Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Remarkable Benefits of Astragalus Root


Astragalus root is a herb that’s tremendously important in traditional Chinese medicine. It is known for its many health benefits, especially its potential to slow the aging process. The herb was hailed as a protector against stresses, both mental and physical. Astragalus provides health benefits to a number of body systems and ailments. Because of the tremendous success of so many research studies and trials, new information about astragalus is coming to light all the time. In general, its greatest strength is preventing and protecting cells against cell death and other harmful elements, such as free radicals and oxidation.

According to continuing research, astragalus health benefits include:

Acts as an Anti-Inflammatory
Inflammation is at the root of most diseases. From arthritis to heart disease, it’s often the culprit of the damage. Many studies show that thanks to its saponins and polysaccharides, astragalus can reduce inflammatory response in connection to a number of illnesses and conditions, from helping to heal wounds and lesions to reducing inflammation in diabetic kidney disease.

Boosts the Immune System
In terms of reputation, boosting the immune system is astragalus’ claim to fame. It’s been used in this capacity for thousands of years. A study out of Beijing displayed its ability to control t-helper cells 1 and 2, essentially regulating the body’s immune responses.

Contains Antioxidative, Anti-Aging, and Longevity Capabilities
Astragalus is well-known for its anti-aging effect. New and exciting research is currently being conducted that shows that Astragalus does, indeed, have powerful anti-aging properties, slowing the aging process at a cellular level.

Oxidation due to free radical damage is the main component in disease and aging, and many elements found in astragalus fight free radical damage and prevent of oxidative stress. 

It has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine for longevity, to invigorate qi (vital energy) and to strengthen the body. It seems to have solid scientific basis too, since a component of Astragalus called cycloastragenol is found to increase telomerase, an enzyme that promotes telomere health. Telomeres are the end portions of DNA; they get shortened every time the cell undergoes division. Hence, telomere length is a more reliable indicator of biological age and longevity than the chronological age of a person.

Slows or Prevents the Growth of Tumors
Many recent screenings have shown the success of astragalus saponins, flavonoids and polysaccharides in decreasing or eliminating tumors. In instances of chemoresistance treating liver cancer, astragalus has shown potential in reversing multidrug resistance and as an addition to conventional chemotherapy, according to a study published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology.

Protects the Cardiovascular System
The flavonoids present in astragalus are antioxidants that help prevent plaque buildup in arteries and narrowing of vessel walls by protecting the inner wall of the vessel. In addition, a 2014 study published in the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine suggests injection of astragalus, combined with conventional treatment for viral myocarditis (inflammation of the middle layer of the heart wall), makes treatment more successful in heart conditions.

Other studies have shown its ability to reduce blood pressure and level of triglycerides. High levels of triglycerides put individuals at risk for many forms of heart disease, such as stroke, heart attack and hardening of artery walls.

During a heart attack, heart muscle damage occurs when there is a lack of blood supply and oxygen. At that time, calcium overload creates secondary damage. Astragalus may prevent additional heart muscle damage by regulating calcium homeostasis in the heart.

Regulates and Prevents Diabetes and Illnesses Related to Diabetes
Astragalus has been studied progressively as an antidiabetic. Studies show its ability to relieve insulin resistance and treat diabetes naturally. The herb’s collection of saponins, flavonoids and polysaccharides all are effective in treating and regulating type 1 and 2 diabetes. They’re able to increase insulin sensitivity, protect pancreatic beta cells (the cells in the pancreas that produce and release insulin) and also act as anti-inflammatories in areas related to diabetes symptoms. 

Kidney disease in diabetics is also a common problem, and astragalus has been used to treat kidney illness for many years. More recent studies in humans and animals have shown astragalus can slow the progress of kidney problems in diabetics and protect the renal system.

Aids in Wound Healing and Minimizes Scarring
Because of its anti-inflammatory qualities, astragalus has a long history of treating wounds. Radix astragali, another name for the dried root of astragalus, has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for the repair and regeneration of injured organs and tissues.

In a 2012 study by the Institute of Pharmaceutics at Zhejiang University, wounds treated with astragaloside IV (the active ingredient in dried astragalus root) showed recovery rates increase two- to threefold over 48–96 hours. It was concluded that astragalus is a promising natural product for anti-scarring and healing in wounds.

Alleviates Symptoms of Chemotherapy
Astragalus has been shown to help patients receiving chemotherapy to recover more quickly and extend their life spans. In cases of severe chemotherapy symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and bone marrow suppression, astragalus has been given intravenously and in combination with other Chinese herbal mixtures. Early research suggests its ability to reduce these symptoms and increase the efficacy of the chemotherapy treatments.

Treats Colds and Flu
Because of astragalus’ antiviral capabilities, it has long been used to treat common colds and the flu. It’s commonly combined with other herbs like ginseng, angelica and licorice. As with many other natural cold remedies, it seems to work better when used when healthy individuals use the supplement regularly in order to prevent the illness before it happens. A regimen of astragalus before the colder months of winter may help to prevent or decrease the number of colds and upper respiratory illnesses individuals will have throughout the season.

Provides Supplemental Therapy for Chronic Asthma
Astragalus has been used to treat chronic asthma and determined to be a successful supplemental therapy and asthma natural remedy. After being treated, hypersensitivity in airways decreased substantially and mucus production and inflammation were reduced in studies. By preventing or reducing asthma attacks, individuals could be relieved of chronic asthma issues.

Sexual Health
Traditionally prescribed in Chinese Medicine for male infertility, Astragalus has now been scientifically proven to increase sperm motility in a study conducted by the Institutes of Traditional Medicine and Clinical Medicine. It is extremely supportive of male hormones, by balancing glucose levels it can optimise testosterone and growth hormone levels. 


There is also evidence to suggest astragalus can successfully:

  • prevent collagen degradation 
  • help heal lung tissue affected by bronchopulmonary dysplasia in newborns
  • inhibit herpes simplex virus 1 
  • prevent the replication of viruses like Coxsackie B-3, a virus that triggers illnesses ranging from mild stomach issues to major heart complications
  • treat inflammation in allergic dermatitis (an allergic reaction of the skin) 
  • help treat hepatitis by inhibiting hepatitis B virus cells in the liver
  • treat HIV by protecting t-helper cells fight the virus for much longer
  • be used as a mild diuretic 


Typical Use
Astragalus Tincture: 3 - 5 ml, three times a day. Powdered Astragalus root: 1/2g - 1g, three or four times per day.

Precautions
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use Astragalus.


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

People who fret over minor things for more than a day have a much higher risk of chronic disease


It's time to let go of the minor upsets. People who get easily agitated by a family argument or flat tire have a much higher risk of developing chronic diseases years later, new research has found.

A study of more than 1,000 people found those who dwelled for more than 24 hours on mundane stressors had much weaker immune systems and more heart problems 10 years down the line. By contrast, those who could 'let it go' did not experience significant health changes over the decade-long study. 

The findings, published today in the journal Psychological Science, provide some of the clearest evidence to date that negative emotions can impact physical health. More importantly, the researchers at the University of California, Irvine said, the study hammers home that everyday upsets can be just as damaging to our minds and bodies as major traumatic events like divorce or death.

'Our research shows negative emotions that linger after even minor, daily stressors have important implications for our long term physical health,' said Kate Leger, a graduate teaching assistant at UC Irvine.

'When most people think of the types of stressors that impact health, they think of the big things, major life events that severely impact their lives, such as the death of a loved one or getting divorced.

'But accumulating findings suggest it is not just the big events, but minor, everyday stressors that can impact our health as well.' 

Leger and her team analyzed 1,155 people in the Midlife in the United States Survey, a nationally representative study of adults. In the survey, the participants answered questions about the daily stressors they had experienced across eight consecutive days - and the effect they had on them. Each day they reported how much of the time over the previous 24 hours they had felt a variety of emotions, such as being lonely, afraid, irritable and angry. 

The subsequent part of the study took place a decade later, when they completed surveys that assessed their chronic illnesses and functional limitations.

All together, Leger found a simple flat tire, bad grade or argument has an effect on an individual's health when the bad feeling it generates spills over into the following day. 

Critically, this revealed a link between lingering bad feelings in response to a stressor and a greater number of health problems. These included chronic illnesses, functional impairments and difficulties with everyday tasks. The associations remained regardless of individuals' gender, education and health at the outset. And they held even after the researchers took their same day emotional responses and average number of stressors into account. 

Leger said: 'This means health outcomes don't just reflect how people react to daily stressors, or the number of stressors they are exposed to.

'There is something unique about how negative they feel the next day that has important consequences for physical health.'

The researchers suggest the phenomenon could play out through activation of stress-related systems or through health behaviors - two potential mechanisms that offer avenues for future research. 

Leger added: 'Stress is common in our everyday lives. It happens at work, it happens at school, it happens at home and in our relationships.

'Our research shows the strategy to 'just let it go' could be beneficial to our long term physical health.' 



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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Watching birds near your home is good for your mental health


According to this study, people living in neighborhoods with more birds, shrubs, and trees are less likely to suffer from depression, anxiety and stress.

The study conducted at the University of Exeter, involving hundreds of people, found benefits for mental health of being able to see birds, shrubs and trees around the home, whether people lived in urban or more leafy suburban neighborhoods.

The study, which surveyed mental health in over 270 people from different ages, incomes and ethnicities, also found that those who spent less time out of doors than usual in the previous week were more likely to report they were anxious or depressed.

After conducting extensive surveys of the number of birds in the morning and afternoon in Milton Keynes, Bedford, and Luton, the study found that lower levels of depression, anxiety and stress were associated with the number of birds people could see in the afternoon. The academics studied afternoon bird numbers – which tend to be lower than birds generally seen in the morning – because are more in keeping with the number of birds that people are likely to see in their neighborhood on a daily basis.

In the study, common types of birds including blackbirds, robins, blue tits and crows were seen. But the study did not find a relationship between the species of birds and mental health, but rather the number of birds they could see from their windows, in the garden or in their neighborhood.

Previous studies have found that the ability of most people to identify different species is low, suggesting that for most people it is interacting with birds, not just specific birds, that provides well-being.

University of Exeter research fellow Dr. Daniel Cox, who led the study, said: “This study starts to unpick the role that some key components of nature play for our mental well-being.

“Birds around the home, and nature in general, show great promise in preventative health care, making cities healthier, happier places to live.”

The positive association between birds, shrubs and trees and better mental health applied, even after controlling for variation in neighborhood deprivation, household income, age and a wide range of other socio-demographic factors.


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Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Silent Treatment Is Emotional Abuse


"Emotional abuse is any type of abuse that is not physical in nature. It can include anything from verbal abuse to the silent treatment, domination to subtle manipulation"— Beverly Engel

Origin of term

The term originated from "treatment" through silence, which was fashionable in prisons in the 19th century. In use since the prison reforms of 1835, the silent treatment was used in prisons as an alternative to physical punishment, as it was believed that forbidding prisoners from speaking, calling them by a number rather than their name, and making them cover their faces so they couldn’t see each other would encourage reflection on their crimes.

In personal relationships

Silent treatment is refusal to communicate verbally with someone who desires the communication. We see it in all types of relationship: couples, friends, parents and children, relatives, etc. Use of the silent treatment implies a prior conflict. Sometimes, however, the victim of this type of behavior is not aware of the conflict, precisely because the other party has not expressed it openly.

The silent treatment is a form of attention, power, and control over another person and is a passive-aggressive approach in communication. Someone might use the silent treatment as a way to avoid conflict or deflect responsibility. At times, people use the silent treatment as a way to punish another person. Ultimately, the person lacks the ability to communicate their feelings appropriately.

For example, a person may want to shift blame onto you instead of owning their faults. Or, they want to magnify your faults instead of recognizing their own. Whatever it is, the silent treatment makes you feel guilty or at fault instead of them.

Abusers punish their victims by refusing to speak to them or even acknowledge their presence. Through silence, the abusers loudly communicate their displeasure, anger and frustration. The consequences of this behavior on the person isolated by silence are feelings of incompetence and worthlessness.

The silent treatment is sometimes used as a control mechanism. Sometimes the goal of the silent treatment is simply to communicate displeasure and once the message has been received and understood the silent treatment ends.

What is really going on though is the more they ignore you, the more you want to fix it. And that is what they get such satisfaction out of, which is watching you squirm and "Jump through hoops" to try to get them to pay attention to you and to communicate with you. It is a real EGO BOOST for them and they actually get a rush from the entire experience. It also puts them in control and gives them tons of attention, from you.

The silent treatment is nothing more than the adult version of a childhood temper tantrum. It’s juvenile and to be blunt, incredibly narcissistic. In most cases, the person who has “gone silent” will internalize their emotions and regresses to an earlier point in life. In many ways, this is a learned behavior that was likely picked up during early childhood.

These types of behavior are quite harmful. Not only do they demonstrate immaturity, meanness, and a lack of emotional intelligence, but they can have serious consequences for the other person. Engaging in this behavior is an attempt to control and harass and it doesn’t represent anything positive for a relationship.


The silent treatment can cause stress and emotional trauma

The effects of emotional abuse are frequently underestimated. Just because you cannot see the damage being done, does not mean that it does not exist. 

A person who is the target of the silent treatment can feel very intense negative emotions. Ignoring a person means that they are worth nothing, that they don’t matter. Things become even more unhealthy when all this is happening in a cruel and cold silence, which the victim doesn’t know how to interpret.

People who are ignored eventually become overwhelmed by feelings of sadness that can sometimes lead to depression. They also feel anger, fear, and guilt. Ignoring someone is a way of accusing or pointing the finger at them in an indirect way. This is exactly what makes this strategy an unhealthy way to deal with conflict.

Victims of this type of behavior tend to feel extremely distressed. They can’t understand what they are doing wrong or why exactly the other person is treating them in this way. It’s as if they are losing control and this causes a lot of stress. This is why this it is considered a form of abuse. There is no shouting or hitting, but there is plenty of violence.

The silent treatment can damage your health

Victims of psychological abuse are more likely to suffer from the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), than victims of physical abuse. This is because the pain of social-exclusion, such as being ignored and ostracised, can be relived far more easily than the pain suffered by a physical injury.

Psychologically abused women, in particular, are likely to encounter poor mental health, with 70% experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. Furthermore, sufferers of emotional abuse are more likely to go on and form other unhealthy relationships. They also have greater difficulty trusting a new partner.

The silent treatment has physical effects as well

Studies have been done that show that feeling excluded or ignored can cause changes in the brain. A zone of the human brain called the “anterior cingulate cortex” is responsible for detecting different levels of pain. Scientists have proven that this zone is activated when something receives the silent treatment.

Activation in this zone means that physical symptoms also start to appear. Some very common symptoms are headaches and digestive problems. Fatigue and insomnia are also frequent complaints. If the situation is severe and prolonged, serious problems can arise, such as an increase in blood pressure, diabetes, or even illnesses like cancer.

The autoimmune system is also affected, primarily because of the high levels of stress that the situation causes. The consequences are even more serious if the person giving the silent treatment is an authority figure such as a teacher, parent, or boss.

Difference between a cooling-off period and the silent treatment

Following a disagreement or awkward episode, silence can be a good thing. Silence can be healthy when tempers are high and a pause is needed before something exacerbates the situation. 

A cooling-off period works best if both parties can agree to a time when they will come together to resolve the issue. However, do note that the silent treatment differs from a cooling-off period in that its duration is extended and unknown.

And if silence is used as a method of control or punishment, it becomes abuse.

How to handle silent treatment

Sometimes the silent treatment is used by two people who love each other, such as romantic partners, good friends, siblings, etc. Sometimes people think that if they use the silent treatment, the other person will change their behavior or do what the other person wants them to do. They think of it almost as an educational tool. They are, however, very wrong. Ignoring another person as a form of punishment only destroys relationships.

If someone is purposefully trying to hurt you through the silent treatment and acting out of malice, don’t keep begging them to talk to you. Just don’t contact them. Don’t return the silent treatment in this situation either, but don’t let the situation get to you.

You can’t change the other person, no matter how hard you try to make things better. People who have long histories of this behavior aren't likely to be "fixed" for your friendship or relationship. If the relationship is abusive and harmful for you, consider walking away. Your well-being is more important than spending time around someone who has no qualms about emotionally abusing you. Know that you are worthy of a healthy relationship with someone who can communicate in a mature, emotionally healthy manner. 

The silent treatment is a form of emotional abuse that no one deserves nor should tolerate. If an individual experiences this absence of communication, it is a sure sign that he or she needs to move on and heal.

No one should try to resolve a conflict using the silent treatment. When there is a problem between two people, the only healthy thing is to engage in dialogue to find solutions. Silence and distance only generate more problems and, in the end, solve absolutely nothing.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Blue Zones Secrets: How to Live 100+ Years


Experts have long worked on creating a magic pill that can make you live longer. But the answer to living until you're 100 could be much simpler than a new drug.

“Blue zones” are areas of the world where people live considerably longer lives. On these territories we can find octogenarians, nonagenarians and many centenarians, and even some supercentenarians (people who have reached the age of 110).

These regions were named “blue zones” after the Belgian demographer Michel Poulain and the Italian doctor Gianni Pes discovered a population with such features in the region of Barbaglia (Sardinia, Italy), and they marked out the area with blue ink.

In the region of Barbaglia, located in the Sardinian mountain area, there is the world's largest concentration of centenarians. Okinawa Island is inhabited by the oldest women on Earth. Icaria – an island which is located in the Aegean Sea – has the long-lived population with the lowest senile dementia levels. Loma Linda is home to a community of Seventh-day Adventists whose life expectancy is 10 years over the average lifespan in the United States. And in Nicoya we can find the second-largest community of centenarians in the world.


What is the secret behind this great longevity; the mystery of the blue zones, where so many centenarians live?

A team composed of several specialists (doctors, anthropologists, demographers, nutritionists, epidemiologists) travelled many times to the different blue zones. They identified the following nine general longevity factors, which are related to diet and lifestyle:

1. Intense and regular physical activity in the performance of daily duties. The concept of a sedentary lifestyle is unknown to the people living in these regions

2. Having an “ikigai” – a Japanese word (Okinawa) which is used to define our own “reasons for being” or, more precisely, the reasons why we wake up every morning

3. Reduction of stress, a factor which is closely linked to almost all ageing-related diseases. Stress reduction means interrupting the normal pace of our daily lives in order to allow time for other activities which are part of normal social habits. For example, taking a nap in Mediterranean societies, praying in the case of Adventists, the tea ceremony of women in Okinawa, and so on.

4. “Hara hachi bu” – a Confucian teaching that means we should not continue to eat until we are full, but only until 80% of our eating capacity

5. Prioritizing a diet that is rich in plant-based products. Meat, fish and dairy products may be consumed, but in lower amounts

6. A moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages, which confirms the belief that moderate drinkers live longer lives than nondrinkers

7. Engaging in social groups that promote healthy habits

8. Engaging in religious communities with common religious practices

9. Building and maintaining solid relationships between family members: parents, siblings, grandparents and others.

To sum up, the above nine longevity factors could be synthesised in just two.

Firstly, maintaining a healthy lifestyle – which implies regular intensity exercise, including routines to “break” from daily stress, and including mainly plant-based products in our diets, eating without filling up and not drinking excessively.

Secondly, integrating in groups that promote and support those “good practices”: family, religious communities, social groups, and so on – all of which must have their own “ikigai”, that is, their own “reason to live”. There is a personal “ikigai”, but there is also a collective “ikigai” that sets the goals for each community as well as the challenges to overcome in order to achieve them.

Living this way means living better and longer. Longevity may be determined by genetics, but it is also something that can be trained, as can be seen in the example of the inhabitants of the blue zones.


Foods that are especially prominent in the diets of the blue zones include:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Herbs
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Beans and legumes
  • Quality fats like olive oil
  • High-quality dairy products, like grass-fed goat milk and homemade cheeses
  • Fermented products like yogurt, kefir, tempeh, miso and natto
  • Whole grains, such as durham wheat or locally grown (organic) corn

Eating plenty of high antioxidant foods just like people in the blue zones do — such as making them about half of your plate or more at any meal — contributes disease-fighting nutrients and naturally controls your body’s hunger signals so you know when you’re full. These types of foods lower inflammation, which is crucial because we know inflammation is at the root of most diseases.

Plant foods deliver loads of fiber, antioxidants, potential natural anti-cancer agents (insoluble fiber), cholesterol reducers and blood-clot blockers, plus essential minerals. This is likely one reason why people in the blue zone eating a healing diet suffer much less from heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, dementia and cancer than people living in the U.S.

The centenarians in the blue zones didn’t necessarily avoid meat or animal products altogether (although the Seventh-day Adventists did for religious regions); most just didn’t have access to meat very often. Meat is typically eaten only a few times a month in most of the blue zones, while sheep or goat milk, eggs, and fish are eaten more often, usually a couple of times per week. Centenarians in the blue zones usually eat animal-based meals on occasion, such as for holidays, festivals or when they have access to meat from their neighborhood farmers.

When they do have animal products, they obtain more nutrients since their food is always raised locally, grass-fed, pasture-raised, wild-caught and free from harmful substances commonly used in the U.S meat and dairy supply, like antibiotics and growth hormones.

Avoid processed, packaged foods

When researching diets of the blue zones, something that really stands out is how low in sugar, pesticides and artificial ingredients their diets are compared to the standard American diet (sometimes called SAD). Blue zone diets only use small amounts of natural sweeteners on occasion, while refined carbohydrates and artificial flavors are unheard of for the most part. Considering the high rate of diabetes in the U.S., many people can afford to adopt similar principles that can serve as a natural diabetes cure.

It’s not that those living in the blue zones never let themselves enjoy a “treat,” they just opt to have antioxidant-rich “guilty pleasures” like locally made red wine (1–2 glasses per day) or sake, small amounts of coffee or herbal tea, or simple desserts like locally made cheese and fruit. Soda, sports drinks, candy bars and packaged baked goods don’t play a part in their diet at all.

A nutritional assessment of diets in the blue zones showed a high adherence to whole foods and a nutritional profile similar to the Mediterranean diet, with foods low on the glycemic index, almost always free from added sugar and high in healthy fats and plants.

Exercise Often but Make It Enjoyable

Centenarians in the blue zones lead active lives, yet they never set foot in a gym and don’t dread exercise. Being active is just a part of their day and way of life: They walk almost everywhere (usually up to five to six miles every day), they do chores using their hands instead of machines and their errands are run on foot. They tend to be active by practicing types of exercise they enjoy, such as yoga, tai chi, or playing sports and games with friends.

Many of them also have jobs that are physically demanding, such as farming — which is a big contrast to sitting behind a desk all day. And almost all of them love to garden, which gives them some exercise; time spent de-stressing in nature; and also provides fresh vegetables, herbs and fruit. Staying active consistently in a healthy way adds to longevity by reducing inflammation, improving heart health, improving resilience to stress, and maintaining bone and muscular health.

Living a longer, healthier, more enjoyable life doesn’t come from a single practice alone, such as a good diet or even good genes, but from a combination of habits.


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Saturday, December 23, 2017

Frequent flyers age faster


If you fly a lot, I have some bad news for you. Every time you go up to those really high altitudes, it exposes you to ionizing radiation. That's the type of radiation that leads to DNA damage and aging. 

You might guess that a frequent flyer’s radiation dose is coming from the airport security checkpoints, with their whole-body scanners and baggage x-ray machines, but you’d be wrong. The radiation doses to passengers from these security procedures are trivial.

The major source of radiation exposure from air travel comes from the flight itself. 

Earth’s atmosphere protects us from solar, stellar, and magnetic radiation from the cosmos and is less dense the further we get from the surface. The logic goes that the higher up we are, the more radiation we are exposed to, damaging our cells and ultimately aging our bodies.

Frequent travelers are exposed to more radiation than is considered healthy. Radiation exposure is hundreds of times higher at high altitude than at ground.

According to Scott Cohen, deputy director of research of the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at the University of Surrey:

“there have been calls to classify frequent business travelers as ‘radiation workers,’” he says, and notes that just seven round-trip flights a year from New York to Tokyo (about 85,000 miles) exceeds the limit for public exposure to radiation. As Cohen notes in his paper, “radiation exposure amongst commercial aircrew even exceeds that of nuclear power workers".


A Pilot's risk of Cancer

Airline pilots are at risk of deadly skin cancer because they are exposed to cockpit radiation similar to levels from tanning beds.

Pilots flying for an hour at 30,000ft get the same amount of radiation as 20 minutes on a tanning bed. And researchers believe the levels could be higher when pilots are flying over thick clouds and snow fields, which can reflect UV radiation

A team from the University of California measured the amount of UV radiation in airplane cockpits during flights.

The cockpit radiation was measured in the pilot seat of a general aviation turboprop airplane through the acrylic plastic windshield at ground level and at various heights above sea level.

Sun exposures were measured in San Jose, California, and in Las Vegas around midday in April.

They then compared them with measurements taken in tanning beds.

While short-wave UV-B ultraviolet radiation cannot easily penetrate glass and plastic windows, long-wave UV-A is much more likely to get through.

Both kinds of UV can cause skin aging and cancer.

However, there is some good news.

A study says there's an easy way to protect yourself.

In this study, researchers followed 82 male pilots. They studied the pilots for chromosomal translocations. That's a biomarker for cumulative DNA damage. The researchers found that the pilots consuming the highest levels of fruit and veggies didn't suffer as much damage.

They looked specifically at high vitamin C and E, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, and lutein-zeaxanthin from food sources, such as citrus fruit and green leafy veggies. The pilots eating a high (but not the highest) quantity of these food had about 40% less damage to their DNA. Those consuming the highest level of these foods had way less damage — 73% less.

Other negative effects

Academics have warned there is “a darker side of hypermobility”, which means frequent flyers are at risk from serious physiological, psychological, emotional and social damage.

The most obvious consequence is jetlag, which affects sleep times and gastro-intestinal patterns. The condition is caused as the brain struggles to adjust to a new time zone, and affects mood, judgement and the ability to concentrate.

Many report feeling the effects even six days after flying, although the researchers say it can take up to 11 days for the body to return to its usual rhythm following a transmeridian flight.

Frequent flying can lead to chronic jet lag, which can cause memory impairment and has been linked in studies to disrupting gene expression that influences aging and the immune system, and increased risk of heart attack or stroke.

As with occasional flyers, frequent travellers are at risk of developing deep-vein thrombosis and subtle discomforts such as dry eyes and dehydrated skin.

Pilots, flight attendants, and others who work for extend periods in the air may be adversely affected by increased oxidation.

Flying at high altitudes results in less cabin oxygen and pressure which does increase oxidative stress in the human body, the Journal of Nature found. 

The effects were measured on athletes training at moderate altitudes of 3,000 feet for 2 weeks. Although there was a measurable increase in free radicals, the test subjects who were given antioxidants were less effected.


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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Eating salad every day may keep your brain a decade younger


Eating greens or salad every day boosts our memory, according to new research.

The findings suggest that eating about one serving per day of green, leafy vegetables may be linked to a slower rate of brain aging - the equivalent of keeping our brain 11 years younger.

The Rush University study found that people who ate at least one serving of green, leafy vegetables a day had a slower rate of decline on tests of memory and thinking skills than people who never or rarely ate such vegetables.

Salad eaters' brains functioned as though they were more than a decade younger than those of people who did not eat their greens, according to the research team.   

Study author Professor Martha Clare Morris, of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, said: 'Adding a daily serving of green, leafy vegetables to your diet may be a simple way to foster your brain health.

'Projections show sharp increases in the percentage of people with dementia as the oldest age groups continue to grow in number, so effective strategies to prevent dementia are critical,' she said. 

The study, published online by the journal Neurology, involved 960 people with an average age of 81 who did not have dementia and were followed for an average of 4.7 years.

The participants completed a questionnaire about how often they ate certain foods and had their thinking and memory skills tested yearly during that time.

The survey asked how often and how many servings they ate of three green, leafy vegetables: spinach, with a serving being a half cup of cooked spinach; kale, collards or greens, half cup cooked; and lettuce salad, with a serving of one cup raw.

The participants were divided into five equal groups based on how often they ate green, leafy vegetables.

The people in the top serving group ate an average of about 1.3 servings of greens per day. Those in the lowest serving group ate on average 0.1 servings per day.

Overall, the participants' scores on the thinking and memory tests declined over time at a rate of 0.08 standardized units per year.

Over 10 years of follow-up, the rate of decline for those who ate the most leafy greens was slower by 0.05 standardized units per year than the rate for those who ate the least leafy greens.

That is the difference of about 11 years worth of change, according to the study authors. 

They said the results remained valid after accounting for other factors that could affect brain health such as smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, education level and amount of physical and cognitive activities.

But Professor Morris noted that the study doesn't prove that eating green, leafy vegetables slows brain aging, it only shows an association.

She also warned that the study cannot rule out other possible reasons for the link.

Professor Morris added that because the study focused on older adults and the majority of participants were white, the results may not apply to younger adults and people of other races. 

[dailymail]


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