Study Finds Genes Linked To Happiness, Depression And Neuroticism

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This article was submitted by the Baylor College of Medicine, please leave your comments below…..

womanwinkHow people think and feel about their lives depends on multiple factors, including genes. In a paper published in Nature Genetics, a multi-institutional team, including a researcher from Baylor College of Medicine, reports that they have found genetic variants associated with our feelings of well-being, depression and neuroticism.

This is one of the largest studies on the genes involved in human behavior. More than 190 researchers in 140 institutions in 17 countries analyzed genomic data from nearly 300,000 people.

“In this paper, we applied advanced statistical analyses and meta-analyzed, or combined, results across a large number of studies, which is the most powerful way to conduct this type of genetics research,” said Dr. Alexis Frazier-Wood, assistant professor of pediatrics and nutrition at the USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor and Texas Children’s Hospital. “I served as the analyst for one set of data included in the overall results. We report that we found three genetic variants associated with subjective well-being – how happy a person thinks or feels about his or her life. We also found two genes harboring variants associated with depressive symptoms and 11 genes where variation was associated with neuroticism.”

The researchers advised caution when interpreting the results of the study. The genetic variants do not determine whether someone develops depressive symptoms, neuroticism or has a poor sense of wellbeing.

“Genetics is only one factor that influences these psychological traits. The environment is at least as important, and it interacts with the genetic effects,” said Dr. Daniel Benjamin, associate professor at the Center for Economic and Social Research in the University of Southern California Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and corresponding author.

The information in this report allows researchers to look at possible ways to study these conditions. “We can start studying the functions of these genes to begin to understand why biologically some people are more predisposed to feel this way than others,” said Frazier-Wood.

For the names and affiliations of the other contributors, and grant information for this research, go to Nature Genetics.

The Evolution of Hearing Aids: From The 19th Century To Now

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By Nathan Gomez

humanearAdvancements in hearing aid technology have made it possible for many people with hearing impairments to significantly improve their ability to hear. While hearing aids have been in existence since the 19th century, they’ve changed so rapidly over this time that today’s devices are almost unrecognizable to the ones available in the past. This article takes a look at the evolution of the hearing aid from the 19th century right through to 2016.

The Early Model

The first hearing aids came out in the 19th century and were essentially ear trumpets that projected sound through a funnel. Once Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in 1876, however, hearing aid technology was vastly improved. Bell’s revolutionary invention allowed hearing aid manufacturers to further regulate the frequency, loudness and distortion of sounds that would come through the hearing aid.

The Turn of the 20th Century

1913 was the year that the Siemens Company began production on the first hearing aids to be electronically amplified. As is probably expected of machinery at that time, these hearing aids were bulky and not easy to carry around. They were similar in size to a cigar box, with a speaker that fitted into the ear.

The next major advancement in hearing aid technology came just seven years later, with the development of the vacuum tube in 1920. Invented by naval engineer Earl Hanson, the vacuum tube used a telephone transmitter to convert speech into electrical signals.

Post World War 2

In 1948, Bell Laboratories released the transistor. This was the next big turning point in the technological evolution of hearing aids and would continue to remain a defining component for decades to come.

The 1970s saw the creation of the first microprocessor, which enabled technology to start getting more compact while still maintaining the hearing aids’ ever-improving clarity. In 1975, Daniel Graupe produced a six-channel hearing aid which offered digital control of the frequency across all channels.

The Digital Age

1987 saw the launch of the first commercial digital hearing aid. Bell Laboratories created a hybrid digital/analog hearing aid that fitted around and into the ear. Other companies followed suit by designing their own hybrid hearing aids with analog amplifiers and filters that were able to be controlled digitally. In 1996, the first digital hearing aid to be commercially successful was launched by Widex.

The Present Day

Hearing aids have come a long way from the ear trumpets of the late 19th century. In 2016, they are considerably smaller and come with a wealth of added features. One of the most noted advancements of modern-day hearing aids is the invention of invisible Lyric hearing aids, which sit deep in the ear canal, making them virtually invisible to other people. For hearing aid wearers that might have been self-conscious about having their mechanism on display for all to see, this is a big move forward. We can only wonder how hearing aids will continue to evolve in the future!

Buddy And Bea August 2016 Winner

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bbCongratulations to Suzy Davies out of Florida for winning the first book giveaway of Buddy and Bea in August 2016…..

Look for more giveaways in the future, but you can still purchase the book on AMAZON.

Born To Run

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Thank you to the Baylor College of Medicine for this article, please share your comments below…..

pregnantBaylor College of Medicine researchers have discovered that female mice that voluntarily exercise during pregnancy have offspring that are more physically active as adults. The research appears in The FASEB Journal.

Dr. Robert A. Waterland, associate professor of pediatrics – nutrition and of molecular and human genetics at the USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor and Texas Children’s Hospital and senior author of this work, noted that although their research studied mice, “several human studies have reported results consistent with ours.”

For example, observational studies have found that women who are physically active when they are pregnant have children who tend to be more physically active. But these results could be attributed to the mothers’ influence on the children after they were born. Or, mothers could pass to their offspring a genetic predisposition to be physically active.

“Our study in a mouse model is important because we can take all those effects out of the equation. We studied genetically identical mice and carefully controlled the amount of physical activity of the mothers before pregnancy,” said Waterland.

The Baylor team selected female mice that all enjoyed running. Then they divided them into two groups. One was allowed access to running wheels before and during pregnancy, and the other was not.

During early pregnancy, the females with running wheels ran an average of 10 kilometers a night. They ran less as pregnancy progressed, but even by the beginning of the third trimester they ran (or walked) about 3 kilometers each night.

The researchers found that the mice born to mothers that exercised during pregnancy were about 50 percent more physically active than those born to mothers who did not exercise. Importantly, their increased activity persisted into later adulthood, and even improved their ability to lose fat during a three-week voluntary exercise program.

This study supports the idea that movement during pregnancy influences fetal brain development, making the offspring tend to be more physically active throughout life. “Although most people assume that an individual’s tendency to be physical active is determined by genetics, our results clearly show that the environment can play an important role during fetal development,” Waterland said.

If a similar effect can be confirmed in people, it could represent an effective strategy to counteract the current worldwide epidemic of physical inactivity and obesity.

Increasing physical activity has major health implications. According to the World Health Organization, insufficient physical activity is one of the 10 leading risk factors for death worldwide.

Several expert groups including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists already recommend that, in the absence of complications, pregnant women get 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise a day. “I think our results offer a very positive message,” said Waterland. “If expectant mothers know that exercise is not only good for them but also may offer lifelong benefits for their babies, I think they will be more motivated to get moving.”

Jesse D. Eclarinal, Shaoyu Zhu, Maria S. Baker, Danthasinghe B. Piyarathna, Cristian Coarfa, and Marta L. Fiorotto, all from Baylor, also contributed to this work.

This work was funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture [CRIS 6250-51000-055 and CRIS 3092-5-001-059] and from the NIH [AR46308].

Benefits Of Attending A College Preparatory School

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By Jamshed

teensThere are a number of benefits offered to students who attend a preparatory school. This is considered a bold approach to education and combines a number of academic concepts allowing students to thrive while learning advanced concepts sooner than they would in traditional education facilities. These schools blend higher education coursework with general studies in order to help give students a head start. Usually, these types of schools will allow you access to POA Tuition professionals to help you out.

Any parent or student that has considered enrolling in a preparatory school needs to be dedicated to focusing on the, often challenging, academic requirements. The good news is that each of these schools is specifically designed to help increase graduation rates and help to prepare students for a meaningful career.

A question that many people have in regard to prep schools is whether or not they really work. These schools undergo evaluations to report how the programs work and the outcome of the education a student receives. If the school is not performing as well as it should be, or there are serious questions regarding the effectiveness, then the schools may be shut down or have to undergo serious changes in their educational model in order to keep their doors open.

The fact is that prep schools are becoming increasingly important with the growing competitiveness in the job market. Students now need to seek a post-secondary education in order to ensure their financial security down the road. The programs used at these schools allow students to prepare for college coursework and see, first-hand, how rigorous it can be when studying for college level courses. This helps to ease the students into the life of a college student and increase their chances of success significantly.

Additionally, many schools offer students the ability to actually earn college credit while still in high school. This provides them a jump-start on their college degree. It will also help to minimize the amount of time the student has before seeking work in the job market. Students that complete this type of education will also have a much lower cost for college tuition since they already have two years of credits completed.

However, the most appealing benefit for many parents and students is the fact that these preparatory schools make college a real possibility for students who may have otherwise never had the opportunity or will to attend. These programs are not only beneficial for students, but also for the future of the community as a whole.

The Top 5 Body Ailments While At Your Desk – And How to Fix Them

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By Steve Barker

deskOne thing is for sure, the human body was not designed to sit behind a desk all day, staring at a screen. As a result of making our body do something it wasn’t meant for, we get sore shoulders, achy necks, strained forearms, and the list goes on. According to an article published by the Washington Post, people who watched 7 plus hours of TV in an 8 year period had a 61 percent higher risk of dying. But since so many jobs revolve around sitting at one’s desk. If we are still working toward that goal of having enough money for early retirement, what’s a desk worker to do?

Fortunately, there are products on the market and things we can do to prevent or minimize common desk-related aches and pains.

1. Your wrist and forearms hurt.

Your fingers weren’t made to hit little square bits of plastic over and over. In fact, doing so puts you at risk of repetitive strain injury or carpal tunnel syndrome. But there is a way to combat this pain.

Ergonomic keyboards were created to cause the least amount of stress and tension on your arms and wrists. Generally, ergonomic keyboards feature a gentle slope so that your arms are resting at an angle, versus flat on your desk. The keyboard also features keys that are aligned to your hands’ natural position on the keyboard. Ergonomic keyboards can range from moderately priced models to products upwards of $200.

2. The base of your neck and your shoulders are tense.

Right now, as you read this article, evaluate how you are sitting. What angle is your head at? Is it looking straight ahead to read? Or is your head tilted downward at a slight angle? When your head tilts forward, this places undue stress on the base of the neck and shoulders, causing the muscles here to contract and tighten. If these muscles are not massaged and loosened, then you become susceptible to further pain complications. The solution? Massage where it hurts or feels stiff. And no, you don’t need to book an appointment at the massage parlor. Use your fingers, or even better, buy a handheld massager that you can pull out whenever your shoulders need a rub. You should feel an almost immediate relief from pain.

3. Your lower back hurts.

According to WebMD, it happens to everyone. The lumbar region, that part of your back below your rib cage, is where you feel the pain. It can be caused by lifting something too heavy, but also from sitting too long on a chair that causes you to lean forward, or slouch. Lumbar support cushions can help to minimize your lower back pain. These come in cushions you sit on, or cushions that you put at the small of your back. Do a Google search for lumbar support and you’ll find a line up targeted to preventing lower back ailments.

4. You feel stiff and creaky.

Being in one position for too long can cause problems. Even if you have correct posture, and you are getting good support for your back, shoulders, and wrists. Maybe you get up and stretch at the top of every hour, yet you still feel creaky? One factor that could be contributing to your stiffness is the need to hydrate and stay hydrated. Your body consists of 50 to 60 percent water. This water is used up throughout the day and needs replenishing. If you begin to feel sluggish and creaky, it could be that you need to chug a glass of water.

You do not need to endure pain at your desk. With just a little research, modification, and adjustment, you could be improving the quality of your work life. Not only that, you could be preventing some other serious ailments down the line. Take control of your pain by doing something about it now.

Ways To Look After Your Smile

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By Steve Barker

malesmileOur teeth are obviously an important part of our bodies, so looking after them is a top concern for most. There are many benefits to a bright smile, aside from just appearance. With the job market more competitive than ever, having good first impressions can be the difference between getting a job and losing it, or between securing a client and losing one. A well looked after set of teeth can help you give the best possible first impression.

A friendly smile is also a benefit if you are looking for love – it is often said that potential partners make a judgment of you within the first 15 seconds of you meeting! We’re not so sure how true that is, but there is probably some merit in the broader point, if you’re looking for love, care for your teeth first! Not least of all, having a healthy mouth can give you a boost of personal confidence by making you feel better about yourself. If you are wondering what you can do to improve your dental health, you’ve come to the right place!

Dental Treatments that Can Enhance Smiles

No matter what your age, you can always do something to improve the health of your smile. Below we look at some of the most common treatments, their benefits, and general information.

● Cosmetic Procedures – These come in a wide variety of options and can be both restorative and purely cosmetic (i.e. there are no underlying problems that need fixing). Treatments like bonding are an attractive solution for those that do not like the gap between their teeth. Cosmetic procedures aren’t only for fixing appearance imperfections, but also to repair the damage done by dental conditions such as gingivitis.

● Teeth whitening – A very popular procedure that can give you a Hollywood smile! One of the most common types of cosmetic dentistry, this is a quick method that gives tremendous results at a cost effective price point. Whitening is an excellent choice if you’re preparing for an interview or trying to impress that special someone!

● Restorative care – Carried out when there has been a severe dental condition like tooth loss. This type of treatment is more common among senior citizens but applies to people of all ages. Typical treatments include dental implants and dentures.

Protect your Smile with Insurance

Dental insurance can save you a lot of money in the case of emergency care for you or your family. At the end of the day, the decision is a financial one which you are best placed to make, but we can advise on some of the pros and cons. One of the biggest advantages is the reduction in cost if you do require emergency dental treatment. An often overlooked factor is that having a dental plan can reduce your financial worries about going to see your dentist, and this means that you get the right advice and care as soon as you develop a problem, rather than putting off a visit to the dentist’s because you are concerned about the cost.

In the long term, putting off any healthcare complaint can seriously impact your long term health outcome and also cost more money than it would have done to get the problem sorted early on. The drawbacks to having dental insurance is that you may never need it but always have to pay for it. Naturally, this is obviously how any insurance works and can be a risky strategy to go without some kind of backup plan. Also, it is essential that you understand the terms of your insurance paying particular attention to what conditions/treatment it covers and any additional charges you may incur. It could be that some treatments aren’t more expensive than on a plan, but this all depends on the nature of the plan you take out. It is because of this reason that we advise you to have a good read and speak to someone with experience to help you make the decision for yourself.

Enjoy Your Smile!

The most important point of this is article is easily summarized: enjoy your smile and maintain a healthy mouth! Don’t suffer with teeth that you aren’t happy with, because life is too short. There are many dental companies out there, exceptionally experienced with hundreds of satisfied customers, such as VSP Dental. Whatever dental treatment you choose, always remember that if you look after your health, it will take care of you!

7 Ways To Stay Fit Outdoors

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By Sam Jones

familywalk2Do you love the great outdoors? There are plenty of ways to stay active and healthy while getting some fresh air. If you’re like most people with busy schedules, here are seven great ideas you can incorporate into your day to maintain better health.

1.) HIKING – In the technology age, nothing can be as refreshing and satisfying as going out for a hike. With a good pair of hiking shoes you can take yourself anywhere you want to go. Finding the right pair is a match-making process, as it should be. You will be relying on those shoes for the long haul. As mentioned in REI, you should choose wisely, and consider the importance of appropriate socks, aftermarket insoles, and breaking in your boots before planning that first trip.

2.) BIKING – Going for bike rides can be a quick, convenient, and not to mention great way to surround yourself with nature. For rocky terrain, a good mountain bike with spring based suspension is highly recommended. For city workouts, you might consider a single speed bike for getting lower body and aerobic workouts. If you’re looking online for a great custom bike, check out Brooklyn Bicycle Co. They’ve got a great Buy & Ride program that will ship to a local dealer near you.

3.) INLINE SKATING – Also known as ‘rollerblading’ and popular in the 1980s and 1990s, grab a pair of skates and get moving! As noted by LiveStrong, going rollerblading promotes muscular endurance and can burn 913 calories in a single hour for an average 160 pound individual. It’s further noted to be a low impact exercise on the cardiovascular system because the activity itself promotes a gentle circulatory workout while burning fat.

4.) ROWING – Why use an indoor rowing machine at the gym when you can get out on the lake? At least for when the weather permits, as the movement of rowing exercises the entire body for a great cardio workout. In fact, HarpersBazaar notes that rowing is one of the most efficient exercises for working out all of the muscle groups.

2.) ROCK CLIMBING – Great for isometric and upper body workouts. It’s recommended to search for experienced climbing instructors first before you attempt more expert rock climbing locations. That way you can plan a few rock climbing sessions in advance, learn about the proper safety equipment, and hone your technique. You can find a list of world rock climbing gyms over at Indoorclimbing.com if you’re interested in scheduling regular sessions.

6.) SWIMMING – If you like the water and don’t mind getting wet, swimming is the perfect way to round your outdoor workouts. The cardiovascular benefits, on top of getting a full body workout, is worth adding to a daily or weekly routine. You could do a search for your nearest YMCA or search local Facebook groups if you don’t have a pool at home, or access to a local community lake association.

7.) YOGA – Saving one of the greatest fitness activities for last, since most people might not associate yoga with outdoor fitness. Indeed, this is the case! It is preferable to be outdoors, breathing fresh air, and connecting with nature in its natural environment. Yoga postures help both with isometrics and circulating Qi throughout the body.

It’s often easy to get caught up in the hectic work week. By making sure to keep outdoor fitness as part of your daily or weekly routine, your body will thank you for it!

Are Dental Implants Right For You?

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By Adolf Aikn

dentistIf you have missing or loose teeth and are not satisfied with the results provided by dentures or bridges, then you may be the ideal candidate for dental Implants. Even though there have been a number of innovative techniques and treatments developed to help reduce instances of tooth loss in adults, there are still millions of people missing one or more of their teeth. Finding the right aurora co dentist is an essential part of having success with this process.

In most cases, if you prematurely lose teeth, your dentist will replace them to ensure that you are able to properly chew your food and to make sure that you have an attractive smile. Additionally, when these missing teeth are replaced, it can help to slow down the aging process of the face that is often associated with jawbone and tooth loss.

Usually, these teeth are replaced with partial or full dentures or removable or fixed bridges. A fixed bridge is a type of tooth replacement that requires you to have health teeth present on each side of missing teeth. These healthy teeth are used for bridge support and will help to span the gap that has been created by the missing tooth or missing teeth.

The actual success of a bridge will be entirely dependent on the teeth that are adjacent to the gap. Full or complete dentures will be used when all of your teeth in the lower or the upper jaw are missing. These are able to be removed easily for periodic maintenance and daily cleaning. However, there are a number of complete denture patients that have issues with looseness, sore spots and the need to completely change their diets. The dentist doing the work will be able to give you advice on what needs to be done following the procedure.

However, there is a more modern option, which has been used for the past several decades, which offers a permanent solution to tooth loss: dental implants. One of the biggest benefits of these implants is the fact that they are not dependent on your adjacent teeth.

A dental implant is essentially a type of root replacement that is created from titanium, which is the same material that is used in hip replacements. This is mainly due to the fact that titanium is able to be tolerated by the body and offers an anchor to which your dentist will attach a replacement tooth. If you have more than one missing tooth, there are a number of options that can be used for dental implants to help and fully restore your smile.

How To Simplify Your Diet And Have More Energy With These 5 Golden Laws

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By Sergie Belos

exerciseballWe all know that getting regular exercise, managing stress, and getting sufficient sleep are among the most important rules of combating illnesses, fatigue, and poor health. What many people take for granted is the fact that our dietary habits have a direct influence on our energy levels. They also play a role in how susceptible we are to illnesses, how well we rest, whether we sufficient energy to exercise, and even the quality of sleep we get. In this post, we will highlight the five golden laws of nutrition you should implement to simplify your diet and to always be alert, energetic, and well rested throughout the day.

1. Prioritize nutrient-dense foods in your diet
Optimal energy metabolism, the process by which food is converted to energy, demands plenty minerals and vitamins. The smart way to unlock the energy stored in every cell in the body is to fuel it with adequate nutrients. Therefore, eating foods that are rich in natural minerals and nutrients is the most effective way to boost metabolism and keep your body and mind performing at its peak at all times. A simple formula to go about this trick is to consume foods with a lot of nutrients per calorie serving such as beans, vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts, lean animal proteins, and whole grains.

2. Ditch the deprivation diet
If your friends or the Internet has convinced you to do your body a disservice by skimping on calories in entirety, you ultimately decrease your metabolism and your body will power down in an effort to conserve energy. Starving yourself in the name of ‘dieting’ will cause you to feel sluggish, sleepy, and lethargic all the time. Even if you’re trying to lose weight, the slowing metabolism will cause the body to burn fewer calories, slowing down the weight loss process. To stay and look healthy, you must adopt smarter ways to manage your energy levels and enhance metabolism, not slow it.

3. Lose weight the easy and right way
It is a no brainer losing those few extra pounds on your belly, butt, and hips is the key to restoring your health. However, it is how you lose it that matters the most. One of the best and most hyped ways to lose weight fast and vouched for by respected health expert Doctor Oz is by using garcinia cambogia. A very popular and effective weight loss solution that has worked for millions of people around the world. Garcinia cambogia is a herbal supplement, made with 100% natural garcinia cambogia extract, a fruit native to the South East Asia.

4. Breakfast should be your healthiest meal
Yes, it is very easy to skip breakfast—many even feel virtuous for doing so. However, this does not save you calories, it just hurts your energy levels and health in the long run. Studies have shown that a good nutritious breakfast not only boosts metabolism, it also keeps your mind alert and your belly satisfied until lunch. For a healthy breakfast diet, swap out bad processed breakfast foods such as pastries, cereal, donuts, and waffles for healthier alternatives such as fresh fruits or fruit juice, whole grain bread, or even leftover casserole or lasagna.

fruitsalad5. Yes, Snack, but smartly
Depending on how demanding your day job is, maintaining a constant supply of food energy throughout the day may be the best way to maintain your blood sugar and energy levels. Smart snacking is a great way to replenish the body and keep away sluggishness and cravings for junk foods. Note, however, that you cannot achieve this by raiding the vending machine for 100-calorie snacks every half hour; it is best to prepare your snacks for the day by packing real food with complex carbs, and proteins. Also, eat natural food snacks with fiber to help you deal with overeating and those with good fats such as nuts to prevent energy dips throughout the day.

There are many ways to eat right and stay healthy to keep your energy levels up and prevent sluggishness, lethargy, and even diseases. Trying out these five golden rules of nutrition is the best help you will get to lead a healthy life the smart way.