Test-tube meat to be available this fall, scientist says

The world’s first “test-tube” meat, a hamburger made from a cow’s stem cells, will be produced this fall, Dutch scientist Mark Post told a major science conference.

Post’s aim is to invent an efficient way to produce skeletal muscle tissue in a laboratory that exactly mimics meat, and eventually replace the entire meat-animal industry.

The ingredients for his first burger are “still in a laboratory phase,” he said, but by fall “we have committed ourselves to make a couple of thousand of small tissues, and then assemble them into a hamburger.”

Post, chair of physiology at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, said his project is funded with 250,000 euros from an anonymous private investor motivated by “care for the environment, food for the world and interest in life-transforming technologies.”

Post spoke at a symposium titled “The Next Agricultural Revolution” at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Vancouver.

Speakers said they aim to develop such “meat” products for mass consumption to reduce the environmental and health costs of conventional food production.
Conventional meat and dairy production requires more land, water, plants and disposal of waste products than almost all other human foods, they said.

The global demand for meat is expected to rise by 60 percent by 2050, said American scientist Nicholas Genovese, who organized the symposium.

“But the majority of earth’s pasture lands are already in use,” he said, so conventional livestock producers can only meet the booming demand by further expansion into nature.

The result would be lost biodiversity, more greenhouse and other gases, and an increase in disease, he said.

In 2010 a report by the United Nations Environment Program called for a global vegetarian diet.

“Animal farming is by far the biggest ongoing global catastrophe,” Patrick Brown of the Stanford University School of Medicine told reporters.

“More to the point, it’s incredibly ready to topple … it’s inefficient technology that hasn’t changed fundamentally for millennia,” he said.

“There’s been a blind spot in the science and technology community (of livestock production) as an easy target.”

Brown, who said he is funded by an American venture capital firm and has two start-ups in California, said he will devote the rest of his life to develop products that mimic meat but are made entirely from vegetable sources.

He is working “to develop and commercialize a product that can compete head on with meat and dairy products based on taste and value for the mainstream consumer, for people who are hard-core meat and cheese lovers who can’t imagine ever giving that up, but could be persuaded if they had a product with all taste and value.”

Brown said developing meat from animal cells in a laboratory will still have a high environmental cost, and so he said he will rely only on plant sources.

Both scientists said no companies in the existing meat industry have expressed interest.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/02/20/test-tube-meat-to-be-available-this-fall-scientist-says/#ixzz1mw4agICI


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Massage has same results as Aspirin

Many people take painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs when they’re in pain, but researchers at McMaster University in Canada found that getting a massage could do the trick.

That’s because massage affects how some genes work and directly reduces inflammation in muscles. It’s the same result you’d get from taking drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen. But why try it?

“Anti-inflammatory drugs have side effects,” said Pat Collins, American Massage Therapy Assn. New York President. “With massage therapy the side effect is happiness, contentment and relaxation. It reduces the chemical that actually causes the pain and inflammation and stimulates the mitochondria that help the healing.”

Experts say results vary from person to person, but you could start seeing these benefits and more from massage in just an hour.

“Studies have shown that a one hour massage can heal your body with the equivalent of 8 hours of sleep it is amazing,” said Eddie Smith, Massage Therapist at Body and Soul.

It can even help fight off headaches.

“I see people with migraines, headaches, brain injuries, autistic children, babies with colic and I’ve had babies who have stopped being colicky after the first session,” said Collins.

Experts say that if you’re going to try massage out, you should tell your massage therapist about any medical conditions you have so they can adjust the session to fit your needs.

“You have to be very careful with people who have high blood pressure. They cannot get deep tissue work,” said Smith. “Again because you are working with the blood flow and you don’t want to increase that. Lighter work and stretching is excellent.”

Whether you’re in it for the health benefits or the yummy smelling oils, experts said it doesn’t hurt to try massage out.

Read More: http://centralny.ynn.com/content/top_stories/573535/massage-has-same-results-as-aspirin/

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Common Causes of Low Back Pain

Low back pain is one of the most disabling conditions in the U.S., and experts say that 80 percent of Americans will suffer from it at some point in their lives.  It’s estimated that back pain costs more than $90 billion a year in lost productivity and work days.

While back pain can be debilitating for many who live with it, in most cases it can be treated non-surgically, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.  Exercise and staying fit are among the best treatments, back specialists say.  Lifting objects using the legs while holding objects away from the body is one of the best ways to prevent it.

There are numerous causes for low back pain, ranging from muscle strains to ordinary daily activities that people don’t realize can lead to back problems.  ABC News talked to several experts about some of these lesser-known causes of lower back pain.


Overweight and obese adults are more likely to have disc degeneration in their lower back than normal-weight adults, according to a new study published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism.

Disc degeneration occurs when the discs of the spine start to break down, and it sometimes causes low back pain.  While disc degeneration is part of the normal aging process, researchers in China found that among 2,599 Chinese men and women, body mass index (BMI) was significantly higher in people with disc degeneration.

They also found that underweight participants were significantly less likely to have degenerative disc disease.

“When you look at their underweight group compared to other groups, it’s a very compelling observation that there’s a clear association between weight and disc degeneration,” said Dr. Scott Boden, professor of orthopedic surgery and director of the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center in Atlanta.

Exactly what that association is, however, is harder to establish.  The authors believe weight gain may cause physical stress on the disc and, in addition, chronic inflammation brought on by the fat cells can lead to disc degeneration.


“Sitting is worse than standing.  Sitting for long periods of time puts pressure on your back, especially if you’re not using core muscles to support your back,” said Dr. Nick Shamie, associate professor of spine surgery at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, Calif.

What’s even worse is sitting and leaning forward to pick up something from the floor, which places the maximum amount of force on the lower back, he added.  Instead of leaning and reaching, Shamie explained the best way to pick something up is to get on the knees, pick it up and keep the object close to the body.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke recommends sitting in a chair with good lower back support.  If sitting for a long time, people should rest their feet on a low stool or stack of books.  But if possible, switch sitting positions and get up and walk around a bit throughout the day.

Mattress Type

Whether a soft mattress or a firm mattress is better for the back is up for debate.  There hasn’t been a lot of research on it, but a 2003 study found that people who slept on medium-firm mattresses reported less back pain.

“If a bed is either too stiff or too soft, it’s likely to cause back problems, but there is a lot of individual variation on that,” said Dr. Richard Deyo, professor of family medicine at Oregon Health and Sciences University in Portland.  “You need enough support so the spine is not sagging, but you don’t want it so rigid that the spine is forced into an unnatural position.”

High Heels

There’s nothing to definitively link wearing high heels to the increased likelihood of developing back pain, but experts say it does make sense.

“Having the heel elevated changes the posture and probably forces the lower back into more of an extended position, and that can be painful over time,” said Deyo.

But Shamie said wearing high heels is more likely to affect other parts of the body more than the back.

“High heels can put a lot of stress on your feet, but not as much on your lower back,” he said.

Purses and Backpacks

“It makes perfect sense that if you have a heavy backpack, there’s definitely a potential risk for injuring your lower back and other joints,” said Shamie.

In general, he said, maximum weight should be no more than 10 to 15 percent of body weight.

Deyo, however, said the backpack issue has been controversial, and study findings have been conflicting.  Nonetheless, it’s probably wise to get an extremely heavy load off the back if possible.

Read more: http://www.kgoam810.com/rssItem.asp?feedid=116&itemid=29792065

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Turning to Kettlebells to Ease Back Pain

Kettlebells, cast-iron weights that have been used for centuries to train Russian soldiers and athletes, appear to be a promising therapy for back and neck pain, new research shows.

Although many people with backaches and other pains shy away from weight lifting for fear of hurting themselves, studies show that strength training can reduce pain and prevent reinjury. While most research has used traditional weight training exercises, researchers in Denmark set out to study whether a kettlebell workout offered therapeutic benefits to back pain sufferers.

The weights, named for their resemblance to a tea kettle with a looped handle, began showing up in American gyms about 15 years ago and have gained a popular following among exercise buffs looking for a quick full-body workout. Unlike traditional weight training, which typically focuses on lifting exercises, a kettlebell workout requires both swinging and lifting of the weights, which for beginners can be awkward and difficult to control.

In a study published last year, the Danish researchers recruited 40 pharmaceutical workers, mostly middle-aged women with back, shoulder and neck pain, who were randomly assigned to either a regular kettlebell workout or a control group that was simply encouraged to exercise. The first group trained with kettlebells in 20-minute sessions two to three times a week for eight weeks, according to the report, published in The Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health.

At the end of the study, the kettlebell exercisers reported less pain as well as improved strength in the trunk and core muscles, compared with the control group. Over all, working out with kettlebells reduced lower back pain by 57 percent and cut neck and shoulder pain by 46 percent.

The study’s senior author, Lars L. Andersen, a government researcher in Denmark, noted that workers who spend much of the day sitting are particularly vulnerable to back, shoulder and neck pain because they develop tightness and weak spots along the posterior muscle chain, which includes the muscles running from the lower back down to the glutes, hamstrings and calves. Kettlebell workouts strengthen the posterior muscle chain, and the increased blood flow to the back and leg muscles also may lessen pain by reducing the buildup of lactic acid, the authors wrote.

While isolation exercises like curls and presses have their benefits, kettlebell movements recruit multiple muscles and teach the body “to move as one unit,” said J.J. Blea, a certified kettlebell instructor and an owner of Firebellzin Albuquerque, one of the top kettlebell gyms in the country.

Because kettlebells can be difficult to control, it’s important to learn proper form from a certified instructor or a kettlebell class at a gym. The cornerstone of the kettlebell workout requires the exerciser to swing the kettlebell between the legs. In the Danish study, women started with a 17.5-pound kettlebell and men with a 26.5-pound kettlebell.

“When you’re doing a swing, you squeeze your quads, you squeeze your glutes, and you squeeze your abs,” said Mr. Blea. “By squeezing these muscles, you protect your back. It creates power, and it increases strength.”

Kettlebell training is also surprisingly aerobic. A study by the American Council on Exercise found that a 20-minute kettlebell workout burns about 21 calories a minute, the equivalent of running at a six-minute-mile pace.


Read more: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/26/turning-to-kettlebells-to-ease-back-pain/

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Chiropractic care helps moms-to-be, babies

For many women, the aches and pains of pregnancy are just accepted as a fact of life. Although they may complain while enduring nausea, sciatica and an inability to sleep, among other things, those ailments are often brushed aside as routine.

Dr. Amerest Anderson, at Pure Health Chiropractic, Acupuncture and Wellness Institute in St. George, says it doesn’t have to be that way.

“Pregnancy doesn’t have to be an uncomfortable experience if you’re thinking outside the box,” Anderson says.

Focusing on maternal and infant chiropractic care, Anderson sees women suffering from a variety of pregnancy-related issues, as well as those just seeking to improve their overall wellness before the baby comes.

Juli Picklesimer was approximately 20 weeks along when she first came to see Anderson, seeking relief from sciatic nerve pain.

“It would be so bad I’d go to sleep and get into a position that was hurting and I couldn’t move,” Picklesimer says. “It was crippling.”

She is now just a few weeks from delivering her baby and she says the treatments have made a world of difference in her third pregnancy.

“I’ve never slept this well during pregnancy,” says Picklesimer, adding that nothing else has helped this much, even physical therapy. “A lot of the aches and pains of pregnancy are just taken away.”

Lauralynn Defngin is planning to have an all-natural birth with the help of a midwife. During one of the birthing classes she was surprised to learn that maternal chiropractic care was an option.

“I didn’t know you could get adjusted while pregnant,” says Defngin, who has since been making regular visits to Anderson’s office to receive overall comfort adjustments through much of her pregnancy.

“It’s kind of a natural high,” she says.

Maternal chiropractic care is not a new concept and Anderson says it should not take the place of gynecological prenatal care. Rather, she believes the two should go hand in hand to meet the overall wellness needs of the patient.

“Statistically women who receive chiropractic care will have 50 percent shorter labor times,” Anderson says.


To continue this article visit: http://www.thespectrum.com/article/20120116/FAMILY/120116003/Chiropractic-care-helps-moms-babies?odyssey=nav%7Chead

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10 Ways to Enjoy Doing Nothing

One morning, nearly 20 years ago, I was lying in bed. It was late. I was supposed to be working, but I seemed glued to the mattress. I hated myself for my laziness. And then, by chance, I picked up a collection of writings by Dr. Samuel Johnson, the 18th-century wit and the compiler of the first comprehensive English dictionary. In the book were excerpts from a weekly column he had written called The Idler, in which the great man celebrated idleness as an aspiration, writing in 1758, “Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler.”

This was an epiphany for me. Idleness, it seemed, was not bad. It was noble. It was excessive busyness that caused all the problems!

So I got out of bed and started a magazine called The Idler, in order to remind people of the forgotten, simple pleasures of doing nothing. I even wrote books about it. And, yes, you could say that idleness became my life’s work. So, based on all those years of tough-going research, here are my top tips for people who find it difficult to just be.

1. Banish the guilt.
We are all told that we should be terribly busy, so we can’t laze around without that nagging feeling that we need to be getting stuff done. I rejected my guilt upon learning that Europeans in the Middle Ages felt no shame for lolling about. Their favorite philosopher, Aristotle, had praised the contemplative life, and the monks spent a lot of time just praying and chanting. Guilt for doing nothing is artificially imposed on us by a Calvinistic and Puritanical culture that wants us to work hard. When you understand that it hasn’t always been this way, it becomes easier to shake it off.

2. Choose the right role models. 
Most of the great musicians and poets were idlers. So feed yourself a diet of John Lennon, Oscar Wilde, Walt Whitman, and the like. Carrying a slim volume of verse in your purse or pocket can be therapeutic―something from Keats, who wrote of “evenings steep’d in honied indolence,” or Wordsworth, of course. (What could be more idle than wandering lonely as a cloud?) It’s delightful to read a few lines while you’re on a bus or a train, then stare out the window and ponder their meaning.

3. Sketch a flower.
If you are new to idling and feel compelled to be purposefully occupied, sketching a flower at the kitchen table can be an excellent way to bring some divine contemplation into your life. The act of drawing makes you observe the bloom in a way you never have before. All anxieties fly away as you lose yourself in close study. And at the end of it you have a pretty little sketch.

4. Go bumbling.
Bumbling is a nice word that means “wandering around without purpose.” It was indulged in by the poets of 19th-century Paris. They called themselves flâneurs and were said to have taken tortoises around on leads, which gives you an idea of the tempo of their rambles. Children are good bumblers. Try making a deliberate effort to slow down your walking pace. You’ll find yourself coming alive, and you’ll enjoy simply soaking in the day.

5. Play the ukulele.
The ukulele is the sound of not working. My wife hates it for that very reason: The twang of those strings means that I am not doing something useful around the house. I keep my ukulele in the kitchen and play it at odd moments, like while I’m waiting for the kettle to boil.

6. Bring back Sundays. 
Many religions still observe a Sabbath, whether it’s Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. And for a long time secular society embraced Sundays as a day of rest, too. But now Sundays are as busy and stress-filled as any other day. Having a day of rest was a very practical idea: We were excused from all labor and devoted ourselves to pleasure and family. Take that ancient wisdom to heart and declare at least one day of the week as a do-nothing day. Don’t clean the house or do the laundry; don’t get in the car. Stay home and eat chocolate and drink wine. Be kind to yourself.

7. Lie in a field. 
Doing nothing is profoundly healing―to yourself and to the planet. It is precisely our restless activity that has caused the environmental crisis. So do some good by taking a break from “doing” and go and lie on your back in a field. Listen to the birds and smell the grass.

8. Gaze at the clouds.
Don’t have a field nearby? Doing nothing can easily be dignified by calling it “cloud spotting.” It gives a purpose to your dawdling. Go outside and look up at the ever-changing skies and spot the cirrus and the cumulonimbus.

9. Take a nap.
To indulge in a siesta after lunch is the most wonderful luxury: It softens tempers and guards against grumpiness. Yet our culture has decided that naps are for wimps. A nap is acceptable only if it is called a “power nap”―a short doze that is supposed to return you to the office with more energy to kick some ass. But you should nap, not for the profit of a corporation but for your own health. Research has shown that a daily snooze can reduce the risk of heart attack. And just knowing you’re going to sleep after lunch seems to make the morning less stressful. If curling up in your office isn’t an option, go somewhere quiet, like a church or a park bench, and close your eyes for even just five minutes.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/01/07/10-ways-to-enjoy-doing-nothing/#ixzz1iyd9Ukmo

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How to Tell If It’s Allergies, a Cold or the Flu

Understanding what illness you have is important in figuring out how to treat it, and how to get rid of it.

Garyl Hester of New York City thought he had a sinus infection when he went to the doctor – but he had it all wrong.

“I couldn’t get rid of it, I couldn’t shake it,” said Hester, 48. “So (my doctor) tested me and found out I was allergic to dust mites, which I never knew before.”

Hester said he now has an air purifier in his house and he bought hypoallergenic sheets – and his headache is gone.

New York-based allergist Dr. Jonathan Field said most patients get confused and often do not know what kind of medical condition they are dealing with.

“If they have a fever, if the headache tends to be more extreme or if they lost their sense of smell, then it sounds to me like a sinus infection,” Field said.

If you are prone to sinus infections, try an irrigation rinse to prevent them or get tested for allergies.

Field said colds and sinus infections are often triggered by indoor allergies, such as dust, mold and pet dander.

“Colds tend to be mild, and you have typical symptoms like a running nose, itchy eyes – a little bit of a sore throat and mild muscle aches, but generally you feel well,” Field said.

Cold symptoms should not last longer than a week, he added. Taking zinc at the onset of a cold can decrease the duration of the illness and severity of symptoms.

However, the flu is much worse – symptoms are more pronounced in terms of muscle aches and fatigue, and you will definitely have a fever.

The onset of the flu is very sudden, Field added.

Prescribed medication is the only cure for influenza, which can be deadly. Up to 36,000 Americans die each year from influenza, so if you think you may have it, see a doctor immediately. A flu shot is the best prevention.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/12/23/how-to-tell-if-its-allergies-cold-or-flu/#ixzz1hq953CTG

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