Saturday, April 30, 2011

Old Testament Lessons for Beginners, Part 1

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Q: Who was the greatest financier in the Bible?

A: Noah; he was floating his stock while everyone was in liquidation.

Q: Who was the greatest female financier in the Bible?
A: Pharaoh's daughter; she went down to the bank of the Nile and drew out a little prophet.

Q: What kind of man was Boaz before he got married?
A: Ruth-less.

Q: Who was the first drug addict in the Bible?
A: Nebuchadnezzar; he was on grass for seven years.

Q: What kind of motor vehicles are in the Bible?
A: Jehovah drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden in a Fury.
A: David's Triumph was heard throughout the land.
A: Honda... because the apostles were all in one Accord.
A: 2 Cor. 4:8 describes going out in service in a Volkswagen, "We are pressed in every way, but not cramped beyond movement."

Q: Who was the greatest comedian in the Bible?
A: Samson; he brought the house down.

Recommended by Tony Key of Cicely, author unknown

Easing Baby's Stuffy Nose

An Infant Nasal Cleaner

Easing a sniffly baby's stuffy nose can make both baby and parents feel better.

However, nasal sprays and cough and cold medicines are not recommended for children under age 2.

So, here’s what you can do for babies or infants who are too young to blow their nose:

  • Buy saltwater (saline) nose drops or make your own by stirring 1/4 teaspoon of salt into 1/2 cup lukewarm water (make this fresh every day).
  • Lay your child on his or her back, placing a rolled towel underneath the shoulders. Put 2 or 3 saline nose drops into each nostril. Wait 30 - 60 seconds.
  • Turn the child on the stomach to help the mucus drain. Try to catch the discharge outside the nostril on a tissue or swab. Roll the tissue or swab around, and pull the discharge out of the nose. Do not insert a cotton swab into the child's nostrils.
  • You can use an infant nasal bulb (aspirator) to help remove the mucus. Squeeze the air out of the bulb and then gently place the tip into the nostril. Let the air come back into the bulb, pulling the mucus out of the nose with it. Squeeze the mucus onto a tissue.

Other tips to help infants and younger children include:

  • Raise the head of your child's bed. Put a pillow underneath the head of the mattress. Or, place books or boards under the legs at the head of the bed.
  • Encourage your child to drink plenty of fluids. Breast-feed or formula-feed young infants often. Older children may drink extra fluids, but those fluids should be sugar-free.
  • You can try a cool-mist vaporizer, but avoid putting too much moisture in the room. Clean the vaporizer every day with bleach or Lysol.
  • You can also steam up the bathroom shower and bring your child in there before bed.

Call your doctor if you or your child has any of the following:

  • A stuffy nose along with swelling of the forehead, eyes, side of the nose, or cheek.
  • A stuffy nose along with blurred vision
  • Increased throat pain, or white or yellow spots on the tonsils or other parts of the throat
  • Coughing episodes that last longer than 10 days
  • A cough that produces yellow-green or gray mucus
  • A stuffy nose that lasts longer than 2 weeks and significantly interferes with your life

Source: Medline Plus, a service of the US National Library of Medicines, November 2009

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tai Chi and Your Heart

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Tai chi exercise appears to be associated with improved quality of life, mood and exercise self-efficacy in patients with chronic heart failure, according to a report in the April 25 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

"Historically, patients with chronic systolic heart failure were considered too frail to exercise and, through the late 1980s, avoidance of physical activity was a standard recommendation," the authors write as background information in the study. "Preliminary evidence suggests that meditative exercise may have benefits for patients with chronic systolic heart failure; this has not been rigorously tested in a large clinical sample."

Gloria Y. Yeh of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, and colleagues evaluated 100 outpatients with systolic heart failure who were recruited between May 1, 2005 and September 30, 2008. Fifty patients were randomized to a 12-week tai chi-based exercise intervention group, and 50 were randomized to a time-matched education group.

The tai chi intervention group consisted of one-hour group classes held twice weekly for 12 weeks. The education sessions were also held twice weekly for the same duration as the tai chi lessons, and were led by a nurse practitioner. The two groups were generally similar in demographics, clinical classification of heart disease severity, and rates of comorbidities.

At completion of the study, there were no significant differences in change in six-minute walk distance and peak oxygen uptake when comparing the tai chi and control groups; however, patients in the tai chi group had greater improvements in quality of life. The tai chi group also showed improvements in exercise self-efficacy (confidence to perform certain exercise-related activities), with increased daily activity, and related feelings of well-being compared with the education group.

"In conclusion, tai chi exercise, a multi-component mind-body training modality that is safe and has good rates of adherence, may provide value in improving daily exercise, quality of life, self-efficacy and mood in frail, deconditioned patients with systolic heart failure," the authors write. "A more restricted focus on traditional measured exercise capacity may underestimate the potential benefits of integrated interventions such as tai chi."

Journal Reference:
  1. G. Y. Yeh, E. P. McCarthy, P. M. Wayne, L. W. Stevenson, M. J. Wood, D. Forman, R. B. Davis, R. S. Phillips. Tai Chi Exercise in Patients With Chronic Heart Failure: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Archives of Internal Medicine, 2011; 171 (8): 750 DOI: 10.1001/archinternmed.2011.150

Tai Chi For Beginners

The Tai Chi group that meets Tuesdays and Fridays at Hin Hua High School, Persiaran Raja Muda Musa, Klang welcomes beginners. Bilingual classes start at 8.30pm under the direction of Messrs Aw and Ng. No 'pyjamas' required; come in your most comfortable apparel .You can call our pharmacy on 03 31688469 for further details.

Monday, April 25, 2011


Phallus impudicus, commonly known as the common stinkhorn, is a widespread fungus recognizable for its foul odor and its phallic shape when mature. Picture credit:

An elderly couple was watching a Discovery Channel special about a West African bush tribe whose men all had penises 24 inches long. When the Black male reaches a certain age, a string is tied around his penis and On the other end is a weight. After a while, the weight stretches the Penis to 24 inches.

Later that evening as the husband was getting out of the shower,His wife looked at him and said, "How about we try the African String-and-weight procedure?" The husband agreed and they tied a string and a weight to his penis.

A few days later, the wife asked the husband, "How is our little
tribal experiment coming along?"

"Well, it looks like we're about half way there," he replied.

"Wow, you mean it's grown to 12 inches?"

"No, it's turned black."

Submitted by Chris of Bukit Mertajam, author unknown.

When Size Matters, Men Can Turn to Penile Extenders: Study

For men who believe size matters -- and that their penises don't measure up -- success can be found in certain non-surgical penile lengthening treatments, a new study analysis by Italian researchers contends.

Concerned that patients were seeking out unproven and potentially dangerous ways of lengthening the penis, the researchers examined the medical literature to see whether popular non-surgical methods had any scientific basis.

In a review of five evidence-based surgical studies of 121 men and six non-surgical studies of 109 men published between 2000 and 2009, the researchers found that penile extenders -- which stretch the organ over a period of months through traction -- were the most effective among non-invasive methods.

But one expert cautioned that men are playing with fire if they tinker with their penis size simply for vanity's sake. Dr. Elizabeth Kavaler, a urologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said functional issues resulting from conditions such as birth defects or prostate cancer surgery may warrant penile surgery, but such cases are unusual.

"It's a very fragile organ to begin with," Kavaler said, "and if you start to do all these things to it you can disfigure it... They should leave it alone."

Study co-author Dr. Paolo Gontero said urologists are constantly approached by men concerned about their penis size, despite the fact that the majority are average, with a flaccid length of 1 to 4 inches.

"However, most men complaining of inadequate penile size do have associated sexual problems even if their penile dimensions fall within the normal range -- so-called dysmorphophobic penis," said Gontero, an associate professor of urology at the University of Turin. "No study has, however, specifically addressed the extent and type of sexual bother in this patient category."

Dysmorphophobia "is a condition consisting of an imaginary flaw in the physical appearance," the study noted.

Writing in the April issue of the British Journal of Urology International, Gontero and his colleagues found that penile extenders work better than techniques such as vacuum devices, exercises and Botox injections, and that psychological satisfaction is equally as important as any physical changes.

A review of surgical techniques showed they increased phallus size an average of about a half-inch to 1 inch, but Gontero cautioned that the safest surgery -- which cuts the suspensory ligament of the penis to lengthen it -- often yields poor results.

"On the contrary, more complex lengthening procedures are to be considered experimental and potentially dangerous," he said.

"All procedures aimed to increase the penile girth should be considered unsafe, leading to potentially poor cosmetic and functional results," Gontero added. "I have come across such cases that I had to re-operate in order to remove additive substances injected around the penis."

The men studied ranged in age from 24 to 56 and were followed between three and 16 months.

More than 70 of them used penile extenders, with six experiencing minor problems such as bruising, pain and itching. These devices yielded average flaccid length increases of between 0.2 inches and 1 inch, Gontero said, and men achieving better results noted their satisfaction.

"Application of progressive and constant traction forces is a very old-fashioned technique used by the ancestors and currently by some tribal populations to elongate the penis or the neck," he said.

Gontero noted that cognitive behavioral therapy might help build confidence in some men.

Long-term vacuum treatments did not appear effective, producing no significant physical changes after six months, Gontero said, but did provide a degree of psychological satisfaction.

He and his colleagues found no scientific evidence to support penile-lengthening exercises.

Dr. E. Douglas Whitehead, director of New York Phalloplasty and associate clinical professor of urology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, said suspensory ligament surgery to increase penis length can be more effective when combined with stretching techniques.

"The human body, even bone, can be stretched," he said. "So stretching the penis, when done long enough, will work. If anything, libido and desire are even better because you look better and feel better about yourself."

More information

For more about penis size, visit Psychology Today.

Journal Reference

Non-invasive methods of penile lengthening: fact or fiction? Oderda M and Gontero P. British Journal of Urology International. 107, pp1278-1282. (April 2011) FULL TEXT

PS. Curious to know how to use the above penis-stretcher device, CLICK HERE, at your risk!

Normal Penis Size and Conditions of Short Penis

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Concerns over penile size and the desire to have a bigger penis are not unusual feelings in the male population, as can be seen not only from the andrological literature but by the universal jokes about the problem.

What is a normal penile size is a knotty question which some studies have tried to answer.

Penile length has to be measured along the dorsal side of the penis, from the pubo-penile skin junction to the meatus, while the circumference is measured at the mid-shaft.

According to Wessells et al. [4], normal penile dimensions should be considered to be any length within 2 standard deviations of the mean, that is >4 cm for the flaccid state and >7.5 cm for the stretched state.

Ponchietti et al. [5] confirmed these findings, concluding that >4 and >7 cm, respectively for the flaccid and stretched states, represent the normal range, bearing in mind that these measurements have to be interpreted in the light of other variables, such as body mass index. (1 ½ inch and 2 ¾ inch, phew!)

The main problem with patients who complain of ‘short penis’ and who request surgical correction is that they often overestimate ‘normal’ penile length [1]. They suffer from so-called ‘dysmorphophobia’, a condition consisting of an imaginary flaw in the physical appearance [6], in this case a false perception of inadequacy of the penis even though its dimensions fall within the normal range [7]. Dysmorphophobia can be an aesthetic issue, if the altered perception concerns the penis in its flaccid state, or functional, during erection [8]. In both cases, the psychological aspect should be the main concern and a multidisciplinary approach, comprising urological, psychosexual and psychological assessment, is advised [9]. A nomogram was developed to show to the patients how they compared with other men [5]. This tool was found to be very useful to reassure these patients: in a study by Mondaini et al. [1], 70% of their sample felt reassured after being educated about the normal variation in penile size and was no longer interested in undergoing a surgical procedure for penile enlargement.

Penile shortening is a phenomenon associated with several medical and surgical conditions, such as prostate cancer treated with radical prostatectomy, Peyronie’s disease and congenital abnormalities. A significant reduction in penile length was recorded 3 months after radical retropubic prostatectomy [10], although the aetiology is not clear. A statistically significant decrease in penile length was also found in men treated with hormonal suppression plus radiation [11]. One of the most common causes of penile shortening is represented by Peyronie’s disease, an acquired penile deformity of the erect penis, caused by fibrous plaque. Both the natural history of the disease and the scarring process after surgical repair can cause a decrease in penile length [12]. Short penis can also be congenital, as a result of embryonic or developmental defects. Lastly, sometimes the shortness of the penis is the result of the so-called ‘hidden penis’[13], a condition caused by obesity, aging with an overlying fold of abdominal fat and skin, and a shortage of penile skin from chronic inflammation or an aggressive circumcision.

Oderda M and Gontero P. Non-invasive methods of penile lengthening: fact or fiction? British Journal of Urology International. 107, pp1278-1282. (April 2011)

Ponchietti R, Mondaini N, Bonafe M, Di Loro F, Biscioni S, Masieri L. Penile length and circumference. A study on 3300 young Italian men. Eur Urol 2001; 39: 183–6

Feeling short-changed? The Zestzfulness Team suggests that you read the epiloque of this book

Life can begin at 60, it is all in your hands!

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Many people feel unhappy, health-wise and security-wise, after 60 years of age owing to the diminishing importance given to them and their opinion. But it need not be so, if only we understand the basic principles of life and follow them scrupulously. Here are ten mantras to age gracefully and make life after retirement pleasant.

1. Never say ‘I am aged': There are three ages, chronological, biological, and psychological. The first is calculated based on our date of birth; the second is determined by the health conditions and the third is how old you feel you are. While we don't have control over the first, we can take care of our health with good diet, exercise and a cheerful attitude. A positive attitude and optimistic thinking can reverse the third age.

2. Health is wealth: If you really love your kith and kin, taking care of your health should be your priority. Thus, you will not be a burden to them. Have an annual health check-up and take the prescribed medicines regularly. Do take health insurance cover.

3. Money is important: Money is essential for meeting the basic necessities of life, keeping good health and earning family respect and security. Don't spend beyond your means even for your children. You have lived for them all through and it is time you enjoyed a harmonious life with your spouse. If your children are grateful and they take care of you, you are blessed. But never take it for granted.

4. Relaxation and recreation: The most relaxing and recreating forces are a healthy religious attitude, good sleep, music and laughter. Have faith in God, learn to sleep well, love good music and see the funny side of life.

5. Time is precious: It is almost like holding a horse's reins. When they are in your hands, you can control them. Imagine that everyday you are born again. Yesterday is a cancelled cheque. Tomorrow is a promissory note. Today is ready cash — use it profitably. Live this moment.

6. Change is the only permanent thing: We should accept change — it is inevitable. The only way to make sense out of change is to join the dance. Change has brought about many pleasant things. We should be happy that our children are blessed.

7. Enlightened selfishness: All of us are basically selfish. Whatever we do, we expect something in return. We should definitely be grateful to those who stood by us. But our focus should be on the internal satisfaction and happiness we derive by doing good to others, without expecting anything in return.

8. Forget and forgive: Don't be bothered too much about others' mistakes. We are not spiritual enough to show our other cheek when we are slapped in one. But for the sake of our own health and happiness, let us forgive and forget them. Otherwise, we will be only increasing our BP.

9. Everything has a purpose: Take life as it comes. Accept yourself as you are and also accept others for what they are. Everybody is unique and right in his own way.

10. Overcome the fear of death: We all know that one day we have to leave this world. Still we are afraid of death. We think that our spouse and children will be unable to withstand our loss. But the truth is no one is going to die for you; they may be depressed for some time. Time heals everything and they will carry on.

By S. Ramachandran, published in The Hindu of August 1, 2010 and recommended by Lakmali of Penang

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Popular Drink Increases Stroke Risk

A new study by University of Miami Miller School of Medicine researchers link diet soda to increased risk of vascular events, including stroke. The research was presented during the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference, February 1-3, 2011 in Los Angeles.

In the study, the scientists found that if you drink diet soda – instead of the sugar variety – you could still have a much higher risk of vascular events compared to those who do not drink soda. In findings involving 2,564 people in the large, multi-ethnic Northern Manhattan Study, the researchers said people who drank diet soda every day had a 61 percent higher risk of vascular events than those who reported no soda drinking.

“If our results are confirmed with future studies, then it would suggest that diet soda may not be the optimal substitute for sugar-sweetened beverages for protection against vascular outcomes,” said Hannah Gardener, Sc.D., lead author and epidemiologist in the Department of Neurology at the Miller School.

The Northern Manhattan Study is a collaboration of investigators at the Miller School and Columbia University in New York launched in 1993 to examine stroke incidence and risk factors in a multi-ethnic urban population.

At the start of the study, researchers asked subjects to report how much and what kind of soda they drank. Based on the data, they grouped participants into seven consumption categories: no soda (meaning less than one soda of any kind per month); moderate regular soda only (between one per month and six per week); daily regular soda (at least one per day); moderate diet soda only; daily diet soda only; and two groups of people who drink both types: moderate diet and any regular, and daily diet with any regular.

During an average follow-up of 9.3 years, 559 vascular events occurred (including ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke, which is caused by rupture of a weakened blood vessel). Researchers accounted for participants’ age, sex, race or ethnicity, smoking status, exercise, alcohol consumption and daily caloric intake. And even after researchers also accounted for patients’ metabolic syndrome, peripheral vascular disease and heart disease history, the increased risk persisted at a rate 48 percent higher.

The fact that participants reported their dietary behavior is a key limitation of both studies, Gardener said.

In the soda study, investigators also lacked data on types of diet and regular drinks consumed, preventing analysis of whether variations among brands or changes over time in coloring and sweeteners might have played a role.

Miller School co-authors are Tatjana Rundek, Clinton Wright, and Ralph L. Sacco.

Source : Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami

Yoga Can Help Your Health

Yes! Now that we got your attention with this cartoon from,

Here are some of the real BENEFITS of Yoga

No matter what style of yoga you prefer to practice, it's a great exercise that offers a number of physical and mental health benefits.

The U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine lists these possible health benefits of yoga:

- Better mood, improved sleep and better overall well-being.

- Better stress management.

- Lowered heart rate and blood pressure, as well as improved lung capacity.

- More relaxed muscles and healthier body composition.

- Improved management of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

- Better flexibility, strength and general physical fitness.

- Positive effects on chemicals in the brain and blood.

CLICK HERE to locate a yoga class in the Klang district. Also CLICK HERE for "Chinese Yoga"

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Diabetes Often Not Diagnosed or Treated Properly

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Millions risk early death as a result, warn researchers.

Poor diagnosis and ineffective treatment of diabetes may put millions of people worldwide at risk for early death, a new study finds.

U.S. researchers examined diabetes diagnosis, treatment and management in Colombia, England, Iran, Mexico, Scotland, Thailand and the United States.

Nearly 90 percent of U.S. adult diabetics -- more than 16 million adults aged 35 and older -- have ineffective treatment of blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol. That percentage is 99 percent in Mexico, said the researchers at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Among the other findings from the seven countries included in the study:

- The percentage of diabetes patients who achieved International Diabetes Federation treatment goals for blood glucose, blood pressure and serum cholesterol ranges from 1 to 12 percent.

- Diabetes diagnosis rates were higher for women than men.

- Most people diagnosed with diabetes do not receive treatment for other cardiovascular risk factors that could be just as dangerous to their health as uncontrolled blood sugar.

- In the United States, diagnosis and effective treatment was twice as likely for people with health insurance as those without insurance.

"Too many people are not being properly diagnosed with diabetes and related cardiovascular disease risk factors. Those who are diagnosed aren't being effectively treated. This is a huge missed opportunity to lower the burden of disease in both rich and poor countries," study co-author Dr. Stephen Lim, an associate professor of global health, said in an IHME news release.


Emmanuela Gakidou et al. Management of diabetes and associated cardiovascular risk factors in seven countries: a compensation of data from national health examination surveys. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2011;89:172-183. doi:10.2471/BLT.10.080820. CLICK HERE for the full text.

Read our earlier posts on Diabetes HERE

The Zestzfulness has prepared a SPECIAL OFFER on the Optium Blood Sugar Monitoring System for you. CLICK HERE for details.

Pope Condoms Translation Error

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A translation error about the Popes stance on condoms has forced an Italian publisher to withdraw a book for young Catholics.

The edition of the book YouCat was originally printed in Germany and includes a foreword by Pope Benedict XVI. But the Italian translation gives the idea that contraception is permitted for couples.

According to the Catholic News Agency, the German word "Empfngnisregelung" was translated in Italian to be "metodi anticoncezionali", or "contraceptive methods". The book posed a question with this phrase stating Can a Christian couple turn to contraceptive methods?" The response to that was "Yes, a Christian couple can and must be responsible about their capacity of being able to give life".

The translation error seems to endorse contraception, according to CNA.

The English edition of the book is closer to the original question. It reads, "May a Christian married couple regulate the number of children they have? Yes, a Christian married couple may and should be responsible in using the gift and privilege of transmitting life."

"The problem did not originate with the German text - at least not if the Italian translation is based on the same German text as that on which Ignatius Press based its translation. The German text of question 420 asks whether a Christian married couple may regulate the number of children they have. It does not ask whether the couple may use methods of contraception," said Mark Brumley, president of Ignatius Press, publisher of the American edition of the book. "The English translation of YouCat ... does not, of course, endorse contraception but clearly affirms the Church's teaching that contraception is evil."

The Catholic Church officially states that any type of intervention that prohibits procreation is wrong. However, it allows natural family planning.

The publisher has since crossed out the section and included an insert on family planning in the book

Source: April 18, 2011 9:29 AM

The Zestzfulness Team apologises for not carrying stocks of "I SAID NO!" condoms.......some of us are LaSallian alumni. ;-)

Low Intensity Treadmill Exercise and Parkinson's

Low-intensity walking may help people with Parkinson's disease improve their gait and mobility.

While The Star is not known for the quality of its political analysis, it does produce good non-political articles on business, computers, food, health, etc. Last Sunday, Star ran a story to commemorate World Parkinson’s Day Parkinson’s.

The Zestzfulness Team would like to follow up with this report from the 63rd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology.

Researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the Baltimore VA Medical Center found that Parkinson's patients who walked on a treadmill at a comfortable speed for a longer duration (low-intensity exercise) improved their walking more than patients who walked for less time but at an increased speed and incline (high-intensity exercise). The investigators also found benefits for stretching and resistance exercises.

Their study, presented on April 12, compared three different forms of exercise to see which was most beneficial to men and women with Parkinson's disease, which affects motor control.

The researchers led by Lisa Shulman, M.D., of the University of Maryland randomly assigned 67 people with the disease to one of three programs:

- Low-intensity treadmill walk for 50 minutes;

- High-intensity treadmill walk for 30 minutes; and

- Weight and stretching regimen that included leg presses, extensions and curls.

The workouts were done three times a week for three months. The study participants were tested for cardiovascular fitness.

Participants in the low intensity treadmill training demonstrated the most consistent improvements in gait and mobility. People who were on the low intensity treadmill training performed better than the two other groups on the distance and speed tests. However, only stretching and resistance training improved the ratings on the Parkinson’s disease scale.

“Contrary to evidence suggesting that high intensity exercise is the most effective, our results suggest that a combination of low intensity training and stretching resistance training may achieve the greatest improvements for people with Parkinson’s disease” said Shulman.

”Exercise may, in fact, delay disability and help to preserve independence."

Source: 63rd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology News Daily

Parkinson's disease is a disorder of the brain that leads to shaking (tremors) and difficulty with walking, movement, and coordination.

CLICK HERE for more information from PubMed Health or go directly to the Malaysian Parkinson’s Disease Association.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Protect Against Parkinson's

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A study by
Université Laval researchers found that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids exerts neuroprotective actions on the brain against Parkinson’s disease in an animal model.

Parkinson's disease is caused by the progressive death of the neurons responsible for producing dopamine, a neurotransmitter closely linked with movement control. The disease is usually diagnosed when 50 to 80% of these neurons are already dead, and there is currently no medication to stop that process.

The researchers observed that when mice were fed an omega-3 rich diet, they seemed immune to the effect of MPTP (1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine), a toxic compound that causes the same damage to the brain as Parkinson's by destroying dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra of the brain.

"This compound, which has been used for more than 20 years in Parkinson's research, works faster than the disease itself and is just as effective in targeting and destroying the dopamine-producing neurons in the brain," points out Frederic Calon.

By contrast, another group of mice that were fed an ordinary diet developed the characteristic symptoms of the disease when injected with MPTP, including a 31% drop in dopamine-producing neurons and a 50% decrease in dopamine levels.

Analyses revealed that omega-3 fatty acids--in particular DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), a specific type of omega-3--had replaced the omega-6 fatty acids already present in the brains of the mice that had been given omega-3 supplementation.

"This demonstrates both the importance of diet on the brain's fatty acid composition and the brain's natural inclination for omega-3 fatty acids," observes Calon. Since concentrations of other types of omega-3's had remained similar in both groups of mice, researchers suggest that the protective effect against Parkinson's comes essentially from DHA.

These findings could help prevent the disease and, potentially, slow down its progression.

Another conclusion to be drawn from this finding is that a brain containing a lot of omega-6 fatty acids may be a fertile ground for Parkinson's disease. These fatty acids, abundant in foods rich in either vegetable oil or animal fat, are already under suspicion for their role in the body's inflammatory response, cardiac disease, arthritis, and Alzheimer's. In a balanced diet, the ratio between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids should be 4 to 1. However, the average Western diet contains 10 to 20 times more omega-6's than omega-3's.

"In North America, the average intake of DHA is between 60 to 80 mg a day, while experts recommend a daily minimum of 250 mg," explains Calon. "Our results suggest that this DHA deficiency is a risk factor for developing Parkinson's disease, and that we would benefit from evaluating omega-3's potential for preventing and treating this disease in humans," concludes the researcher.

Journal Reference:

M. Bousquet, M. Saint-Pierre, C. Julien, N. Salem, Jr., F. Cicchetti and F. Calon. Beneficial effects of dietary omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid on toxin-induced neuronal degeneration in an animal model of Parkinson’s disease. The FASEB Journal. 2008;22:1213-1225. CLICK HERE for the full report.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

3 Steps to Jumpstart Happiness Today

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In a famous quote, author and tireless peace activist, Thich Nhat Hanh said, "There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way."

In the world of therapy, sometimes I ask people to consider 3 steps to get themselves out of a rut.

First, I ask them to think of times when they were feeling well and ask them what they were doing? How were they thinking? Some say:

I was taking more walks

I was talking to friends more

I was more hopeful about the future

I was playing guitar more

I was waking up earlier

I was doing more yoga

I was eating healthier

I was smiling more


Second, I tell people to integrate these activities into their calendar. Not in an effort to fake it until you make it, but because our bodies, thoughts, emotions, and behavior are interlinked to cultivate our experience. Therefore, if we change one, we can affect them all. In changing our behavior to reflect behavior that is experienced when we are feeling well, we can influence the other three in a positive direction.

Third, notice automatic negative thoughts (ANTs) such as "this is stupid" or "this will never work" or "what's the point". When you notice them, know that they are a product of not feeling well and are not facts. The gently redirect your attention back to the behavior.

Try it out, don't take my word for it, and let your own experience be the teacher!

As always, please share your thoughts, stories, and questions below. Your interactions provide a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a Clinical Psychologist and conducts a private practice in West Los Angeles. He is co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook (New Harbinger, February 2010). Check out Dr. Goldstein's acclaimed CD's on Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression.

Zestz for LAUGHS : Another Dig at Baby Boomers

A little silver-haired Baby Boomer calls her Gen X neighbour and says, "Please come over here and help me. I have a killer jigsaw puzzle, and I can't figure out how to get started."

Her neighbour asks, "What is it supposed to be when it's finished?"

The little silver haired lady says, "According to the picture on the box, it's a rooster."

Her neighbour decides to go over and help with the puzzle.

She lets him in and shows him where she has the puzzle spread all over the table.

He studies the pieces for a moment, then looks at the box, then turns to her and says,

"First of all, no matter what we do, we're not going to be able to assemble these pieces into anything resembling a rooster."

He takes her hand and says, "Secondly, I want you to relax. Let's have a nice cup of tea, and then," he said with a deep sigh ............

"Let's put all the Corn Flakes back in the box."

Don't get it? CLICK HERE!

Recommended by baby boomer Susan K, original author unknown.

Too Old to Start Exercising?

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Moderate Exercise Dramatically Improves Brain Blood Flow in Elderly Women

A new study presented at the Experimental Biology annual meeting, held from April 9 to 13 in Washington, D.C. suggests that it's never too late for women to reap the benefits of moderate aerobic exercise.

Rong Zhang, M.D., from the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, and colleagues examined whether moderate exercise over a three-month period increased cerebral blood flow (CBF) in sedentary women aged 60 or older.

An individualized training program was designed for eight women (average age 70) according to their fitness levels. Training started with thirty minutes of exercise at base pace heart rate three times a week, and increased to 50 minutes at base pace heart rate four times a week, plus two sessions of 30 minutes at maximal steady-state heart rate in the third month.

Color Doppler and 2D ultrasonography were used to measure CBF in both the left and right internal carotid arteries.

The researchers found that, at the end of the training, CBF increased by 24% and 14 % in the left and right internal carotid arteries, respectively, and maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 max) increased by 13 %.

The participants' average blood pressure decreased by 4 percent, which was correlated with a slight decrease in the heart rate.

Blood Flow and the Brain

A steady, healthy flow of blood to the brain achieves two things.

First, the blood brings oxygen, glucose and other nutrients to the brain, which are vital for the brain's health.

Second, the blood washes away brain metabolic wastes such as amyloid-beta protein released into the brain's blood vessels. Amyloid-beta protein has been implicated in the development of Alzheimer's disease.

Dr. Zhang stresses the importance of the finding that improvement in brain blood flow is possible in one's senior years. "We often start to see a decline in brain perfusion and cognitive function in the 60s and 70s. That's when the downward trajectory starts. We want to see how much we can do to reverse or delay that process."

Source: Experimental Biology Meeting (EB 2011) Press Release

Friday, April 15, 2011

Preventing Heartburn During Pregnancy

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Heartburn (acid reflux) is a common complaint during pregnancy and tends to occur more frequently as your pregnancy progresses.

What Causes Heartburn During Pregnancy

There are two main reasons why heartburn and, to a lesser extent, indigestion are common during pregnancy. Firstly, increased levels of the hormone progesterone in your body causes muscles to relax. These include the lower oesophageal sphincter at the entrance to the stomach.

When the lower oesophageal sphincter relaxes at inappropriate times, food and stomach acids can reflux back up into your oesophagus and irritate the lining, causing heartburn.

During the latter stages of pregnancy, your growing baby puts pressure on the intestines and the stomach. The pressure on the stomach may also push contents back up into the oesophagus.

Though you may not be able to eliminate heartburn completely, there are some simple steps you can take to minimize your discomfort.

Strategies to Ease Heartburn Symptoms during Pregnancy

The American College of Gastroenterology offers the following tips:

- Wear loose-fitting clothes. Clothes that fit tightly around your waist put pressure on your abdomen and the lower oesophageal sphincter.

- Eat smaller meals. Overfilling the stomach can result in acid reflux and heartburn.

- Don’t lie down after eating. Wait at least 3 hours after eating before going to bed. When you lie down, it’s easier for stomach contents (including acid) to back up into the oesophagus, particularly when you go to bed with a full stomach.

- Raise the head of the bed 4 to 6 inches. This can help reduce acid reflux by decreasing the amount of gastric contents that reach the lower oesophagus.

- Avoid tobacco and alcohol. Abstinence from alcohol and smoking can help reduce reflux symptoms and avoid foetal exposure to potentially harmful substances.

The Zestzfulness Team also recommends that you take your time eating your meals and chew thoroughly.

Caffeine in your coffee, tea, cola can relax the lower oesophageal sphincter and allow acid to reflux back into the oesophagus. You may want to avoid or reduce their intake.

Remember to bend at the knees instead of at the waist. Bending at the waist puts more pressure on your stomach. Sit upright in a comfortable chair rather than slouching.

Antacids like Zellox-II may prove helpful in relieving heartburn problems but you should always check with your doctor before taking any over-the-counter remedies while pregnant.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Learning From A Kid

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Anh Hà Minh Thành là người Việt Nam hiện đang công tác trong lực lượng cảnh sát Nhật Bản; Hiện anh Hà Minh Thành đang tham gia cứu nạn động đất tại vùng Fukushima… Nhấn vào đây để biết thêm

OK, we don’t understand Vietnamese too. So here's a translation by NAM editor, Andrew Lam, author of East Eats West: Writing in Two Hemispheres. [His first book, Perfume Dreams, Reflections on the Vietnamese DIaspora won a 2006 Pen Award.]

It’s about a letter written by a Vietnamese immigrant, working in Fukishima as a policeman to a friend in Vietnam, which has been circulating on Facebook among the Vietnamese diaspora. It is an extraordinary testimony to the strength and dignity of the Japanese spirit, and an interesting slice of life near the epicenter of Japan’s current crisis, the Fukushima nuclear power plant.


How are you and your family? These last few days, everything was in chaos. When I close my eyes, I see dead bodies. When I open my eyes, I also see dead bodies. Each one of us must work 20 hours a day, yet I wish there were 48 hours in the day, so that we could continue helping and rescuing folks.

We are without water and electricity, and food rations are near zero. We barely manage to move refugees before there are new orders to move them elsewhere.

I am currently in Fukushima, about 25 kilometers away from the nuclear power plant. I have so much to tell you that if I could write it all down, it would surely turn into a novel about human relationships and behaviors during times of crisis.

The other day I ran into a Vietnamese-American. His name is Toan. He is an engineer working at the Fukushima 1 nuclear plant, and he was wounded right at the beginning, when the earthquake struck. With the chaos that ensued, no one helped him communicate with his family. When I ran into him I contacted the US embassy, and I have to admit that I admire the Americans’ swift action: They sent a helicopter immediately to the hospital and took him to their military base.

But the foreign students from Vietnam are not so lucky. I still haven't received news of them. If there were exact names and addresses of where they work and so on, it would be easier to discover their fate. In Japan, the police do not keep accurate residential information the way they do in Vietnam, and privacy law here makes it even more difficult to find.

I met a Japanese woman who was working with seven Vietnamese women, all here as foreign students. Their work place is only 3 kilometers from the ocean and she said that they don’t really understand Japanese. When she fled, the students followed her, but when she checked back they were gone. Now she doesn't know if they managed to survive. She remembers one woman’s name: Nguyen thi Huyen (or Hien).

No representatives from the Vietnamese embassy have shown up, even though on the Vietnamese Internet news sites they claim to be very concerned about Vietnamese citizens in Japan - all of it a lie.

Even us policemen are going hungry and thirsty, so can you imagine what those Vietnamese foreign students are going through? The worst things here right now are the cold, the hunger and thirst, the lack of water and electricity.

People here remain calm - their sense of dignity and proper behavior are very good - so things aren’t as bad as they could be. But given another week, I can’t guarantee that things won't get to a point where we can no longer provide proper protection and order. They are humans after all, and when hunger and thirst override dignity, well, they will do whatever they have to do. The government is trying to provide air supply, bringing in food and medicine, but it’s like dropping a little salt into the ocean.

Brother, there are so many stories I want to tell you - so many, that I don’t know how to write them all. But there was a really moving incident. It involves a little Japanese boy who taught an adult like me a lesson on how to behave like a human being:

Last night, I was sent to a little grammar school to help a charity organization distribute food to the refugees. It was a long line that snaked this way and that and I saw a little boy around 9 years old. He was wearing a t-shirt and a pair of shorts.

It was getting very cold and the boy was at the very end of the line. I was worried that by the time his turn came there wouldn’t be any food left. So I spoke to him.

He said he was in the middle of PE at school when the earthquake happened. His father worked nearby and was driving to the school. The boy was on the third floor balcony when he saw the tsunami sweep his father’s car away. I asked him about his mother. He said his house is right by the beach and that his mother and little sister probably didn’t make it. He turned his head and wiped his tears when I asked about his relatives.

The boy was shivering so I took off my police jacket and put it on him. That’s when my bag of food ration fell out. I picked it up and gave it to him. “When it comes to your turn, they might run out of food. So here’s my portion. I already ate. Why don’t you eat it.”

The boy took my food and bowed. I thought he would eat it right away, but he didn't. He took the bag of food, went up to where the line ended and put it where all the food was waiting to be distributed. I was shocked. I asked him why he didn’t eat it and instead added it to the food pile …

He answered: “Because I see a lot more people hungrier than I am. If I put it there, then they will distribute the food equally.”

When I heard that I turned away so that people wouldn't see me cry. It was so moving -- a powerful lesson on sacrifice and giving. Who knew a 9-year-old in third grade could teach me a lesson on how to be a human being at a time of such great suffering? A society that can produce a 9- year-old who understands the concept of sacrifice for the greater good must be a great society, a great people.

It reminds me of a phrase that I once learned in school, a capitalist theory from the old man, Fuwa [Tetsuzo], chairman of the Japanese Communist Party: “If Marx comes back to life, he will have to add a phrase to his book, Capital, and that ‘Communist ideology is only successful in Japan.’”

Well, a few lines to send you and your family my warm wishes. The hours of my shift have begun again.

- Ha Minh Thanh

We can learn from more than just this scrawny kid, we can learn from a whole nation! The courage and dignity of the Japanese people in the face of monumental catastrophes has been a moving and humbling experience. The Zestsfulness Team sends its RESPECT and BEST WISHES to the People of Japan.

Story recommended by Lakmali

Caffeine and Diabetes

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Caffeine and Diabetes: Helpful or Harmful?

Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a serious public health problem. A growing body of evidence suggests that consumption of caffeine leads to disruptions of glucose metabolism that could be of concern for both the development of T2DM and its clinical management.

In a review article in the inaugural issue of Journal of Caffeine Research, James Lane, PhD, Duke University, describes 17 studies that have consistently demonstrated caffeine's potential for increasing insulin resistance (impaired glucose tolerance) in adults that do not have diabetes, an effect that could make susceptible individuals more likely to develop the disease.

In adults coffee drinkers with type 2 diabetes, studies have found that caffeine exaggerates the rise in glucose after carbohydrate ingestion. This effect could contribute to higher glucose levels in people with diabetes and could compromise treatment aimed at controlling their blood glucose.

The results of these well-controlled experimental studies contradict epidemiological studies that find that heavy coffee drinking is associated with a lower risk of T2DM.

Although it is premature to recommend caffeine abstinence for patients with T2DM and for those at risk, the evidence is sufficient to warrant further study of caffeine’s effects, including clinical trials of the potential benefits of eliminating caffeine from the diet.

There are more than 200 million diabetics worldwide and with 80% of the world's population consuming caffeine daily, the links that we now know between diabetes and caffeine are of immense value.

Journal Reference:

James D. Lane. Caffeine, Glucose Metabolism, and Type 2 Diabetes. Journal of Caffeine Research, March 2011, 1(1): 23-28. CLICK HERE to read the full article.

The Journal of Caffeine Research

Caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive substance in history. Its near-universal use, in beverages (coffee, tea, sodas, and energy drinks), food (e.g., chocolate), and medicines, means that the consumption of caffeine far exceeds usage of any other psychoactive substance, including nicotine, alcohol, and all illicit drugs. The Journal of Caffeine Research is the central forum for disseminating advances in knowledge in this ever-expanding field of study.

CLICK HERE for the inaugural issue of Journal of Caffeine Research

Monday, April 11, 2011

Metabolic Syndrome and Risk of Liver Cancer

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Metabolic syndrome is a name for a group of risk factors that occur together and increase the risk for coronary artery disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

A new study, presented by Katherine McGlynn (NIH) at the AACR 102nd Annual Meeting, linked metabolic syndrome to an increased risk of liver cancer.

Someone with metabolic syndrome has at least three of the following five conditions:

- Raised Blood Pressure,

- Elevated Waist Circumference,

- Low HDL or “Good” Cholesterol,

- Raised Triglyceride Levels and

- Raised Fasting Plasma Glucose Levels.

People with this condition are known to have an increased risk of heart disease, but the current study, which analyzed more than 4,000 people with liver cancer and compared them to nearly 200,000 people without cancer, found that people with metabolic syndrome were even more likely to develop liver cancer.

The study found that 37.1 percent of people with a type of liver cancer called hepatocellular carcinoma had metabolic syndrome, while only 17.1 percent of those without liver cancer had metabolic syndrome. Nearly 30 percent of people with another type of liver cancer called intrahepatic carcinoma had metabolic syndrome.

The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by The Zestzfulness Team) from materials provided by the American Association for Cancer Research.

More information

Learn more about steps you can take to help prevent cancer from the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

Read our other reports on cancer by typing “cancer” in the search box on the right.

Diabetes and Cancer

Add Cancer to Health Risks of Diabetes

Diabetes is already linked to a number of complications, but emerging evidence suggests an increased risk of cancer can be added to that list.

A new study found that women with diabetes had an 8 percent increased risk of developing cancer generally, and there was a similar pattern in men, except for prostate cancer. For reasons that remain unclear, diabetes was actually associated with a lower incidence of prostate cancer in men, the study found.

The risk of dying from a cancer was also higher in people with diabetes -- 11 percent greater for women and 17 percent higher in men.

Gabriel Lai et al used a prospective cohort from the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study that included 295,287 men and 199,665 to evaluate the relationship between diabetes and cancer risk.

After 11 years of follow-up, 55,888 men and 26,364 women had developed cancer.

The risk of liver cancer was increased more than two-fold in people with diabetes, according to the study. The risk of cancer of the rectum was increased by 28 percent in people with diabetes, and the risk of colon cancer was increased by 15 percent.

In men, the risk of pancreatic and bladder cancers was increased in those with diabetes. In women, stomach, anus and uterine cancer risk was greater in those with diabetes.

No association was found between lung, skin and other cancers and diabetes in this study.

It is not clear what the mechanism behind these increased risks might be, but the authors said there are numerous possibilities. It is very important those with diabetes need to be aware that they are at a higher risk of certain cancers, and they have to be screened for cancer.

There are a lot of risk factors that are very similar among the two diseases. Lifestyle modifications, such as eating a healthful diet, exercising and maintaining a healthy body weight, should be adopted to prevent diabetes and cancer.


Gabriel Lai, Yikyung Park, Patricia Hartge, Albert Hollenbeck, Arthur Schatzkin, Neal Freedman. The association between diabetes and cancer incidence and mortality in the NIH-AARP study. Presented at the AACR 102nd Annual Meeting 2011 on April 3, 2011

More information

Learn more about steps you can take to help prevent cancer from the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

Read our other reports on cancer by typing “cancer” in the search box on the right.

How To Stop The Blame Game

Picture Credit : Tandberg

Blaming only escalates and dramatizes any situation.

Instead, the moment you recognize yourself getting upset, see if you can shift into “neutral.” That doesn’t mean denying your feelings, it means observing them. It doesn’t mean disregarding what someone else is doing, it means seeing it without reacting. It doesn’t mean inaction, it means pausing to discern productive action.

Here are some steps that can help us to access neutral and initiate resolution:

1. Take a break from the situation. Call time-out and step away for a moment. You could say, “I’m feeling a little overwhelmed. Do you mind if I take a break for a few minutes? I’ll be right back.”

2. Walk, stretch, shake out your body, and take several deep breaths.

3. Imagine that you are looking down on the situation from above it. Witness yourself and the others involved from a higher perspective.

4. Re-enter the situation by asking to hear the other person’s point of view. You could say, “Can we start again? Would you begin by telling me your side?”

5. Listen with full attention on what the other person is saying, eye contact, and unconditional positive regard—without countering with your opinion. Repeat back to them what you heard them say to make sure you got it right. For instance, “So, are you saying ________.”

6. State your point of view taking into account what the other person has said.

With the above steps in mind, as you go through the day or take in the news, notice how much “blaming” tends to rule interactions in our world. Each of us can make a difference in that.

by Kevin Schoeninger
ife coach, meditation instructor, and trainer with 30 years experience working with clients like you. Kevin brings a wealth of knowledge, genuine compassion, and a sincere intent to support your ideal possibilities and encourage you on your path.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A Stunning Baby Boomer Moment

Recommended by LWY, author unknown.

A self-important college freshmen walking along the beach took it upon himself to explain to a Baby Boomer resting on the steps why it was impossible for the older generation to understand his generation.

”You grew up in a different world, actually an almost primitive one”, the student said loud enough for others to hear.

The young people of today grew up with television, jet planes, space travel, man walking on the moon. We have nuclear energy, ships and cell phones, computers with light speed and so much more.”

After a brief silence, the Baby Boomer responded as follows: "You're right son. We didn't have those things when we were young, so we invented them. Now, you arrogant little sh#*, what are you doing for the next generation?"


Vitamin D Supplements May Lower Heart Disease Risk

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Vitamin D Important For Overall Cardiovascular Health

New information about vitamin D suggests low levels make arteries stiffer, driving blood pressure higher in people who are otherwise healthy. Poor blood vessel health can increase the risk of heart disease.

Boosting vitamin D relaxes blood vessels in study

The study on 554 generally healthy adults, whose average age was 47, found that participants who raised their vitamin D levels, by increased sun exposure or supplements, had improved blood vessel health and lowered their blood pressure readings an average of 4.6 points.

The findings are presented by Ibhar Al Mheid, MD, a cardiovascular researcher at Emory University School of Medicine, at the April 1 - 5, 2011 annual American College of Cardiology meeting in New Orleans.

Lack of vitamin D impairs blood vessel health same as diabetes

According to Dr. Al Mheid, "We found that people with vitamin D deficiency had vascular dysfunction comparable to those with diabetes or hypertension, even after controlling for other factors such as age, weight and cholesterol.”

Throughout the body, a layer of endothelial cells lines the blood vessels, controlling whether the blood vessels constrict or relax and helping to prevent clots that lead to strokes and heart attacks.

"There is already a lot known about how vitamin D could be acting here," Al Mheid says. "It could be strengthening endothelial cells and the muscles surrounding the blood vessels, keeping them relaxed and healthy. It could also be reducing the level of angiotensin, a hormone that drives increased blood pressure, or regulating inflammation."

Ensuring vitamin D levels are adequate

The findings have implications for maintaining blood vessel health that declines with aging. Reducing the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke could come from ensuring vitamin D levels are adequate.

The researchers plan a follow-up study using a specific vitamin D dose. Because the study was observational, the researchers were unable to evaluate how the employees boosted their vitamin D levels to improve blood vessel health.

Source: Emory University News Release dated Apr. 4, 2011