Saturday, November 12, 2011

Are you breathing right?

It is so crucial to life that we should be paying more attention to it, but strangely, we don’t. We worry about erratic pulse rates and ECGs, but not about whether we breathe right. Most of us do not maximize on our breathing potential. But master the art of breathing and you will be rewarded with improved concentration, creativity, boundless energy, physical harmony, mental composure and serenity! 

Abdomen aesthetics 

We can learn the right way of breathing from babies! Surprised? “That’s because, unlike adults, they aren’t inhibited. Even adults breathe harmoniously when they sleep,” says Dr. N Chandrasekaran, director, therapy, Krishnamachari Yoga Mandiram (KYM). 

When you inhale the right way, the dome-shaped diaphragm (located just under our lungs) gets flattened and pushed down, which in turn pushes the upper abdomen out. “Many of us consider abdominal projection unsightly and, therefore, draw in our tummies (abdomen) when we breathe in. This curtails vertical expansion of the lungs and allows us to draw in only about half the air we would have inhaled, had we breathed normally. It also creates a tightness in the area, which can make you emotionally tense too,” says Dr. Chandrasekaran. “For a healthy life, abdominal breathing is critical and about 60 per cent of our bodily ailments can be healed when we correct the way we breathe. Deep breathing can cause a noticeable fullness in the upper abdomen, which is healthy, and indicative of a relaxed abdomen, body and mind. But the lower abdomen should never bulge out, he adds. 

Allopaths, such as Dr. Raj B. Singh, chief respiratory physician, Apollo Hospitals, however, feel most of us breathe normally and our body will automatically take in the volume of air it requires. “But breathing exercises calm the mind and allow the body to work better,” he agrees, adding, “Breathing exercises are important for obese persons and smokers, as it clears the collapsed airways in their lungs.” Aerobic exercises (without weight lifting), such as swimming and vigorous games, facilitate deep breathing and better blood circulation. 

Ideally, we should take in about 16 to 18 breaths per minute. Get into a comfortable, lying down position, which relaxes your abdominal muscles, and watch how you breathe. Now place your right hand on your chest and observe the movement. Let your exhalations and inhalations be as deep and as long as you are comfortable with. Allow your upper abdomen (above the umbilicus region) to bulge out during inhalation. “Practise this for about 15 minutes in the morning and evening, and the effect will soon spill over into your breathing pattern throughout the day,” says Dr. Chandrasekaran. 

Anger control and relaxation 

If you have a harmonious breathing pattern, it harmonizes your physiological systems. Emotionally, it makes you relaxed and composed. 

Deep breathing with slow release or exhalation followed by a gentle holding of breath leads the brain into the creative alpha state, brain power trainers believe. 

Focussed, long inhalation can energise you. So, the next time you feel sleepy in the office, take a deep breath. Likewise, if you feel tense and stressed, focus on exhalation and make it as long as you are comfortable with. 

Helps you calm down 

When your mind is anxious, agitated, or angry, you tend to hyperventilate and your systolic blood pressure and heart beat rate shoots up. “By consciously slowing your breathing, and breathing deeply, you can bring your breathing to normal. This brings the agitated mind too back to normal and quietens it,” says Dr. Shanthi Raj, Sundaram Medical Foundation. 

On the contrary, during panic/anxiety attacks, she suggests breathing into paper bags for about two minutes, wherein you take in more carbon dioxide into your blood. This vaso-dilates the brain and helps you calm down. 

Breathing is the rationale behind meditation, pranayama and other techniques which are supposed to empower the mind. “The normal nature of the mind is to move from object to object. Focussed breathing enhances the mind’s focus, makes it powerful and prepares it to fix its attention on a single thing,” says Dr. Chandrasekaran.

To breathe well is to live well, believed our ancient yogis, some of whom survived for days on just breath and without food or water. Whew! Take a breather! 


Let your inhalation and exhalation be as long and as deep as you are comfortable with. 

Don’t draw in your tummy while inhaling. Allow your upper abdomen to jut out while inhaling. 

Inhale deeply to refresh/energise yourself.

Exhale deeply to relax and calm yourself.

Practise breathing exercises such as pranayama for a few minutes everyday. 

Aerobic exercises enhance breathing and blood circulation.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

TOP 10 foods for a good nights sleep

What is the secret to getting a solid 7 to 8 hours of sleep? Head for the kitchen and enjoy one or two of these 10 foods. They relax tense muscles, quiet buzzing minds, and/or get calming, sleep-inducing hormones - serotonin and melatonin - flowing. Yawning yet?

Bananas. They're practically a sleeping pill in a peel. In addition to a bit of soothing melatonin and serotonin, bananas contain magnesium, a muscle relaxant.

Chamomile tea. The reason chamomile is such a staple of bedtime tea blends is its mild sedating effect - it's the perfect natural antidote for restless minds/bodies.

Warm milk. It's not a myth. Milk has some tryptophan - an amino acid that has a sedative - like effect - and calcium, which helps the brain use tryptophan. Plus there's the psychological throw-back to infancy, when a warm bottle meant "relax, everything's fine."

Honey. Drizzle a little in your warm milk or herb tea. Lots of sugar is stimulating, but a little glucose tells your brain to turn off orexin, a recently discovered neurotransmitter that's linked to alertness.

Potatoes. A small baked spud won't overwhelm your GI tract, and it clears away acids that can interfere with yawn-inducing tryptophan. To up the soothing effects, mash it with warm milk.

Oatmeal. Oats are a rich source of sleep - inviting melatonin, and a small bowl of warm cereal with a splash of maple syrup is cozy - plus if you've got the munchies, it's filling too.

Almonds. A handful of these heart-healthy nuts can be snooze-inducing, as they contain both tryptophan and a nice dose of muscle-relaxing magnesium.

Flaxseeds. When life goes awry and feeling down is keeping you up, try sprinkling 2 tablespoons of these healthy little seeds on your bedtime oatmeal. They're rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a natural mood lifter.

Whole-wheat bread. A slice of toast with your tea and honey will release insulin, which helps tryptophan get to your brain, where it's converted to serotonin and quietly murmurs "time to sleep."

Turkey. It's the most famous source of tryptophan, credited with all those Thanksgiving naps. But that's actually modern folklore. Tryptophan works when your stomach's basically empty, not overstuffed, and when there are some carbs around, not tons of protein. But put a lean slice or two on some whole-wheat bread mid-evening, and you've got one of the best sleep inducers in your kitchen.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Deep and Dreamy Sleep

Sleep has always been a somewhat magical state with a mysterious purpose. In Hindu scripture, the world itself is considered the dream of a sleeping Vishnu.

Why do we need sleep? There is no good answer to this question, but it is an ancient biological process. Two stages of sleep, the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage, and the Delta-wave, or slow-wave sleep each have distinctive effects on different types of memory and decision making. Sleep is also a general healer. It promotes the rejuvenation of the immune, skeletal, muscular and nervous systems, and a healer of wounds.

Body Chemistry: There is a particularly strong effect of sleep on body chemistry. The important anabolic (body-building) hormones, growth hormone, and insulin are secreted preferentially during sleep and reduced by poor sleep. Reductions in sleep duration result in prediabetic chemistry-even a single disrupted night of sleep can alter insulin response in young, healthy people. Similarly, in one's youth, up to 70% of daily growth hormone is secreted during the deepest part of sleep. With ageing, this decreases with a fall in deep sleep. If we could increase deep sleep in the elderly, we might induce a younger hormonal pattern. Exercise and meditation both increase deep sleep.

How much is enough? The amount of sleep one gets seems to correlate with longevity; seven hours is the 'sweet spot'. A lack of sleep (5 hours or less) more than doubles the risk of cardiac death while too much (8 hours or more) seems to be associated with non-cardiac death. Too little sleep seems to be a particular risk factor for weight gain, hypertension and type 2 diabetes.

Naps: As India lurches towards a more Westernised life, the mid-afternoon nap may become rare. That would be a shame. A study from Greece confirms that regular napping (three times a week, 30 minutes) decreased the risk of coronary disease by 37%!

Factors that influence sleep: Caffeine In the West, caffeine is one of the major culprits in the sleep disruption of modern life- even more so in recent years. Tea has far less caffeine than coffee.

Exercise: Aerobic exercise that lasts for an hour will help you get to sleep and stay asleep. However, it may take up to three weeks for the full effect to be noticeable.

Alcohol: Alcohol at night reduces the healing benefits of sleep. While people fall asleep faster, alcohol increases lighter REM sleep and shortens slow-wave sleep and overall sleep time. As a result, it can cause more sleepiness the next day.

Melatonin: The body creates a chemical called melatonin, which may be a helpful sleeping aid in certain situations like jet lag, shift work, and general insomnia. I sometimes recommend it, particularly for post-surgical patients.

While some take melatonin nightly and tout it as an anti-ageing cure-all, I generally advise my patients to use it sparingly in specific settings until we know more about long-term effects. For jetlag, the optimal dose appears to be 5 mg, taken at bedtime in the new timezone; for insomnia, a dose less than one-tenth of that (0.3 mg).

The bottomline: Folk wisdom about the healing properties of sleep is absolutely correct. Too often it is neglected by physicians in their advice to patients. With a systematic approach and some discipline, you can improve your sleep, feel better and live healthier and longer!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Some Useful Tips to Avoid Back Pain

Back pain is a matter of swear pain sometimes, and we all can go through this problem at any stage of our life. But there are ways by which you can prevent it from happening to you. Here are 5 important ways to prevent yourself from back pain.

1 – Get up and get moving

Keeping spine and body of yours healthy is really important and for that, exercise is the best solution. You should start with an activity that you love to do and also make sure that activity should be of that type that makes you breath harder than your usual routine and you should do 30 minutes exercise everyday(or on most days of the week) including some hard exercises that make your muscles strong and healthy. This is very good for the circulation process of your body. Some examples are jogging, biking, swimming and gardening can also be a good exercise if done hard.

2 – See your doctor

Make a routine of yours to visit your physician at least once or twice in a year, that’s very much important that you should get yourself medically checked and ensure that all the body systems are working in their proper way and for this thing age does not matter. If you are experiencing back pain for a long time and don’t find relief then definitely you should consult your doctor because in the present medical era, many type of treatments are available, so you don’t have to worry about getting that back pain for life time.

3 – Lose weight

Getting overweighed is another problem causing many heart diseases, diabetes and blood pressure as well as causes your spine to pain and eventually wear out. And according to analysis half of American population is overweighed. So for this reason reduce some weight and relax your spine. If you don’t know the way to reduce weight, consult your doctor to help you with diet plans and exercises necessary to reduce weight.

4 – Good posture

Some people think that slouching while sitting or standing helps to relax your muscles but that’s not true, actually muscles work harder due to that. To avoid exerting extra pressure on your spine, make yourself to be in a good posture that demands you to sit and stand in a relaxed and neutral position.

5 – Rest easy and properly

To sleep on an easy mattress that maintains the same natural alignment of your spine is also a very important thing. If you feel uneasy while sleeping and in the morning you feel your muscles are in pain and you are not feeling fresh, then you must give a look to your bed. Having a complete and easy sleep wakes you up fresh and healthy in the morning. If you keep your back healthy, this will keep you look good for a long time.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Health Benefits of Exercise

Regular exercise can help protect you from heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, noninsulin-dependent diabetes, obesity, back pain, osteoporosis, and can improve your mood and help you to better manage stress.

For the greatest overall health benefits, experts recommend that you do 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic activity three or more times a week and some type of muscle strengthening activity and stretching at least twice a week. However, if you are unable to do this level of activity, you can gain substantial health benefits by accumulating 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity a day, at least five times a week.

If you have been inactive for a while, you may want to start with less strenuous activities such as walking or swimming at a comfortable pace. Beginning at a slow pace will allow you to become physically fit without straining your body. Once you are in better shape, you can gradually do more strenuous activity.

How Physical Activity Impacts Health

Regular physical activity that is performed on most days of the week reduces the risk of developing or dying from some of the leading causes of illness and death in the United States.

• Reduces the risk of dying prematurely. 
• Reduces the risk of dying prematurely from heart disease. 
• Reduces the risk of developing diabetes. 
• Reduces the risk of developing high blood pressure. 
• Helps reduce blood pressure in people who already have high blood pressure.
• Reduces the risk of developing colon cancer. 
• Reduces feelings of depression and anxiety. 
• Helps control weight. 
• Helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints. 
• Helps older adults become stronger and better able to move about without falling. 
• Promotes psychological well-being.

Specific Health Benefits of Exercise

Heart Disease and Stroke. Daily physical activity can help prevent heart disease and stroke by strengthening your heart muscle, lowering your blood pressure, raising your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels (good cholesterol) and lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels (bad cholesterol), improving blood flow, and increasing your heart's working capacity.

High Blood Pressure. Regular physical activity can reduce blood pressure in those with high blood pressure levels. Physical activity also reduces body fatness, which is associated with high blood pressure.

Noninsulin-Dependent Diabetes. By reducing body fatness, physical activity can help to prevent and control this type of diabetes.

Obesity. Physical activity helps to reduce body fat by building or preserving muscle mass and improving the body's ability to use calories. When physical activity is combined with proper nutrition, it can help control weight and prevent obesity, a major risk factor for many diseases.

Back Pain. By increasing muscle strength and endurance and improving flexibility and posture, regular exercise helps to prevent back pain.

Osteoporosis. Regular weight-bearing exercise promotes bone formation and may prevent many forms of bone loss associated with aging.

Psychological Effects. Regular physical activity can improve your mood and the way you feel about yourself. Researchers also have found that exercise is likely to reduce depression and anxiety and help you to better manage stress.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Black Pepper - Health Benefits

The health benefits of black pepper include relief from respiratory disorders, cough, common cold, constipation, digestion, anemia, impotency, muscular strains, dental care, pyorrhea, diarrhea, and heart disease.

Black pepper is the fruit of the black pepper plant from the Piperaceae family and is used as a spice and also as a medicine. The chemical piperine, present in black pepper, causes the spiciness. It is native to the southern state of India, Kerala. From ancient times, black pepper is one of the most widely traded spices in the world. It is not seasonal and is, therefore available throughout the year.

Because of its antibacterial properties, pepper is also used to preserve food. It is a source of manganese, iron, potassium, vitamin C and vitamin K and dietary fiber. Black pepper is a very good, anti-inflammatory agent.

The health benefits of black pepper include the following:

Good for stomach: Pepper increases the hydrochloric acid secretion in stomach and thus, helps digestion. Proper digestion is essential to avoid diarrhea, constipation and colic. Pepper also helps to prevent formation of intestinal gas. Pepper-added diet promotes sweating and urination.

Helps to lose weight: The outer layer of peppercorn assists in the breakdown of fat cells. Hence, peppery foods are a good way to help you shed weight.

Good for skin: Pepper helps to cure Vitiligo, which is a skin disease that causes some areas of skin to lose its normal pigment and turn white. According to researchers in London, piperine contained in pepper can stimulate the skin to produce pigment. Topical treatment of piperine combined with ultra violet light therapy is much better than the other treatments for vitiligo. It also reduces the chances of skin cancer due to excess ultraviolet radiation.

Relief for cough and cold: In Ayurveda pepper is added in tonics for cold and cough. Pepper gives relief from sinusitis and nasal congestion.The antibacterial property of black pepper helps to fight against infections, insect bites etc. Pepper added diet helps to keeping your arteries clean.

Good antioxidant: An antioxidant, like pepper, can prevent or repair the damage caused by the free radicals and thus helps to prevent cancer, cardiovascular diseases and liver problems.

Enhances bio Availability: Black pepper helps in transporting the benefits of other herbs to different parts of body.

According to Ayurveda, black pepper also helps avoid ear-ache and gangrene. It is also good for conditions of hernia, hoarseness and insect bites. It relieves joint pain.

It is a good treatment for respiratory conditions like asthma, whooping cough etc.

It is used to treat conditions of tooth decay and toothache. In ancient times, pepper was also used to treat eye problems.

Preparing grounded pepper powder at home is better than buying ready-made pepper powder. But even home-made powder retains its freshness for only up to 3 months. Whole peppercorns can keep their freshness indefinitely.

Thus, adding a pinch of black pepper to every meal helps improve taste and digestion. It also improves your overall health and well being.

Precaution: Pepper may cause sneezing. Patients who’ve undergone abdominal surgery should not take pepper added diet because pepper has an irritating effect on the intestines. It is also not good for people with ulcers. Black pepper should not be taken in high concentration.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Health Benefits of Green Tea

Green tea has increasingly become a very popular drink worldwide because of its immensely powerful health benefits.

It is extraordinarily amazing what green tea can do for your health. And if you're not drinking 3 to 4 cups of green tea today, you're definitely NOT doing your health a big favor.

Here Are The 25 Reasons Why You Should Start Drinking Green Tea Right Now:

1. Green Tea and Cancer
Green tea helps reduce the risk of cancer. The antioxidant in green tea is 100 times more effective than vitamin C and 25 times better than vitamin E. This helps your body at protecting cells from damage believed to be linked to cancer.

2. Green Tea and Heart Disease
Green tea helps prevent heart disease and stroke by lowering the level of cholesterol. Even after the heart attack, it prevents cell deaths and speeds up the recovery of heart cells.

3. Green Tea and Anti-Aging
Green tea contains antioxidant known as polyphenols which fight against free radicals. What this means it helps you fight against aging and promotes longevity.

4. Green Tea and Weight Loss
Green tea helps with your body weight loss. Green tea burns fat and boosts your metabolism rate naturally. It can help you burn up to 70 calories in just one day. That translates to 7 pounds in one year.

5. Green Tea and Skin
Antioxidant in green tea protects the skin from the harmful effects of free radicals, which cause wrinkling and skin aging. Green tea also helps fight against skin cancer.

6. Green Tea and Arthritis
Green tea can help prevent and reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. Green tea has benefit for your health as it protects the cartilage by blocking the enzyme that destroys cartilage.

7. Green Tea and Bones
The very key to this is high fluoride content found in green tea. It helps keep your bones strong. If you drink green tea every day, this will help you preserve your bone density.

8. Green Tea and Cholesterol
Green tea can help lower cholesterol level. It also improves the ratio of good cholesterol to bad cholesterol, by reducing bad cholesterol level.

9. Green Tea and Obesity
Green tea prevents obesity by stopping the movement of glucose in fat cells. If you are on a healthy diet, exercise regularly and drink green tea, it is unlikely you'll be obese.

10. Green Tea and Diabetes
Green tea improves lipid and glucose metabolisms, prevents sharp increases in blood sugar level, and balances your metabolism rate. 

11. Green Tea and Alzheimer's
Green tea helps boost your memory. And although there's no cure for Alzheimer's, it helps slow the process of reduced acetylcholine in the brain, which leads to Alzheimer's.

12. Green Tea and Parkinson's
Antioxidants in green tea helps prevent against cell damage in the brain, which could cause Parkinson's. People drinking green tea also are less likely to progress with Parkinson's.

13. Green Tea and Liver Disease
Green tea helps prevent transplant failure in people with liver failure. Researches showed that green tea destroys harmful free radicals in fatty livers.

14. Green Tea and High Blood Pressure
Green tea helps prevent high blood pressure. Drinking green tea helps keep your blood pressure down by repressing angiotensin, which leads to high blood pressure.

15. Green Tea and Food Poisoning
Catechin found in green tea can kill bacteria which causes food poisoning and kills the toxins produced by those bacteria.

16. Green Tea and Blood Sugar
Blood sugar tends to increase with age, but polyphenols and polysaccharides in green tea help lower your blood sugar level. 

17. Green Tea and Immunity
Polyphenols and flavenoids found in green tea help boost your immune system, making your health stronger in fighting against infections. 

18. Green Tea and Cold and Flu
Green tea prevents you from getting a cold or flu. Vitamin C in green tea helps you treat the flu and the common cold.

19. Green Tea and Asthma
Theophylline in green tea relaxes the muscles which support the bronchial tubes, reducing the severity of asthma.

20. Green Tea and Ear Infection
Green tea helps with ear infection problem. For natural ear cleaning, soak a cotton ball in green tea and clean the infected ear.

21. Green Tea and Herpes
Green tea increases the effectiveness of topical interferon treatment of herpes. First green tea compress is applied, and then let the skin dry before the interferon treatment.

22. Green Tea and Tooth Decay
Green tea destroys bacteria and viruses that cause many dental diseases. It also slows the growth of bacteria which leads to bad breath.

23. Green Tea and Stress
L-theanine, which is a kind of amino acids in green tea, can help relieve stress and anxiety.

24. Green Tea and Allergies
EGCG found in green tea relieves allergies. So, if you have allergies, you should really consider drinking green tea.

25. Green Tea and HIV
Scientists in Japan have found that EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate) in green tea can stop HIV from binding to healthy immune cells. What this means is that green tea can help stop the HIV virus from spreading. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

10 Tips for Good Night Sleep

Stick to a schedule: Erratic bedtimes do not allow for your body to align to the proper circadian rhythms. Mum was right when she set a time we always had to go to sleep as kids. Also, make sure you try to keep the same schedule on weekends too, otherwise the next morning, you’d wake later and feel overly tired.

Sleep only at night: Avoid daytime sleep if possible. Daytime naps steal hours from nighttime slumber. Limit daytime sleep to 20-minute, power naps.

Exercise: It’s actually known to help you sleep better. Your body uses the sleep period to recover its muscles and joints that have been exercised. Twenty to thirty minutes of exercise every day can help you sleep, but be sure to exercise in the morning or afternoon. Exercise stimulates the body and aerobic activity before bedtime may make falling asleep more difficult.

Taking a hot shower or bath before bed helps bring on sleep because they can relax tense muscles.

Avoid eating just before bed: Avoid eat large meals or spicy foods before bedtime. Give yourself at least 2 hours from when you eat to when you sleep. This allows for digestion to happen (or at least start) well before you go to sleep so your body can rest well during the night, rather than churning away your food.

Avoid caffeine: It keeps you awake and that’s now what you want for a good nights sleep. We all know that.

Read a fiction book: It takes you to a whole new world if you really get into it. And then take some time to ponder over the book as you fall asleep. I find as I read more and more, regardless of the book, I get more tired at night and so find it easier to fall asleep. Different for others?

Have the room slightly cooler: I prefer this to a hot room. I prefer to turn off the heat and allow the coolness to circulate in and out of the windows. If I get cold, I wear warmer clothes. It also saves on the bills as you’re not going to require the heat all night long.

Sleep in silence: I find sleeping with no music or TV on more easy and restful. I guess others are different, but sleep with no distractions is best for a clearer mind.

Avoid alcohol before bedtime: It’s a depressant; although it may make it easier to fall asleep, it causes you to wake up during the night. As alcohol is digested your body goes into withdrawal from the alcohol, causing nighttime awakenings and often nightmares for some people. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Improve your Brain

Everyone can take steps to improve their memory, and with time and practice most people can gain the ability to memorize seemingly impossible amounts of information. Whether you want to win the World Memory Championships, ace your history test, or simply remember where you put your keys, this article can get you started. Scientists believe that exercising your brain can create a ‘cognitive reserve' that will help you stay sharp as you age.

1. Convince yourself that you do have a good memory that will improve. Too many people get stuck here and convince themselves that their memory is bad, that they are just not good with names, that numbers just slip out of their minds for some reason. Erase those thoughts and vow to improve your memory. Commit yourself to the task and bask in your achievements — it's hard to keep motivated if you beat yourself down every time you make a little bit of progress.

2. Keep your brain active. The brain is not a muscle, but regularly “exercising” the brain actually does keep it growing and spurs the development of new nerve connections that can help improve memory. By developing new mental skills—especially complex ones such as learning a new language or learning to play a new musical instrument—and challenging your brain with puzzles and games you can keep your brain active and improve its physiological functioning. 

3. Exercise daily. Regular aerobic exercise improves circulation and efficiency throughout the body, including in the brain, and can help ward off the memory loss that comes with aging. Exercise also makes you more alert and relaxed, and can thereby improve your memory uptake, allowing you to take better mental “pictures.”

4. Reduce stress. Chronic stress, although it does not physically damage the brain, can make remembering much more difficult. Even temporary stresses can make it more difficult to effectively focus on concepts and observe things. Try to relax, regularly practice yoga or other stretching exercises, and see a doctor if you have severe chronic stress.

5. Eat well and eat right. There are a lot of herbal supplements on the market that claim to improve memory, but none have yet been shown to be effective in clinical tests (although small studies have shown some promising results for ginkgo biloba and phosphatidylserine) . A healthy diet, however, contributes to a healthy brain, and foods containing antioxidants— broccoli, blueberries, spinach, and berries, for example—and Omega-3 fatty acids appear to promote healthy brain functioning. Feed your brain with such supplements as Thiamine, Vitamin E, Niacin and Vitamin B-6. Grazing, eating 5 or 6 small meals throughout the day instead of 3 large meals, also seems to improve mental functioning (including memory) by limiting dips in blood sugar, which may negatively affect the brain.

6. Take better pictures. Often we forget things not because our memory is bad, but rather because our observational skills need work. One common situation where this occurs (and which almost everyone can relate to) is meeting new people. Often we don't really learn people's names at first because we aren't really concentrating on remembering them. You'll find that if you make a conscious effort to remember such things, you'll do much better. One way to train yourself to be more observant is to look at an unfamiliar photograph for a few seconds and then turn the photograph over and describe or write down as many details as you can about the photograph. Try closing your eyes and picturing the photo in your mind. Use a new photograph each time you try this exercise, and with regular practice you will find you're able to remember more details with even shorter glimpses of the photos.

7. Give yourself time to form a memory. Memories are very fragile in the short-term, and distractions can make you quickly forget something as simple as a phone number. The key to avoid losing memories before you can even form them is to be able to focus on the thing to be remembered for a while without thinking about other things, so when you're trying to remember something, avoid distractions and complicated tasks for a few minutes. 

8. Create vivid, memorable images. You remember information more easily if you can visualize it. If you want to associate a child with a book, try not to visualize the child reading the book – that's too simple and forgettable. Instead, come up with something more jarring, something that sticks, like the book chasing the child, or the child eating the book. It's your mind – make the images as shocking and emotional as possible to keep the associations strong. 

9. Repeat things you need to learn. The more times you hear, see, or think about something, the more surely you'll remember it, right? It's a no-brainer. When you want to remember something, be it your new coworker's name or your best friend's birthday, repeat it, either out loud or silently. Try writing it down; think about it. 

10. Group things you need to remember. Random lists of things (a shopping list, for example) can be especially difficult to remember. To make it easier, try categorizing the individual things from the list. If you can remember that, among other things, you wanted to buy four different kinds of vegetables, you'll find it easier to remember all four.

11. Organize your life. Keep items that you frequently need, such as keys and eyeglasses, in the same place every time. Use an electronic organizer or daily planner to keep track of appointments, due dates for bills, and other tasks. Keep phone numbers and addresses in an address book or enter them into your computer or cell phone. Improved organization can help free up your powers of concentration so that you can remember less routine things. Even if being organized doesn't improve your memory, you'll receive a lot of the same benefits (i.e. you won't have to search for your keys anymore). 

12. Try meditation. Research now suggests that people who regularly practice “mindfulness” meditation are able to focus better and may have better memories. Mindfulness (also known as awareness or insight meditation) is the type commonly practiced in Western countries and is easy to learn. Studies at Massachusetts General Hospital show that regular meditation thickens the cerebral cortex in the brain by increasing the blood flow to that region. Some researchers believe this can enhance attention span, focus, and memory. 

13. Sleep well. The amount of sleep we get affects the brain's ability to recall recently learned information. Getting a good night's sleep – a minimum of seven hours a night – may improve your short-term memory and long-term relational memory, according to recent studies conducted at the Harvard Medical School. 

14. Build your memorization arsenal. Learn pegs, memory palaces, and the Dominic System. These techniques form the foundation for mnemonic techniques, and will visibly improve your memory. 

15. Venture out and learn from your mistakes. Go ahead and take a stab at memorizing the first one hundred digits of pi, or, if you've done that already, the first one thousand. Memorize the monarchs of England through your memory palaces, or your grocery list through visualization. Through diligent effort you will eventually master the art of memorization. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Info on AIDS

AIDS stands for "Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome" or "acquired immunodeficiency syndrome" and denotes a condition, which results from the damage done by HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) to the immune system. The condition was first identified in 1981 and the name "AIDS" was first introduced on July 27, 1982.

It has been estimated that around 33 million people around the world have been infected with HIV and that around two million people die from AIDS related conditions each year. On October 27, 1988, the UN General Assembly officially recognized that the World Health Organization declared December 1, 1988, to be World AIDS Day. World AIDS Day has also been observed on this date each year since then.

December 1 is observed as World AIDS Day:
On World AIDS Day, many community, national and international leaders issue proclamations on supporting and treating people living with HIV and AIDS and stimulating research into the treatment of these conditions. The of World AIDS Day was 'Universal Access and Human Rights'. 

A simple red ribbon is one of the most widely recognized symbols of HIV and AIDS and the people who live with these conditions. The symbol was presented by the Visual AIDS Artists Caucus in 1991. The red ribbon was originally intended to be worn as a badge, but is now used in a wide variety of ways.

The symbol of the World AIDS Campaign consists of a sketched image of a red ribbon and the words "world aids campaign". The words "world" and "campaign" are in black and the word "aids" is in red. The ends of the ribbon merge into splashes of green, blue, purple and orange. The splashes of color can be interpreted in a variety of ways, but are often taken to indicate the diversity of people living with HIV and AIDS.

AIDS is caused by HIV.HIV is a virus that gradually attacks immune system cells. As HIV progressively damages these cells, the body becomes more vulnerable to infections, which it will have difficulty in fighting off. It is at the point of very advanced HIV infection that a person is said to have AIDS. It can be years before HIV has damaged the immune system enough for AIDS to develop.

Important facts about the spread of AIDS include:
AIDS is the sixth leading cause of death among people ages 25-44.
The World Health Organization estimates that more than 25 million people worldwide have died from this infection since the start of the epidemic.
In 2008, there were approximately 33.4 million people around the world living with HIV/AIDS, including 2.1 million children under age 15.
AIDS begins with HIV infection. People infected with HIV may have no symptoms for 10 years or longer, but they can still transmit the infection to others during this symptom-free period. If the infection is not detected and treated, the immune system gradually weakens and AIDS develops.

Almost all people infected with HIV, if not treated, will develop AIDS. There is a small group of patients who develop AIDS very slowly, or never at all. These patients are called non progressors, and many seem to have a genetic difference that prevents the virus from damaging their immune system.

The symptoms of AIDS are primarily the result of infections that do not normally develop in individuals with healthy immune systems. These are called opportunistic infections.

People with AIDS have had their immune system damaged by HIV and are very susceptible to these opportunistic infections. 

Common symptoms are:
Sweats (particularly at night)
Swollen lymph glands
Weight loss


Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) causes AIDS. The virus attacks the immune system and leaves the body vulnerable to a variety of life-threatening infections and cancers.

Common bacteria, yeast, parasites, and viruses that ordinarily do not cause serious disease in people with healthy immune systems can cause fatal illnesses in people with AIDS.

HIV has been found in:
Nervous system tissue and spinal fluid
Blood, semen (including pre-seminal fluid, which is the liquid that comes out before ejaculation)
Vaginal fluid
Breast milk.
However, only blood, semen, vaginal secretions, and breast milk generally transmits infection to others.

The virus can be spread (transmitted):
Through sexual contact - including oral, vaginal, and anal sex
Through blood - via blood transfusions.
From mother to child - a pregnant woman can transmit the virus to her fetus through their shared blood circulation, or a nursing mother can transmit it to her baby in her breast milk.
Other methods of spreading the virus are rare and include
Accidental needle injury.
Artificial insemination with infected donated semen.
Organ transplantation with infected organs.
HIV infection is NOT spread by:
Casual contact such as hugging
Participation in sports
Touching items previously touched by a person infected with the virus
AIDS and blood or organ donation:
AIDS is NOT transmitted to a person who DONATES blood or organs.
HIV can be transmitted to a person RECEIVING blood or organs from an infected donor.
To reduce this risk, blood banks and organ donor programs screen donors, blood, and tissues thoroughly.
People at highest risk for getting HIV:
Injection drug users who share needles
Infants born to mothers with HIV who didn't receive HIV therapy during pregnancy
People engaging in unprotected sex, especially with people who have other high-risk behaviors.


Safe sex 
Safe sex to reduce the chance of acquiring or spreading HIV, and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Needle sharing
Do not use illicit drugs and do not share needles or syringes. 

Contact with blood
Avoid contact with another person's blood. Protective clothing, masks, and goggles may be appropriate when caring for people who are injured.

Anyone who tests positive for HIV can pass the disease to others and should not donate blood, plasma, body organs, or sperm. Infected people should tell any sexual partner about their HIV-positive status. They should not exchange body fluids during sexual activity, and should use whatever preventive measures (such as condoms) will give their partner the most protection.

HIV-positive women who wish to become pregnant should seek counseling about the risk to their unborn children, and methods to help prevent their baby from becoming infected. The use of certain medications dramatically reduces the chances that the baby will become infected during pregnancy.

It recommends that HIV-infected women avoid breast-feeding to prevent transmitting HIV to their infants through breast milk.

Safe-sex practices, such as latex condoms, are highly effective in preventing HIV transmission. HOWEVER, there remains a risk of acquiring the infection even with the use of condoms. Abstinence is the only sure way to prevent sexual transmission of HIV.

The riskiest sexual behavior is unprotected receptive anal intercourse. The least risky sexual behavior is receiving oral sex. Performing oral sex on a man is associated with some risk of HIV transmission, but this is less risky than unprotected vaginal intercourse. Female-to-male transmission of the virus is much less likely than male-to-female transmission. Performing oral sex on a woman who does not have her period has a low risk of transmission.

Antiretroviral Medications:
HIV-positive patients who are taking antiretroviral medications are less likely to transmit the virus. For example, pregnant women who are on effective treatment at the time of delivery, and who have undetectable viral loads, give HIV to their baby less than 1% of the time, compared with about 20% of the time if medications are not used. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Human Body (Some Interesting Facts)

Approximately 75% of human poop is made of water.

Your eyes are always the same size from birth but your nose and ears never stop growing.

It takes the food seven seconds to get from your mouth to your stomach.

The average human dream lasts 2-3 seconds.

Your brain is more active during the night than the day.

One human hair can support 3kg.

Human thighbones are stronger than concrete.

The tooth is the only part of the human body that can’t repair itself.

An average human loses about 200 head hairs per day.

It is impossible to lick your elbow.

Your body requires 1000-1500 calories per day just to simply survive (breathing, sleeping, eating).

Every day an adult body produces 300 billion new cells.

Scientists say the higher your I.Q. the more you dream.

You use 200 muscles to take one step.

Muscle cells live as long as you do while skin cells live less than 24 hours.

A full bladder is roughly the size of a soft ball.

Your brain operates on the same amount of power that would light a 10-watt light bulb.

There are 5 million hair follicles on an average adult.

The acid in your stomach is strong enough to dissolve razorblades.

The human brain cell can hold 5 times as much information as the Encyclopedia Brittanica.

The white part of your fingernail is called the Lunula.

There is enough iron in a human being to make one small nail.

A shank is the part of the sole between the heel and the ball of the foot.

The talus is the second largest bone in the foot.

The attachment of human muscles to skin is what causes dimples.

A 13 year old child found a tooth growing out of his foot in 1977.

Your thumb is the same length of your nose.

A woman’s heart beats faster than a man’s.

Dogs and Humans are the only animals with prostates.

It only takes 7lbs of of pressure to rip off your ears.

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