Monthly Archives: February 2017

Benefits of Water

Did you know that your body weight is approximately 60 percent water? Your body uses water in all its cells, organs, and tissues to help regulate its temperature and maintain other bodily functions. Because your body loses water through breathing, sweating, and digestion, it’s important to rehydrate by drinking fluids and eating foods that contain water. The amount of water you need depends on a variety of factors, including the climate you live in, how physically active you are, and whether you’re experiencing an illness or have any other health problems.

Water does more than just quench your thirst and regulate your body’s temperature; it also keeps the tissues in your body moist. You know how it feels when your eyes, nose, or mouth gets dry? Keeping your body hydrated helps it retain optimum levels of moisture in these sensitive areas, as well as in the blood, bones, and the brain. In addition, water helps protect the spinal cord, and it acts as a lubricant and cushion for your joints.

Digestion starts with saliva, the basis of which is water. Digestion relies on enzymes that are found in saliva to help break down food and liquid and to dissolve minerals and other nutrients. Proper digestion makes minerals and nutrients more accessible to the body. Water is also necessary to help you digest soluble fiber. With the help of water, this fiber dissolves easily and benefits your bowel health by making well-formed, soft stools that are easy to pass.

Your body loses fluids when you engage in vigorous exercise, sweat in high heat, or come down with a fever or contract an illness that causes vomiting or diarrhea. If you’re losing fluids for any of these reasons, it’s important to increase your fluid intake so that you can restore your body’s natural hydration levels. Your doctor may also recommend that you drink more fluids to help treat other health conditions, like bladder infections and urinary tract stones. If you’re pregnant or nursing, you may want to consult with your physician about your fluid intake because your body will be using more fluids than usual, especially if you’re breastfeeding.

There’s no hard and fast rule, and many individuals meet their daily hydration needs by simply drinking water when they’re thirsty, according to a report on nutrient recommendations from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. In fact, most people who are in good physical health get enough fluids by drinking water and other beverages when they’re thirsty, and also by drinking a beverage with each of their meals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you’re not sure about your hydration level, look at your urine. If it’s clear, you’re in good shape. If it’s dark, you’re probably dehydrated.

10 big benefit of waters:

  1. Step into liquidWhether you want shinier hair, younger skin, a healthier body
    (or all three!), pure, clear water is the world’s best beauty elixir.
  2. Add shineFor years, hairdressers have been saying a cool-water rinse leaves hair glossier. Is it true? Yes! The chilly temp constricts the cuticle layer of your hair so it lies flatter; making strands smoother and more reflective.
  3. Cleanse and conditionToo much seawater can dry out your locks, but oceans are good for something—their nutrient-rich waters support marine botanicals (like sea kelp) that can cleanse, repair, and detangle strands. Try this nourishing combo:Depth Refresh Daily Shampoo  cleanses without drying, thanks to hydrating sea lettuce and red algae extract in a purified-water base.

    Rusk Deepshine Sea Kelp Conditioner  is packed with marine extracts, such as sea kelp, that strengthen and add shine. Plus, UVB absorbers help shield your hair from the sun’s damaging rays.

  4. Tame tressesSoft shower water leaves hair more manageable because there are few mineral salts (pesky molecules that can make strands rough and prone to tangles). If you have hard water (find out here), install a water-softening shower filter. It can stop your color from fading, too.
  5. Prevent damageYou probably know from firsthand experience that chlorinated or salty water can turn healthy hair into a frizzy mess. But the fix is easier than you think. “Just rinse your hair in the shower or under a hose before swimming,” says Laini Reeves, owner and creative director of Essensuals London, a salon in Los Angeles. “The strands will absorb their fill of clean water, so they won’t be able to soak up as much of the damaging water.” After your dip, coat hair with conditioner for extra protection from the sun.
  6. Make wavesEver heard of setting lotions, those old-fashioned solutions that help hair hold a curl? Well, water is truly the most natural setting lotion available. Each of your strands is made up of hydrogen bonds that separate when hair is wet, according to Jeni Thomas, PhD, a Pantene senior scientist. If you manipulate hair’s texture while wet, “the hydrogen bonds reform as it dries, holding the new shape.” Here’s how to use that little bit of chemistry to your advantage: Mist hair with water, separate it into four sections, twist each into a small bun, and secure with a pin. Blow-dry (or air-dry), then unravel for soft waves.
  7. Create a lasting styleConditioners contain ingredients like dimethicone and plant oils that smooth and detangle your strands. But that nice slippery feeling they leave behind can actually make your hair harder to style. Reeves says you can fix this problem by misting on a water-based primer, like Shu Uemura Art of Hair Depsea Moisture Foundation, after detangling but before applying styling products. “It absorbs some of the oil and rebalances the moisture level of your hair so the style you create will hold longer,” she explains.
  8. Brighten eyesA cold compress helps reduce under-eye inflammation, but you can get a similar effect with H2O. “As water evaporates from skin, the surface becomes cooler,” cosmetic chemist Ni’Kita Wilson explains, so asplash of water can de-puff temporarily.
  9. Firm your skinFor centuries, people in eastern Europe have gone to bathhouses for water therapy to detoxify and tighten their skin. The process—which involves a steam-room session to open pores, followed by a cold-pool plunge to shock skin—is easy to replicate at home, according to Eva Scrivo, a New York City-based beauty expert and host of Beauty Talk on Sirius Satellite Radio.
  10. Smooth linesWrinkles are less noticeable when skin cells are well-hydrated, according to Howard Murad, MD, author of The Water Secret: The Cellular Breakthrough to Look and Feel 10 Years Younger. He suggests using a moisturizer with humectants, which help attract water to skin cells.

Healthy Diet

A healthy diet is one that helps to maintain or improve overall health.

A healthy diet provides the body with essential nutrition: fluid, adequate essential amino acids from protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and adequate calories. The requirements for a healthy diet can be met from a variety of plant-based and animal-based foods. A healthy diet supports energy needs and provides for human nutrition without exposure to toxicity or excessive weight gain from consuming excessive amounts. Where lack of calories is not an issue, a properly balanced diet (in addition to exercise) is also thought to be important for lowering health risks, such as obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cancer.

Various nutrition guides are published by medical and governmental institutions to educate the public on what they should be eating to promote health. Nutrition facts labels are also mandatory in some countries to allow consumers to choose between foods based on the components relevant to health.

For specific conditions

In addition to dietary recommendations for the general population, there are many specific diets that have primarily been developed to promote better health in specific population groups, such as people with high blood pressure (as in low sodium diets or the more specific DASH diet), or people who are overweight or obese (in weight control diets). However, some of them may have more or less evidence for beneficial effects in normal people as well.

  • Hypertension

A low sodium diet is beneficial for people with high blood pressure. A Cochrane review published in 2008 concluded that a long term (more than 4 weeks) low sodium diet has a useful effect to reduce blood pressure, both in people with hypertension and in people with normal blood pressure.

The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is a diet promoted by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (part of the NIH, a United States government organization) to control hypertension. A major feature of the plan is limiting intake of sodium, and it also generally encourages the consumption of nuts, whole grains, fish, poultry, fruits and vegetables while lowering the consumption of red meats, sweets, and sugar. It is also “rich in potassium, magnesium, and calcium, as well as protein”.

  • Obesity

Weight control diets aim to maintain a controlled weight. In most cases dieting is used in combination with physical exercise to lose weight in those who are overweight or obese.

Diets to promote weight loss are divided into four categories: low-fat, low-carbohydrate, low-calorie, and very low calorie. A meta-analysis of six randomized controlled trials found no difference between the main diet types (low calorie, low carbohydrate, and low fat), with a 2–4 kilogram weight loss in all studies. At two years, all calorie-reduced diet types cause equal weight loss irrespective of the macronutrients emphasized.

The best source of meal planning for most Americans is the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Food Pyramid. The pyramid, updated in 2005, suggests that for a healthy diet each day you should eat:

  • 6 to 8 servings of grains. These include bread, cereal, rice, and pasta, and at least 3 servings should be from whole grains. A serving of bread is one slice while a serving of cereal is 1/2 (cooked) to 1 cup (ready-to-eat). A serving of rice or pasta is 1/2 cup cooked (1 ounce dry). Save fat-laden baked goods such as croissants, muffins, and donuts for an occasional treat.
  • 2 to 4 servings of fruits and 4 to 6 servings of vegetables. Most fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat, making them a great addition to your healthy diet. Fruits and vegetables also provide the fiber, vitamins, and minerals you need for your body’s systems to function at peak performance. Fruits and vegetables also will add flavor to a healthy diet. It’s best to serve them fresh, steamed, or cut up in salads. Be sure to skip the calorie-laden toppings, butter, and mayonnaise, except on occasion. A serving of raw or cooked vegetables is equal to 1/2 cup (1 cup for leafy greens); a serving of a fruit is 1/2 cup or a fresh fruit the size of a tennis ball.
  • 2 to 3 servings of milk, yogurt, and cheese. Choose dairy products wisely. Go for fat-free or reduced-fat milk or cheeses. Substitute yogurt for sour cream in many recipes and no one will notice the difference. A serving of dairy is equal to 1 cup of milk or yogurt or 1.5 to 2 ounces of cheese.
  • 2 to 3 servings of meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, and nuts. For a healthy diet, the best ways to prepare beef, pork, veal, lamb, poultry, and fish is to bake or broil them. Look for the words “loin” or “round” in cuts of meats because they’re the leanest. Remove all visible fat or skin before cooking, and season with herbs, spices, and fat-free marinades. A serving of meat, fish, or poultry is 2 to 3 ounces. Some crossover foods such as dried beans, lentils, and peanut butter can provide protein without the animal fat and cholesterol you get from meats. A ¼ cup cooked beans or 1 tablespoon of peanut butter is equal to 1 ounce of lean meat.
  • Use fats, oils, and sweets sparingly. No diet should totally eliminate any one food group, even fats, oils, and sweets. It’s fine to include them in your diet as long as it’s on occasion and in moderation, Bickston says.

How do carcinogens cause cancer?

News articles over the past few years have implicated everything from sunlight’s ultraviolet radiation to burnt toast as potential carcinogens, or cancer-causing substances. So, should you be rushing to cut these everyday exposures out of your life? Well, it depends on the material you are talking about, and how much and how often you are in contact with it.

The first steps in the transformation of a normal cell into a cancerous cell happen at the level of the DNA, a remarkably complex foundation for our normal functions; in three billion individual nucleotides (the alphabet of DNA’s code), it encodes all the instructions required for any cell to survive.

But as cells divide and pass down their DNA, these instructions have to be re-copied each time. It’s pretty hard to make perfect copies each time (just try typing out War and Peace without making any typos.) With billions of new cells produced in an individual each day, there are a lot of opportunities for error. And when those mistakes happen in the parts of the genome that code instructions for processes like cell replication, you can end up with a cell that grows abnormally quickly.

However, when it comes down to it, many carcinogens do pose a real risk. Take smoking, for example. The most important thing you can do to decrease your risk of cancer is to quit smoking, says Susan Gapstur, vice president of the Epidemiology Research Program at the American Cancer Society. That advice is based on years of correlational studies that found increased rates of lung cancer in people who also smoked cigarettes as well as studies looking at the effects that the chemicals in cigarettes can have on cells’ DNA.

This disparity is a root cause of much of the confusion around carcinogens, some experts say. Despite what it might seem like, not everything causes cancer, says Jakob Jensen, associate dean and professor of communications at the University of Utah. From his work in cancer communications, Jensen has found that the widespread conception that carcinogens are everywhere makes people feel like it’s out of their control and that there’s nothing they can do to decrease their risk of developing cancer. But that’s not true.

Exposures to these “agents of evil” can cause some wacky changes to our cells that lead to cancer. For example, some carcinogens can directly cause genetic mutations that foster abnormal cell growth and tumors. Others don’t attack our genes directly, but trick our cells into cell division overdrive. That excess division then leads to potential genetic mutations down the road.

Does this mean that any exposure to a known carcinogen will cause you to develop cancer? The candid answer is, “It depends.” For one, our genes are under continual attack by genetic mutations, but our DNA usually does a stellar job of repairing itself. That said, though, that “repairman” skill isn’t equal among all of us. Some of us do a better job of repairing our genes than others, which means that some people are more naturally susceptible to the negative effects of a carcinogen. Furthermore, a carcinogen’s link to cancer can depend on:

  • Age and gender
  • Potency: Some carcinogens require pretty heavy exposure to be dangerous, while others are linked to cancer with just a brief exposure.
  • Exposure type: For example, were you exposed to a carcinogen one time or continually over a period of years?

A glance at the list of carcinogens might initially overwhelm you and as just one individual, you will never need to worry about all of them. Ever heard of 1,2-Dichloropropane? It’s a byproduct of making dry cleaning chemicals, so unless you work in the chemical manufacturing industry, you probably don’t have to worry about it. Many of the items listed are used in manufacturing, and some are more dangerous than the items they turn into (for example, vinyl chloride can cause liver cancer, but is safe once it is turned into solid PVC pipes, found in many homes). A number of them are actually drugs, some of which actually treat cancer itself.

Glioblastoma

Glioblastoma, also known as glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), is the most aggressive cancer that begins within the brain. Initially, signs and symptoms of glioblastoma are non-specific. They may include headaches, personality changes, nausea, and symptoms similar to those of a stroke. Worsening of symptoms often is rapid. This may progress to unconsciousness.

The cause of most cases is unclear. Uncommon risk factors include genetic disorders such as neurofibromatosis and Li–Fraumeni syndrome and, previous radiation therapy. Glioblastomas represent 15% of brain tumors. They can either start from normal brain cells or develop from an existing low-grade astrocytoma. The diagnosis typically is made by a combination of CT scan, MRI scan, and tissue biopsy.

There is no clear way to prevent the disease. Typically, treatment involves surgery, after which chemotherapy and radiation therapy are used. The medication temozolomide is used frequently as part of chemotherapy. High dose steroids may be used to help reduce swelling and decrease symptoms. It is unclear whether trying to remove all or simply most of the cancer, is better.

Despite maximum treatment, the cancer usually recurs. The most common length of survival following diagnosis is 12 to 15 months, with fewer than 3% to 5% of people surviving longer than five years. Without treatment, survival is typically three months. It is the most common cancer that begins within the brain and the second most common brain tumor, after meningioma. About 3 per 100,000 people develop the disease a year. It most often begins around 64 years of age and occurs more commonly in males than females. Immunotherapy is being studied in glioblastoma with promising results.

Senator John McCain’s diagnosis of a particularly aggressive brain cancer, glioblastoma (GBM), became public knowledge. But what exactly is this type of cancer, and what does it mean for the senator and other patients? A report by Roche estimates that there are around 240,000 cases of brain and nervous system tumors diagnosed worldwide per year, with GBM being the most common and the most lethal. Even in recent American history, it has claimed the lives of both Senator Edward Kennedy and Beau Biden, son of former Vice President Joe Biden.

GBM is a very aggressive form, or a Grade IV, type of brain tumor called an astrocytoma. It’s a type of glioma, a brain tumor that begin in the glial cells that surround and support neurons. Those can include anything from general neurologic symptoms, like headaches or seizures, to symptoms that stem from specific areas of the brain, like speech difficulty, weakness on one side of the body, or double vision.

O’Brien estimates that there are around 2 or 3 cases of GBM for every 100,000 people in America. It is the most common form of primary brain tumor (a cancer that begins in brain tissue) and in most cases it does not spread to any part of the body. There aren’t really any known risk factors, except for that it’s mostly found in people in their fifties, sixties, and older, and it’s slightly more common in men. Very rarely, it can be seen hereditarily in people with certain genetic syndromes such as neurofibromatosis type 1, Turcot syndrome, and Li Fraumeni syndrome.

GBM is typically diagnosed through brain imagery and then surgery. O’Brien says that if a patient experiences symptoms of a brain tumor, it’s necessary to see a physician to get the ball rolling on diagnosis through imaging. “If the brain imaging, such as an MRI, does show or is suspicious for glioblastoma, the next step is for surgery,” she says. “After the surgeon removes the tumor tissue, a pathologist evaluates it and confirms the diagnosis for glioblastoma.”

Treatment includes removing as much of the tumor as possible, and then beginning radiation and chemotherapy. As of right now, O’Brien says, there is no definitive cure for this type of tumor. So doctors focus on maintaining the patient’s quality of life by keeping the mass from growing. O’Brien says that the term remission isn’t used for GBM, and that the average survival rate post-diagnosis is less than two years. However, a 2009 study showed that around 11 percent of the subjects treated with radiotherapy along with temozolomide survived for five years.

With more research, perhaps. O’Brien says that there are a variety of other potential solutions being explored, like vaccines, viruses, and therapies called checkpoint inhibitors.