.

Often, the heart is able to get itself back into rhythm, but otherwise, an electric shock or blood thinner is necessary to treat the condition. A-fib can also be present some times and not at others, so it can be tricky to catch.

Routine screening for A-fib is discouraged by doctors as over-testing and over-treating can result in their own set of problems, but even though the condition occurs most often in older adults, if you have a history in your family of heart trouble, it may be in your best interest to check your own heart.

There is Still a Long Way to Go to Make it Viable

“This study, we believe, provides very encouraging evidence that a device, the Apple Watch, can be used to detect A-fib and to point out to people when additional monitoring or testing may be needed,” noted Stanford’s dean of medicine, Dr. Lloyd Minor.

It’s key to note that you cannot make a proper diagnosis with just the watch’s result; a follow-up appointment with a doctor is necessary. Some doctors, however, are wholly against it, like the director of Mount Sinai in New York, Dr. Valentin Fuster, who openly stated, “I would not advise this to the general population.”

Most likely, doctors are worried that wearers would rely too heavily on their watches to keep tabs on their health without ever seeing a doctor, possibly resulting in life-ending maladies. However, if understood responsibly, it’s possible that your wristwatch might actually save your life.

A new study shows that the Apple Watch could help detect A-fib
Every year, we marvel more and more at the feats Apple Inc. is able to accomplish. From iPhones to Macs to iPads and iPad minis – their ingenuity seems to have no end.

The lives of people...

Health Science

New Technology In Genetic Testing!

Don’t start rolling your eyes just yet. I know that blockchain technology is suggested as the savior to everything. However, in the world of genetic testing, it’s becoming a genuinely viable solution to a problem that is showing no signs of getting any better.

Genetic testing is one of the most powerful tools that we have as a species, but it’s also an industry that is fraught with data leaks and other such problems.

With DNA sequencing now a fully affordable solution, more and more people are getting involved with it. However, the question has to be asked – how will that data be used in the first place? How will the medical industry use our genetic data to help make the world a better place?

Privacy, of course, is the next big challenge. We look at the world and we see the increase of data and the drop-off of privacy becoming a major problem. Genetic testing, then, is no different: so how could we make a genetic testing industry that is both affordable and private?

According to the CEO of Geneyx, David Yizhar, the solution is going to be a blockchain technology offer. Stressing that it offers the security and anonymity that is needed to help keep genetic tasting data safe, this could be the bespoke solution that the industry has been crying out for.

Blockchain and genetic testing: a happy combination?

As Yizhar says, they want to make genomic data available without having to put people’s privacy at needless risk. The hope is that, by using the data of your own genomes, you could hunt down people who suffer from the same condition as you – anonymously at first. It might help those with rare genetic mutations to find treatments in other parts of the world.

The challenge is making sure that it’s sliced up into enough tiny screeds of data as to be more or less impossible to take over. This means that if one piece of data was collected, it could never be enough for a hacker or leaker to be able to trace the source of the data itself.

At present, genome data is secured in the one location, on a single local server. For a hacker, that’s a piece of cake to get around. Though Geneyx has around 50,000 genomes at the moment, they want to get to 100,000 before they can start to use it to anything like its full potential.

For now, though, it’s certainly a good and honest idea. Many people feel unsure about giving out their contact details online: it’s then much harder to convince someone to give out their genetic data. So, if this system managed to show a safer and more trustworthy way of making this work, more people would likely take part.

It’s all a bit carrot and stick at the moment. If genome testing could become a safer experience, and more anonymous, people would take part. With a blockchain-style solution, though, that might not be so far off now.

Don’t start rolling your eyes just yet. I know that blockchain technology is suggested as the savior to everything. However, in the world of genetic testing, it’s becoming a genuinely viable solution to a problem that is showing no signs of getting any...

Health

Research: New Hope For HIV Cure

A patient has been diagnosed as being in remission from the HIV virus, according to an article released in the Nature journal.  The patient was the second who was reported to be cured in twelve years, using the same therapies as the previous patient.

While this is a hopeful leap for the treatment and eventual cure of HIV, the approach isn’t quite ready for broad use.

The treatment plan, released by scientists at Seattle’s Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, involved bone marrow transplants.  The transplants were not initially intended to cure the HIV, they were a treatment modality for treating cancer.  The side benefits?  Placing the HIV virus into remission.

Bone marrow transplant has many side-effects and is a risky procedure, so it’s questionable if the therapy will be a widely accepted treatment plan for HIV.  More likely, physicians will stick with the medications traditionally used to fight the disease.

Modified Immune Cell Replacement

Scientists are turning their focus away from treating the disease and looking at the role of modified immune cell replacement of infected cells.  These cells will be modified to be resistant to HIV.

Dr. Annemarie Wensing, a University Medical Center virologist at Utrecht, Netherlands explains that the discovery will provide hope for people; a cure is within reach.  Dr. Wensing is the co-leader of a group of European scientists that focused their studies on using stem cell transplants for the treatment of an HIV infection.

AMFAR, an American AIDS research group, has been behind the team of successful IciStem scientists, the second group of researchers to cure an HIV patient.

The first reported patient cured of HIV was revealed twelve years prior at the conference by a German physician who used bone marrow treatments as a cure for the patient’s leukemia.  The doctor was amazed to find that the patient’s HIV was cured as well.

Researchers tried to imitate the procedure, hoping for success but to no avail.  The patients either died of their cancers or after they stopped their anti-retroviral meds the virus returned.

Researchers have isolated immune cells with a mutated variety of a standard CCR5 protein.  This mutation keeps the HUV virus from infecting cells by blocking the virus from attaching to white blood cells.

This treatment was nearly fatal to the first patient who tried it, but the process has been streamlined to be safer.  The second patient fared better when he received a bone marrow transplant for his Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  The donor had the mutated CCR5 in their donated cells.

The second patient also fortified the treatment with a cycle of immunosuppressive drugs until 2017.  He then stopped taking the anti-retroviral medications and has remained free of HIV to date.

A patient has been diagnosed as being in remission from the HIV virus, according to an article released in the Nature journal.  The patient was the second who was reported to be cured in twelve years, using the same therapies as the previous patient.
While...

Health

Sharks Could Be The Secret Of Winning Cancer

Scientists mapping great white shark DNA have stumbled across something unexpected and exciting; a mutation that can be the key for fighting cancers and age-related diseases.

Scientists working at Nova Southeastern University in Florida in the Save Our Seas Foundation Shark Research Center have, for the first time, mapped out the DNA of these magnificent apex predators.

Along the way, the discovered some abnormalities in their genetic code that appears to help sharks fight illnesses, like cancers. Unstable genes in humans can cause illness, but sharks have a hard-wearing genetic structure that has contributed to their evolutionary success.

Nature’s Way To Stabilize Genes

Co-leader of the study, Dr. Mahmood Shivji, states, “Genome instability is a very important issue in many serious human diseases. Now we find that nature has developed clever strategies to maintain the stability of genomes in these large-bodied, long-lived sharks.”

While scientists admit that there is still much to be learned about these marvels of evolution, such as clarification on exactly how the research can be used to fight illness and cancer and help with the treatments of wounds in humans.

In addition, researchers say, the information they have uncovered can help conserve threatened species of sharks.

Overfishing has contributed widely to the decline of several species of shark, and the hope is that decoding the genome of the white shark will help scientists find a way to reverse the endangered members of the shark family.

Genetic conservationist from NSU, Steven O’Brien, is excited for the possibilities, explaining, “The genome data will be a great asset for understanding white shark population dynamics to better conserve this amazing species that has captured the imagination of so many.”

Scientists mapping great white shark DNA have stumbled across something unexpected and exciting; a mutation that can be the key for fighting cancers and age-related diseases.

Scientists working at Nova Southeastern University in Florida in the Save Our Seas...

Health

DIY: Junk Food Makeovers

Ding Dongs, Cheez-its, and Doritos. For most adults today, these items of junk food were a major part of their school lunchboxes and vending machine experiences. Unfortunately, these snacks are packed with fat, preservatives, salt, and other chemicals.

Those who loved them as children, walk by them as adults, but this doesn’t mean that though have to. You can stop ignoring your cravings because now, we have healthy versions of five of your favorite childhood snacks!

Ding Dongs

If you have a kitchen and a bit of spare time you can make homemade dingdongs. Using oiled and floured cupcake pans, bake chocolate cake batter. Make sure that you are not using a liner or filling each section too high.

Once this is done, you can either slice each cake in half, spreading ice cream between its layers, or pipe some frosting cream into the center of each cake. Spread chocolate ganache over the treat. The are endless variations of this treat. You could use gluten-free or organic ingredients and different flavors of filling.

Cheez-Its

It would always be satisfying to hear that thud the bag of Cheez-its makes when it hits the bottom of the vending machine. Recreating the salty, crisp, cheesy snack is actually not that hard. Recipes to mimic this snack are readily available online. There are even keto-friendly options that are baked with cheddar cheese, sea salt, and almond flour. You can munch away guilt-free.

Doritos

Doritos are usually a very easy snack to make healthier. Start with small corn tortillas cut into triangular pieces. Lightly spray olive oil on the triangles, and place your favorite toppings on them, baking to a crisp. You can season with cajun powder, cheddar cheese, and parmesan and garlic. There are also recipes for seasonings that are similar to traditional flavors of Doritos available online

Fruit Roll-ups

Making healthy fruit roll-ups is actually surprisingly easy. Start by choosing three cups of your favorite blueberries, mangoes, strawberries, or any other fruit, adding sweetener to taste. Puree the fruits and spread the mixture on parchment paper in a thin layer. Heat your oven to 150 degrees, and bake them until they are dried. Cut the sheets into smaller pieces and roll them up – just like your lunchbox snack.

Fudge Striped Cookies

If you have circular cookie cutters and a favorite recipe for sugar cookies, you can use them to make homemade fudge striped cookies. Get some melted baker’s chocolate and once you have baked your cookies, dip the bottoms into the chocolate. Once that is dry, you can put stripes on the tops. Since you are controlling what goes in both the chocolate and the cookies, you can make sure that they are as healthy as you want.

Ding Dongs, Cheez-its, and Doritos. For most adults today, these items of junk food were a major part of their school lunchboxes and vending machine experiences. Unfortunately, these snacks are packed with fat, preservatives, salt, and other chemicals.
Those...

Health Science

Research: Your Brain Has Two Clocks

One of those clocks relies on our memories of past experiences and the other on rhythm.  They are both critical to our ability to navigate and enjoy the world and our surroundings.

You have to be able to calculate when you move, anticipate the timing of future events, and adjust your attention and actions when needed.

According to a new UC Berkeley research, the neural networks that support each of these clocks are split between two different areas of the brain depending on what you need to accomplish.

Timing Is Not A United Process

It doesn’t matter if it’s music, sports, speech or allocating attention, the study suggests that timing is not a united process.

There are two different ways you can make temporal predictions and they depend on different areas of the brain, according to lead author Assaf Breska, a postdoctoral researcher in neuroscience at UC Berkeley.

When working together, both brain systems will allow you to exist at the moment and anticipate the future as well. Both Breska and Richard Ivry a UC Berkeley neuroscientist studied anticipatory timing strength and deficits of people with Parkinson’s and people with cerebellar degeneration.

It revealed that if one of these neutral clocks is not working properly, the other will step in. The study also revealed that the context of neurological patients that are impaired can adjust their surroundings to interact better in the world.

The brain uses two different mechanisms for anticipatory timing which challenges theories that a single brain system handles all our needs.  Results from their studies suggest there are at least two different ways the brain has evolved to anticipate the future.

The rhythm-based system is sensitive to periodic events such as inherent in speech and music.  An interval system offers a more general anticipatory ability that is sensitive to temporal regularities even in the absence of a rhythmic signal.

One of those clocks relies on our memories of past experiences and the other on rhythm.  They are both critical to our ability to navigate and enjoy the world and our surroundings.
You have to be able to calculate when you move, anticipate the timing of...

Health

The Most Preventable Injury-Related Deaths

There is a higher number of Americans becoming unknowingly overdose with drugs than death through a car accident or from a fall. This is based on a recent survey.

The abuse of opioid is currently on the rise in America. Its overdose is among the cause of easily preventable fatal injuries in America alone. According to the survey, it has never happened in the US until now.

Statistics and report that can be got from the NSC (National Safety Council) observed that information from the National Centre for Health Statistics states that the abuse of opioid is higher than vehicle accidents or falls.

Deadlier Than Car Accidents

In general, abuse of opioid represented over 43,036 fatalities in 2017 alone. This is an increase of over 5000 in 2016. Car accidents used to be the highest before now. With a figure of over 40,000 fatalities in 2016 and a slight drop to 40,231 in 2017.

The death ratio, as deduced by the NSC states that there is a ratio of 1:96 of every American death happening from the abuse of an opioid. This is against vehicle accident deaths that record a 1:103 ratio.

According to the NSC, the probability of an American losing his life is dependent on what they spend their time doing, the place they live, the place they drive and their occupation, etc.

NSC’s media person, Maureen Vogel, believes that the NSC statistics show a bleak image for its people.

“Americans are ignorant of the fact that the issues affecting opioid will not affect them, as they see it as being obscure. As such, it is nothing to be worried about for their loved ones or themselves.” Vogel’s mail to the CNN “But the information reflects the extent of the situation. It is not a secret that the abuse of opioid kills Americans every day. And these statistics reveal it clearly.”

The synthetic opioids are the type that are mostly abused. They are increasing faster than before. Tramadol, fentanyl, fentanyl analogues are examples of them. While heroin records the second biggest cause of deaths from opioid overdose. And its closest rival are Morphine, hydrocodone and oxycodone.

“America’s opioid worries instigated the NSC’s bleak odds. And the issues with opioids degenerates the more we experience an increase in fentanyl.” According to the NSC’s press release.

Avoidable deaths ― Recorded deaths that are not based on murder or suicide increased by over 5percent in the last three years (2016 till now). They are second death causes to only cancer and heart disease in America.

There is a higher number of Americans becoming unknowingly overdose with drugs than death through a car accident or from a fall. This is based on a recent survey.

The abuse of opioid is currently on the rise in America. Its overdose is among the cause of...