Thursday, August 29, 2013

Jaiphal benefits

Jaiphal is a powerful herbal alternative medicine known to have the following healing benefits:
- Jaiphal reduces stress and exhaustion
- Herbal jaiphal decreases anxiety and depression
- This natural home remedy reduces joint pain and soreness
- Jaiphal in herbal form also decreases menstrual cramping
- This natural home remedy also cures digestion issues and reduces bad breath

Jaiphal has been used as a natural herbal supplement for centuries for these and other maladies, and just recently jaiphal has started to become accepted by modern alternative medicine practitioners.
Jaiphal is known more commonly as nutmeg. What is not commonly known about the natural remedy jaiphal is the potential of this home remedy to cure many common ailments.
As a spice, jaiphal, or nutmeg, is commonly used and makes many recipes taste more flavorful and aromatic. What many don’t know is jaiphal also has anti-inflammatory, anti-diarrheal, analgesic male potency increasing properties. In addition, at a higher dose this home remedy can help a person find calm or sleep. Finally, this alternative
medicine can be helpful for less serious but more chronic problems such as sinus infection and headaches.
Please consult with a medical practitioner before using jaiphal to treat your condition with jaiphal or any other natural remedy, but here are some known ways to use jaiphal:
Digestive upsets: Take one fourth of a teaspoonful of jaiphal (nutmeg) powder in water as a home remedy.
Nausea and gas: Jaiphal mixed with honey is a natural remedy for this condition
Joint pains: Sesame oil prepared with herbal jaiphal powder applied directly on the painful joints can help as a natural home remedy
Headache: Paste of herbal remedy jaiphal and water applied to the forehead.
Insomnia: Jaiphal powder mixed with honey is an excellent home remedy for this condition.
Diminished libido: powdered jaiphal with honey as an alternative medicine.
Jaiphal’s average daily dose is up to one gram. An overdose on nutmeg can produce toxic symptoms like severe acidity, nausea, and anxiety, so again it’s important to consult with a medical practitioner before starting to take jaiphal or any other natural remedy.
Examples of Jaiphal Preparation
Jaiphal can be prepared as a home remedy in several different ways, depending in what symptom you are trying to address. Since it is such a wide-ranging natural cure in Ayurvedic medicine, it presents many possibilities as far as how you would apply it. For example:
- If you are using jaiphal as a home remedy for pain in your extremities - your arms, hands, feet or legs - mix a powder made from jaiphal into massage oil and use it like you would normally use the massage oil.
- For depression and anxiety, an Ayurvedic cure involves taking jaiphal seeds, crushing them, and using them as a tea that you drink twice each day.
- For issues related to the complexion of your skin, make a paste of jaiphal that includes some milk and apply it to the area of skin you want to improve as a home remedy.
As you can see, jaiphal is a natural herbal remedy that is not only powerful but also quite flexible as far as how it can be used. As with many herbal remedies in Ayurvedic medicine, careful preparation is key, and you should ask an experienced practitioner for the correct amounts of ingredients to use so you don;t use too much or too little.
Anxiety, complexion, depression, home remedy, jaiphal, pain
Jaiphal (Nutmeg) for restful sleep
Jaiphal has been known as a home remedy and natural cure for sleeping problems. Taken correctly, jaiphal (nutmeg) can help a person calm their mind and relax and get ready for a deep restful sleep. In fact, many who have had sleep problems from insomnia to early morning awakening have tried jaiphal as a possible natural cure. But is it as simple as taking some nutmeg and sprinkling it on food? Not really, given that you need just the right concentration of jaiphal to help you feel tired and ready for bed.
One way to prepare jaiphal (nutmeg) for use as a home remedy against insomnia and other sleep problems is to make a tea. You simply pour about a pint of boiling water into crushed nutmeg, let it cool off, then strain. Then heat it up again and drink. About a cup of jaiphal tea a half hour before you go to sleep should do the trick. One warning though – you should only use about 3-5 grams of jaiphal in this mixture – more than that and the nutmeg might actually have the opposite effect and make you agitated.
Jaiphal tea made simply like described here may be a great treatment for other issues as well, and a potential cure for fitfull sleep!
Tagged cure, home remedy, insomnia, jaiphal, natural, nutmeg, sleep, tea
Jaiphal (Nutmeg) – Home Remedy and Cure for Acne
While most people know jaiphal by its more common name, nutmeg, most do not realize the incredible healing properties of this spice. Listed in the first post are some of the more common uses, but jaiphal also has some less common but equally powerful uses as a home remedy and cure. Its no wonder that jaiphal is becoming known as an incredible all-in-one home remedy.
For acne breakouts, grind up the jaiphal (nutmeg) – ideally from the nut form as opposed to the form you get for cooking. Then add warm milk – enough to create a paste. Apply this mixture on the affected area. This jaiphal mixture should clear acne pimples as well as anything you would buy at a pharmacy. You should test the mixture first on a small area, especially if using on the face, to make sure you will not have any allergic reaction.
The mechanism of action of jaiphal, whether for the above use in reducing acne, or any of the other uses listed here, is not completely known, though the results are well documented. Nutmeg is a common household spice, and yet it has incredible healing benefits as a home remedy and cure – and this use against acne is amazing in how easy, elegant, and powerful it is.

35 health benefits of garlic

1. Helps treat atherosclerosis.
2. Helps lower cholesterol.
3. Has the ability to lower blood pressure.
4. Helps treat gout.
5. Treating and preventing the flu and upper respiratory tract infections.
6. Prevents the growth and spread of bacteria.
7. Helps treat Tuberculosis.
8. Treating purulent wounds.
9. Helps treat Trichomoniasis (a sexually transmitted infection.)
10. Boosts your metabolism.
11. Prevents the spread of collon cancer…
12. …gall bladder cancer…
13. …rectal cancer…
14. …breast cancer…
15. …and prostate cancer.
16. Helps aid digestion.
16. Treats a yeast infection.
17. Dissolves blood clots.
18. Increases appetite.
19. Kills intestinal worms and parasites.
20. Helps treat cataracts.
21. Helps treat arthritis.
22. Helps treat diabetes.
23. Help treat staph infection.
24. Hells get rid of a tooth ache.
25. Treats acne.
26. Kills warts.
27. Helps treat tetter.
28. Helps in the treatment of boils on the skin.
29. Has a soothing effect on the intestines.
30. Garlic phytoncides are used to treat asthma…
31. …chronic bronchitis…
31. …and whooping cough.
32. Helps cure insomnia.
33. Slows the process of aging.
34. Inhibits the growth of Candida albicans.
35. Strengthens the body’s immune system.

Read this small story; Hope that makes a BIG change in YOU

22015_270294449765346_485011901_n The Professor began his class by holding up a glass with some water in it. He held it up for all to see & asked the students “How much do you think this glass weighs?"
'50gms!'..... '100gms!' .....'125gms' ...the students answered.
"I really don't know unless I weigh it," said the professor, "but, my question is:
What would happen if I hel
d it up like this for a few minutes?"
'Nothing' …..the students said.
'Ok what would happen if I held it up like this for an hour?' the professor asked.
'Your arm would begin to ache' said one of the student
"You're right, now what would happen if I held it for a day?"
"Your arm could go numb; you might have severe muscle stress & paralysis & have to go to hospital for sure!"
….. Ventured another student & all the students laughed
"Very good.
But during all this, did the weight of the glass change?" Asked the professor.
'No'…. Was the answer.
"Then what caused the arm ache & the muscle stress?"
The students were puzzled.
"What should I do now to come out of pain?" asked professor again.
"Put the glass down!" said one of the students
"Exactly!" said the professor.
Life's problems are something like this.
Hold it for a few minutes in your head & they seem OK.
Think of them for a long time & they begin to ache.
Hold it even longer & they begin to paralyze you. You will not be able to do anything.
It's important to think of the challenges or problems in your life, But EVEN MORE IMPORTANT is to 'PUT THEM DOWN' at the end of every day before you go to sleep...
That way, you are not stressed, you wake up every day fresh &strong & can handle any issue, any challenge that comes your way!
So, when you start your day today, Remember friend to ‘PUT THE GLASS DOWN TODAY! '

Health Benefits of Basil (Tulsi)

481237_301685646626226_2114608312_n The tulsi or holy basil is an important symbol in the Hindu religious tradition and is worshipped in the morning
and evening by Hindus at large. The holy basil is also a herbal remedy for a lot of common ailments. Basil is
rich in vitamin K, the vitamin that promotes blood clotting. It is also thought to have anti-oxidant properties.
Here are some of the medicinal uses and health benefits of holy basil (tulsi).
1. The leaves are a nerve tonic and also
sharpen memory.
2. Fever & Common Cold : The leaves of basil are specific for many fevers.
3. Chewing tulsi leaves relieves cold and flu.
4. Water boiled with basil leaves can be taken as drink in case of sore throat. This water
can also be used as a gargle.
5. The herb is useful in the treatment of respiratory system disorder.
6. Basil has strengthening effect on the kidney.
7. Reduces the level of blood cholesterol.
8. Common pediatric problems like cough cold, fever, diarrhea and vomiting respond favorably to the juice of basil leaves.
9. Basil leaves are regarded as an 'adaptogen' or anti-stress agent.
10. The leaves are quit effective for the ulcer and infections in the mouth.

Health Benefits of Coriander (Dhania)

575282_245496982245093_134363988_n The health benefits of coriander include treatment of swellings, high cholesterol levels, diarrhea, Mouth ulcers, anemia, digestion, menstrual disorders, small pox, eye care, conjunctivitis, skin disorders, blood sugar disorders, etc.
Coriander, commonly known as Dhania in the Indian Subcontinent or Cilantro in the Americas and some part of Europe, is an herb which is extensively used around the world as a condiment or as a garnish or as a decoration on the dishes. Its scientific name is Coriandrum Sativum L. Its leaves and fruits have typical aroma and are used raw or dried in culinary.
But that part of introduction was only the tip of the ice-berg. Coriander has so many benefits that a book can be written on them. It has eleven components of essential oils, six types of acids (including ascorbic acid, better known as vitamin-C), minerals and vitamins, each having a number of beneficial properties.
Swellings: Cineole, one of the 11 components of the essential oils, and linoleic acid, present in coriander, possess anti rheumatic and anti arthritic properties, which are very beneficial for swelling caused due to these two reasons. For others, such as swelling due to malfunctioning of kidney or anemia, it is seen to be effective to some extent, as some of the components help excretion of extra water from the body while.
High Cholesterol Levels: Some of the acids present in coriander viz. linoleic acid, oleic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid and ascorbic acid (vitamin-C) are very effective in reducing the cholesterol level in the blood. They also reduce the cholesterol deposition along the inner walls of the arteries and veins.
Diarrhea: Some of the components of essential oils in coriander such as Borneol and Linalool, aid digestion, proper functioning of liver and bonding of bowels, helping cure diarrhea. It is also helpful in diarrhea caused by microbial and fungal action, since components like Cineole, Borneol, Limonene, Alpha-pinene & beta-phelandrene have anti bacterial effects. In addition, the fresh coriander leaves are excellent appetizers.
Mouth Ulcers: Citronelol, a component of essential oils in coriander, is an excellent antiseptic. In addition, other components have anti microbial and healing effects which do not let wounds and ulcers in the mouth go worse. They aid healing up of ulcers and freshen up the breath.
Anemia: Coriander is good in iron content which directly helps curing anemia.
Digestion: Coriander, due to its rich aroma because of its essential oils, apart from being an excellent appetizer, helps in proper secretion of enzymes and digestive juices in the stomach, stimulates digestion and peristaltic motion. It is helpful in treating problems like anorexia.
Small Pox: The essential oils in coriander are rich in anti microbial, anti oxidant, anti infectious and detoxifying components and acids. The presence of vitamin-C and iron strengthen the immune system too. These properties help prevent and cure small pox. They also reduce the pain and have a soothing effect on pox patients.
Menstrual Disorders: Being stimulating in nature and helping proper secretion from the endocrine glands, it also helps proper secretion of the hormones and thereby inducing proper menstrual cycles and reducing pains etc. during periods.
Eye Care: Coriander has lots of anti oxidants, vitamin-A, vitamin-C and minerals like phosphorus in the essential oils in it which prevents aging of eye, macular degeneration and soothes eyes against stress.
Conjunctivitis: As discussed earlier, coriander is a very good disinfectant and has anti microbial properties which protect the eyes from contagious diseases like conjunctivitis.
Skin Disorders: The disinfectant, detoxifying, anti-septic, anti-fungal and anti-oxidant properties of cumin are ideal for curing skin disorders such as eczema, dryness and fungal infections.
Blood Sugar: Due the stimulating effect of cumin on the endocrine glands, the secretion of insulin is increased from pancreas which increases the insulin level in the blood, thereby helping proper assimilation and absorption of sugar and resultant fall in the sugar level in the blood. This property is very beneficial for the diabetes patients and others too.
Other benefits: Still want more from it? You get it! Coriander helps cure ulcer, inflammation, spasm and acts as an expectorant, protects and soothes liver. It is anti-carcinogenic, anti-convulsant, anti-histaminic and hypnotic. Coriander is believed to be a natural aphrodisiac and previously it was extensively used in certain preparations, combined with other herbs, to enhance libido

Health Benefits of Blackberries

Cancer Prevention
Anthocyanins, which give blackberries their dark color, are an antioxidant shown to reduce inflammation. As an antioxidant, they destroy free radicals in the body that harm cells and lead to cancer. Research has also shown that the ellagic acid in blackberries may have anti-cancer properties. One cup of blackberries contains half of the daily recommendation of the antioxidant vitamin C, which protects the immune system and may lower the risk of developing certain types of cancer.

Researchers have found that blackberries may reduce esophageal cancer by relieving the oxidative stress caused by Barrett's esophagus, a precancerous condition usually brought about by gastroesophageal reflux disease. Perhaps the greatest benefit from eating blackberries is their high level of phenolic acids which, besides having many other potential health benefits, are antioxidant compounds known as powerful anti-carcinogenic agents. Because of these compounds, blackberries have been given an ORAC value (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) of about 5350 per 100 grams, placing them near the top of ORAC fruits.
Cardiovascular Benefits
The anthocyanins that give blackberries their dark color are antioxidants shown to reduce inflammation by helping combat free radicals in the body that destroy cells and lead to heart disease. Vitamin C in blackberries acts as an antioxidant, and one cup of this delicious berry contains half of the daily recommendation of vitamin C. The immune system uses vitamin C to fight illness adequate vitamin C intake may lower the risk of developing heart disease. One cup of blackberries contains over thirty percent of the daily recommended amount of fiber, promoting healthy digestion and reducing the risk of heart disease.
Skin Health
As are all berries, blackberries are a great source of ellagic acid, an antioxidant shown to protect the skin from damage from ultraviolet light. Studies have also shown that ellagic acid may also repair skin damaged by the sun. Vitamin C helps heal wounds, and studies also show vitamin C may even lessen the appearance of wrinkles. Studies of cyanidin-3-glucoside, a compound found in blackberries showed it prevents skin cancer by inhibiting tumors from growing and spreading.
Eye Health
Vitamin C functions as an antioxidant in blackberries and one cup contains half of the daily recommendation of vitamin C. The body uses vitamin C for protection from immune system deficiencies, and may reduce the chances of macular degeneration, a condition in which fine vision deteriorates, resulting in central vision loss and is the leading cause of blindness in people over 50.
Women's Health
Phytoestrogens are naturally occurring plant estrogens found in blackberries that may help relieve the common symptoms of PMS like bloating, food cravings, and even menopausal symptoms including hot flashes.
Digestive Tract Health
Just one cup of blackberries contains over thirty percent of the daily recommended amount of fiber, which promotes healthy digestion and aids in maintaining bowel regularity by bulking up the feces and reducing the time it takes matter to pass all the way through the intestines. Bowel regularity is commonly associated with a decreased risk for colon cancer.
Thirty percent of the daily recommended amount of fiber is to be found in just one cup of blackberries. The steady movement of fiber through the digestive system allows for a measured breakdown of food into its component parts. This even breakdown of food helps to curtail extremes regarding simple sugar uptake from the digestive tract. An excess of simple sugar uptake all at once can produce an unwanted blood sugar spike. A lack of simple sugar uptake may produce a rapid blood sugar drop. Either extreme can upset blood sugar balance. The quantity of fiber in blackberries helps avoid both extremes.
Bone Health
Blackberries are a good source of vitamin K, offering 36% of the daily recommended amount of this nutrient used by the body for the clotting of blood and to aid the absorption of calcium.

Orange is one of the most favorite fruit in the world.

182366_250875738373884_960702373_n Orange is loaded with vitamins, and the most abundant vitamin inorange is Vitamin C. This powerful vitamin protect our body against harmful elements.
Orange is Beneficial in the following cases :
* Asthma
* Bronchitis
* Tuberculosis
* Pneumonia
* Rheumatism
* Prevent kidney stone
* Helps lower cholesterol
* Helps prevent diabetes
* Arthritis
* High blood pressure
* Persons addicted to alcohol have found that the desire for liquor is greatly reduced by drinking of orange juice.
* Consumption of large quantities of oranges will decrease the outpouring of mucus secretions from the nose.
Nutritional Contents of Orange :
1. Betacarotene, another powerful antioxidant that protects our cells from being damage.
2. Calcium that helps protect and maintain the health of our bone and teeth.
3. Folic Acid for proper brain development.
4. Magnesium helps maintain bloodpressure.
5. Potassium helps maintain electrolyte balance in the cells, and is important in maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system.
6. Thiamin helps to convert food into energy.
7. Vitamin B6 helps support the production of hemoglobin that carries oxygen to all parts of the body........

The Dangers of Chewing Gum

312617_256140011180790_922931043_n Originally, chewing gum was made from tree sap but today's commercial brands are loaded with harmful ingredients and chemicals.
The modern day chewing gums are made of four major ingredients including synthetic rubber, plastic, sugar, and coloring (dye). Modern day gums are produced from synthetic polymers such as styrene-butadiene rubbers and polyvinyl acetate. The final product is composed of 60% sugar, 20% corn syrup, and only 20% actual gum material.
If you're chewing gum you are chewing rubber and plastic. Chewing gum is known as a harmless cultural tradition but it contains many properties that may be hazardous to our health.
Today's chewing gums and bubble gums are predominantly sugar by volume. Seventy to eighty percent of most gums on the market today are sheer vehicles for sugar, the number one drug on the planet. Just as cigarettes are a conveyor for the addictive drug "nicotine", so is gum for sugar.
Read more:

Lose Belly Fat with Home Remedies

200052_256554617805996_906967139_n There are many home remedies you can use to boost fat burn on your belly. Many of them will already be in your cupboard or refrigerator. The right foods can detox your liver and rev your metabolism, helping you to target belly fat. Belly fat is more than a cosmetic concern. It ups risk for a host of health conditions, including diabetes and heart disease. Consuming fat-burning foods and spices will put you well on your way to trading in that rubber tire in the middle for a sleek torso.
Step 1
Remove the things in your diet that stress your liver and lower your metabolism, and reduce your calorie intake. A stressed liver cannot properly metabolize fat, says nutritionist Ann Louise Gittleman, Ph.D., author of "The Fat Flush Plan." Liver stressors include processed foods, too many carbohydrates in general, all forms of sugar, artificial sweeteners, caffeine, trans fats and soda. Cut 500 to 1,000 calories from your daily diet to lose 1 to 2 lbs. weekly, the safest and longest-lasting weight loss rate, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Step 2
Drink 100 percent cranberry juice or cran-water. Cranberries are high in organic acids that act as digestive enzymes. The enzymes work to gobble up little fatty deposits that get stuck in the lymphatics, Gittleman says. Mix a day's supply of cran-water with 8 oz. unsweetened cranberry juice and 56 oz. of water.
Step 3
Consume your omega-3 fatty acids. These target tummy fat, Gittleman says. Fish oil is one great source. Take 6g, which is an overflowing tablespoon, or eat salmon or mackerel twice a week. Also chomp on chia. This ancient super seed is high in protein, is a good source of B vitamins, has calcium and is a high source of antioxidants.
Step 4
Get gamma linolenic acid (GLA) and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) into your diet. GLA activates brown fat, often found in overweight people. Many people's bodies don't make GLA from its precursors-vegetable oils like safflower oil-so try a supplement. CLA aids the body in accessing and utilizing stored fat, particularly. This omega-6 fatty acid found in organic beef or can be taken as a supplement.
Step 5
Make monounsaturated fats another priority. MUFAs are omega-9 fatty acids that became important components of diet plans like the Flat Belly Diet following studies that show MUFAs rev body fat burn in the belly. MUFAs also are favored by the American Heart Association. The association recommends people replace trans and saturated fats with MUFAs. Cook with olive oil or try sunflower or safflower oil. Eat macadamia nuts, filberts, avocados and olives.
Step 6
Sip lemon or lime juice in hot water daily. These both invigorate the liver and help to liquefy fat, which aids in flushing it from your system more quickly. Getting enough water in general is important. Mild dehydration can cause your kidneys to call on your liver for help, reducing the liver's ability to burn fat. This can lead to fat deposits, often in the belly.
Step 7
Detox gently by drinking dandelion tea. Add 200mg each of milk thistle and the Oregon grape root to further detox. These supplements are gentle enough to use every day, Gittleman says.
Step 8
Eat thermogenic spices to rev metabolism including cayenne and ginger. Consume cinnamon as well as cloves and cardamom to stabilize blood sugar.

Health Benefits of Apple Juice

1. Reduced Risk of Heart Diseases
Apple juice prevents cholesterol to form in your blood vessels and arteries. High cholesterol level and plaques in the arteries are one of the major causes of heart diseases. By drinking apple juice you reduce the risk of heart diseases.
2. Cleaner Organism and Improved Digestion
Apple juice (especially raw apple juice) helps to clean the liver and kidneys from harmful toxins. As a result, you have a cleaner organism and you are better protected against liver and kidney diseases.
3. Apple Juice is Great for Weight Loss
This health benefit of apple juice is loved by weight conscious persons. Cholesterol and calories are two major causes of extra weight. Apple juice is basically free of calories and fat + it protects you from cholesterol.
4. Excellent Source of Energy
Apple juice is packed with different vitamins – A, C, E, K, B1, B2, B6 and Folate, so it is an excellent source of energy. As a result, it is a great drink to restore your energy after a physical exercise.
5. Lower Risk of Dementia
Some studies have shown that apple juice lowers the risk of dementia in older people. Apple juice slows brain aging and helps to keep it sharp for longer time.
6. Improved Vision and Eye Health
Apple juice contains vitamin A, which is good for your eyes. Vitamin A helps you to protect your eyes from eye diseases and keeps your sight sharp.
Those were the most important health benefits of apple juice. As a conclusion there is one advice we can give you – drink apple juice and enjoy good health.

Health Benefits of Guava

555979_287033474758110_2097181191_n Guava is a laxative fruit. Being a rich source of dietary fiber, it helps to cure constipation.
Magnesium in guavas helps to relax the nerves and muscles in the body.
Guavas are low in calories and fats but contain several vital vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant poly-phenolic and flavonoid compounds that play a pivotal role in prevention of cancers, anti-aging, immune-booster,etc.
Guava is packed with vitamins and minerals that help to keep the skin healthy, fresh and wrinkle free.
Guavas are very good sources of vitamin A, the nutrient best known for preserving and improving eyesight.
Guava is rich in Vitamin C which helps to prevent the viral infections like cold and cough. It also effectively helps in treating scurvy.
One cup of guava is packed with almost the same potassium as bananas. Potassium works as an important factor in regulating blood pressure by reversing the role of sodium in unbalancing normal blood pressure.
Regular guava consumption can also do the skin good through its vitamin E content. Vitamin E helps maintain healthy skin through its antioxidant properties.
Guava is a cholesterol free fruit. It satisfies and keeps the stomach free from hunger for a long time. It assists in weight reduction and helps to control diabetes.
Guava should be consumed regularly if you want to avoid heart attack.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Friendship and empathy comes naturally to human brain

growth-hormone-produced-naturally-in-human-brain Humans are hardwired to empathise because they closely associate people who are dear to them - friends, spouses, lovers - with themselves, a new study suggests. "With familiarity, other people become part of ourselves," said James Coan, a psychology professor in University of Virginia.
Researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging brain scans to find that people closely correlate people to whom they are attached to themselves. "Our self comes to include the people we feel close to," Coan said. In other words, our self-identity is largely based on whom we know and empathise with. Coan and colleagues conducted the study with 22 young adult participants who underwent fMRI scans of their brains during experiments to monitor brain activity while underthreat of receiving mild electrical shocks to themselves or to a friend or stranger.
The researchers found that regions of the brain responsible for threat response - the anterior insula, putamen and supramarginal gyrus - became active under threat of shock to the self. In the case of threat of shock to a stranger, the brain in those regions displayed little activity. However when the threat of shock was to a friend, the brain activity of the participant became essentially identical to the activity displayed under threat to the self.
"The correlation between self and friend was remarkably similar," Coan said. "The finding shows the brain's remarkable capacity to model self to others; that people close to us become a part of ourselves, and that is not just metaphor or poetry, it's very real. Literally we are under threat when a friend is under threat. But not so when a stranger is under threat," said Coan.
Coan said this likely is because humans need to have friends and allies who they can side with and see as being the same as themselves. And as people spend more time together, they become more similar.
"It's essentially a breakdown of self and other, our self comes to include the people we become close to," Coan said. "If a friend is under threat, it becomes the same as if we ourselves are under threat. We can understand the pain or difficulty they may be going through in the same way we understand our own pain," said Coan.The study appears in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.


Study: To The Human Brain, Me Is We

A new study from University of Virginia researchers supports a finding that’s been gaining science-fueled momentum in recent years: the human brain is wired to connect with others so strongly that it experiences what they experience as if it’s happening to us.
This would seem the neural basis for empathy—the ability to feel what others feel—but it goes even deeper than that. Results from the latest study suggest that our brains don’t differentiate between what happens to someone emotionally close to us and ourselves, and also that we seem neurally incapable of generating anything close to that level of empathy for strangers.
To find this out, researchers had to get a bit medieval. They had participants undergo fMRI brain scans while threatening to give them electrical shocks, or to give shocks to a stranger or a friend.  Results showed that regions of the brain responsible for threat response – the anterior insula, putamen and supramarginal gyrus – became active under threat of shock to the self; that much was expected. When researchers threatened to shock a stranger, those same brain regions showed virtually no activity. But when they threatened to shock a friend, the brain regions showed activity nearly identical to that displayed when the participant was threatened.
“The correlation between self and friend was remarkably similar,” said James Coan, a psychology professor in U.Va.’s College of Arts & Sciences who co-authored the study. “The finding shows the brain’s remarkable capacity to model self to others; that people close to us become a part of ourselves, and that is not just metaphor or poetry, it’s very real. Literally we are under threat when a friend is under threat. But not so when a stranger is under threat.”
The findings back up an assertion made by the progenitor and popularizer of “Interpersonal Neurobiology,” Dr. Daniel Siegel, who hasconvincingly argued that our minds are partly defined by their intersections with other minds. Said another way, we are wired to “sync” with others, and the more we sync (the more psycho-emotionally we connect), the less our brains acknowledge self-other distinctions.
Research in this category also dovetails nicely with that conducted by evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar, whose work has shown that we seem to have evolved to cognitively connect in relatively small groups of roughly 150 or less people (often referred to as “Dunbar’s Number”).  Beyond that number, our brains strain to sync with others. From an evolutionary standpoint, this makes a lot of sense because chances of survival for ourselves and the group are amplified if we can devote the greatest level of cognitive resources to the task.
“A threat to ourselves is a threat to our resources,” said Coan. “Threats can take things away from us. But when we develop friendships, people we can trust and rely on who in essence become we, then our resources are expanded, we gain. Your goal becomes my goal. It’s a part of our survivability.”

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Soft drinks tied to increased aggression in kids: Study

Heavy soft drink consumption is associated with aggression, attention problems and withdrawal behaviour in young children, a new study has found.
The study by researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, University of Vermont, and Harvard School of Public Health assessed approximately 3,000 5-year-old children.
The kids were enrolled in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, a prospective birth cohort that follows mother-child pairs from 20 large US cities.
Mothers reported their child's soft drink consumption and completed the Child Behaviour Checklist based on their child's behaviour during the previous two months.
The researchers found that 43 per cent of the children consumed at least 1 serving of soft drinks per day, and 4 per cent consumed 4 or more.
Aggression, withdrawal, and attention problems were associated with soda consumption. Even after adjusting for sociodemographic factors, maternal depression, intimate partner violence, and paternal incarceration, any soft drink consumption was linked to increased aggressive behaviour.
Children who drank 4 or more soft drinks per day were more than twice as likely to destroy things belonging to others, get into fights, and physically attack people.
They also had increased attention problems and withdrawal behaviour compared with those who did not consume soft drinks.
"We found that the child's aggressive behaviour score increased with every increase in soft drinks servings per day," said Shakira Suglia, Mailman School assistant professor of Epidemiology.
Although this study cannot identify the exact nature of the association between soft drink consumption and problem behaviours, limiting or eliminating a child's soft drink consumption may reduce behavioural problems, researchers said.
The study was published in The Journal of Pediatrics.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


Among those who've seen it in person, the conclusion is unanimous: Venice is the most beautiful city in the world, and the only one that can truly be described as unique. Each building is a work of art, with their beauty enhanced when reflected on the canals that cross the city. Its magical scenery is fascinating and breathtaking at first sight, evoking the feeling of entering the setting of a real-life fairy tale. It's perhaps even unfair to all other cities to call Venice a city, as it is a place unlike any other, that no other can compare to, or ever be like.
Venice alternative obsolete form: Vinegia; Venetian: is a city in northeastern Italy sited on a group of 118 small islands separated by canals and linked by bridges. It is located in the marshy Venetian Lagoon which stretches along the shoreline, between the mouths of the Po and the Piave Rivers. Venice is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. The city in its entirety is listed as a World Heritage Site, along with its lagoon.
Venice is the capital of the Veneto region. In 2009, there were 270,098 people residing in Venice's comune (the population estimate of 272,000 inhabitants includes the population of the whole Comune of Venezia; around 60,000[3] in the historic city of Venice (Centro storico); 176,000 in Terraferma (the Mainland), mostly in the large frazioni of Mestre and Marghera; 31,000 live on other islands in the lagoon). Together with Padua and Treviso, the city is included in the Padua-Treviso-Venice Metropolitan Area (PATREVE), with a total population of 1,600,000. PATREVE is only a statistical metropolitan area without any degree of autonomy.
The name is derived from the ancient Veneti people who inhabited the region by the 10th century BC. The city historically was the capital of the Republic of Venice. Venice has been known as the "La Dominante", "Serenissima", "Queen of the Adriatic", "City of Water", "City of Masks", "City of Bridges", "The Floating City", and "City of Canals". Luigi Barzini described it in The New York Times as "undoubtedly the most beautiful city built by man". Venice has also been described by the Times Online as being one of Europe's most romantic cities.

The Republic of Venice was a major maritime power during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and a staging area for the Crusades and the Battle of Lepanto, as well as a very important center of commerce (especially silk, grain, and spice) and art in the 13th century up to the end of the 17th century. This made Venice a wealthy city throughout most of its history. It is also known for its several important artistic movements, especially the Renaissance period. Venice has played an important role in the history of symphonic and operatic music, and it is the birthplace of Antonio Vivaldi.
The Seine and the bridges that cross it, the grand boulevards, the monumental squares, the magnificent monuments, the charming streets of Montmartre -- these images of Paris confirm that it is indeed the most elegant and sophisticated of all cities. It has inspired practically every major world capital, with every city claiming its own Champs-Elysèes, and Place des Vosges becoming the prototype of residential squares throughout Europe. Sit at an outdoor café table or go on a boat tour of the Seine and see it all romantically flash before your eyes.
Paris is the capital and most populous city of France. It is situated on the River Seine, in the north of the country, at the heart of the Île-de-France region. Within its administrative limits (the 20 arrondissements), the city had 2,234,105 inhabitants in 2009 while its metropolitan area is one of the largest population centres in Europe with more than 12 million inhabitants.
An important settlement for more than two millennia, by the late 12th century Paris had become a walled cathedral city that was one of Europe's foremost centres of learning and the arts and the largest city in the Western world until the turn of the 18th century. Paris was the focal point for many important political events throughout its history, including the French Revolution. Today it is one of the world's leading business and cultural centres, and its influence in politics, education, entertainment, media, science, fashion and the arts all contribute to its status as one of the world's major cities. The city has one of the largest GDPs in the world, €607 billion (US$845 billion) as of 2011, and as a result of its high concentration of national and international political, cultural and scientific institutions is one of the world's leading tourist destinations. The Paris Region hosts the world headquarters of 30 of the Fortune Global 500 companies[6] in several business districts, notably La Défense, the largest dedicated business district in Europe.
Centuries of cultural and political development have brought Paris a variety of museums, theatres, monuments and architectural styles. Many of its masterpieces such as the Louvre and the Arc de Triomphe are iconic buildings, especially its internationally recognized symbol, the Eiffel Tower. Long regarded as an international centre for the arts, works by history's most famous painters can be found in the Louvre, the Musée d'Orsay and its many other museums and galleries. Paris is a global hub of fashion and has been referred to as the "international capital of style", noted for its haute couture tailoring, its high-end boutiques, and the twice-yearly Paris Fashion Week. It is world renowned for its haute cuisine, attracting many of the world's leading chefs. Many of France's most prestigious universities and Grandes Écoles are in Paris or its suburbs, and France's major newspapers Le Monde, Le Figaro, Libération, and Le Parisien are based in the city.

Paris is home to the association football club Paris Saint-Germain FC and the rugby union club Stade Français. The 80,000-seat Stade de France, built for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, is located in Saint-Denis. Paris hosts the annual French Open Grand Slam tennis tournament on the red clay of Roland Garros. Paris played host to the 1900 and 1924 Summer Olympics, the 1938 and 1998 FIFA World Cup, and the 2007 Rugby World Cup. The city is a major rail, highway, and air-transport hub, served by the two international airports Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly. Opened in 1900, the city's subway system, the Paris Métro, serves 9 million passengers daily. Paris is the hub of the national road network, and is surrounded by three orbital roads: the Périphérique, the A86 motorway, and the Francilienne motorway in the outer suburbs.

It is known as the city of the thousand spires because of its profusion of grand, beautifully-preserved historical monuments dating from practically every period in history. Those spires are best admired from the bridges that cross the Vltava River, especially from the magnificent Charles Bridge, or standing in the stunningly beautiful Old Town Square. Add the atmospheric alleyways and cobbled streets that lead to it, and you know that few other cities delight the senses as much as Prague.
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. It is the fourteenth-largest city in the European Union. It is also the historical capital of Bohemia proper. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava River, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its larger urban zone is estimated to have a population of nearly 2 million.The city has a temperate oceanic climate, with warm summers and chilly winters.
Prague has been a political, cultural, and economic centre of central Europe with waxing and waning fortunes during its 1,100-year existence. Founded during the Romanesque and flourishing by the Gothic and Renaissance eras, Prague was not only the capital of the Czech state, but also the seat of two Holy Roman Emperors and thus also the capital of the Holy Roman Empire.[7][8] It was an important city to the Habsburg Monarchy and its Austro-Hungarian Empire and after World War I became the capital of Czechoslovakia. The city played major roles in the Protestant Reformation, the Thirty Years' War, and in 20th-century history, during both World Wars and the post-war Communist era.
Prague is home to a number of famous cultural attractions, many of which survived the violence and destruction of 20th-century Europe. Main attractions include the Prague Castle, the Charles Bridge, Old Town Square, the Jewish Quarter, the Lennon Wall, and Petřín hill. Since 1992, the extensive historic centre of Prague has been included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.

The city boasts more than ten major museums, along with numerous theatres, galleries, cinemas, and other historical exhibits. A modern public transportation system connects the city. Also, it is home to a wide range of public and private schools, including Charles University. Prague is classified as a Beta+ global city according to GaWC studies, comparable to Berlin, Rome, or Houston. Its rich history makes it a popular tourist destination, and the city receives more than 4.1 million international visitors annually, as of 2009. In 2011, Prague was the sixth-most-visited city in Europe.

Magnificently sited on a series of hills running down to the grand Tagus River, Lisbon is one of the world's most scenic cities. Beautiful unexpected views are found at every turn down its colorful, picturesque streets, and especially from strategically-placed viewpoints or terraces at the top of each hill. The city has an unpolished, seductive appearance; an effortless beauty with captivating details such as cobbled designs, tiled façades, and pastel-colored buildings blending together to give it a singular atmosphere now lost in so many other cities. In such a stunning place, it's no wonder that many of the world's great explorers questioned what other beauties lied beyond the horizon when they departed from here in the 15th century.
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 547,631 within its administrative limits on a land area of 84.8 km2 (33 sq mi). The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of over 3 million[3] on an area of 958 km2 (370 sq mi), making it the 11th most populous urban area in the European Union. About 3,035,000 people live in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area (which represents approximately 27% of the population of the country). Lisbon is the westernmost large city located in Europe, as well as its westernmost capital city and the only one along the Atlantic coast. It lies in the western Iberian Peninsula on the Atlantic Ocean and the Tagus River.
Lisbon is recognised as a global city because of its importance in finance, commerce, media, entertainment, arts, international trade, education, and tourism.It is one of the major economic centres on the continent, with a growing financial sector and the largest/second largest container port on Europe's Atlantic coast. Lisbon Portela Airport serves over 15.3 million passengers annually (2012); the motorway network and the high-speed rail system of (Alfa Pendular) link the main cities of Portugal. The city is the seventh-most-visited city in Southern Europe, after Istanbul, Rome, Barcelona, Madrid, Athens, and Milan, with 1,740,000 tourists in 2009.The Lisbon region is the wealthiest region in Portugal, GDP PPP per capita is 26,100 euros (4.7% higher than the average European Union's GDP PPP per capita). It is the tenth richest metropolitan area by GDP on the continent amounting to 110 billion euros and thus €39,375 per capita, 40% higher than the average European Union's GDP per capita. The city occupies 32nd place of highest gross earnings in the world. Most of the headquarters of multinationals in the country are located in the Lisbon area and it is the ninth city in the world in terms of quantity of international conferences. It is also the political centre of the country, as seat of Government and residence of the Head of State. The seat of the district of Lisbon and the centre of the Lisbon region.
Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world, and the oldest city in Western Europe, predating other modern European capitals such as London, Paris and Rome by hundreds of years. Julius Caesar made it a municipium called Felicitas Julia, adding to the name Olissipo. Ruled by a series of Germanic tribes from the fifth century, it was captured by the Moors in the eighth century. In 1147, the Crusaders under Afonso Henriques reconquered the city and since then it has been a major political, economic, and cultural centre of Portugal. Unlike most capital cities, Lisbon's status as the capital of Portugal has never been granted or confirmed officially – by statute or in written form. Its position as the capital has formed through constitutional convention, making its position as de facto capital a part of the Constitution of Portugal.
Lisbon hosts two agencies of the European Union: the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) and the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA). Called the "Capital of the Lusophone world", the Community of Portuguese Language Countries has its headquarters in the city, in the Palace of the Counts of Penafiel.
Lisbon has two sites listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site: Belém Tower and Jerónimos Monastery. Furthermore, in 1994, Lisbon was the European Capital of Culture and in 1998 organised an Expo '98 (1998 Lisbon World Exposition).

Lisbon enjoys a Mediterranean climate. Among all the metropolises in Europe, it has the warmest winters, with average temperatures 15 °C (59 °F) during the day and 8 °C (46 °F) at night from December to February. The typical summer season lasts about six months, from May to October, although also in November, March and April temperatures sometimes reach around 20 °C (68.0 °F).

There are those who say God created the world in six days and devoted a seventh to Rio. The city is indeed blessed with one of the most stunning settings in the world, making it the most naturally beautiful city in the world. Even if it was deserted of buildings and population, anyone standing at the top of the famous Sugarloaf Mountain or by the Corcovado statue would see one of the world's most beautiful landscapes. Green, tropical luxuriance mixes with the blue of the ocean and the brightness of the sand at the beaches, proving that this is indeed "the marvelous city" as locals call it.
Rio de Janeiro is on a strip of Brazil's Atlantic coast, close to the Tropic of Capricorn, where the shoreline is oriented east–west. Facing largely south, the city was founded on an inlet of this stretch of the coast, Guanabara Bay, and its entrance is marked by a point of land called Sugar Loaf a "calling card" of the city.
The Centre (Centro), the core of Rio, lies on the plains of the western shore of Guanabara Bay. The greater portion of the city, commonly referred to as the North Zone, extends to the northwest on plains composed of marine and continental sediments and on hills and several rocky mountains. The South Zone of the city, reaching the beaches fringing the open sea, is cut off from the Centre and from the North Zone by coastal mountains. These mountains and hills are offshoots of the Serra do Mar to the northwest, the ancient gneiss-granite mountain chain that forms the southern slopes of the Brazilian Highlands. The large West Zone, long cut off by the mountainous terrain, had been made accessible by new roads and tunnels by the end of the 20th century.
The population of the city of Rio de Janeiro, occupying an area of 1,182.3 square kilometres (456.5 sq mi), is about 6,000,000. The population of the greater metropolitan area is estimated at 11–13.5 million. It was Brazil's capital until 1960, when Brasília took its place. Residents of the city are known as cariocas. The official song of Rio is "Cidade Maravilhosa", by composer André Filho.

Each of the thousands of buildings that line Amsterdam's main canals can be classified as a monument, beautifully kept as apartments, offices, cafés, restaurants, and even brothels. All together they form an aesthetic uniformity that make the city one of the most charming in the world, a stunning place of bridges and bikes crossing canals, picturesque cobbled streets, and strikingly elegant architecture.
Amsterdam is the capital and most populous city of the Netherlands. Its status as the Dutch capital is mandated by the Constitution of the Netherlands, although Amsterdam is not the seat of the Dutch government which is The Hague.[6] Amsterdam has a population of 801,200 within city limits, 1,557,905 in the urban region and 2,332,839 in the greater metropolitan area. The city is located in the province of North Holland in the west of the country. It comprises much of the northern part of the Randstad, one of the larger conurbations in Europe, with a population of approximately 7 million.
Amsterdam's name derives from Amstelredamme,[9] indicative of the city's origin: a dam in the river Amstel. Originating as a small fishing village in the late 12th century, Amsterdam became one of the most important ports in the world during the Dutch Golden Age, a result of its innovative developments in trade. During that time, the city was the leading center for finance and diamonds.[10] In the 19th and 20th centuries, the city expanded, and many new neighborhoods and suburbs were planned and built. The 17th-century canals of Amsterdam (in Dutch: 'grachtengordel'), located in the heart of Amsterdam, were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in July 2010.
As the commercial capital of the Netherlands and one of the top financial centres in Europe, Amsterdam is considered an alpha world city by the Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) study group. The city is also the cultural capital of the Netherlands. Many large Dutch institutions have their headquarters there, and 7 of the world's top 500 companies, including Philips and ING, are based in the city. In 2012, Amsterdam was ranked 2nd best city to live by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and 12th globally on quality of living by Mercer. The city was previously ranked 3rd in innovation by 2thinknow in the Innovation Cities Index 2009.
The Amsterdam Stock Exchange, the oldest stock exchange in the world, is located in the city center. Amsterdam's main attractions, including its historic canals, the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum, Hermitage Amsterdam, Anne Frank House, Amsterdam Museum, its red-light district, and its many cannabis coffee shops draw more than 3.66 million international visitors annually.

Florence is synonymous with the Italian Renaissance, known for the artistic heritage in its palaces and museum collections. Yet with all the beauty both inside and outside its palazzi's walls, it is the city as a whole that impresses the most. See it from Piazzale Michelangelo, a 19th century terrace overlooking the entire city, and you'll be looking at one of the most storybook-perfect cityscapes. You'll see its unspoiled skyline, the towers and domes of the heart of the city, its bridges, the hills in the distance, and the magnificent Duomo standing in the middle of it all. Few other places in the world will leave you as awestruck.
Florence, alternative obsolete form: Fiorenza; Latin: Florentia) is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area.
Florence is famous for its history. A centre of medieval European trade and finance and one of the wealthiest cities of the time, Florence is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, and has been called the Athens of the Middle Ages. A turbulent political history includes periods of rule by the powerful Medici family, and numerous religious and republican revolutions. From 1865 to 1871 the city was also the capital of the recently established Kingdom of Italy.
The historic centre of Florence attracts millions of tourists each year, and Euromonitor International ranked the city as the world's 72nd most visited in 2009, with 1,685,000 visitors. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982. Due to Florence's artistic and architectural heritage, it has been ranked by Forbes as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and the city is noted for its history, culture, Renaissance art and architecture and monuments. The city also contains numerous museums and art galleries, such as the Uffizi Gallery and the Pitti Palace, amongst others, and still exerts an influence in the fields of art, culture and politics.
Florence is also an important city in Italian fashion,[9] being ranked within the top fifty fashion capitals of the world; furthermore, it is also a major national economic centre, being a tourist and industrial hub. In 2008, the city had the 17th highest average income in Italy.

The city standing on seven hills by the Tiber River is a treasure-trove of monuments among some of the most beautiful squares and classical architecture in the world. Because everyone visits Rome for its landmarks, its picturesque streets are often overlooked, such as those of the Trastevere district, filled with charming lanes, faded palazzi, and lovely homes decorated with flower boxes. It is on streets like those that Rome proves itself to really be eternal.
Rome is a city and special comune (named "Roma Capitale") in Italy. Rome is the capital of Italy and also of the homonymous province and of the region of Lazio. With 2.8 million residents in 1,285.3 km2 (496.3 sq mi), it is also the country's largest and most populated comune and fifth-most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. Between 3.2 and 3.8 million people live in the urban area, and 4,194,068 in Rome metropolitan area.The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber within the Lazio region of Italy. Rome is referred to as "The Eternal City", a notion expressed by ancient Roman poets and writers.
Rome's history spans more than two and a half thousand years, since its legendary founding in 753 BC. It is one of the oldest cities in Europe. In the ancient world it was successively the capital city of the Roman Kingdom, the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, and is regarded as one of the birthplaces of western civilization. Since the 1st century AD, Rome has been considered the seat of the Papacy and in the 8th century it became the capital of the Papal States, which lasted until 1870. In 1871 Rome became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy, and in 1946 that of the Italian Republic.
Rome is the only city in the world to contain in its interior a whole state, the enclave of Vatican City: for this reason it has been often defined as capital of two states.
After the Middle Ages, Rome was ruled by popes such as Alexander VI and Leo X, who transformed the city into one of the major centers of the Italian Renaissance along with Florence. The current version of St Peter's Basilica was built and the Sistine Chapel was painted by Michelangelo. Famous artists and architects, such as Bramante, Bernini and Raphael, resided for some time in Rome, contributing to its Renaissance and Baroque architecture.
Rome has been ranked by GaWC in 2010 as a beta+ world city, as well as the 28th most important global city. In 2007, Rome was the 11th-most-visited city in the world, 3rd most visited in the European Union, and the most popular tourist attraction in Italy. The city is one of Europe's and the world's most successful city "brands", both in terms of reputation and assets. Its historic centre is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Monuments and museums such as the Vatican Museums and the Colosseum are among the world's most visited tourist destinations with both locations receiving millions of tourists a year. Rome hosted the 1960 Summer Olympics.

Split in two by the Danube River, Budapest is the result of the merging of three cities. Buda is the hill with the royal palace and an old town filled with baroque and gothic monuments looking over the mostly-19th century Pest, crossed by broad avenues lined with elegant neo-renaissance buildings. Admire its setting and remarkable architecture (including the stunning Parliament Building) from the monumental Chain Bridge, and step into the old town for some of the most romantic lanes you'll ever stroll through.
Budapest is the capital and the largest city of Hungary, the largest in East-Central Europe and one of the largest cities in the European Union. It is the country's principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial, and transportation centre, sometimes described as the primate city of Hungary. In 2011, according to the census, Budapest had 1.74 million inhabitants. down from its 1989 peak of 2.1 million due to suburbanization. The Budapest Commuter Area is home to 3.3 million people. The city covers an area of 525 square kilometres (202.7 sq mi) within the city limits. Budapest became a single city occupying both banks of the river Danube with a unification on 17 November 1873 of west-bank Buda and Óbuda with east-bank Pest.
The history of Budapest began with Aquincum, originally a Celtic settlement that became the Roman capital of Lower Pannonia. Hungarians arrived in the territory in the 9th century. Their first settlement was pillaged by the Mongols in 1241–42. The re-established town became one of the centres of Renaissance humanist culture in the 15th century. Following the Battle of Mohács and nearly 150 years of Ottoman rule, the region entered a new age of prosperity in the 18th and 19th centuries, and Budapest became a global city after the 1873 unification. It also became the second capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a great power that dissolved in 1918, following World War I. Budapest was the focal point of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, the Hungarian Republic of Councils of 1919, Operation Panzerfaust in 1944, the Battle of Budapest in 1945, and the Revolution of 1956.
Cited as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, its extensive World Heritage Site includes the banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter, Andrássy Avenue, Heroes' Square and the Millennium Underground Railway, the second oldest in the world. Other highlights include a total of 80 geothermal springs, the world's largest thermal water cave system, second largest synagogue, and third largest Parliament building. The city attracts about 4.3 million tourists a year, making it the 25th most popular city in the world (and the 6th in Europe) according to Euromonitor.
Considered a financial hub in Central Europe, the city ranked 3rd (out of 65 cities) on Mastercard's Emerging Markets Index, and ranked as the most livable Central/Eastern European city on EIU's quality of life index. It is also ranked as "Europe's 7th most idyllic place to live" by Forbes, and as the 9th most beautiful city in the world by UCityGuides. It is the highest ranked Central/Eastern European city on Innovation Cities' Top 100 index.

It's a small city, in a small country, hardly a metropolis, but huge on beauty. It's one of the world's best preserved medieval cities, filled with gothic and baroque monuments surrounded by an oval canal and extraordinarily romantic cobbled lanes. It's no wonder that it is one of Europe's most visited cities, helped by its location in the very center of the continent. It's an unmissable destination when in Brussels, and easily accessible from anywhere in central Europe. Its combination of gorgeous architecture and pretty, peaceful spots crisscrossed by canals make it one of the most magical sites to be experienced in the world.
Bruges is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium. It is located in the northwest of the country.
The area of the whole city amounts to more than 13,840 hectares, including 1,075 hectares off the coast, at Zeebrugge (meaning "Brugge aan Zee" or "Bruges on Sea"). The historic city centre is a prominent World Heritage Site of UNESCO. It is oval-shaped and about 430 hectares in size. The city's total population is 117,073 (1 January 2008), of which around 20,000 live in the city centre. The metropolitan area, including the outer commuter zone, covers an area of 616 km² and has a total of 255,844 inhabitants as of 1 January 2008.

Along with a few other canal-based northern cities, such as Amsterdam, it is sometimes referred to as "The Venice of the North". Bruges has a significant economic importance thanks to its port. At one time, it was the "chief commercial city" of the world.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Monday, August 12, 2013

India launched First Indigenous Aircraft Carrier INS Vikrant

M_Id_409640_INS_Vikrant India will launch its first indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant on Monday, making an entry into a select club of countries capable of designing and building a carrier of this size and capability.
Defence Minister A K Antony's wife Elizabeth will launch the 37,500 tonne carrier at Kochi shipyard close to four-and-a-half years after its keel was laid by the minister.
Other countries capable of designing and building an equivalent size ship are the US, the UK, Russia and France.
The launch will mark the end of the first phase of its construction and it will then be re-docked for outfitting and construction of superstructure.
It is set to go for extensive trials till 2016 before being inducted into the Navy by 2018 end, as per its schedule.
Mig29K, Light Combat Aircraft and Kamov 31 could fly from the carrier.
The launch would be the "crowning glory" of Indian Navy's indigenisation programme, said Vice-Admiral R K Dhowan, the Vice-Chief of Naval Staff.
Apart from domestic design and manufacturing work, it is the high grade warship steel made by the Steel Authority of India which has been used for building the ship.
The indigenous component in the warship would be approximately anywhere between 80 and 90 per cent in floating department, up to 60 per cent in movement and not more than 30 per cent in fighting component of the carrier.
The ship, which will be a length of 260 m and breadth of 60 m, has been designed by Directorate of Naval Design and is being built at Cochin Shipyard Limited.
Its production work had commenced in November 2006. Controller Warship Production and Acquisition Vice Admiral K R Nair told reporters on board the massive vessel, "We have built 6000-7000 tonnage capacity ships so far. This is 37,500 tonnes."
"The gas turbine ship will be operating MIGs and other aircraft," he said.
On the challenges faced during construction of the ship, he said there were quite a few problems. Availability of steel, problems with acquisition of machines were some of them. Most of the equipment has gone on board while the weapons have to be inducted.
"Its tonnage and complexity is very important. It has got ski jump from where aircraft will take off. It will operate 25-30 aircraft -- including Mig 29K and light combat aircraft," he said.
Cochin Shipyard Chairman and Managing Director, Commodore K Subramaniam, said the second phase construction has already started. The aircraft carrier was the most 'challenging' work the shipyard, which had so far constructed only commercial vessels, had undertaken, he said. With the launch of the ship, the first phase would be completed.
The second phase will see the detailed laying of electrical cables, ventilation systems and setting up of about 2,300 compartments. This phase will take four years to be completed, Commodore Subramaniam said.
"Initially we were not planning to have ski jump. That was not part of the original first phase. But the Navy wanted it. So it was included," he said.
The Super structure's first tier has been fitted. Another four tiers would be ready by 2014, he said.
Shipping Minister G K Vasan will preside over the function in which Naval chief D K Joshi would also be participating.
Eight diesel generators and four gas turbines, have already been installed which can generate about 24 MW power capable of lighting up the entire Kochi city, Suresh Kumar, General Manager (Planning) Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) said.
There are two take-off points -- one long take-off runway and one short besides a landing point, he said.
Heavy monsoon rains had affected completion of the works.
Fresh coat of paint and colourful lights have been put up for the grand launching ceremony tomorrow.
The workers of the shipyard are also excited. Govindankutty and Ravindran, both from the quality control department, said this was a great moment for them as they had been working tirelessly since the past four years.
On board the ship, 850-1000 workers had been on the job daily since February-March this year to complete the works on schedule.
The contract for the construction of the aircraft carrier was signed with the navy in 2007 and the keel laid in February 2009.
"This bears great significance to Indian Navy. It makes India only the fifth country after the US, Russia, Britain and France to have such capabilities," Senior Captain Zhang Junshe, Vice-President of China's Naval Research Institute, told the state-run CCTV on Monday.
The Indian Navy will have lead over China as it will have two aircraft carriers by the end of this year with INS Vikramaditya, the refitted carrier from Russia joining INS Viraat, which is already in service even though Vikrant was expected to be operational by 2018, he said.
"Which means by the end of this year India will become the only country in Asia to have two aircraft carriers. This will enhance the overall capabilities especially the power projection capabilities of the Indian Navy," Zhang said.
Ruling out any race for more carriers in the region, Zhang defended India and China having more carriers since they have vast coasts and huge populations and the importance of defending the sea lanes far from home due to dependence on external trade.
In 2012, China had launched its first aircraft carrier, Lioning. Its hull was imported from Ukraine and refurbished in China.
China also subsequently launched J-15 aircraft to operate from its deck. The ship with over 50,000 tonnes displacement will have about 30 aircraft on its deck.
China is reportedly building two more aircraft carriers but their schedules are not known yet.
Zhang earlier told the state-run China Daily that with Vikrant, the Indian navy will be more capable of patrolling distant oceans.
"India's first self-made carrier, along with reinforced naval strength, will further disrupt the military balance in South Asia," he said.
India is very likely to quicken its pace to steer eastward to the Pacific, where the US and China are competing to dominate.
The launch of the Vikrant as well the first nuclear submarine Arihant also aroused the curiosity and concerns among analysts from different state-run think tanks in China.
"The new indigenous carrier will further strengthen India's naval power and also add some bargaining chips with the world's major military vendors such as Russia," Wang Daguang, a researcher of military equipment based in Beijing told the Daily.
Song Xiaojun, a military commentator in Beijing, said the Vikrant uses technology from the 1980s and thus serves as an experiment for the Indian Navy to set technical standards for future vessels.
sources : the indian express

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Drinking hot chocolate keeps brain healthy: study

M_Id_408799_Hot_Chocolate Drinking two cups of hot chocolate a day may help older people keep their brains healthy and their thinking skills sharp, according to a new study.
US researchers studied 60 people with an average age of 73 who did not have dementia. The participants drank two cups of hot cocoa per day for 30 days and did not consume any other chocolate during the study.
They were given tests of memory and thinking skills. They also had ultrasounds tests to measure the amount of blood flow to the brain during the tests.
"We're learning more about blood flow in the brain and its effect on thinking skills," said study author Farzaneh A Sorond, of Harvard Medical School in Boston and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.
"As different areas of the brain need more energy to complete their tasks, they also need greater blood flow. This relationship, called neurovascular coupling, may play an important role in diseases such as Alzheimer's," Sorond said.
Of the 60 participants, 18 had impaired blood flow at the start of the study. Those people had an 8.3 per cent improvement in the blood flow to the working areas of the brain by the end of the study, while there was no improvement for those who started out with regular blood flow.
The people with impaired blood flow also improved their times on a test of working memory, with scores dropping from 167 seconds at the beginning of the study to 116 seconds at the end. There was no change in times for people with regular blood flow.
A total of 24 of the participants also had MRI scans of the brain to look for tiny areas of brain damage. The scans found that people with impaired blood flow were also more likely to have these areas of brain damage.
Half of the study participants received hot cocoa that was rich in the antioxidant flavanol, while the other half received flavanol-poor hot cocoa. There were no differences between the two groups in the results.
"More work is needed to prove a link between cocoa, blood flow problems and cognitive decline. But this is an important first step that could guide future studies," said Paul B Rosenberg, of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study.
The study was published in Neurology, the journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
sources : the indian express

New malaria vaccine shows promise in clinical trials

images A new malaria vaccine, which is being developed in the US, has shown promising results in early stage clinical trials, scientists say. Researchers found that high doses of the vaccine protected 12 out of 15 patients from the disease. The vaccine involves injecting live but weakened malaria-causing parasites directly into patients to trigger immunity.
"We were excited and thrilled by the result, but it is important that we repeat it, extend it and do it in larger numbers," said lead author Dr Robert Seder, from the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institutes of Health, in Maryland. Previous research has found that exposure to mosquitoes treated with radiation can protect against malaria. But studies have shown that it takes more than 1,000 bites from the insects over time to build up a high level of immunity.
A US biotech company called Sanaria took lab-grown mosquitoes, irradiated them and then extracted the malaria-causing parasite (Plasmodium falciparum), all under the sterile conditions. These living but weakened parasites are then counted and placed in vials, where they can then be injected directly into a patient's bloodstream. This vaccine candidate is called PfSPZ.
To carry out the Phase-1 clinical trial, the researchers looked at a group of 57 volunteers, none of whom had had malaria before. Of these, 40 received different doses of the vaccine, while 17 did not. They were then all exposed to the malaria-carrying mosquitoes, 'BBC News' reported. The researchers found that for the participants not given any vaccine, and those given low doses, almost all became infected with malaria.
However, for the small group given the highest dosage, only three of the 15 patients became infected after exposure to malaria. "Based on the history, we knew dose was important because you needed 1,000 mosquito bites to get protection – this validates that," Seder said. "It allows us in future studies to increase the dose and alter the schedule of the vaccine to further optimise it. The next critical questions will be whether the vaccine is durable over a long period of time and can the vaccine protect against other strains of malaria," he said. The results were published in the journal Science.

First malaria vaccine works in major trial

An experimental vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline halved the risk of African children getting malaria in a major clinical trial, making it likely to become the world's first shot against the disease.
Final-stage trial data released Tuesday showed it gave protection against clinical and severe malaria in 5- to 17-month-olds in Africa. "These data bring us to the cusp of having the world's first malaria vaccine," said Andrew Witty, chief executive of the British drugmaker that developed the vaccine along with the non-profit PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI).
While hailing an unprecedented achievement, Witty, malaria scientists and global health experts stressed that the vaccine — known as RTS,S or Mosquirix — was no quick fix for eradicating malaria. The new shot is less effective than others against common infections like polio and measles.
"We would have wished that we could wipe it out, but I think this is going to contribute to the control of malaria rather than wiping it out," Tsiri Agbenyega, a principal investigator in the RTS,S trials in Ghana, told Reuters at a conference in Seattle about the disease.
Malaria is endemic in more than 100 countries worldwide and killed around 781,000 people in 2009, according to the World Health Organisation. Most deaths in India are of children under the age of five.
Dr Sanjay Singh, CEO of Pune-based Gennova Biopharmaceuticals Ltd, which has been involved with MVI and hopes to launch an Indian malaria vaccine next year, described the news as "very encouraging", and a sign that a malaria vaccine was possible. — Reuters with ENS, Pune, Kate Kelland & Ben Hirschler

Malaria Vaccine Shows Strongest Protection Yet Against Parasite

Healthy adults immunized with an experimental malaria vaccine may be completely protected from infection, according to government researchers.
The vaccine, called PfSPZ, is being developed by an American biotech company Sanaria and contains weakened forms of the live parasite — Plasmodium falciparum — responsible for causing malaria.
The vaccine is made from sporozoites, or early-stage parasites extracted from infected mosquitoes, which are the most common carriers of P. falciparum. The sporozoites were incapacitated so they can’t develop into disease-causing maturity, and infused intravenously into vaccinees. Among 40 healthy volunteers, those who received the higher doses of the vaccine showed more antibodies against the malaria parasite’s proteins than those getting lower doses. When the immunized participants where tested with exposure to P. falciparum, none of the six who received six doses of the vaccine developed malaria, while five of the six who were not vaccinated became infected.
That’s encouraging news, say the scientists, led by Dr. Robert Seder of the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institutes of Health, who were supported by the  National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and the Naval Medical Research Center.
The trial was only the first phase of clinical testing for the vaccine, but, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the NIAID in a statement, it is an “important step forward” in controlling malaria, which infects about 219 million people worldwide annually and leads to 600,000 deaths. While drug treatments can protect against infection, they are most effective when used in combination with bed nets and insect repellent.
“It allows us in future studies to increase the dose and alter the schedule of the vaccine to further optimise it. The next critical questions will be whether the vaccine is durable over a long period of time and can the vaccine protect against other strains of malaria,” Seder told the BBC.
The results, which were published in the journal Science, are especially encouraging after initially promising findings from another malaria vaccine developed by Glaxo Smith Kline proved less robust than thought. In 2012, a trial involving infants in seven African counties, where malaria is endemic, showed that the vaccine, called RTS,S, was 30% effective in protecting babies aged five to 17 months from infection. At the time, public health officials debated whether that was sufficient to start vaccinating kids in countries where the disease is more rampant. TIME wrote:
At its current power, the candidate vaccine “potentially translates to tens of millions of malaria cases among children that can be averted annually,” Dr. Tsiri Agbenyega, head of the malaria research unit at the Komfo-Anokye Hospital in Ghana and chair of the RTS,S Clinical Trials Partnership Committee, told reporters during Tuesday’s briefing. “The study found that RTS,S also reduced risk of severe malaria by 47%. That’s remarkable when you consider that there has never been a successful vaccine against a human parasite, nor against malaria.”
But an updated report in the New England Journal of Medicine this past March found that the protection from the vaccine didn’t last. Beginning eight months after vaccination, the shot’s effectiveness started to wane, and four years later, its efficacy dropped to about 17%. “It was a bit surprising to see the efficacy waned so significantly over time. In the fourth year, the vaccine did not show any protection,” follow-up study leader Ally Olotu of the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) Wellcome Trust Research Programme in Kenya, told Reuters in March. Researchers continue to test RTS,S in final-stage trials with over 15,000 kids, and the results are expected by the end of next year, according to Reuters.
That vaccine, however, used snippets of the malaria parasite’s proteins that were fused with proteins from the hepatitis B virus in order to activate the immune system into producing antibodies against P. falciparum. Researchers hope that the weakened, live form of the the parasite contained in PfSPZ produces more lasting responses, but more research will need to be done to see if that’s the case. It’s also not clear how practical the IV delivery of this vaccine will be, since countries where malaria is common often have weak health systems and fewer medical resources.
Still, the findings hold promise that it may be possible to protect against malaria with a vaccine, and avoid hundreds of thousands of deaths.
sources : the indian express