New Technology Can Identify Biomarkers in Breath

breath-analysis-technologyThe identification of ‘biomarkers,’ chemical compounds which are found in our bodies, may now be possible following a recent discover of Purdue University. Researchers have developed a breath-analysis technology which is at least one hundred times better than those used previously. The new technology is able to detect biomarkers in the parts per billion to parts per million range, which is much faster than previous techniques.

“We are talking about creating an inexpensive, rapid way of collecting diagnostic information about a patient. It might say ‘there is a certain percentage that you are metabolizing a specific compound indicative of this type of cancer,’ and then additional, more complex tests could be conducted to confirm the diagnosis,” explained Carlos Martinez, an assistant professor at Purdue.

Winter Skin Care

Winter Skin Care
Dry-SkinThe cold, clear days of winter may bring a rosy glow to the cheeks, but they also cause a tight dryness of the skin of the face, hands and legs. For some people the skin is just tight and itchy, while for others it may become flakey or cracked.

“As soon as you turn the heat on indoors, the skin starts to dry out,” Bonnie LaPlante, and esthetician with the Canyon Ranch Resort explains. “it doesn’t matter if you heat your home using oil, wood or electricity. The skin gets dry.” If you are familiar with this condition, you may want to consult a specialist. If the condition is persistent, a doctor may be able to provide you with an effective, medicated treatment. If your condition does not require a physician, you may want to try to moisturize more often. For the winter months, use a moisturizer that is oil-based, as opposed to water-based. For your face, be sure to choose an oil that is “nonclogging,” to avoid acne and clogged pores. Sunscreen is also very important during the winter months, as the glare from the snow, and even UV rays that are trapped below the clouds, can damage your skin. Don’t underestimate the sun’s power during the winter. You should also try to exfoliate your skin at least twice a week. Use a loofah or something similar to remove dead skin cells and enable new ones to grow. Be sure to drink lots of water. During the winter, people often forget the importance of drinking water, and get dehydrated. This has a direct effect on a person’s health.

Genetic Code of Wild Strawberries Cracked

wild-strawberryScientists have cracked the genetic codes of wild strawberries, as well as a certain type of cacao used to make chocolate. The new information should help breeders develop better varieties of mainstream crops.

“Because farmers have been crossbreeding and hybridizing food crops for centuries to improve traits, they tend to have large complicated genomes but the wild strawberry’s is relatively small so we can get access to all of these useful genes comparatively easily,” said Dan Sargent of BBSRC Crop Science Initiative.

Todd Mockler of Oregon State University explained that “this will accelerate research that will lead to improved crops, particularly commercial strawberries. It could lead to fruit that resists pests, smells better, tolerates heat, requires less fertilizer, has a longer shelf life, tastes better and has an improved appearance.”

Pumpkin Soup Recipe

Pumpkin-soupNothing is more tasty and cozy than a bowl of fresh, steaming soup on a cold winter evening. Instead of making plain old vegetable or chicken soup, why not try something completely different? Here is a great recipe for a healthy, delicious pumpkin soup, perfect for the season:
¾ cup of water
1 small onion, chopped
1 can (eight ounces) pumpkin puree
1 cup unsalted vegetable broth
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup fat-free milk
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 green onion, chopped
In a large pan, heat ¼ cup of water over medium heat, and add onion. Cook until tender. Add the remaining water, pumpkin, broth, cinnamon and nutmeg, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer for five minutes, and then stir in milk. Do not boil again. Ladle into individual bowls and sprinkle with pepper and green onion. Serve immediately, and enjoy!

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Anemia is a relatively common condition, one which causes weakness and fatigue due to lack of iron in the blood. There are other, less common types of anemia as well, such as pernicious anemia and vitamin B12 deficiency.
vitamin-B12This deficiency can be caused by lack of the vitamin in the diet, or the inability of the body to absorb it once it is consumed. Vegans and vegetarians are the most likely to lack this vitamin, as it is found primarily in animal products such as meat and eggs. The vitamin is water soluble, and must be ingested daily in order to avoid deficiency. When the body is unable to absorb the vitamin, it is often a result of a condition in the small intestine, such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease or surgery. Intrinsic factor, a protein produced by the stomach, is necessary for the absorption of the vitamin. A lack of this protein may be a result of a surgical procedure, an autoimmune response or a hereditary inability to produce it.

Vitamin B12 is involved in many processes in the body, mainly the production of red blood cells. A lack of red blood cells as a result of B12 deficiency can lead to a serious complication called pernicious anemia. The most common symptoms of vitamin b12 deficiency include very pale skin, shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness, headaches, a sore or tingly tongue, cold extremities and heart palpitations. The deficiency can also affect the gastrointestinal tract and result in an enlarged liver, nausea, heartburn, abdominal bloating, loss of appetite and weight loss. If the condition is left untreated, it can result in nerve damage as well, which can be identified by numbness and tingling in the extremities, unsteadiness, confusion, depression, memory loss and dementia.