|Posted on May 26, 2022 at 7:50 AM||comments (0)|
|Posted on May 6, 2022 at 6:45 AM||comments (0)|
Plant Based Birth Control Mechanism Uncovered by Pew Biomedical Scholar
New compounds found to prevent conception
June 22, 2017
Pew Biomedical Scholars
Plant based birth control
Compounds that structurally resemble the naturally occurring compound progesterone (illustrated above), such as lupeol or pristimerin, can prevent fertilization.
People have been searching for effective methods of contraception for centuries. Ancient cultures have thoroughly documented the use of plants with contraceptive properties to prevent pregnancies. However, science has yet to discover how herbal-based medicine can work as a form of birth control.
Pew biomedical scholar Polina Lishko, who holds a doctorate in physiology and biophysics, found that two plant-based compounds—pristimerin (extracted from the thunder god vine, a plant frequently used in Chinese medicine) and lupeol (found in mangoes and aloe)—block a key process that allows the sperm to penetrate the egg. She and her colleagues in the department of molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley published their findings in the May issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
During the fertilization process, sperm cells beat their tails in a side-to-side pattern to travel long distances to the egg. Once they are close, sperm must alter their rhythmic swimming for a final “power kick” in order to break through the egg’s dense protective layer. When the sperm cell is in close proximity to the egg, the hormone progesterone binds to a channel in the membrane of the sperm, allowing a large amount of calcium into its tail, providing the force for the power kick.
Lishko and her colleagues report that because pristimerin and lupeol are compounds that resemble naturally occurring progesterone, they can compete with it to bind the channel—choking off the flux of calcium into the sperm tail. Thus, the switch that boosts the sperm into hyper-drive is blocked, preventing fertilization. Notably, these compounds worked even at low concentrations. They did not pose any harm to the sperm and left them still able to swim.
Unlike emergency contraceptives on the market today, the plant-based compounds could be used to prevent fertilization rather than halting the process after it occurs. Currently, there is little research on targeting this distinct step in the fertilization process. A new form of birth control may be on the horizon—one that can be used by both men and women to prevent pregnancies, with minimal side effects on the body.
Kara Coleman directs The Pew Charitable Trusts’ biomedical programs, including the biomedical scholars, Pew-Stewart Scholars for Cancer Research, and Latin American fellows programs
|Posted on April 24, 2022 at 8:40 AM||comments (0)|
|Posted on April 20, 2022 at 7:20 AM||comments (0)|
Everyone has probably heard about the physical benefits of having sex (it helps the immune system, lowers blood pressure, burns calories). But are you aware of the long list of psychological benefits?
Sex eases stress
It’s well known stress can have serious implications. Stress is largely the result of many interacting psychological factors and can vary significantly between people. Nevertheless, it can cause all kinds of health problems from mild headaches, sleeping difficulties and muscle tension, to more severe issues such as malfunction of the immune system and chronic depression.
There is evidence that being close to your partner (physically and emotionally) can lower stress levels. Physical intimacy can trigger the release of all kinds of chemicals in the brain including:
dopamine - which plays a major role in reward-motivated behaviour, focuses attention and generally increases motivation
endorphins – our body’s natural pain and stress fighters, and
oxytocin – affectionately known as “the cuddle hormone”, which can trigger feelings of compassion.
After an orgasm, the body releases the hormone prolactin, which often leads to drowsiness and a general feeling of relaxation. Comfort ultimately resulting in sleep is a common post-orgasm response.
Sex boosts self-esteem
There’s an old saying “sex is like food; it’s only a big deal when you’re not getting enough of it”. With sex it’s not so much a matter of “the more the better”, but a complete lack of sex can be quite harmful. There is some evidence a lack of sex is associated with feelings of depression and low self-worth
In today’s world there is a lot of social pressure to be sexually active. Having a nonexistent or minimal sex life can feel socially stigmatising. In this way, having sex can unburden someone from a strong social pressure and enhance their self-estee
All of us have fundamental psychological needs we need to fulfil in order to remain mentally healthy. Having sex isn’t (strictly) a fundamental human need, but it’s an important part of love and connection...... Full article at
|Posted on April 11, 2022 at 7:15 AM||comments (0)|
Introduction: Understanding sexual behavior is important when evaluating the health needs of older adults. Little research has addressed the effect of specific health conditions on sexual inactivity in this growing population.
Aim: The study aims to assess the association of mental and physical health conditions with sexual inactivity among adults 55 and older living in The Villages, Florida.
Methods: Exposure data for 22 self-reported health conditions were assessed in relation to sexual inactivity in 22,654 participants ages 55 and older, including 1,879 participants over age 80 in a community-based cross-sectional study. Logistic regression analyses were conducted separately for men and women to evaluate the likelihood of being sexually active for each health condition. Covariates included age, race, education, income, self-reported overall health, and marital status.
Main outcome measures: The odds ratio and 95% confidence intervals for sexual activity status were calculated separately for men and women.
Results: Fifty-five percent of men and 45% of women reported being sexually active. Significant positive correlates of sexual activity included walking at least 1-2 times per week, participating in at least two registered clubs, engaging in physical and social activities, no tobacco use, fewer medications, increased alcohol consumption, and reporting a good quality of life, psychological well-being, or social support. Sexual inactivity was significantly related to cancer, bladder/bowl problems, major surgery, poor vision, mental health conditions, and cardiovascular disease and its risk factors including diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol. Additional associations with sexual inactivity included hearing loss and dementia for men, and dermatologic conditions, problems with the joints, bone or back, gastrointestinal problems, alcohol misuse, chronic wound care, and gum disease in women.
Conclusions: Mental and physical health conditions have very similar associations with sexual inactivity in men and women. Increased sexual activity was associated with positive physical, social, and emotional health indicators.
Keywords: Aging; Epidemiology; Risk Factors; Sexual Behavior.
Indexed for NIH Pubmed by Dragonfly Kingdom Library
© 2013 International Society for Sexual Medicine.
|Posted on November 16, 2021 at 6:25 AM||comments (0)|
Male sexual function is regulated by vascular function and impaired vascular function is closely related with erectile dysfunction (ED). Vascular functions are positively influenced by physical fitness (i.e., aerobic capacity, muscle strength, and flexibility). The detailed associations between physical fitness and male sexual function remain poorly understood. The present study aimed to clarify the influence of physical fitness on male sexual function.
In 177 adult men, peak oxygen consumption (VO2 peak), handgrip strength (HGS), and sit and reach were measured as indices of physical fitness. Arterial stiffness and erectile function were assessed by carotid–femoral pulse wave velocity (cfPWV) and the International Index of Erectile Function 5 (IIEF5) questionnaire, respectively. IIEF5 score was significantly correlated with VO2 peak (rs = 0.52), HGS (rs = 0.37), and cfPWV (rs = −0.44); and multivariate linear regression analyses showed that VO2 peak, HGS, and cfPWV were significantly associated with IIEF5 score after considering confounders.
The receiver operator characteristic curve analysis suggested that the cutoff values for predicting ED were 29.0 ml/min/kg for VO2 peak and 39.3 kg for HGS. The IIEF5 score was the highest in the subjects with the values of both VO2 peak and HGS were higher than their respective cutoff values, while the IIEF5 score was the lowest in the subjects with the values of both VO2 peak and HGS were lower than their respective cutoff values. These results suggest that the maintenance of high aerobic capacity and muscular strength may offset deterioration of male sexual function.
Erectile dysfunction (ED), defined as the inability to attain or maintain penile erection that is sufficient for satisfactory sexual performance (Yafi et al., 2016), is a common clinical problem worldwide. The Massachusetts Male Aging Study identified that the prevalence of mild-to-moderate ED is 52% in men aged 40–70 years (Feldman, Goldstein, Hatzichristou, Krane, & McKinlay, 1994), which suggests that ED is widely prevalent among middle-aged and elderly men.
ED has been previously reported to be associated with depressive symptoms (Nelson, Mulhall, & Roth, 2011) and has been observed to affect the quality of life (QOL) negatively (Yafi et al., 2016). In addition, a previous meta-analysis has revealed that men with ED exhibited 48% higher risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) than men without ED (Dong, Zhang, & Qin, 2011). The assessment of male sexual function and prevention of age-related deterioration of male sexual function are necessary for better QOL and for preventing occurrence of CVD in future.
Erectile function is regulated by vascular function and impaired vascular function is closely related with deterioration of male sexual function.......
Indexed for NIH / American Journal of Men's Health by Dragonfly Kingdom Library
|Posted on November 9, 2021 at 4:30 AM||comments (0)|
Researchers have found that people with narcissistic personality disorder have less gray matter in the left anterior insula, a region of the brain linked to empathy.
Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which the sufferers have an inflated sense of their own importance and a lack of empathy. They generally suffer from low self-esteem and feelings of inferiority, but have displays of arrogance and vanity......
|Posted on October 3, 2021 at 6:30 AM||comments (0)|
|Posted on August 26, 2021 at 5:55 AM||comments (0)|
THE ORIGIN OF MAN
FOR the benefit of those who have not read The Lost Continent of Mu a short synopsis of its contents follows.
The Land of Mu was a large continent situated in the Pacific Ocean between America and Asia, its center lying somewhat south of the equator. Basing its area on the remains which are still above water, it would have been about six thousand miles from east to west, and about three thousand from north to south. All the rocky islands, individually and in groups, scattered over the Pacific Ocean were once part of the continent of Mu.
About twelve thousand years ago cataclysmic earthquakes rent Mu asunder. She became a fiery vortex, and the waters of the Pacific rushed in, making a watery grave for a vast civilization and sixty millions of people.
...are the pathetic fingers of that great land, standing today as sentinels to a silent grave.
The existence of this great continent is confirmed by:
Naacal tablets, books, writings, inscriptions and legends found in India, China, Burma, Tibet and Cambodia.
Ancient Maya books, inscriptions, symbols and legends found in Yucatan and Central America.
Remains, inscriptions, symbols and legends found among the Pacific Islands.
Stone tablets found in Mexico near Mexico City.
Cliff dwellers' writings and inscriptions found in Western North America.
Books of old Greek philosophers.
Books and writings of the ancient Egyptians.
Legends throughout the world.
These confirmations are all given in The Lost Continent of Mu.
They show that:
There was once a large continent of land in the Pacific Ocean called the Land of Mu.
On this great continent man made his advent on earth about two hundred thousand years ago.
The Land of Mu and the Biblical Garden of Eden were one and the same land.
Both the Naacal and the Mexican tablets show clearly that man is a special creation. They also show in what way he differs from all other creations. An account of the creation is given in both sets of tablets which is very similar to the Biblical account.
At the time of Mu's destruction her people were in an exceedingly high state of civilization; as regards science she was far ahead of the present time. (No wonder! She was at the end of two hundred thousand years of experience and development. -We today cannot claim five hundred.)
The great civilizations of the old Oriental empires - India, Egypt, Babylonia, etc. -were only the dying embers of Mu's great civilization. They were her children, who withered and died without her care.
All tablets, inscriptions and writings which I used in The Lost Continent of Mu are accompanied by keys for reading them. Every assertion made is accompanied by reasonable proof. The facts are there. The theories will have to take care of themselves.
I wish it understood that what is revealed of the past in my writings must not be considered discoveries by me. I am simply stating what I find in writings that run from 12,000 to 70,000 years ago if the mode of keeping time was correct. What is disclosed in these writings is startling, yet archaeology and geological phenomena corroborate the facts without calling to our aid legends which also confirm them.
Lao Tse, the Chinese sage 600 B.C., speaks of the great learning and advancement of his prehistoric forefathers.
The ancients were wise and thoughtful for those who were to come after them. They left indestructible records written on clay and stone. This wisdom is spoken of by Souchis priest of Sais to Solon the Greek, as recorded in Plutarch. These writings have been broken up and many of them lost. As they were universal among the ancients, scraps and fragments of them are found in all quarters of the earth. When put together they supplement one another to a great extent, so that by combining them we can make a beginning towards unraveling the wonders of the earth's First Great Civilization.
For over fifty years I have been hunting these scraps and putting them together so as to form the beginning of an intelligent tale of the Creation and Man.—It rests with those who come after me to complete the tale.
Relics that can be traced back as coming directly from Mu, the Motherland, are extremely rare.
During the past few years I have been singularly fortunate in finding two that are at least intimately connected with Mu. Both are symbolic figures in bronze. They were either made in the Motherland or in one of the ancient Uighur cities before the eastern half of that great empire was destroyed by the north running-wave of the last Magnetic Cataclysm which was the Biblical "Flood."
This wave destroyed all the country over which it ran, the people were drowned and the cities washed away or buried under the drift. The Uighur Capital City today lies under fifty feet of boulders, gravel and sand. It is situated in the Gobi Desert, which today has large areas of rock only, the soil and everything with it having been washed away by the "Flood."
I am using one of these relics as Plate I (see halftones between pages 158-9). It is, without question, one of the two oldest bronzes in existence. If Uighur, it is about 18,000 or 20,000 years old. If from Mu, the age cannot be estimated.
This figure is a symbol of Mu as the great ruler. The fineness of the workmanship is not to be found surpassed, and very seldom equaled in any of the prominent jewelry stores in our big cities today. Both symbols have been in America for about 150 years. I know their history, but the less said about it the better, since in the Oriental home from which they were taken, they were without question sacred relics.
The British Museum has three scepters which undoubtedly were manufactured in Mu before she went down.
In Mu,1 the Motherland, there were ten distinct tribes. Although they were physically easily differentiated, there were few variations in language, and these only of a minor character. A greater change is seen in their glyphs or writings.
1 Every letter in every word in the ancient language of Mu is pronounced. Mu is pronounced Moo; A is pronounced ah; U is pronounced oo as in moon; Ta is pronounced tah; Tau is pronounced ta-oo.
In the Motherland each of her people occupied its own territory; and, when various tribes took part in the colonization of a new country, they did not settle down indiscriminately, but each tribe took its own land and built its own cities as their fathers did in Mu.
They settled down adjoining each other and formed a homogeneous whole.
This original form of isolation grew with time so that the tribes eventually became separate peoples, and finally nations. And as the isolation became greater, changes in language crept in.
The Origin of Man
The Eastern Lines
Ancient North America
Stone Tablets From The Valley of Mexico
The Western Lines
The Great Uighur Empire
Intimate Hours With The Rishi
|Posted on December 9, 2020 at 8:45 AM||comments (0)|
HHS Public Access
Oxytocin for the treatment of drug and alcohol use disorders
Mary R. Lee and Elise M. Weerts
Additional article information
There is growing interest in the use of oxytocin (OT) as a potential treatment for alcohol and other substance use disorders. OT is a neuropeptide that modulates adaptive processes associated with addiction including reward, tolerance, associative learning, memory, and stress responses. OT exerts its effects via interactions with the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis, and multiple neurotransmitter systems including the dopamine mesolimbic reward and corticotrophin-releasing factor stress systems. Oxytocin effects on stress systems are of high interest given the strong link between stress, drug use and relapse, and known dysregulation of HPA-axis activity associated with substance use disorders. At the same time, the oxytocin system is itself altered by acute or chronic drug exposure. This review summarizes the preclinical and clinical literature on the oxytocin system, and its relevance to drug and alcohol addiction. In addition, findings from recent clinical trials conducted in participants with cocaine, cannabis or alcohol use disorder are included and evidence that oxytocin may help to normalize blunted stress responses, and attenuate withdrawal associated hypercortisolism, negative mood and withdrawal symptoms are summarized.
Keywords: Oxytocin, addiction, dependence, substance use disorder, alcoholism, treatment
Oxytocin (OT) is a 9 amino acid polypeptide hormone that acts via a specific receptor and is widely distributed in the central nervous system (CNS) and peripheral tissues (Gimpl and Fahrenholz 2001). OT is involved in the regulation and release of adenohypophyseal hormones including prolactin, adrenocorticotropin (ACTH), gonadotropins, and corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF). Initially, OT was thought to be primarily involved in sexual behaviors, female parturition and lactation. Subsequent research has determined that OT is also involved in emotional regulation, pain and stress, and modulates response to rewarding behaviors promoted by food, sex and drugs (Meyer-Lindenberg et al. 2011; Onaka et al. 2012). The co-modulation of both stress and motivational processes is believed to be due to the important role of OT to shift salience to social, affiliative processes, both by increasing the salience itself of rewarding stimuli and/or by reducing stress, allowing for attention to social bonding (Baskerville and Douglas 2010). This is obviously relevant to addiction, where salience of drug stimuli overshadows motivation for social affiliation, and where stress may trigger drug seeking and relapse (Sinha 2008). In the current review, we will focus on the role of the oxytocin system in drug and alcohol addiction and highlight key findings to date on the use of intranasal OT to treat substance use disorders.
Oxytocin and stress
The influence of OT to dampen stress responses is important. Neuroendocrine pathways that modulate the response to stress include three interconnecting circuits, the HPA axis, the adrenomedullary system, and the extra-hypothalamic CRF system. The HPA axis releases CRF from paraventricular neurons within the hypothalamus, stimulating the synthesis and release of adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) by the anterior pituitary, which in turn stimulates the synthesis and release of corticosteroids (CORT) (cortisol in human and nonhuman primates and corticosterone in rodents) via the adrenal cortex. The sympathetic adrenomedullary system, which releases norepinephrine and epinephrine, and CRF expression in the extra-hypothalamic brain regions including limbic regions, are key substrates involved in anxiety and other stress-related behaviors. Stress, defined as any stimulus that disrupts physiological homeostasis, triggers a cascade of adaptive responses involving any or all of these pathways to return the organism to homeostasis.
There is strong evidence from the preclinical literature that stress exposure is an important contributor to relapse. In rats and monkeys, acute stress enhances alcohol preference and reward (Funk et al. 2004), and increased alcohol intake is correlated with stress-induced increases in CORT levels (Fahlke et al. 2000; Fish et al. 2008). In addition, following repeated social stress exposure (e.g., defeat, low social rank, and maternal separation), rats and monkeys subsequently show greater alcohol intake when compared to non-stressed cohorts (Fahlke et al. 2000; Cruz et al. 2008; Fish et al. 2008). Current theories suggest that CORT release induced by stress augments drug reinforcement. Indeed, in rodents, CORT increases drug reward by increasing mesolimbic dopamine transmission (Piazza and Le Moal 1996), rats self-administer CORT itself at levels similar to those elicited by stress, and intracerebroventricular infusions of CORT enhance the reinforcing effects of alcohol (Fahlke et al. 1996).
Studies in laboratory animals have demonstrated that OT has marked anti-stress effects. When administered centrally, OT decreases stress-induced increases in CORT levels (Lang et al. 1983; Windle et al. 1997; Neumann et al. 2000) and reduces stress-induced behaviors in rodent models of anxiety and depression (Arletti and Bertolini 1987; Insel and Winslow 1991; Windle, et al. 1997; Neumann et al. 2000). At the same time, the endogenous OT system appears to be sensitive to stressors. In rats, exposure to acute stress increased OT levels in blood and in hypothalamic and extra-hypothalamic brain regions (Lang et al. 1983; Neumann et al. 1998; Ebner et al. 2000; Ondrejcakova et al. 2010) and increased OT mRNA levels (Jezova et al. 1995). Thus, OT appears to play a protective role in homeostatic regulation of stress responses, and OT administration may attenuate the effects of stress on drinking/drug use and relapse (Uhart and Wand 2009; Koob et al. 2014).
Investigations in human subjects are in line with the preclinical literature. When administered via the intranasal route, OT produces changes in measures of autonomic arousal and mood (MacDonald et al. 2011), increased positive communication during couples’ conflict discussions (Ditzen et al. 2009) and improved recognition and processing of positive facial expressions (Di Simplicio et al. 2009; Marsh et al. 2010; Lischke et al. 2012). The anti-stress effects of OT have been also been investigated using the Trier Social Stress Test, a well-validated laboratory procedure for induction of stress responses in human subjects (Foley and Kirschbaum 2010). This test, which includes components of public speaking component and oral mental arithmetic, produces a robust increase in CORT and self-reported psychological stress and these effects are attenuated by OT (Heinrichs et al. 2003; Quirin et al. 2011; Simeon et al. 2011; de Oliveira et al. 2012; Kubzansky et al. 2012). Consistent with an OT anti-stress hypothesis, a recent study that measured both OT and CORT after the TSST found that salivary OT levels increased immediately following social stress exposure, prior to increases in salivary CORT (Jong et al. 2015). Taken together, these data suggest that OT treatment may be useful to normalize the HPA-axis and reduce stress-related physiological and subjective responses (e.g., anxiety, craving) that increase drug and alcohol use and trigger relapse. ......
Indexed for NIH by Dragonfly Kingdom Library
|Posted on December 2, 2020 at 8:10 AM||comments (0)|
Marco's Clubhouse (The Podcast) 12/2/2020 -- Dragonfly Kingdom Library/Bright Star Apothecary/Underground Intelligence Music & Multimedia/Dragonfly Kingdom International Service Agency/Marco's Fitness Travel/Underground Intelligence Muscle & Fitness
Happy Holiday's from Marco's Clubhouse!
For segment 1 we have the World Premiere of Aero Yarrow one of my newest Meditative Soundscape Productions and for segment 2 we go a little bit upbeat with some Dance Music before closing out with your daily meditation topic for this week.
The hottest Dance Trance & R&B Classics from the 80's, 90's &early 2000's
Marco's Clubhouse with Yogi DJ & Producer Marco Andre - Dragonfly Kingdom International Service Agency/Dragonfly Kingdom Library.
Tune in free at https://anchor.fm/the-nature-yogi-dj-marco
Marco's Clubhouse is about Fun Fitness & Fashion! Here you'll find Marco's Original Productions & Mixes for Dance Gym & Outdoor Workouts, Meditation & Yoga. Become a monthly supporter to get personal advice & guidance. Marcus "DJ Marco" Andre is a Certified Counselor, Advisor & Crystal Healing Energy Medicine Practitioner with over 3 Continuing Education Certificates in Complimentary & Integrative Medicine from the National Institute of Health. Get your daily dose of topics to Meditate on, Marco's Clubhouse encourages practical Spirituality through Mindfulness & Heartfulness Yoga Meditation.
|Posted on November 29, 2020 at 3:15 PM||comments (0)|
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals negatively affect a wide range of systems throughout the human body and have consequences at every life stage, and clinicians should counsel patients to try to reduce their exposure, according to researchers.
In a series paper published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, Linda G. Kahn, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the department of pediatrics at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, and colleagues reviewed additions to the literature since the Endocrine Society published a 2015 review detailing associations between endocrine-disrupting chemicals, or EDCs, and adverse endocrine-related outcomes. New evidence suggests associations between exposure to perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, and child and adult obesity, impaired glucose tolerance, gestational diabetes, reduced birth weight, reduced semen quality, polycystic ovarian syndrome, endometriosis and breast cancer. PFAS are a large and expanding group of manmade compounds widely used to make everyday products more resistant to stains, grease and water, according to the NIH.
“In the past 5 years, numerous additional studies have been published, so we decided it was time to update the Endocrine Society findings and to expand them to include chemicals and health outcomes that they did not cover in their paper,” Kahn told Healio.
In the article, Kahn and colleagues wrote that there is growing evidence to suggest new adverse health effects of frequently used EDCs with a probability of causation, as well as stronger evidence of harm for many other EDCs previously identified by an expert panel commissioned by WHO and the United Nations Environment Programme.
The researchers identified PFAS in particular, which can be found in items such as nonstick cookware and waterproof clothing, as “chemicals of concern,” noting possible associations with obesity, endometriosis and PCOS, among other outcomes.
New findings suggest that PFAS, bisphenols and certain pesticides may damage semen, Kahn and colleagues wrote. In addition, the review identifies numerous new studies that link brain-related health concerns, such as IQ loss and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, to flame retardants and chemicals found in certain pesticides.
“The expanding evidence for these environmental contributors to non-communicable diseases suggests that synthetic chemicals are ignored or at least underappreciated as a focus of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals,” the researchers wrote. “Decreasing exposure to synthetic chemicals with endocrine-disrupting or other adverse properties is not identified as one of the Sustainable Development Goals, although the [goals] rightly emphasize air pollution and climate change as global priorities.”
The researchers noted that the new exposure-outcome pairings proposed in the paper have not been subject to systematic review methods and other methods to evaluate the strength of evidence and probability of causation, and that more research is needed.
‘Replacement chemicals’ questioned
Kahn said longitudinal studies that collect biosamples in which chemicals can be measured from conception or preconception through adulthood are necessary to understand the interaction between dose and timing on developmental and disease outcomes.
“Also, more studies need to be done on the newer replacement chemicals that are being substituted for chemicals that have been restricted,” Kahn said. “For example, evidence is accumulating that bisphenol S, a regrettable substitute that manufacturers have been using instead of bisphenol A in ‘BPA-free’ products, has some of the same adverse effects on metabolism and reproduction, including increased risk for diabetes and poor semen quality.”
As Healio previously reported, the NIH’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the Endocrine Society held a congressional briefing in November to highlight how PFAS may be associated with a range of adverse outcomes, including obesity, thyroid dysfunction and low bone mineral density. The two groups called on Congress to support efforts for increased research and collaboration between agencies.
For more information:
Linda G. Kahn, PhD, can be reached at the Department of Pediatrics, New York University Grossman School of Medicine, New York University, 403 E. 34th St., New York, NY 10016; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Posted on November 29, 2020 at 3:05 PM||comments (0)|
Have you ever perused the cosmetics aisle and noticed that some products say “paraben-free” and “phthalate-free” on their packaging? You know to mentally award these products some bonus points — but do you know what those claims actually mean?
Every day we come in contact with chemicals (including parabens and phthalates) that experts think, over time, could mess with how our body’s hormones function. These are called hormone- or endocrine-disrupting chemicals, or EDCs.
They’re in food packaging, household and personal care products, and even in the air that we breathe.
“They’re essentially everywhere,” says endocrinologist Shirisha Avadhanula, MD. “We’re consuming them, we’re putting them on our bodies, we’re being exposed to them, and most of the time we don’t even know it.”
If you just felt a twinge of anxiety, take heart — this doesn’t mean you need to throw away everything in your cabinets. But Dr. Avadhanula says that becoming aware of EDCs and paying more attention to the products you use is an excellent step to take.
“We should be really looking at the things that we’re buying and being conscious of the potentially disruptive substances that we’re not only putting in our bodies but on our bodies,” she says.
Hormones: The chemical messengers
The intricate endocrine system is made up of many glands throughout your body, including the pituitary gland, ovaries or testes, and thyroid. These glands secrete hormones that enter your circulatory system and bind with receptors in other parts of the body, signaling to your organs and tissues what to do and when to do it.
Hormones help regulate many bodily functions, including:
Growth and development.
Blood sugar control.
Metabolism and energy.
Appetite and weight control.
The term endocrine-disrupting chemical refers to a manmade chemical that can interfere with your body’s hormone functioning. There are hundreds of chemicals thought to have hormone-disrupting effects, but Dr. Avadhanula says the most widespread and well-studied ones fall into four categories:
Bisphenols, including bisphenol A (BPA): BPA is found in food and beverage packaging, adhesives and many other consumer products. It can leach into foods and beverages that we consume, or enter the body through the skin. Studies have shown that most people have at least some BPA in their body.
Phthalates: Phthalates are used to make plastics, or as dissolving agents for other materials. They’re found in packaging, medical tubing, detergents, automotive parts, cosmetics and many other products that we touch every day.
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs): These chemicals have been banned in the U.S. since the late 1970s but were widely used for decades prior to that in electrical equipment, paints, dyes, plastics and rubber products. They remain in the environment.
Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethanes (DDTs) and dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylenes (DDEs): These are also environmental pollutants. DDE is a breakdown product of DDT, which is banned in the U.S. but is still used in other countries as a pesticide.
Some of these chemicals disrupt the endocrine system by mimicking hormones and tricking our bodies. Others block hormones from doing their job.
“EDCs can disrupt a hormone’s pathway at any point — from its secretion from the gland, or its transport through the circulatory system, or its binding to a receptor,” Dr. Avadhanula explains. “You can imagine that exposure to these chemicals would cause disarray in your body.”
Because of the various ways they can work, they are thought to contribute to an array of health problems over time.
Studies have linked high levels of BPA, for example, with heart problems and a greater risk of hormone-related cancers, among other things. Exposure to phthalates has been associated with decreased sperm quality in adult men. PCBs are thought to be especially dangerous to the health and development of babies in the womb.
“There’s also a suggestion that exposure to EDCs can potentially play a role in the development of obesity and type 2 diabetes,” Dr. Avadhanula adds.
But studying the effects of these chemicals in humans is challenging for scientists. Much of experts’ current understanding is based on animal research or studies of trends in large populations.
“It’s very difficult to measure some of these chemicals in humans, and there aren’t biochemical tests for many of them,” Dr. Avadhanula explains. Plus, we’re exposed to many of these chemicals at once, so it’s hard to isolate their effects. It’s also likely that those effects develop over long periods of time.
We need more studies to better understand the risk to humans, she says.
What you can do
While scientists work to better understand how EDCs work, Dr. Avadhanula says the best thing concerned consumers can do is make more informed choices.
Here are some tips for minimizing your exposure:
Consider choosing products with BPA- and phthalate-free packaging.
Drink tap water that has been filtered.
Avoid microwaving plastics.
Avoid personal care products that list “fragrance” as an ingredient, as phthalates often hide in fragrances.
Choose products labeled “phthalate-free,” “paraben-free” or “BPA-free.”
Avoid unnecessary exposure to industrial chemicals and pesticides.
“We can’t underestimate the power of the single consumer,” Dr. Avadhanula says. “I’m happy that, as a society, we’re becoming a lot more cognizant of what we’re consuming, what we’re exposing our bodies to and the effects of our environment on our bodies.”
Indexed for Cleveland Clinic
|Posted on November 29, 2020 at 3:05 PM||comments (0)|
Yoga Practice for Reducing the Male Obesity and Weight Related Psychological Difficulties-A Randomized Controlled Trial
P.B. Rshikesan,corresponding author1 Pailoor Subramanya,2 and Ram Nidhi3
Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer
This article has been cited by other articles in PMC.
Obesity is a health disorder and increasing all over the world. It is also a cause for many non-communicable diseases. Yoga practice reduces the stress level which may improve the eating habits and help in weight reduction.
To assess the final outcome of the effects after 3 months of the 14 weeks yoga training on obesity of adult male in an urban setting.
Materials and Methods
This was a randomized controlled trial with parallel groups (Yoga and Control groups) on male obese. Total 80 subjects with Body Mass Index (BMI) between 25 to 35 kg/cm2 were enrolled and randomized into two equal groups in which 72 subjects (yoga n = 37 and control n=35) completed the trial. Yoga group mean age ± SD was 40.03±8.74 and Control group mean age±SD was 42.20±12.06. A 14 weeks special IAYT (Integrated Approach of Yoga Therapy) yoga training was given to the Yoga group and no specific activity was given to Control group. The interim results of this study at 14 weeks were covered in another article which is under process. After the 14 weeks of yoga training the Yoga group was asked to continue the yoga practice for the next 3 months and the Control group was not given any physical activity. The final outcome is covered in this paper.
The assessments were anthropometric parameters of body weight (Wt), BMI (Body Mass Index), MAC (Mid-upper Arm Circumferences of left and right arm), WC (Waist Circumference), HC (Hip Circumference), WHR (Waist Hip Ratio), SKF (Skin Fold Thickness) of biceps, triceps, sub scapular, suprailiac and cumulative skin fold thickness value), Percentage body fat based on SKF and Psychological questionnaires of PSS (Perceived Stress Scale) and AAQW (Acceptance and Action Questionnaire for Weight related difficulty). Assessments were taken after 3 months of yoga training, for both Yoga and Control groups. Within group, between group and correlation analyses were carried out using SPSS 21.
Improvement in anthropometric and psychological parameters such as Wt, Percentage body fat, PSS were observed in the final outcome. Also, some of the improvements such as AAQW score were lost in the final outcome, compared to interim results.
The yoga practice is effective for obesity control for adult male in an urban setting.
Keywords: Body mass index, Overweight, Perceived stress scale, Skin fold thickness, Waist circumference
Obesity is a condition of excessive fat accumulation and is a major risk factor for a number of chronic diseases. It is a health disorder and is growing in high income countries, as well as in low and middle income countries [1–3]. This health problem is increasing in cities like Mumbai in India and the causes are urbanization and life style changes, among other factors [4–6]. The previous studies showed that among the Asian Indians, the prevalence of obesity is high in male populations [7,8].
BMI (Body Mass Index) is considered as a measure of obesity. It was observed that for Asian Indians, BMI cut-off points are to be considered much lesser than the WHO standards for categorizing the obesity [9–12]. In our study, subjects with BMI of 25kg/m2 or above were considered as obese.
In general, obesity is caused by an unbalance in the energy intake and energy expenditure . The causes of obesity are not fully understood but it is a multi factorial disorder. The present options for controlling obesity are inadequate and have adverse effects [14–17]. Yoga is an ancient therapeutic practice based on Patanjali yoga sutras [18–20]. The Integrated Approach of Yoga Therapy (IAYT) consists of yogic practices based on ancient yoga texts and addresses the mind and body in a holistic way. The earlier studies showed that Yoga practice is useful for stress reduction, awareness on satiety, awareness on over eating and weight reduction . The long term effect of yoga after imparting the training is required to be assessed. The aim of this study was to assess the final outcome after 3 months, of obesity parameters, after giving 14 weeks of IAYT training, for adult male, in an urban setting.
Materials and Methods
The study was a parallel group study with Yoga and Control groups. After training 14 weeks the Yoga group continued practice of yoga, for the next 3 months. The Control group was not given any specific physical activity.
The participants were from north east part of Mumbai. Advertisement was done and total 80 subjects were enrolled based on inclusion criteria. After randomization with minimization of co-factors, 40 subjects were assigned in each group. The IAYT training was given to Yoga group for 14 weeks and assessments outcome were reported in an earlier paper . Further the study was continued and the final results were taken and the outcome is presented in this paper.
The trial profile is shown in [Table/Fig-1]. Open source software, titled MinmPy, was used for randomization with minimization of co factors . In the inclusion criteria, BMI was from 23 to 35 kg/m2, and age was from 18 to 60 years. All the participants were male. The subjects who had any surgery during previous six months were excluded. Each participant was given an alpha numeric code to remove all personal identities.
Indexed for NIH by Dragonfly Kingdom Library
|Posted on November 29, 2020 at 2:55 PM||comments (0)|
A new study has investigated oxytocin’s effects on the brain regions that help control eating behavior to explore the possibility of using this hormone as a treatment for obesity.
Oxytocin is a hormone that plays an essential role in social interaction, trust, anxiety, sexual reproduction, childbirth, and mother-infant bonding.
As such, people sometimes refer to it as the “love hormone.”
This hormone increases the contraction of the uterus during labor and stimulates milk production.
Most discussions about oxytocin focus on its role during childbirth, but it also affects other aspects of bodily functioning, including our relationship with food.
This hormone weakens the brain’s reward signals for food, and it affects our eating behavior and metabolism.
According to recent research, which the team presented on Monday at ENDO 2019, the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting in New Orleans, LA, oxytocin alters how people with obesity process images of high-calorie foods.
Obesity rates continue to rise
The worldwide prevalence of obesity has nearly tripled since 1975, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In 2016, almost 2 billion adults were overweight, more than 650 million of whom had obesity.
The WHO use body mass index (BMI) to define being overweight and having obesity in adults. BMI is a calculation that involves dividing the body mass of an individual by the square of their body height.
Overweight is a BMI higher than or equal to 25.
Obesity is a BMI higher than or equal to 30.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that obesity affected about 93.3 million adults in the United States in 2015–2016. Obesity has an association with a range of health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
Obesity also has a substantial economic impact. The CDC estimated that the annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was about $147 billion in 2008, and the average medical cost for people with obesity was $1,429 higher than it was for those of a healthy weight. ...... Indexed for Medical News Today https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324826#Obesity-rates-continue-to-rise
|Posted on November 29, 2020 at 2:35 PM||comments (0)|
What causes a hormonal belly?
Reducing belly fat
A variety of conditions can unbalance a person’s hormones. This disruption can lead to hormonal belly, which is excess weight gain around the stomach.
Sometimes, excess fat around the belly is due to hormones. Hormones help regulate many bodily functions, including metabolism, stress, hunger, and sex drive. If a person has a deficiency in certain hormones, it may result in weight gain around the abdomen, which is known as a hormonal belly.
In this article, we discuss the different causes of hormonal belly and treatment options.
Image credit: Jasmine Lin/Getty Images
The thyroid releases hormones that help to control metabolism, which is the way the body uses energy. As a result, these hormones affect each organ in the body.
Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, is a condition that occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones. When this happens, many of the body’s functions slow down.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), a common symptom of an underactive thyroid is weight gain, often around the abdomen.
The American Thyroid Association state that the weight gain may not necessarily be due to the build up of fat but may be due to the accumulation of salt and water.
A doctor can prescribe levothyroxine, which is a medication that mimics natural thyroid hormones.
A person can expect to lose less than 10% of body weight as most of the weight gain with hypothyroidism is the accumulation of salt and water.
However, once a person’s thyroid levels are in the typical range, their ability to gain and lose weight is the same as those without hypothyroidism.
A person can learn more about hypothyroidism here.
Cortisol helps the mind and body manage stress and plays a key role in the fight-or-flight response. When a person feels anxious or stressed, the body often goes into survival mode.
When this happens, the adrenal glands produce more cortisol, which triggers the body to store more fat. The body often redistributes this fat to the stomach, chest, and face.
However, according to the NIDDK, if the body continues to produce high levels of cortisol for an extended period, it can lead to more severe conditions, such as Cushing’s syndrome, heart conditions, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
Cushing’s syndrome can be very serious, and symptoms include:
fatty hump between a person’s shoulders
increase in fat around the base of a person’s neck
thin legs and arms
purple stretch marks along the abdomen, hips, under the arms, and breasts
Certain drugs, especially glucocorticoids, may cause Cushing’s. Pituitary tumors can also cause this disease.
Treatment depends on the cause. If a person has Cushing’s syndrome, treatment may include drug changes or surgery to remove a tumor.
However, if cortisol levels increase due to stress, a person can try some natural ways to reduce it.
Learn how to reduce cortisol levels naturally here.
The fat cells release a hormone called leptin. Leptin targets nerve cells in the brain, particularly the hypothalamus, and triggers a feeling of fullness.
According to an older study, the leptin levels in the body correlate to the amount of fat the body has stored. Higher leptin levels tell the brain that a person has stored enough fat, triggering the feeling of fullness after eating.
People with overweight tend to have lots of body fat in the cells and high levels of leptin. In theory, the brain should know that the body has stored enough energy.
However, if the signaling between leptin and the brain is not working, leptin resistance can occur.
Doctors do not fully understand what causes leptin resistance, though genetic mutations and changes in brain chemistry may play a role.
Some research suggests that inflammation may cause leptin resistance.
For this reason, doctors may recommend lifestyle interventions to reduce inflammation, such as exercise or eating an anti-inflammatory diet.
However, research on leptin resistance is relatively new, so no specific remedy offers certainty for treating this symptom.
Learn about other reasons for feeling hungry here.
Causes in males
Some causes of a hormonal belly in males are as follows:
Low testosterone levels
Testosterone is the most important male sex hormone, although females produce it too. Testosterone is the hormone that helps determine typical male characteristics, such as body and facial hair.
It also promotes muscle growth in both genders. According to the Urology Care Foundation, testosterone is a hormone that can decrease as males age. A deficiency can halt muscle growth and lead to weight gain.
One study found that 30% of men with obesity had low testosterone levels.
Testosterone deficiency can occur due to certain medical conditions, such as Noonan syndrome. It can also occur due to damage to or the removal of the testicles.
Other causes can include infection, autoimmune conditions, chemotherapy, and pituitary gland disease.
As well as weight gain, testosterone deficiency can cause the following symptoms:
body hair loss
reduced sex drive
loss of muscle mass
A doctor may prescribe testosterone supplements or recommend lifestyle changes, such as more exercise and a reduced-calorie diet.
Learn more about low testosterone levels here.
There are three types of estrogen in the body:
According to a 2016 article, in males, estradiol is essential in modulating the libido, the production of sperm, and erectile function.
Low levels of estrogen can cause low sexual desire and excess fat around the belly.
However, according to a 2018 article, high estrogen levels can cause weight gain in males under 60.
A doctor may recommend dietary and lifestyle changes, alongside medications.
Learn more about estrogen and weight gain
Causes in females
The following are causes of hormonal belly in females:
Polycystic ovary syndrome
According to the Office on Women’s Health (OWH), polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is common, affecting approximately 1 in 10 females of reproductive age.
According to the OWH, females with PCOS may have higher levels of androgens, or male hormones, and higher insulin levels, which is a hormone that affects how the body turns food into energy.
As a result, people may gain weight, particularly around the abdomen.
Other symptoms of PCOS include:
irregular menstrual cycle
thinning of the hair
darkening of the skin
Hormonal birth control methods may help treat PCOS in females who do not want to become pregnant.
Drugs such as metformin may ease insulin resistance.
Dietary changes, especially the elimination of foods that cause blood sugar spikes, can also help.
Learn more about PCOS, endometriosis, and weight gain here.
When a person enters menopause, estrogen levels drop.
According to one 2014 review article, reduced estrogen levels can increase abdominal fat in menopausal women.
A 2018 analysis suggests that hormone replacement therapy may help reduce belly fat.
A person can also exercise regularly and maintain a healthful diet.
Learn how to lose weight during menopause.
Period-related fluid retention
Some people retain fluid during their period. This can cause bloating, especially in the stomach, and temporary weight gain.
An older study of 765 menstrual cycles in 62 females found that they reported the most fluid retention on the first day of their periods, with fluid retention steadily declining each day after that.
The researchers did not find a correlation between fluid retention and hormone levels, suggesting something else might explain this phenomenon.
A person can try dietary and lifestyle changes to help reduce fluid retention and bloating during menstruation.
A person can learn more about ways to reduce period bloating here.
How to reduce belly fat
Reducing belly fat requires a person to treat the underlying cause.
A combination of diet and exercise may help symptoms.
A person can perform exercises that burn fat, such as running, walking, and other aerobic activity. Reducing the calories a person consumes can also help.
A person can learn more about how to reduce belly fat here.
A person may gain weight around the abdomen due to hormonal deficiencies and imbalances.
The conditions that cause hormonal belly weight may also cause other health problems.
Hormonal deficiencies may require treatment, so it is a good idea to see a doctor for a diagnosis.
Treatment may include hormone replacement therapy, medications, or lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise.
Indexed for Medical News Today by Dragonfly Kingdom Library
|Posted on November 25, 2020 at 11:10 AM||comments (0)|
|Posted on November 25, 2020 at 10:50 AM||comments (0)|
|Posted on November 7, 2020 at 9:25 AM||comments (0)|
Kamlesh D. Patel
Aug 28·5 min read
Back in 1971, Herbert Simon was anticipating the emergence of that precious human resource — attention. He said, “In an information-rich world, the wealth of information means a dearth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.”
On an average day, how much of your attention do you think you own? And what is hacking your attention? Attention hacking is now a commonly-used term to describe the business model of social media. Facebook’s market capitalization has reached over $500 billion dollars; Google’s market capitalization has reached over $800 billion dollars. The search for information has become one of our most valuable commodities, up there with staples like food and clothing, and in terms of capitalization, many times more valuable than petroleum.
If time management has traditionally been seen as the skill to have, today’s lifestyle has given pride of place to attention management. Marketing teams know this well — they have taken marketing to a whole new level with all sorts of attention-hacking practices. Everyone is vying for a piece of the pie. So it is worthwhile asking: What sustainable attention education is available? What are worthwhile sustainable attention practices? And what sustainable attention policies exist that are conducive to our individual and collective well-being?
The unfocused mind leads to Unhappiness
Let’s explore the findings of some scientific research on this topic. Matthew Killingsworth has been conducting an ongoing experiment at Harvard University using a mobile application to measure the quality of attention of people. The app contacts participants at random moments during their waking hours, asking them to report in real-time the status of their thoughts, feelings, and actions during their daily activities. The database currently contains nearly a quarter of a million samples from about 5,000 people from 83 different countries, who range in age from 18 to 88, and who collectively represent every one of the 86 major occupational categories.
Killingsworth found out that mind wandering occurred on average 47% of the time, and that people were less happy when their minds were wandering than when they were not. It is not only that unhappiness makes us unfocused, but also that a lack of focus leads to unhappiness.
What does this mean for each one of us? Do we spend our attention capital the way we want, in a sustainable and fulfilling fashion, or are we at the mercy of outside influences? And most importantly, how can we change the status quo so that we reclaim our attention?
Reclaiming your attention
Actually, the methods and practices are already there. They have been there for thousands of years, but in the last century, they have become accessible to everyone in the world over. These methods are the ancient practices for the mind, which are usually called meditation or Raja Yoga. The purpose of these methods is to withdraw thoughts from all sides and orient them towards the source of all existence so that the power from that source starts flowing into the person meditating. Through these meditative practices, attention is very simply reclaimed.
What is the first step in this process? It is to bring our attention inwards towards the cherished goal — this we know as Pratyahara in Yoga. Then we learn to regulate thoughts, by distilling the essence of thinking from scattered, chaotic multi-directional thinking to single-pointed thinking, in an effortless way. We reduce the constant background chatter of the mind. That in itself is a wonderful skill, but it is also not yet meditation, only the prelude to meditation that we know as Dharana in Yoga.
The effortless focus of our thinking then needs to be given a direction — meditation on our chosen object of attention. In Heartfulness Meditation, attention is directed gently towards the infinite center of our being, the divine light in the heart. In the process, as we dive inwards, we first connect with the intuitive world of feeling. This, in turn, helps us to dive deeper still, so that we experience inner being. And eventually, inner identity dissolves so that there is a state of oneness with everyone and everything. We access universal states of consciousness and go beyond consciousness. Through this journey, we start to understand the real purpose of human life. And it is all made possible by simple meditation on the heart, supported by yogic Transmission, which helps to uncover our human potential and birthright. As we start imbibing this yogic Transmission, we start resonating with the source of the Transmission. This in turn triggers the ripple effect of spreading wherever there is receptivity.
As a result, the mind becomes a useful instrument for everyday living. We reclaim our attention. And, let’s face it; attention is what is constantly being hacked in our digital age. Managing attention has become more vital than managing time. So regaining mastery over attention through meditation is a great gift.
But having focused attention, concentration, and a super mind do not in themselves make us happy and fulfilled. It is when we bring the heart into the picture that we really uncover the key to human existence. Giving due attention to feelings, aspirations, and potential, through the heart, provides us with the inner anchor to spend our attention on purposeful and needed information. There is a shift in paradigm, from randomly taking in whatever is on offer in our environment, to consciously nurturing a very precious resource: heartful attention. We learn to listen to the heart, use intuitive intelligence, make wise decisions, and find clarity and purpose in life.
CREATING MENTAL WELL-BEING FOR EVERYONE
Human beings have a very wonderful characteristic when it comes to observing and looking after our health. When nothing is wrong we remain carefree and oblivious to our bodily health, because our body does not give us any signals, but when something is wrong the body definitely gives us signs.
For example, if our breathing is healthy and normal, we are not even aware that we are breathing, but if we have a cold or bronchitis we will be very much aware of our breathing. The same is true with our mental well-being: when everything is healthy, we are not in the least aware of our mental processes. We feel balanced and content within. In contrast, when things are out of balance, our heart gives us a clear warning that something is wrong. …
Read more · ...... https://kamlesh-patel.medium.com/reclaim-your-attention-7ab2127acc0c