Math Ability Requires Crosstalk in the Brain

A new study by researchers at UT Dallas’ Center for Vital Longevity, Duke University, and the University of Michigan has found Continue reading

Neck Strength Training: How It Can Help

The cervical spine, located in the neck, is subject to many of the same problems that plague the lower back — muscle strains and spasms, disk degeneration and denervation, and spinal stenosis. About 10 to 15 percent of people experience neck pain at any given time. Most neck pain is short lived and gets better on its own or with simple self-care measures. But sometimes neck pain is a red flag for a more serious problem.

Now a study reported in Health and Quality of Life Outcomes (Volume 8, page 48) suggests that strength training may help to improve the quality of life in women suffering with persistent neck pain.

Researchers randomly assigned 180 women with chronic neck pain to take part in either a strength-training program three times a week for one year, an endurance-training program Continue reading

Cordyceps Improves Strength and Endurance

A fungus that overtakes the body of the worm it grows on, Cordyceps is a traditional Chinese health remedy that improves strength and endurance. At around $3,000 for a small box of the fungus, you’ll be doing your heart a favor too, said Chris Kilham, the Medicine Hunter.

“It imparts energy and makes you very strong,” Kilham said. “Athletes who use this have increased oxygen to their cells, and increased output from the heart.”

But for those who can’t stomach the energy-boosting fungus in its raw form, it also comes in capsule and tablet form and can be found at nutrition stores for a fraction of the price.

Nanoscale Whiskers from Sea Creatures Could Grow Human Muscle Tissue

Minute whiskers of nanoscale dimensions taken from sea creatures could hold the key to creating working human muscle tissue, University of Manchester researchers have discovered.

Scientists have found that cellulose from tunicates, commonly known as sea squirts, can influence the behaviour of skeletal muscle cells in the laboratory.

These nanostructures are several thousand times smaller than muscle cells and are the smallest physical feature found to cause cell alignment.

Alignment is important since a lot of tissue in the body,  Continue reading

Virtual Desktop Program Helps Connect the Autism Spectrum

Andrew Gajkowski, 17, is living with autism. The disorder impacts every aspect of the bright Phoenix teenager’s life and affects how Andrew interacts with the world and how the world interacts with Andrew. Autism Spectrum Disorder affects one in every 110 American children under the age of eight. While great strides have been made in the treatment and teaching options for those living with autism, there are still many gaps.

Andrew fell into one of those gaps.

At school, Andrew performed well academically, but his social skills and difficulty with sensory input made the classroom a difficult place for him to learn. Andrew and his parents met with a variety of school administrators and health care providers to address his challenges at school, but were unsuccessful in identifying a workable solution.

“There are a lack of programs to support highly functioning autistic students in the school system,” said Sandi Sybrant, Andrew’s mother, whose search for treatment options for Andrew led to Touchstone Behavioral Health, a Phoenix-based treatment center that specializes in working with children. “We were fortunate to have the team at Touchstone’s Family-Centered Autism Program evaluate Andrew, identify where he was on the autism spectrum, and reach him by building trust and providing a safe place to learn social skills.”

Early in his program, the Touchstone team identified Andrew’s aptitude and passion for Information Technology. To further his development, the Touchstone team had Andrew start working with Steve Porter, Chief Information Officer at Touchstone Behavioral Health. Porter had worked with many people like Andrew and was constantly exploring new and different ways to overcome some of the barriers to successful treatment.

“We’ve been looking for ways to integrate virtual desktop technology into some of our autism programs for a couple of years now,” said Porter. “With Virtuon’s most recent refinements, the vPresence virtual desktop gives Andrew and me the freedom to work safely and securely on his social and computer skills without being locked in a computer lab.”

Remote access to specialized autism treatment tools allows therapists and patients like Andrew to continue developing real-world life skills outside of traditional clinical environments. In Andrew’s specific case, his natural interest in computers allows Steve to use technology to expand Andrew’s social skills in an environment where he can thrive. The result is that Andrew is more outgoing with an expanded social skill set, and while he lives with the disorder, autism no longer challenges his ability to interact in the real world to the same extent.

“Virtuon’s vPresence was designed to have a positive impact in people’s lives, and this natural autism treatment link is part of its continued evolution,” said Forrest Blair, CEO of Virtuon. “Seeing the role our virtual desktop technology has played in helping Andrew overcome the challenges he has faced his entire life is truly encouraging, and we’re happy to be a part of his success.”

Beyond his autism treatment, Virtuon’s vPresence has allowed Andrew to set and reach other life goals, including challenging an IT certification exam as he pursues a career in the IT world and enrolling in Northern Arizona University’s Bachelor of Science in Technology Management program. Further to that, Andrew is now working with Steve to mentor other children with autism as they integrate vPresence into their treatment.

“This virtual desktop has helped me to find my place in the world,” said Andrew. “When I’m working on IT, I’m powerful in my own world, and that’s what’s missing for a lot of (autistic) kids.”

Introducing – Maca

Other names: Lepidium meyenii, Peruvian ginseng

Maca is a plant with a radish-like root that is used as a food and for medicinal purposes.

Although maca is unrelated to the ginseng family, it has been dubbed “Peruvian ginseng” because it is used as a folk remedy to increase stamina, energy, and sexual function.

Why Do People Use Maca?

According to folklore, ancient Incan warriors took maca before going off to battle to make them physically strong. However, they were later prohibited from taking it, in order to protect conquered women from their heightened libidos.

One study looked at the effect of 4 months treatment with maca tablets on semen quality in nine adult men. Treatment with maca resulted in increased seminal volume, sperm count, and sperm motility.

A 12-week randomized controlled trial looked at 1,500 mg maca, 3,000 mg maca, or placebo. After 8 weeks, there was an improvement in sexual desire in the men taking maca.

Maca does not appear to affect hormone levels. Serum testosterone and estradiol levels were not different in men treated with maca compared to those who took the placebo. Other studies have found no effect on luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, prolactin, and 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone.

Safety

No side effects or hazards have been reported and are unknown.

Drug Interactions

No potential interactions have been reported.