Any one have white spots on their nails?
January 3rd 2010

Just now, I took a glance at my nails and notice some tiny white spots. I had seen them before but never knew their cause. Many use to tell me that they were
A white spot on a fingernail
A white spot on a fingernail
caused by calcium deficiencies, while others said the exact opposite. My research finally helped me understand what this small dots really are. The small dots on many peoples fingernails can mean more then one thing. To start off, they are referred to scientifically as Leukonychia. The simplest, and most common, is caused by a small injury to the nail bed. It's a nails way of showing a bruise. These do not suddenly appear on the fingernail, they take several days and sometimes weeks to show up. That means, by the time you notice the spot, you would've probably forgotten you hurt yourself. These small white spots are caused by small injuries. Larger ones may result in blue or purple nails. Most spots fade on their own, but other must be grown out. These spots can also be caused by allergic reactions to nail products. People who commonly use fake nails and nail hardeners are at a much higher risk of getting them.
White spots can also be caused by iron or zinc deficiencies. The lack of nutrients or protein in your diet may also cause a few spots to show up on your nails. In some cases, a nutritionist or doctor should be addressed. In others, eating fruits, vegetables and the lacking nutrients may help reduce the amount of spots on your nails.
So there you go! Turns out nails can be great indicators of your diet and overall health!

Click here to learn more!

How to Get rid of white spots on your nails?. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.thegeminigeek.com/how-to-get-rid-of-white-spots-on-your-nails/
Beam, J. (2009, November 15).
What Causes white spots on fingernails?. Retrieved from http://www.wisegeek.com/what-causes-white-spots-on-fingernails.htm

What's for lunch?
A big, red, juicy tomato!
January 3rd 2010
external image tomato.jpg
Who would've thought that such a simple fruit can have so many benefits? I certainly didn't think so. As I was looking for information on fruits online, I found a website that stated some great benefits of tomatoes! Turns out a fruits shape and color can also affect its purpose for the human body!
I'm sure we all know tomatoes are red when they're ripe. An interesting connection between its color and its benefit is that, tomatoes are excellent blood purifiers! Its pigment, known as lycopene, is an excellent antioxidant and can even help fight cancer. These fruits have a soft and glossy skin, so eating them, will also help your skin regenerate to improve its texture and color. Not only that, but their also high in vitamin C; one tomato can provide up to 40% of your daily need. On the other hand, it also provides about 15% of your daily intake of vitamin A. Tomatoes are natural antiseptics, they can help prevent many infections.
When you cut open a tomato, does it ever occur to you that it looks like veins or arteries? Well, turns out that tomatoes contain nicotinic acid which helps prevent heart disease. These fruits also help prevent lung cancer and the best way to eat tomatoes is through cooking them. Since most of the pigment is stored in the plants cell wall, cooking it will help release even more of its many benefits.
I never thought tomatoes could be so useful! I think I might eat some for lunch...

Benefits of tomato. (2008, June 20). Retrieved from http://www.ayushveda.com/dietfitness/benefits-of-tomato/

"My arm falls asleep... but I can't!
January 2nd 2010

Do you ever get that tingling feeling in your arms or legs when they fall asleep? I've always loved that fe
An example of a receptor in our body.
An example of a receptor in our body.
eling, although never quite knew why it was happening. Well, today my leg fell asleep, so I put my legs up in the air. Surprisingly, instead of decreasing the numbness, it got worse! At that point, I wondered, could our blood circulation cause the feeling? I picked up my laptop and did some research.
Turns out I was right, it is caused by the blood flow, but the lack of blood flow. The scientific term for this feeling is paresthesia. It occurs when your limb can’t get enough blood into it due to a position constricting blood circulation. This then causes the nerves in that area to malfunction and your receptors to fail. Repetitive work or injuries can also cause limb paresthesia. It can also be caused by continuous pressure on a nerve or, in some cases, from neurological disorders such as strokes, multiple sclerosis, hyperventilation, anxiety, vitamin deficiencies, and anemia's.
To get rid of this odd feeling, you can stretch or simply change positions. In serious paresthesia cases caused by neurological disorders, nerve entrapment in the spine or limb muscle... medical assessment should be called for.
Well, my arm is numb again. Time to change seats...

Mauk, B. (n.d.). Why does my Arm fall asleep?. Retrieved from http://www.livescience.com/mysteries/061017_arm_asleep.html
Lamb, G. (n.d.). My Arms fall asleep, but i can't. Retrieved from http://www.drlamb.com/paresthesia.htm


furry cat
January 1st 2010

Scientific name: Acinonyx jubatus
Swahili name: Duma
What we call it: Cheetah

A fully grown Cheetah in the wild.

The worlds fastest land animal, capable of running up to 70 miles per hour... is endangered. There are about 11 000 cheetahs that remain in their natural habitat today. Whether or not these beautiful animals will survive the next few decades is very unlikely. They are being hunted for their fur, their habitat is being destroyed, there is a great d ecrease in prey as well as a high mortality rate for their offspring.
For this reason, many wildlife foundations are trying to raise money to help support these mammals. Now a day, you can even buy one of these furry creatures and raise them at home, although they are very expensive. My brothers friend has one as a matter of fact and many of your friends may too! I'd love to get one myself, but buying meat for this lovely animal every day is going to be very costly...
A batch of baby Cheetahs at the zoo.

Dumas feed on swift preys such as wildebeest calves, gazelles and impalas. They usually hunt during the warmest time of the day to avoid having their food taken by a larger mammal such as a lion or a tiger.
To catch these quick preys, the cheetah’s body is very well adapted for speed. Its eyes allow for a sharp, wide angled view. Its lungs, liver, nostrils and heart are large. They also have lightweight bones, a long streamlined body and a tail to help them slow down as well as turn quickly.
A cheetah lives on average for 12 years and is mainly found in the open savannah.
There are many other organisms in being threatened in our world. We can easily name a few off the top of our head. The sad thing is, will the future generations be able to see as many wonderful creatures as we see today?

Or will most be extinct…?

If you want to adopt a cheetah at a zoo click here! You can also adopt other wild animals at this link!

Janssen, P. (n.d.). Cheetah. Retrieved from http://www.outtoafrica.nl/animals/engcheetah.html?zenden=2&subsoort_id=2&bestemming_id=1
Cheetah. National geographic . Retrieved (2010, January 1) from http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/cheetah.html
Cheetahs—Fast, but Fast Disappearing. Smithsonian national zoological park. Retrieved (2010, January 1) from http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Support/AdoptSpecies/AnimalInfo/cheetah/default.cfm

"I'm scared of food"
December 30th 2009
external image Anorexia_Nervosa_2_by_avitalik.jpg
I was recently looking up articles on the cause of anorexia when I tumbled on an interesting article. A recent research on a young 13-year-old Australian anorexic girl has prompted researchers to believe that this illness may be controlled by a gene code found in almost 70% of the population. According to Dr Ruth Urwin, if you have the DNA sequence GGAA, you are twice as likely to get anorexia nervosa. She also mentions that having the sequence does not necessarily mean you will end up being anorexic. This newly discovered sequence is an anxiety gene controlled by Noradrenalin (a neurotransmitter called Noradrenalin. It anxiety and runs our body’s stress response) which is associated with anorexia.

This exciting new discovery has gotten many scientists hopes up. Knowing the existence of this gene may help them understand what's going wrong in an anorexics brain. They also hope that this new link between Noradrenalin, anxiety and anorexia will help them treat severe cases of this illness.
external image anorexia.jpg
When anorexia kicks in, the entire brain chemistry changes. Most people would rather die then eat at this point. Dieting is said to cause a as shortage of the noradrenalin which then triggers anxiety. Anxiety in anorexia is the fear of being fat. This causes a never-ending cycle: they feel fat, they diet and the anxiety cycle begins.
With this new theory in development, scientists are wondering if introducing the right nutrients into the body can fight anorexia. The only problem with these tests is that the thought of food to an anorexic person causes anxiety and therefore triggers the cycle once more.

With this new theory on the run, scientists are beginning to think that they've been treating anorexia with the wrong drugs. Could the next ten years bring a promising cure to this illness that affects so many? To read the full story click here

*Note: Anorexia Nervosa can also be caused by other factors such as stress and depression...

Jonica , Newby. (2007, July 31). Anorexia gene. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/s914473.html

"Our product is something far greater and more exciting than any simple gadget. We are marketing life itself."
December 27th 2009
Genetic engineering may be here to offer you real, live, breathing genetic animals for your children to play with.
I have never seen a scarier toy (or future toy!) in my life; and they're considering making these for kids! These "things" are not toys or robots, they're actual...pets. Bio.Genica plans on using a process called Zygote Micro Injection to create these. This process enables the injection of genes into various other organisms. It is a favourable method of inserting DNA, or certain proteins from different species. Since this method was developed, scientists have managed to insert human DNA into rabbits as well as chimpanzees and now, into Genpets.
When Genpets are packaged, they are kept in a special hibernating state known as stasis mode. Each separate package contains a microchip that monitors and controls the state of the pet. It also has a health and heart rate monitor. Each package has a special feeding tube containing special nutrients to keep them healthy and asleep. As soon as they are unpacked, the Genpet will "bond" to its owner, just like a baby bonds to its mother.
Not only that, but these weird creatures come in 7 different personality types. Scientists have altered and embedded certain characteristics into them to make them psychologically different from each other. The seven personalities are the following:

  • Athletic and energetic
    These are models made of non-genetic materials
    These are models made of non-genetic materials
  • Adventurous, confident and curious
  • Playful and fun
  • Helpful, harmonious and peaceful
  • Communicative and serene
  • Imaginative and spiritual

Whether the government is going to allow the production of these mammals or not will influence us, as well as the later generations. Science has come a long way, and many unrealistic things are becoming possible. My question to you is, do you promote Genpets, and if they were mass produced and sold, would you buy one?

For more about Genpets, click here or on one of the pictures.
These are not actual genetically modified creatures, these are what the canadian artist Adam Brandej envisions in the future. The making process as well as their functions is all planned out. Its even rumored that some actual Genpets have been created and are being tested.
What should we expect next? (Maybe they'll make real Pokemon =D! )

Bio.Genetica, Initials. (n.d.). Genpets. Retrieved from http://www.genpets.com/index.php
Genpets. (2009, July 13). Retrieved from http://www.snopes.com/critters/crusader/genpets.asp

7 "In retrospect, this may seem like one of the biggest, if not the biggest, mistakes the chemical industry has ever made," (1)TEFLON October 16th 2009

Ever thought kitchenware could be dangerous? Its always been the least of my worries, and ever since my mom bought non-stick pans, I never again burnt food.

Last year in my chemistry class, our teacher randomly blurted out that Teflon was toxic. It gave us all a shock since pretty much all of us had kitchenware made of Teflon. I did a bit of background research on this topic this weekend and here’s what I found out...

Teflon, Stainmaster, Gore-tex, Silverstone are all brands containing very harmful chemicals. They can release toxic gases when they are heated to certain temperatures, which can be absorbed directly through the skin. The chemical in these products are known as C-8. It has been shown to be capable of causing some long-term effects. The highest concentrations of this chemical were found in children.

In about five minutes, a Teflon pan can reach temperatures up to 383°C. The gases are released when the pans are heated at about 240°C. It releases at least 6 different toxic gases of which are two carcinogens, two global pollutant and MFA, a chemical capable of causing death at low doses. When the pan is heated to 538°C, the non-stick coating breaks down and turns into a chemical warfare agent.

For the past 50 years, Dupont (the company) claimed that Teflon was perfectly safe and did not emit any hazardous chemicals. Just recently, they finally claimed that significant decomposition would occur when the temperatures exceeded 340°C meaning that preheating a pan could cause decomposition.

Teflon doesn’t only affect us but it can also have an impact on birds. “Teflon toxicosis” is a fancy name given to bird poisoning. When the lungs of birds are exposed to the fumes, they hemorrhage and fill with fluid causing them to suffocate. The company has publicly acknowledged that Teflon poses an acute hazard to birds. It is also said that these fumes can cause flu. Dupont hasn’t studied any long-term effects associated with their product. Most non-stick pans carry no warning label.

These dangerous chemicals are also found in other everyday products. It can be found in lens coating for eyeglasses and nail hardeners for nail polish, as a stain protector in fabrics used to make clothing, to make carpets and other textiles stain-resistant, and in a number of automotive and industrial applications including wiper blades and marine coatings.

Here's a video explaining why teflon pans are dangerous and an alternative to using them!

(1) said Jane Houlihan, vice president for research at the Environmental Working Group, an activist organization."(Heleigh, Bostwick (2006, june 22). Toxic Teflon Coating Danger of Teflon Flu and Other Risks. Retrieved from http://www.lawsuitsearch.com/news/toxic-products/teflon-coating-danger-lawsuit-sy.aspx)
((n.d.). Teflon. Retrieved from http://tuberose.com/Teflon.html)
(Heleigh, Bostwick (2006, june 22). Toxic Teflon Coating Danger of Teflon Flu and Other Risks. Retrieved from http://www.lawsuitsearch.com/news/toxic-products/teflon-coating-danger-lawsuit-sy.aspx)

What can a marshmallow tell you about your kids?
The Marshmallow Test
October 14th 2009

external image 903256.jpg A simple test was carried out by psychologists at Stanford during the 1960's in which one marshmallow was placed on a a four year old child's plate for fifteen minutes. The child was told that he could either eat it immediately, or wait till the researcher came back and he could have another one. He or she was then left alone in a room with no distractions.
Fifteen minutes is a lot for a child, to them it seems more like fifteen hours. Two out of three ate the marshmallow during the test. The other third would try and find a distraction; they would play with their clothes, walk around the rooms...
Researches followed these children fifteen years later and made a surprising discovery. They concluded that if the child was patient and had enough self-control then he or she would do better in school and life in general! One hundred percent of the children who did not eat the marshmallow (who were now 18 or 19 years of age) were successful; they had good grades, they were happy and had good relationships. On the other extreme, a great percentage of the children who ate the marshmallow were found not to have made it to university, they had bad grades, some even dropped out.
This test is still conducted to this day to help teach children at an early stage to say "no to themselves". It helps motivate parents to teach their kids self-discipline and patience as well as setting consistent limits. Heres the video bellow:

TED speech; also includes clips from the experiment done in Columbia. One interesting case ate the inside of the marshmallow but not the whole marshmallow.

Joachim , de Posada . (2009, May). Don't eat the marshmallow yet. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/joachim_de_posada_says_don_t_eat_the_marshmallow_yet.html

(2009, september 14). The Marshmallow Test: Psychological Experiments in Self-Control. Retrieved from http://www.eatmedaily.com/2009/09/psychological-experiments-in-self-control-the-marshmallow-test/?so=f

Could this be the cause of the extinction of 27 percent of marine invertebrates?
Underwater eruption suffocated life
October 10th 2009

Researchers from the university of Alberta, in Edmonton, Canada, believe that a vast submarine explosion which occurred 93 million years ago may be the cause of the extinction of 27 percent of marine invertebrates. These events have been said to have happened at many intervals in the past causing the suffocation of aquatic organisms in the Cretaceous period. This stripped the ocean from its oxygen for almost half a million years. When these "anoxic events" occur, it creates extra organic matter that is consumed by aerobic bacteria, which remove oxygen from the water to do so.
Robert Creaser and Steven Turgeon, from the university of Alberta, believe that the submarine eruption was great enough to alter the levels of osmium isotopes in the ocean. They found more osmium-188 in sedimentary rocks. This suggests that the submarine lavas were in great enough quantities to alter the chemical levels of the ocean water.
Before this theory was released, it was believed that the eruption of massive flood basalts were the cause of all the carbon dioxide injections, but this has never been proven.

-I think we should be blaming ourselves for all the pollution were throwing into the ocean. At this rate, I'm sure we'll have a sea of trash within the next hundred years.-
Click the image for more pictures

(2008, july 19). Underwater eruption suffocated life.Newscientist, 454, 16-17.

Nothing fishy about theses elder statesmen
What do you smell like?
October 8th 2009

In 2001, a study carried out by researchers at the cosmetic company Shiseido's product development center in Yokohama found that american elderly smelled better then than aging Japanese. They
old Japanese couple
old Japanese couple
also researched the smells given off depending on the age group. To do so, they asked a group of Japanese men and women volunteers to sleep in a T-shirt for 3 consecutive nights. The researchers then studied the chemicals left off n the shirts. Volunteers that were over the age of 40 produced an unsaturated aldehyde which has a "greasy" and unpleasant smell.
to further investigate, the researchers asked 12 women and 13 men to walk up and down the stairs for 5 minutes. they then placed a glass funnel on their backs and forearms containing a solution meant to absorb any chemicals given off. To further enhance their results, they also used an organic solvent to swab the men and women's backs and forearms. These were then studied under the microscope. the results proved that different age groups emitted different levels of certain chemica
old american couple
old american couple
ls. It was shown that volunteers over the age of 40 gave off more dimethylsulphone ( a chemical occurring from the metabolism of sulfur-containing amino acids) then younger ones. This chemical does not have a very strong smell. Researches found no trace of the unsaturated aldehyde found in the volunteers of the japanese cosmetic company.
so why should aging americans smell better then Japanese elder? the investigators attribute it to diet. The typical Japanese diet contains a lot more seafood which would be the cause of the build-up of the unsaturated fatty acids.
The scientists are carrying further investigations with their tests, including the odors given off by carcinogen cells in hope of finding any differences between regular cells. They hope to find a cure to cancer using these various methods.


(Aldhous, Peter. (2008, july 19). nothing fishy about these elder statesmen. Newscientist, 10-11.) 3"We didn't believe our own data for 18 years," We know organisms can grow, but who thought they could shrink? October 5th 2009

Martin Wikelski of Princeton University noticed varying changes in the size of the Galapagos marine iguanas. These reptiles have been studied for over 20 years and they continuously seem to be changing sizes. At first, they noted down theses reuslts as anomalies, but the results kept repeating themselves; some results show increases of up to 20% in size! "I can see that we wouldn't be able to distinguish a few millimeters here and there from measurement error," says Wikelski.
The changes in body length are too big to be bla
Click image to watch an informative video about iguanas
med on weight loss, Wikelski believes that he has found the first piece of evidence of shrinking in a healthy adult vertebrate. Marine iguanas vary considerably depending on which of the 13 islands they live on. Body length, excluding the tail, can range between 28cm on the smallest island to 59cm on the largest. Iguanas may hold the secret to reversing osteoporosis since their bones are able to shrink and lengthen. Not only that, but many other researchers are beginning to search for signs of shrinkage in other animals. In some other reptiles, the varying measurements have also been ignored, but are now being reconsidered. Iguanas who are able to shrink the most were found to be the ones to have lived the longest. On the other hand though, scientists speculate that shrinkage is due to famine.
Who knows, maybe iguanas do hold the secrets to many cures, but a lot more research on these reptiles will have to be done.

"Such studies are typically not valued highly enough to fund by governments or foundations, but they have the potential to unlock many secrets."
Click here for more information

Calkins, M. (2009, January 1). The incredible Shrinking iguana. Retrieved from http://www.scienceandthesea.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=194&Itemid=6
Famine reveals incredible shrinking iguanas.. (2000). Retrieved from hthttp:www.thefreelibrary.com/Famine+reveals+incredible+shrinking+iguanas.-a058726364

Swine Flu
Latest on the H1N1
October 1st 2009

CNN and director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Anne Schuchat bring us the latest news on H1N1. It is believed that a spike of a serious secondary infection is the cause of hospitalization and deaths from the swine flu. This secondary infection is a type of pneumonia caused by a bacteria that infects your system after you had the flu. Influenza's tend to reduce our defenses and make us more vulnerable to bacterial infections. The suspected cause of all the swine flu deaths is the pneumococcal pneumonia. Warning signs include recovery and then downfall. For example, if you had a fever and you recovered from it then a few days later it came back, then these are important warning signs. It is important at this point to seek medical care and help since bacterial pneumonia's can progress very rapidly.
The pneumococcal pneumonia is commonly found to affect people under the age of sixty. for this reason, it is highly recommended to get the pneumococcal vaccine which can easily be obtained through your family doctor or in some cases, at the pharmacy.

Click the image to watch the latest updates on the vaccine
Click the image to watch the latest updates on the vaccine

Steven , Reinberg. (2009, November 25). Swine flu tied to rise in pneumonias among young. Retrieved from http://health.usnews.com/articles/health/healthday/2009/11/25/swine-flu-tied-to-rise-in-pneumonias-among-young.html

Campbell , Brown. (2009, November 26).
H1n1 latest. Retrieved from http://campbellbrown.blogs.cnn.com/2009/11/13/h1n1-latest/

It has more side effects then benefits...
Is that even possible?
Energy DrinksSeptember 30th 2009

Energy, energy, energy… Don’t we all love it? ‘cause I sure do! I use to drink these on a weekly basis till my tolerance increased and then… No more effect.
Alright, so we all know the can says it’s beneficial and healthy but don't they say that just to get the customer to buy it? It claims to have extra vitamins added, but you body only takes what it really needs and the rest literally, goes down the drain.
Well here’s the question… What’s really in those drinks? I’m sure there’s more then just caffeine and sugar in there. Here’s a list of some of the most commonly found ingredients and their side effects:

Ever wondered how caffeine worked?
Well, it blocks a special chemical in the brain involved with sleep called adenosine. When caffeine blocks that chemical, the nervous system reacts and the pituitary gland releases adrenaline. The hormone released also causes your eyes to dilate and your heart to beat faster. The liver also releases extra amounts of sugar into the bloodstream as means of energy. All of your body’s responses make you feel like you have more energy.

Most energy drinks contain between 80mg and 180mg of caffeine per can. Caffeine is a stimulant of the central nervous system as well as a diuretic. If taken in large quantities, believe it or not but its considered a drug. It has many side effects other then being addictive. Here are some common ones:

· Dizziness
· Irritability
· Nausea
· Nervousness
· Jitters
· Headache
· Severe fatigue from withdrawal.
· Breast shrinkage in females.
Depending on your body mass, tolerance and how much caffeine you take will affect weather or not any of the following side effects may occur. Between .5 grams to 1 gram in a 24 hour period will probably result in some of the above side effects.

B Vitamins
Thiamine: More than 35mg of (B3) can cause flushing of the skin. An intake of up to 3000 mg or more can cause liver toxicity =S
More than 100mg of B6 can cause sensory nerve problems (burning sensation) or skin lesions.

A herb with many benefits but also a few side effects and allergic reactions. These includes:
· Nervousness
· Excitability
· Loss of concentration
· A significant increase or decrease in blood sugar levels
· Insomnia
· Nausea
· Diarrhea
· Headaches
· Nose bleed
· Breast pain.
Ginseng has a similar effect to estrogen, which is a female hormone. It is therefore not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
More serious side effects of this herb can cause asthma attacks, increased blood pressure and palpitations. Many people agree that Ginseng does not have a pleasant taste.

Ginkgo Biloba
Side effects may include:
· Nausea
· Vomiting
· Diarrhea
· Headaches
· Dizziness
· Heart palpitations
· Restlessness.
It may also interact with medications such as blood thinners and anti-depressants.

This is mostly found in dietary pills. It is a decongestant and may cause the following:
· Heart problems
· Anxiety
· Confusion
· Difficulty sleeping
· Dizziness
· Headache
· Nausea
· Nervousness
· Pale skin
· Restlessness
· Sweating
· Tension
· Tremors
· Weakness.

These side effects obviously do not occur to every one; but it is important not to overdose yourself with them. Drinking in moderation and knowing your allergies and your bodies tolerance will save you from any side effects linked to these drinks.
Very little research has been carried out regarding the long-term effects of most ingredients found in energy drinks. For this reason, many health experts advise young children as well as pregnant women to avoid them.

(left) A university student and his addiction to these drinks and how they affect him .
(right) A video regarding teens, and how they get through a day at school with these energy drinks.

How many drinks till you cant stand up?
(2009, September 10).
Energy Drink Side Effects. Retrieved from http://www.energyfiend.com/2009/09/energy-drink-side-effects)
(Stephanie , Watson (n.d.).
How do energy drinks work?. Retrieved from http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/energy-drink.htm)
(Kevin , Stith (2006, May 27).
Ginseng Side Effects//. Retrieved from http://ezinearticles.com/?Ginseng-Side-Effects&id=207340)