Monday, December 29, 2008

Exercise Ball for Late Pregnancy Workout

If you are in your third trimester of pregnancy, and considering what exercise you should do as your bump and weight are getting heavier, you may want to get on the ball.

Exercise ball is indeed an effective tool for strengthening your core abdominal muscles during pregnancy. Exercising using ball also provide you with relaxation and physical relief during pregnancy and labour.

There are some tips and guidelines you should follow when purchasing exercise ball.
  • Make sure the ball is made of high quality burst-resistant material

  • Inflate the ball according to your height

  • If your height is less than 5 feet 3 inches (160 cm), inflate the ball to 55 centimeters

  • If you are taller than 5 feet 3 inches (160 cm), inflate to 65 centimeters

Stress Causes Yeast Infections

Do you often experience recurrent yeast infections? If you do, make sure you start taking things easily now.

Chronic stress may be a factor causing vaginal yeast infections with Candida albicans, according to Swedish study, and as reported in American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

The study was conducted by involving 35 healthy women and another 35 women who had at least 4 yeast infections during the past year. Most commonly, these women are infected with Candida albicans.

The researches collected saliva samples from the participants in order to measure the stress hormone, cortisol. Usually cortisol levels rise in the morning. However on these infected women, the cortisol levels was blunted compared with the healthy women. A shallow rise in cortisol indicates ongoing stress.

The researches also found that more patients than the healthy women group, had a history of other vaginal infections such as genital warts, bacterial vaginosis and genital herpes. The researchers suggest that recurrent yeast infections may be a sign of reduced local immunity.

Further studies are needed though. In the meantime, slow down your pace, take deep breath and relax as much as possible. Don't let yourself sink in stress. Additionally, to help keep the yeast away, tips from my gynae: do make sure you iron your underwear after each laundry.

--------------
For reference
American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/00029378

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Pregnancy Waddle

I am now in my last month of pregnancy! Yeayy! Can't wait to get back to the normal me, in terms of size and brain. Despite of ever increasing size and weight, my brain seems to shrink as day goes by. My memory has indeed becoming poorer and poorer, if it's not already at the worst stage now. All thanks to the pregnancy hormones.

In addition, I have been walking like a penguin too. A penguin waddle it is. Thanks to the pregnancy hormones again. The hormones cause the connective tissue in pregnant body to soften and loosen. This is actually very important though, to ensure that baby can squeeze through already-loosen-by-hormones-pelvic-bones.

The drawbacks, of course, besides what's obvious like walking like a penguin, all the joint flexibility causes dicomfort in pelvis and hips. The weight of the baby, heavier uterus and also the baby's head which starts to burrow deeper into pelvis, cause pain when walking these days.

Some of the things you can do to alleviate the pain is to relax with your hips elevated, do some pelvic exercises, take warm baths, apply warm compresses, get a massage, or try some complementary and alternative therapies.

Don't get disheartened. Soon enough, baby will drop into pelvic cavity (doctor refer this as lightening), and it will be easier to take deep breaths and eat bigger meals as the upward pressure of the uterus on diaphragm is relieved.

Wishing For Kestenbaum Eismer & Gorin LLP

I can’t help but to share this. A group of burglars just broke into my parents’ house in Jakarta, Indonesia, during broad daylight. They literally stole every valuable things in our house. It is such a fearless move of the burglars, considering it was carried out around 1pm, and security post is only 1 house away from my parents’ house. No one was home when the burglars broke in. All cash, jewelleries, laptop, home theatre system, LCD televisions are gone. Local police didn’t do much to investigate this case. They only came up with a theory that there is a syndicate behind the scene planning this very carefully.

At this point of time, I really wish Kestenbaum Eismer & Gorin LLP do have their law office in Jakarta. This law firm’s reputation is well recognized throughout Southern California. In fact, this firm has been rated Top 5% U.S. “Preemiment” Criminal Defense Firm, specializing in all criminal & DUI defense matters.

Most importantly, they take matters very professionally. They do investigation on cases by themselves, not just relying on police investigations. This is a very vital aspect, especially considering my parents’ case.

What makes one trusts in Kestenbaum Eismer & Gorin LLP so much is also due to the fact that the firm partners comprises of former Los Angeles Prosecutors, UCLA professor and also State Bar certified criminal law specialist. When you hand your case to them, you just know that you are in a very good hand that definitely will handle your case very well with their highly experienced Los Angeles Criminal and DUI Defense Attorneys.

Again, how I wish that someday Kestenbaum Eismer & Gorin LLP would set up one of their offices in Jakarta. A law firm you know you can really count on.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Men Are More Attracted In Women In Red

My dearest female friends who would like to get more dates with men, or to spice things up on your date, say maybe to get a nicer dinner or for the men to splurge more on you, you should wear red clothes on your date!

A study published in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology showed that, men find women in red more attractive!

This study was conducted involving more than 100 men, excluding gay and colour blind men. Most of them were college undergraduates. They were asked to rate pictures of women on how pretty these women were, how much the men would like to kiss them, and how much the men would like to have sex with them.

The men were shown pictures of women bordered in red, white, grey or green. Even with the picture of same woman, men found she was more attractive when bordered with red frame than with another colour.

Second stage, the men were shown photos of the same woman, with digitally coloured red shirt and blue shirt. The men strongly liked the woman in red shirt.

Third stage, the researchers asked the men, hypothetically if they only have $100 in their wallet, how much money they would be willing to spend on the date. The men also would spend more money on women wearing red.

The red colour affects the woman's level of attractiveness in men's eyes. However, do not affect the men's perception on the woman's likability, intelligence or kindness.

As for guys, if you have started to wonder if you should start buying more red clothes for your wardrobe collection, DON'T!

Interestingly, red colour do not have any effect on women. The researchers had a group of young women rate whether the pictured woman was pretty, and the findings shows the red colour do not have any impact on whether women rated other women as pretty.

So ladies, head up to your fave shops and start piling up red clothes or red accessories for your dates.
--------------
For reference
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology : http://www.apa.org/journals/psp/

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Nutritional Benefits of Green Mung Beans

Green mung beans (also known as green beans) are very beneficial towards our health. It has high level of iron to prevent anemia, phosphorus to prevent beriberi, vitamin B1 to prevent digestion problem.

Vitamin E from mung bean sprouts can help to increase fertility because of its alkalinity. Thus, it is also very effective in keeping gastric juice in check, helping in food digestion, and skin regeneration.

However, you should pay extra attention in the cooking process of green beans, as the nutritional value is easily diminished by heat and acid.

The correct way to cook green beans is to soak with water for 1-2 hours. Afterwards, cook it altogether with the water in medium heat for 30 minutes. It is ready to serve. You can add in sugar, milk, or coconut milk according to your liking.

For adults, green beans is very good to repair and maintain body system, especially during recovery phase from illness. Pregnant and breastfeeding women can benefit from its high level of iron and folate.

It is best if you could consume green beans daily. Or else you can take it once every other day, or twice a week.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Making of Fingerprints

As what I understand from reading several pregnancy books, fingerprints are formed during fetal development, when fetus is swimming in the amniotic fluid. That is why there is no identical fingerprints, not even in identical twins.

What get me to think though, why the prints are only formed in the fingers? and not other part of our skin?

In an explanation by anatomist Professor Ian Gibbins from Flinders University, the first signs of patterns on the fingers, palms and soles of the feet appear about 11 to 12 weeks after fertilisation, and the entire pattern of skin ridges is established by early in the fifth month of fetal life.

According to him, fingerprints are not formed by the ebbing and flowing of amniotic fluid. During early fetal development tissue on the fingers, palms and soles of the feet swells to form what are known as volar pads. These volar pads stop to grow when hands and feet continue to grow. As a result, the pads are reabsorbed back into the hand or foot. In this period, the interactions between our outer layer of the skin (epidermis) and the deep layer (dermis) results in ridges on the fingertips and toes. The timing of this process determines whether your dominant fingerprint ridge pattern is a whorl, loop or an arch.

There are complex and subtle genetic codes that produce factors determining which types of things will develop where. Take for instance, skin on our eyelids has different surface patterns than in our hands, different hair types grow on different part of our body, the number of sweat glands vary over our body and between different people. And this explains why fingerprints are only formed on our fingers, as we have differences in the structure of the skin all over our body.

In fact, fingerprints have a very high density of sensory nerve endings, which we use to judge the texture and shape of the objects we touch.

Benefits of Blogging

It is good to be back blogging again. Been absent for a while and I now realized there are lots that I’ve missed out. Besides missing out the updates from many of my favourite blogs, I also miss sharing the latest and interesting piece of health information on my health blog. Not to mention, the satisfaction feelings when visitors do respond to my posts and find the posts beneficial to their knowledge.

Indeed blogging has increasingly become more like an essence in our daily lives. Almost every single friend I know do own a blog. Most would talk about their daily activities, interests, hobbies, families, or even simply about what they dreamt last night on their blogs. We also have more and more celebrities write updates about themselves on their own blog, saying what their opinion is on current issues, or even to address the latest gossips and rumours about themselves. As people are spending more time online, blogging indeed has become a very effective way to send your message across to all the people out there.

Businesses nowadays also use blog as a tool to increase awareness and also to advertise their products/services. They are called advertisers. Bloggers or individuals can write their review of products/services and provide valuable feedback to the advertisers. Their reviews would serve as a strong word of mouth marketing tools for the advertisers, and in return the bloggers would receive financial rewards.

PayingPost is the marketplace where advertisers meet bloggers. Market opportunities arise when advertisers have marketing needs. PayingPost with their vast network of bloggers ensure that the opportunities are met, that is when qualified bloggers would write their reviews and thus place the reviews on their blogs. This blog advertising allows advertisers to enjoy traffic generation and links from the independent blogs. Visit PayingPost advertising and blogs and you will find their (new) layout is user friendly and easy to navigate.


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Breastfeeding Method

As my pregnancy progresses, I have read few books on pregnancy, as well as parenting. And the topic of breastfeeding never fail to interest me. I plan to breastfeed my baby exclusively for first 6 months of her life. Yes, I am having a baby girl! (^-^)

Many books suggest that breastfeeding should be given 'on demand' basis, and the baby should be allowed to keep suckling until she is full.

There is another routine of breastfeeding though, which is a routine, timed feeds. Usually around 3 hours apart, counted from the start of one session to the start of the next feeding session. The feeding itself is timed around 10 minutes for each breast.

Researchers have found babies limited to feeding for ten minutes at each breast gained more weight by the time they were six to eight-weeks-old than those who were fed by the 'baby-led' method. They also say mothers who offered the timed feeds were more likely to continue breastfeeding beyond 12 weeks.

However, some experts disagree with 10 minutes feeding. This is in consideration of mothers have varying breast capacities and milk production rates. Also there are several types of babies, for example those who suckle quickly and waste no time in feeding, then there is excited ineffective, which is baby that get so excited when being presented breasts however she is ineffective in latching on and thus frustated and cry. There is also gourmet type, a baby who like to enjoy feeding slowly. And there is also baby who will fall asleep during feeding time.

My personal preference is to go with on-demand basis, and let my baby to suckle until she is satisfied and full. After all, breastmilk is made of Foremilk (see left), the watery milk that comes first during each feeding session. Then there is Hindmilk (see right), a creamy milk that comes through at the end of a feed.

The most important thing, after all is to make sure the baby get to the hindmilk so she will feel full and satisfied.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Men: All The More Reasons To Have Frequent Sex

A US study. published in Journal of the American Medical Association, suggested that men who have active sex life or masturbate frequently reduced their chances in developing prostate cancer.

This topic indeed has always been controversial among experts. Previous research suggests that increased production of testosterone, a male hormone, can faciltate the growth of prostate cell. However, this new study suggests that frequent ejaculations may decrease the concentration of chemical carcinogens that accumulate in prostatic fluid, and thus may reduce the development of crystalloids that are associated with prostate cancer in men.

This study results found that men who ejaculate 13 times a month or more, were much less likely to develop prostate cancer than men who do it 4-7 times a month. In comparison to men who ejaculate 4-7 times a month, men who ejaculate between 13-20 times a month had 14% lower lifetime risk; and 33% lower lifetime risk for those ejaculate 21 times and more a month.

These findings still need further investigation though. The previous study that concluded increased prostate cancer risk with higher sexual activities was published in the journal Epidemiology in 2002.

--------------
For reference
Journal of the American Medical Association: http://jama.ama-assn.org/

Men: Rediscover Your Mojo By Shedding Few Pounds


Do you happen to be an overweight lad? If you do, you'd better start hitting the gym to lose some pounds. Besides for your health reasons, this will also lead to healthy sex life.

"For men, the penis is the window to the heart", expert says. This is due to the blood vessels in the penis are exactly the same as those in the heart. So if you suffer from erectile dysfunction, this is often a warning diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

A study of more than 19,000 men, conducted in 2005 and published in Journal of the American Medical Association, found that men who suffered from erectile dysfunction were just as likely to have a heart attack or stroke as smokers.

The problem of erectile dysfunction does not only happen to old men, but also to younger men. So men, keep yourself fit and watch out your waistline. And for women, keep track of your man's weight as so to maintain your man's healthy and active sex life well into later years.

------------
For reference
Journal of the American Medical Association: http://jama.ama-assn.org/

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

'Man Boobs' in Young Boys

If you happen to be a fan of lavender and tea tree oils, you may want to watch out and use it carefully if you have boys at home.

New England of Journal Medicine has published a study that suggests these lavender and tea tree oils can cause young boys to grow 'man boobs'. These oils can act in similar way to hormone oestrogen. They can also block male hormones that control both masculine characteristics.

It is indeed very rare for young boys to develop temporary breast enlargements during puberty. However, it does happen to very few unlucky boys. The term for this condition is called prepubertal gynaecomastia.

The case involved the 4-year-old "who was using absolutely nothing on his skin except a lavender oil preparation that his mother had obtained from a homeopath". Her mom always rub his chest and body using lavender oil every night, because she, as we all know too, that lavender has some healing properties. The boy start to develop 'boobs'. It was only several months after stopped using the lavender oil, his breasts returned to normal size.

However, further study should be conducted to determine the prevalence of prepubertal gynaecomastia in boys using products containing lavender and tea tree oils. Until then, personally, I would rather to have my boys stay clear from these oils, and forbid them from using soaps, shampoos, lotions, hair gels or other stuffs containing lavender and tea tree oils.

----------------

For reference
New england journal of medicine:
http://content.nejm.org/

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Cause of Cot Death Finally Known

It has been long unknown the cause of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) or cot death.

Thanks to a recent study conducted by Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, London, as their study has shown that the SIDS can be caused by bacteria infection, i.e. Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli.

Further study should be conducted on how to prevent the bacteria infection.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Why Herbs Are Not Safe For Pregnant Women

Many Chinese people would take chinese herbs during their pregnancy. My families and my husband families are among those who believe that preggars should consume chinese herbs, to strengthen the uterus and thus the well being of the baby.

Consumption of chinese herbs is prohibited by my obgyn (obstetricians and gynaecologists) in Singapore. According to her, herbs do not have any quality control and thus should be avoided as we are unsure of the quality.

At first, I took some of chinese herbs during my pregnancy, and I fell ill. It was just the regular chicken herbs soup that I always took since I was young. I had stomach cramps. At first I thought it was just a coincidence. Then after the next 2 times I took the chinese herbs soup, I am very certain that the stomach cramp is due to the chinese herbs I consumed. It was in my early trimester of pregnancy. I avoided chinese herbs since then, and ignored what my family and my hubby's family said about the importance of consuming chinese herbs.

And I finally find a more detailed explanation in one of pregnancy books I am reading, on why preggars should avoid taking chinese herbs, or any herbal cures in general. So my preggars friends, or if there is any of you who is trying to conceive, note down this piece of information.

Medicinal herbs are drugs, often very powerful ones. Some are so powerful that they are used in laboratories to produce prescription medicines. Others have been used for generations in some societies to induce abortions, and some have been linked to miscarriage.

Even in a seemingly soothing cup of tea, some herbs are capable of producing such symptoms as diarrhea, vomiting, and heart palpitations. The use of herbal medicines presents an added risk that is not present hen the remedies come from the drugstore.

Herbs are not made under quality-controlled conditions, and may be dangerously strong or imptently weak. They may also contain harmful contaminants, including such allergens as insect parts, pollens, and molds, and even toxic agents such as lead or arsenic.

Considering the above, you should also avoid herbal teas. If you are craving for the taste or smell of herbal teas, just add orange, apple, pineapple, lemon, mint leaves, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves or other spices to your decaffeinated tea.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cold Roast Potatoes Cause Hiccups

Do not eat roast potatoes when it is already cold, because it would cause inconvenient hiccups to you.

Hiccups are involuntary contractions of the diaphragm and other inspiratory muscles, that is the muscles we use to breathe in. Hiccups can be a sign of irritation in our body.

Hiccups occur when we eat too much at once and do not chew it properly before swallowing it down.

But there are also many other causes of hiccups. One of them is the resistant starch found in starchy foods like potatoes when eaten cold. Resistant starch resists the process of digestion in the small intestine (where starchy food is digested when it is hot), and moves into the bowel and colon where it is fermented by bacteria. This causes more gas, bloating, irritating our diaphragm and thus causes hiccups.

So if you happen to have roast potatoes leftovers in your fridge, do make sure you heat it up before you eat it.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Plants To Clear The Air In Your Office

Looking for something to freshen up the air in your office?

Here is some good news. We may at some relief now, thanks to the research from Plants and Environmental quality Group at the University of Technology in Sydney. Their study has found that plants removed about 70% of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) at concentrations above 100ppb from the office air. Volatile Organic Compounds are emitted from certain types of plastic in chairs, furniture and office appliances. Plant metabolism and soil microorganisms are involved in this clearing the air process.

The plants used in this study are common house plants: Howea forsteriana (Kentia palm); Spathiphyllum wallisii var. Petite (Peace Lily); and Dracaena deremensis var. Janet Craig.

So you might want to start looking for these plants to put in your office, for a safer and clearer air to breathe.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Supplements For Depression During Pregnancy

It is not uncommon for pregnant women to suffer from depression. Sadly, there is not enough available therapy out there that is safe for pregnant mom and the fetus.
A study as published in Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, conducted by Dr. Kuan-Pin Su from China Medical University Hospital, has shown that Omega-3 supplements can ease depression during pregnancy.

However, preggars should watch out for few side effects such as insomnia, nausea, and diarrhea.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fight Against Cancer With Broccoli

Good news for all of us who like to eat broccoli, well even those of you who do not like it, we all should start taking in more broccoli into our diet.

A study by Institute of Food Research in England has shown that broccoli can affect hundreds of genetic changes. To name a few: to strengthen genes that could fight against cancer, and to eliminate genes that could promote tumor.

Besides having isothiocyanate, broccoli also contain sulforaphane which yield extra immunity to fight against cancer.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

How Smoking Parents Ruin Their Baby's Health

My husband is a smoker, and this worries me a lot. During my pregnancy, he always manages to smoke outside the house. But most of the time, I can still smell the tobacco after he finished smoking, even after he has brushed his teeth.

Smoking in fact should be avoided at all. Pregnant women should quit smoking to reduce the risk of premature delivery and of having a low-birthweigh baby. The spouse should do the same too, all in the name of the baby.

Studies have shown that smoking by parents has been linked to:
  • an increased risk of SIDS / Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (sudden and unexpected death of an apparently healthy infant that is unexplained by the baby's medical history, and is the major cause of infant death between the ages of 2 weeks and 12 months),
  • more respiratory illnesses (colds, flu, bronchiolitis, asthma) and ear infections during the first year of life,
  • impaired lung capacity, as well as
  • an increased risk of tooth decay later on in childhood.
Not only are the children of smokers sick more often than children of nonsmokers, but their illnesses also last longer. They are also more likely to be hospitalized in the first three years of life. The more smokers in the household, the more severe the negative effect, since the amount of smoke a child inhales is related to the number of smokers the baby is exposed to on a regular basis.

And what seems to be quite safe for the mother or spouse to smoke outside the house, it is totally untrue! Do note that the above risks ARE NOT eliminated even when parents step outside the house to light up. Researchers have found that children in households with smokers who smoke only outside are still exposed to 70% more damaging lung particles than those in nonsmoking households.

So quitting smoking keep your child healthier in their childhood. Quitting obviously will not be easy. As they would with any drug addiction, your body and your mind will align against you. But, if you are determined to fight back, for your sake and your baby's sake, you can triumph over both! The best time to give up is now, before baby is born. So your newborn will come home from hospital to clean, breathable air.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Superbug Enemy

Scientists have discovered the natural antibiotics that can kill 12 types of bacteria that are very resistant to available medicines. Some of the bacteria include Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli.

This antibiotics is made of the secretion of maggots. It needs 20 glasses of maggots to produce 1 drop of the antibiotic.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Bad Breath

Need to take mints right after your each meal to help cover your bad breath? Familiar? If yes, please make sure you avoid taking in sugary mints, as it will only help with the bad breath temporarily, and next thing you know the bad breath is getting even worse.

The term for bad breath is halitosis. The smell is from substances called volatile sulphur compounds caused by the breakdown of protein in the mouth by bacteria. When breaking down the protein, bacteria produce compounds which have aromas characteristics of rotten eggs, cabbage, sulphur, gasoline, mothballs, faeces, corpses, urine, decaying flesh, sweat, rancid-cheese, and off-milk.

The bad breath also occur in the morning when we wake up, or after we finish exercise. The underlying reason is that when we sleep and/or exercise (dehydrate), the flow of saliva diminishes, and thus less flushing of food by saliva. This causes the food to stay longer in our mouth to be broken down by the bacteria.

Another cause of halitosis is poor oral hygiene, such as gingivitis and periodontitis. When foods are gathered in damaged gums and teeth, the bacteria have plenty of time to break down the foods.

Less common cause of halitosis include infections such as bronchitis, post nasal drip, or sinus infection; chronic conditions such as diabetes, kidney or liver failure, reflux oesophagitis (when oesophagus is inflamed by acidic food entering from stomach).

Smoking can cause bad breath, since it cause mouth to dry and possible gum disease.

Foods such as onions and garlic can give bad aroma, however the smell would not last long.

So save yourself from embarassment. Make sure you do one or more of the following:

- Brush teeth after meal. You can use mouthwash if you prefer, however brushing is more effective
- Floss your teeth after each meal
- Brush back of your tongue or scrape with a tongue scraper
- Take sugarless sweets to help stimulate saliva production
- Drink plenty of water (the easiest way for us working people!)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Alcohol as a Cause of Cancer

It has been told that moderate consumption of red wine, on average 2 glass per day will be beneficial for our health. For other alcohol in general, the suggested consumption is 4 drinks a day for men, and 2 drinks a day for women. Apparently, this no longer hold true. Red wine consumption is particularly good for cardiac disease, however consumption of wine and alcohol in general would increase the risk of cancer.

A new report "Alcohol as a Cause of Cancer" is released today, 8 May 2008, showing alarming link between alcohol consumption and particular types of cancer.

An international audit of cancer and alcohol research was conducted by The Cancer Institute New South Wales. The study found that even as little as 2 glass of alcohol per day can significantly increase the risk of cancer. And thus, reducing alcohol consumption will lower risk of cancer.

The types of cancer associated with alcohol consumption include:
- bowel cancer,
- breast cancer,
- head and neck cancer,
- oesophageal or gullet cancer.

The average risk increase per average drink is around 10-20% for some of the above cancers.

I myself have received news in less than a week that 3 men I know of have been diagnosed with colon or prostate cancer. All 3 of them smoked and/or drink wine on regular basis.

Cancer, in fact, is a very common disease. On average, 1 in 2 men, and 1 in 3 women will most likely get cancer in their lifetime. The prevention strategies would include, but not limited to, eliminating the risk factors such as alcohol and tobacco. For more tips on cancer prevention, please refer to my previous post on cancer.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Does Watching TV Cause Damage to Children's Eyes

Most of us grow up listening to our parents telling us not to watch television all the time as it would damage our eyes. For us, grown ups, maybe the length of time spent on watching TV would not be of our concerns anymore. But how about your children? Would you allow them spending 2-3 hours watching their favorites TV cartoons? Does watching TV actually affect our children's eyes?

In general, just like any other muscles in our body, the longer the time spent on doing certain thing will cause muscle strain. The same rule applies for watching TV. Focusing our eyes on certain object will make our eye mucles work harder. The longer the time spent on focusing on TV, the harder the eye muscles have to work.

Well parents, you should follow a few guidelines when allowing your children to watch TV:

- Make sure your children sit at least 4-5 metres away from the screen. The closer they are to the TV, the harder their eyes have to work, and thus the more tired the eyes will become.

- Watch TV in a bright room, but avoid causing any glare or reflection of light on the TV screen.

- Take a break. You can ask your children to look away or move about during commercial break.

The above tips are contributed by Optometrist Andrew Hogan, the president of the Tasmanian division of the Optometrists Association Australia.

Friday, May 2, 2008

A Small Survey To Help Going Green

A little survey I took on a web. Questioned about how do people get to work/school.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Want A Baby Boy? Don't Let Your Wife Skip Healthy Breakfast

In Chinese cultures, baby boy is very much expected as they will continue on their generation, carrying the family name. Most of Chinese families would try their best and would not stop conceiving until they get at least one boy in the family.

And maybe now there's good news for those who are trying to conceive for a baby boy. UK scientiests have recently revealed in their studies that a child's sex is associated with the mother's diet. The higher energy intake is linked to males, and lower energy intake is linked to females.

Women who eat low calorie diets or who skip their breakfast at the time of conception, are more likely to give birth to baby girls. This may help to explain why the proportion of baby boys is falling in developed countries. Since in these countries, many young women choose to have low calorie diets.

Although a baby's sex is genetically determined by fathers, it is known that high levels of glucose encourage the growth and development of male embryos while inhibiting female embryos. The exact mechanism for this remains unclear.

The researchers conducted studies on 740 first-time pregnant mothers in the UK. They found that 56% of those in the group with the highest energy intake at the time of conception had sons, compared with 45% in the lowest group. Meanwhile, intakes during pregnancy were not associated with sex, which suggest that foetus sex is no longer affected by the mother's diet.

In addition to eating high calorie diets, the study has found that women giving births to more males were also more likely to have eaten a wider range of nutrients, including potassium, calcium and vitamins C, E and B12.

It was also reported that women who consumed at least 1 bowl of breakfast cereal daily compared to those who ate less than or equal to 1 bowl a week, the statistics of giving births to male went up sharply.

The mechanism for diet affecting sex is not yet understood though.

This latest findings are published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

---------------
For reference
Title: You are what your mother eats: evidence for maternal preconception diet influencing foetal sex in humans
Author: Fiona Mathews et al
URL: http://journals.royalsociety.org

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Memory Loss Might Be More Serious Than We Think It Is

Forget where you left your house keys? or where you put your mobile phone? or where you left your glasses? Sounds familiar? It is for me! This condition maybe caused be a virus. Gosh!

Viruses that can affect your brain range from virus of common cold to polio. They can affect brain and cause steady damage, reported by US researchers from Minnesota.


Their study suggests that virus-induced memory loss can accumulate over the lifetime of a person. Eventually it can lead to clinical cognitive memory deficits. This study has been published in the latest issue of the journal Neurobiology of Disease.


The name of the virus is picornaviruses. They have affected more than 1 billion people around the world each year.


The researchers include viruses that cause polio, colds, and diarrhoea. On average, people contract these illness 2-3 times a year.


How these viruses affect our brain, is that when we contract the illness, the viruses cross into the brain and cause a variety of brain injuries. For example, the polio virus can cause paralysis.


The researchers studied the affect of picornavirus family members on mice, and It showed that the viruses injured parts of the brain responsible for memory. In fact, they infected mice with a virus called Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus, which is similar to human poliovirus. Infected mice later had difficulty learning to navigate a maze. Some were barely affected, while others were completely unable to manage.


When the mice were killed and their brains examined, a correlating amount of damage was seen in the hippocampus region, related to learning and memory.


The reserachers also added that one virus particularly likely to cause brain damage is enterovirus 71, which is common in Asia. It can cross over into the brain and cause encephalitis, a brain inflammation that can lead to coma and death.


"We hypothesise that mild memory and cognitive impairments of unknown aetiology may, in fact, be due to accumulative loss of hippocampus function caused by repeated infection with common and widespread neurovirulent picornaviruses."


Meanwhile, other viruses can kill brain cells. They include the herpes virus and HIV.


---------------
For reference
Title: Neurobiology of Disease
URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/
Volume 30, Issue 2, Pages 151-280 (May 2008)

Is Love Really Blind

The cliche, love is blind, you must heard it like thousand times. In early stages of relationship, our partner would seem so perfect and flawless. And it is true that we tend to gloss over our partner's faults. Then comes the time when parents drag our feet on the ground, and tell us that love will pass by after you stay together for a long period of time (like they all do in their at least 30 years of marriage). Some of my relatives even use coke (as in drink) as a metaphor to love. When it is new, it is full of bubbles (to describe hot and passion), however over time, the bubbles will fade away.

And so, we would all come to the understanding that living with your partner would expose their flaws, and thus open our eyes to see clearly who he/she really is as a person. The love will fade as we see more and more flaws and bad habits of our partner.

What I found interesting is that, researchers studying married couples have found that in the happiest marriage, the overrating habit continues. And in fact, it is the glue that keeps the couples together happily ever after!

Indeed, the happy married couples usually are those who tend not to notice their partner's faults, and tend only to remember good times they have been through together. This way of thinking keep them happy, and also good their health. Couples who see things this way tend to have less chronic disease. This is due to how they resolve their conflicts. When it comes to conflict, these couples would sit down and talk about the issue in a calm and rational way. They listen to each other's opinion and/or complaints. And this way, they are less exposed to stress hormones, which are associated with illnesses such as heart disease.

And interestingly, this overrating habit only need to exist in one partner, for the effects to be seen. Knowing this, you do not have to worry nomore when friends or parents telling you that love will fade as time passes. The formula for happy marriage is quite simple. If you are an easy going person, there is higher chance for you to live healthy and happily ever after in your marriage. And if you are more to a serious person who tends to be pessimistic at times, you should find an easy going partner. As easy as that!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

House Dust Mite

Asthma, hay fever and eczema are allergies on top of genetic susceptibility. One of the sources of allergy in the home is house dust mite (HDM).

Dust mites live by consuming organic detritus such as flakes of shed human skin, and they flourish in the stable environment of dwellings.

Naturally, they are killed by micro predators and also by direct exposure to the sun rays. You can smell the enzyme produced by HDM most strongly in full vacuum cleaner bags.

There are ways to get rid of dust mites, which include but not limited to pulling up carpets, getting rid of pets like cats, covering mattresses and pillows, spraying soft furnishings with a chemical that knocks off the mite, and vacuuming often with a powerful machine.

However, there has been a debate whether the efforts are worthwhile. A recent trial has reported its findings of trying to do this during pregnancy and the first year of a child's life in families where there was a strong family history of atopy.

Nevertheless, only limited conclusions could be drawn because a lot of families dropped out. But children whose environment was controlled in this way had fewer wheezy attacks in the first year of life. It had no effect on eczema or other allergies. But if the family kept its pet then a lot of this benefit was lost. The benefits later in life are still uncertain.

--------------
For Reference
Title: The Lancet

Author: Custovic A et al
URL: http://www.thelancet.com/
2001 vol 358 pp 188-193

Internet is Boundless

Okay, now is the time for more self-exposure (^-^)

Being a stay home wife (as my hubby do not allow me to work outside), I have all the time in the world to do things at my own pace. Especially the house chores! If I can delay it, I would delay doing those mundane tiring chores. Cleaning and tidying up is not my cup of tea. Hehehe. I wondered whose cup of tea it could be?

Loveee browsing webs, keep myself updated with what's going on out there. Love chatting with friends and families, since it is still the cheapest way to keep in touch. And once in a bluemoon, I met my auntie online (beause I hardly meet her online!). She is a stayhome wife too. However, she's been earning money simply by writing posts in PayPerPost.

I checked the website out, and I can tell you that it is a very interesting website with many interesting offers to earn some dough. Well since I am not doing anything at home, I signed up with PayPerPost. The only requirement is that I need to have a blog, which I already had, and it is about health matters.

I am a very early bird in this PayPerPost (PPP), and still learning how to do stuffs. The web itself is very informative. And if you cannot find any information you search for, you can simply submit a ticket for the question you have to the Customer Support. And they DO get back to you very quickly!!! I submitted my question at midnight, and I already have the answer the next morning I woke up.
I like the fact that the Customer Support is very responsive, since like I stated previously that I am new to PPP and still trying to figure things out. I used to work as a Marketing Director, and I can really tell you that service quality is the utmost importance, second directly after your product. My clients love me because I served their needs and enquiries in a very responsive way. And thus, being a customer myself, I expect nothing less than best service quality.


To top it off, I notice that those who spend more time in taking up offers from PPP, they could earn as much as and over US$20k!!! Unbelievable. Wow! I can actually buy all those new arrival designer bags!!! Love it!

So if you have some spare time, or if you might be a stayhome wife too, it really worths (literally!) your time to pay a visit to the PPP web. As simple as clicking on this link blog network and you can now start making your very own to-buy lists!


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Low Tar Cigarettes Do Not Protect You From Cancer

A study was conducted to study the risk of dying from lung cancer due to smoking. It is confirmed that low tar cigarettes do not offer any protection against lung cancer.

The study involves nearly a million men and women aged 30 or over followed for six years, and found that smokers of low tar fags smoked more cigarettes per day. It is also found that medium, low and very low tar products had the same increased risk. The only cigarettes to stand out were high tar non-filtered.

People who quitted prior to age 35 were similar to never smokers, and people who smoked low tar cigarettes were more likely to quit after a longer period (it was within 10 years). Statistically, low tar cigarettes are even more toxic since the effect was over a shorter smoking career.

The theory is that smokers compensate for low tar by inhaling more deeply and consuming more cigarettes. It is suggested that deepn inhalation may lead to more serious cancer since it spreads carcinogens further into the lungs. The other reason is that tar is not such a good measure of the carcinogens in the smoke in the first place.

The bottomline is, still, smoking kills. Be it high, medium, or low tar cigarettes. So, ditch your packs of cigarettes now.

--------------
For Reference
Title: British Medical Journal

Author: Harris JE at el.
URL: http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/
2004, vol 328, pp 72-76

Linking Testosterone and Financial Market Performance

I bet each of you are questioning what's with the title.

This derives from the latest findings from a British study. The study has found that finance desk jockeys with high levels of testosterone are more likely to have a profitable day. The study involves sampling the naturally occurring steroid levels of 17 traders at a big bank in the city of London. The conclusion was that the more testosterone a trader had in the morning, the more money they made for their bank. Thus, the testosterone level may be a biological explanation for the recent twist and turns on global financial markets.

However, the researchers also believe that the downturn may be contributed by another hormone, cortisol, which is a stress hormone. Cortisol responds really strongly if you put an animal or a human in a situation of uncertainty, novelty or uncontrollability. The researchers believe cortisol may cloud the judgement of people in charge.

The big hypothesis is that extreme levels of testosterone exaggerate financial market bubbles, and extreme levels of cortisol exaggerate a financial market crash. Therefore, the testosterone and cortisol levels might be the biological explanation for what happens when the markets become so volatile.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Right Lifestyle to Improve Chances of Pregnancy

There are several reasons underlying why women are hard to conceive. These include, possibility of a structural problem with the reproductive organs, like blocked fallopian tubes, or a disease of the uterus like fibroids or endometriosis.

Most of the cases are due to a failure of ovulation. The eggs do not ripen and release when they are supposed to, usually caused by a hormonal imbalance. And at older age, our body is not producing enough sex hormones at the right time and in the right amounts to ovulate successfully.

There are good news to couples who are trying to conceive, without having to undergo methods of assisted reporductive technology. In late 2007, the US. Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School say that adopting a few lifestyle measures can drastically improve the chances of getting pregnant, at any age.

They followed a group of 17,544 married women who were infertile due to ovulation failure but who were trying to get pregnant. The women were part of a larger study of women's health called the Nurses' Health Study II, based at the Brigham and Women's Hospital at Harvard. The researchers followed them over an eight-year period, looking in particular whether or not they followed a range of dietary and lifestyle measures.

They looked at:
- the ratio of mono-unsaturated to trans fats in their diet
- protein consumption (and whether it came from animals or vegetables)
- carbohydrate consumption (including the amount of fibre they ate, and whether high or low glycaemic index)
- consumption of dairy products (and whether low or high-fat)
- iron consumption
- use of vitamin supplements
- body mass index (BMI, i.e. weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in metres)

- degree of physical activity.

The researchers took into account whether a woman smoked, drank alcohol or coffee, and/or had used oral contraceptives in the past.

Those women with the lowest rate of infertility (and most likely to fall pregnant) were those who ate less trans fat, less sugar, ate food with a low glycaemic index such as pasta and whole grains, ate more protein from vegetables than from animals, had a good iron intake, took multivitamins, exercised daily, kept their BMI between 20 and 25, and (surprisingly) consumed more high-fat dairy products and less low-fat dairy products.

The more of these measures they adopted, the lower the infertility rate and the higher the pregnancy rate. This was regardless of the woman's age, or whether she'd had children before.
For example, those who adopted just five of these measures had a 69 per cent reduced risk of infertility compared to those who adopted none of the measures.

Even following just one of these lifestyle measures reduced the risk of infertility by 30 per cent compared to those women who followed none. Of all the lifestyle measures, weight and diet, rather than exercise, were the most important.

These measures improve fertility was believed is to be caused by improved insulin resistance. They help regulate insulin and blood sugar levels and this in turn may help the sex hormones to regulate ovulation successfully.

Why high fat dairy products help remains a mystery though.
Now adopting these measures won't necessarily work for other types of infertility, such as blocked fallopian tubes. But what it does mean is fertility due to ovulation problems, which account for most infertility cases, can be partly prevented through modifications of diet and lifestyle, the authors say.


The researchers also added that these measures are also good for the pregnancy if a woman does conceive. Taking multivitamins containing folic acid helps prevent neural tube defects in the foetus. And keeping weight down reduces the chances of pregnancy complications like gestational diabetes or pre-eclampsia.

Improve Pregnancy Chances of IVF

For those of you who are trying to conceive by undergoing IVF (In vitro fertilization), you can relieved now because there is a way to improve the success rate of IVF.

IVF is a technique in which egg cells are fertilised by sperm outside the woman's womb, that is in vitro. IVF is a major treatment in infertility when other methods of assisted reporductive technology have failed. Though IVF is an option, but it's time consuming, expensive and has a high failure rate. Couples usually need to undergo IVF for several cycles before they succeed.

Now you may want to look at traditional Chinese acupuncture to improve your pregnancy chances. The theories behind it is may be caused by release of hormones which control our menstrual cycle, and relief of stress (oh well, you should ask your Chinese 'sinshe' for futher details).

Researchers have brought together all the trials they could find of needle acupuncture versus pretend acupuncture in women having an embryo transferred as part of IVF, to see what the sum of the evidence might be. Seven trials involving over 1300 women met the strict criteria of inclusion.

When there was active acupuncture, the pregnancy success after embryo transfer was higher. Around nine or 10 women had to have acupuncture for one to fall pregnant or take home a baby. When the researchers looked at studies where the background success rates of IVF were already high, the add-on benefits of acupuncture were less.

The indications show that acupuncture might do the job. But given it is cheap and relatively harmless, it may save you time and money to help falling pregnant.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Can Carrot Consumption Improve Eyesight

I believe most of us, since we were young, are stuffed with carrots and carrots and carrots. Especially us who need the help of specs, our mom will just stuff more carrots down our throats. And we will most likely continue this habit to our children. Well, probably you won't do it anymore after reading this.

A major Australian study called the Blue Mountains eye study, examined the link between increased vitamin A consumpiton and deteriorating night vision in older people. This study was conducted in late 1990s. The results was that the vitamin A intake didn't improve their eyesight.

This is also supported by Professor Algis Vingrys, from the University of Melbourne's Department of Optometry and Vision Services. According to him, if you already have a well balanced diet, no amount of carrots will improve your eyesight. The balanced diet should contain sufficient vitamin A, iron and other provitamins i.e. substances that our bodies can convert into vitamins.

There are two types of vitamin A: retinoids and carotenoids.

Retinoids are a lipid form of vitamin A found in liver, fish oils containing liver (e.g. cod-liver oil) and butter. However you should be careful in consuming these, as overdosing can lead to toxicity, or worse, promote some forms of cancer.

Carotenoids are provitamins your body converts into vitamin A. These can be found in carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and dark-green leafy vegetables all contain beta-carotene, a potent carotenoid. But if you already have enough vitamin A, your body will not convert these into vitamin A. This is why it is said earlier that no amounts of carrots will improve your eyesight.

So after all, the important thing is to have a balanced diet, and you do not have to worry nomore about consuming certain amount of carrots everyday.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Should You Exercise If You Have Back Pain

I have a prolonged and luckily quite mild backpain (unbelievable, I said lucky!). The back pain has been ongoing for quite a while, every day, for the last 4 months. I do not dare to hit the gym as usually I always go for treadmill, and treadmill only. It ain't good for back pain because running causing more strain put on our back. And so, I haven't been exercising at all since I first experience the back pain. However, after reading one of the article about exercise after backpain, it really change my opinion on not taking exercise at all.

Maybe some of you also experience backpain. Most of my friends do. Back pain can easily be caused by as simple as not sitting in the right position for a period of time. Some people will only experience back pain for several days, and then the pain will pass. Some of us, including myself, will still in strife few weeks or months down the road. What important is to avoid the back pain becoming long term.

An Australian trial looked at the role of general exercise supervised by a physiotherapist and advice aimed at a steady return to regular activities and found that they both made a significant difference to pain reduction compared to routine care. The exercises were aimed at fitness and increasing tone rather than focussed on the back specifically.

It's being increasingly recognised that the stability of the back is more than just having strong abdominal or back muscles and that being active has all sorts of benefits including improving your state of mind.

Australian physiotherapists have also pioneered techniques for strengthening what are called your core muscles. These are the ones along the inside of your spine and can be helped by using biofeedback to become more aware of them.

You can also find helf from experienced back physios for this core strengthening.

For Reference
Title: Annals of Internal Medicine

Author: Liset HM et al. Physiotherapist directed exercise, advice or both for sub-acute low back pain.
URL: http://www.annals.org/2007;146:787-796

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Pregnancy and Hair Cycle

During pregnancy, does a woman lose her hair, no changes to her hair thickness, or hair grow thicker?
We might all guess that a woman will lose her hair during her pregnancy, like myself and my frens assumed. The correct answer is, a woman's hair grow thicker during pregnancy!

The underlying reason is hormones. Initially, human hair has a life cycle, from growing to falling out (or rather is pushed out by the new hair frowing in the follicle). During pregnancy, this cycle changes.

When a woman is pregnant, oestrogen extends the hair growth cycle. Hair stays in for longer period before falling out. This explains why women in later stages of pregnancy have very thick hair.

But this 'advantage' stops when a woman gives birth. Once a baby is born, the level of oestrogen drops back to normal, and the hair grown during pregnancy stop growing and remain dormant for a few months.

About 3 months after the baby is born, the mom start to lose her extra hair. This usually happens in the same time when the baby starts to play with his/her saliva. Many traditional grandmothers could right away tell that a mom is losing her hair, only by noticing the baby starting to play with his/her saliva.

Hair loss may vary from person to person. But don't be afraid, as hair loss only lasts for a few months. Hair growth should be back to normal 12 months after birth. So my suggestion is, flaunt it while you have it!!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Bottom Line of What Works to Lose Weight

The following guidelines of which works better, to help you lose weight more effectively (^-^)

Diet vs Exercise

The common question is, which will work, diet or exercise? The answer is both.

If you hate exercise and want to lose weight just by changing your diet, you're setting yourself up to fail, says Dr Chris Tzar, an exercise physiologist from the University of New South Wales. Choose this path and there's a 90% chance you'll regain any lost weight within three years, he says.

That's because dieting without exercise increases the odds you'll lose muscle from your body along with any fat. Since muscle cells burn more energy than fat cells, even when you're not actually doing anything, losing muscle makes it harder to lose weight and keep it off. That's why so-called resistance training, which builds muscle strength, is recommended, along with more aerobic exercise such as walking, swimming or running.

In addition, more muscles increase metabolism. So even when you are sleeping, you can still burn calories!

In contrary, if you love eating yummy foods and cannot change your diet, and you prefer to exercise instead, what you can do is to look at how much exercise it takes to burn off a single slice of apple pie (two hours walking) to realise that for most people, losing anything more than a few kilos through exercise alone will be challenging. It's unlikely you'll be able to work out enough to make up for any significant amounts of eating (let alone past amounts of eating). And like exercise, a good diet makes you healthier on the inside too.

Bottom line: Keep your food intake in check and exercise on regular basis.


Fat Burning Exercises

Okay. Now you hit the gym to start exercising. But which exercise is more effective in helping you to lose weight?

"Is walking more fat-burning than jogging? Well, if you walk for three hours it might be more fat burning than jogging for 15 minutes. One of the most important factors…is whether people are going to sustain the activity long-term" to quote Dr Tzar.

He recommends people try a range of different activities: to find out what they like, to help prevent boredom, and to reduce injuries.

What about those diagrams on exercise machines that suggest the body's 'fat burning zone' occurs at a low level of exertion? Unfortunately these are very misleading.

The body burns three types of fuel, i.e. fats, carbohydrates and protein. As exercise intensity increases, the proportion of the fuel mix coming from fat decreases, however the absolute amount of fat burned remains fairly stable, Tzar says: "It may be a smaller percentage but of a larger quantity."

To maximise your fat burning, high-intensity exercise is almost certainly the better option. In other words, ignore the diagrams and don't restrict your exertion because you think it somehow means you'll burn more fat.

Bottom line: Find one exercise activity that you like, that you can do at greatest intensity for a sustained period of time, is the best way to lose weight.


Best Time of Day to Exercise

Technically, the body's preference for burning fat is slightly higher first thing in the day. However, early morning exercise maybe harder for us to do, because we are generally less alert, our body temperature is low, and joints are stiffer.

Bottom line: The best time of day to exercise is the time of day that allows you keep doing it, preferably on a regular basis.


Counting Kilojoules?

Counting Kilojoules on food that you consume can be quite depressing and time consuming, especially for us who is busy at work.

Many experts also feel it's unnecessary and possibly psychologically unhealthy to count Kilojoules. Even WeightWatchers recently moved to offer an alternative 'no count' weight loss plan for those put off by the prospect of weighing foods and keeping records.

Chris Tzar agrees, "The reality is, if you're having a diet adequate in fibre, low in glycaemic index [that is, the carbohydrates are the type that break down slowly], and you're minimising your saturated fats, it's highly unlikely you're going to be overdosing on calories."

Bottom Line: Following the general principles would be sufficient. You do not have to feel obliged to count the Kilojoules.


How Often to Weigh

One study found that people who concentrated on being healthy, by improving food choices and getting more exercise, weighed less after 12 months than another group who thought more about weight.

Daily weighing is unnecessary at all. The weight loss you see on the scale may not be loss of fat, but most probably is simply loss of water in your body. And sometimes, you may not see any weight loss at all. This is because weight loss isn't linear. It could range from a quarter of a kilo to a kilo per week.

Bottom Line: If you would like to keep track of your weight loss from day to day, you may want to weight on daily basis. However, if you are easily discouraged, weekly or monthly weighing might be better than doing it on daily basis.

How to Lose Weight, and How to Maintain is The Hardest Part

I believe many of us do experience this so-called yo-yo diet. Sometimes we lose weights, we get happy, allow ourselves some snacks and yummy guilty foods to celebrate our 'achievements', and before we know it, the fat is back on!!!

Of course those with very very strong willpower and self control can manage to keep the fat off for a long period of time. But not everyone of us is very strong willed. At times, we will fall down to the "pampering" ourselves with good food.

Not that good food is bad. What you can do is eat in moderate amount, spread your food intake into many times a day, 5 times a day will be enough to keep you feeling full, and avoid hunger which can lead you to eat excessively at once. Regular exercise will keep you in the right track.

But willpower and self control tend to fail. The question is, how to keep yourself in check.

There is a US trial involving over a thousand people started with a six-month weight loss program, during which they lost an average of 8.5 kg.

After this they were randomly allocated to 1 of 3 groups for 2 and 1/2 years: doing things for themselves with some written advice; a web-based interactive program which got them to feed in their weight and activity levels and encouraged increased exercise and sensible eating behaviours; and finally, a third group was allocated to monthly personal contact from a trained person, both by phone and face to face.

The good news was that everyone weighed less than they did at the start. The bad news was that it wasn't the intial 8.5 kilos.

Almost everyone regained weight, but those who'd had personal contact put less back on than the others, to the tune of about 1.5 kg.

The web-based program looked good to begin with, but soon lost its effect.

It's not cheap, but it looks as though to slow the passage of food from hand to mouth, what you need is having someone on your back.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

New Research on Soy

I believe many of us living in Asian countries regularly consume soy, such as soy bean milk, particularly in Singapore. One can actually find at least one shop selling soy bean milk when walking down the roads in Singapore. There are in fact many shops selling soy bean milk in malls here in Singapore.

The high demand for soy bean milk was of course derived from our knowledge that soy bean milk is very beneficial for health, in the hope for cancer and heart disease free in the future.

But the actual fact is that, with heart health, it takes a lot of soy to reduce your bad cholesterol by just a tiny amount, although soy whole foods may be good because they replace unhealthy nutrients.

And with cancer, the large amounts of soy taken by Asian populations may reduce breast cancer risk by a little. But recent gene research suggests that your genetic profile affects your response to soy. Some genes may increase cancer risk with high doses of soy and some may reduce it.

So my suggestion is for you that do not live in Asian countries where it is quite hard to find natto, miso, tofu, soy bean milk, you might start lowering your efforts in searching and/or buying those foods, in consideration of the above research.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Dark Chocolate Easter Eggs, Anyone?

Happy Early Easter!!! (^-^)

And yeah, the reasons why I greet happy Easter now is because I just read this interesting research, that I thought you all should know soon!!!

If you guys have not yet bought any Easter chocolate for your beloved friends and families, you'd better rush to nearest sweet tooth stores to get dark chocolate easter eggs!!! Why? Because a new study shows that dark chocolate can lower blood pressure, with no changes to cholesterol or blood sugar.

The main reason is because dark chocolate can contain blood-pressure reducing polyphenols. In this preliminary research, a small piece of dark chocolate was able to lower blood pressure by 2 or 3 points on average. The effects might be caused by polyphenols relaxing the arteries.

However, this study needs further research. But anyhow, a small or few small pieces of dark chocolate won't do you harm. Just remember the classic principle, not to take in any food in excessive amount.

Some of you might be wondering, why not white chocolate? what's with white chocolate then? Besides that it is too sweet (for me, of course), white chocolate is actually polyphenol-free.

So, if you want to indulge your guilty pleasure, at least you have to do it in the right way. Correct?


-----
References:
Title: Journal of the American Medical Association
Author: Taubert D et al. Effects of low habitual cocoa intake in blood pressure and bioactive nitric oxide. A randomized controlled trial. URL: http://jama.ama-assn.org/
2007;298:49-60

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

New Laptop

Just got my new laptop last week..err.. for FREE!!! yeah!!! Hahah.. It was included in the wireless internet package I signed deal for next 30 months.


It is Lenovo ThinkPad X61, 12.1" XGA Screen Size. This laptop is insured 6 months for accidental damage and theft. Also insured on-site for 3 years, meaning if I encounter problems with laptop, all I need to do is to give a call to the call center and they will help me through the phone. If the problems are not fixed, then they will send people over to my place to fix it!!! Not bad at all !!!


RAM is only 1GB, a bit slow for me who is quite impatient when doing my work. But how can I complain when I got this laptop for free, rite? (^-^)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

C'est la vie !!!

More about myself (^-^)

What motivates me to write about myself this time, is because of I have just recently moved from Jakarta to Singapore. Well, that’s the plan for at least few years ahead. So, here I am, after a week here, finally somehow adjusted to living situation here.

In terms of living condition, it is totally different from back there in Jakarta. Living my life in Jakarta, and I believe many many others will agree to what am going to say, is just like living in heaven. You don’t have to clean up after your mess, you have maids to clean up, cook you dishes, wash your clothes, and just about everything else. Hehehe..nice eh? Here in Singapore, it is totally different. You just have to do it all by yourself. From sweeping, moping, dusting, laundrying, ironing, cooking, washing dishes, even tidying up bed. Hahhaa.. i know i know.. i might sound a lil too spoiled back then in Jakarta eh? Well..that’s just how things work in Jakarta. So it was just smart to make the most out of it. Hauhauaha..

But entertainment in Singapore is more lively, I should say. In Jakarta, the entertainment mostly only involves going to the mall, be it for lunch or dinner, or for bowling (which I hardly go to), or movies (this is the most common entertainment). Hmmm..there were some good clubs too. But here in Singapore, the entertainment includes all of the above, and plus there are some parks and theaters to go to!!!

Parks may be quite ordinanary for some of you, or maybe most of you. But the theathers!!! Luv it so much!!! It is called “Esplanade, Theatres on the Bay”. The design of the building is very unique. It reminds me of fruit called durian (some of you might refer it as stinky fruit coz the fruit really has a strong, good smell to me ^-^ ). Those who have come to know durian will know what I am saying regarding the design of this building.

Went to the Esplanade last week, and there was free jazz concert show. It was really great and entertaining. And the entertainment in Esplanade include much more than music. It also includes theater, dance, visual arts, and multi arts. To top it more, there are always some free shows from time to time. Unbelieaveable! It is just something very different kind of entertainment, and I really luvvvvv it so much!!!

Plus, the transportation infrastructure in Singapore is sooo well organized. It is so easy to get to anywhere. Making life a lot lot lot easier. Unlike in Jakarta, where we girls would need to wait for driver or someone else to drive us anywhere. It is indeed quite uncommon to find girls driving on the road due to safety reasons.

I am sure I would really come to love staying in Singapore so much, well, despite all the house chores I have to do. There are sooo many things to do and many places to explore. Haven’t got my chance to go to Sentosa Island coz it has been raining almost everyday since last week. Well, I would surely take my time and enjoy to do one thing at a time (^-^)

Oh yah, did I mention the food was GREAT?!!! More reasons to luvvvvv Singapore (^-^)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

More Interesting Facts on Caffeine


I loveee drinking coffee. So you may find more and more information on coffee from time to time in my blog (^-^)

Caffeine can be found in tea, coffee beans, guarana berries and cocoa nuts. It stimulates our central nervous system. The effects of caffeine differ on each and every one of us. Caffeine in short term could cause contraction of muscles, which may lead to:

· Twitching
· Increase heart rate
· Blood flow to stomach slows down
· Contriction of blood vessels on our skin
· More sugar is released from liver into our bloodstream
· Breathing tubes open up

Coffee can cause harder to sleep for some people. For some of us, it can also cause us to experience deep sleep for shorter periods, and shorter dream periods. So when we wake up, we would feel less rested.

Caffeine reaches maximum concentration in the body after 1-½ hours. After 3 to 7 hours, the caffeine in our body is metabolized and then expelled from our body.

Caffeine is metabolised by the liver, and passes into the bloodstream, crossing the blood/brain barrier into the brain. There it binds with receptors including dopamine receptors (which is why it makes you feel good) and adenosine receptors. Adenosine when bonded to its receptors slows down nerve cells, causing drowsiness. Caffeine also binds to adenosine receptors but doesn't slow down nerve cells. Since there is less adenosine binding, the nerve cells speed up, leading to feelings of restlessness.

Excessive caffeine intake, which is more than 4 or 5 cups of strong tea or coffee per day, can cause tremors, a fast heart rate, increased urination, nervousness, anxiety, stomach upsets and insomnia. In rare cases, caffeine can cause death relevant to heart condition.

Caffeine has a greater affect on children and the elderly. It can cause unborn babies to experience restlessness and withdrawal symptoms at birth, and produce hyperactivity and anxiety in kids.

The rate at which caffeine is metabolised by the body depends on the health of the liver. Women in general have more enzymes in the liver and metabolise drugs like caffeine faster than men.

The same class of enzymes metabolise caffeine and the hormones of pregnancy. It takes longer to get rid of the caffeine when these hormones are elevated in the body, that is, if you're pregnant or on the oral contraceptive pill. Low to moderate consumption of caffeine (one to two cups per day) has no effect on pregnant women’s birth weight or risk of miscarriage.

For some of you who are trying to make baby (^-^), please note that, caffeine has been shown to reduce fertility by damaging sperm in men. On women, it affects whether or not the fertilised egg (embryo) successfully implants in the uterus. Caffeine is a stressor; it stimulates the heart and brain, however also stimulates the release of a hormone that negatively interacts with the hormones that control fertility. As little as one cup of strong coffee a day can affect the chances of successful conception.

And for breastfeeding mom, do note down that caffeine can enter breast milk and significant amounts can cause wakefulness and agitation to the baby. Again, one cup per day seems to be the recommended upper level of intake.

However, there are some benefits in caffeine consumption. Caffeine is an antioxidant. Antioxidants are thought to help prevent heart disease and some cancers. Furthermore, coffee also contains flavonoids, which are also antioxidants. I read somewhere before that coffee is as strong as 6x antioxidants.

Caffeine increases alertness and is thought to improve concentration. It has also been used to help premature babies experiencing difficulties breathing. Minute amounts of caffeine given intravenously once a day can stimulate a newborn baby's brain to tell the lungs to inflate.

All in all, we can still drink coffee, or may be green tea or chocolate, as long as in moderate amount. So it is enough to benefit our body, and yet still far to experience the negative effects.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Cancer

It was just yesterday, 19 Feb 2008, we heard mourning news that the favorite and famous Hong Kong TVB Legend, Lydia Shum who is more popular being called as "Fei Fei" (which means fatty). She was called so because of her tubby build. She passed away at the age of 60 in Hong Kong's Queen Mary Hospital, due to liver cancer.

We now become more realized of the 'existence' of cancer among us. That is why we have to do our best efforts necessary to prevent cancer.

Here are the things that you should do to prevent cancer:

1. Stay as lean as possible without becoming underweight
2. Be physically active for at least 30 minutes per day
3. Avoid sugary drinks. Minimize consumption of energy-dense foods, such as those processed food high in added sugar, or low in fiber, or high in fat
4. Eat more of variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes such as beans
5. Limit consumption of red meats, such as beef, pork, and lamb. Avoid processed meats
6. Limit alcohol consumption
7. Eat fresh foods instead of supplements
8. Cancer survivors should follow all recommendation and obey restrictions for relapsed cancer prevention

Friday, February 15, 2008

Calcium Supplements: Good or Bad?

Some more lessons to learn today!!!

Today is about calcium supplements.
A New Zealand research reporting women taking calcium supplements to protect their bones had a significantly higher risk of having a heart attack.

Calcium benefits our bones, preventing bone loss and fractures. However, calcium consumption increase heart attack rate up to 40% higher!!!! It could also lead to stroke or sudden death.
The researchers think the finding is real because other studies have gone in the same direction, but this finding needs further verification.

It is suggested to take more calcium in whole food rather than calcium supplements. And if you have to take calcium to prevent bone loss from osteoporosis, the dosage should be under 1 gram a day. The researchers stated that it is better to be lower dosage.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Omega 3 Supplements: Not So Worth It?

I find this new finding about Omega 3 fats very interesting. As I have been taking Omega 3 supplements all these whiles, even my family and people around me worship Omega 3 so much!! Well..not any longer if they read new finding on Omega 3.

It was believed that Omega 3 fats in fish oil are good for our health. For us who concern about our future health, a.k.a our health when we are old. Most of us are afraid of this monsterous cancer. We all have learned long while ago that Omega 3 fats are good to prevent us from cancer, stroke and heart disease.

A review of the current belief on benefits of Omega 3 was conducted by British researchers. The review suggests that taking extra fish oil may not have as much benefit as we all thought.

The researchers conducted most trials on supplements. Surprising results, that taking the Omega 3 supplements showed NO BENEFIT for cancer, doubtful benefits for heart disease.

It is advised that people suffering from a heart attack would benefit from consuming whole fish. However, if we are all well and healthy, taking Omega 3 supplements may just not worth the money and the bad breath.

Learning from this new finding, I would now stop buying Omega 3 fats, and as it has been said, it is better to consume fresh food rather than processed food, in this case supplements.


For Reference:
Title: British Medical JournalAuthor: Brunner E. Oily fish and omega 3 fat supplements. URL:
http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/2006;332:739-740

Title: British Medical JournalAuthor: Hooper Lee at al. Risks and benefits of omega 3 fats for mortality, cardiovascular disease and cancer: systematic review. URL:
http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/2006;332:752-755



Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Halt Stressful Driving, Keep Yourself Entertained

For those who spend lots of time driving in your car, especially those who lives in a city that could never be free from traffic jam, I bet you would feel the same that I feel everyday. The frustration feeling if the traffic do not move or move very slowly. Irritated when the motorbikes slip through your left and right, and sometimes hit your rear view mirror. It is very stressful to drive in a highly jammed traffic. Especially if you are already bored with the radio channels playing songs that you are unfamiliar with, or you dislike at, or probably just not the right genre. And also you get bored with the same old song collections played by your ordinary, factory default CD player.

This situation would have me feeling tensed upon arrival on my destination. Worse case scenario? I would attend the meetings or appointments feeling irritable and cranky, and might not achieve maximum results I would have if I were to attend the meetings / appointments in a good mood.

Indeed, good mood is one of key factors in determining success of a meeting or appointments, especially if you are to lobby your clients !!! Imagine if you have to deal with difficult clients in a bad mood, pheww.. I think I might need to meditate for an hour to get myself composed. Hahaha.. it’s true!!! Driving in a high traffic jam could be unfavorable towards your daily activities.

Those are all the reasons I need to finally come up with a solution. Enough is enough! I decided to get myself a nice car multimedia entertainment. Heard from my friends that they are using this highly demand multimedia entertainment, ViDiQ. The complete features, yet easy-to-operate features just fit our needs these days, to make driving easier.

Bought myself a TOUCH-SCREEN in-dash double-din head unit, 848VDQ. Contrary to some beliefs that touch screen is sometimes unstable and some brands even responds to the touch very slowly, this brand is amazing! The responding time is extremely good I cant even believe it’s actually a touch-screen!!
Here is the image of the head unit. Cool yeah? (^-^)



To top it more, this head unit, is equipped with wireless BLUETOOTH phone!!! I can now make phone calls using this head unit!!! Isn’t this great or what? Well, it is definitely a whole lot safer to call using Bluetooth and built-in mic, instead of one hand holding your cell phone and only using one hand to drive. Some countries actually prohibit calling using mobile phones while driving.

Here are some of great specifications of this head unit, 848VDQ :



  • DVD Video/CD-DA/MP3/Video CD
    Now I can watch my DVDs if I am stuck in a traffic jam. Or simply playing the Pussycat Dolls concert DVD. Loosen up otherwise tensed nerves from driving!!

  • DVD/Radio (AM/FM)/TV Modes
    Will not miss my favorite TV shows like how I used to hate it.

  • In-dash 6.5” TFT LCD Monitor
    The screen is actually double-din, so it is huge enough to see my fave movies on screen.

  • True Multi Zone support Audio/Video
    My friends do install head-rest head unit, so their kids could watch cartoon shows from their seats behind. Definitely keep them entertained, and most importantly quiet. Nice!!!

  • Automatic Dimmer Control
    Very easy to operate and adjust, it feels like having my miniature TV, inside my car. Never again feel bored!!

  • JPEG Picture Viewer
    If I don’t have enough time to view pictures or images in my office or home, this could be done easily inside my car !! Unbelievable !!

  • White Color Buttons Display
    Very nice and cool display overall !!!


The company actually have a website to browse lines of multimedia entertainment they have. You can visit : http://www.vidiq.net/ for further information. Really, driving is fun now!! Of course, you have to get an easy-to-operate head unit.

And yeah, if you like to have better quality sound effects, you could buy STEELMATE amplifier. I love this one!! The size is small, and yet the power is equivalent to those huge sized amplifier. It is actually one of the best seller amplifier in the market.

Keep myself entertained while driving, and I could easily get the lobbying clients easily done!! With great success!!!

Just like how ViDiQ says it, “Drive Happier” !!!