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Why The Five-Second Rule Is ‘Sort Of’ Right

September 19th, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle

It’s all about the kind of food and the kind of floor.

shutterstock_404250001If you’ve ever had your doubts about the “five-second rule,” a new study won’t come as much of a surprise. It shows that food dropped on the floor can get pretty germyeven if you scoop it up within the proverbial five seconds.

“Bacteria can contaminate instantaneously,” Dr. Donald Schaffner, a professor of food science at Rutgers University and co-author of the study, said in a written statement.

For the study, which was published online on Sept. 2 in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Schaffner and a collaborator dropped four foods (watermelon, gummy candy, bread and buttered bread) onto four different surfaces (steel, ceramic tile, wood and carpet) that had been contaminated with a harmless relative of disease-causing Salmonella bacteria.

The food was allowed to remain in contact with the surfaces for one, five, 30 or 300 seconds before being removed and tested to see if it had become contaminated with the germs.

What did the study show? Steel and tile surfaces tended to transfer more bacteria, while transfer rates from wood were more variable.

More to the point, the longer the food remained in contact with the germy surface, the greater the contamination tended to be. Watermelon showed the greatest contamination, gummy candy the least. That’s not especially surprising given that bacteria thrive in moisture.

“Bacteria don’t have legs, they move with the moisture, and the wetter the food, the higher the risk of transfer,” Schaffner said in the statement.

This isn’t the first time scientists have taken on the five-second rule.

A 2014 study conducted at Ashton University in England used similar methodology but employed E. coli and Staphylococcus bacteria. The research, which wasn’t subjected to peer review, found time on the floor to be a “significant factor” in determining the level of contamination ― and moist food on a tiled or laminated surface was the diciest proposition.

And earlier this year, the Discovery Science Channel aired a segment in which the narrator said that “moist foods left longer than 30 seconds [on the ground] collect 10 times the bacteria than those snapped up after only three.”

So where does that leave us?

Schaffner said the key take-away from his research was that the five-second rule simply doesn’t hold true for for very moist foods that fall onto non-absorbent surfaces. But, he added, “for some foods dropped on other surfaces, the transfer rate does increase with time, making this five-second rule ‘sort of’ right.”

Maybe just hold onto your food.

Source: huffingtonpost.com

Want To Keep Medical Costs Down? Hit The Gym

September 19th, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle

Consider this permission to splurge on that $40 bootcamp class.

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We all know that exercise is good for your health. But did you know that it’s also good for your wallet?

A recent study found that adults with cardiovascular disease ― think: coronary artery disease, stroke, heart attack, arrhythmias or peripheral artery disease ― who also exercised regularly spent $2,500 less on health care than their sedentary counterparts.

The study, which was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, looked at data from a 2012 national survey of 26,000 American adults and used the American Heart Association’s exercise recommendation of at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise five times a week as the benchmark for recommended exercise.

“The message to the patient is clear,” Dr. Khurram Nasir, a cardiologist and the paper’s senior author, author, told The American Heart Association.

“There is no better pill in reducing the risk of disease and healthcare costs than optimizing physical activity.”

Healthy people saved money too

The results for healthy participants were more modest ― but not insignificant. Those without heart disease who reported no more than one cardiovascular risk factor saved $500 on average in yearly medical costs if they met exercise recommendations, compared to the participants who didn’t exercise.

It’s encouraging news on top of what we already know about exercise’s myriad health benefits, including a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and high blood pressure, as well as improved mood and help preventing excess weight gain, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Of course, splurging on pricey fitness classes and gym memberships can eat into those savings, but if that’s what gets you working out, consider this permission to sign up and shell out. That Pilates class may pay for itself.

Source: huffingtonpost.com

Privacy and the Internet

August 19th, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle

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The Internet is an amazing superhighway of information, but there is some knowledge that most people want to keep private. To protect yourself and your family against Internet predators wishing to obtain your personal information, it is wise to understand the various ways in which your privacy can be breached.

Phishing Spam

Internet predators use phony emails and pop-up messages as bait to hook unsuspecting computer users into divulging personal information. Then, they use your personal information to steal your identity.

To protect against phishing spam:

  • Be skeptical of urgent email requests for personal or financial information.
  • Only email personal or financial information to secure websites that start with https://.
  • Install anti-virus software on your computer and make sure it remains up to date.

Spyware

When downloading free items on the Internet, you also run the risk of downloading software called spyware that tracks your Internet usage activity. To combat spyware, install anti-spyware software that protects your computer against these harmful download add-ons.

Cookies

Cookies are placed on your computer every time you visit a website. They store information about your computer preferences and personal details and retrieve it later.

To combat cookies, reconfigure your browser to accept, block or individually approve cookies.

Helpful Hints

Spam, or electronic junk mail, is not only annoying, it is also dangerous for your computer. In fact, many computer viruses are transmitted via email and infect the computer’s hard drive once emails are opened.

To reduce the amount of spam that you receive, download an anti-spam software program and keep it up to date.

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7 Underrated Powers of Middle Children

August 19th, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle

“Middle child syndrome” describes the feelings of neglect and isolation thought to afflict many middle-born children. But recent research shows that this “syndrome” a total myth; in fact, middle children develop personality traits that help them succeed in jobs and relationships even quicker than older and younger siblings.

Middle children are natural negotiators

shutterstock_146935571Every child in the birth order has their gambits: The elder child has natural clout among parents and siblings, the younger has whining and sympathy on her side, and the middle must learn to negotiate between the two—by any means necessary. “Middle-borns are the most willing to wheel and deal,” notes Frank Sulloway, PhD. As a result of literally being in the middle of most sibling disputes, many middle children learn to become patient, diplomatic, good listeners, and able to see arguments from multiple sides. Their voice is rarely the loudest—but often the most persuasive. Here’s what birth order theory can predict about your health.

Middle children are team players

Unlike older siblings, middle children are born into a world of sharing; from day one, middles must share their space, their time, their parents’ affection and, perhaps most importantly, their toys with at least one other child. Because of this, middles learn strong sharing and collaboration skills with little provocation and, as a study in the The Journal of Genetic Psychology notes, middle children tend to do better in group situations than older and younger siblings.

Middle children make the best friends

Because middle children often do receive less attention from their immediate family, they are more likely to seek strong relationships elsewhere. “As a middle child, you are likely to pick an intimate circle of friends to represent your extended family,” writes behavior and parenting expert Gail Gross, PhD. “This family of your choice is your compensation [for the lack of attention in your own home].” Friends of middles will thus benefit from a long, loyal relationship, founded on genuine compassion rather than convenience. Don’t miss these heartwarming quotes about best friends.

Middle children have small egos

Because of their lack of attention at home, some middles have been shown to develop a lower sense of self-esteem than their siblings. While this can be seen as a weakness, there are powerful strengths on the flip-side: For one, middles are shown todeal with rejection much better than their siblings, and are also noted for having smaller egos. All this taken together leads to a powerful conclusion…

Middle children make strong leaders

Middle children are uniquely privileged to learn from their older siblings while simultaneously serving as role models to their younger siblings. This dual nature of student and teacher creates strong empathy, negotiating skills, and flexibility—all powerful tools for leaders. You might not be surprised that more than half (52 percent) of U.S. presidents have been middle children, including Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy.

Middle children make great partners

According to Katrin Schumann, co-author of The Secret Power of Middle Children, friendship and leadership are only two of many ‘ships that middles are born to captain; relationships are another. “An Israeli marital happiness survey shows that middles are the happiest and most satisfied in relationships,” Schumann tells Psychology Today. This may be because middle children naturally favor compromise over conflict, and are often in tune with the needs of others. Much like their friendships, middle children’s relationships tend to be long-lasting—and loyal.

Middle children thrive among their own kind

Full disclosure, now that we’ve come this far together: I am a middle child, my best friend is a middle child, and my partner is a middle child. Science says that’s totally normal. Per a 2009 study from the Journal of Individual Psychology, middle children tend to grow romantic relationships with other middle children. This could be attributed to the high-empathy, low-ego combo many middles exhibit—but I like to think it’s just because middle children are awesome people. Now, could I share any of my toys with you?

Source: rd.com

5 Hacks To Improve Your Memory

August 19th, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle

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Your memory is a critical part of your mental health, and the fear of losing your memory leaves many people desperate to maintain theirs. Although memory tends to leave with age, that is not an inevitable result of aging. Someone who takes the time to strengthen and refine their memory will find it stays with them well into old age. Here are five hacks to improve your memory.

1. Get sufficient sleep

An excellent way to keep your mind healthy is to make sure it’s well-rested. Sleep deprivation can ruin any mental progress you’ve developed, and make you more sluggish.

Sleeping is a critical part of the memory-building process. Without sleep, your memories are unable to consolidate, and you’ll likely forget what you’ve learned fairly soon. If you can’t consolidate your memories, you won’t be able to recall them later. Scientists think that the hippocampus and neocortex are critical in developing memory during sleep, theorizing that the hippocampus will replay the events of the day in your head, and the neocortex stores them through this process for future use.

2. Get your fats in

The brain is made of 60 percent fat, and uses 20 percent of your daily intake in calories. Although a balanced diet is good for your health overall, it is especially critical for your brain to get the amount of healthy fats it needs to maintain itself.

Healthy fats, such as monounsaturated fats, help maintain your brain function and keep everything in working order, which protects your memory. Omega-3 fatty acids, which our bodies do not produce naturally, are particularly helpful for brain function, and can be found in multiple sources outside of fish foods.

Along with maintaining memory, consuming healthy fats also helps fight mental illness such as depression and bipolar disorder. Saturated fats are often referred to with scare quotes, but they’re one of the main components of brain cells. Eating saturated fats decreases your risk of dementia and helps keep your brain functioning well.

4. Socialize with friends

Regular social interaction helps stave off mental illness as well. Studies have found socializing just as effective as mental exercises in stimulating your brain and strengthening your memory. A lack of socialization becomes a lack of interest and interaction with your brain, and can lead to depression and other mental health disorders. Socializing, however, stimulates multiple different parts of your brain.

A conversation offers you multiple chances to recall thoughts, use logic and critical thinking, experience emotional connections and reinforce knowledge. If you find yourself going throughout the day without talking to anyone, you’ll have less activity to keep your brain active and less emotional excitement to keep it happy.

5. Give your brain regular exercise

An excellent way to maintain your memory is to keep your brain active. Logic puzzles and mind games help keep your memory sharp. A good brain activity that helps maintain memory will teach you something new and challenge you. The human brain is highly malleable, so brain teasers and puzzles are excellent tools for strengthening your brain capabilities and lengthening your memory.

Learning something really mentally challenging, like learning tocount cards, is a more difficult task and a significant feat of memory training. Remember, once you’ve adjusted to a certain level of difficulty in your brain exercises, you have to push for harder levels – otherwise, your progress stagnates and you’re no longer stretching and expanding your mental capabilities.

The purpose of mind games is to create new pathways, which need to be reinforced with regular thinking and brain exercise. The more neural pathways you develop, the more you are developing and expanding your memory, and reinforcing them with repeated effort makes them more stable and long-lasting.

6. Get plenty of physical exercise

It’s not just your brain you have to exercise to maintain memory – it’s your whole body. Regular aerobic exercise increases the size of your hippocampus, which is critical in memory development and maintenance. Exercise reduces inflammation and stimulates growth factors that help develop memory. It helps increase blood flow and oxygen to the brain, and also releases stress and naturally exhausts your energy, which helps you get a better night’s sleep.

Physical activity is great for your body, but it also helps your brain grow. Maintaining the health of your brain cells means maintaining the functions that create and preserve memory.

According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 75.6 million people will be living with dementia by 2030, and 135.5 million people will be living with dementia in 2050.

But dementia is not a normal part of aging. It’s a side effect of poor brain health, and you can avoid becoming afflicted by taking proactive steps to protect your brain. These tips to improve your memory will help you fight mental illness and maintain a long memory over a long life.

Source: lifehack.org

3 Simple Moves That Fight Pain

August 19th, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle

3 Simple Moves That Fight Knee And Hip Pain

If you’re like us, you’ve probably never paid your ankles much attention. But it turns out they can make a big difference in how you feel. “Over the years, thanks to inactivity, our ankles tend to lose flexibility and range of motion,” says Bruce Mack, cofounder of MBSC Thrive Functional Training.

When your ankles aren’t able to achieve the 360-degree range of motion they’re meant to, your knees (stabilizing joints that’s main job is moving back and forward) are forced to take on side-to-side motion. “Not only can this cause pain in the knee itself, but when your knee is out of whack it can also lead to hip pain,” says Mack. “Everything is connected. When a joint isn’t working as it should, the rest of the body suffers.”

Luckily, rehabbing those creaky ankles is incredibly simple. “Ankle mobility is something you can reprogram, kind of like software,” says Mack.

Doing these 3 simple corrective movements at least 3 times a week can build your range of motion and increase flexibility.

1. Rocking Squat

Get into the bottom of a squat position with your feet shoulder width apart, hands together in front of your chest and elbows pressing against your inner knees. Lean your weight to one side (A), then rock back to the other side (B). Continue rocking side-to-side for 30 seconds.

2. 3-Point Half Kneeling Mobility Work 

Start in a half-kneeling position in front of a wall (you can hold a foamroller for balance is needed), front knee bent at 90 degrees and over ankle(A). Keeping your front heel on the floor, lean your weight and hips forward until front knee touches the wall (B). Hold for 5 seconds, then return to starting position. Repeat the move 2 more times, first angling the knee to the right and then to the left.

3. Soft Tissue Work for Bottom of Feet With Tennis Ball
Grab a tennis ball and place it under your foot while in a standing position. Roll thetennis ball up and down the foot. When you find a sensitive area, hold the ball there for a few seconds and add a little more pressure with your body weight.
Aim for 30-60 seconds on each foot.

Source: prevention.com

Plans for self-driving cars have pitfall: the human brain

July 21st, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle

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Experts say the development of self-driving cars over the coming decade depends on an unreliable assumption by many automakers: that the humans in them will be ready to step in and take control if the car’s systems fail.

Instead, experience with automation in other modes of transportation like aviation and rail suggests that the strategy will lead to more deaths like that of a Florida Tesla driver in May.

Decades of research shows that people have a difficult time keeping their minds on boring tasks like monitoring systems that rarely fail and hardly ever require them to take action. The human brain continually seeks stimulation. If the mind isn’t engaged, it will wander until it finds something more interesting to think about. The more reliable the system, the more likely it is that attention will wane.

Automakers are in the process of adding increasingly automated systems that effectively drive cars in some or most circumstances, but still require the driver as a backup in case the vehicle encounters a situation unanticipated by its engineers.

Tesla’s Autopilot, for example, can steer itself within a lane and speed up or slow down based on surrounding traffic or on the driver’s set speed. It can change lanes with a flip of its signal, automatically apply brakes, or scan for parking spaces and parallel park on command.

Joshua Brown, a 40-year-old tech company owner from Canton, Ohio, who was an enthusiastic fan of the technology, was killed when neither he nor his Tesla Model S sedan’s Autopilot braked for a truck making a left turn on a highway near Gainsville, according to federal investigators and the automaker.

Tesla warns drivers to keep their hands on the wheel even though Autopilot is driving, or the vehicle will automatically slow to a stop. A self-driving system Audi plans to introduce in its 2018 A7, which the company says will be the most advanced on the market, monitors drivers’ head and eye movements, and automatically slows the car if the driver’s attention is diverted.

But Brown’s failure to brake means he either didn’t see the truck in his path or saw it too late to respond — an indication he was relying on the automation and his mind was elsewhere, said Missy Cummings, director of Duke University’s Humans and Autonomy Laboratory. The truck driver said he had heard a Harry Potter video playing in the car after the crash.

“Drivers in these quasi- and partial modes of automation are a disaster in the making,” Cummings said. “If you have to rely on the human to see something and take action in anything less than several seconds, you are going to have an accident like we saw.”

Operators — an airline pilot, a train engineer or car driver — can lose awareness of their environment when they turn control over to automation, said Rob Molloy, the National Transportation Safety Board’s chief highway crash investigator.

He pointed to the crash of Air France Flight 447 into the Atlantic Ocean while flying from Brazil to France in 2007. A malfunction in equipment used to measure air speed caused the plane’s autopilot to disconnect, catching pilots by surprise. Confused, they caused an otherwise flyable plane to stall and fall from the sky, killing 228 people.

Planes and trains have had automation “for 20, 30 years and there are still times when they’re like, ‘Wow, we didn’t expect that to happen,'” Molloy said.

Part of the problem is overconfidence in the technology causes people to think they can check out. Not long after Tesla introduced its Autopilot system, people were posting videos of car with the self-driving mode engaged cruising down tree-lined roads or even highways with no one in the driver’s seat. Brown, for example, had posted videos lauding the Autopilot system and demonstrating it in action.

“There is a tendency of people to take one ride in one of these vehicles and then conclude that because they have not crashed over the course of 10 minutes that the system must be ready,” said Bryant Walker Smith, a University of South Carolina professor who studies the technology.

Some experts think the ability of people to monitor autonomous systems may be getting worse. With the advent of smartphones, people are accustomed to having their desire for mental stimulation satisfied immediately.

“Go into Starbucks, for example,” said Cummings. “No one can just patiently wait in line, they’re all doing something on their phones. It’s kind of pathetic.”

Some automakers may be rethinking their approach. Two years ago, General Motors announced it would start selling a Cadillac in the fall of 2016 that would almost drive itself on freeways. But in January the company confirmed that the project has been delayed for an unspecified reason.

In briefings, company executives said they were waiting to perfect methods of assuring that the driver pays attention to the road even when the system is on.

The system, called “Super Cruise,” will use cameras and radar to keep the car in the center of a lane and also stay a safe distance behind cars in front of it. The system will bring the car to a complete stop without driver action if traffic halts, and it can keep the car going in stop-and-go traffic. But it’s designed for use only on limited-access divided highways.

Google, meanwhile, is aiming for a car that’s fully self-driving and may not even have a steering wheel or brake pedals.

Source: yahoo.com

3 Simple Moves That Fight Knee And Hip Pain

July 21st, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle

3 Simple Moves That Fight Knee And Hip Pain

If you’re like us, you’ve probably never paid your ankles much attention. But it turns out they can make a big difference in how you feel. “Over the years, thanks to inactivity, our ankles tend to lose flexibility and range of motion,” says Bruce Mack, cofounder of MBSC Thrive Functional Training.

When your ankles aren’t able to achieve the 360-degree range of motion they’re meant to, your knees (stabilizing joints that’s main job is moving back and forward) are forced to take on side-to-side motion. “Not only can this cause pain in the knee itself, but when your knee is out of whack it can also lead to hip pain,” says Mack. “Everything is connected. When a joint isn’t working as it should, the rest of the body suffers.”

Luckily, rehabbing those creaky ankles is incredibly simple. “Ankle mobility is something you can reprogram, kind of like software,” says Mack.

Doing these 3 simple corrective movements at least 3 times a week can build your range of motion and increase flexibility.

1. Rocking Squat

Get into the bottom of a squat position with your feet shoulder width apart, hands together in front of your chest and elbows pressing against your inner knees. Lean your weight to one side (A), then rock back to the other side (B). Continue rocking side-to-side for 30 seconds.

2. 3-Point Half Kneeling Mobility Work 

Start in a half-kneeling position in front of a wall (you can hold a foamroller for balance is needed), front knee bent at 90 degrees and over ankle(A). Keeping your front heel on the floor, lean your weight and hips forward until front knee touches the wall (B). Hold for 5 seconds, then return to starting position. Repeat the move 2 more times, first angling the knee to the right and then to the left.

3. Soft Tissue Work for Bottom of Feet With Tennis Ball
Grab a tennis ball and place it under your foot while in a standing position. Roll thetennis ball up and down the foot. When you find a sensitive area, hold the ball there for a few seconds and add a little more pressure with your body weight.
Aim for 30-60 seconds on each foot.

Source: prevention.com

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