By Chad F.
There are few individuals on this earth despised as much as the rude, sloppy smoker. You know the kind; they defy personal requests not to smoke, they ignore no smoking signs, they think nothing of lighting up in a crowded room and blowing smoke into the faces of others and their ashes are forever ending up everywhere but in the ashtray itself.
photo credits: Zach Klein
These people are beyond rude; they are in fact, risking the lives of those around them. Secondhand smoke, no matter how frivolous of a complaint it used to seem like, has been medically and scientifically proven to contribute to cancer in those around smokers thus having being exposed to such.
From The Mouths Of The Experts
An online source for information on vapor cigarettes or electronic cigarettes (which ever term you prefer) recently interviewed an executive of a major vapor cigarette company. It was extremely informative and enlightening. Many things were discussed some of which pertained to the fact that this individual was, at one time, an extremely heavy smoker.
Little did this person know that they would someday be one of the chief executives of a company that would offer smokers a seemingly healthy alternative to their carcinogen filled cigarettes. This person did in fact, love smoking. That very fact created a passion; that passion leads to extended research and development of one of the more elite vapor cigarettes on the market today.
With all the versions of vapor cigarettes available in the market, this individual wanted their particular brand to stand out. Whereas most vapor cigarettes would change down the line and through the years, this particular brand is reportedly so far ahead of its time that it can remain the same for decades to come, and still be a leader.
What Flavor Would You Prefer?
Whereas most companies offer a relatively nice selection of flavors, this company in particular offers flavors not usually associated with the vapor cigarette market. Oh sure, they have their relatively common selections anywhere from grape to chocolate; but they’ve managed to use a little bit of imagination to come up with some unique yet appealing additions.
Check these out: Old West; Texas Tobacco; Ranger… now where did I put my 10 gallon hat? You must admit, they sound appealing to a certain group of individuals. (Yee-haw!) They in fact went so far as to try flavors out on test groups before perfecting the final product. What’s in the future for vapor cigarettes?
Some possibilities might consist of vapor cigars (I would sign up for that); accessories such as vaporizers; more flavors; and if the public calls for it, a different look. Now that’s according to this particular executive. Personally, I’ll be waiting for those vapor cigars to come out. Mmm. Yum. Ooo, I’m going to have to stock up on batteries!
You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby!
That used to be the slogan for a slender cigarette that would supposedly appeal to women. Now, it can actually apply to just about any brand of vapor cigarettes. They have after all, come a long way. Instead of seeing cigarette butts overflowing an ashtray, we may now see the simple remnants of the disposable type of vapor cigarettes; a cartridge here and there; or worst case scenario… A battery.
Which is harder to deal with – a singular battery here and there or piles upon piles of both filtered and not filtered cigarette butts containing carcinogens? Reportedly, it takes a cigarette butt as much as 10 years or as few as 18 months to degenerate to the point where it can be introduced back into the environment.
In all fairness, it’s my understanding that someone has found a way to recycle cigarette butts. That’s one person. Apparently the process involves transforming waste into viable energy. But with fewer and fewer people smoking, I fear the idea may have come too late. And batteries have actually seen a huge increase when it comes to recycling. The last two years have produced a 10% increase in batteries being recycled. Of course it’s up to the individual to make sure that they drop their batteries off at the correct facility in order to do so.
So whether it’s a matter of the health of an individual, the environment, the health of those around us, or simply the discarding of a filthy habit… vapor cigarettes could turn the tobacco cigarette companies on their collective ear in the very near future. Imagine that!
Chad is a health blogging aficionado and a former smoker. Recently, he’s been introduced to a vapor cigarette and has been smoke free ever since.
There’s been a question that has been put forth to the medical community at large for well over a decade now: with all of our medical advances, why haven’t we cured cancer yet? There are politicians promising that they’ll increase spending on cancer research, companies heralding trials and successes in cancer drugs almost daily, and plenty of new research papers published about cancer research. But even in light of these developments, no magic one-shot cure has been found for cancer.
The patience of the public, it seems, is starting to wear thin on the quest for a cancer cure.
There are, of course, several explanations for why there hasn’t been a cancer cure. Starting with the issue that cancer in different areas of the body requires different treatments, and this isn’t even accounting for the fact that cancer is very much an adaptive disorder that can react differently on a patient-to-patient basis. Each time we delve deeper into an attempt at beating cancer, we find new obstacles slowing down our progress.
However, a large degree of progress has been made on cancer research, particularly in helping increase survival rates, over the last 30 years. Below is an infographic provided by MediCare Supplemental Insurance about showing the progress we’ve been making towards a cure.
Click image to enlarge
Even though the internet is the best environment for companies to generate positive publicity for their products, the online world is also proficient for discrediting competitors using alleged unsatisfied customer testimonials, like in the case of Sunlighten complaints about the efficiency of their infrared sauna. Because the marketing teams of competitors that are trying to decrease Sunlight sauna ratings use expert writers, these false reviews will actually sound genuine most of the times. Moreover, getting high page ranking for terms like Sunlighten lawsuit for example is a great way to make customers think twice before purchasing a product developed by this manufacturer.
With regards to the Sunlighten lawsuit, it is necessary to point out that it was not related to unsatisfied clients suing the company. In essence, Sunlighten took another company to court due to copyright infringement and illegal use of their product name. At the same time, you should be aware of the fact that no Sunlighten complaints on the part of the customers have resulted in lawsuits, which should tell you a thing or two about their authenticity. If there was even a remote chance that the infrared saunas created by Sunlighten had the slightest negative effects on the health of the user, then the internet would be virtually flooded with hundreds of similar claims and the Sunlight sauna ratings would drop consistently.
Furthermore, some of the Sunlighten complaints issued by customers were related to the fact that their expectations for the infrared sauna was completely unrealistic and different from the specifications issued by the manufacturer. For example, some people were actually expecting the infrared sauna to produce steam, even though the description clearly states that these appliances operate on a different principle. In addition, other confused customers gave negative Sunlight sauna ratings because they felt the sweat generated by the infrared beams was too low, although the Sunlighten explained that the particular modus operandi of the appliance does not focus on maximizing sweating but rather on heating up the body at deeper levels.
In other words, the complains that were issued by these customers were actually unfounded and the result of not understanding the specifications or the functions of the infrared saunas. However, the largest issues encountered in the online business world are falsified testimonials, so let’s talk a bit about how you can tell whether a comment is deliberately meant to discredit the company or if it was written by a genuinely disgruntled customer. Overall, you will see that it is a matter of common sense.
The authentic Sunlighten complaints, and basically all product complaints for that matter, typically focus on describing one, maybe two of problems or the features that the client has found unsatisfactory. After all, if a product presents flaws that kill its usability are you going to keep trying to exploit it until you have found every potential design or construction problem? Highly unlikely. On the other hand, that is exactly what professional reviewers who are hired to discredit the name of a company will do. The only catch is that the flaws are invented in 99.9% of the cases and the benefit of reading them is null.
Cleaning dogs’ teeth naturally is an important part of maintaining overall dog health. As humans, we’ve gotten used to cleaning our teeth with toothpastes full of chemicals. But now consumers are starting to demand more natural products. Toothpaste with artificial chemicals are not so bad when you can spit them out – but what about dogs? They have to swallow whatever is used to clean their teeth, so it needs to be made of natural, ingestible ingredients. Luckily, there are products on the market now which do a great job of cleaning dogs’ teeth naturally, while also producing fresher breath.
Natural Dog Toothpaste Ingredients
As mentioned above, there’s a very important reason why all the ingredients in a dog toothpaste should be natural. Anything you put in your dog’s mouth will end up in your dog’s stomach. It’s essential to make sure those ingredients are doing good for your dog’s overall health, rather than simply cleaning the teeth but creating even bigger internal problems.
There are several chemicals that are commonly used as ingredients in oral care products. Although many of these compounds have been used for years their long term use can be considered rather harsh on the body compared to organic substances used in all natural dog oral care products. For example grain alcohol and glycerin are fairly harsh substance that should be avoided. Dog oral care products including Plaque Attack and PetzLife are popular dog oral care products with very different formulations. Dog owners should read the ingredients carefully to determine the formulation they believe is the safest for their dog’s health.
Research has discovered particular ingredients that do several positive jobs: they clean the teeth, freshen the dog’s breath and promote overall immunity and health. Bad dog breath is easily treated utilizing new advanced formulations containing the proper substances.
One of these is grape seed extract, one of the super nutrients of dog nutrition. This nutrient works as a powerful antibacterial which kills off bad bacteria (the cause of bad breath) in a dog’s mouth while preserving good bacteria. It’s also a strong antioxidant which helps slow the breakdown of cells in the dog’s body.
Neem oil and thyme oil are two more ingredients you should keep an eye out for when looking for a good dog toothpaste. Like grapes seed extract, they help kill off particular types of bad bacteria which contribute to bad smells in your dog’s mouth.
You should also look for a dog toothpaste or mouth spray that contains a few freshening ingredients. Peppermint oil and rosemary oil are two healthy, natural ingredients which help freshen your dog’s breath.
More Tips for Cleaning Dogs’ Teeth Naturally
The standard method of cleaning dog teeth to treat bad breath in dogs is similar to cleaning your own: with a toothbrush. However, some dogs are resistant to having a brush poked into their mouth. If you own one of these dogs, don’t worry – we’ll explain some of the alternatives as well.
To brush your dog’s teeth, hold the toothbrush in your right hand (or whichever hand your prefer) and put that arm around your dog to hold his body in place. With the left hand, cup under his jaw to hold his head still and get in the right position to peel his gums back. Don’t expect this to go smoothly the first time you try it, but keep attempting this method until the dog plays along.
If he doesn’t get used to the toothbrush, you have a couple of alternatives. One is dog dental wipes. These help remove plaque and food stuck between the teeth, but they’re more gentle than brushing. However, you may find these don’t deal with the problem of bad dog breath.
In that case, there are sprays available which contain all the natural ingredients listed above. These sprays will effectively do the job of killing bacteria and freshening breath.
Liposuction is a surgical procedure that involves the contouring of the body by removing excess fat from various parts of the body. In the last twenty years, the number of patients undergoing liposuction for cosmetic or health-related reasons has risen 47 percent (according to the American Cosmetics Surgical Network). New and improved technologies and advancements in surgical procedures have made liposuction safer, more effective, less-costly, and have greatly increased the recovery rate for patients. The most popular techniques nowadays are Vaser liposuction and Tumescent liposuction.
Patients undergo liposuction for a number of reasons. For some patients, the reasons are social or mental. Other patients undergo liposuction for better health and medical reasons. Liposuction procedures used to require using invasive surgical probing mechanisms that sucked out fat and fat cells from targeted areas of the body. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, liposuction technologies established within the last ten years, have proven to decrease post-surgical recovery time by 65 to 70 percent. Prospective liposuction patients have more surgical options than ever before. As a result, two of the most sought-after liposuction procedures of today are vaser liposuction and tumescent liposuction.
Vaser liposuction stands for vibration amplification of sound energy at resonance. In other words, it is an ultrasonic liposuction procedure. Sound waves break up the fatty tissue and cells and allow the surgeon to extract more fatty tissue with less damage to the surrounding tissue. There is an increased level of preciseness to this procedure, which gives the patient less bruising, bleeding and swelling that with other types of procedures. After the procedure, surgeons recommend certain after care regimen to promote healing and speedy recovery.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, tumescent liposuction may be the reason liposuction is the number one cosmetic surgery in The United States. Liposculpting, as it is often referred to, uses a tube or cannula to create tunnels through fatty layers. The use of a cannula and local anesthetic causes the blood vessels to restrict and creates minimal blood loss to the patient. This type of liposuction is often combined with other techniques for maximum fat extraction and speeds overall patient recovery.
Tumescent and vaser liposuction are the most precise method of breaking apart fatty tissue and the most effective at extracting the fat tissue, once removed from the wall of tissue. Together, both procedures insure a patient experiences a speedy recovery with minimal pain, discomfort, swelling, bruising, and bleeding. Local anesthetic is utilized for both procedures, which allows the patient a more secure and pleasurable experience. These liposuction procedures are remarkable ways for individuals to regain a sense of health, lose weight, feel better, look better, and improve their self-confidence, combined with proper recovery management and health maintenance after surgery. It is very important that a patient “does their homework” and finds a surgeon certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery. The surgeon should have extensive experience performing the procedure, provide detailed answers to questions, and be able to provide references upon request. The result is a healthier mind, body, and spirit.
It is the first comprehensive study linking declining immunity with the use of analgesics. Although the effect of Tylenol was small and the vast majority of infants continued to receive adequate protection of the vaccines, the results “justify” does not routinely provide this analgesic immediately after vaccination, doctors said the Centers for Disease Control and Disease Prevention.
They wrote an editorial accompanying the study, published in the Friday issue of the British medical journal Lancet. The study examined only the preventive use of Tylenol, not whether it is suitable for use after the onset of fever.
Tylenol or generic name, acetaminophen, is a broad-spectrum pain reliever for infants. Many parents are supplied before or after a vaccine to prevent fever and malaise, a procedure recommended by some doctors.
However, the fever after a vaccination is not necessarily harmful; it is a natural part of the body’s response to it. Reduce fever, especially the first time that a baby receives a vaccination, it also means reducing the immune response and the amount of protective antibodies generated, according to new study.
The work was led by military and government scientists in the Czech Republic and performed in 10 medical centers in the country. It involved 459 healthy children from nine to 16 weeks of age, who received vaccines against polio, pneumonia, meningitis, peruses, tetanus, hepatitis and other childhood ailments.
Half received three doses of Carpool or paracetamol, similar to the Tylenol brand sold in Europe in the first days after vaccination. The others only received vaccines.
Babies who received analgesics had lower chances of having foot-by 42% compared to 66% of the other-and very few in both groups suffered high fever.
But in the group receiving the drug were detected in smaller numbers of protective antibody levels generated after several shots. The levels were significantly lower in this group in the booster shots, delivered the babies at ages 12-15 months.
Then, researchers examined 10 other vaccines and other evidence found that using Tylenol to prevent fever at the time of vaccination could reduce the immune response. However, if the drug is administered for fever once it has started it might not affect the immune response.
Cancer is a common disease that often proves fatal for those who fall prey to it and that can also have far-reaching consequences for relatives. 210,000 of the 350,000 or so people who fall ill each year in Germany die of the disease. The treatment of cancer additionally places a great burden on our public health system. Helmholtz scientists working in the “Cancer Research” programme have set themselves an ambitious goal: to decisively improve the chances in the battle against cancer. Their research studies cancer prevention, early recognition, diagnosis and treatment. (more…)
A Brief Overview
Though surprising to many, the Human Genome Project (HGP) traces its roots to an initiative in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Since 1947, DOE and its predecessor agencies have been charged by Congress with developing new energy resources and technologies and pursuing a deeper understanding of potential health and environmental risks posed by their production and use. Such studies, for example, have provided the scientific basis for individual risk assessments of nuclear medicine technologies.
In 1986, DOE took a bold step in announcing the Human Genome Initiative, convinced that its missions would be well served by a reference human genome sequence. Shortly thereafter, DOE joined with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop a plan for a joint HGP that officially began in 1990. During the early years of the HGP, the Wellcome Trust, a private charitable institution in the United Kingdom, joined the effort as a major partner. Important contributions also came from other collaborators around the world, including Japan, France, Germany, and China.
The HGP’s ultimate goal was to generate a high-quality reference DNA sequence for the human genome‘s 3 billion base pairs and to identify all human genes. Other important goals included sequencing the genomes of model organisms to interpret human DNA, enhancing computational resources to support future research and commercial applications, exploring gene function through mouse-human comparisons, studying human variation, and training future scientists in genomics.
The powerful analytic technology and data arising from the HGP raise complex ethical and policy issues for individuals and society. These challenges include privacy, fairness in use and access of genomic information, reproductive and clinical issues, and commercialization (see p. 8). Programs that identify and address these implications have been an integral part of the HGP and have become a model for bioethics programs worldwide.
A Lasting Legacy
In June 2000, to much excitement and fanfare, scientists announced the completion of the first working draft of the entire human genome. First analysis of the details appeared in the February 2001 issues of the journals Nature and Science. The high-quality reference sequence was completed in April 2003, marking the end of the Human Genome Project—2 years ahead of the original schedule. Coincidentally, this was also the 50th anniversary of Watson and Crick’s publication of DNA structure that launched the era of molecular biology.
Available to researchers worldwide, the human genome reference sequence provides a magnificent and unprecedented biological resource that will serve throughout the century as a basis for research and discovery and, ultimately, myriad practical applications. The sequence already is having an impact on finding genes associated with human disease (see p. 3). Hundreds of other genome sequence projects—on microbes, plants, and animals—have been completed since the inception of the HGP, and these data now enable detailed comparisons among organisms, including humans.
Many more sequencing projects are under way or planned because of the research value of DNA sequence, the tremendous sequencing capacity now available, and continued improvements in technologies. Sequencing projects on the genomes of many microbes, as well as the honeybee, cow, and chicken are in progress.
Beyond sequencing, growing areas of research focus on identifying important elements in the DNA sequence responsible for regulating cellular functions and providing the basis of human variation. Perhaps the most daunting challenge is to begin to understand how all the “parts” of cells—genes, proteins, and many other molecules—work together to create complex living organisms. Future analyses on this treasury of data will provide a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of the molecular processes underlying life and will have an enduring and profound impact on how we view our own place in it.
Cells are the fundamental working units of every living system. All the instructions needed to direct their activities are contained within the chemical DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid).
DNA from all organisms is made up of the same chemical and physical components. The DNA sequence is the particular side-by-side arrangement of bases along the DNA strand (e.g., ATTCCGGA). This order spells out the exact instructions required to create a particular organism with its own unique traits.
The genome is an organism’s complete set of DNA. Genomes vary widely in size: the smallest known genome for a free-living organism (a bacterium) contains about 600,000 DNA base pairs, while human and mouse genomes have some 3 billion .Except for mature red blood cells, all human cells contain a complete genome.
DNA in the human genome is arranged into 24 distinct chromosomes–physically separate molecules that range in length from about 50 million to 250 million base pairs. A few types of major chromosomal abnormalities, including missing or extra copies or gross breaks and rejoinings (translocations), can be detected by microscopic examination. Most changes in DNA, however, are more subtle and require a closer analysis of the DNA molecule to find perhaps single-base differences.
Each chromosome contains many genes, the basic physical and functional units of heredity. Genes are specific sequences of bases that encode instructions on how to make proteins. Genes comprise only about 2% of the human genome; the remainder consists of non-coding regions, whose functions may include providing chromosomal structural integrity and regulating where, when, and in what quantity proteins are made. The human genome is estimated to contain 20,000-25,000 genes.
Although genes get a lot of attention, it’s the proteins that perform most life functions and even make up the majority of cellular structures. Proteins are large, complex molecules made up of smaller subunits called amino acids. Chemical properties that distinguish the 20 different amino acids cause the protein chains to fold up into specific three-dimensional structures that define their particular functions in the cell.
The constellation of all proteins in a cell is called its proteome. Unlike the relatively unchanging genome, the dynamic proteome changes from minute to minute in response to tens of thousands of intra- and extracellular environmental signals. A protein’s chemistry and behavior are specified by the gene sequence and by the number and identities of other proteins made in the same cell at the same time and with which it associates and reacts. Studies to explore protein structure and activities, known as proteomics, will be the focus of much research for decades to come and will help elucidate the molecular basis of health and disease.
Not long from now, doctors may be able to predict with pinpoint accuracy what risk you’re at for disease, repair most of the disease’s damage at the molecular level and treat the rest of the damage with side-effect-free drugs designed just for your body. A few years ago, scientists would have been laughed out of the room for making such claims. But the recent completion of the mapping of the human genome has brought such medical benefits closer to reality.
“It’s hard to exaggerate the importance of this announcement,” says Dr. Michael Hayden, Director and Senior Scientist at the Centre for Molecular Medicine and a professor of medical genetics at the University of British Columbia. “This is going to be the heralding of medicine that is predictive and will allow us to understand more about the environment we live in.”
Though the direct benefits from this knowledge will be noticed further down the road, it’s tantalizing now to think about what it could make possible.
So what does this mean for the average person? “The immediate benefit is having a complete map of all the genes in a human being,” says Dr. Michael Smith, Nobel Laureate and Director of the BC Cancer Agency’s Genome Sequence Centre in Vancouver. “Until you knew all the bones in your skeleton, you’d never hope to understand how a human being fits together. So until you understand all the genes, you don’t have a listing of all the information that can be used to make a brain or a kidney or a liver. The big excitement now is really about the prospects for advancements that this new information will make possible.”
Essentially, the possible benefits from the announced information break down into four areas: the ability to perform genetic diagnostic tests, personalized drug manufacturing, gene therapy and highly controversial genetic engineering.
Diagnostic tests or genetic screening may be one of the first practical uses for this new information. A single drop of blood would be all that is necessary to screen for elements that may make a person susceptible to heart disease or certain kinds of cancer – widely believed to be influenced by genetic factors. With the more detailed tests the new genome information may soon make possible, high-risk patients could be identified earlier in time to make lifestyle changes that could prevent future illness.
Another exciting prospect is the introduction of tailor-made drugs that would be more effective for more patients and contain fewer side effects for each individual. More than two million people in the U.S. are hospitalized each year due to reactions to medication – more than 100,000 of those die. The new genome data could help identify groups of people more prone to reaction. Perhaps most important, the human genome data has the ability to help identify new targets on which drugs can act on disease for individuals. Even if a drug is just ineffective for a certain group, the cost savings benefit alone would be impressive.
Using genes themselves as medicine is the most direct way the new information may benefit you. Though it carries significant risks to patients, gene therapy could still be invaluable for fighting single-gene disorders, such as cystic fibrosis. In that case, the new information could be used to identify the abnormal cystic fibrosis gene and replace it with the healthy one that should be there.
Finally, the new genome information could make various forms of genetic engineering faster and easier. It could even make controversial techniques like germ-line engineering – the editing of DNA inheritance passed down from one generation to the next – more of a possibility. Such a technique would involve identifying an abnormal gene and then correcting that gene in eggs and sperm. Though this is by far the most debated of the uses for the human genome map, it would mean that no further generations would be affected by any genetic defects from their ancestors.
Despite the universe of ethical questions that some uses for the new genome information will undoubtedly raise, there is little doubt that the findings of human genome research efforts will soon begin to change our lives.
“We’re going to be able to look at biology on a much more molecular level,” says Smith. “We’ll be able to recognize much earlier when things aren’t working properly. It’s hard to say it’s going to cure cancer next year. That wouldn’t be true. But I think it will certainly accelerate progress that’s already taking place.”