Food for thought about how to live healthy!

It’s that time of the year! The temperature gets cooler, the leaves change color, and the common cold spreads like wildfire. But you don’t need to tell me that since I’m currently suffering from it! And this virus hit me HARD.

Commons cold truly are unavoidable because the virus is so adaptable. Humans have been suffering from the common cold since they first evolved into human beings. Adults catch a cold, on average, twice a year. Scientists believe there are over 200 different types of the common cold and during your lifetime you’ll probably catch around 60-80 forms of the virus. But as you age, you become more and more protected against it because you’ve been more exposed to it.

The most common, and complained about, symptom of a cold is nasal congestion. That’s how the common cold got its scientific name rhinovirus, rhino obviously meaning nose. There is a myth that cold weather is the most prominent cause for colds (hence the name cold), but that myth has little evidence to support it.

The production of mucus in the nose is a natural response to the common cold. Medication can help relieve a stuffy nose, but there’s no real where to cure it because there’s no way to turn off the body’s natural immune response. And even if there was, that would put you in more danger since you’d be susceptible to other infections.

The virus can be transferred in many ways. Hand to hand, mouth to mouth, doorknob to hand to nose, even just by breathing in the airborne virus. Depending on how the virus is transmitted, that’s how the symptoms start.

My first symptom was a sore throat (I’ll remember to rinse my mouth out with Listerine he next time I kiss a guy :P) and my congestion came a couple days later. For some people, the congestion comes first and then the infection moves down into the throat. It really all depends how the body responds to the virus.

When the virus is absorbed into the nose, the body release a chemical known as a histamine, that drastically increases blood flow to the nasal cavity. This histamine is also the same chemical responsible for congestion caused by allergies. The increase in blood flow causes the nasal tissue to swell, and the inflamed tissue produces massive amounts of mucus as a response.

Diphenhydramine is a popular anti-histamine that is used in most cold and allergy products. However, it can also make you drowsy so you should only take it at night and avoid driving. Saline rinses can also help relieve a stuffy nose, but those can be uncomfortable for those who haven’t tried it. Vitamin C is also shown to help reduce the duration of a cold. The real cure for a stuffy nose is time. Once your body clears the infection, the histamine response will go away.

Always remember that blowing out is better than sniffing in. It’s tempting to keep sniffing in the mucus, but mucus can build up and create pressure in the nasal cavity, which can result in sinus infections and sinus headaches. When you blow out your mucus, it should be a clear or slight green color. If your mucus turns a darker green or yellow, or there’s blood it in, you should see your doctor as soon as possible since it could be a more serious sinus infection.

Other symptoms of a cold include sore or scratchy throat, swollen glands, chest congestion, headaches, and mild fever. Severe colds often have fevers over 101.5 and can cause some nausea. If you have a fever, you should probably stay home from work. If you’re still healthy enough to work, carry tissues and a bottle of hand sanitizer with you. Just because you experience a cold one way, someone else could respond to it much worse. And if one of your coworkers gets sick, that means more work for you ūüė¶

If you have a mild to moderate cold, don’t go to your doctor and demand a prescription for something!!! There is no prescription drug, no antibiotic that can cure a cold. Antibiotics only work on bacteria, and the cold is a virus. And if you take antibiotics while you have a cold, you could kill the natural bacteria that reside in your body and make yourself vulnerable to other infections.

Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent yourself from getting a cold. You can wash your hands every half hour of every day and you’ll still get sick. To help raise your odds though, you can try taking Zinc supplements to boost your immune system.

So remember to keep eating healthy, avoid dairy products (they also promote mucus production), and constantly was your hands. And if the cold brings you down, here’s something optimistic to remember: Your body creates a signature antibody for the infection so it knows to attack it whenever it sees it, so you’ll never get sick from this type of virus again!

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Do you ever wonder how everyone in your family has green eyes, but you have your great-grandpa’s brown eyes? Or how each member of your family can have a different blood type? (like my family, my sister is type O and I’m type AB) It’s all because of genetics and human’s are constantly creating new genetic sequences that allow us all to be diverse. This genetic diversity is due, in part, to the process of Meiosis, the cellular replication of human gametes (aka sex cells).

*I forgot to add this part at the end. The reason I picked Chromosome 21 was because one of the biggest genetic mutations occurs in Chromosome 21 as a trisomy. As I said in the video, humans are supposed to have two chromatids for every chromosomal set, so each cells contains 23 pairs, or 46 total, chromatids. A trisomy occurs when you have an extra chromatid for a chromosomal set, so you have three chromatids instead of a normal pair. Trisomy 21 results in Down’s Syndrome. No one really knows why Down’s Syndrome

In the Olympics, the minimum age to compete in gymnastics is 16, but if you didn’t know that you would guess that gymnasts like USA’s Shawn Johnson or China’s Deng Linlin were 13 or 14. Most people do, which is why many gymnasts are under suspicion of faking their age. After all, swimmers or soccer players don’t look so young, so why only gymnasts? Fear not, there is a perfectly simple physiological explanation behind the delayed growth and puberty of gymnasts, especially in female gymnasts.

The common trait among gymnasts is that they’re short. While there is a biological reason for stunted growth there’s also an athletic reason: being short gives you an advantage in gymnastics due to the physics involved in the motions. So taller gymnasts usually aren’t able to compete with shorter gymnasts and thus don’t train as long or rigorously. But there are physiologically reasons why gymnasts’ puberty is often delayed:

1) Length of training

Gymnasts often begin training by the time they’re 4 or 5 years old. They’re usually about 7 or 8 year old when coaches and trainers begin to recognize talent in them, and that’s when the prodigies are picked out. They begin to work hard and diligent sometimes 10 years before they’ll compete in an international competition. Whereas other athletes, such as Michael Phelps or Lance Armstrong, begin the sport when they’re 11 or 12, while they’re already in the process of puberty.

These gymnasts start at a much younger age and train with the same vigor that other athletes do when they’re the best in their sport. Their training continues through when normal girls begin puberty, around age 11, and beyond. Because their bodies are much more physically fit from all the years of training, it imbalances the hormones and delays the process of adulthood.

2) Physicality

Gymnasts are unbelievably fit when they’re adults, so imagine that kind of fitness in a child. Specifically, they have low body fat. And this doesn’t just pertain to gymnasts, almost all Olympic athletes have low body fat, sometimes in the single digits. And gymnasts have had low body fat since they were 5. Because the stores of fat are so low the body thinks, “I don’t have a lot of fat supply. Maybe it’s best not to grow up right now and wait until I have a little more fat.”

The low levels of fat cause two big reactions in the body that delay puberty:

1) Decreasing levels of gonadotrophin. If you didn’t already infer from the name, gonadotrophin is responsible for the creation of sex hormones. Decreased levels of this delay the normal symptoms of female puberty, like increased breast tissue, darker arm, leg and pubic hair, and menstruation. Most gymnasts eventually undergo puberty by the time they’re 13 or 14, sometimes even 15. Unfortunately, because their puberty is delayed and not allowed to develop correctly, these gymnasts often experience hormonal problems, and sometimes infertility, in the future.

2) Lower levels of insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1). Less fat and sugar means less glucose, means less insulin, means no growth. This is the reason gymnasts don’t often grow above 5’3″.¬† The big growth spurt during puberty is caused by IGF-1. It allows long bones, such as the femur and humorous, and soft muscle tissues to grow into adulthood. Because gymnasts train so rigorously, their muscles are already fit and strong so they really don’t have much need to grow anymore. But the bones are the structures that suffer most. There haven’t been many studies because there aren’t many elderly gymnasts, but I wouldn’t be surprised if in 20 or 30 years they discover that gymnasts are more likely to get osteoporosis than regular women.

So what can be done? Honestly, not a lot. Female gymnasts can try oral contraceptives to help boost production of sex hormones, but realistically, they probably won’t want to. Delaying puberty helps these girls keep their bodies short and limber, and that’s better for them when it comes to competition.

If you’re thinking of putting your child into gymnastics and it turns out your child is an Olympic prodigy, consider this parents: 1) Does your child like the sport?? and 2) Is it worth the consequences they may face later in life due to a delayed puberty?

Earlier this week, Commerce Secretary John Bryson resigned sighting his seizure problems (he allegedly committed two hit and runs while seizing) and was leaving his office to seek treatment. So the next time I get caught running someone over in Grand Theft Auto and I can’t make it to the car garage, I’ll be sure to tell police I had a complex partial seizure and they’ll let me off the hook, right?…that was a joke, just fyi. People being run over in Grand Theft Auto is a serious problem.

Although people often associate seizures with violent thrashing, seizures come in several forms of unusual physical effects. About 4% of people experience an unprovoked seizure by the time they’re 80. Out of those people, 30 to 50% of them will experience a second seizure. Seizures can produce a wide variety of effects from violent thrashing to deja vu to paralysis and syncope (fainting). There are several different kinds of seizures, both epileptic and non-epileptic.

Epileptic seizures occur where there is access number of neurons sending off electrical signals in the brain. There are several different speculations as to why seizures occur but there is no cure for epilepsy. About 50 million people worldwide suffer from epilepsy and 90% of those people live in developing countries. Some cases of epilepsy, such as photo-epilepsy, seizures brought on by bright or flashing lights, can be controlled. Most epileptic seizures occur without warning and can lead to serious injury depending on the environment the seizure is taking place in.

Types of Seizures

Seizures are classified by two categories, location of neural activity and whether or not syncope occurs. If the electrical activity is localized to a specific area of the brain it is a partial seizure. If the activity is widely distributed it is a generalized seizure. If loss of consciousness does not occur it is a simple seizure, otherwise it is a complex seizure. If a partial seizure develops into a generalized seizure, it is then classified into one or more categories: abscence (short, 20-second syncope), myoclonic (twitches or jerks), clonic (muscle contractions or relaxations),  tonic (sudden, rigorous, and extreme contractions), tonic-clonic (tonic stage with violent shaking after),  and atonic (loss of muscle tone). Those six categories only apply to generalized seizures.

In the case of John Bryson, he suffered a complex partial seizure, meaning the area of¬† activity was localized and he experienced syncope. It is unclear what part of the brain it affected, though. The type of seizure most people define as a “seizure” and is featured the most on medical shows is a complex generalized tonic-clonic seizure.

Causes of Epilepsy

The most common cause of epilepsy in people under 18 is an infection in the Central Nervous System or a congenital defect. As people age, the chances of developing epilepsy grow because there are more potential causes such as stress, trauma, brain tumors, drug or alcohol withdrawal, and cerebrovascular disease (a condition that limits blood supply to the brain).

However, the most severe and uncontrollable cases of epilepsy are the result of a genetic mutation.  When your brain sends an electrical signal, it uses sodium and calcium to deliver the electric charge. When this genetic mutation occurs, the sodium gates stay open for too long and causes the release of glutamate, a transmitter that makes the nerves hyper sensitive.  The release of too much glutamate results in the release of Calcium molecules that carry an electric charge. The nerves get overloaded with signals and thus a seizure occurs.

Treatment Options

The most modern medicine suggests that people who are susceptible to epilepsy have a weak blood-brain barrier, a sheath that separates the blood vessels in the brain and the raw brain matter. It moderates the transportation of proteins to neurons and prevents pathogens from destroying neural matter. Most of the anti-seizure medications available are used to help the blood-brain barrier function. These anticonvolusant medications do carry side effects, however.

In severe cases of epilepsy, for people who experience over 4 seizures a day, surgery may be the only way to treat seizures. A lobectomy, the removal of one of the lobes of the brain (usually the temporal), might be necessary. In children 2-5, a hemispherectomy, the removal of the entire left or right hemisphere,  is also an option. Most seizure activity stems from the hippocampus, a portion of the brain that separates short term and long term memory and is also responsible for spacial recognition. A hippocampectomy is shown to be effective for those kind of seizures. Other methods such a deep brain stimulation, vagus nerve stimulation, and radiation treatments are known to reduce or remove seizure activity. However, some surgical options are only used as a last resort effort and carry high risks.

Difference Between Epilepsy, Non-epileptic Seizures, and Provoked Seizures

Many people are diagnosed with epilepsy even when the do not have a seizure disorder. There are several different kinds of episodes that may look like epileptic seizures but are not, or there are seizures that have a treatable outside cause. Provoked seizures are often caused by other medical conditions including dehydration, sleep deprivation, a cavernous malformation, infection and fever, withdrawal, metabolic disorders, head injuries, and more. These types of seizures usually occur once and are often caught by doctors. If you or someone you know experiences a seizure and you think there might by an underlying cause, alert a doctor of any potential physical abnormality. Don’t ever assume it’s epilepsy.

Non-epileptic seizures are episodes that often mimic epilepsy. It is more common for children to be misdiagnosed than adults. About 40% of children who suffer non-epileptic seizures are misdiagnosed with epilepsy. In adults, the figure is around 26%.  They are caused by pathophysiological effects including vertigo, repetitive behavior, tics, migraines, night terrors, CNS lymphoma, and more. Most of these conditions can be treated or even cured, either with medicine or some sort of psychological therapy.

What happens if you or someone you know has a seizure.

If you’ve been diagnosed with epilepsy or are known to be prone to experience seizures, make sure your close friends and family know proper protocol. If someone experiences a seizure and they lose consciousness, call 9-1-1 immediately. If the person is thrashing and moving violently, do not attempt to stop them from moving. Move any objects he/she could hit out of range and put your hands around the head to attempted him/her from sustaining a head injury.

The brain is by far the most complicated enigma of the human body. It is constantly changing and evolving to adapt to our biological needs. It rewires itself on a daily basis in order to adjust our moods, diets, habits, and desires. The parts of the brain that control love, however, are much more mysterious in regards to their biochemistry and their physical impact on the body.

New York Times columnist Diane Ackerman published a commentary piece regarding a new field of medicine that explores the biochemistry of emotional connections known as Interpersonal Neurobiology. It explores which parts of the brain control love, heartbreak, connections and relationships, and how the body is physically impacted by the brain’s reaction to these various personal aspects.

As the most intelligent and emotionally advanced creatures on the planet, humans thrive on relationships. Every important relationship, mother or friend or spouse, reshapes the brain in some way which, in turn, reshapes how we as people treat various relationships. As we grow emotionally closer to other people, we discover more about them and, more importantly, about ourselves.

“The brain knows who we are. The immune system knows who we‚Äôre not,” Ackerson writes, “and it stores pieces of invaders as memory aids. Through lovemaking, or when we pass along a flu or a cold sore, we trade bits of identity with loved ones, and in time we become a sort of chimera. We don‚Äôt just get under a mate‚Äôs skin, we absorb him or her.”

New studies conducted at UCLA are now showing that love and heartbreak have a stronger impact on the body than once previously thought. Neuroscientist Naomi Eisenberger explains in the article that the areas of the brain that respond to physical pain are also the same areas that are active when someone feels socially rejected. That’s why being spurned by a lover hurts all over the body, but in no place you can point to.

This new theory of mapping the brain via the immune system opens up a whole new field of research, including better ways for psychologists and neurologists to understand how the brain perceives love.

It’s unfortunate the foundation of a classic American diet is based on red meat. Hamburgers, hot dogs, beef, steak: all of these are difficult to pass up when living in America. But now it’s no wonder the U.S. has the highest rate of obesity and heart disease in the world. With a diet revolving around red meat, it’s inevitable.

A new study released earlier last week shows all red meat is bad for you. That’s right, ALL red meat. Although red meat has some good qualities, it is not the sort of food to put at the center of your diet.

Red meat is very high in two types of chemicals called myoglobin and haemoglobin. These two chemicals can be difficult to convert and digest which can damages your intestinal tract and lead to cancer. Red meat intake has been correlated with several forms of cancers included¬†intestinal, colorectal,¬†esophageal, lung, bladder, and pancreatic cancer. But that’s not the main reason red meat is bad for you.

Red meat also has a high percent of saturated fat and trans fat. The saturated fat and trans fat clings to our bodies because of its chemical form. A study done between vegetarians and non-vegetarians showed that vegetarians had 30% lower BMIs. Obesity then leads to other problems such as diabetes, acute coronary syndrome (stroke), and heart disease.

Why is red meat so high in fat? Well what is meat exactly? Meat is the flesh taken from animals that is then eaten by us. Usually, meat is the skeletal muscle taken off the legs and¬†abdomen. Take a look at your own legs and abdomen. Sure, you have muscles there. But what surrounds your muscles? Fat. Animals are exactly the same way. And with the high-paced way red meat is processed and packaged these days, I don’t think ranchers are too concerned about the content of fat in their meat.

The key to red meat, like any other type of food that’s bad for you, is moderation. The FDA recommends ¬†eating no more than 300 grams (11 oz) of¬†lean red meat every week. Lean red meat has less fat and cooked more healthy than other meats.

Another way to make red meat healthier is to try cooking it in different ways. By slow cooking red meat, you can allow the proteins in meat to convert more easier and that way the meat doesn’t lose all its nutrients and doesn’t gain a ton of fat.

Of course, it would be wise to quit red meat entirely. White meat has the same kind of nutrients without all the fat, so it’s a good substitute. Certain nuts and fish are also high in iron and protein and can replace those nutrients lost by cutting red meat out of a diet. There are iron supplements you can take as well, but those aren’t as healthy, wholesome, and natural as getting your nutrients from food itself.

And honestly, who knows what chemicals are used to process red meats these days anyways?

I found this post when I was browsing Tumblr this afternoon. Amazing how much one can of soda pop can impact the human body. And some people drink 3-4 cans of soda a DAY. And if this is only what a soda does, imagine what kind of effects alcohol and energy drinks have on the body.

 

WHAT HAPPENS TO A PERSON’S BODY WHEN THEY DRINK A COKE:

  • In The First 10 minutes:¬†10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system. (100% of your recommended daily intake.) You don‚Äôt immediately vomit from the overwhelming sweetness because phosphoric acid cuts the flavor allowing you to keep it down.
  • 20 minutes:¬†Your blood sugar spikes, causing an insulin burst. Your liver responds to this by turning any sugar it can get its hands on into fat. (There‚Äôs¬†plenty¬†of that at this particular moment)
  • 40 minutes:¬†Caffeine absorption is complete. Your pupils dilate, your blood pressure rises, as a response your livers dumps¬†more sugar¬†into your bloodstream. The adenosine receptors in your brain are now blocked preventing drowsiness.
  • 45 minutes:¬†Your body ups your dopamine production stimulating the pleasure centers of your brain. This is physically the same way heroin works, by the way.
  • >60 minutes:¬†The phosphoric acid binds calcium, magnesium and zinc in your lower intestine, providing a further boost in metabolism. This is compounded by high doses of sugar and artificial sweeteners also increasing the urinary excretion of calcium.
  • >60 Minutes:¬†The caffeine‚Äôs diuretic properties come into play. (It makes you have to pee.) It is now assured that you‚Äôll evacuate the bonded calcium, magnesium and zinc that was headed to your bones as well as sodium, electrolyte and water.
  • >60 minutes:¬†As the rave inside of you dies down you‚Äôll start to have a sugar crash. You may become irritable and/or sluggish. You‚Äôve also now, literally, pissed away all the water that was in the Coke. But not before infusing it with valuable nutrients your body could have used for things like even having the¬†ability¬†to hydrate your system or build strong bones and teeth.