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Showing posts with label HEALTH & FITNESS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label HEALTH & FITNESS. Show all posts

Saturday, 12 April 2014

You're Not Going to Deform Your Spine by Texting Too Much

Texting-slouch
Constant texting can be dangerous — whether it's behind the wheel or crossing the street. But it turns out that perennial claims that texting is having an adverse, and potentially lethal, impact on people's posture may be overstated.
For years, stories have appeared online warning about the bodily harm associated with compulsively bending one's neck downward to look at their phone. Many of these articles cite warnings from the United Chiropractic Association, which says that frequent texting can result in hyperkyphosis - a severe curvature of the spine that leads to increased mortality rates.
But recently, Harriet Hall of the blog Science-Based Medicine refuted the claims of the UCA. Though hyperkyphosis can do very real harm — particularly in the elderly — Hall argues that the link between this pronounced form of spinal disfiguration and texting has not been conclusively proven.
First, a quick crash course in chiropractic medicine. Kyphosis is a condition involving an "exaggeration of the natural curvature of the spine." This malady becomes hyperkyphosis when this bend exceeds 45 degrees.
A recent Telegraph article positing the spinal dangers of texting notes that hyperkyphosis has been shown to increase mortality rates by 1.44 times. That's roughly the same increase in the likelihood of death caused by obesity.
"Chiropractors have said a lot of silly things, but this ranks right up there among the silliest," Hall writes. "They are just making stuff up and using scaremongering as a practice-building technique."
Hall, a former family physician and Air Force flight surgeon who has written prolifically to debunk bad medical advice, says the idea that cellphone use could lead to irreparable spine damage is akin to the old wives tale that crossing one's eyes can become a permanent condition.
Like most myths, there is a kernel of truth to this one, Hall says. Texting can lead to a mild form of kyphosis, so mild in fact that it's what you or I might call mere slouching. And although slouching can cause some temporary muscle pain, it's certainly not life threatening or irreversible.
The more severe hyperkyphosis condition (which would manifest itself like the Hunchback of Notre Dame), is usually caused by more dramatic factors. It's often found in older people, particularly women, as a result of osteoporosis causing actual deterioration of vertebrae. In younger people, it's usually the result of some kind of physical accident or birth defect.
"Remember when Mom told you not to cross your eyes because they might get stuck and stay that way permanently?" Hall writes. "Of course that can't really happen; and no amount of hunching over a cellphone is going to produce a permanent hyperkyphosis either."
So to put things in perspective, when it comes to cellphone use, you should be much more wary of the impact it has on your ability to pay attention rather than your posture. Though it's still a relatively rare occurrence, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission found that in 2011, more than 1,150 pedestrians went to the emergency room as a result of injuries they suffered while texting and walking. And recently, researchers at Cohen Children's Medical Center in New York found that fatalities related to texting while driving have eclipsed drunk driving deaths among teens.

Posted By: Pawan Lubana on Saturday, 12 April 2014

Lab-Grown Vaginas Successfully Implanted in Patients

Petri-dish
Researchers have grown vaginas in a lab, and the organs are working normally in four teenage patients who were among the first people to receive such an implant, scientists reported April 10, 2014.
All of the patients in the study underwent surgery five to eight years ago because they were born with a rare genetic condition in which the vagina and uterus are underdeveloped or absent.
Scientists grew each vagina from the patient's own cells, and then implanted it in her body. So far in the follow-up, the treatment has been successful, and the patients who are now sexually active have reported normal function, according to the study, published April 10 in the journal Lancet.
Although this is a small pilot study, the results show that vaginal organs can be constructed in the lab and used successfully in people, said study researcher Dr. Anthony Atala, director of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center's Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
Although more research needs to be done, growing vaginal tissue from a person's own cells could potentially be a new treatment option for patients with vaginal cancer or injuries who require reconstructive surgeries, the researchers said.
"A lot of what we are doing right now is really applicable to patients who have deformity or abnormal organs for many other conditions — of course, the most prominent being cancer — [and] also patients who may have an injury in the area," Atala said.
The girls in the study had a congenital deformation called Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome, which affects between one in 1,500 and one in 4,000 female infants, the researchers said.
To build the personalized vaginas, the researchers took a small piece of vulvar tissue, less than half the size of a postage stamp, from each patient, and then allowed the cells to multiply in lab dishes.
The vagina is made up of two major layers with two cell types: muscle cells and vaginal epithelial cells. To build these layers, the researchers placed one cell type on one face of a scaffold, made of a fabric-like material, and placed the other cell type on the other face of the scaffold.
"We were able to shape the scaffold specifically for each patient, and place this device with the cells in a bioreactor — which is an ovenlike device and has the same conditions as the human body — for about a week, until it was slightly more mature," Atala said.
Once the organs were ready, doctors surgically created a cavity in the patients' bodies, and stitched one side of the vaginal organ to the opening of the cavity and the other side to the uterus.
"The whole process takes about five to six weeks, from the time we take the tissue from the patient to the time we actually plant the engineered construct back into the patient," Atala said.
The girls were between 13 and 18 years old at the time of their surgeries. Researchers followed up with the patients every year for five to eight years, and examined the organs using X-rays and biopsies to check their structure. Patients also reported on the organs' functionality, including the sexual function.
Data from these yearly follow-up visits show that up to eight years after the surgeries, the organs had normal function, including normal sexual functions, such as desire and pain-free intercourse, according to the study.
Current treatments for MRKH syndrome include dilation of existing tissue or, for more severe cases, reconstructive surgery using a piece of intestine or a piece of skin to create a new vaginal organ.
However, the risk of complications is high with these techniques because the tissue substitute is not vaginal tissue, Atala said. "They are not ideal because they don't perform the same functionality," he said.

Posted By: Pawan Lubana on

Thursday, 3 April 2014

I Used the Internet to Quit Smoking

Phone-cigarette

I started smoking for the same reasons most people begin the nasty habit: I was young and stupid.
Like many teenagers, I could care less about the negative aspects of smoking. Money wasn't yet a burden on my everyday existence, the long term effects meant little to nothing and I had myself convinced that quick spritz of spray deodorant and some gum masked the smell well enough.
The truth was that smoking, once a fun and social activity then began to control my life.
Don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed smoking. In fact, I loved smoking.
Smoking was always there for me. It helped alleviate stress, introduced me to most of my good friends, it felt amazing and played a huge role in my daily routine. I would sneak a smoke break anywhere I could, and living in a city always provided a few moments to puff, when waiting for the bus or walking between destinations

The beginning of the end

At age 22 I was up to a full pack a day, sometimes more. My family begged me to quit, but you can't just tell someone to stop smoking — they have to hit rock bottom, they have to want it.
A few years later, at age 24 I was living in New York, the most expensive city in the United States, where cigarette prices are over $12 a pack. There was now no way for me to further delay my mountainous, six-figure student loan debt. I simply couldn't afford to smoke anymore, and quite frankly, I didn't want to.
Then a friend posted an Instagram of her Timehop app. The nostalgia-based app allows you to see your photos and social media updates from exactly one year prior. Someone with whom I had once enjoyed many cigarettes had made it a full year without smoking, and I desperately wanted the same.

IMAGE: INSTAGRAM
After some encouragement from friends and family, I started to seriously consider quitting for real. I had tried a few times before, but I had never put any calculated effort towards it.
I began researching popular methods people use to quit, and stumbled upon an online support group on Reddit, r/stopsmoking. The encouraging community is a place for Redditors who seek motivation to quit, and is filled with stories, words of encouragement and advice. A yellow badge appears next to your username with a number, signifying the number of days since quitting.
reddit

IMAGE: REDDIT
Once I immersed myself in the subreddit, I found that the community extremely friendly and helpful. Unlike other places on the Internet, there were no trolls or hateful words toward those who sought advice.

I quit

Although I had yearned to quit, and had done some research in the method and practice I thought best for me, I never picked a specific time to quit. But when I awoke on New Year's Day with a splitting headache, reeking of an ash tray, I figured now was as good a time as ever. The hangover alone was enough to make me not want to smoke, so I knew the first day wouldn't be so bad.
Searching for methods to quit smoking on the Internet is like searching for weight loss tips — there are thousands of different approaches that all claim to be the best, but not all is right for you.
appstore.edit

IMAGE: ITUNES APP STORE
The patch seemed too weird for me, the gum made my mouth itch, prescription medication was definitely out; I had no insurance, e-cigarettes hadn't caught on yet, and reading a self-help book just made me feel like a drug addict, which I was.
Along with cigarettes, my phone was the only other thing I couldn't leave my apartment without
One method that did peak my interest was appsAlong with cigarettes, my phone was the only other thing I couldn't leave my apartment without, and now it was my only clutch.
There are hundreds of apps geared towards quitting smoking. I downloaded an app called QuitIt, because it had good ratings, it was free and wasn't as invasive or time-consuming as some others.
There are hundreds of apps geared towards quitting smoking. I downloaded an app called QuitIt, because it had good ratings, it was free and wasn't as invasive or time-consuming as some others.
The app is geared toward information as motivation. You plug in the amount of cigarettes you smoke, cost per pack and the time you quit smoking. The app does the math and delivers you information based on your specifics.
The status screen tracks the amount of time since you quit, the money you've saved, cigarettes not smoked and the tar associated with that number. The app also includes a number of health goals, which monitors your progress as time continues.
quitit

IMAGE: QUITIT

Utilizing the app

Quitting smoking was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. Like most quitting stories, I did get a little sick, I was irritable and I felt terrible, but the most difficult part was the empty feeling I was left with. I felt as if nothing was ever going to be the same — any activity I had once enjoyed while smoking was simply never going to be as good as it was with a cigarette in hand.
My morning coffee just wasn't like it was before. I drank alone inside bars as my friends braved the cold weather for their vice, and even though my appetite did increase, meals weren't as satisfying without a cigarette for dessert.
Any time I had a craving, I would open the app, and track the progress I had made. If I had a craving while I was on the computer, I'd immediately go to r/stopsmoking, to read a success story, or to offer someone else having a harder time than me support. It was like complaining about a sprained ankle at the doctor's office when the person next to you doesn't have any legs at all.
After just a week or two, I started to notice a difference in my health and hygiene, especially in my mouth. Once the initial shock wore off, sleeping became easier, although occupied with strange, lucid dreams And I began to think about cigarettes less and less.
stopsmoking copy

IMAGE: REDDIT
The app worked for me because of its no-nonsense vibe. The ads are small and barely noticeable, it isn't overloaded with features and functions, it loads quickly and isn't a battery killer.
Other apps like Kwit use game design techniques to encourage quitting.
kwit

IMAGE: KWIT
The app Livestrong which calls itself a "MyQuit Coach" combines game design, community and motivational information. It was a little frustrating to use, however, and the popups just made me want to smoke more.
Untitled-1

IMAGE: LIVESTRONG
A lot of apps also feature the humble, social media brag element, allowing you to connect your social media accounts to the app. For me, the thought of failure was worse once I boasted to my followers about how far I had come with my addiction.
Not smoking is still an everyday struggle, and probably will be for the rest of my life. Although myQuitIt app slowly moved from the home screen on my iPhone, to the third screen, back among other forgotten and hardly used apps, I have no desire to delete it. Still, the only time I ever open it is when someone asks how much money I've saved since quitting.
Answer: lots of money, and many years.

Posted By: Pawan Lubana on Thursday, 3 April 2014

Saturday, 4 January 2014

7 Ways to Sneak Exercise Into the Self-Employed Lifestyle

When you’re self-employed, it’s easy to think that your schedule is 100% your own, and that you can pick and choose exactly how you want to spend your time. However, entrepreneurs work hard to please clients and build the perfect business — which means that personal time is often sacrificed for last minute projects, client meetings and tight deadlines.
The stress and long hours of the entrepreneurial lifestyle often come at the expense of physical and mental well-being. Trips to the gym take a back seat to the business.
If you’ve been struggling to find a way to fit regular exercise into your unpredictable, self-employed schedule, here are a few tips for the new year.

1. Wake Up Earlier

Squeezing in an extra hour in the morning is one of the most effective ways to fit a workout into your day. Maybe you’re not a morning person, and the idea of waking up in the dark to swim laps or head to the gym sounds like pure insanity. If this is the case, ease yourself into a new schedule by setting your alarm half an hour earlier each week until you’re getting up a 6 a.m.
The best part about working out in the morning is that it sets the tone for the rest of the day, and there’s no chance a last-minute client request will get in the way.

2. Get Social Support

Find a few friends or colleagues to join you on a biweekly bike ride or hike in order to stay honest and motivated throughout the year. This positive form of peer pressure is a proven way to encourage people to perform and follow through on their commitment.
For example, if you’re scheduled to meet a personal trainer or friend at the gym at a certain time, you’ll be more likely to go. And while I’d never recommend anyone to enter such a major commitment just for the exercise, adopting a dog will force you to get outside for a walk or run every day.

3. Gamify Your Exercise



Nike+ Fuelband SE
Gamification, which applies game mechanics such as rewards and leaderboards to working out, has been a hot trend for several years now. For example, you can start a challenge board for your fellow colleagues, friends, employees, etc. Challenges can include anything like “Do 50 push-ups today” or “Run X miles before work.”
If you work from home and don’t have a big group in the office, try tracking your activity with a device such as the Fitbit Force or Nike Fuelband. In addition, there are many mobile app games, such as Zombies Run or Fleetly to help keep you motivated.

4. Exercise at Your Desk

Surely you’ve heard about the growing research indicating that sitting for eight hours each day can shave years off our lives. In response, standing deskstreadmill desks and exercise balls are rising in popularity in offices everywhere. If you’re not quite ready to stand or jog while working, there are numerous exercises you can do at your desk during a sedentary day. Get up and walk, even at the office, for about 5-10 minutes every hour.
Click here to see 20 exercises, including simple stretches to boost circulation as well as more complex strength-building exercises. Likewise, do whatever you can to be more active during the day. If you have to drive instead of walk, park farther away from your destination and take the stairs instead of using an elevator.

5. Go Outside During Lunch

Not everyone can take a long break during the day, change clothes, and come back sweaty and flushed after a mid-day run or basketball game. However, you can probably go for a brisk 30-minute walk at lunch and still be presentable to meet with an important client.
Depending on where you are on the fitness spectrum, a 30-minute walk may not be sufficient, but it’s always better than sitting at a desk. You’ll also get the mood-enhancing benefits of sunshine, fresh air and a change in scenery.

6. Incorporate Workouts Into Meetings

You most likely meet with clients or contractors over lunch in a café or conference room. But, you could opt for a low-key fitness activity, such as golf or a walk in the park, to discuss business matters while being active.
Of course, you never want to spring this type of plan on anyone; make sure your client is comfortable with the idea. And who knows, maybe you’ll discover you have a mutual interest, such as rock climbing, kayaking or cycling — and your client may be just as eager to sneak these activities into his or her schedule as you are.

7. Make It a Priority

The most important thing you can do is treat your workouts like any other appointment. You’re not going to break a commitment to a client, so don’t break a commitment to yourself either. Schedule each workout into your smartphone and make it non-negotiable. You don’t owe anyone an explanation why you’re unavailable during that time.

Posted By: Pawan Lubana on Saturday, 4 January 2014

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

The Top 10 Android Apps of 2013

  • Duolingo

    1. Duolingo

    Duolingo works to add interactivity and customized lesson planning to the language learning experience by rewarding users when they achieve goals, giving incentive to return for more lessons -- something your high school's Intermediate Spanish course never did.
    Duolingo gives users the opportunity to learn English, Spanish, French, German, Italian and Portuguese. You don't have to worry about being charged for the service any time soon, either. Co-creator Luis von Ahn told USA Today, "We're fundamentalists on the belief that we should not charge for language education."
    Price: Free
    IMAGE: DUOLINGO
  • 2. Pocket Casts

    A one-stop shop for organizing your podcasts, Pocket Casts allows you to listen to, download and sync your podcasts all from one device. Audio playback is customizable, allowing you to adjust playback speed to whatever you're comfortable with. The "featured" and "popular" menus also help with podcast discovery.
    Price: $3.99
    VIDEO: YOUTUBE, SHIFTYJELLY
  • 3. Evernote

    Evernote, which has become more of a leviathan of productivity than just an app, received several updates in 2013, including a customizable home screen and image and PDF markup. With Evernote, you can take notes or photos, keep reminders, record audio and tag all of it to make it easily searchable. It's so vast, getting started may seem too daunting to some. We recommend our beginner's guide.
    VIDEO: YOUTUBE, EVERNOTEVIDEOS
  • Pixlr

    4. Pixlr Express

    A powerful, customizable photo editor that's more than just filters, Pixlr Express comes packed with the ability to color-correct, blur or layer images and stickers on top of one another. Just taking up 7.2 M of memory, Pixlr Express is more than worth the small amount of space it'll take up on your SD card.
    Price: Free
    IMAGE: PIXLR
  • Nova-launcher

    5. Nova Launcher

    With the release of iOS 7, Apple raised the bar for home screen design in 2013. For Android, Nova Launcher reaches the same bar. Fully customizable, performance-oriented and with a prime version at just $4, Nova Launcher is a great download for any android user.
    Price: $4
    IMAGE: NOVA LAUNCHER
  • 6. doubleTwist

    Aside from being a great tool to sync your music between your Mac or PC and your Android device, doubleTwist is a powerful media player, enabling you to play multiple audio files, watch videos, stream radio and listen to podcasts. It certainly doesn't hurt that doubleTwist's album cover-centric design is beautiful to look at as well.
    Price:
    VIDEO: YOUTUBE, DOUBLETWISTMEDIA
  • Reddit

    7. Reddit is fun

    Reddit is fun is our preferred way of browsing and using Reddit on our Android devices. Easy to navigate, the app more closely resembles the web experience of Reddit than other popular apps -- which seem to be more focused on browsing rather than posting or commenting. Frequently updated with bug fixes and small updates, you can count on Reddit is fun to continue improving with time.
    Price: Free
    IMAGE: REDDIT IS FUN
  • Feedly

    8. Feedly

    Now that our dear Google Reader has moved on from this world, we require a new RSS curation tool to fill our article-consuming needs -- and Feedly fits the bill. The app's design is heavily image focused, giving a reading experience closer to how we use the web than most news aggregation tools. Offering easy sharing tools and integration with Evernote, Instapaper and Pocket, Feedly is a fluid, fast moving hulk of a news app.
    Price
    IMAGE: FEEDLY
  • Sleepbot

    9. Sleepbot

    Whether you choose to use Sleepbot as a simple time log or a dedicated and powerful sleep tracker is up to you, but both options offer a rewarding experience for anyone looking to improve his or her sleeping habits. Sleepbot tracks your movement and noise levels, greeting you with a quiet alarm in the morning at your lightest level of sleep.
    Price: Free
    IMAGE: SLEEPBOT
  • Aereo

    10. Aereo

    Straight out of The Jetsons, the Aereo app -- currently in public beta -- allows you to access your cloud DVR on your Android device, meaning you can watch your favorite television shows on your morning commute (assuming you use public transportation, of course-- Mashable does not condone driving under the influence of Breaking Bad). You can tune into your local channels and save up to 20 hours of television in the cloud.
    Price: Free app; after free trial, subscription is $8 per month.
    Note: Aereo is currently available only in select metropolitan areas.
    IMAGE: AEREO
  • With the release of new operating system KitKat and the announcement that it hit both one billion activations and 50 billion app downloads, it's clear that 2013 has been a year of great news forAndroid.
    In the past 12 months, we've seen the release of some truly remarkable new apps on Google Play, while some old standards got a much-needed revisiting. Here, we list our picks for the top Android apps of the calendar year.
  • Our top choices for 2013 include a leviathan of productivity, a new breed of news reader and a sleep tracker. Check out these apps in the gallery above, and see if they're fit for a download

Posted By: Pawan Lubana on Tuesday, 24 December 2013

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