The Placebo Effect Can Reportedly Help Mend A Broken Heart

broken heart people

A new study proposes that the placebo effect can help mend a broken heart.

Anyone who has experienced the emotional pain of a broken heart can tell you that it feels very real. A recent study carried out by the University of Colorado Boulder seems to suggest that medical science could have an answer. Study results were released in the Journal of Neuroscience.

The Placebo Effect Could Mend A Broken Heart And Even More?

Enlisting the aid of subjects who had recently undergone a bad breakup, researchers at CU-Boulder first established the similarities between physical and emotional pain. The subjects were exposed to heartbreak by looking at a picture of their recent ex.

Then, they were exposed to physical pain by touching something hot. Brain scans that monitored activity accompanied each kind of painful stimuli. The results confirmed that emotional and physical pain produce similar types of brain activity.

After establishing this link, researchers then handed out the placebo. They told half the volunteers the spray would merely help keep their noses hydrated. The remaining half was informed that it was a potent painkiller with the power to combat both physical and emotional pain.

The results gave the researchers insight into the power of the placebo effect. According to Dr. Tor Wager, a CU-Boulder neuroscience professor, the benefits were almost immediate.

“When people got the placebo spray and they believed it was going to be helpful for them, then they felt a lot better,” said Dr. Wager.

However, the good vibes don’t stop there. Research found that the more positive and optimistic outlook enjoyed by the volunteers caused the brain to release opioids. These are a natural feel-good chemical that is part of a healthy functioning brain.

The evidence seems to suggest that optimism helps lead to an uplifting and healthy cycle. As Dr. Tor puts it, the things one believes in can really make a difference. These seem to actually affect the brain’s chemistry and physiology, in a way “that is important in some cases”.

This study shows that positivity is powerful, and one doesn’t need the placebo effect to benefit from it. Finding a way to channel optimistic expectations doesn’t require a fake drug and can be a truly effective way to mend a broken heart or find emotional peace.

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The Naked Mole Rat Has Some Amazing Properties

naked mole rat

The naked mole rat may have some remarkable abilities, according to a new study.

 

The naked mole rat is one of the least appealing mammals on the planet in terms of appearance, but a new study shows that they have some surprising abilities.

Already known for their ability to fight off cancer and their extraordinary sense for vibrations in the Earth, the creatures may just have some ground-breaking secrets hiding underneath their wrinkly skin. This recent study has shown that they can survive for extended periods in extremely low oxygen surroundings. They also seem to have a special trick for when the air gets stale.

Naked Mole Rat Survives Without Oxygen By Switching Metabolism

Generally, most mammals convert glucose into energy within their cells by using oxygen. Only in a few rare cases and within certain organs can they use fructose, a different type of sugar molecule. But now, a study by the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine published in the journal Science shows that naked mole rats can switch their entire metabolism over to a fructose-based one. That means that it does not require oxygen.The study showed that the naked mole rat could survive up to eighteen minutes in a zero oxygen environment with no damage. It also showed that they could last for hours in an extremely low oxygen environment with a limited change to their functionality. The scientists part of the study believe that this is an adaptation to their underground colony life, where oxygen levels can be deadly to most vertebrates.

In the zero oxygen environment, Gary Lewin, the lead author of the study, says:

“The animals quickly went to sleep. They entered a state of suspended animation, a kind of coma, and survived like that for 18 minutes.”
If this method could be further studied, the possibilities for medicine could be tremendous. Particularly in the treatment of trauma and drowning victims where low oxygen causes severe organ and brain damage.
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Study Analyzes What Cycling To Work Can Do For Your Health

woman cycling

Studies show that cycling to work may prove more beneficial to health compared to walking.

Studies show that biking to work may prove more beneficial to health compared to walking. This claim is backed by University of Glasgow researchers. They published their findings in the British Medical Journal outlining how biking helped improve health.

Brief Findings of Cycling and Its Health Benefits

Over a five-year study, over 260,000 UK citizens were asked about their commute to work. The average age group for the study was 53. Research compared the methods of commuting to the rates of cancers, heart attacks, and death. While walking to work proved to be beneficial, the benefits of cycling outweighed the benefits of walking.

Biking reduced not only heart attack and mortality rates but also cancer ones as well. Dr. Jason Gill from the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences said,

“Cycling all or part of the way to work was associated with substantially lower risk of adverse health outcomes.”

Walking reduced heart attack rates by 27% and decreased mortality by 31%. Meanwhile, biking reduced heart attack rates by 46% and had diminished the risk of cancer by 45%. Overall, cycling reduced mortality by 40%. The reason walkers don’t get as many health benefits is due to a shorter distance of travel.

People usually walk around 6 miles compared to the average of 3o miles per week by bicycle. They would need to walk more in order to gain the benefits of biking. The added benefit of cycling is from the vigorous workout for the whole body. That is compared to walking as a relaxed form of exercise.

The criticisms the findings faced was due to the people assessing themselves. This meant that some people might not report everything, leaving room for error. Another criticism is that research was also was not inclusive to diets, lifestyle habits or health history depending on the individual.

Despite criticisms, studies show cycling does help overall health.  With these findings, cities are working on ways to implement more roads to accommodate bikers. Having more roads open for bikers will allow them to travel easily and safely. Overall, biking improves health and is a great workout for any person.

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The Lyrid Meteor Shower Should Offer Quite A Nighttime Show

lyrid meteor shower above earth

April 22nd marks the height of the annual Lyrid Meteor Shower, one of the brightest such shows.

 

This week marks the height of the annual Lyrid Meteor Shower, one of the brightest shows in our cosmic neighborhood. The Earth will be passing through the trail of a comet discovered in 1861. This latter’s remaining pieces will come shooting through the sky in what always promises to be a good show. Considering the fact that the moon will be a crescent, there will likely be little interference in areas with clear skies and away from cities.

How Best To View the Lyrid Meteor Shower

The rules to having the best view of the meteor shower are similar to those for viewing any other such event. Avoid congested areas like cities and lit parks. Find isolated places with little light pollution. You will also want to avoid a cloud cover, if possible.This particular shower is best seen in the Northern Hemisphere from April 18 through April 24. However, the best times to see it will be early Saturday and Sunday morning. The show can usually be best seen just before sunrise. As many as ten to twenty meteors may break through the atmosphere during every hour of the spectacle.

2017 promises nine major meteor showers, including the more popular Perseid and Geminid events.  However, not all of these will have a good viewing. Several will occur during the full moon, which outshines the “shooting stars”, interfering with the observer’s view. The Orionid shower in October will likely provide the next best view of such an event for the entire year.For the Lyrid Meteor Shower, you will want to look to the northeast to find the radiant point from which the shooting stars will emerge. This is the actual path of the comet. The meteors will then radiate from that point in every direction as they catch the atmosphere, lighting up as they burn out in a fiery end to their long, cold stay in space.

“It would be best to face towards the northern half of the sky with the moon at your back.” At least according to an AMS recommendation.
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Coral Bleaching Reportedly Reached The Point Of No Return

great barrier reef coral bleaching

The Great Barrier Reef seems to have reached a new critical point in its fight against coral bleaching

There has been much talk in the news about the Great Barrier Reef and the different attempts to save this ecosystem from the damages brought on by coral bleaching.

The Great Barrier Reef is considered the biggest living structure on our planet. However, the latest analysis shows that it seems to be nearing its end. Scientists just announced that many reef portions are dying and that they have now reached the point of no recovery. This is likely to lead to more negative effects than initially believed.

The Mass Coral Bleaching May Lead To Seemingly Unavoidable Problems In The Ecosystem

The Great Barrier Reef hosts a great variety of species, from mollusks to sharks and, of course, corals. All of the above and below sea creatures depend and rely on these structures. Over the past 20 years, the Great Barrier Reef has gone through 3 massive coral bleaching events and is currently in the middle of its fourth.

This latest one is also seen as the gravest one yet, as it directly followed the third such event, which took place just a year ago. Although specialists, as well as nature lovers, have been trying to save it, the coral bleaching degradation has reportedly reached a point of no return.

If the water will start cooling down, at least some of the coral reefs will have a chance at recovery. But if the temperatures continue to rise, they will most likely continue to bleach and fade away for good. This event is expected to continue as the global temperatures are increasing as well.

The latest survey showed that 932 miles out of the total 5,000 miles of the Great Barrier Reef are now completely bleached. Presently, the corals are still alive, but they will most likely start fading if left unpopulated.

Coral bleaching takes place as the waters start warming. As they do so, the corals start ejecting a symbiotic alga that is essential for their survival and which live in their tissues.

Image Source: Pixabay

A Rare Parasitic Worm Is Causing Worries In Hawaii

hawaii map of rare parasitic worm

Hawaii Health Officials are worried about the increase in rat lungworm cases, a rare parasitic worm

Hawaii Health Officials are worried as the island seems to be affected by an increasing number of rat lungworm cases, a rare parasitic worm. This can affect people’s brains and lead to several health issues, in rare cases, even death. Over the last few months, Maui authorities have confirmed 4 cases, while an additional four are still under investigation.

This Rare Parasitic Worm Could Lead To Meningitis

The rare parasite or the Angiostrongylus cantonensis is more commonly called the rat lungworm. Symptoms of such an infection include neck stiffness, headaches, nausea, or vomiting. People affected by it can also experience an abnormal sensation in their arms and legs. The rat lungworm can lead to meningitis and, in rare cases, even to neurological problems or death. This is all according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The health officials stated that most people could make a full recovery without following any treatment. However, people affected by such symptoms should seek medical attention.

“If you could imagine, it’s like having a slow-motion bullet go through your brain”. This is according to Dr. Sarah Park. She is an epidemiologist at the Hawaii Health Department.

So far, in 2017, health officials confirmed that 2 Maui residents have been affected by the rare parasitic worm. Also, this affected two island visitors. Presently, authorities are investigating what could be a further 4 cases of such an infection.

Rats are known for carrying the rat lungworm. However, this parasite can also infect slugs and snails, according to the CDC. People can contact a rat lungworm infection if they eat contaminated produce or by consuming undercooked or raw slugs or snails.

This parasite is prevalent in the tropical Pacific islands as well as in Southeast Asia. However, in recent years, it has also become more common in the United States, the Caribbean, and Africa, as its geographical distribution has been expanding to other regions as well.

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Research Was Unable To Explain This Strange Flash Of X-Ray

strange flash in space

Researchers are unable to explain the cause or reason behind a strange flash of X-ray.

Even after carrying out a study, researchers are unable to explain the cause or reason behind a strange flash of X-ray. This event was captured back in 2014 and has been enticing scientists ever since.

The strange flash of X-ray has been dubbed CDF-S XT1. It was captured back in October 2014 by the Chandra X-ray Observatory from NASA. According to the telescope images, this flash increased in brightness by about 1,000 times over the period of an hour. However, it then faded ‘dramatically’ in less than a day. This is all according to a statement released by the Chandra X-ray Observatory.

Now, researchers have released a new study on the matter. This had Franz Bauer, from the Chile Pontific Catholic University as a first author. Presently, the study is available only online. Nonetheless, it will be published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society June 2017 issue.

This Strange Flash Is Still Enveloped In Mystery

“Ever since discovering this source, we’ve been struggling to understand its origin.” This is according to the aforementioned Bauer.

The exact source of this mysterious X-ray flash has yet to be determined. Nonetheless, the team claims that it most likely occurred some 10.7 billion light-years away from Earth, in a small and faint galaxy. This, on its own, is situated in the Chandra Deep Field South area.

According to the new study, the X-ray flash may be the consequence of one or two cosmic events. One of them is a gamma ray burst. This is a powerful, albeit brief explosion which could have been triggered by the collision of 2 neutron stars or the collapse of a massive star. The flash may also mark the aftermath of a white dwarf star being swallowed by a black hole, possibly a medium-sized one.

As it is, neither theory covers all the data, so more research on the matter is still needed before science can fully understand it.

Image Source: Pexels

Tencent’s Next Interest Is in Chinese Video Streaming Service

two girls on smartphone

A popular Chinese video streaming service gained the support of major investment holding companies.

Kuaishou is a video streaming service that is held in high esteem by young Chinese users. Tencent Holdings Ltd. saw the great potential of this business. This is why it organized a fundraising on behalf of the video sharing app. The final sum rounded up to a total of $350 million USD. This is just a secondary step in the company’s plan to go public on the United States market sometime at the end of 2017.

The Video Streaming Service Attracted Investors as Baidu, DCM, and Sequoia

The new round of funding for the popular Chinese video streaming service was designated for one purpose only. The company will use this financial support to streamline the user experience and improve its research and development operations.

Kuaishou explained the new direction of its business with a focus on artificial intelligence and the latest technologies in video analytics. This way, the company wants to ramp up its position on the market and entice new users with latest tech products.

The success of Kuaishou previosuly inspired other investment holding behemoths to support the business. These are DCM, Baidu, and Sequoia. However, the new round of fundraising didn’t reveal their second participation. On the other hand, Kuaishou will not receive financial support only.

Tencent Saw a Great Bussiness Opportunity in its New Project

On the contrary, the company managed to close a partnership with Baidu and Tencent. Together, they are going to improve the technology and product of the Chinese video streaming service. The ultimate goal is to attract new users through a top-notch experience on the platform.

The founder and chairman of Tencent, Pony Ma, is excited for the new project and partnership with his company.

“Kuaishou has brings people closer with their focus on the recording and sharing everyday lives. It’s a product that closes to users for its warmth and vigor.”

Tencent acknowledged the trend that is going to help video content expand into an even bigger market in the future. By merging their efforts together, Kuaishou and Tencent will complete their unique user insights, professional expertise, and conquered tech boundaries to come up with groundbreaking methods to seize business opportunities.

At the moment, the popularity of Kuaishou created a large community of 400 million global users. The social media application offers them a creative way to capture their everyday life on live stream or video clips. Afterward, they can share their work with the world. The tackled topics are usually inspired by everyday life. However, there are also beauty tutorials and quirky entertainment.

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China Backs Off on Overseas Investments

beijing scenery

Zhong Shan, the commerce minister of China, urged businesspersons to slow down on irrational overseas investments.

Last year, China scored a new record when it comes to overseas investments. Many Chinese companies sought to invest outside the country and bought businesses valued at a total of $225 billion. This record number marked the Chinese business leaders as a new global power. However, policy makers are worried of to how much extent money is leaving Chinese territory. With this idea in mind, the authorities are urging businesspersons to slow down this expansion.

Commerce Minister Calls for Cognition over Overseas Investments

Even though the portfolio of companies in China extended to unbelievable heights, Zhong Shan, the commerce minister, perceives this movement as imprudent. The minister defined this expansion as “blind and irrational investment.” During the annual meeting of Congress in China, Zhong Shan announced at a news briefing several future plans. To mitigate this situation, he stated that officials are going to strengthen their monitoring over a selected number of companies.

“Some even have had a negative impact on our national image” stated Mr. Zhong who is also a trusted personality in President Xi Jinping’s  political entourage. By this, he referred to several enterprises that left a negative trail after the completion of their acquisitions overseas.

Repercussions of the Recent Comments

Even though the company didn’t explain the event, Wanda Group failed to honor the deal on Friday with Dick Clark Productions, the producer of Golden Globe Awards. The Chinese conglomerate led by the Wang Jianlin was supposed to conclude an already announced purchasing act with Dick Clark Productions last week. However, it was Wanda Group that didn’t honor the $1 billion agreement. It is uncertain if this sudden shift is related to Beijing stepping in or if this was a realization of a big mistake.

It was not only companies but also Chinese families, who relied on overseas investments for their economy. They felt how the national finances are slowing down amid a weak currency and other such issues. China had to cover around $1 trillion expenses during the last two and a half years to support the value of the currency.

On the other hand, companies are showing signs of leaving the irrational investments behind and heading for safer territories. A managing partner at DLA Piper, a law firm in China, Qiang Li, stated “There is no question that investors will continue to invest overseas, by getting the proper approvals.” He explained this projection as an observation of the recent deals in which he participated. Only a quarter of them continued to get money out of China. The rest of them relied on dollars that are owned by China and which they already got in circulation overseas.

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Rookie Doctors Are Now Able to Work 24-Hour Shifts

young female resident smiling

New work regulations indicate that rookie doctors will soon be able to work 24-hour shifts. These rules will take effect this summer. Supporters of the new law stated that this would improve training for newcomers. A Chicago-based team which sets work standards for graduates of the US medical school has decided to eliminate 16-hour shifts for first-year residents.

On March 10, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education announced their initiative as being part of revisions that encompass reinstating the longer limit for rookies. The same limit of hours is allowed for advanced residents. The new rules re-iterate the 80-hour limit per week for residents at all levels. Dr. Anai Kothari is a third-year resident on a council panel which recommended the changes.

He stated that he only sometimes works 24-hour shifts.  All the extra hours give him enough time to finish up with his patients instead of going home at the end of his regular shift, in the middle of a case. He works at Loyola University Medical Center near Chicago.

Dr. Samantha Harrington, who is a first-year resident, believes that working for so many hours might endanger patients’ state of health and residents’ safety. They would be too tired to think clearly and a treat a patient right. Even the slightest mistake at first can turn into a dangerous one which could jeopardize the life of a patient.

Harrington noted that her 14-hour shifts at Cambridge Hospital located near Boston already mean too much. It is difficult for her to stay awake for so long and be 100% focused on all medical cases because the life of your patients depends on your decisions. It is even harder to stay awake when driving home from work.

She claims that these laborious hours are based on a patriarchal system in which other physicians which worked there longer argue that if they managed to do it when they were residents than residents nowadays should be able to do it too. Harrington is also a member of the Committee of Interns and Residents. This union organization opposes the new regulations which will soon be adopted.

Another union group called the American Medical Student Assn believes that the new changes will not be beneficial. Dr. Kelly Thilbert, the president of this group, believes that the 16-hour shift is a lot safer for all residents.

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