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by Ryan Fu •
NCIS actress Pauley Perrette is warning fans about the dangers of hair dye after suffering a severe allergic reaction to her trademark ink-black color.
Many consumers are growing in their watchfulness as to what goes in their bodies, but health can be as greatly impacted by what goes on their bodies. We already realize that chemicals in cosmetics such as skin creams can break through the skin barrier, but what about the chemicals in hair coloring? In response to recent bad press about hair dyes, many have turned to semi-permanent solutions. However, there is reason to question the safety in the substances used in these products as well. If you are among the 50% of women who color their hair, or a man who covers his gray, you might want to do more investigation into your favorite hair coloring.
The most problematic hair dye ingredient is a family of chemicals called Arylamines. Arylamines are a known risk factor for bladder cancer and have been found to cause cancer in experimental animals. One of these is p-phenylenediamine (PPD) which is listed on the box of even non-permanent “natural” products. It is an important ingredient in hair coloring because it lasts through many washings and perming is possible with it. PPD hair dyes usually come packaged as 2 bottles, one containing the PPD dye preparation and the other containing the developer or oxidizer. PPD is a colorless substance that requires oxygen for it to become colored. It is this intermediate, partially oxidized state that may cause allergy in sensitive individuals. Fully oxidized PPD is not a sensitizer, so individuals with PPD allergy can wear wigs or fur coats dyed with PPD safely.
Another factor involves the mixing of hydrogen peroxide with ammonia. Research has found that this combination may create potentially carcinogenic chemicals that don’t normally exist in the two liquids prior to mixing them together.
A third factor is that the darker dyes are more challenging as they contain greater levels of chemicals. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) stated that skin contact with PPD should be prevented in order to avoid the allergic reactions, and indeed, the FDA has NOT approved its use for direct skin application. This is an oxymoron, though, as it is next to impossible to avoid contact with the skin when applying hair color.
Safer alternatives to ammonia and peroxide are being developed. One company’s organic and mineral research laboratory has found a way of making peroxide from avocado oil and it is far less irritating to the skin. They have also discovered an alternative to ammonia. Derived from coconut oil, it isn’t irritating and has no nasty smell. Look for products that are ammonia and peroxide-free and use vegetable-based dyes. A search on the web for “natural hair colorings” should turn up a few good leads. Two examples are Planet Organic and Aveda. Some of these companies state that their formulas provide longer lasting color than the older vegetable rinses.
Many people have tried henna as a solution. Henna’s effect lasts longer than a vegetable rinse and adds a wonderful shine, highlights and bounce to the hair. Henna products, which are gluten-free and animal-cruelty-free, are not always a red color, but all henna contains and imparts a little red. Today this natural dye comes in a wide array of shades, not just red, but will not lighten hair. Henna enhances your natural color rather than totally covering it, which allows some of your natural highlights to come through. The coating and sealing advantages mentioned above are inherent with henna.
As always, it is up to you, the consumer, to do the research and to become responsible for your own health, in regard to what goes on your body in addition to what goes in it.
Early music education stimulates a child’s brain, leading to improved performance in verbal intelligence. This was suggested in a study among 4-to 6-year-olds who received only one month of musical training. It included training in rhythm, pitch, melody, voice and basic musical concepts, and this proved to have a “transfer effect,” enhancing their ability to understand words and explain their meaning.
Another study among 8 to 11-year-olds found that those who had extra-curricular music classes, developed higher verbal IQ, and visual abilities, in comparison to those with no musical training.
As Nietzsche, said, ‘We listen to music with our muscles.’ Studies have proved that music can not only strengthen the heart but also improve the recovery of patients suffering from heart disease.
No matter the genre of music, listening to one’s favorite music releases endorphins in the brain that improves the vascular health. (Opera, classical and other types of ‘joyful’ music were more likely to stimulate endorphins as opposed to heavy metal)
At Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, men and women who listened to music soon after undergoing cardiac surgery were less anxious andreported having less pain than those who just rested quietly.
At Massachusetts General Hospital, a nurse-led team found that heart patients confined to bed who listened to music for 30 minutes had lower blood pressure, slower heart rates, and less distress than those who didn’t listen to music.
The rhythm, the melody and harmony, all play a role in the emotional and cardiovascular response.
Young or old, we all face sleep problems, in some cases, regularly, in other cases, when we’ve had an overactive day. Listening to soft music is indeed relaxing, hence improving the quality of your sleep.
Research shows that music can help reduce several factors known to interfere with sleep (including stress and anxiety), promote physical changes that support more restful sleep (such as lowered heart and respiratory rates), and aid in treatment of Insomnia.
Music affects our emotional state, making you feel happy, ecstatic or even sad. According to a study, your brain releases dopamine, a feel-good chemical, when you listen to tunes that move you. Sometimes you also experience feeling of shivers or chills while listening to a particular track, this shows that brain releases large amount of dopamine, that gives you happiness and pleasure. So listening to music gives us the same hit of happiness that we would get from a piece of chocolate, sex or drugs.
While another study shows that Music with a quick tempo in a major key, brought about all the physical changes associated with happiness in listeners. In contrast, a slow tempo and minor key led to sadness.
Even when we listen to happy music with the intention to feel happy, it always works as opposed to simply listening to music without attempting to alter our mood.
Music has been found to reduce the levels of stress hormone, cortisol, which can weaken the immune system and is responsible for many illnesses. If you like to dance to uplifting music, then you are definitely on a path to better health. Scientists found that after listening to just 50 minutes of uplifting dance music, the levels of antibodies in participants’ bodies increased.
Different types of music might have different effect, but it also depends on your personal preference and what tunes resonate with your soul. What resonates with the spirit, does have a healing effect.
Listening to music has much more effect on the human mind and psyche. Researchers say that it can helpease anxiety among cancer patients, have positive effects on their mood, pain and improve quality of life. Researchers from Drexel University found that cancer patients who either listened to music or worked with a music therapist experienced a reduction in anxiety, had better blood pressure levels and improved moods.
Having musical training could help keep the brain healthy as people grow older. Any kind of musical activity in life serves as a challenging cognitive exercise, making your brain sharper and more capable of dealing with challenges of aging.
Even someone with brain damage or dementia can recover memories through listening to music. It is ingrained in our deepest core of being, no matter the language, the sound and the rhythm resonates deep within. Like Kahlil Gibran puts it, “Music is the language of the spirit. It opens the secret of life bringing peace, abolishing strife.”
If you’re still not convinced just listen below to Radiohead‘s Codex
Do you feel that you must eat carbs in your pre-workout meal?!
The optimal pre-workout meal should be to fuel your brain for best gym performance, not feeding your muscles “for performance”. Carbs are therefore secondary to protein, for optimal nitrogen balance whilst training, and fats, and if carbs calm you down, as they do many people, do you really think they should be in your pre-workout meal?!
It’s been observed that even former smokers who quit years ago have traces of lung damage.
Even if one has never smoked, second hand cigarette smoke, industrial pollution, vehicular exhaust fumes and now chemtrails with downward drifting heavy metal nano-particles all contribute to some level of lung damage for almost everyone.
So whether you once smoked or never puffed on chemical-laden, radioactive (from the fertilizer) tobacco, detoxing and regenerating lung tissue may still be appropriate for you.
By the way, the notion that lung damage is irreparable is not true. With proper nourishment and nurturing, your lungs can repair damaged tissues eventually.
The best way to avoid most chemicals, GMOs, artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), excess sugar and bad salt is to eliminate junk and processed foods and sodas. Minimize meat, dairy and wheat to reduce excess mucus. Adding ginger, onions, garlic and cayenne helps eliminate excess mucus as well.
There are many chemical free substitutes available at health food stores, even Target has a few on hand. Ditto for cosmetics and bodycare products. Buy only aluminum free deodorants for starters.
Pesticides must go as well, and there are alternatives that aren’t toxic for humans.
All toxic commercial pesticides emit caustic gases or vapors (off-gassing) that irritate the lungs.
Try to replace carpeting with other flooring or at least vacuum and steam clean often. Beware of furniture or clothing that’s been fire proofed. Flame retardants off-gas carcinogenic compounds.
You may want to look into commercial air cleaners. Or simply get some nice indoor plants that add life to your dwelling while removing toxins.
Antitussive herbs reduce respiratory spasms; expectorant herbs loosen mucus; demulcent herbs sooth irritated tissue; and antimicrobial herbs resolve infections.
Licorice root is one that pretty much covers all those attributes. It can create side effects for some because of its glycyrrhizin content. But licorice extract products are available with the glycyrrhizin removed. This is known as deglycyrrhizinated licorice or DGL licorice.
Lobelia, ironically known as Indian tobacco, helps clear the airways for easier breathing. It even works for asthma attacks.
Item (1) of this article is an absolute prerequisite to detoxifying. Then, foods such as chlorella and cilantro consumed often can help detoxify heavy metals, especially from the liver. Zeolite in its raw powder form (not liquid) is very useful.
Make sure you drink plenty of purified fluoride free water and find ways to sweat more. If you can, use a far infrared sauna somewhere; you’ll have the best level of sauna. But conventional sauna’s still do the job.
Credit: Underground Health
Genes in sperm may determine why female mammals live longer than males, according to a Japanese study published on Wednesday in Human Reproduction, a European journal.
Tokyo University professor Tomohiro Kono and Manabu Kawahara of Saga University found that female mice produced from genetic material from two mothers, but not from a father, lived significantly longer than mice with the normal mix of maternal and paternal genes. The “bi-maternal” mice were created by manipulating DNA in mouse eggs, so that the genes behaved like those in sperm. Once modified, this material was implanted into unfertilized adult female mice eggs to create embryos.
These mice lived 841.5 days on average — 186 days longer than in control mice born with a normal genetic mix, whose lifespan was 655.5 days. The longest-lived “bi-maternal” mouse lived for 1,045 days, while the oldest control mouse expired after 996 days. Another intriguing finding was that the “bi-maternal” mice were lighter and smaller than control mice and seemed to have a stronger immune system.
The big difference could lie in a gene called Rasgrf1, the researchers believe. The gene, located on Chromosome 9, is associated with post-natal growth. It normally expresses from the paternally inherited chromosome. “The study may give an answer to the fundamental questions: that is, whether longevity in mammals is controlled by the genome of only one or both parents and, just maybe, why women are an advantage over men with regard to the lifespan,” Kono said. One theory about longevity is that males have bigger bodies in order to win out in the race for breeding opportunities and thus scatter their genes. The price for this, though, is a shorter lifespan. Females, though, do not have to engage in this genetically costly beauty show, and instead optimize their reproductive output by conserving energy for delivering their offspring, nurturing it, foraging for food and avoiding predators.
If you watched the recent Crossfit Games, there is a good chance you noticed some athletes donning multi-colored tape strips and patches on various body parts. It was quite noticeable on those more scantily-clad, such as beach volleyball and track and field athletes. In fact, one volleyball gal looked like she had the Michigan football “winged” helmet decal emblazoned across her abs.
This stuff is called Kinesiology or Kinesio tape. A bit of history:
Kinesio tape has actually been around for quite a while. Kenzo Kase, a Japanese chiropractor and acupuncturist, designed the tape and taping method back in 1979. Kase believed a flexible tape would stimulate better circulation to an injured muscle due to its tug on the skin. Traditional tape and taping methods were thought to be too restrictive and even exacerbate injuries as a result of the inhibited flow of inflammatory fluids under the skin.
Does Kinesio tape actually expedite recovery from muscle injury, or is it also used to enhance performance? If solely used for injuries, there must have been dozens of wounded Olympians competing. My guess is the tape is used for performance benefits as well. If so, does it work or is it yet another gimmick one must use to “keep up with the Joneses?”
A study conducted in Italy attempted to determine the immediate effects of kinesio taping on maximal muscle strength of the dominant quadriceps of 36 healthy subjects. Subjects were tested across three different sessions, randomly receiving three experimental kinesiotaping conditions:
Tape applied with the goal of enhancing muscle strength.
Tape applied with the goal of inhibiting muscle strength.
Tape applied incorrectly with the goal to deceive.
Quadriceps muscle strength was measured by means of an isokinetic maximal test performed at 60 and 180 degrees per second. Two secondary outcome measures were also performed: a one-leg triple jump for distance to measure leg performance and the Global Rating of Change Scale to calculate the correlation between the Kinesio taping technique and the subjective perception of strength.
None of the three taping conditions showed a significant change in muscle strength and performance. The effect size was very low under all conditions. Only a few subjects showed an individual change greater than the minimal detectable change. Global Rating of Change Scale scores demonstrated low to moderate correlation with the type of taping applied, but some placebo effects were detected independent of the condition.
This study concluded no significant effect in maximal quadriceps strength immediately after the application of enhancing, inhibiting, or deceptive Kinesio taping. Therefore, the test results do not support the use of Kinesio taping as a means of altering maximal muscle strength in healthy people.
That stated, there are also those skeptical about the Kinesio taping’s effect. According to Dr. Nicholas Fletcher, an assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at Emory University, there are few large scientific studies regarding its effectiveness. Dr. Fletcher stated, “I think, if anything, there is a placebo effect involved, and there probably is a little bit of a peer pressure effect. When people see athletes who are doing so well, they think, ‘Maybe this could work for me.’”
In most cases, kinesiology tape is comprised of flexible nylon and cotton fibers; this allows the tape to provide a “snap-back” effect, producing a neuromuscular response underneath the skin where the tape is applied. Through recent fascial research, it has been shown that pulling on the skin can create widespread effects within the body.
Myofascia is a very important piece in the taping game (this is what you are effecting when you roll out and mobilize). Obviously, the health of your myofascia is pivotal to promoting proper movement patterns. When kinesiology tape is applied to the skin, it creates a neurological response, providing a change in the way that my0fascia functions, thus changing the way that movement patterns are performed. We can essentially allow for better muscle activation and promote better movement patterns with the support of kinesiology tape.
This elasticity also creates a lifting effect on the skin to allow for better lymphatic drainage and blood flow. These are two pivotal components in allowing for swelling drainage and tissue nutrient restoration during the healing process.
Kinesiology tapes use a superior adhesive (it varies depending on the tape brand) that allows for superior support over long periods of time and under extreme conditions. This adhesiveness allows for the tape to withstand water, sweat, mud, etc. without coming off or losing support. The brands above promote the fact that you can, in fact, go swimming wearing kinesiology tape.
How is this possible? Kinesiology tape provides a stimulus in the skin that externally supports damaged tissue and allows for better circulation for faster healing. This is why wearing tape after intense workouts or acute injuries provides faster recovery.
Lymphatic Drainage/Swelling Reduction
Kinesiology tape is unique in its ability to create a lifting effect on the skin to allow for better lymphatic drainage in areas of swelling. This can have a dramatic effect on recovery time after a workout and healing of damaged tissue after injury.
One of the most important aspects of rehabilitation is movement. This is pivotal because it provides blood flow and drainage in the areas of injury to allow for faster healing. It also reduces the amount of muscle atrophy or withering away that can occur after and injury. White athletic tape restricts range of motion and deactivates muscles; whereas, kinesiology tape promotes muscle activation, while maintaining support. This allows for proper movement patterns even with injury and allows for a much faster healing process.
Things come and go in the fitness industry – ankle weights, salt tablets, compression garments, toning shoes, sauna suits, ad nauseam. Some even come back. Kinesio taping may be the classical case of revisiting the past.
Does Kinesio taping facilitate recovery for injured muscles? I do not know. Does it enhance athletic performance? We need more research to determine that. What’s your experience? Let us know in the comments below.
The Olympics is able to capture the imaginations of countries around the world. Though sometimes due to, in no small part, how freaking buff these people are. Every historical trend in world record performances has been positive, meaning that we (a very subjective word) as Olympians have only been getting harder/better/faster/stronger every year! It boggles the mind to think that every year someone one-ups the past by just enough to progress the world record.
Credit: Daily Infographic
Why do most people go to their doctors? One word: pain. It is the most common motivation behind any long wait in a health care provider’s office and accounts for more than 70 million physician office visits annually. Pain, then, is a top concern for many researchers, some of whom may be more apt to explore the differences in perceptions of pain rather than investigate causes ofpain.
For instance, Dr. Inna Belfer, a geneticist at the University of Pittsburgh, discovered that women with blue or green eyes handle hurt better than those with brown or hazel eyes. “Human pain is correlated with multiple factors like gender, age, and hair color,” Belfer said in a symposium at the American Pain Society‘s annual meeting.
“Researchers have found that red hair is associated with resistance to anesthetics and also to increased anxiety and darker eye color has been reportedly found to correlate with increased physiologic reactivity and drug-induced pupil dilation.”
Belfer conducted a study of 58 women who were expecting babies and planned to give birth at UPMC Magee Women’s Hospital. The researchers divided the women into two groups based on eye color: 24 women in the dark group (brown or hazel eye color) and 34 women in the light group (blue or green eye color). Next, the researchers assessed antepartum and postpartum pain, mood, sleep, and coping behavior. What did Belfer and her colleagues discover? The women in the light-eyed group seemed to cope with childbirth the best. Not only did they become less anxious once their baby had arrived, they also were less likely to become depressed. Other researchers in the field believe genes linked to melanin may strongly influence pain experiences; this pigment, found in the brain, is linked to darker-colored eyes.
Eye and hair color is not the only factor when it comes to individual pain experiences. Belfer has also explored the ways gender influences pain. Men, for instance, commonly express less sensitivity to pain than women, and women generally have a stronger response to analgesics and opioids. At the same time, she has revealed how the scientists, themselves, might influence a research subject’s response. “Males reported significantly less… pain in front of a female experimenter than a male experimenter, while female subjects tended to report higher pain to the male experimenter,” she noted in this very same research paper.
Ethnicity is similar in its effects, Belfer wrote, with consistent reports showing how Latino and African-Americans experience pain more keenly than non-Hispanic Caucasians. “Although the determination of the genetics of pain is still in its infancy, it is clear that a number of genes play a critical role in determining pain sensitivity or susceptibility to chronic pain,” wrote Belfer in an article published in the Journal of Medical Genetics. According to the Pain Genes Database, 358 genes, possibly more, may be relevant to pain and analgesia response, with about 10 genes, including COMT, OPRM1, and TRPV1, representing the “gold standard” — or the most popular candidates for pain studies.
In the end, the complexity of pain cannot be underestimated as best evidenced by the results of a study of healthy adults, where pain intensity ratings ranged from 0 to 100 for an identical cold water stimulus, and ratings of a heat stimulus ranged from 0 to 95.2. The search for a genetic foundation to pain is ongoing.
However, scientists generally believe the ultimate answer will be found not in genetics but in epigenetics, the border town where nature and nurture co-exist. Epigenetics is all about environmental influences that influence whether or not — or the extent to which — a given gene expresses itself or becomes distorted over time. Age, for instance, appears to influence pain, with environmental factors dominating genes almost completely among older people.
Looking ahead, Belfer will be continuing to explore eye color and pain experience. “We are going to see if there is a link between eye color and clinical pain… in men and in women, and in different pain models other than the labor pain model,” she told Medscape Medical News.
Credit: Belfer I. American Pain Society 33rd Annual Scientific Meeting. April 30- May 3, 2014.
Clinically, compression gear is designed to deliver specific levels of pressure to the affected limb. Typical pressure ranges are from 20 to 40 millimeters of mercury, depending on the limb and the clinical indication.
Off the shelf stockings may deliver 30 to 40 millimeters of mercury of pressure whereas custom stockings deliver 40 millimeters of mercury pressure at the ankle, 36 millimeters of mercury at the lower calf, and 21 millimeters of mercury at the upper calf. These pressure levels are designed to enhance venous return and reduce edema in patients with various vein disorders.
In the healthy athlete, compression gear serves a different role. Most who choose to wear compression garments anticipate that they will experience improved circulation and mechanics. It is thought that compression garments may reduce muscle oscillations which will theoretically optimize the contraction direction of muscle fibers, resulting in improved mechanical efficiency and running kinematics.
Use of compression gear may also reduce vibration in skeletal muscle during training and competition. It is hypothesized that the reduced vibration would contribute to less muscle trauma, and as a result, less fatigue and biomechanical alterations during the course of an endurance event. Following the event, the combined benefit of these outcomes would be reduced exercise-induced muscle damage. As a result, athletes are expected to experience less soreness, edema and faster recovery in the days after exercise.
Individual assessment of compression gear research shows some benefit, although it’s mainly during the recovery process. For example, one report says no significant differences in sprint performance (time or distance covered), throwing performance (distance or accuracy), heart rate response or blood measures.
The one change observed during exercise was higher skin temperature. However, during the 24-hour period post-exercise, blood markers of muscle damage were lower and the athletes reported less soreness, according to the study by Duffield, R. and M. Portus, Comparison of three types of full-body compression garments on throwing and repeat-sprint performance in cricket players.
In another example, subjects performed 30-minute bouts of moderate and high-intensity running on a treadmill while wearing compression gear. According to the study by Lovell, D.I., Do compression garments enhance the active recovery process after high-intensity running? Decreased heart rate and lactic acid were documented during the recovery period post-exercise. The results of this study are encouraging as reducing lactic acid and recovery heart rate have important implications for athletes that perform repeated bouts of high-intensity exercise in a single competition.
Several other studies have been published to support that compression garments reduce post-exercise declines in jump height, minimize strength loss, decrease muscle edema (swelling), and ease muscle soreness (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23007487, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20195085, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20376479).
In the instance of running, although anecdotal arguments exist to support that compression garments improve performance during an event, the literature proves otherwise. Compression calf sleeves did increase oxygen saturation of the blood in subjects at rest before the exercise and during the recovery process, but no improvements were observed in running performance or the time to fatigue in subjects wearing calf sleeves, according to Menetrier, A. Compression sleeves increase tissue oxygen saturation but not running performance.
One of the laboratories that reported a beneficial effect of compression garments on muscle recovery also evaluated well-trained endurance athletes during exercise. Results showed that subjects’ ratings of perceived exertion, muscle soreness and time to exhaustion were unaffected by compression garments (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20391083). Even though one report demonstrated an effect of compression garments on endurance running performance in athletes, the experimental design involved a custom designed whole body compression garment (full-length bottoms and long-sleeved tops).
A review of the literature does indicate that compression garments have a place in sport, particularly for athletes who train and compete on a regular basis. While there are relatively few scientific reports of performance gains while wearing compression gear during competition, there is certainly compelling evidence to support that compression gear helps the recovery process.
Whether following a hard race, a long training run or a hard workout, compression garments can facilitate recovery and reduce post-exercise muscle soreness. The critical point to remember is the importance in allowing the body to incorporate necessary recovery strategies so that proper adaptation may occur.
While one would caution against constant use of compression gear, it does hold a place in the athletes’ arsenal, similar to ice-baths, massage and nutritional supplements.
Also, keep in mind that these reports were conducted with newly purchased compression garments or custom made compression garments that delivered a specific level of pressure to the limb under investigation. Very few athletes who purchase compression gear for sport are aware of the pressure gradient or how well it is maintained during competition or over the life of the garment. Repeated washings and wear are sure to reduce the compression after just a few uses, subsequently altering their effect.