Thursday, 30 September 2010

Best Way To Clean Hands

The claim: Paper towels thwart more germs than air dryers.

The facts: The key to clean hands is simple. Wash thoroughly with soap and water. However, once you have turned off the tap, do you reach for the paper towel or the air dryer?

Bacteria thrive on wet hands, so the method that removes the most moisture should theoretically be the most effective. 

But some studies suggest that other factors play a role. A few have portrayed conventional air dryers - and the newer jet-air machines where users stick their hands into a slot while air shoots out rapidly - as bacterial breeding grounds that contaminate hands and disperse germs.

However, these studies tend to have a conflict of interest: financing from the paper industry.

In 2000, the Mayo Clinic conducted an independent study. Researchers recruited 100 people, contaminated their hands and then instructed them to wash with soap and water. Then they had to place their hands under a warm air dryer for a single 30-second cycle, or use a cloth or paper towel for 15 seconds.

In the end, the scientist called it a draw: both methods dried the hands thoroughly and produced equivalent reductions in bacteria counts.

Other studies that looked at alcohol hand santisers found that they eliminated the most bacteria but not all viruses, including the norovirus - which causes acute gastroenteritis to humans. To be effective, they must be at leas 60 per cent alcohol.

The bottom line: The best available evidence suggests that as far as germs go, the method of drying is less important than the amount of time invested. What is important is that you take the time to dry your hands thoroughly.

- The New York Times 

Sunday, 26 September 2010

At The Confession

              Henry goes to confession and says, “Bless me Father, for I have sinned. Last night I was with seven different women.” 
              The priest says, “Take seven lemons, squeeze them into a glass and drink the juice without pausing.” 
              “Will that cleanse me of my sins, Father?” 
              “No,” replies the priest. “But it’ll wipe that silly grin off your face.”

Thursday, 23 September 2010

How A Massage Can Boost Your Health

There is no doubt that a good massage can relieve your stress and make you feel good. Now, new research suggests that it can also help you maintain good health.

Researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre reported last week that a single massage produced measurable changes in massage produced measurable changes in the immune system and endocrine system of healthy adults.

They studied 29 healthy adults who received a 45-minute vigorous Swedish massage and 24 healthy adults who had a 45-minute session of light touch massage.

The researchers, led by Dr Mark Rapaport, took blood samples before the massage began and at regular intervals up to one hour after the massage was completed.

The study found several changes in the blood tests of the Swedish massage group that indicated a benefit to the immune system.

The vigorous massage caused sizeable decreases in arginine vasopressin, a hormone that contributes to aggressive behaviour and small decreases in the stress hormone cortisol.

The participants in this group also had an increase in lymphocytes, cells that help the immune system defend the body from harmful substances.

- Los Angeles Times 

Sunday, 19 September 2010

His Secret

              A woman walked up to a shrivelled little old man rocking in a chair on his porch. 
              “I couldn’t help noticing how happy you look.” She said. “What’s your secret for a long happy life?” 
              “I smoke three packets of cigarettes a day,” he said. “I also do a gram of Charlie a day, a spiff every night, a case of whisky a week, eat junk food, and never exercise, and do pills on the week end.” 
              “That’s amazing,” said the woman, “How old are you?”
              “Twenty-three,” he said.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Stuff Dreams Are Made Of

The Claim: The day’s events are incorporated into that night’s dreams.

The facts: in the world of sleep research, dreams are something of a black box. However, one tidbit that scientists have discerned is the peculiar but predictable pattern in which dreams tend to occur.

Research suggests that much of what happens in a dream is unique to that dream. But some events from a person’s day can be incorporated into dreams in tow stages.

First there is the ‘day residue’ stage, I which emotional events may work their way into a person’s dreams that night. But that is followed by the more mysterious ‘dream lag’ effect, in which those events disappear from the dream landscape - often to be reincorporated roughly a week later. This lag has been documented in studies dating to the 1980s.

A 2004 study in the The Journal Of Sleep Research began to shed some light on this cycle. Researchers reviewed the journals of 470 people who recorded their dreams over a week. The dream-lag effect was strongest among people who viewed their dreams as a chance for self-understanding; their dreams often involved the resolution of problems or emotions tied to relationships.

The researchers speculated that the delayed dreams were the mind’s way of working through interpersonal difficulties and even ‘reformulating’ negative memories into more positive ones. Other studies have also shown a connection between dreams and this type of emotional memory processing.

The bottom line: The dream cycle can be much longer than a single night.

- The New York Times 

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Letting Go

Don´t hold on to the past. Let go of feelings of joy or anger toward whatever has happened, good or bad. The past is already over. Pay attention to the present so you can create the future you seek. This is a meaningful way to live. - His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje 

Sunday, 12 September 2010

New Employee

            The manager of a large office noticed a new man one day and told him to come into his office. 
              “What’s your name?” he asked the new guy. 
              “John,” the new guy replied. 
              The manager scowled, “Look... I don’t know what kind of a namby-pamby place you worked before, but I don’t call anyone by their first name. It breeds familiarity and that leads to a breakdown in authority. I refer to my employees by their last name only - Smith, Jones, Baker ... That’s all. I am to be referred to only as Mr. Robertson. Now that we got that straight, what is your last name?” 
              The new guy sighed, “Darling. My name is John Darling.” 
             “Okay John, the next thing I want to tell you is . . .”

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Eight Clues To Happiness


Having lived a reasonably contented life, I was musing over what a person should strive for to achieve happiness. I drew up a list of a few essentials which I put forward for the readers' appraisal.

1. First and foremost is GOOD HEALTH. If you do not enjoy good health you can never be happy. Any ailment, however trivial, will deduct from your happiness. 

2. Second, A HEALTHY BANK BALANCE. It need not run into crores but should be enough to provide for creature comforts and something to spare for recreation, like eating out, going to the pictures, travelling or going on holidays on the hills or by the sea. Shortage of money can be only demoralizing. Living on credit or borrowing is demeaning and lowers one in one's own eyes. 

3. Third, A HOME OF YOUR OWN. Rented premises can never give you the snug feeling of a nest which is yours for keeps that a home provides: if it has a garden space, all the better. Plant your own trees and flowers, see them grow and blossom, cultivate a sense of kinship with them. 

4. Fourth, AN UNDERSTANDING COMPANION, be it your spouse or a friend. If there are too many misunderstandings, they will rob you of your peace of mind. It is better to be divorced than to bicker all the time. 

5. Fifth, LACK OF ENVY towards those who have done better than you in life; risen higher, made more money, or earned more fame. Envy can be very corroding; avoid comparing yourself with others. 

6. Sixth, DO NOT ALLOW OTHER PEOPLE to descend on you for gup-shup. By the time you get rid of them, you will feel exhausted and poisoned by their gossip-mongering.

7. Seventh, CULTIVATE SOME HOBBIES which can bring you a sense of fulfilment, such as gardening, reading, writing, painting, playing or listening to music. 

8. Eighth, every morning and evening, devote 15 minutes to INTROSPECTION. In the morning, 10 minutes should be spent on stilling the mind and then five in listing things you have to do that day. In the evening, five minutes to still the mind again, and ten to go over what you had undertaken to do. 

Richness is not earning more, spending more or saving more …… Richness is when you need no more.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

It’s Not The Detergent

              A young boy, about eight years old, was at the corner ‘Mom & Pop’ grocery picking out a pretty good size box of laundry detergent. The grocer walked over, and, trying to be friendly, asked the boy if he had a lot of laundry to do. 
              “Oh, no laundry,’’ the boy said, “I’m going to wash my dog.’’ 
              “But you shouldn’t use this to wash your dog. It’s very powerful and if you wash your dog in this, he’ll get sick. In fact, it might even kill him.’’
              But the boy was not to be stopped and carried the detergent to the counter and paid for it, even as the grocer still tried to talk him out of washing his dog. About a week later the boy was back in the store to buy some candy. The grocer asked the boy how his dog was doing. 
              “Oh, he died,” the boy said. 
              The grocer, trying not to be an “I-told-you-so,” said he was sorry the dog died, but added, “I tried to tell you not to use that detergent on your dog.” 
              “Well,” the boy replied, “I don’t think it was the detergent that killed him.”
              “Oh? What was it then?” The grocer asked. 
              “I think it was the spin cycle!” Said the boy.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Don’t Sip That Sweet Cuppa All Morning

The claim: More sugar leads to more cavities.

The facts: Sugar and cavities go hand in had. But the total amount of sugar you eat has less impact on cavities than the pattern in which you consume it.

Tooth decay occurs when the bacteria that line the teeth feed on simple sugars, creating acid that destroy enamel.

When you eat something sweet, it takes the bacteria about 20 seconds to convert it to acid, which then lasts for about 30 minutes.

That means that a can of carbonated drink is a lot less harmful to your teeth when consumed in a few minutes instead of over a couple of hours with repeated sips, said Dr Carole Palmer, a professor of public health and community service at Tuffs University School of Dental Medicine.

“Every time you present sugar to the bacteria, you’ll get acid formation,” said Dr Palmer, who recently published a paper exploring dental myths in the journal Nutrition Today.

“The things that are going to increase the risk of decay would not be the total amount of sugar at all, but what your feeding pattern is like. Are you someone who is constantly sipping? Do you get one soda and keep it on your desk all afternoon? Do you get a cup of coffee with sugar ad sip it all morning?”

For the same reason, many dentists advise parents not to use spill-resistant sippy cups for sweet drinks or milk too often, which have been linked in some studies to tooth decay in toddlers.

Dr Palmer points out that it is not just sugar, but anything with acid, like diet soda. One study even found that sour candy was significantly more destructive to tooth enamel than regular, sweet candy because of its acid levels.

The bottom line: Small amounts of sugar eaten frequently increase cavities more than large amounts eaten infrequently.

- The New York Times