What is Your Dog Thinking? Brain Scans Unleash Canine Secrets

Callie wears ear protection as she prepares to enter the scanner. The research team includes, from left, Andrew Brooks, Gregory Berns and Mark Spivak. Photo by Bryan Meltz.

When your dog gazes up at you adoringly, what does it see? A best friend? A pack leader? A can opener? Continue reading

Use the Magic of Why to Get at the Root of your Health Issues

To many adults, that fact that young children insatiably ask, “Why?” over and over again can be maddening. But if you try that open-ended questioning technique on yourself to discover the roots of your health problems, you might be shocked at what you find. And a path to better health may open up before you.

Many children ask, “why?” again and again and again until the routine grows annoying. But children are still in their inherent genius stage and have not yet learned to inhibit their curiosity. So when a child incessantly asks, “Why?” he is authentically seeking to understand the deep root reason for things and the relationships that exist between the various causes and effects in a chain of circumstances.

Embracing the Why Continue reading

Have A Nice Day/Week/Month/Year/Life!

Have you ever been so depressed that you could not concentrate at work, were short and irritable with people close to you, had no energy or just couldn’t care about anything?  Then your depression is taking too large a toll and there are things you can do and skills you can develop.

True depression is a clinical state and may need serious, even medical, attention.  The interesting truth is that when most people say, “I’m depressed,” what they are really saying is “I’m disappointed.”  It’s easy to point at a situation or person as the culprit; but most often, we are actually disappointed with decisions we have made, in what we’ve done, what we haven’t done, what we’ve said or haven’t said, or with whom we’ve chosen to align ourselves.  We are disappointed by choices we have made.

People who have a Positive Mental Attitude rarely get “down.”  Continue reading

Light, Photosynthesis Harmful to Fresh Produce

TEL-AVIV –  A study conducted by Israeli researchers suggests that exposure to light, and possibly photosynthesis, may help disease-causing bacteria to invade fresh produce, making them impervious to washing.

According to background information in a report published in journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology, past studies have already shown that salmonella enterica attaches to the surface of fresh produce, and finds its way below the surface of the skin through pores called stomata, where it can hide from and resist washing and food sanitizers.

In the new study, researchers from the Agricultural Research Organization at the Volcani Center in Israel and Tel-Aviv University examined the role that light and photosynthesis might play on the ability of salmonella bacteria to infiltrate lettuce leaves via stomata.

They exposed sterile iceberg lettuce leaves to bacteria either in the light, in the dark, or in the dark after 30 minutes of exposure to light.

Incubation in the light or pre-exposure to light resulted in aggregation of bacteria around open stomata and invasion into the inner leaf tissue.

Incubation in the dark, on the other hand, resulted in a scattered attachment pattern and very little internalization.

According to the researchers, the increased propensity for internalization in the light may be due to several factors.

First, they say, in the absence of light plants enter a period of dormancy, where stomata are closed and no photosynthesis takes place. In the light, the stomata are open.

Additional findings also suggest that the bacteria are attracted to the open stomata by the nutrients produced during photosynthesis, which are not present in the dark.

“The elucidation of the mechanism by which Salmonella invades intact leaves has important implications for both pre- and postharvest handling of lettuce and probably other leafy vegetables. The capacity to inhibit internalization should limit bacterial colonization to the phylloplane and consequently might enhance the effectiveness of surface sanitizers,” say the researchers.

Frequent Nasal Irrigation May Increase Infections

NEW YORK – New evidence suggests that daily nasal irrigation may increase the risk of sinus infections.

Nasal irrigation with warm saline has been promoted as way to cleanse the sinuses and help prevent infections. However, using this therapy too often may not be beneficial.

The latest study, presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology (ACAAI) annual meeting, included 68 adults who used nasal irrigation frequently for one year and then stopped therapy for one year. The patients were compared to 24 control patients who did not discontinue nasal irrigation.

The researchers found that number of sinus infections decreased by 62.5 percent after the participants stopped using nasal irrigation. Additionally, after stopping nasal irrigation, they were 50 percent less likely to develop sinus infections than those who continued with daily therapy.

Mucus in the nose contains important immune system molecules that help the body fight against infections. Because nasal irrigation eliminates this mucus, the authors suspect that it may lead to an increased risk of infection.

Trouble Thinking? Better See the Dentist

NEW YORK – A new study hints that good oral care – regular brushing and flossing and trips to the dentist — may help aging adults keep their thinking skills intact.

In a study, researchers found that adults aged 60 and older with the highest versus the lowest levels of the gum disease-causing pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis were three times more likely to have trouble recalling a three-word sequence after a period of time.

Dr. James M. Noble of Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City and colleagues also found that adults with the highest levels of this pathogen were two times more likely to fail three-digit reverse subtraction tests.

The findings, reported in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry this month, are based on more than 2300 men and women who were tested for periodontitis and completed numerous thinking skills tests as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III conducted between 1991 and 1994.

Overall 5.7 percent of the adults had trouble completing certain memory tasks and 6.5 percent failed reverse subtraction tests. Participants with the highest (greater than 119 units) versus the lowest (57 units or lower) pathogen levels were most likely to do poorly in these tests.

Research has already established a strong association between poor oral health and heart disease, stroke and diabetes, as well as Alzheimer’s disease. Gum disease could influence brain function through several mechanisms, the researchers note; for example, gum disease can cause inflammation throughout the body, a risk factor for loss of mental function.

In a related commentary, Dr. Robert Stewart, of King’s College in London, United Kingdom, says this study adds to a “quietly accumulating” body of evidence tying oral and dental health with brain function.

SOURCE: Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, November 2009