Dogs are a man’s best friend and some feel more sorry for a dog’s loss compared to human loss-so great is their love for pets. No scientific research is carried on a human directly without testing it on certain animals such as rats, monkeys and pigs. When we analyze why certain animals are preferred for research over others, we find close resemblances between these animals’ functioning and ours. This makes us wonder whether dogs might fit the bill exactly!
Certain animals experience same diseases as humans which make them perfect models for research and some of these animals have their internal systems aligned with a human’s system which make them perfect for approximation of how good our biological mechanisms work. Looking past mice, rats and pigs, researchers are now focused on studying dogs as these are supposed to have a similar gut microbiome to that of humans. This relationship should work favorably other way round too-when we can understand our internal system functioning from dogs, it is possible to use our knowledge in managing obesity in humans to our loving dogs too.
Dog Indeed is a Man’s Best Friend
The research team selected 64 dogs belonging to two different breeds-beagle and Labrador retriever. There were 32 dogs from each breed in which half of them in each of the two breeds were overweight and the other half had a healthy body weight. During the first four weeks of study, all the 64 dogs were fed the same dog food available in the market. After this, the dogs were randomly divided into two groups- one group was assigned to dog food high in protein and low in carbs, and the other group was fed with a low protein and a high-carb diet. The dogs were fed with this diet for another 4 weeks.
The research team collected 129 samples of dog stool samples-one at the end of the initial four weeks of research and the other one at the end of the research period. On mapping the dog’s gene content, the team could map more than one lakh genes which was compared to the gene database of the gut microbiome available for mice, pigs and humans. This helped the researchers identify similarities between different microbiomes and also understand how the dog’s microbiome varied with different diets consumed. On analysis, the study group was shocked by the similarity found between human and dog microbiome compared to that of mice and pigs. Results showed a 20% similarity between a mice and human microbiome, a 33% similarity between a pig and human microbiome and a 63% startling similarity between a dog and human microbiome. But one must always remember that whatever the similarity might be, human microbiomes are far complex than that of a dog. Get a detailed insight into the human microbiome from the website www.firsteatright.com.
Diet Influence on Dogs & Humans
Results from the two groups fed with two different diets showed that low-carb/high-protein diets and high-carb/low-protein diets had similar impact on gut microbiome of both humans and dogs irrespective of breed and biological sex. Overweight dogs showed a stronger response to high-protein diet compared to their normal-weighted counterparts which influenced gut microbiome composition in a stronger way. This reaffirms the logic that overweight individuals are greatly affected due to varying gut microbiomes.
This study is a great eye-opener for researchers interested in probing into gut microbiome. A man’s best friend could prove to be the perfect model for understanding our own gut microbes in a better way in the future.
Before announcing the winner’s name in an event, right before examinations or after getting caught with the police for breaking road rules your hands start sweating, your heartbeat is almost heard outside and there is a rush of energy within you-that’s adrenaline rush. This is one way by which our body defends itself against stressful situations-releasing the hormone adrenaline (also called as epinephrine) into the bloodstream.
A Gush of Adrenaline Rush
The adrenaline hormone activates the body’s fight or flight mechanism. This mechanism dilates air passages thereby providing muscles with the oxygen needed for fighting or fleeing, the hormone triggers blood vessels to contract and release blood to muscles (including those of the heart and lungs) and the sense of pain experienced by the body also decreases. That’s why some people often comment that they perform better under stress or a do-or-die situation as their body releases adrenaline thereby giving them more energy than under normal circumstances. We’ve heard people running at unimaginable speeds and escaping from a predatory animal in some cases, they continue to run from danger situations even when injured or also perform beyond their excellence when under stress. This might seem advantageous, but the situation might not always remain controlled and the individual might experience other body changes that might prove to be quite harmful. That’s also because of the fact that there is a release of the hormone into the body during situations where there is no real threat expected and the body shows the same effects in the presence or absence of these threats. The hormone’s effect stays for almost an hour before subsiding. During initiation of the rush:
Choose to Induce
Experiencing an adrenaline rush during stressful situations such as an exam, job interview or speaking before a crowd is common. One might also experience the same during a rollercoaster ride or other sports activities. Some people love experiencing an adrenaline rush and choose to involve themselves in extreme sports or activities such as bungee jumping to add kick to their life. Hence, apart from stress and anxiety it is also feelings of excitement that overpower you with the adrenaline hormone.
Also, certain health problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can cause an adrenaline rush in the affected person when rewinding the stressful situation or trauma. Any tumor sitting on the adrenaline gland can also induce adrenaline rush. When there is a release of too much adrenaline due to a feeling of stress which has no authentic dangers lurking behind its existence, the person might be subjected to heart damage, insomnia or nervousness.
Overcoming the Adrenaline Rush
The rush of the adrenaline hormone is advantageous sometimes but can also make you uncomfortable few other times. It’s better to get to know tactical ways to control the body’s reaction when you feel uncomfortable:
Height has been a determining factor for various things right from the seating arrangement at school to judging a person’s attributes. Our love for height doesn’t stop with building skyscrapers, countries competing against each other for owning the tallest statue in the world and people paying lumpsum amounts for getting a flat in the last floor of a building. Individuals hail a person’s height as a mark of confidence adding aura and short people often feel petite and insecure amongst a group of tall people. While being tall might meet personality goals it comes with an added price these days.
A new research shows that tall people are at an increased risk of cancer because they have more cells in their body. There have been studies already expressing their concern over tall people’s health as height was a concerning factor in developing health problems such as diabetes, blood clots and heart problems.
Taller the Individual, Greater the Risk
The study found that a person’s risk of developing cancer increased by 10% for every 10 centimeters of excess height compared to the average height. The research group defined average height as 162 cm (5 feet 4 inches) for women and 175 cm (5 feet 9 inches) for men. A professor who took up this study found that an individual’s total cell number and their risk of cancer proved positive in 18 of the 23 cancers tested.
Taller women were likelier to be affected by cancer (almost 12%) compared to taller men (9% risk). Previous researches too have repeatedly found a link between cancer and height but the actual reason behind it was constantly missing with only various hypothesis existing-maybe because tall people have more cells in their body or the nutrition intake and childhood upbringing increased risk and so on. The latest study undoubtedly proved the fact that tall people have more cells that could mutate and lead to cancer hence giving an answer to all doubts regarding the link between cancer and height.
Amongst all cancers, thyroid and melanoma were at an increased risk of occurrence. The research group is still unaware of the critical reason behind this link but are sure of finding it in the near-future.
Tall or Short, Don’t Fall Apart
While genes might be a dominating factor for determining the height of an individual the nutritional intake of foods and their quantity play a prime role in height determination. The long debate over gene’s impact on height determination has been present since time immemorial and elaborate details are clearly jotted down at www.firsteatright.com. One must also understand that the environment too plays a main role which is evident with the increase in the height of the general population starting from the 19th century. Many of our children are taller than ever and the average height of the population is only trending on the upper side. Even a girl child’s first menstrual cycle occurs as early as her 10th or 11th year compared to around 15 years as it was during the earlier decades. These changes are primarily because of nutritional changes and altered hormone levels.
Eagle syndrome has nothing to do with the bird Eagle but is named so because of its discoverer Watt Weems Eagle, a doctor who specialized in ENT conditions. It’s a rare condition with a rare naming!
Eagle syndrome is a condition characterized by pain in the neck and face due to an elongated styloid process or calcified stylohyoid ligament. The styloid process is a small, pointed bone just below the ear. The stylohyoid ligament connects it to the hyoid bone in your neck. The pain is also a nerve pain caused due to unusual nerve signals but without any damage to the pain-related area.
Eagle syndrome is classified as a rare disease because only 4% of the population has an unusually long styloid bone, according to the Genetic & Rare Disease Information Center (GARD). Among these people, it is only about 4-10% of the population who experience any symptoms. GARD also mentions that Eagle syndrome is common more among women than men, almost thrice as common in women than men.
The main symptom involves a throbbing pain on one side of your neck or face, specifically near the jaw. The pain might come every now and then or might even stay throughout. Many people have the unusually long styloid bone but suffer from no symptoms. When symptoms occur, it includes any of these:
Eagle syndrome is usually caused due to 2 reasons-either due to an unusually long styloid process or due to a calcified stylohyoid ligament. Striking both the male and female population, it is mostly women aged between 40 and 60 years of age who are more commonly affected. Sometimes, having your tonsils removed can lead to the development of scar tissues in and around the throat. This pressurizes the surrounding nerves leading to pain and buzzing sound in the ears.
There are two types of possible clinical expressions of Eagle syndrome:
Diagnosing Eagle syndrome is difficult as the symptoms present are similar to many other conditions as well. The doctor might feel your neck and head regions for any sign of unusually long styloid process or even suggest for a CT scan or X-ray to get the exact situation clearly. Rarely, the doctor might be able to feel an unusually long styloid process pushing into the throat. Before diagnosing the condition as Eagle syndrome, it is essential that the doctor rules out all other possible causes of pain such as tooth pain radiating to the neck, any problem with nearby blood vessels, ear infection, jaw injuries or herniated discs.
Surgery is the main treatment offered for Eagle syndrome wherein the styloid process is shortened. The procedure is called as styloidectomy and can be performed via the mouth or neck. If the operation is done through the mouth, the surgeon will remove the tonsils to access your styloid process and when done through the neck, the surgery leaves a large scar and can also affect the surrounding nerves of the face. Doctors are also increasingly practising endoscopic surgery which involves sending down a tube attached with a camera through the patient’s mouth. Tools attached to this endoscope perform the surgery and this is a less-invasive procedure.
Any surgery carries some portion of risk along with it and some people might prefer to choose alternative strategies to manage pain. Such strategies include pain medication, steroid injections and alternative medicines. This is a nerve pain and not an injury which reminds us that exercise, massage or other techniques prove to be unsuccessful. More than 80% of people who seek treatment get relief irrespective of the type of treatment received. Living with pain can push a person into depression, anxiety and relationship problems and Eagle syndrome can make eating, talking or even moving your head painful. It is recommended to seek treatment and find relief as soon as possible.
A tight-fitting skinny jean looks prettier on a small-sized waist, fancy belts fit well when your waist size is small and above all, your waist size determines your clothing size. These are all the extra perks that you get depending on your waist size while the main salary package includes the ability to predict longevity. Your muffin tops and spare tires hanging around your waist are critical indicators of premature death risk, according to a new study.
Waist Versus Weight
Body mass index is used as the primary determinant of a healthy body weight categorizing people as normal weighted, underweight, overweight or obese and suggesting them corrective techniques to fall under the ‘healthy weight’ category. This research rewrites BMI rules indicating that a larger waistline denotes increased risk irrespective of BMI values which may indicate a healthy body weight too.
Not a single health-conscious person would be unaware of the different body shapes: pear-shape, hour-glass shape, apple-shape or inverted-triangle body shape-each of which carry a different health risk attached to it when the BMI exceeds normal weight ranges. There are celebrities and models who fall into each of these body shapes staying fit and healthy owing to their normal weight and waist measurements. According to the study:
Waist circumference indicates abdominal fat which is crucial for determining the risk of diseases such as diabetes, BP, cholesterol, high triglycerides and coronary artery disease. Waist-to-hip ratio is another measurement used to determine excess belly fat calculated by dividing waist measurement by hip measurement. There are numerous studies that show the disastrous effect of belly fat on our health compared to fat stored anywhere else in the body. One recent research looked into 43,000 participants whose BMI and waist-to-hip ratio were followed-up for 10 years and whose average age was 58. More than 50% of them suffered from central obesity, 44% were overweight and one quarter were obese. This research proved that risk of carrying a big belly remained unaltered depending on the gender of the person although men were the ones who usually stored fat around the middle.
In general, people with a high BMI value usually have excess fat stored around the hips and legs which generally do not increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases while fat around the belly and organs increase risk of liver and heart functioning.
No single exercise or technique is going to help any person lose belly fat. Your ab crunches and sit ups are not going to melt away abdominal fat. Eating right, exercising regularly, restricting drinking/smoking and leading a healthy lifestyle are the main factors that help someone improve their health. Getting in touch with registered dietitian nutritionists at www.firsteatright.com can help you lose abdominal fat in the right way that is healthy and safe.
Dietitian Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.