Thursday, December 31, 2020

Warmth and Competence

Holidays are good for your health - if they warm your heart and your home. 

Exactly one year ago, on Dec. 31 2020, China first alerted the WHO of "viral pneumonia". Next day authorities shut the infamous wet market in Wuhan, and the rest is history. 

Today many will enjoy parental warmth remotely. Those least lucky will do it only in their hearts, remembering the good times. We have a lot to be grateful for to our parents. Beautiful childhood memories is one of those things.  

Scientific research shows that childhood parental warmth improves health, reducing the risk of having a cardiovascular problem and mortality by age 63. via our resting heart rate.  High-frequency heart rate variability (HFHRV), measured during the longitudinal study of over 1K US participants titled “Midlife in the United States”, significantly correlated with parenting scores such that warmer parenting predicted higher HF-HRV. This measure relates to the strength of Autonomic Nervous System and cardiovascular health. 

Another large study (over 1K young individuals in China), part of an even larger project that included extensive measures of executive function, decision making, memory, personality, and wellbeing, explored the whole genome to identify genetics mediating the effect of parental warmth on professional competence. Thee genes responsible were components of electrical circuitry in the human brain fine tuned by parental warmth to improve our ability to make decisions. 

But enough of science and the art. Let today be a new beginning.

Be happy, be warm, be successful. 


REFERENCES 

Alen NV, Sloan RP, Seeman TE, Hostinar CE. Childhood parental warmth and heart rate variability in midlife: Implications for health. Personal Relationships. 2020 Sep;27(3):506-25.

Chen C, Chen C, Xue G, Dong Q, Zhao L, Zhang S. Parental warmth interacts with several genes to affect executive function components: a genome-wide environment interaction study. BMC genetics. 2020 Dec;21(1):1-1.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Genes and Proteins of COVID-19

A pneumonia of unknown cause detected in Wuhan, China was first reported to the WHO Country Office in China on 31 December 2019.  The outbreak was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January 2020 and declared a pandemic on March 11. By that time the disease was known as COVID-19 and the name of the new virus was SARS-CoV-2


Scientists worked at speed to make this virus's gene and protein information available at record time. 

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Saturday, December 21, 2019

Flu Season 2019-2020

Influenza viruses are negative-sense single stranded RNA viruses of the Orthomyxoviridae family. There are four types of influenza viruses: A, B, C and D . In electron microscopy these types, especially A and B,  could be virtually indistinguishable. D is more similar to C.
Most of these viruses look like small spheres with spikes, although some could be irregularly shaped. Spikes are proteins and they are what's different in different forms of influenza. Typically, influenza A starts the early wave of the flu, and influenza B starts to show up at the tail-end of the season, in early spring. This year is't flu B that started the first wave while flu A may be responsible for the second wave. Is the flu shot working? It's still too early to predict.


Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Saving the Pond


Reproduced from Aurametrix

There are several million ponds in United States (Renwick et al, 2006), and many are in need for preservation. This pond (35°33'51.7"N 84°13'38.5"W), part of Kahite hiking trail system in East Tennessee, attracts a variety of wildlife, with ecological benefits and habitat. It preserves community open space and property values.

The pond began to deteriorate as invasive submerged plants such as Hydrilla (notoriously difficult to eradicate without serious chemical herbicides) started growing under the surface of the water causing problems for aquatic life. The pond used to be naturally cleaned by a stream connecting to Tellico lake, but the stream got clogged up and the pond is in need of help.

Dying Pond

Members of the community desire to save it because of its mystique, beauty and recreational value, and they need an economical and environmentally friendly way of restoring new life to our pond. This project would be a great example of civic engagement, helping to educate future Nature Conservancy volunteers. Here is the story of the pond.

Aerial view of the pond
It is not known when this small (surface area ~0.5 acres), tranquil pond was born in the scenic greenery of East Tennessee. The land area around the pond was owned by an Overhill Cherokee descendant, Bowhunter, sun of a local chieftain. For Cherokees, water was the source of all existence and the deposit of all living things. It marked both the beginning and the terminus of material life and persisted beyond the realm of the temporal into infinite existence. Going to water was a part of the ritual for obtaining long life and recovering from a thickness (Mooney, 2012). No doubt, Bowhunter would cherish and maintain his pond.
Beautifully maintained historic road

Shortly after the 1819 Calhoun treaty that established Monroe county, an early settler John McGhee purchased the land. Over the years the property was owned by Peter Moser, Shakely Farma, Bob Starnea, Jogn Caraon and other families. In 1920s, the first documented house within the boundaries of modern Kahite neighborhood was built by Bert Anderson. The settlement along Mt. Zion Road within the boundaries of Kahite began with a tenant house built by the Robinsons.  In the late 1940s, the land was acquired by the Williams family who built a house and a barn near the pond. They used the pond for agricultural purposes, as water sources for livestock.

In the 1960s the Tennessee Valley Authority began buying up the land  for the creation of Tellico Reservoir. And so water spread over the valley and the lake was born. But a part of Mt. Zion road used by the early settlers was still there and so was the pond.

The Pond after the rain
In the 1960s Monroe county lagged badly behind the rest of the state in most important economic measures. Development of Kahite, the final major neighborhood of Tellico Village, started in August 1996 with the goal to bring jobs and economic growth. But there was more to it, as members of the community volunteered to plant community gardens, build trails and were eager to turn the land into a welcoming haven for humans and wildlife.

Pond in need of restoration
The shoreline lands around Tellico lake are no longer stagnant communities, but a recreation wonderland maintained by environment and wildlife conservation enthusiasts. It's a land of educated volunteers willing to employ new sustainable green chemistry approaches and innovative methods of building and maintaining healthy ecosystems.

Ponds provide enjoyment from offering a closeness to nature and increase the habitat available for our freshwater wildlife.

We do not inherit our ponds from previous generations, we borrow them from the future ones. We need to maintain them for their beauty, for their cultural significance, and protect next generations of human beings and other inhabitants of the Earth.









REFERENCES

Renwick WH, Sleezer RO, Buddemeier RW, Smith SV. Small artificial ponds in the United States: impacts on sedimentation and carbon budget. In Proceedings of the Eighth Federal Interagency Sedimentation Conference 2006 Apr 2 (No. 8th, pp. 738-44).

Gary Mulliner, 2010, History of Kahite, Iterpretive Exhibit.

Mooney J. Myths of the Cherokee. Courier Corporation; 2012 Mar 7.

Stager JC, Wiltse B, Hubeny JB, Yankowsky E, Nardelli D, Primack R. Climate variability and cultural eutrophication at Walden Pond (Massachusetts, USA) during the last 1800 years. PloS one. 2018 Apr 4;13(4):e0191755.

Genoa R. Warner, Yogesh Somasundar, Kyle C. Jansen, Evan Z. Kaaret, Cindy Weng, Abigail E. Burton, Matthew R. Mills, Longzhu Q. Shen, Alexander D. Ryabov, Gabrielle Pros, Tomislav Pintauer, Saborni Biswas, Michael P. Hendrich, Julia A. Taylor, Frederick S. Vom Saal, Terrence J. Collins. Bioinspired, Multidisciplinary, Iterative Catalyst Design Creates the Highest Performance Peroxidase Mimics and the Field of Sustainable Ultradilute Oxidation Catalysis (SUDOC). ACS Catalysis, 2019; 7023 DOI: 10.1021/acscatal.9b01409

Friday, November 10, 2017

Bringing Health and Happiness

Cute animals are the perfect distraction from our hectic lives.

But in cities having an animal isn't always possible. Solutions to this problem are cat, rabbit and goat cafes  or petting zoos in shopping malls. Residents of Sunnyvale can now enjoy cute animals in a more traditional setting - in recycled-water gardens of Baylands park. Say hello to llamas, horses, chickens, goats, rabbits, pigeons, furry rodents, pigs and sheep.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Will elections be bad for your health?

Elections may be bad for your health. Stress is higher than you think (especially for the oldest and the youngest voters) and social media will make it worse.  


Monday, October 31, 2016

Healthy Halloween

Halloween is not the healthiest day of the year as it increases hospital statistics, including sugar-high accidents for kids and alcohol-/drug- related injuries for adults. But there are many other things we can learn from this celebration.

According to numerous scientific studies and less scientific surveys...


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