Tuesday, September 23, 2014

bottled water, bad

Why You Shouldn't Drink Warm Bottled Water

Why You Shouldn't Drink Warm Bottled Water
Photo by Henrik Sorensen/Digital Vision/Getty Images
A few years back, rumors circulated that Sheryl Crow claimed drinking bottled water left in a hot car had given her breast cancer. The result? A fresh wave of good, old-fashioned American fear. Since then, the worry over plastic bottles leaching dangerous chemicals into our water has never quite disappeared — and perhaps for good reason, suggests a new study published in the September edition of Environmental Pollution.
Scientists from Nanjing University in China and the University of Florida investigated the effects of storing 16 brands of bottled water (all sold in China) at three temperatures: 39 degrees F, 77 degrees F, and 158 degrees F, intended to mimic the temperatures of a refrigerator, a standard room, and the inside of a car, respectively. “Based on the literature, that is a temperature that’s reachable on a hot summer day in a car,” study author Lena Ma told Yahoo Health.
The researchers checked the levels of two substances —antimony and bisphenol A (BPA) — after one, two, and four weeks. Antimony, a trace heavy metal, has been found to play a role in lung, heart, and gastrointestinal diseases, according to a 2009 study reviewThe International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies one form of the metal, called antimony trioxide, as a “possible carcinogen.” BPA, meanwhile, is a chemical that can mimic estrogen in the body and which is found in some plastics; it’s been banned for use by the FDA in baby bottles and sippy cups.
The researchers found that as the temperature rose and time passed, increasingly high levels of antimony were detectable in the bottles of water. Specifically, at 77° F, the release of antimony increased by as much as twofold over that at the cooler temperature — although the levels of the trace metal varied by brand, increasing significantly at 77 degrees F in only six out of 16 brands.
BPA levels, meanwhile, went up in only three brands at this temperature, though the concentration still wasn’t high enough to cause concern, Ma said. But the presence of BPA in bottled water, period, is still something of a mystery: “In theory, the plastic should not contain BPA,” she said. One explanation, she noted, is that “during the manufacturing process, especially if you use recycled plastics, you may find trace amounts of BPA. It’s an impurity.”  
At 158 degrees F — the hot-car condition — antimony concentrations consistently increased, with up to a 319-fold boost in levels of the metal, compared with levels in the refrigerator condition. The highest level measured was .00026 milligrams per liter of water, which is still lower than the EPA’s legal limit of .0006 milligrams per liter for drinking water. However, other countries, such as Japan, have set stricter limits on the substance.
The scientists estimate that, worst-case scenario, drinking the most heavily contaminated brand of bottled water could mean consuming .0004 mg of antimony per kilogram of body weight each day, which they said may pose a health risk, especially for children. Another factor to consider: Calcium — often found in bottled mineral water — has been shown to enhance the release of antimony. “Therefore,” the researchers wrote, “the health risk caused by [antimony] release from PET bottles in this study may be underestimated.” 

Friday, September 12, 2014

how to give up smoking which kills 6 million a year


Magic Mushrooms Could Help Smokers Kick The Habit

September 12, 2014 | by Justine Alford
photo credit: János Csongor Kerekes, "Hmm..Mushrooms...look at those Unicorns!" via Flickr. CC BY-ND 2.0
Psilocybin, the active hallucinogenic ingredient in magic mushrooms, could help long-term smokers kick the habit, a new Johns Hopkins study has found. But before you skip to the woods and merrily start self-medicating, the participants were also enrolled in a cognitive behavioral therapy program, and they’re not really sure why it works yet. The study has been published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.
Magic mushrooms, or “shrooms,” are hallucinogenic mushrooms that contain the psychedelic ingredients psilocybin and psilocin. When consumed, they can alter your mood, perception and behavior; this experience is colloquially known as “tripping.” They’ve been taken inreligious rituals in Mexico and Central America for thousands of years and today they’re still used recreationally.
Some studies have suggested that hallucinogens may have therapeutic uses, for example in the treatment of depression. Early findings also hinted that psilocybin may be beneficial to patients with substance use disorders, but no one conducted any follow-up studies.
To find out whether this psychedelic compound could help tobacco smokers, Johns Hopkins researchers enrolled 10 male and 5 female psychiatrically healthy volunteers. The participants were all nicotine-dependent smokers around the age of 50 that had smoked, on average, 20 cigarettes a day for 30 years. Participants had also previously attempted to ditch the cigs around six times throughout their lives.
During the first session, participants were administered a moderate (20 mg/70 kg) dose of psilocybin in pill form, and in two subsequent sessions spread over eight weeks they were administered a high dose (30 mg/70 kg). Participants were closely monitored during the session, which took place in a homelike setting. Some covered their eyes and listened to music, and they were encouraged to relax and focus on their inner experiences.
The sessions were paired with a comprehensive cognitive behavioral therapy program designed to help them quit smoking. This included one-on-one counseling sessions and advising the participants to keep a diary in order to note when they felt they needed a cigarette most.
After six months, they found that 80% of the participants had abstained from smoking. This is markedly higher than the rates achieved with other common treatments, such as nicotine replacement and behavioral therapies which usually only have a 30% success rate.Varenicline, a widely used prescription drug for nicotine addiction, also only has a 35% success rate at six months.
The researchers conclude that while the study cannot inform us of the efficacy of psilocybin, it seems to suggest that it may be useful in conjunction with current smoking cessation programs.
Before you start googling magic mushroom growing kits, the researchers warn that the results were specific to the controlled doses given in the context of a structured therapy program.
“Quitting smoking isn’t a simple biological reaction to psilocybin, as with other medications that directly affect nicotine receptors,” lead author Matthew Johnson said in a news release. “When administered after careful preparation and in therapeutic context, psilocybin can lead to deep reflection about one’s life and spark motivation to change.”
It’s also important to note that this was a very small pilot study with no control group, so further studies will be required to confirm the results. The researchers therefore plan to take the work forward by comparing psilocybin with nicotine patches.  

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

not running will prevent running injuries from occurring in the first place.

What is Rolfing – and can it fix my running injuries?

If physiotherapy, acupuncture or massage isn’t doing it for you, this technique – that focuses on correcting the positioning of the myofascial layers in your body – might be worth a try
Rolfing … yes, it can hurt …
Rolfing … yes, it can hurt … Photograph: Alamy

Rolfing? What on earth is that?

A treatment process developed in the middle of the 20th century by a lady called Ida Rolf, Rolfing is all about returning your body to its optimum structure, via the realignment of the interconnective tissues (or myofascial layer) that hold the muscles in place. It is usually done in a series – taking the form of 10 one-on-one sessions that follow a specific plan, moving through different body parts and muscle groups with methodical rigour.

What is it used for?

Often used as a method to treat chronic pain, like that associated with nasty RSI or muscle imbalances (as seen in professional musicians, or athletes) or for arthritis and back pain. For me, it was a debilitating hip injury, combined with some nasty stiffness in the upper back - oh and – let’s not forget that weak ankle - that led me to looking beyond the more well known treatment methods to something, perhaps more far-reaching, that might get (literally) get under the skin of the issue.

What about Rolfing for runners, more specifically?

If you’re a runner, the chances are you’re already familiar with different types of treatment methods, like physiotherapy (which takes the long, slow, but often very successful view), acupuncture (which aims to release tension from muscles, often with high levels of pain, and thus swearing, on my part) and sports massage (that kneading thing you love to hate). Maybe you even know a bit about muscle activation techniques and myofascial release therapy, and perhaps you can administer a bit of love to your knotty bits yourself, via the ubiquitous foam roller or a hard ball.
Rolfing is slightly different from each of these methods, in that a practitioner can actually lift up and move the myofascial layer back into its correct place, as well as helping to flush out waste products, as any tough massage might.
“I have worked with many amateur runners who report better economy of movement in running, as well as the resolution of various niggles such as ankle, knee or hip pain,” said experienced London-based Rolfer, Alan Richardson, when I inquired as to how his chosen method might be able to help.
Obviously, when niggles are sorted out and postural issues addressed, it’s possible to run better (especially – disclaimer! - if you’ve taken a few running technique lessons). This then leads to a reduced risk of injury, not to mention a general upsurge in style, speed and panache. It is a little bit chicken-and-egg though; you need to run with good form, to avoid overuse injuries and postural imbalances developing. But if you’ve got those problems already, the injuries are around the corner…

Does Rolfing work? Where’s the proof?

The main website has a range of links to studies done on Rolfing and its effects but there are relatively few that focus on running. There are anecdotal reports of increased balance and flexibility, as well as research conducted by Rolfer Valerie Hunt demonstrating how it can alter pelvic angle - all of which can be positive for runners.
As with many “alternative” approaches however, the true value is largely subjective. Certainly I found my series of Rolfing sessions to highlight those gnarly points or issues that had the potential to effect my running (and life in general). It took a while though - thank goodness I decided to do the entire series before I made a final judgement because it wasn’t until session 6/7 that we really started to get to the crux of things - my neck, chest and shoulder area are “holding” huge amounts of ... Something? Energy? Tension? Fear? Whatever it is, it’s causing problems.
“Do you know the meaning of the word relax?” Alan jokes, as I try to allow him to release my pectoral muscle whilst exhaling, lying on my back on the treatment table.
I think we’ve found a sore sport. Chest tightness however, is also typical of those who, like me, sit at a desk typing for hours on end. But it’s not just part time desk jockeys and part time fitness junkies (like me) who wind up on Rolfers’ tables. Olympic silver medallist in diving, Leon Taylor, has been treated by a huge variety of sports therapists during his career. Having recently completed a Half Ironman triathlon, he’s now considering a full Ironman. He says of the Rolfing sessions he had with Anna Collins: “In general, I felt I’d had my creases ironed out. In terms of running in particular… I’ll admit the weakest part of every triathlon for me is definitely the run, that’s where my body starts to really play up! But after Rolfing at least I feel I’ve got more movement in the lower back and hips, which is obviously very important for running.”

Does it hurt?

Yes, Rolfing can be fairly uncomfortable, even painful, at points (but then again, so can untreated injuries...) Like sports massage, Rolfing is very hands-on, but unlike most massage, it uses no oils, just skin and pressure against muscles and connective tissue. If you’re like me, and enjoy having tension kneaded out of you, then it needn’t be completely unpleasant.

Where can you find yourself a Rolfer and how much will it cost?

Up until this month there were only 23 qualified Rolfers in the UK. But this June (2014), 12 new Rolfers graduate after completing the first ever UK Rolfing qualification.
Costs vary between practitioners and locations. More information atrolfinguk.co.uk