EIGHT WAYS ZINC AFFECTS THE HUMAN BODY

 EIGHT  WAYS ZINC AFFECTS THE HUMAN BODY    

Zinc The Metal of Life

From the FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton

Posted on July 19, 2014  Source Stone Hearth News – Newswise-Wiley OnLine Library

 

Newswise — CHICAGO—Researchers identified zinc as one of the most important essential trace metals in human nutrition and lifestyle in a new review article in Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT). Zinc is not only a vital element in various physiological processes; it is also a drug in the prevention of many diseases.

The adult body contains about two to three grams of zinc. It is found in organs, tissues, bones, fluids, and cells. Foods with high protein content, specifically animal protein, are major sources of zinc in the human diet. Zinc can also be used as fortification for other foods as well. Nearly half of the world’s population is at risk for inadequate zinc intake. The article reviewed numerous studies that showed a relationship between zinc and vital human physiological processes such as the following:

Brain: The blood zinc level is less in patients with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease (Brewer, and others 2010).In a rodent study, it was observed that zinc behaves like an antidepressant (Nowak and others, 2005).

Cardiovascular System: Zinc performs a noteworthy role in the regulation of arterial blood pressure. Males and females were reported to metabolize zinc differently when suffering from hypertension (Tubek, 2007).

Liver: Zinc deficiency in the liver occurs not only in those with liver cirrhosis, but also in less advanced alcoholic and nonalcoholic liver disease (Bode and others, 1998).

Pregnancy: A mild deficiency of zinc during a pregnancy can cause increased maternal morbidity, abnormal taste sensation, prolonged gestation, inefficient labor, atonic bleeding, and an increased risk to fetuses (Jameson, 1993).

Diabetes: Zinc is very important in the synthesis, storage, and secretion of insulin (Chausmer 1998). A low level of zinc has been shown to play a role in diabetics with associated disease conditions such as coronary artery disease and several related risk factors including hypertension, and elevated levels of triglycerides (Singh and others, 1998).

Endocrine System: Studies show a correlation between zinc deficiency in geriatric patients and reduced activity of the thymus gland and thymic hormones, decreased response to vaccinations, and reduced immunity (Haase and Rink, 2009).

Healing: Zinc deficiency has been linked with delayed wound healing, and has been found to be crucial to the healing of gastric ulcers especially at the early stage (Kennan and Morris, 1993; Andrews and Gallagher-Allred, 1999; Watanabe, 1995).

Pneumonia: Zinc may shorten the duration of severe pneumonia and time in the hospital (Brooks, 2004).

Zinc: The Metal of Life

Source Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety

Kuljeet Kaur1, Rajiv Gupta1, Shubhini A. Saraf2 andShailendra K. Saraf3,*

Abstract

The importance of zinc was 1st reported for Aspergillus niger. It took over 75 y to realize that zinc is also an essential trace element for rats, and an additional 30 y went by before it was recognized that this was also true for humans. The adult body contains about 2 to 3 g of zinc. Zinc is found in organs, tissues, bones, fluids, and cells. It is essential for many physiological functions and plays a significant role in a number of enzyme actions in the living systems. Bioinformatics estimates report that 10% of the human proteome contains zinc-binding sites. Based on its role in such a plethora of cellular components, zinc has diverse biological functions from enzymatic catalysis to playing a crucial role in cellular neuronal systems. Thus, based on the various published studies and reports, it is pertinent to state that zinc is one of the most important essential trace metals in human nutrition and lifestyle. Its deficiency may severely affect the homeostasis of a biological system. This review compiles the role of zinc in prophylaxis/therapeutics and provides current information about its effect on living beings.

Introduction

Zinc, the 23rd most abundant element in the earth’s crust, (Zinc: Human Health Fact Sheet 2005) having atomic number 30 and atomic weight 65.37, is vital in the living world. Pure zinc is a bluish-white, shiny metal, (Contaminants: Zinc 2002; Lew 2008) and is amphoteric in nature. Zinc, being colorless and diamagnetic, is invisible to most spectroscopic methods (Maret 2001). The normal concentration of zinc in human blood serum and urine (24 h) is 800 ± 200, 109 to 130, and <500 μg/dL, respectively (Goldfrank and Flomenbaum 2006). The mean serum zinc concentration is 1 mg/L. Red blood cells contain about 10 times higher concentration than that in the serum. Whole blood has about 5 times the serum concentration. It functions together as a structural component of numerous proteins and as a cofactor for many metalloenzymes (Noonan and others 2003). The relative concentration of free ions of zinc within the biological systems varies from ≤109 M in the cytoplasm of many cells to ≤103 M in some organelles (Fabris 1994). Most rocks and countless minerals contain zinc in varying amounts and it enters the air, water, and soil as a consequence of both natural processes and human activities. Zinc can be on the loose to the atmosphere during the production of steel and burning of coal or waste (Zinc: Human Health Fact Sheet 2005). There are approximately 55 mineralized forms of zinc. The most important zinc minerals in the world are sphalerite (ZnS), smithsonite (ZnCO3), and hemimorphite (Zn4Si2O7(OH)2H2O). Zinc appears in Group IIB of the periodic table and has 2 common oxidation states, Zn (0) and Zn (+2). Zinc forms a variety of compounds, such as zinc chloride, zinc oxide, and zinc sulfate. (ATSDR: Toxicological Profile for Zinc 2005) Powdered zinc being explosive can burst into flames if stored in a damp place. Because it is an element, zinc does not degrade nor can it be destroyed (Zinc: Human Health Fact Sheet 2005).

 

Zinc: Some Conventional Studies from Wiley’s OnLine Library.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1541-4337.12067/full

Zinc, a versatile element, vital for all physiological processes, is a drug, which has been used as a therapeutic agent against various diseases, since long. Ayurveda mentions the use of zinc in its calcified form (Sodhana & Marana), as zinc ore or as zinc carbonate (Kharpara), as zinc metal (Yasada), as zinc oxide (Pushpanjana) or as an alloy-brass (Pittala). These forms have been mentioned in ancient texts dating back to the 14th century, where these were used to cure various diseases. Oral zinc supplementation has been used as an immunity-boosting agent in geriatric patients (Haase and others 2006). The percentage of Zinc can be analyzed in various body fluids such as saliva, plasma, blood as well as in human excreta. Its levels can also be monitored in hair, nails, and so on. A noteworthy link of zinc and copper concentration in sera collected from pediatric population with respect to their age, height, body mass index, and nutritional habits has been acknowledged (Arvanitidou 2007; Jing and others 2007). Zinc appurtenance exhibits affirmative effect on the occurrence of diarrhea and lessens infant infections (Walker and Black 2004). On the contrary, zinc concentration in patients having oesteoporosis, was not appreciably improved despite receiving calcium supplements (Morgan and others 2006). A zinc (II)-instant coffee complex, a brown amorphous compound, soluble in water was found to have the strongest chelating activity and antioxidative effect for linoleic acid (Homma and others 1997). Zinc therapy in gastrointestinal ailments, liver diseases, bacterial and microbial diseases, and even diabetes has proven beneficial effects.

Natural Foods That Contain High Level of Zinc

Foods having high protein content are also rich in zinc content, whereas those foods and diets containing mostly carbohydrate were found to be much lower in zinc content (Osis and others 1972). Foods derived from meat have a high percentage of zinc (0.40 to 6.77 mg per 100 g). The grain group has 0.30 to 2.54 mg per 100 g, dairy products have 0.36 to 0.49 mg per 100 g, vegetables have 0.12 to 0.60 mg per 100 g, and fruits have 0.02 to 0.26 mg per 100 g (Haeflein and Rasmussen 1977).

As evident from the above study, foods of animal origin are the major sources of zinc in the human diet. Oyster (Ostrea edulis Linnaeus) is rich in zinc and copper complexes (Coombs 1974). Lean red meat, beef liver, poultry red muscle meat, and turkey meat are all good sources of zinc. Zinc is also supplemented through skimmed milk powder, egg yolk, and Cheddar cheese (Murphy and others 1975).

Since in vegetarians, protein intake is mostly through pulses and not meat, they have a higher incidence of zinc deficiency (Hunt 2003). Intake of cereals, legumes, starchy roots like potatoes may result in a lesser bioavailability of zinc (Umeta and others 2005). The level of zinc absorption was found to be lesser in porridge as compared to bread, because of the greater phytate content in porridge (Romana and others 2003). Vitamin A is also absorbed and metabolized to a lesser extent in patients suffering from zinc deficiency (Rahman and others 2002).

Interaction of Zinc with Other Elements in the Diet

Zinc may change the relationship between lead (Pb) in soil and dust and corresponding levels of lead in blood (Noonan and others 2003). Copper supplementation boosts the conjugation of zinc with large molecules and depletes the ratio of zinc coupled with smaller molecules, thereby suggesting an antagonism between copper and zinc (Pang and Applegate 2007). Whenever there is an excess of zinc in the body, it may result in deficiency of copper since zinc is able to competitively inhibit gastro intestinal attachment of copper. The gene expression of upregulation of metallothionein may play an important role in this phenomenon.

Zinc in Excess

Excess zinc promotes obesity and related diseases in adolescents and makes diabetic patients more susceptible, as measured by an increase in glycosylated hemoglobin level in the blood (Singh and Taneja 2009) and is also related to occurrence of severe anemia (Fiske and others 1994. When the nutrients in the upper part of the GI tract are fermented to a lesser extent, extra energy is produced by the body, and this in turn results in better body growth, in the presence of sufficient quantity of zinc oxide in the diet. When the intake of zinc is high, enzymatic activity of pancreas increases and so does mucin production in the intestine. Zinc excess is not only linked with copper deficiency but also cytopenias that typically resolve with the elimination of surplus zinc sources (Fong 2007). Myeloneuropathy in some patients has been accredited to a “new zinc overload syndrome.” Hyperzincemia is the primary metabolic defect, whereas copper deficiency is a secondary phenomenon (Kumar and Ahlskog 2004). Numerous genes needed for host defense were among those recognized as zinc-responsive, together with cytokine receptors and genes associated with amplification of the Th1 immune response (Cousins 2003).

Effect of Zinc on Metabolic Pathways

Quantity of fat deposited was found to be directly proportional to zinc concentration in diet in the case of experiments on obese mice (Chen and others 1996). When insulin was supplemented with zinc, lipid synthesis increased by 74% in obese mice (Chen and others 1998).

The fatty acid metabolism in liver may be affected by zinc deficiency. In rats δ9 desaturase activity reduced when a lipid free diet was administered (Kudo 1990). The antagonistic action of zinc and cAMP on glycolysis together with the rapid and marked decrease in free zinc concentration induced by glucagon (cAMP) may indicate a role of zinc as an important link in the metabolic activity of carbohydrates (Brand and Kleineke 1996). An interrelationship between obesity, leptin, and Zn metabolism is indicated by reduced adipose Zn concentrations in high fat-fed mice and the negative correlation between serum leptin and adipose Zn concentrations (Tallman and Taylor 2003).

Effect of Zinc on Brain

Role of zinc in depression

Effect of zinc was studied in suitable rodent model. It was observed that zinc behaves like an antidepressant. Similar to antidepressants, zinc induces brain-derived neurotrophic factor gene expression and increases the level of synaptic pool of zinc in the hippocampus (Nowak and others 2005). To combat depression in female students, a diet rich in zinc has been recommended (Amani and others 2010). Zinc levels were analyzed in hair samples of thalassemic patients. Cases of depression were linked to the innate risk of zinc deficiency in such patients.

Zinc and Parkinson’s disease

The blood zinc level is less in patients with Alzheimer’s and patients with Parkinson’s disease (Brewer and others 2010). Zinc is present in many proteins, and is capable of passing on signals when released, at neural synapses.Choi and Koh 1998). An excess of aluminium and a deficiency of calcium, along with a deficiency of zinc in the central nervous system, may lead to Pakinson’s disease (Yasui and others 1993). Intranigral infusion of zinc caused degeneration of the nigrostriatal dopaminergic system in rat brain. When zinc and iron deposited together in the rat brain, they were found to be associated with an increased incidence of plaque formation (Lin 2001).

Zinc and Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is complicated by pro-oxidant intraneuronal Fe2+ elevation as well as extracellular Zn2+ accumulation within amyloid plaque (Duce and others 2010). The body is not able to effectively metabolize zinc in AD, a condition where pathological catabolism of the amyloid protein precursor causes cerebral β-A4 amyloidosis (Bush and others 1993). The interactions of copper and zinc with neocortical β-amyloid have proved to be a novel therapy for the prevention and treatment of AD (Cherny and others 2001). Fluorescence experiments also reveal that both zinc and copper have similar affinities for amyloid β-peptide (Danielsson 2007) (Cuajungco and Faget 2003). Cu2+ or Zn2+binding to Aβ generated an allosterically ordered membrane-penetrating oligomer linked by superoxide dismutase-like bridging histidine residues (Curtain and others 2001). The domain where zinc binds on the amyloid β-peptide of extracellular deposits gives rise to free radicals because of aggregation. Such reactive oxygen species are the cause of many diseases. Minute quantities of zinc (II) are able to change the binding of β-A4 amyloid precursor protein to heparin side chains of proteoglycans (Multhaup and others 1994). The zinc–Aβ interaction is somewhat similar to that of platelet aggregation or blood coagulation, which takes place in the presence of zinc. This zinc–Aβ interaction is a reversible process. Coordination of Zn2+ to histidine-13 is critical to the zinc ion-induced aggregation of Aβ (Liu 1999). Synaptic zinc contributes predominantly to amyloid deposition in transgenic mice (Lee and others 2002). Total tissue zinc is markedly reduced in several brain regions of Alzheimer’s patients (Cuajungco and Lees 1997a, b). AD patients showed an increase in zinc in the hippocampal and amygdalar regions (Danscher and others 1997). The greater incidence of AD in females could be due to greater constitutive activity of the synaptic zinc transporter ZnT3, and attenuated binding of metal ions to the rodent homologue of Aβ, which might explain why these animals are spared Alzheimer’s pathology (Bush 2003). The nonstructural protein 3 (NS3) is stabilized by the presence of zinc and its folding pattern is also governed by it. Residues Cys-97, Cys-99, Cys-145, and His-149 form a trianglular pyramid of binding sites for zinc in NS3 proteinase. An 8-hydroxyquinoline derivative, Clioquinol, is able to exhibit a remarkable metal ion chelating effect with zinc (II) and copper (II). This results in free radical scavenging and in turn lesser plaques for patients of AD (Vaira and others 2004).

 

For more information from Wiley’s OnLine Library log on to http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1541-4337.12067/full

For information on Zinc and the Cardiovascular, System,’ Zinc in cardiac injury, Role of zinc in blood pressure, Zinc and Liver, Zinc and the Endocrine System, Role of Zinc in Pregnancy various, Zinc and Diabetes, and much much more.

 

 

CLINICAL TRIAL CONFIRMS EFFECTIVENESS OF SIMPLE APPETITE CONTROL

CLINICAL TRIAL CONFIRMS EFFECTIVENESS OF SIMPLE APPETITE CONTROL

From the FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton

Source  American Chemical Society. By Brenda Davy 

BLACKSBURG, Va– Has the long-sought magic potion in society’s “battle with the bulge” finally arrived? An appetite-control agent that requires no prescription, has no common side effects, and costs almost nothing? Scientists today reported results of a new clinical trial confirming that just two 8-ounce glasses of the stuff, taken before meals, enables people to shed pounds.

The weight-loss elixir, they told the  National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS), is ordinary water.

“We are presenting results of the first randomized controlled intervention trial demonstrating that increased water consumption is an effective weight loss strategy,” said Brenda Davy, associate professor in the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech, who is senior author on the study.

“We found in earlier studies that middle aged and older people who drank two cups of water right before eating a meal ate between 75 and 90 fewer calories during that meal. In this recent study, we found that over the course of 12 weeks, dieters who drank water before meals, three times per day, lost about 5 pounds more than dieters who did not increase their water intake.”

“People should drink more water and less sugary, high-calorie drinks. It’s a simple way to facilitate weight management.”

Davy pointed out that folklore and everyday experience long have suggested that water can help promote weight loss. But there has been surprisingly little scientific information on the topic. Previous studies hinted that drinking water before meals reduces intake of calories.

Lacking until now, however, has been the “gold-standard” evidence from a randomized, controlled clinical trial that compares weight loss among dieters who drink water before meals with those who do not.

The study included 48 adults aged 55-75 years, divided into two groups. One group drank 2 cups of water prior to their meals and the other did not. All of the subjects ate a low-calorie diet during the study. Over the course of 12 weeks, water drinkers lost about 15.5 pounds, while the non-water drinkers lost about 11 pounds.

Davy said water may be so effective simply because it fills up the stomach with a substance that has zero calories. People feel fuller as a result, and eat less calorie-containing food during the meal. Increased water consumption may also help people lose weight if they drink it in place of sweetened calorie-containing beverages, said Davy.

Diet soda pop and other beverages with artificial sweeteners may also help people reduce their calorie intake and lose weight, Davy said. However, she advised against using beverages sweetened with sugar and high-fructose corn syrup because they are high in calories. A 12-ounce can of regular soda pop, for instance, contains about 10 teaspoons of sugar.

Davy noted that that nobody knows exactly how much water people should drink daily. The Institute of Medicine, an agency of The National Academies, which advises the Federal Government on science, says that most healthy people can simply let thirst be their guide. It does not specify exact requirements for water, but set general recommendations for women at about 9 cups of fluids — from all beverages including water — each day, and men at about 13 cups of fluids.

And it is possible to drink too much water, a situation that can lead to a rare, but serious, condition known as water intoxication, Davy pointed out.

The Institute for Public Health and Water Research, a nonprofit, independent science and education organization whose mission is to improve public health through the consumption of quality drinking water, funded the study.

The American Chemical Society is a non-profit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 161,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

Nationally ranked among the top research institutions of its kind, Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences focuses on the science and business of living systems through learning, discovery, and engagement. The college’s comprehensive curriculum gives more than 3,100 students in a dozen academic departments a balanced education that ranges from food and fiber production to economics to human health. Students learn from the world’s leading agricultural scientists, who bring the latest science and technology into the classroom.

CAN BEVERAGE CONSUMPTION REALLY AFFECT WEIGHT

From the FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton

Source  Undergraduate Research students Virginia Tech

By Alyssa Haak, sophomore English major

During the  summer, Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise (HNFE) junior Kelly Wilson took up the task of researching beverage consumption patterns in middle-aged and older adults, a segment of the population who is particularly prone to weight gain.

Epidemiological studies have shown that beverage consumption in the United States has increased in the past decade, along with the increasing rates of obesity. Meanwhile, older adults are prone to dehydration due to limited water consumption.

Wilson and other HNFE Summer Scholars, colleagues at the Human Integrative Physiology Laboratory, assistant professor Brenda Davy, and associate professor Kevin Davy began research on “Habitual Beverage Consumption Patterns in Older Overweight and Obese Adults.” The researchers are particularly interested in the types of beverages the research subjects consumed, the calorie content of the beverages, and how these may relate to their body weight status.

Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise (HNFE) Summer Scholars were Carmen Byker, an HNFE major; Katharine Asta, a biochemistry major; and Aaron Rudd, Kristin Wahlberg, and Kelly Wilson, all HNFE majors. Bayker is now studying the impacts eating local foods has on diet as a part of an undergraduate research project.

For Wilson, the process began when her mentor, Christina McIntyre, associate director of the University Honors program, encouraged Wilson to apply to become one of five scholars in the first HNFE Summer Scholars research program. Once the scholars were selected, McIntyre and associate professor Deborah Good looked at the participants’ majors and interests in order to place them with the most compatible professors. Since Ms. Wilson is a HNFE major with minors in both chemistry and psychology, she was matched up with Brenda and Kevin Davy at the Human Integrative and Physiology Laboratory.

She was also lucky enough to watch and learn from a Basal Metabolic Rate test, which measures the number of calories your metabolism burns daily if no activity is introduced. She observed a Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry scan, which looks at body composition, and a Baroreflex Sensitivity/Muscle Sympathetic Nervous System Activity test.

For the beverage consumption research, Wilson and the team had older overweight, and obese adults record their food and beverage intake for four consecutive days. The records were then analyzed; first by software that documented their energy (calorie) intake from the food and then manually to determine the intake of water, juices, coffee, tea, soft drinks, diet drinks, milk, and alcoholic beverages.

Recommended water intake is three to six cups a day; however, this population of overweight middle-aged and older adults drank only about one cup of water a day. The research subjects were divided into “water consumers” and “non-water consumers” based on the amount of water each consumed.

In the end, it was observed that the “water consumers” had a lower Body Mass Index (BMI), than the “non-water consumers.” (BMI is an assessment of whether an individual is underweight, normal weight, or overweight.) It was also evident that the “water consumers” took in fewer calories (deleted ‘less energy’) from beverages. However, the differences were not statistically significant enough to be absolutely conclusive, possibly because of the small sample size and limited BMI range.

Wilson learned an incredible amount from her work, observations, and surroundings. She joked that “The biggest lessons I learned from the summer, ironically, were about research and about myself. I learned I was too impatient and too much of a perfectionist. To work with humans requires a lot of patience. And to work in research means that nothing will seem to go correctly… But when things just got more and more complicated, I just had to laugh. Things work out eventually. And thus is the nature of the beast!”

Human nutrition, foods and exercise students Kristin Wahlberg  and Aaron Rudd examine a chip from an automated electrophoresis station, which analyzes nucleic acids and proteins. Deborah Good (right) coordinated their undergraduate research experience and supervised Rudd’s project.

Once she got into the research mindset, Wilson was able to observe and learn some very interesting things about her research: There seemed to be a trend related to beverage consumption and BMI. However, as stated above, the research results were not statistically significant. She also learned that this population consumed far less water than was recommended, which is consistent with the suggestions of a decline in the natural thirst mechanism with advancing age. This may indicate that health professionals should encourage middle aged and older adults to drink ample amounts of water each day.

Future analyses include the addition of a comparison group of non-obese middle aged and older adults, which could lead to the development of weight loss interventions targeted at habitual beverage consumption patterns in middle aged and older adults.

Wilson has received a Fralin Obesity/Nutrition Undergraduate Research Fellowship. As a fellow she will continue to help with biopsies for the same research project with a larger group of older adults and more variance in BMI.

Kelly Wilson presented early findings of the research group. She plans to become a physical therapist and hopes that this research will help prepare her for research into new exercises and discoveries that could be used to help her future patients. In the meantime, she has made some ever-lasting memories. Talking to other scientists in her field, the friendships and relationships formed through the HNFE Summer Research family, and the socials at bowling alleys and the Davys’ home were unforgettable experiences.

Wilson’s suggestion for others considering this program or research in general is “DO IT. Just do it. It’s worth it.”

Hooray for Adam’s Ale (water) the only drink available to him in the Garden of Eden. As we are talking about water I hope you find this interesting. 

 OCEANS VITAL FOR ALIEN LIFE

UEA research shows oceans vital for possibility for alien life

From the FMS Global New Desk of Jeanne Hambleton

Posted on July 20, 2014 by Stone Hearth News

Source University of East Anglia

 

Researchers at the University of East Anglia have made an important step in the race to discover whether other planets could develop and sustain life.

New research published today in the journal Astrobiology shows the vital role of oceans in moderating climate on Earth-like planets.

Until now, computer simulations of habitable climates on Earth-like planets have focused on their atmospheres. But the presence of oceans is vital for optimal climate stability and habitability.

The research team from UEA’s schools of Maths and Environmental Sciences created a computer simulated pattern of ocean circulation on a hypothetical ocean-covered Earth-like planet. They looked at how different planetary rotation rates would impact heat transport with the presence of oceans taken into account.

Prof David Stevens from UEA’s school of Maths said: “The number of planets being discovered outside our solar system is rapidly increasing. This research will help answer whether or not these planets could sustain alien life.

“We know that many planets are completely uninhabitable because they are either too close or too far from their sun. A planet’s habitable zone is based on its distance from the sun and temperatures at which it is possible for the planet to have liquid water.

“But until now, most habitability models have neglected the impact of oceans on climate.

“Oceans have an immense capacity to control climate. They are beneficial because they cause the surface temperature to respond very slowly to seasonal changes in solar heating. And they help ensure that temperature swings across a planet are kept to tolerable levels.

“We found that heat transported by oceans would have a major impact on the temperature distribution across a planet, and would potentially allow a greater area of a planet to be habitable.

“Mars for example is in the sun’s habitable zone, but it has no oceans – causing air temperatures to swing over a range of 100OC. Oceans help to make a planet’s climate more stable so factoring them into climate models is vital for knowing whether the planet could develop and sustain life.

“This new model will help us to understand what the climates of other planets might be like with more accurate detail than ever before.”

‘The Importance of Planetary Rotation Period for Ocean Heat Transport’ is published in the journal Astrobiology on Monday, July 21, 2014. The research was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Back tomorrow Jeanne

 

A TRUE STORY – IT IS A DOG’S LIFE….

A TRUE STORY – IT IS A DOG’S LIFE….

As a dog lover I found this  story very touching and really think  empty nesters and all fibromites should have a dog including me.  It really is a lovely story and I  do believe it is true.   I have read chapters and verse about the potential wellbeing a dog can bring to those who  are terminally unwell. Sudi sent this to me a while ago and I shared it with Carole – my THUNDER AND LIGHTING reader.  She felt it was beautiful. Maybe I will get the tissues out.

A Father, a Daughter and a Dog

A true story by Catherine Moore

“Watch out! You nearly broad sided that car!”

My father yelled at me. “Can’t you do anything right?”

Those words hurt worse than blows. I turned my head toward the elderly man in the seat beside me, daring me to challenge him. A lump rose in my throat as I averted my eyes. I was not prepared for another battle.

“I saw the car, Dad . Please do not yell at me when I am driving.”

My voice was measured and steady, sounding far calmer than I really felt.

Dad glared at me, then turned away and settled back. At home I left Dad in front of the television and went outside to collect my thoughts….. dark, heavy clouds hung in the air with a promise of rain. The rumble of distant thunder seemed to echo my inner turmoil. What could I do about him?

Dad had been a lumberjack in Washington and Oregon . He had enjoyed being outdoors and had reveled in pitting his strength against the forces of nature. He had entered grueling lumberjack competitions, and had placed often. The shelves in his house were filled with trophies that attested to his prowess.

The years marched on relentlessly. The first time he couldn not lift a heavy log, he joked about it; but later that same day I saw him outside alone, straining to lift it. He became irritable whenever anyone teased him about his advancing age, or when he could not do something he had done as a younger man.

Four days after his sixty-seventh birthday, he had a heart attack. An ambulance sped him to the hospital while a paramedic administered CPR to keep blood and oxygen flowing.

At the hospital, Dad was rushed into an operating room. He was lucky; he survived. But something inside Dad died. His zest for life was gone. He obstinately refused to follow doctor’s orders. Suggestions and offers of help were turned aside with sarcasm and insults. The number of visitors thinned, then finally stopped altogether. Dad was left alone.

My husband, Dick, and I asked Dad to come live with us on our small farm. We hoped the fresh air and rustic atmosphere would help him adjust.

Within a week after he moved in, I regretted the invitation. It seemed nothing was satisfactory. He criticized everything I did. I became frustrated and moody. Soon I was taking my pent-up anger out on Dick. We began to bicker and argue.

Alarmed, Dick sought out our pastor and explained the situation. The clergyman set up weekly counselling appointments for us. At the close of each session he prayed, asking God to soothe Dad’s troubled mind.

But the months wore on and God was silent. Something had to be done and it was up to me to do it.

The next day I sat down with the phone book and methodically called each of the mental health clinics listed in the Yellow Pages. I explained my problem to each of the sympathetic voices that answered in vain.

Just when I was giving up hope, one of the voices suddenly exclaimed, “I just read something that might help you! Let me go get the article..”

I listened as she read. The article described a remarkable study done at a nursing home. All of the patients were under treatment for chronic depression. Yet their attitudes had proved dramatically when they were given responsibility for a dog..

I drove to the animal shelter that afternoon.. After I filled out a questionnaire, a uniformed officer led me to the kennels. The odor of disinfectant stung my nostrils as I moved down the row of pens.  Each contained five to seven dogs. Long-haired dogs, curly-haired dogs, black dogs, spotted dogs all jumped up, trying to reach me. I studied each one but rejected one after the other for various reasons too big, too small, too much hair. As I neared the last pen in the shadows of the far corner, a dog struggled to his feet, walked to the front of the run and sat down. It was a pointer, one of the dog world’s aristocrats. But this was a caricature of the breed.

Years had etched his face and muzzle with shades of gray. His hip bones jutted out in lopsided triangles. But it was his eyes that caught and held my attention. Calm and clear, they beheld me unwaveringly.

I pointed to the dog. “Can you tell me about him?”

The officer looked, then shook his head in puzzlement.

“He’s a funny one. Appeared out of nowhere and sat in front of the gate. We brought him in, figuring someone would be right down to claim him. That was two weeks ago and we have heard nothing. His time is up tomorrow.”

He gestured helplessly.  As the words sank in I turned to the man in horror. “You mean you are going to kill him?”

“Ma’am,” he said gently, “that is our policy. We do not have room for every unclaimed dog.”

I looked at the pointer again. The calm brown eyes awaited my decision.

“I’ll take him,” I said.

I drove home with the dog on the front seat beside me. When I reached the house I honked the horn twice. I was helping my ‘prize’ out of the car when Dad shuffled onto the front porch.

“Ta-da! Look what I got for you, Dad !” I said excitedly.

Dad looked, then wrinkled his face in disgust.

“If I had wanted a dog I would have gotten one. And I would have picked out a better specimen than that bag of bones. Keep it! I do not want it.”

Dad waved his arm scornfully and turned back toward the house.

Anger rose inside me. It squeezed together my throat muscles and pounded into my temples.

“You’d better get used to him, Dad. He’s staying!” I said,

Dad ignored me.

“Did you hear me, Dad ?” I screamed.

At those words Dad whirled angrily, his hands clenched at his sides, his eyes narrowed and blazing with hate. We stood glaring at each other like duelists, when suddenly the pointer pulled free from my grasp. He wobbled toward my dad and sat down in front of him. Then slowly, carefully, he raised his paw..

Dad’s lower jaw trembled as he stared at the uplifted paw confusion replaced the anger in his eyes. The pointer waited patiently. Then Dad was on his knees hugging the animal.

It was the beginning of a warm and intimate friendship. Dad named the pointer Cheyenne . Together he and Cheyenne explored the community. They spent long hours walking down dusty lanes. They spent reflective moments on the banks of streams, angling for tasty trout. They even started to attend Sunday services together, Dad sitting in a pew and Cheyenne lying quietly at his feet.

Dad and Cheyenne were inseparable throughout the next three years. Dad’s bitterness faded, and he and Cheyenne made many friends. Then late one night I was startled to feel Cheyenne ‘s cold nose burrowing through our bed covers. He had never before come into our bedroom at night.. I woke Dick, put on my robe and ran into my father’s room. Dad lay in his bed, his face serene. But his spirit had left quietly sometime during the night.

Two days later my shock and grief deepened when I discovered Cheyenne lying dead beside Dad’s bed. I wrapped his still form in the rag rug he had slept on. As Dick and I buried him near a favourite fishing hole, I silently thanked the dog for the help he had given me in restoring Dad’s peace of mind.

The morning of Dad’s funeral dawned overcast and dreary. This day looks like the way I feel, I thought, as I walked down the aisle to the pews reserved for family. I was surprised to see the many friends Dad and Cheyenne had made filling the church.. The pastor began his eulogy. It was a tribute to both Dad and the dog who had changed his life.

And then the pastor turned to Hebrews 13:2. “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.”

“I have often thanked God for sending that angel,” he said.

For me, the past dropped into place, completing a puzzle that I had not seen before: the sympathetic voice that had just read the right article… Cheyenne’s unexpected appearance at the animal shelter ….his calm acceptance and complete devotion to my father. . and the proximity of their deaths. And suddenly I understood. I knew that God had answered my prayers after all.

Life is too short for drama or petty things, so laugh hard, love truly and forgive quickly. Live While You Are Alive. Forgive now those who made you cry. You might not get a second time.

But do share this with someone who maybe needs a dog’s devotion. Lost time can never be found. God answers our prayers in His time……..not ours.

Dogs can also be good companions for those who  are disabled, unable to see or suffer as a fibromite . For some folk dogs act as service dogs, fetching, carrying and sharing great  affection. They go to war, help solve crimes and really are man’s and woman’s best friend.

MY COMMENTS

I had a Great Dane just like Cheyenne. My dog was destined to spend her life in kennels because she was not perfect enough for Crufts Dog Show. But I took her and loved her until she died in 2002. It was just months later I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. The experts suggested losing my Great Dane could have contributed to the stress that triggered my health problem. I would do it all again given the chance with better health.

COMPANION DOGS

Every breed was created for a reason, and the companion dogs are no exception. Their job is to keep people company, perhaps the most important work a dog can do, claims http://www.dogtimecom With pictures an details about breeds this site is all you need right now to help you decide what sort of dog might suit you.

The sites tell us some potential pets are miniaturized versions of working dogs. Some were created solely as beautiful lap dogs–but without exception, they are all dog.

Often lady owners pamper small dogs with ribbons and these are carried about in their own handbag. The tiniest of them have no idea that they are not as big or strong as other dogs, and they have the heart and courage of a Mastiff concealed in their small bodies.

That is an endearing quality, but it also means they need to be protected from themselves. Often little dogs will take on bigger dogs or even human intruders and can easily be injured or killed for their trouble.

In size they range from tiny four-pounders to sturdier 20- to 40-pounders. As a group, they are housedogs, unsuited to living outdoors. Their main goal in life is to be with their people and they will wilt if left to themselves for long hours day after day.

Some small dogs need grooming by an expert – wash and shampoo and maybe a trim.  Big dogs you turn the hose on, lather them and hose it off on a warm sunshine day.

Give some serious thought to the size of the dog you like. Will a dog big and strong to protect you, pull you over.  Are you up to regular walking to exercise him or would you prefer a handbag pet that usually gets enough exercise around the house.  Will you have a pedigree pet or save some poor dog from possible death in a dog’s home.  If you adopt a dog you do need to know his history and ask if he barks a lot – worried about the neighbours.

We moved house, as we loved our dog, an English setter, more than we did our neighbours. Trouble was the dog’s breed led them to “sing” if you can call it that.  As soon as we left the house to go to work, she would start singing and stop immediately we drove up the drive.  She must have had a built in time clock.

Our neighbours were not fond of her singing voice.  If you are working, leaving a dog all morning is asking for trouble. Another English Setter bit through the cold water feed to my washing machine about 9.30am. How she got around the back is still a wonder. At lunch time the whole ground floor was flooded and we were under insured.

We reached a climax sort of. Him indoors said heatedly, “Either the dog goes or I go”.

The dog did not pay the bills sadly so she went to farm to work where she was much happier and able to sing in the farmyard without offended anyone. She was a gun dog and needed o work.

If you take in a female dog do remember you should not take her out when she is on heat or you may end up in the middle of a dog fight.

There is a lot to thing about. Without a doubt the dog’s companionship is really worthwhile but looking after and being responsible for a dog needs some thought.

If you have family willing to take your dog for walks when you are under par or exhausted, this would certainly be a plus. Maybe the husband of your neighbour who has always wanted a dog but the wife said ‘no might volunteer.  He might be your knight in shining armour.  Might be wise to mention the dog to your neighbours.

OTHER THINGS TO BUY

You will need a good collar and lead, feeding bowl, drinking bowl, brush to keep the dog’s body coat clean, dog’s bed – bad practice to let them sleep with you if the dog is big. My Boxer slept against the wall in my single bed and I often finished up on the floor as she stretched and stretched even more. It was that or she did more damage in the kitchen overnight. Puppies like babies do have teething troubles and they teeth on things that belong to you.

Your dog must learn to obey you and a little biscuit will always serve as a reward for getting it right. You will need to locate your nearest vet should you need one.

Some folks have a small identity chip inserted under the skin of the dog.  It is relatively painless I am told but helpful if your dog gets lost.  A scanner will soon know who your dog belongs to.

Yes they bring a lot of love and a lot of work – dog’s hairs on the chairs, in the car, in the butter, on the bed covers – everywhere. If you wash them in the bath, you will have a dirty tub.

You should also think about pet insurance in case of theft or accidents.   If you travel abroad for holidays and plan to take your dog I guess the dog will need a “passport” or the necessary papers.  Plan ahead if that is what you hope to do. A vet will put you right on the required injections for the dog’s injections depending where you are going on holiday. .

If you are leaving your dog behind you may need a sitter. I am telling you all these things as a non dog owner.

BED AND BREAKFAST FOR DOGS

I now think I should have asked my good friend Teresa to write this as she is really up to speed. Teresa Jane White has 5 dogs and is amazing with pets of all shapes and sizes.  She knows everything there is to know about dogs and is always looking for a docile Great Dane for me to love.

If you are off for a long romantic weekend and do not want your other ‘sleeping partner’ to know - the dog – Teresa will look after your pet with tender love and care. Her dogs have an enormous green grass play ground -no long rows of kennels. All her dogs are family whether they are with her for one day or a month.  A stay with Teresa’s  ‘family’ is really a dog’s holiday. They make new friends, have meals together, chat a lot and let of a bit of steam with wagging tails, and it is a real holiday.  If you are enjoying yourself, you would hope your dog is having a good time too I am sure.

This is the bit from the website that I like: What your dogs have at home they can have here as well, so if you have a pooch that sleeps on the bed, then they can share our bed here as well; or if they prefer a quiet kitchen / living-room for their nights, then that is available too!!

To contact Teresa’s telephone is 01243 670783, her mobile 07530709061, or a text if that is easier and email tjswhite1954@live.co.uk, website http://teresasdogs.weebly.com/contact-page.html

She also does B&B – bed and breakfast for dogs only. Teresa does insist no uncastrated male dogs, after the age of 9 months, especial not even for B&B.  Talk soon. Jeanne

 

DOES MY TRUNK LOOK BIG TO YOU?

DOES MY TRUNK LOOK BIG  TO YOU?   THIS IS  NO LAUGHING MATTER FOR PUDGY PACHYDERMS

From The FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton

Released: 11-Jul-2014 3:00 PM EDT

Source Newsroom: University of Alabama at Birmingham

Newswise — BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – African elephants in captivity are getting fat. (We know that feelng…) While the thought of a pudgy pachyderm might produce a chuckle, it is a situation with potentially serious consequences for the species.

“Obesity affects about 40 percent of African elephants in captivity,” said Daniella Chusyd, M.A., a doctoral student in the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Nutrition Sciences.

“Much as we see in humans, excess fat in elephants contributes to the development of heart disease, arthritis, a shorter lifespan and infertility.”

Infertility is the aspect that may be most troubling to Chusyd and colleagues. Nearly half of zoo African female elephants exhibit abnormal ovarian cycles, which is strongly correlated with a high body mass index, said Chusyd. According to a 2011 report by scientists at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, zoos in the United States need to average about six births each year to maintain a stable elephant population. But the current average is only around three births a year.

“Low birth rate is connected to abnormal ovarian cycles in elephants and virtually all large mammals, including humans,” said Tim Nagy, Ph.D., professor in the UAB Department of Nutrition Sciences and Chusyd’s mentor. “At the current birth rate, the findings of the Lincoln Park Zoo report suggest that the African elephant could be gone from U.S. zoos within 50 years.”

With elephants in the wild continually threatened by diminished habitat, ivory hunting, war and political instability, zoos may provide the last bastion for preserving the species, said Chusyd. To better understand the link between obesity and infertility in zoo elephants, she has launched a study looking at body composition and inflammation in these animals.

“In humans, inflammation is a common feature in the effects of obesity such as heart disease and infertility, and we know obesity leads to a chronic state of inflammation,” she said.

“What we do not know is the relationship in elephants between inflammation and obesity with abnormal reproductive function.”

UAB, particularly Nagy’s laboratory, is internationally known for studies of the effects of body composition and obesity. Chusyd’s project to assess female African elephants in U.S. zoos is funded by the Eppley Foundation for Research and includes collaborators at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, the University of Aberdeen and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Her analysis, measuring total body water using a stable isotope called deuterium and mass spectroscopy, will determine the amount of lean tissue versus the amount of fat tissue in these elephants.

“It  is difficult to gauge obesity in an animal as large as an elephant,” said Nagy. “The gold standard is a body condition score based on visual assessment, which is very subjective. This study will give us a much more reliable measure to determine which of these animals are obese.”

Chusyd said comparison of the obesity measure against whether the elephant maintains a regular ovarian cycle will shed important information on the link between fertility and obesity and could suggest strategies to reduce obesity and increase fertility.

“It may be that zoos will need to rethink how they house and feed elephants to reduce the incidence of overweight,” said Chusyd. “And not just elephants, as we hypothesize that a relationship between obesity, inflammation and infertility is present in many large mammals, including other imperiled African animals such as the rhinoceros and the gorilla.”

The test is easily done, said Chusyd. It is based on two simple blood samples, and zoo workers who are accustomed to working with the animals will conduct the blood draws and provide the samples to Chusyd for analysis.

For her, this project blends her passion for African animals with her career goals in nutrition science.

“I developed a profound respect and admiration for these animals while engaged in research in Tanzania following undergraduate school,” she said.

“And I am fascinated by the role of obesity on human and animal health. There are similarities between obese animals and obese humans in terms of onset of puberty, onset of menopause and overall life span, among other variables.”

Chusyd will test the validity of the deuterium measurement on a male elephant in the Birmingham zoo this summer. Data collection at U.S. zoos should get underway by fall.

About UAB
Known for its innovative and interdisciplinary approach to education at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, the University of Alabama at Birmingham is an internationally renowned research university and academic medical center and the state of Alabama’s largest employer, with some 23,000 employees and an economic impact exceeding $5 billion annually on the state. The five pillars of UAB’s mission deliver knowledge that will change your world: the education of students, who are exposed to multidisciplinary learning and a new world of diversity; research, the creation of new knowledge; patient care, the outcome of ‘bench-to-bedside’ translational knowledge; service to the community at home and around the globe, from free clinics in local neighborhoods to the transformational experience of the arts; and the economic development of Birmingham and Alabama.

My comments

TREADMILL PUDGY

More elephant news, At Boise, Idaho the zookeepers are worries about the waistline of Maggie, an African elephant.

An article in the Ludington Daily News said that the keepers at the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage were installing the first pudgy pachyderm treadmill to help Maggie to lose weight. A local engineering company Conveyor Engineering offered to build Maggi’s  large treadmill.

It seems African elephants spend around 16 hours every day looking for food and water . In the cold winters Maggie, who would normally live in a hot climate, is kept indoors and misses the exercise.

When the £100,000 custom treadmill was built, Maggi decided she did not like  the idea. She put two feet on the treadmill and that was enough. Persuading an overweight elephant to do something she does not want to do, is a losing battle. Eventually she was persuaded with treats but only when it suited Maggie. The keepers say sometimes she wants to train and other days she is not interested.   Maggie has lived at the zoo since 1983 when she arrived as a baby. Her mother and other elephants had been killed leaving her an orphan elephant. The staff have faith and believe in time Maggie will be happy to use the treadmill regularly.

PREGNANT PUDGY

Pregnant pudgy pachyderm Tess in Houston, an Asian elephant, has just been put on a diet to lose 500 pounds with an exercise and weight loss regime in preparation for the birth of her new baby. Weighing in at 7,700 pounds Tess has been was put on a low calorie diet, taken for a brisk two mile walk each morning and does leg exercises to improve her muscle tone. Staff called this elephant yoga. This news was posted June 9th 2014. so Tess has a long way to go with her weight loss programme – about year before the birth.

NEW BABY ELEPHANT

In Twycross Zoo, Warwickshire UK, they have a rare baby elephant. Lovely pictures posted on Twitter 29 March 2014 The endangered baby elephant must now be 5 months old but still a delight to see. Look at the different size feet….look on the Internet for Twycross baby elephant and see the Twitter picture.

https://twitter.com/AstroMike247/status/449997559101001728/photo/

And to think I am worried about my waistline. If I had to lose 500 pounds there would be nothing left of me. Bad enough giving birth to an 8 pound baby – what must it be like giving delivering a 250 pound  baby elephant. It does not bear thinking about.

NELLIE THE ELEPHANT

Then there is the lovable child’s  toy called Nellie  the elephant who packed her trunk, said goodbye to  the circus. Off she went trumpety, trump, trump, trump.

If you want to hear it or read the words try http://bussongs.com/songs/nellie-the-elephant.php. Always goes down well with  little children.

IN REAL LIFE

An adult male savannah elephant — the largest land mammal in the world — weighs about 12,000 pounds and stands roughly 10 feet tall at the shoulder. The smaller forest elephant weighs 10,000 pounds at most. And unlike savannah elephants’ curved tusks, forest dwellers’ are small and straight, designed for negotiating routes through dense foliage. Both elephants do possess the same tough hide (the Latin name for elephant is “pachyderm,” or “thick-skinned”). But while their skin may be durable, elephants still need protection from insects and the hot African sun. Wallowing in a mud bath cools down an elephant as well as provides an extra layer of cover.

Regardless of where elephants live, their social behaviors and social structures remain largely the same. Cynthia Moss has dedicated her life to understanding the biology, ecology, and society of the herds that roam the savannahs of Amboseli National Park in Kenya. Here, in the open landscape, biologists can spot a group miles away and approach by car to observe. From their vehicles, Moss and her colleagues in East Africa have unlocked the mysteries of how these enormous animals learn as youngsters, raise their young, survive as adults, and communicate with family members.

Elephant females guard the young. An elephant calf is usually born into an extended family, headed by an older female elephant who serves as matriarch. Families are cohesive groups of females and their young. Adult males leave the herd at 14 years of age, and either range alone or join other bull elephants in “bachelor herds,” rejoining females only at breeding times. The mother is responsible for providing the 250-pound newborn with milk. But when it comes to caretaking and protecting babies from predators, the whole herd pitches in.

The mother receives help from aunts, sisters, and cousins who serve as nannies. Known as “allomothers,” these baby-sitters are young female elephants learning how to care for babies. Teaching a potential mother how to rear her child is an important task, since the calves’ survival depends on it. And since elephants bear young only once every few years, each baby is essential to the herd’s ultimate survival.

After five years of rearing this young elephant, the mother gives birth to a new infant, weaning the now adolescent calf at the same time. By then, the young elephant weighs nearly a ton and has learned how to forage on available vegetation. Males tend to leave their mothers earlier than females, with young bulls beginning to wander beyond the protective family circle at the early age of six.

As a young elephant grows, it learns how to become independent by watching and mimicking others. A calf will begin to experiment with its trunk, using it to grasp grass and other solid food, at about four months of age. But it takes a lot of practice to master the more than 40,000 muscles that give an elephant’s long snout so much dexterity.

THE TALE OF THE TRUNK

With the two finger-like points on the end of its trunk, an African elephant can pick up fruit the size of a marble — or a branch a foot thick. This elongated proboscis is an incredibly versatile tool: it provides a means for smelling, breathing, and touching, not to mention drinking and eating. Mothers caress their young with their trunks; infants use theirs to investigate everything from plants to playmates.
The trunk also acts as a hose, whether for a drink or a dust bath. (A coating of dust, like mud, repels sun and insects). To drink, an elephant sucks water into its trunk, pokes the open end in its mouth, and releases the water to let it drain down its gullet.

During the dry season, when water is low, an elephant will dig holes to find underground springs, drawing as much as two gallons at a time with its trunk. The water holes also give elephants access to important mineral sources buried deep below the surface.

While these open wells provide a water source for thirsty elephants, other wildlife also depend on them for survival. After elephants leave an area, smaller creatures rush to the watering holes dug by the elephants. Throughout their daily lives, elephants are the landscape architects essential for creating worn paths through the thick forests, excavating trees in the open savannahs, and unearthing water wherever it is needed.

Plucking fruit from trees with their flexible trunks, elephants feed themselves — and help forests regenerate. After having walked many miles, the elephants excrete the seeds of the fruit, which sprout in fertile dung piles and create new trees in other parts of the forest. Recent studies have shown that 90 different tree species depend on hungry elephants in order to prosper. Without elephants, Africa would look vastly different.

THE POACHING PROBLEM

Between 1979 and 1989, the worldwide demand for ivory caused elephant populations to decline to dangerously low levels. During this time period, poachings fueled by ivory sales cut Africa’s elephant population in half. Since they were big targets and sported the largest tusks, savannah elephants took the worst hit. But as soon as these elephants began to vanish, hunters moved into the forests in search of the elephants’ smaller kin. In 1977, 1.3 million elephants lived in Africa; by 1997, only 600,000 remained.

Elephant tusks are still prized. Recently, that number has stabilized, due in large part to the 1990 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) ban on international ivory sales.

But in June, 1997, CITES voted partially to lift trade sanctions and to allow Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia to sell stockpiled ivory to Japan, where there is a major ivory market. Many conservation groups fear that this slight loosening of the ivory ban will rekindle poaching throughout the elephants’ range.

Even though it is illegal to kill an elephant in Africa, people continue to slaughter the mammoth beasts — if not for ivory, then for revenge. Whether forest or savannah dwellers, roaming elephant herds have begun butting up against sprawling human populations in most regions. While Masai herdsmen coexist with elephants by leaving their livestock unfenced and letting the animals walk through their land, farmers who try to barricade their crops from migrating wildlife create trouble for themselves.

To a farmer, an elephant can be an irritating five-ton garden pest — or an active danger to his life. If a hungry beast destroys the season’s crop, the culprit (or sometimes just the nearest elephant, guilty or not) may be hunted down and forced to pay the price of the damage with its life.

Scientists are working on remedies to suit both parties. One has developed a pepper-spray bomb that wards off elephants by attacking their sensitive eyes with airborne pepper molecules. The elephant recovers soon after, having learned to stay clear of the fields.

Still, elephant poaching remains a problem in some parts of Africa. In September, 1996, Michael Fay, an elephant researcher with the Wildlife Conservation Society, was flying his small airplane over a remote forest clearing just outside the Nouabale-Ndoki National Park in northern Congo when he spotted a cluster of elephant carcasses.

Deciding to investigate further, Fay returned the next day by helicopter, accompanied by a television camera crew.
Fay, who had worked with Cynthia Moss and the African Wildlife Foundation to help establish the park in 1993, found a scene of slaughter: there lay more than 300 elephant bodies, all with their tusks hacked off. Cows, calves, and juveniles had been indiscriminately left to die by poachers supplying the illegal ivory trade. Two months later, Fay found the remains of 1,000 more dead elephants nearby.

Poachers killed whole families of elephants. Taking action into his own hands, Fay chased poachers out of the forest by destroying their camps. He also met with the local village leaders to solicit their help in ending the killings. By the spring of 1997, Fay and his colleagues had stopped illegal hunting of elephants in the Nouabale-Ndoki region.

He and Andrea Turkalo, another researcher for the Wildlife Conservation Society, continue to monitor and protect elephants in the Congo basin.

As urban sprawl continues to block migration routes in and out of these protected areas, elephants rely on the open corridors provided by traditional Masai land use. Dr. David Western, director of the Kenya Wildlife Service, believes the best way to alleviate human-wildlife conflicts is to give people a reason to keep the local wildlife alive and healthy. For instance, eco-tourism in Amboseli National Park and its neighbor Nairobi National Park puts money directly back into the local Masai communities. Rather than a burden, the elephants become an important part of the local economy.

If you  and our family would like to learn  lot more about elephants and their habitat the following sites  will be of interest to you.

This information is provided courtesy of  http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/elephants/life.html.   This is an interesting site  about the lives of  elephants thanks to Cynthia Moss,  Diana C. Ross, Michael Fay, an elephant researcher with the Wildlife Conservation Society and Andrea Turkalo, another researcher. This NATURE site also includes  more information about these dellghtful creatures.

Most children have a cuddly teddy bear -  I wonder how many have a cuddly elephant called Nellie.  It is thought that in the  future there will no longer be elephants in zoos.  So hurry and take the family to see the baby elephant at Twycross Zoo and take some pictures..

The Amboseli Trust for Elephants
http://www.elephanttrust.org/
The Amboseli Trust for Elephants aims to ensure the long-term conservation and welfare of Africa’s elephants. The Trust funds the Amboseli Elephant Research Project.

Elephant Network
http://elephanttrust.net/
Get the latest news from the field about the people and the elephants in the Amboseli Elephant Research Project.

WikiProject: Amboseli Biosphere Reserve
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:
WikiProject_Amboseli_Biosphere_Reserve
A indepth view of the Amboseli ecosystem

Shamwari Game Reserve
http://www.shamwari.com/
A wildlife conservation area in South Africa, with a photo gallery and information about local sights.

The Elephant Information Repository
http://elephant.elehost.com/
Everything about elephants, from anatomy to culture.

Amboseli National Park
http://www.gorp.com/gorp/location/africa/kenya/ke_ambos.htm
Information about the park from the Great Outdoor Recreation Pages, with travel tips and links to other parks in Kenya and Africa.

African Wildlife Foundation: Amboseli Elephant Research Project
http://www.awf.org/wildlives/elephant.php
Information about Cynthia Moss’s projects, elephant conservation, and ways to get involved.

World Wildlife Fund: African Elephant
http://www.panda.org/news_facts/publications/index.cfm?uNewsID=62680
An entry in the World Wildlife Fund’s encyclopedia of endangered animals, including the African Elephant’s distribution, population, and legal status.

Hope you have enjoyed reading this as much as I have. See you soon. Jeanne.

Back tomorrow Jeanne

 

 

IF YOU HAVE GOT IT FLAUNT IT

IF YOU HAVE GOT IT FLAUNT IT

If you have got it flaunt it. That has been my motto in life since I gave up being at the back as a youngster. When I realised I was missing all the fun by being in significant so I changed direction. I learned it is always all happening in the front and that was the best place for me to be – in the front.

It would seem this is the philosophy of my friend Katie Holland too. She is certainly at the fron of everything in her life at the moment.  She talks about loving your curves and showing them off.  Maybe that is what dancing does for you…..

Flaunt means to brag about, show off, crow about and parade. I suppose I might be a bit of a show off. You have to speak up to get noticed and it is a big big world to try to get ahead.

Katie Holland has worked hard and done well as teacher, dancer, choreographer and whole lot more. So she has certainly flaunted it (her talents) as you might say. She began dancing at the age of three.

With 20 years experience of Arab/Egyptian Dance, Katie also studied Ballet, Tap, Modern, African, Samba, Bollywood, Sacred Nepalese, Bellydance, Gurdjieff Sacred dances, as well as Yoga, Laughter Yoga and holistic therapies and is currently studying Bharatnatyam . Highly sought after as a professional teacher, choreographer and performer across India and Europe, Katie has taught and performed in many countries.

She regularly performs with Arab and fusion musicians including Hossam and Serena Ramzy, Jon Sterckx, Guy Schalom and the Baladi Blues and Simon Webster and was featured in a music video with BBC World Music Award winning master maestro Abhishek Basu and his band ISM.

Regarded as one of the best foreign dancers in India she is the brand dancer for Coca Cola India and has performed at countless high profile weddings and events with Sukhbir, Infra-Red, for Shaan, Salman Khan, Madhuri Dixit, Priyanka Chopra, Yash Chopra, Vijay Malia, at the Indian Football Awards, IFFI, and corporate companies including Samsung, Sony, Google, Volvo, Honda, Moet Chandon and Vodafone.

Katie has featured on various Asian TV channels including live on FTV, national newspapers and is currently based in Delhi, India working on dance projects and organising Barefoot dance and yoga retreats in Goa. This is quite an achievement for a British dancer receiving acclaim in a country that invented Indian dances.

SHAKTI PANTS

This week Katie wrote to me from India about her Shakti pants. It was all new to me and as someone interested in UK fashion, I was keen to hear more. Katie and I had been friends for sometime before she began travelling the world or teaching and I was surprised she is now living in Dehli India.

These day I live in trousers so I took a  fancy to the black Shakti pants with pom poms. I am always interested in something a bit different.

Unless you have looked at Shakti trousers on FACEBOOK you may not know what I am talking about.  You would certainly be noticed in these pants at your ladies circle. (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Shakti-Pants-love-your-curves-show-them-off-in-style/107426232624360 and https://madmimi.com/p/b21515

I was unable to reproduce the photos she sent me but they are all there on FACEBOOK.  I thought the pants would be all the rage for the slim young women with tatooes on their feet. But realising  these are available in all sizes – s,m,l, xl and xxl, I thought there is hope for me.

These pants are available in nice colours and they also highlight beautiful bottoms in more than one way.  There was an age when ladies wore bustles to make a feature of their posteriors.  So if you have a beautiful bottom show it off. Why not walk with slight swagger if you really want to get noticed and flaunt it.

Yes I would wear them as they are different and in my book age is but number. I could see myself in some washable cotton lycra black pants dancing along to background music with my pom poms. There are even pompom belts if you want to get into the spirit of things plus tops and wraps.

So I will leave you with the thought… Katie is an email away and  will be pleased to help my friends who want to  enjoy their bodies with a little realisation and a pair of Shakti pants. I even love the name.  (Katie Holland <katie.holland@hotmail.co.uk>) Better tell her I gave you her email.

 

COMBATING AGING

SCRIPPS FLORIDA SCIENTISTS IDENTIFY GENE THAT PLAYS A SURPRISING ROLE IN COMBATING AGING

From the FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton

Released: 17-Jul-2014 10:50 AM EDT
Source Newsroom: Scripps Research Institute Citations PLOS Genetics

 

Newswise — JUPITER, FL, July 17, 2014 – It is something of an eternal question: Can we slow or even reverse the aging process? Even though genetic manipulations can, in fact, alter some cellular dynamics, little is known about the mechanisms of the aging process in living organisms.

Now scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have found in animal models that a single gene plays a surprising role in aging that can be detected early on in development, a discovery that could point toward the possibility of one day using therapeutics, even some commonly used ones, to manipulate the aging process itself.

“We believe that a previously uncharacterized developmental gene known as Spns1 may mediate the aging process,” said Shuji Kishi, a TSRI assistant professor who led the study, published recently by the journal PLOS Genetics.

“Even a partial loss of Spns1 function can speed aging.”

Using various genetic approaches to disturb Spns1 during the embryonic and/or larval stages of zebrafish—which have emerged as a powerful system to study diseases associated with development and aging—the scientists were able to produce some models with a shortened life span, others that lived long lives.

While most studies of “senescence”—declines in a cell’s power of division and growth—have focused on later stages of life, the study is intriguing in exploring this phenomenon in early stages. “Mutations to Spns1 both disturbs developmental senescence and badly affects the long-term bio-chronological aging process,” Kishi said.

The new study shows that Spns1, in conjunction with another pair of tumor suppressor genes, beclin 1 and p53 can, influences developmental senescence through two differential mechanisms: the Spns1 defect was enhanced by Beclin 1 but suppressed by ‘basal p53.’

In addition to affecting senescence, Spns1 impedes autophagy, the process whereby cells remove unwanted or destructive proteins and balance energy needs during various life stages.

Building on their insights from the study, Kishi and his colleagues noted in the future therapeutics might be able to influence aging through Spns1. He noted one commonly used antacid, Prilosec, has been shown to temporarily suppress autophagic abnormality and senescence observed in the Spns1 deficiency.

The first author of the study, “Aberrant Autolysosomal Regulation Is Linked to The Induction of Embryonic Senescence: Differential Roles of Beclin 1 and p53 in Vertebrate Spns1 Deficiency,” is Tomoyuki Sasaki of TSRI.

Other authors include Shanshan Lian, Jie Qi, Sujay Guha, Jennifer L. Johnson, Sergio D. Catz and Matthew Gill of TSRI; Peter E. Bayliss of the University Health Network, Toronto, Canada; Christopher E. Carr of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Patrick Kobler and Kailiang Jia of Florida Atlantic University; and Daniel J. Klionsky of the University of Michigan.

The work was supported by The Ellison Medical Foundation, Glenn Foundation for Medical Research, the A-T Children’s Project, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute of Aging (AG022641) and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (GM053396, GM101508).

About The Scripps Research Institute
The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) is one of the world’s largest independent, not-for-profit organizations focusing on research in the biomedical sciences. TSRI is internationally recognized for its contributions to science and health, including its role in laying the foundation for new treatments for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, hemophilia, and other diseases. An institution that evolved from the Scripps Metabolic Clinic founded by philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps in 1924, the institute now employs about 3,000 people on its campuses in La Jolla, CA, and Jupiter, FL, where its renowned scientists—including three Nobel laureates—work toward their next discoveries. The institute’s graduate program, which awards PhD degrees in biology and chemistry, ranks among the top ten of its kind in the nation.

 

SHORT SMARTPHONE BREAK IMPROVES EMPLOYEE WELL-BEING

From the FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton

Released: 7-Jul-2014 9:40 AM EDT
Source Newsroom: Kansas State University Citations 29th annual Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology Conference

Newswise — MANHATTAN, KAN. — Want to be more productive and happier during the workday? Try taking a short break to text a friend, play “Angry Birds” or check Facebook on your smartphone, according to Kansas State University research.

In his latest research, Sooyeol Kim, doctoral student in psychological sciences, found that allowing employees to take smartphone microbreaks may be a benefit — rather than a disruption — for businesses. Microbreaks are nonworking-related behaviors during working hours.

Through a study of 72 full-time workers from various industries, Kim discovered that employees only spend an average of 22 minutes out of an eight-hour workday playing on their smartphones. He also found that employees who take smartphone breaks throughout the day are happier at the end of the workday.

“A smartphone microbreak can be beneficial for both the employee and the organization,” Kim said. “For example, if I would play a game for an hour during my working hours, it would definitely hurt my work performance. But if I take short breaks of one or two minutes throughout the day, it could provide me with refreshment to do my job.”

To study smartphone usage, Kim and collaborators developed an application that the 72 study participants installed on their smartphones. The app privately and securely measured the employees’ smartphone usage during work hours. The app also divided the employees’ smartphone usage into categories such as entertainment, which included games such as “Angry Birds” or “Candy Crush,” or social media, which included Facebook and Twitter.

At the end of each workday, the participants recorded their perceived well-being.

“By interacting with friends or family members through a smartphone or by playing a short game, we found that employees can recover from some of their stress to refresh their minds and take a break,” Kim said.

Taking a break throughout the workday is important because it is difficult — and nearly impossible — for an employee to concentrate for eight straight hours a day without a break, Kim said. Smartphone microbreaks are similar to other microbreaks throughout the workday: chatting with coworkers, walking around the hallway or getting a cup of coffee. Such breaks are important because they can help employees cope with the demands of the workplace.

“These days, people struggle with a lot of different types of stressors, such as work demands, time scheduling, family issues or personal life issues,” Kim said. “We need to understand how we can help people recover and cope with stressors. Smartphones might help and that is really important not only for individuals, but for an organization, too.”

The smartphone research is part of Kim’s overall research that focuses on workplace microbreaks. His adviser is YoungAh Park, assistant professor of psychological sciences. Kim presented the research at the 29th annual Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology Conference in May.

 

I am just having 5 minutes on my mobile running up  bill.   Back tomorrow Jeanne

 

EYE MOVEMENTS REVEAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LOVE AND LUST

EYE MOVEMENTS REVEAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LOVE AND LUST

From The FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton

Released: 17-Jul-2014 11:00 AM EDT
Source Newsroom: University of Chicago

Citations Psychological Science

 

Newswise — Soul singer Betty Everett once proclaimed, “If you want to know if he loves you so, it’s in his kiss.” But a new study by University of Chicago researchers suggests the difference between love and lust might be in the eyes after all.

Specifically, where your date looks at you, could indicate whether love or lust is in the cards. The new study found that eye patterns concentrate on a stranger’s face if the viewer sees that person as a potential partner in romantic love, but the viewer gazes more at the other person’s body if he or she is feeling sexual desire. That automatic judgment can occur in as little as half a second, producing different gaze patterns.

“Although little is currently known about the science of love at first sight or how people fall in love, these patterns of response provide the first clues regarding how automatic attentional processes, such as eye gaze, may differentiate feelings of love from feelings of desire toward strangers,” noted lead author Stephanie Cacioppo, director of the UChicago High-Performance Electrical NeuroImaging Laboratory. Cacioppo co-authored the report, now published online in the journal Psychological Science, with colleagues from UChicago’s Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology, and the University of Geneva.

Previous research by Cacioppo has shown that different networks of brain regions are activated by love and sexual desire. In this study, the team performed two experiments to test visual patterns in an effort to assess two different emotional and cognitive states that are often difficult to disentangle from one another—romantic love and sexual desire (lust).

Male and female students from the University of Geneva viewed a series of black-and-white photographs of persons they had never met. In part one of the study, participants viewed photos of young, adult heterosexual couples who were looking at or interacting with each other. In part two, participants viewed photographs of attractive individuals of the opposite sex who were looking directly at the camera/viewer. None of the photos contained nudity or erotic images.

In both experiments, participants were placed before a computer and asked to look at different blocks of photographs and decide as rapidly and precisely as possible whether they perceived each photograph or the persons in the photograph as eliciting feelings of sexual desire or romantic love. The study found no significant difference in the time it took subjects to identify romantic love versus sexual desire, which shows how quickly the brain can process both emotions, the researchers believe.

But analysis of the eye-tracking data from the two studies revealed marked differences in eye movement patterns, depending on whether the subjects reported feeling sexual desire or romantic love. People tended to visually fixate on the face, especially when they said an image elicited a feeling of romantic love. However, with images that evoked sexual desire, the subjects’ eyes moved from the face to fixate on the rest of the body. The effect was found for male and female participants.

“By identifying eye patterns that are specific to love-related stimuli, the study may contribute to the development of a biomarker that differentiates feelings of romantic love versus sexual desire,” said co-author John Cacioppo, the Tiffany and Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor and director of the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience.

“An eye-tracking paradigm may eventually offer a new avenue of diagnosis in clinicians’ daily practice or for routine clinical exams in psychiatry and/or couple therapy.”

Co-author Mylene Bolmont, a graduate student at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, contributed to the design of the study, conducted the testing and data collection for the study, and assisted with the data analyses.