E-spoons E-zine
July 2012

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Hair raising moments are part and parcel of the human condition, so you may want to pull the switch on that in-box and go on vacation. Go somewhere chilly to enjoy coughing and sneezing displays and cold weather, which will raise a few hairs and burn some of your excess fat. Always keep a close watch on the scale, to avoid an irreversible tipping point, should you accidentally slip, try munching on red chips and chew well, so you create high glycemic spit. And remember, if you're too dog tired to act responsible, you still need to climb onto the exercise treadmill to ensure you benefit from Mother Natures chemical lift To all my US readers -  HAPPY 4th of JULY.

The E-spoons E-zine is a monthly compilation of stories appearing on 7 Big Spoons™ blog.  The stories are based on the latest science tit bits and will help you become a little healthier, wealthier and wiser by explaining the why.  As a friend of Spoonful of Science you have been included on our mailing list – should you wish to unsubscribe follow the link at the bottom of the E-zine.

Reading on line is exhausting so if you would prefer to read your copy of E-spoons in the loo -  download the pdf here.    

Being stressed is a human condition not a product of our era
the stress of building in ancient peruAs modern humans we like to think we’ve cornered the market on STRESSFUL LIVING. You won’t get too many arguments from me, that living today is seriously stressful and certainly not the recipe for a long and healthy life but....

Modern society is not the only society troubled by stress.

The term stress was only invented in the 1930s, but just because people didn’t have a name for it, doesn’t mean they didn’t experience it.Archaeologists have stepped back in time, to discover that building Macho Picheu, was no different from any modern day building project, is produced a whole lot of “grey” hairs. Okay, the hairs themselves were still black, but they were chock full of the stress hormone, cortisol.

Cortisol is the principal stress hormone. Any time you life is turned upside down, cortisol flood’s the system – it ends up in your blood, saliva, urine and hair. Hair is a great way to look back at stress levels - the longer a hair, the further back the stress record extends.

The archaeological team discovered that stress was part of life in ancient Peru, pretty much as it is now. And building projects were particularly stressful. LOL.

Click here to read more about the life and times of 10 ancient Peruvians.

PS. Dialling down stress is one of the 7 Big Spoons™ – it is probably the hardest spoon to get right, but it is one we all need to work on.
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Pull the switch on that in-box and go on vacation
Man taking a vaction from his emailYou have................. 240 new messages, in your inbox – Eish !

Facing so............many urgent requests, frivolous banter, newsletter updates and unsolicited advertisements on a daily basis, is a health hazard. When researchers from UC Irvine strapped heart rate monitors onto a selection of ordinary office workers they discovered.......

Normal behaviour for a group of ordinary office workers, included switching windows continuously – so as to ensure every message hitting the in-box was duly noted and attended to. To be precise, an average worker switched windows 37 times per hour. 37 times per hour translates to being in a permanent state of “high alert”. Something which left most hearts quite literally buzzing i.e. the heart rate was continuously ticking at a higher rate.

So is there anything you can do about this health hazard ?

The team managed to bribe convince a selection of people, along with their managers, to go without e-mail for 5 days. As expected, the experience was good for the heart, but it turned out to have a whole lot more benefits, most notably, productivity rocketed.

The only real negative identified by the volunteers, was a feeling of not being in the loop. But it was more a feeling, than a reality, most were able to garner the office gossip via colleagues who were still tapped into the e-mail system.

Are you up for an e-mail vacation ? Maybe you’re thinking – no way, five days without e-mail. Find out how to have a vacation without going into withdrawal.   Bon voyage !
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You need to seek out coughing and sneezing displays from a distance
Man the hatchesYou’re standing in one of those slow, barely moving ques – patiently waiting your turn, okay maybe not patiently, but there you are WAITING.

It is mid-winter, the people who you are sharing your space with are snotting and sniffing, coughing and spluttering. You seriously contemplate leaving the building and mumble under your breath about how inconsiderate and selfish people are, but the need to get your business done, keeps you glued to the spot. You try to hold your breath or breathe through your scarf, in a feeble attempt to avoid “catching” a cold.

You will be pleased to know, it is not just your head that is having a panic-based reaction to those germ spewing humans. The immune system is taking one look at the situation and freaking out as well. What is even more amazing is your immune system is so sensitized to the dangers of sick people, it is able to sound the alarm to get the body’s defence system mobilized, even if you are just looking at a picture of a sick person, not a REAL person.

This fabulous insight comes to us from a team of researchers based at the University of British Columbia. Read more about their research here.

Experts are always suggesting spending a little quality time focusing your thoughts and jotting down your to-dos before you hit the road, running. You may want to keep a few shots of seriously sick individuals on the bed side table, especially during “flu” season. I suggest you glance at these horrific images, the worse they look the better, to get your immune system primed for anything it may encounter during the day. Once you’ve got your immune system out of bed, worry about getting your head in tune – so that your day is as productive as possible.
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Being given the cold shoulder causes a fat meltdown
Cold thermogensisWe all know there is bad cholesterol and good cholesterol, did you know there is bad fat and good fat ? The “goodness” of fat is colour coded. White is bad, brown is good.

The difference is not cosmetic – white fat cells, WATs for short, act as storage cupboards, hoarding all those extra calories. Brown fat cells, BATs for short, do exactly the opposite, they burn the calories. The primary reason your body sets fire to things, is to create a little heat i.e. thermogenesis.

We all have both WATs and BATs – some of us have too many WATs and not enough BATs, which leaves us looking a little like the Mitchellin man. Setting the BATs alight, should help get to grips with all the extra layers of fat hanging on your hips. The million dollar question remains, what does it take to switch these babies on and turn into a remarkable fat burning machine.

Researchers from Joslin Diabetes Centre decided to take a look at this fiery question. The researchers discovered that turning into an icicle, is a cool way to burn some of those extra calories you’ve got stored up.

To read more about how cold sweats and cold baths both burn calories, read the full story.
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 Looking for a speaker for a function ?

Heffa-lump advert
 Is a FREE presentation which provides parents with tips and tools to help beat childhood obesity.
Drop me an e-mail at drsandy@spoonfulofscience.comto make a booking.


Watch out – the numbers on the scale should not add up
Magazines abound with stick thin girls, wearing figure hugging outfits, which focus your thoughts on your own body’s imperfections.

Health gurus continuously admonish you to cut calories and exercise more. The world is obsessed with weight and weight watching is akin to checking your smartphone for incoming mail.

Well this is the assumption at least, but for many, the extra pounds quite literally manage to creep on. The extra 2 or 3 kgs, signs of a looming weight problem, are somehow missed during the daily preening sessions in the mirror.

Researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch discovered it is not uncommon, for young women to genuinely not notice they’re getting fat. The team studied the weight fluctuations – real and perceived, in a group of 466 women in their twenties. The women were assessed at 6 monthly intervals over a 3 year period.

The stats were quite sobering.

Scale not very impressedWeights did climb, some slowly, some rather precipitously - during one or more of the 6 month intervals assessed.
• 44 % of the women put on a kilogram
• 30 % put on 2 kilos
• 19 % put on 3 kilos
• 12 % put on 4 kilos
• 8 % put on 5 kilos

So who noticed ?
• 59 % of those gaining a kilo noticed
• 67 % of those gaining 2 kilos noticed
• 73 % of those gaining 3 kilos noticed
• 78 % of those gaining 4 kilos noticed

85 % of those gaining 5 kilos noticedI’m not sure alarm bells should ring, if you gain/lose a kilo in 6 months, this can typically represent water accumulation etc. not actual fat mass. But when the number is inching beyond 3 kilograms, you’re definitely not just in the expanding hip club, you’ve moved into the expanding waist club too.

The researchers tried to establish who was dialled into weight gains and who was blissfully unaware of their impending heffa-lump status.

To learn more about who was and who wasn’t dialled into their weight fluctuations read the full story.

Weight gain, especially rapid weight gain, in a very short period, is ultimately going to cost you. Catching the “trouble” early, makes dealing with it much easier. The effort to get rid of a kilo or two, is significantly less than the effort to burn off layers of superfluous fat.

So make the commitment to weigh and measure yourself on a monthly basis. Keep an eye on the scale – make sure the number is stable not drifting upward.

If you would like to receive a  FREE CHEEKY LITTLE CHART to keep tabs on your weight from month to month - drop me an e-mail at drsandy@spoonfulofscience.com .
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Need help

Tipping point
The earth at tipping pointMany scientists from around the world are warning that population growth, widespread destruction of natural ecosystems, and climate change may be driving Earth toward an irreversible change in the biosphere, a planet-wide tipping point that would have destructive consequences absent adequate preparation and mitigation.

So in this year of Sustainable Energy for All – do your bit.

Don’t waste energy.


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Chips ahoy - the science of dodging run away chip consumption

Chip taking a stand

You rip open a packet of crisps or pop open a tube of potato chips, intending to only eat a few, but it is only when you’re picking up the last few salty crumbs, that you realize you ate the lot. Guilt and condemnation often set in at this point, but you can’t undo the deed. The truck load of superfluous calories are now on their way to your hips.

Chips are designed to be “addictive” – they combine fat and carbs, with a dollop of salt and a mouthful of crunch. Each “ingredient” scores big on reward – together, the reward is out of this world. Popping them into your mouth is almost inevitable, unless you stop to think. And thinking about such matters, while movie watching or chatting, is possible, but not all that likely.

Researchers from Cornell’s Food and Brand Lab have the answer to run away chip consumption............. a bright red chip. Read more about how a few red chips can stop run away chip consumption.

If you tend to polish off packets of things – adding a stop sign might be just what your brain needs, to avoid a pig out. I doubt chip manufactures will be rushing to add red chips to their offering, since the more chips you eat, the more moolla they make. But it might be a strategy that works for you.
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Of course, if you over indulged in this gift from the gods, this Easter, then you need to enrol in my programme.
Cheat the Fat Genes
Learn how to “fix” the fat problem once and for all, by getting your body chemistry balanced.
You need high glycemic spit to really be low GI ?
amylase enzyme snipping awayYour shopping list includes low glycemic versions of your favourite foods. But, the GI status may have little to do with that loaf of bread and everything to do with you and which kind of amylase gene you’ve inherited.

To be low GI, you need to be shooting out super charged saliva.

If your amylase response is on the slow side – you’re more likely to have trouble controlling your sugar level. To learn more about this genetic aberration, which increases your chances of having weight troubles and developing diabetes, read the full story. But it is not all doom and gloom.

There is a simple inexpensive fix – just give your slow coach amylase, a little longer to get the job done, by keeping contact with the food for longer. If you chew each mouthful, a couple more times, your slow coach amylase will still get the job done so that the carbohydrate digestion process proceeds smoothly.
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Are you sometimes too dog tired to act responsible ?
dog sitting on its tailEver noticed how when you’re tired, you seem to set yourself up for hair raising situations ? The inability to ACT RESPONSIBLE when tired, is not just a human failing, tired dogs also put their paw in it, according to the findings of researchers from the University of Lille Nord de France.
little dog tormenting a big bully dog
You may be thinking, tired dogs ? Where would you find such a thing ? Find out what causes a suburban hound, to be tired. HINT : Its got nothing to do with sleep, it is all about self-control.

The research team discovered, if a dog had just spent 10 minutes sitting on its tail being all self-controlled, given an opportunity to do something inherently risky or not. Risky wins every time.

Humans do this too – we can act all grown-up and responsible for so long and then ..............we snap. We suffer self-control depletion when we are mentally fatigued. IN SHORT - we forget to act responsibly.

Sometimes we get away with those moments of indiscretion, but more often than not there is a price to pay. A pink slip, an extra layer of fat on our hips, a traffic fine. In humans, being dog tired definitely increases the odds of suffering a moment of self-control depletion. Avoid paying the price, by making getting enough R&R a priority.
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Ferreting out why you hate to exercise
Did you know Mother Nature has programmed you to enjoy exercise ?

Really, this is not a joke, even if you are a certified couch potato, you are wired to go for a long run – doing so will bring you pleasure ! Plus a truck load of other health benefits including a charged up heart battery and the ability to think like Einstein.
Researchers from the University of Arizona have discovered Mother Nature has incentivized exercise in animals meant to move.

Ferrit not enjoying a treadmillSo who is meant to move ?
Humans are. Dogs are too. Ferrets aren’t.
Read what happened when the research team enlisted a couple of “runners” from the local community, to explore the phenomenon of the “runner’s high” NOTE : The humans and dogs enjoyed the experience, the ferrets participation on the other hand, was a big strain all round. Running is not what ferrets do.

The research team found, the concentration of anandamide, an endocannabinoid (happy chemical), rocketed in the blood of both the dogs and humans, following a brisk run. The humans reported feeling good after the exercise and although the dogs could not complete the questionnaire – tails were definitely wagging furiously.

Mother Nature wants you to MOVE. Sedentary living is a modern phenomenon that is violating the genes.
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Other stories from the blog this month..............
Could that diagnosis of ADHD be an age thing not a brain thing ?
Adult stem cells get ready for a blow wave in the hair salon
The brain is a big fan of cholesterol, shouldn’t you be too ?
Hair happenings harbour health warnings
Moving more won’t stop your kid from getting fat
Baby boom for mice requires the lights to be off
Blonde babes are guided by different genes
You can’t order your child to eat better
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Thank you for taking the time to read the e-zine. I love hearing from readers, so drop me an e-mail to let me know which story you enjoyed the most,  did you learn something new or do you have a different perspective. 

 Did you catch this month’s Neurotechnology Tips  ?

Neurotechnology tips provides tit bits of science to  help you buzz up your brain performance.

Click here to have a Neurotechnology Tip delivered directly to you in box next week.

neurotechnology tips for july 2012    

Watching a “Snot en Trane” movie is good for you Your hand print can be used as an IQ test

Next month we will  be performing a few Olympian feats.   Look out for the August edition of E-spoons in your inbox on 1 August  2012 (the first Wednesday of the month). 

Yours scientifically
Dr Sandy

Phone :       +27 (0)11 452 2207
Cell :           083 262 5023

E-mail :       drsandy@spoonfulofscience.com

The cartoons were drawn by Guy Alain Ngangob – drop him an e-mail if you need a cartoon or two. The tipping point picture belongs to Cheng (Lily) Li. If you want to access the science articles used to compile the newsletter, visit the relevant pages on the blog and follow the link.     
Copyright © 2011 by Sandra Evans.  YOU ARE WELCOME TO COPY the e-Zine's contents for use in your own  newsletter, company or club publication, BLOG or website.  Please give proper credit and a link back to http://www.7bigspoons.com.
Disclaimer : The e-zine is provided as a service.  Dr Sandy’s reports and opinions are for information only, and are not intended to diagnose or prescribe.  For your specific diagnosis and treatment, consult your doctor or health care provider.


Copyright © 2012 Spoonful of Science, All rights reserved.
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