health

evidence that pesticides can cause Parkinson's

Reuters reports on evidence that pesticides can cause Parkinson's disease.

One study shows that farm workers who used the common weedkiller paraquat had two to three times the normal risk of Parkinson's, a degenerative brain disease that eventually paralyzes patients.

A second study shows that animals exposed to paraquat have a build-up of a protein called alpha-synuclein in their brains. This protein has been linked to Parkinson's in the past.

A third piece of the puzzle shows that this buildup of protein kills the same brain cells affected in Parkinson's.

New Peptide Boosts Immune System

Researchers at the University of British Columbia have identified a peptide that they claim boosts the immune system:
"Antibiotics are now under threat because of the explosion in antibiotic-resistant bacteria. A third of all deaths on this planet are the result of infection so there is an urgent need to create new therapies," says Robert Hancock, principal investigator and Canada Research Chair in Pathogenomics and Antimicrobials. "The beauty of this peptide is that it acts on the host to trigger a protective response and doesn't act on bacteria directly. That means it's unlikely bacteria will become resistant to it."

The team found that a peptide, or chain of amino acids, they have dubbed innate defense regulator peptide (IDR-1), can increase innate immunity without triggering harmful inflammation, and offer protection both before and after infection is present.

some heartburn drugs may raise risk of hip fractures

Reuters reports on a study showing that some anti-heartburn drugs ("proton pump inhibitors", which shut down stomach acid production) increase the risk of hip fractures in older adults, by up to 44 percent. The longer the use and the higher the dosage, the greater the risk. The drugs may reduce the body's ability to absorb calcium.

AP: 'Hibernating' man survives for 3 weeks

I am often amazed at what the human body can endure.

AP reports on a a man who survived three weeks in western Japan without food and water in near-freezing weather, by falling into a state similar to hibernation. (I've always thought hibernation would be a good way to spend the whole damn winter, after all the holiday parties are done of course.)

Mitsutaka Uchikoshi had almost no pulse, his organs had all but shut down and his body temperature was 71 degrees Fahrenheit when he was discovered on Rokko mountain in late October, said doctors who treated him at the nearby Kobe City General Hospital. He had been missing for 24 days.

staying healthy is good for you (duh)

MSNBC reports on a study showing that people who at mid-life have characteristics associated with being fit and active, have a good chance of being healthy in old age.

“There appears to be a lot we can do about modifying our risk and increasing the odds for aging more healthfully,” said lead author Dr. Bradley Willcox, a scientist at the Pacific Health Research Institute in Honolulu.

Mother's voice gets more attention than alarm tones

CNN reports on a study showing that sleeping children awoke to recordings of their mothers' voices more quickly and more often than to a beeping smoke alarm.

The study of 24 children ages 6 to 12 found that 23 awoke to the recorded voice of their mother saying "(Child's first name)! (Child's first name)! Wake up! Get out of bed! Leave the room!" Fourteen of the children also awoke to the traditional tone alarm. One child didn't wake up to either.

The children who woke up to the voice did so at a median time of 20 seconds, compared with three minutes for those who woke up to the tone, according to the study by Columbus Children's Hospital researchers being released Monday in Pediatrics.

tension in qi gong

Something I posted recently to the CyberDojo:

"Rusty McMains" (rmcmains@) writes:

> Muscle "tension" or dynamic tension as most people understand it should
> never been applied. This is not healthy and does not promote proper qigong.

I know very little about qi gong, but I've had the good fortune to have been exposed to a few very different styles.

There definitely is a style of qi gong exercise that uses a dynamic tension very similar to what I was taught for sanchin and tensho kata. Exercises like "Pulling Nine Oxen Backward" and "Pushing Eight Horses Forward" were taught to us by a tuina instructor, and had a very similar feel to our sanchin and tensho.

Coffee: Heart trouble for some, pick-me-up for others

AP reports on a study showing that some people may have a genetic trait that makes them "slow caffeine metabolizers", which for them makes coffee consumption increase the risk of heart attack.

This genetic variation may explain why there have been such mixed results in studies about caffeine and heart disease.

British bars selling sex toys - in vending machines

Love that European sensibility about sex: bars and nightclubs in London and other British cities have begun selling sex toys such as mini-vibrators out of vending machines.

The company has also has exported about 20 of the machines to Italy and about 10 to the United States - that should be interesting, given our sexual politics these days...

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