Health

Want the new yoga that improves the brain?

Want the new yoga that improves the brain?

The new technique that aims to boost brain power is creating a huge buzz everywhere…


    Guess what? If you were punished in school and made to do the uthak-baithak, it might actually have done more than just been an adherent. It might have made you alert and a better think too. For as per a new form of yoga, that which was considered to be a severe punishment in school — where you touch your ears — is actually a simple effective technique to energise and recharge the brain. Yes, the uthak-baithak sazaa where the student was made to cross his hands and hold the ear lobes for any lapse in school is actually the new ‘superbrain yoga’– the regimen that synchronises the left and the right side of your brain to give you benefits.
HOW IT HELPS
Master Choa Kok Sui who presented superbrain yoga to the public, explains how the brain is a ‘living battery’ and must be recharged so that it can retain memory and intelligence values. His exercise, he says can help this. As per this philosophy, energy connections are generated to energise the brain. The right ear lobe corresponds to the left brain while the left ear lobe corresponds to the right brain. The ears also act as powerful acupuncture pressure points that have a direct connection to the brain. So when the ears are massaged, the energy flows to the brain. Researchers maintain that the technique uses principles of subtle energy and ear acupuncture to increase memory and intelligence and can make one a better thinker. They say that the energy that is generated also balances out the other energies of the throat, heart and forehead.
    In addition, reports mention how children with learning disabilities such as Down Syndrome, developmental and cognitive problems like ADHD/ADD reported an increase in performance and became more active in the class. Apparently, pinching the ear lobes has an acupuncture effect that helps.
WHAT EXPERTS FEEL
Holistic guru Mickey Mehta believes this is something everyone should do. “In yoga there are such asanas that help increase brain activity. For instance, we also have something called ‘bhamri pranayam’, where you hum and that action the increases electro magnetic field in the brain. It activates the ENT and helps people with tinnitus (ringing in the ears). The technique also improves hearing and vision in addition to boosting neuro-activity. It’s great for everyone, especially the elderly.”
    Adds Mumbai-based yoga expert, Shanti Chavan, “In yoga, innumerable techniques and principles have evolved over thousands of years. And in Mumbai, where there is such a high level of stress, yoga needs to be incorporated into the day. This technique fits in as it can be practiced in the office itself. It has calming benefits and helps energise you when you get thrown off balance.”
THE TEST
According to reports, in one study, the result of an electroencephalograph showed an increased amplitude in the parieto-occipital region of the brain following the superbrain yoga. It indicated an increased brain electrical activity following the exercise.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - July 2, 2013 at 6:35 pm

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How to Prevent failure of Kidneys?

How to Prevent failure of Kidneys

 

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Chimps, Human and the genetic ‘switch’

A Cornell University study has provided further proof that the divergence of humans from chimpanzees some 4 million to 6 million years ago was profoundly influenced by mutations to DNA sequences that play roles in turning genes on and off.

The study provides evidence for a 40-year-old hypothesis that regulation of genes must play an important role in evolution since there is little difference between humans and chimps in the proteins produced by genes.

Indeed, human and chimpanzee proteins are more than 99 per cent identical.

The researchers showed that the number of evolutionary adaptations to the part of the machinery that regulates genes, called transcription factor binding sites, might be roughly equal to adaptations to the genes themselves.

“This is the most comprehensive and most direct analysis to date of the evolution of gene regulatory sequences in humans,” said senior author Adam Siepel, Cornell associate professor of biological statistics and computational biology.

“It’s taken these 40 years to get a clear picture of what’s going on in these sequences because we haven’t had the data until very recently,” said Leonardo Arbiza, a postdoctoral researcher in Siepel’s lab and the paper’s lead author.

Less than 2 per cent of the human genome — the complete set of genetic material — contains genes that code for proteins.

In cells, these proteins are instrumental in biological pathways that affect an organism’s health, appearance and behaviour. Much less is known about the remaining 98 pc of the genome; however, in the 1960s, scientists recognized that some of the non-protein coding DNA regulates when and where genes are turned on and off, and how much protein they produce.

The regulatory machinery works when proteins called transcription factors bind to specific short sequences of DNA that flank the gene, called transcription factor binding sites, and by doing so, switch genes on and off.

Among the findings, the study reports that when compared with protein coding genes, binding site DNA shows close to three times as many “weakly deleterious mutations,” that is, mutations that may weaken or make an individual more susceptible to disease, but are generally not severe.

Weak deleterious mutations exist in low frequencies in a population and are eventually weeded out. These mutations are responsible for many inherited human diseases.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - June 23, 2013 at 9:26 am

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Eyes might miss, but brain sees everything

A new study has revealed that people can plan strategic movements to several different targets at the same time, even when they see far fewer targets than are actually present.

A team of researchers at the Brain and Mind Institute at the University of Western Ontario took advantage of a pictorial illusion — known as the “connectedness illusion” — that causes people to underestimate the number of targets they see.

Connecting the circles creates the illusion of fewer circles on the right. But when our brain plans actions to these targets it computes the actual number of targets. When people act on these targets, they can rapidly plan accurate reaches that reflect the actual number of targets.

Using statistical techniques to analyse participants’ responses to multiple potential targets, the researchers found that participants’ reaches to the targets were unaffected by the presence of the connecting lines.

Thus, the “connectedness illusion” seemed to influence the number of targets they perceived but did not impact their ability to plan actions related to the targets. These findings indicate that the processes in the brain that plan visually-guided actions are distinct from those that allow us to perceive the world.

“It’s as though we have a semi-autonomous robot in our brain that plans and executes actions on our behalf with only the broadest of instructions from us” said lead researcher Jennifer Milne.

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scientists has developed a way to see where and how memories are stored in the brain

A team of scientists has developed a way to see where and how memories are stored in the brain.

The team, led by Don Arnold and Richard Roberts of USC, engineered microscopic probes that light up synapses in a living neuron in real time by attaching fluorescent markers onto synaptic proteins – all without affecting the neuron’s ability to function.

The fluorescent markers allow scientists to see live excitatory and inhibitory synapses for the first time – and, importantly, how they change as new memories are formed.

The synapses appear as bright spots along dendrites (the branches of a neuron that transmit electrochemical signals). As the brain processes new information, those bright spots change, visually indicating how synaptic structures in the brain have been altered by the new data.

“When you make a memory or learn something, there’s a physical change in the brain. It turns out that the thing that gets changed is the distribution of synaptic connections,” Arnold, associate professor of molecular and computational biology at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, and co-corresponding author, said.

The probes behave like antibodies, but bind more tightly, and are optimised to work inside the cell – something that ordinary antibodies can’t do. 

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What are platelets?

Blood ties

The monsoon doesn’t only bring respite from the heat, it also brings a host of diseases like malaria and dengue. Platelet transfusions are essential for the treatment of such cases. But a lack of awareness in Mumbai means platelets are in short supply

Thirteen years ago Patna-resident Sanjeev Sharma brought his son Vikas to Mumbai for treatment of blood cancer. Sanjeev had to run from pillar to post to acquire platelets that his son needed while undergoing chemotherapy at the Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH) in Parel.
“The drugs used in chemotherapy suppressed my son’s bone marrow to such an extent that he could not produce platelets in his body,” recalls Sanjeev. Platelets are cell fragments that help plug holes in the blood vessel. They help blood clot and prevent excessive bleeding. A dip in platelet levels in the body can lead to excessive bleeding and death.
In 2004, Vikas succumbed to the blood cancer. Sanjeev was a shattered man, but also a man with a mission: From then on, he took it upon himself to become a platelet donor at TMH.
Since 2010, he has donated platelets 35 times. “ I decided to stay in Mumbai after Vikas died,” said Sanjeev. He runs an NGO Sadbhavna Kendra that helps relatives of cancer stricken patients platelets.
While voluntary platelet donors are few, thousands of relatives of patients throng hospital corridors in the hunt for platelets. Mumbai requires up to 700 units of blood including separate components such as packed cells, platelets and plasma for planned surgeries, emergency accidents, malaria (especially falciparum) and dengue. As the monsoons pick up, hospitals will soon start seeing at least 15 to 20 malaria cases in a day. Of these, doctors say, five may require platelet transfusion. “Not more than 50 ml of platelets can be extracted from one unit of blood. If enough donors don’t volunteer and donate single donor platelets (SDPs) through apheresis technique then we have to convince relatives to donate,” said Dr Anita Tendulkar, associate professor, department of transfusion medicine at TMH.
The TMH apheresis section, houses four machines. Donors spend an hour or two on the machine. “A donor sits on the apheresis machine. Blood from the arm of the donor goes into a blood separator and the platelets get extracted from the blood after which the blood returns to the body,” explains Dr Puneet Jain, resident doctor. Apheresis is a process in which only one part of the blood, i.e. platelets are extracted. While acquiring platelets from a large number of random donors is not possible during emergencies, experts suggest that single donor platelets (SDPs) need to be tapped. “In the SDP method, one platelet donor donates platelets equivalent to six to eight blood donors. SDPs are safer for transfusion as chances of contamination are less,” said Vinay Shetty of non-profit, Think Foundation. On an average, TMH doctors manage to rope in 60 to 70 voluntary donors in a month while numbers of patients requiring platelet transfusion after surgery or chemotherapy roll into more than hundred. “Our donor hunt continues on a daily basis and we appeal for more donors to come as the city’s demand for platelets is far more than the supply,” said Dr Tendulkar.
Shetty says that patients have to pay for extraction and processing charges of platelets even if the platelets come from voluntary donors. This ends up burning a hole in their pocket. Each bag of SDP contains 300 ml of platelet and can cost anywhere between Rs5,000 to Rs8,000.
Praful Panda, 46, has had transfusions of 10 platelet bags since he was admitted to TMH for blood cancer. “Each bag costs us Rs 5,900, even after subsidy from the hospital. We had to arrange for five to six relatives to donate platelets as my husband requires transfusion twice a day after chemotherapy,” said Praful’s wife Sasmitha.

What are platelets?
Platelets, red cells, white cells and plasma are primary components of the blood
Platelets are cell fragments that help plug any holes in the blood vessel, acting in combination with other factors in the blood, such as fibrin, during clotting to prevent excessive bleeding
Normal person has between 1.5 – 4 lakh platelets in the body
Dip in platelet levels below 7,000 can lead to excessive bleeding and death
People suffering from blood cancer, aplastic anaemia, dengue or malaria require only platelets to be transfused which can prove to be life saving
Very few know that platelets can be donated through a procedure known as plateletpheresis or apheresis
While blood can be donated only four times a year, platelets can be donated up to 24 times a year

Why should you donate?
When the demand is more and the supply is less
Hardly 30% of city’s platelet demands are met through SDPs. The rest of the 70% is met through donations made by relatives or by extraction of Random Donor Platelets (RDPs) from whole blood bags.

The platelet donation process is very safe as the entire process is mechanised under sterilised condition with bare minimum manual intervention.

There are no side effects except that a donor might feel a slight chill during the process. It is a normal reaction to the blood anti-coagulant.

The donor does not have to incur any expenditure while donation. In fact, the hospital voluntarily spends Rs10,000 on the disposable kit, which is used on apheresis machine every time a person comes forward to donate.

How To become a donor?
Any person between 18 – 50 years can become a donor

You should be healthy with no major disease

The doctor shall evaluate an individual’s fitness

Eat iron rich foods like spinach, ragi, jaggery, dates to raise HB levels

Maintain blood HB levels above 12.5 gm/dl and body weight above 55 kilos

Enroll in a platelet donation registry. Contact TMH’s Department of Transfusion Medicine on 022-24177000 ext- 4681 for queries on donation and registration as donor or Think Foundation on 022 – 65181341/

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Job Stress and Asthma

Job Stress and Asthma
Job stress comes in different forms and affects your mind and body in different ways. Small things can make you feel stressed, such as a copy machine that never seems to work when you need it or phones that won’t quit ringing. Major stress comes from having too much or not enough work or doing work that doesn’t satisfy you. Conflicts with your boss, coworkers, or customers are other major causes of stress. It’s normal to have some stress. Stress releases hormones that speed up your heart, make you breathe faster, and give you a burst of energy. Stress can be useful when you need to focus on or finish a big project. But too much stress or being under stress for too long isn’t good for you. Constant stress can make you more likely to get sick more often.
Signs of job stress
§  Asthmatic attacks
§  Headaches
§  Trouble sleeping
§  Problems concentrating
§  Short temper
§  Upset stomach
§  Job dissatisfaction and low morale
It is only recently that doctors have turned their attention to stress. They now recognize that it affects our health in all sorts of ways. Some people react to stress by having a headache, others find that their digestion is upset and they may develop irritable bowel syndrome. Research has shown that stress, both major stresses such as bereavement of a marriage and minor stresses have a marked biochemical and hormonal effect on the body.
Stress may greatly reduce our ability to cope with life’s demand. Conversely, the hormones released when you are under stress give you the push and incentive to meet deadlines and are the fuel of ambition.
Sometimes this stress buzz is what is attractive about a job, most newspaper journalist and financial traders feel at their most productive when they are under intense pressure.
Stress and asthma

Job stress can also bring on an asthma attack and make many allergies, particularly eczema, worse. It cannot cause them, but it can trigger them. Many parents with an asthmatic child have to resign themselves to birthday parties bringing on an attack because of the combination of excitement and exercise. Physical factors, such as dust and the house dust mite, can trigger an attack.
Asthma and allergies are certainly not all in the mind, but the mind has a powerful impact on them. This may explain why a number of complementary therapies, which aim to restore a healthy balance of mind and body, have had success in treating asthma. The overexcitement at a children’s party is an all too familiar cause of the onset of an asthma attack.
Tips on taking care of yourself
§  Leave your job at the office, even if your office is a room in your home. Leave your cell phone at work if you can, or decide not to answer it during times you’ve set aside for you and your family. Don’t check work e-mail at home.
§  Be positive. Remember that everyone has good days and bad days at work.
§  When you finish a difficult task, celebrate. Enjoy a snack at your desk, or—if your job permits—take a short walk or visit with a coworker.
§  If you spend every second of your day getting things done, you may resent never having time for yourself. If your employer offers a flexible work schedule, use it in a way that fits your work style. Go into work earlier and take a longer break at lunch to make time for a yoga class or a walk.

§  Regular exercise under the doctor’s supervision can greatly benefit asthma patients. Swimming is generally an excellent form of exercise for asthmatics. Other kinds of exercises can be beneficial as well. Be sure to consult the doctor before starting an exercise program.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - June 9, 2013 at 3:35 pm

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Beat body odor with food

Beat body odor with food
Conventional wisdom suggests that perspiration is the cause of body odor. However, perspiration by itself is basically odorless, but it is the bacteria and odors coming from other sources that are the real culprits.
What to eat? What to avoid?
There is a direct relation between what a person eats and his body odor. Avoid refined sugar, white flour, hydrogenated oils and other processed foods. Avoid red meat because it releases many toxins into the blood stream. Avoid foods that lack fiber. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, cumin and garlic. Eat a healthy diet which contains whole grains, lots of leafy vegetables, sprouts, fresh fruits, soy products, and raw nuts and so on. Other animal products that produce bad odors are dairy products like milk and cheese.
Quit or cut down on smoking cigarettes.
Tobacco creates a stench that comes through your pores, including your underarms. Sugar feeds fungus and bacteria on your skin.
Supplements to take
Chlorophyll
One or two chlorophyll tablets or chlorophyll liquid taken with each meal may also help, as chlorophyll is a great deodorizer.
Magnesium
Take magnesium supplements or augment your diet with food sources high in this important mineral. Nutritionists recommend between 200-500 mg of magnesium daily. You will have to try different doses until you get the amounts that are right for your body.
Vitamins
A high-potency B vitamin (50 mg or higher), when combined with magnesium, will help reduce certain secretions that can be a cause of odor. Make sure you are getting 100 mg of PABA and 100 mg of B6.
Zinc
If you have body odor, try taking zinc tablets. Zinc, plus magnesium, will help balance your body’s metabolism and reduce the cause of bad odor. Studies have shown that taking 30 to 50 mg daily will dramatically reduce certain body odors, although you may need less. Zinc may also reduce perspiration and sweaty feet. However, it is wise to go above 15 mg only with a doctor’s supervision as zinc may interfere with the absorption of copper, another essential trace mineral.
Remedies from foodstuffs
Alcohol
Wipe your armpits with alcohol, white vinegar or witch hazel instead of deodorant.
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar eliminates underarm body odor when used in place of deodorant because it reduces the pH of the skin. Bacteria can’t live in areas with low pH.
White vinegar
This is also helpful. Place some on a cotton ball and apply to the underarms instead of deodorant. The vinegar smell is gone in minutes and you should be smell-free all day.
Baking soda
Baking soda, the odor-eating standby, can be used instead of deodorant. Just apply the powder to your dry armpits. It will kill bacteria and help absorb perspiration. Cornstarch can also be used instead or mixed with the baking soda.
Parsley
Chewing parsley, alfalfa and other leafy greens will help neutralize body odor, probably because of the deodorizing effect of the chlorophyll.
Radishes
Juice about two dozen radishes, add 1/4 teaspoon of glycerin, and put in a squirt or spray-top bottle. Use as an underarm deodorant or to reduce foot odor.
Rosemary
It is an antibacterial herb. Put 8 to 10 drops of the essential oil in 1 ounce of water and apply it where needed.
Sage
Herbalists suggest drinking a cup of sage tea daily to reduce sweat gland activity. This is especially true for those who perspire excessively due to tension. Use one-and-a-half teaspoonfuls of dried sage or two tea bags in one cup of water; soak for ten minutes; drink in small doses throughout the day. Fresh sage leaves blended with tomato juice has been found to be very effective against bad odor.
Tea tree
It is an antibacterial herb. Make a deodorant by putting 2 drops of the essential oil into 1 ounce of water and apply where needed.
Turnip juice
Turnip juice will reduce underarm odor for up to 10 hours. Grate turnip; squeeze the juice through cheesecloth, so that you have two teaspoonfuls. Wash your armpits first, and vigorously rub one teaspoonful on each one.
Wheat grass
Take 500 mg of wheat grass daily on an empty stomach and wash down with a glass of water. The chlorophyll will dramatically reduce body odor.

 

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