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The 101 on your immune system

Your immune system defends you from constant threats. Look after it so it can look after you. Part One: How your immune system works THE ABC’S OF IMMUNITY We don’t realize it as we go about our day, but our immune system is engaged in a constant life-or-death drama, fighting threats too small to see and winning most of them most of the time. In this era of the COVID-19 pandemic, it helps to get a big-picture view of the immune system. Without it, we would all be sick, dying, or dead. In the article How the Immune System Works, in Medical News Today (2018), Tim Newman explains that “without an immune system, our bodies would be open to attack from bacteria, viruses, parasites, and more. It keeps us healthy as we drift through a sea of pathogens. This vast network of cells and tissues is constantly on the lookout

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Health

Interesting new research on walking

We walk without thinking about it. But it turns out, walking helps our bodies in several interesting ways that may surprise you. There is a constant, complex dance of molecules in our body. Rushing to and fro. Some are doing good, others not so much. And it turns out, walking plays a huge role. Research has even been done on walking and its impacts on breast cancer in the form of the estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer which is seen in about two thirds of all cases. Basically, estrogen circulate in the bloodstream causes breast cell tissues to grow and divide and this is normal. Sometimes mutations occur and it’s not a big deal. Sometimes it is. A mutation could for example, occur that causes those tissues to settle in the lungs, heart or brain. This is called metastasis with the result being stage IV breast cancer. The Canadian Cancer Society predicted

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Longevity

Do animals have a sense of humour?

Believe it or not, studies have shown that monkeys, dogs, rats, and some other animals do indeed laugh. Neural paths for laughter are deep in the brain and found in both humans and animals, which many accept as proof that laughing is integral to play and fun. A new study of 65 animals published in the journal Bioacoustics (that’s a thing) revealed each species had their own form of laughter. Infants and young children laugh instinctively during play, which shows that laughter is natural, not learned. A study showed how babies and young chimpanzees even have similar facial expressions when laughing. Chimpanzees pant during playtime, rats chirp when tickled, and dogs huff when having fun; these noises form social bonds with fellow animal playmates, just as shared laughter can strengthen bonds between humans. Laughter in animals is still under-studied and some researchers still aren’t convinced animals have a sense of humour,

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Mind

Importance of Seasonal Self-Care

The days are getting shorter, the summer heat is cooling off: fall is coming! For many of us, fall is associated with new routines and plans being put into action. What better time to commit to a self-care routine? What is “self-care”? Self-care is any activity we do to support our happiness, wellness, and health. We simply cannot function on empty. Regular practice helps us stay grounded during life’s inevitable ups and downs. A self-care routine Self-care is an individual practice. Finding out what works for you will take some discovery. For one person, self-care might mean attending a yoga class once a week and schedule in time for journaling each night before bed. I recommend starting a list of activities you love doing most. These activities should make you feel centred, happy, or contribute to your sense of wellness. Creative arts, spending time in nature, and exercising are all

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Mind

The science behind laughing

Laughter boosts immunity, mental health, learning and more. Seriously. Exercise, sleep, diet and stress-management are critical for immunity. But there’s a lesser known way you can boost your health (plus a whole lot of other things). In these uncertain times, laughing yourself silly may just be a smart thing to do. The science of laughter—though still preliminary—suggests that it has benefits for our health and psychological well-being. Here are just five examples from this emerging research: Physical Health. A review of the existing research suggests that humor and laughter may boost immune function.  Another study found that even just anticipating a funny event decreases potentially detrimental stress-related hormones. In another study, laughter was found to lower stress and inflammation and increase good cholesterol.  Mental Health. Laughter is wonderful for stress relief.  A review of research on laughter therapies suggests they can reduce anxiety, depression and perceived stress. Laughter makes you

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Health

Dangers of artificial sweeteners in new research

Saccharine, aspartame sucralose. They’re in just about every “diet” soft drink and all kinds of other everyday beverages from fruit drinks and many foods as well. Some new research recently published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences is now the first to show the pathogenic effects of these widely used sweeteners. It appears that they have a significant effect on two types of gut bacteria, E. coli (Escherichia coli) and E. faecalis (Enterococcus faecalis). Senior author of the paper Dr. Havovi Chichger, Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Science at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), said: “There is a lot of concern about the consumption of artificial sweeteners, with some studies showing that sweeteners can affect the layer of bacteria which support the gut, known as the gut microbiota.  “Our study is the first to show that some of the sweeteners most commonly found in food and drink – saccharin, sucralose and

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Longevity

Rules for a new age of technology

Technology has always been a double-edged sword. Without regulation, the promise of information technology may be overwhelmed by its inevitable dark side. In early, 2018, Ibrahim Diallo, went to his office in Los Angeles. His access card denied him entry, so a guard let him in. But his access to his email and computer had also been turned off. A short time later he was given notice that he was fired. The company’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) system had terminated his contract. It took the company three weeks to figure out what happened. It started with a human error. His former supervisor had not updated his contract in the system. The AI simply followed the rules, coldly and inhumanly. Joan, who just turned 82, lives independently in her active living condo on the outskirts of Toronto. She’s healthy but can be prone to dizziness and risks falling. One day, she falls.

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Longevity

What the future wasn’t

Looking back over half a century, we had some incredible visions of the future. One historian said it was the end of history at the turn of the century. Until it wasn’t. For those of us over 45, we’ve often recalled the cartoon series The Jetsons, mostly because they had flying cars. They haven’t arrived yet, but there are over 50 companies working on them. Some funded by major automotive companies like Hyundai and Volkswagen. The most promising of them use drone helicopter technology. But the reality of flying cars for common, everyday use by anyone is still very far off. Mass use is constrained by battery technologies, lack of regulation around navigation methods and more. Which of course, brings us to self-driving cars. Elon Musk opined they would be available by 2020. We all know what a dumpster fire 2020 turned out to be and no self-driving cars from

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Health

How sleep cleans your brain

We all love a good night’s sleep and nothing feels better than feeling rested and pumped for the day. We know that sleep is important for us too and now new research could show just how important sleep is! When we sleep, we go through several phases starting with light, then deep then REM (Rapid Eye Movement) which many of us are familiar with. Until now, not much research has been done on the deep sleep phase. And what this research reveals is very interesting indeed! Turns out, that essentially, our spinal fluid goes into our brain and cleans out the toxins that get into our brains during the day! The research was conducted by Dr. Laura Lewis of Boston University and her research was released in the journal Science on October 31st. Dr. Lewis studies deep sleep or the non-REM phase. Research believes that during the non-REM phase, the

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