Naughty or Nice?
Egg Art Master Franc Grom sells egg artwork by creating approximately 2,500 to 3,500 holes in each egg shell. His intricate art is inspired by traditional Slovenian designs. Drilling holes in egg shells would require an incredible amount of steady hand and patience and the effort has definite paid off with these beautiful creations.
|The Use of Magnets for Pain||
Magnets have been used for health purposes for centuries. Static, or permanent, magnets are widely marketed for pain control and are considered part of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). This fact sheet provides an overview of static magnets and summarizes current scientific knowledge about their effects on pain.
* Magnets in products such as magnetic patches and disks, shoe insoles, bracelets, and mattress pads are used for pain in the foot, wrist, back, and other parts of the body.
* Preliminary scientific studies of magnets for pain have produced mixed results. Overall, there is no convincing scientific evidence to support claims that magnets can relieve pain of any type. Some studies, including a recent National Institutes of Health (NIH) clinical trial for back pain, suggest the possibility of a small benefit from using magnets for pain. However, the majority of rigorous studies have found no effect on pain. More research on magnets for pain is needed before reaching any firm conclusion.
* Magnets are generally considered safe when applied to the skin, but they may not be safe for some people, such as those who use medical devices like pacemakers or defibrillators, as magnets may interfere with the device.
* Tell your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.
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|The Healing Power of Gardening||
By Jennifer Matlack
When parenting two teens sends stress levels soaring, Janet Jemmott, 44, of Kent Cliffs, New York, makes a beeline for her vegetable garden. “Checking on the size of my cucumbers, picking a ripe tomato, even turning my compost relieves tension and can head off a migraine,” she says. Research shows that toiling in the soil offers the following health benefits:
Grow Bones. In a 2002 study of 3,310 women, University of Arkansas scientists found that strenuous yard work (pushing a lawn mower, pulling weeds) had the same beneficial effect on bone density as weight training did. High bone density is key in preventing osteoporosis.
Prune Heart Risk. In 2000, researchers in Denmark reported that moderate exercise such as gardening decreased the risk of heart disease byand cholesterol. Aim for at least 30 minutes a day.
Nourish the Mind. Exercising mind and body has been proved to reduce dementia risk. Gardening does both. It’s an excellent mental workout that requires planning and foresight and encourages learning, says neuropsychologist Paul Nussbaum.
Weed Out Diabetes. A 2002 Dutch study found that male gardeners were more likely to have lower blood sugar levels. And a University of Alabama study of 505 men and women with type 2 diabetes found that active people, including those who gardened regularly, reduced or eliminated their need for medication.
Clip Calories. A 150-pound person burns 162 calories pruning, digging or weeding for 30 minutes. Kids benefit too. A 2003 study showed that noncompetitive activities like gardening lure children away from a sedentary lifestyle. And they learn about biology and nutrition, says researcher C. Lawrence Kien. A recent Texas A&M study found kids who gardened 30 minutes a week were more likely to eat vegetables.
|Interrupted Night Sleep Worse for Cognitive Function||
People are groggier and think less clearly when woken up during their night-time sleep than during than an afternoon nap, a new study shows.
The findings, published in the August issue of the Journal of Biological Rhythms, have implications for anyone who needs to be alert upon awakening in the middle of the night, such as on-call physicians, emergency personnel and even parents.
Researchers found that sleep inertia, the period of grogginess and impaired cognitive performance experienced upon awakening, was nearly four times stronger when people were awoken during the middle of their “biological night” (a period of normal night of sleep) compared to their biological day. The feeling was almost twice as strong during the person’s biological morning, the wake-up period following a normal night of sleep. People also showed the least thinking impairment after awakening during the middle of the biological day.
“The cognitive impairment during the biological night was twice as large as during the normal time of awakening — the biological morning,” lead author Frank A.J.L. Scheer, a neuroscientist in Brigham and Women’s Hospital Division of Sleep Medicine, said in a hospital news release. “This is especially important, considering that already following awakening during the morning, the cognitive impairment can be more detrimental than staying awake all night and has been shown to be comparable to the effects of alcoholic intoxication.”
|Attractiveness is in the Way We Walk||
Researchers have discovered that not only does body shape relate to how attractive we find others, but also in the way they carry themselves.
The findings reflect the views of over 700 individuals who participated in a series of five studies, three of which involved animated representations of people walking. The attractiveness ratings for perceived women increased by about 50 percent when they walked with hip sway, and attractiveness ratings for perceived men more than doubled when they walked with a swagger in their shoulders.
“When encountering another human, the first judgment an individual makes concerns the other individual’s gender,” said Kerri Johnson, one of the study’s authors. “The body’s shape, specifically the waist-to-hip ratio, has been related to gender identification and to perceived attractiveness, but part of the way we make such judgments is by determining whether the observed individual is behaving in ways consistent with our culture’s definitions of beauty and of masculinity/femininity. And part of those cultural definitions involves movement.”
“It turns out that decisions about a particular individual’s attractiveness are high level ones which integrate an entire complex of cues, one of which, again, involves how the individual moves.”
The study appears in the most recent issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a peer-reviewed publication of the National Academy of Sciences.
Louis G. Tassinary, one of the study’s authors, first became interested in visual cues to human attractiveness when he realized he was unsettled by a popular 1990s take on the subject – that female physical attractiveness depends primarily on the ratio between an individual’s hips and waist. According to this line of thinking, waist-to-hip ratios greater than the “ideal” (approximately .7) portend that a female will be perceived necessarily as less attractive.
This early research used simple line drawings, asking study subjects to rate figures as to attractiveness and was supported by evolutionary arguments – that is, that females with certain waist-to-hip ratios were more fecund than others and were therefore perceived to be more attractive.
In collaboration with former Texas A&M professor Wendy Wood, and current Texas A&M professor Mardelle Shepley, Tassinary and Kristi Hansen, then working on her master’s degree in architecture, demonstrated in the late 90’s that the linkage between the waist-to-hip and perceived attractiveness was likely an artifact due to the commonly used line-drawn stimuli. Tassinary then worked with Mitsitoshi Higa, then a master’s degree student in visualization at the college, to develop more dynamic, animated figures to use in experiments on perceived attractiveness.
These early efforts opened up a fruitful line of inquiry, Tassinary says. “Using our more dynamic figures, it became clear to us that the waist-to-hip ratio is just one cue to perceived attractiveness. Because attractiveness generally is both complex and multidimensional, Kerri and I designed this current line of research to broaden the scope of inquiry.”
Knowing the cognitive mechanisms undergirding the relations between judgments of attractiveness and body cues is essential to understanding human evolution, Tassinary notes. For example, physical manifestations of “femaleness” differ across cultures. Western cultures may favor a smaller waist-to-hip ratio (the “hourglass” figure), while certain non-Western cultures have been found that favor a larger ratio (the “tubular” figure).
Not only has the research proved fruitful and significant, but it is a model for collaboration in the academic realm, Tassinary notes. Johnson was once his student, earning her master’s at Texas A&M while the two worked together on earlier projects, and their collaboration has continued since Johnson received her doctorate from Cornell University.
“The current findings bolster our understanding of how and why the body is perceived attractive,” Johnson notes. “Body cues bring about the basic social perception of sex and gender, and the compatibility of those basic precepts affects perceived attractiveness.”
|The 4 D’s of Depression||
Depression is often lurking in the shadows. When you are depressed, most often you think that you are worthless. The worse the depression, the more you feel this way. Fortunately, you are not alone!
A survey by Dr. Aaron Beck revealed that over 80 percent of depressed people expressed dislike for themselves. According to Dr. Beck, when you are depressed, you feel “The Four Ds”:
* Deserted, and
Also, most counselors find that depressed individuals see themselves as deficient in those qualities of life they most highly value: intelligence, achievement, popularity, attractiveness, health and strength. And almost all negative emotional reactions cause damage by contributing to feelings of low self-esteem. The way a therapist handles these feelings of inadequacy is crucial to the treatment, as your sense of worthlessness is a key to your depression.
How can you increase your sense of “worth”? You cannot earn it through what you do. Happiness is not obtained solely by your achievements. Self-worth based on accomplishments is “pseudo-esteem”; it’s simply not the real thing.
Cognitive therapy, as taught by Dr. Beck, refuses to buy into an individual’s sense of worthlessness. Instead, his techniques help people to understand and address those factors that contribute to low self-esteem.