Knuckle Cracking- The False and the Facts

crucking_knuckleKnuckle cracking refers to the action of moving joints in such a way that they produce a sharp popping sound. This is most common in the form of deliberate knuckle cracking, but it can also happen in other joints throughout the body such as in between the neck and back vertebrae, in the wrists, elbows, toes, shoulders, knees or jaw. Sometimes, loud popping sounds can be caused unintentionally, as a result of the snapping of tendons or scar tissue over a prominence such as a hip.

The intentional sounds are generally made when the fingers are bent into a position which the muscles cannot reach on their own, for example bending the finger away from the palm (-extension), pulling them away from the hand (-distraction), compressing a knuckle in the direction of the palm (-flexion) or twisting the finger (-torsion). Cracking a joint that has been used recently is widely considered to be palliative.

The physical cause of the sounds is actually unclear. The most popular hypothesis is that the small, vacuum-like bubbles form within the synovial fluid of the joint, and then collapse in a sudden manner, producing the sound, similar to the sound which can be made while manipulating material such as silly-putty. This is the most likely theory because it can be applied to all joints, and, studies have shown that gases are released from the joints when they are cracked.

The often-heard warning “cracking your knuckles can give you arthritis” is a myth. However, knuckle-crackers are more likely to have hand swelling with overuse. The habit itself is put in the same negative category as nail biting and such, but the real health repercussions are scarce.

America Recycles Day

Go-GreenThis week, cities around the U.S. honored America Recycles Day with a range of local programs and initiatives to help in the goal of “going green.” No doubt your community held an event too. Wondering what was done in other communities? Here’s a look around the country:

In Indianapolis, Indiana, Green Piece Indy has been hosting Rush Hour Recycling every morning this week, where they will take your e-waste items like laptops and VCRs. In Citrus Heights, California, Battery Plus was offering $10 off a new laptop battery in exchange for the used one, and a $5 discount on cell phone batteries in exchange for the old ones. The Solid Waste Agency of North Cook County, in Skokie, Illinois, held its 4th annual Trashy Fashion Show, while in Austin, Texas, you could bring your plastic bags to the Live Oak Pharmacy to exchange for a reusable supermarket bag. And those in Los Angeles could take part in the Recycling Education Fair.

There were many more projects going on the local and even national levels. My favorite was the offer from the Disney Store to bring in your old t-shirts. Your old shirts will be recycled into paper and you get a discount at the store!

Being Green III

cellphone_recycle1bThis week’s focus on Being Green honors the fact that November 15th was America Recycles Day. This special day, which was launched by Keep America Beautiful in 1997, aims to highlight the need for our nation to recycle. Americans were encouraged to adopt this year’s theme “I Recycle” and to pledge to start recycling, and to encourage others to do likewise. Individuals and businesses around the country got into the act with new initiatives on the individual, family, local and corporate level.

One focus was on e-waste. This refers not just to computers but to cell phones, MP3 players and DVD players. As we’ve already written about, e-waste is an increasing problem in the U.S. today. On American Recycles Day, Dell Computers underscored their two easy ways for customers to recycle their old computers: either drop off your Dell product at Staples or contact FedEx for pick-up – both ways are free.

Covanta Energy also joined the e-waste bandwagon on America Recycles Day, reminding people that when you’re ready to upgrade your phone, laptop, etc. you can donate it to a non-profit rather than just throwing it away. This will enable you to reduce e-waste and aid those less fortunate, all at the same time.
Stay tuned for some of the local initiatives held around the country in honor of America Recycles Day.

Cellphone Radiation, Dangerous or Not?

Cell-Phone-RadiationDid you know that every cell phone comes with a warning that it might be unhealthy to hold the phone near your head or stuffed in your pocket? This warning about the hazards of cell phone use comes on a tiny slip of paper which you probably barely even noticed when you unpacked your phone, right before you either held it next to your ear to make a call, or stuffed in your pocket so you could take it with you, since it is called a ‘mobile’ phone in some places.

Some companies even have a recommended distance to keep the phones away from your head and/or body. Apple declares that iPhones should be kept a minimum of 5/8 of an inch away, while the manufacturer of BlackBerry says one inch is the optimum safe distance.

Devra Davis, an epidemiologist recently published a book entitled “Disconnect” about cellphone radiation, which explains that the question of whether the low-level radiation produced by cellphones is hazardous has not been conclusively proven one way or another.

What Are Fish Oils and Omega 3?

You have undoubtedly heard of “Omega-3” or fish oils and their miraculous effects on health. The huge amount of information or just pure skepticism may have discouraged you from pursuing the topic, but fish oils are in fact a rich source of Omega 3 fatty acids, which are indeed incredibly healthy.
Omega 3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory qualities, which can be highly effective when it comes to reducing pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis, cystitis, and prostatitis. The Omega 3 in fish oils have also been shown to regulate the accumulation of plaque in the arteries. This plaque can break loose and cause blockage of arteries which lead to the brain or other vital organs and result in a stroke. The fatty acids in fish oils have been proven to break up the clots before the condition becomes serious. The Omega 3 acids also help reduce LDL, the ‘bad’ cholesterol in the body, and increase HDL, the ‘good’ cholesterol. These compounds greatly reduce the risk of numerous cardiovascular disorders. People who get a lot of Omega 3 in their diets are also less prone to psychiatric issues and depression. These oils can help eliminate skin disorders and promote a healthy complexion as well.
Women who have a healthy intake of Omega 3 fatty acids may be reducing the risk of childhood disorders in their babies. Pregnant women should add fish oils to their diet to help the development of their fetus’s eyes and brain.