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Dog / Animal: I really like the colour and slight amount of blur in this, would …

Dog / Animal: I really like the colour and slight amount of blur in this, would be a nice puppy dog book cover! Check out my Lightroom blog for before & after shots. The link is on my profile page. ► Follow me on Tumblr Funny animals.like? Source by guzman0875

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Animals (Remix by Martin Gate 128 bpm)

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How Powdered Blood Could Revolutionize Medicine

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During an emergency, having blood on hand for transfusions is critical. But blood needs proper refrigeration, making on the spot care a difficult task. But what if paramedics were equipped with bags of powdered blood cells that could be combined with water and immediately distributed?

It may sound like science fiction, but doctors are working to develop artificial blood cells that could save lives down the line.

“Transfusion medicine is challenged by the limitations arising from storage of red blood cells, which are a living tissue, that must be kept cold, have a shelf-life of only 42 days, and must be used within about four hours of removal from refrigeration,” says Dr. Allan Doctor, a professor of pediatrics, biochemistry, and molecular biophysics at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri.

Doctor and his colleagues have developed an artificial blood substitute called ErythroMer. The research is in the very early stages, but the researchers have so far shown promising results in a proof of concept study in mice. They were able to show that when mice were inserted with ErythroMer, the artificial blood was able to deliver oxygen to tissues in the same way as normal mice blood. They were also able to use ErythroMer to resuscitate rats that were in shock and had lost about 40% of their blood, Medscape reports.

Doctor presented the work in early December at the American Society of Hematology 58th Annual Meeting.

Much more study is needed before it can be determined if the artificial blood cells could be used in humans, but Doctor says he envisions ErythroMer could transform care for situations like military casualties or for people that need to be resuscitated before reaching a hospital.

“Next steps are to confirm our promising findings in a larger animal model, screen and address any toxicities, scale production, and eventually test for safety and efficacy in humans,” says Doctor.

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You'll Never Eat Another Gummy Bear or Marshmallow Again After Hearing What It's Made From

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If you look at the ingredients on a package of gummy bears — even organic ones — you’ll see expected things like corn or brown rice syrup and sugar. But you’ll also see something called gelatin. Seems innocent enough, but its source might surprise you. Gelatin is a yellowish, odorless, and nearly tasteless substance that is made by prolonged boiling of skin, cartilage, and bones from animals. It’s made primarily from the stuff meat industries have left over — we’re talking about pork skins, horns, and cattle bones. Ugh.

I guess if you’re into the philosophy of using the whole animal, you’ll be psyched about this. Plus gelatin contains 18 amino acids, so it does offer some nutritional benefits. But if you’re vegan, you’ll definitely want to skip the chewy candies and your great-aunt’s Jell-O mold — it’s made with gelatin, too. This animal-derived ingredient can also be found in some vitamins and medications, marshmallows (not Trader Joe’s — they’re vegan!), cheeses, yogurts, soups, salad dressings, jams and jellies, fruit snacks, and canned hams. If this tidbit of info grosses you out, you’ll want to pay closer attention to these products’ food labels.

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Everything You Need to Know About Baking With Coconut Oil

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Uses for coconut oil are popping up everywhere these days, like in the kitchen for high-heat searing but also as a beauty aid for smoothing split ends. Hey, why not? Just one whiff of the stuff whisks you away to a tropical beach — piña colada in hand. But why on earth would anyone want to use coconut oil for baking? Here’s a short list:

It’s vegan.
It’s a lot healthier for your heart than butter, shortening, and many other oils.
Its flavor and mouthfeel are melt-in-your-mouth magical — after all, isn’t that the point of indulging in baked goods in the first place?

Ready to bake with it? Read on for answers to all your questions about baking with coconut oil.

Can I really substitute coconut oil for butter?
You bet. “Because coconut oil is solid at room temperature (it melts at 74 degrees), it is the closest oil there is to butter in terms of how it works in a recipe,” said Vegetarian Times food editor Mary Margaret Chappell.

Should I substitute coconut oil for butter or other oils at a 1:1 ratio?
Yes. If you are subbing for butter or shortening, use it as a solid at room temperature. If you are subbing for oil, simply melt it on the stovetop or in a microwave. Note: it melts super fast!

Which baked goods work best with coconut oil — and why?
Coconut oil works wonderfully in cakes, brownies, cookies, pie crusts, breads, crumbles, and frosting — especially those with tropical, chocolaty, or fresh and citrusy flavors. “I reach for coconut oil mainly when I’m making pie crusts and frostings,” said Chappell. “You can cream coconut oil with sugar at the start of a cake recipe and beat it into frostings.” Her absolute favorite use: in homemade chocolates! “A little coconut oil gives them a shine and a firmer texture than straight chocolate.”

How does it affect the flavor of baked goods?
“Unrefined coconut oil has a definite coconut flavor, which can come through in baked goods,” said Chappell. While that can be a very good thing, if that’s not the flavor you’re looking for, Chappell suggests choosing refined coconut oil.

Is coconut oil healthier than other fats?
While coconut oil is a saturated fat, we like to think of it as a “good fat.” Why? Unlike the typical saturated fat found in animal products (long-chain fatty acids), the plant-based saturated fat in coconut oil (medium-chain fatty acids) is more readily burned as energy rather than stored as fat. Plus, it’s free of the scary trans fat found in most shortenings and margarines, and it’s super high in lauric acid, which is both antiviral and immunity-boosting.

Does it work for greasing the pan instead of nonstick cooking spray?
Yup. You can either use a pastry brush or a clean paper towel to grease the pan with coconut oil, or give coconut oil nonstick cooking spray a try. We heart Spectrum Naturals Coconut Spray Oil or Trader Joe’s Coconut Oil Spray.

Are there any helpful cookbooks to help me get started baking with coconut oil?
We love these two:
BabyCakes: Vegan, (Mostly) Gluten-Free, and (Mostly) Sugar-Free Recipes From New York’s Most Talked-About Bakery
The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions

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Scratching a Mosquito Bite May Help Zika Virus Spread Faster in the Body

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TUESDAY, June 21, 2016 (HealthDay News) — The inflammation caused by a mosquito bite helps Zika and other viruses spread through the body more quickly, a new study in mice suggests.

“Mosquito bites are not just annoying—they are key for how these viruses spread around your body and cause disease,” said senior study author Dr. Clive McKimmie. He is a research fellow in the School of Medicine, at the University of Leeds in England.

“We now want to look at whether medications such as anti-inflammatory creams can stop the virus establishing an infection if used quickly enough after the bite inflammation appears,” he said in a university news release.

The researchers studied the bites of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which spreads infections such as Zika, dengue and chikungunya. When a mosquito bites you, it injects saliva into your skin. The saliva prompts immune cells to swarm the site.

But instead of helping, some of the immune cells get infected and replicate the virus, according to the study.

“This was a big surprise we didn’t expect,” McKimmie said. “These viruses are not known for infecting immune cells. And sure enough, when we stopped these immune cells coming in, the bite did not enhance the infection anymore.”

The findings suggest that it might be possible to use anti-inflammatory drugs to treat mosquito bite inflammation before any symptoms begin.

“We think creams might act as an effective way to stop these viruses before they can cause disease,” McKimmie said.

Experts note that research on animals often fails to produce similar results in humans. However, If this approach proves effective, it could be used against a large number of viruses, the researchers suggested.

Right now, the epicenter of the Zika outbreak is in Brazil, where close to 5,000 babies have been born with a devastating birth defect after their mothers were infected with Zika early in pregnancy. The affected babies have microcephaly, which is when an infant is born with an abnormally small head and brain, and other neurological problems.

U.S. health officials are increasingly worried that Zika will strike the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico and Gulf Coast states on the mainland as the mosquito season starts to heat up this summer.

“Nobody expected Zika, and before that nobody expected chikungunya,” McKimmie said. “There are estimated to be hundreds of other mosquito-borne viruses out there and it’s hard to predict what’s going to start the next outbreak.”

The study was published June 21 in the journal Immunity.

More information

Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more on the Zika virus.

This Q&A will tell you what you need to know about Zika.

To see the CDC list of sites where Zika virus is active and may pose a threat to pregnant women, click here.


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A day in the life of a gluten-free guru

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We chat to sports nutritionist, Stephanie Lowe about her gluten-free life.


As a sports nutritionist, triathlete and self-confessed cashew butter addict from Melbourne, Stephanie Lowe is passionate about the health benefits of going gluten free. Her blog offers written posts and podcasts about everything from gut health to fat loss. It also offers delicious GF recipes and Lowe’s ebooks, including Free From Gluten and Real Food Reset. 

My food philosophy

“Real is best. Food that comes out of the ground, from a tree or from an animal is the most nutrient dense and whole source of nutrition. In fact, one of the biggest changes we can make to improve our health is to significantly reduce or eliminate our intake of packaged foods.”

Foods on high rotation in my diet

“Every meal I eat contains many non-starchy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and zucchini. It also contains a quality protein such as free-range eggs or grass-fed meat and good fats such as avocado and olive oil. My carbohydrates come from wholefood sources, such as berries and sweet potato. Eating this way offers me optimal nutrient density, blood sugar control, satiety and long-term health benefits.”

Foods I avoid

“I stay away from packaged foods and particularly avoid ingredients that promote inflammation in the body, such as gluten, refined sugar and polyunsaturated seed oils such as canola oil (because they are high in omega-6 fatty acids, which we have too much of in our Western diet). I believe that anti-inflammatory nutrition is the key to my good health today, and tomorrow.”

Why I became gluten free

“I stopped eating gluten nine years ago to help my mental state and heal my relationship with food, which wasn’t healthy. I was so inspired by the changes I experienced that I went back to university to study nutrition at a post-graduate level so I could educate others on the power of real food. Before this dietary change, I was eating gluten every day, whether it was a small amount through traditional soy sauce or in larger quantities in low-fat cereals and muesli bars.”

Health benefits

“Once I stopped eating gluten, my digestion improved, but the biggest change was the emotional impact – I felt calmer and happier. I really began to understand that with 90 per cent of serotonin receptors (our happy hormone) found in our gut, the food that we eat has a significant influence on our brain and mental health.”

Challenges

“It can be tricky when waiters at a restaurant don’t quite understand gluten free, or perhaps don’t take your request seriously enough. The great thing is that in 2016 the awareness of gluten free is quite high and many restaurants code their menu GF, which makes ordering out very easy. Ten years ago it was much more challenging to cut out gluten, as many people didn’t even know what gluten was. Now, as long as you communicate what your dietary requirements are, most restaurants and cafes will go out of their way to assist.”

My transition tips

“The best way to approach gluten free is to focus on real food. If you fill your plate with non-starchy vegetables, quality protein and good fats, and choose wholefood carbohydrates, you are 99 per cent of the way there. Healthy, fresh food doesn’t come in a box, so there is really minimal need for the gluten-free products that are increasingly appearing on our supermarket shelves. Stick to whole and fresh foods instead.”

My day on a plate

Breakfast:

» A berry smoothie with spinach, avocado, coconut milk, cinnamon and raw pea protein

Lunch: 

» Shepherd’s pie with pumpkin mash or a three-egg omelette with a side of avocado and kimchi

Dinner:

» Grass-fed steak or free-range chicken with a rocket salad or steamed greens topped with grass-fed butter and Himalayan salt 

 

NEXT: Think you may be intolerant to other foods? Check out our guide to food intolerances.

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4 Health Rumors You Seriously Need to Stop Believing

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Just like old habits, old medical rumors are hard to shake. Here are the facts versus fiction on some persistent health hearsay (cancerous underwear! toxic fish!) so you can stop worrying once and for all.

The rumor: It's bad to eat fish during pregnancy

The truth: Nuh-Uh! While there are certain foods that pregnant women should avoid, moms-to-be can continue eating most kinds of fish worry-free. A recent study in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that eating three to four servings of fish (including tuna!) per week while pregnant was linked to increases in kids' IQs. Just continue to avoid eating the highest-mercury fish: swordfish, shark, king mackerel, and tilefish.

The rumor: Underwire bras cause cancer

The truth: Nope! Some people still claim that underwire bras could compress the lymphatic system of the breast, making toxins build up. The reality? Newer research has demonstrated that neither the style of bra you wear nor the length of time you wear it has any effect whatsoever on breast cancer risk.

RELATED: 6 Big Myths About Hydration You Shouldn't Believe

The rumor: Cracking fingers leads to arthritis

The truth: Phsaw! If the popping isn't painful, it's fine. Studies show that knuckle crackers are no more likely to develop arthritis than folks without this habit. 

The rumor: Eating soy messes with fertility

No! Animal studies have suggested that consuming more soy might affect fertility due to its phytoestrogens, but there's scant evidence that this is the case for humans. In fact, research suggests that women who get their protein from mostly soy and plant foods are less likely to have ovulation issues. 

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Treatment Options for Hypothyroidism

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There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for hypothyroidism. It may take a few trips to the doctor to get the right remedy, and over time, your prescribed medication may change. Heres a brief look at the possibilities:

Synthetic hormones.
Most people with hypothyroidism first receive a synthetic thyroid hormone known as levothyroxine; the brand names are Synthroid, Levoxyl, Unithroid, and Levothroid. This medication often gets you back to normal within weeks. And youll take it for the rest of your life. But it doesnt work for everyone.

“About 80 percent of patients who test positive for hypothyroidism get a prescription for levothyroxine and feel better,” says endocrinologist Theodore Friedman, MD, PhD, an associate professor of medicine at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science and the University of California, Los Angeles. “For the other 20 percent, we need to be flexible. I get the patients who tell me conventional treatment isnt working. And I believe them.”

Combination therapy.
Your thyroid produces two hormones, but synthetic levothyroxine replaces only one, known as T4. The biochemistry can get complicated, but basically your body has to convert T4 into yet another hormone called T3 for your thyroid to work well.

Experts like Friedman and Baylor Universitys Ridha Arem, MD, a nationally known endocrinologist, believe T4 treatment alone doesnt do the job for some patients. For them, Friedman also prescribes a small amount of supplemental T3 (brand name Cytomel), so-called combination therapy.

Other animal-based hormones.
Some experts may even reject this approach in favor of animal-based hormone treatment (the most common brand is Armour). Manufactured in the United States for more than 100 years, this medication is made from the desiccated thyroid tissue of pigs.

The major thyroid organizations consider it outdated, but some specialists swear by it. “I clearly have patients who do better on Armour,” Friedman says. Even its strongest advocates arent sure why Armour would be more effective. But it contains both T3 and T4, as well as lesser-known hormones called T1 and T2 and other substances.

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