August 23, 2010

Chalk River Nuclear Reactor Is Once Again Producing Medical Isotopes

Filed under: health — Tags: , , , , , , — @ 9:25 pm

The Chalk River nuclear reactor, in Ontario, Canada, is finally up and running once again. The reactor, which will turn 53 years old later this year, was shut down May 15, 2009, originally for a month of maintenance. However, the reactor would stay inactive for 15 months as several repairs were made, including a heavy water leak.

The lengthy closure of this facility sent much of the medical world scrambling. The nuclear reactor is responsible for producing a third of the world’s medical isotopes. By closing the production for over a year, the world experienced a global shortage of the important isotopes.

The isotopes produced from the reactor are used in many tests, including those to diagnose cancer and heart ailments. During the 15 months where the isotopes were in short supply, doctors were forced to reschedule procedures and push back treatments. Thankfully now, the reactor is running smoothly and is once again producing the very important medical isotopes.

August 12, 2010

Exposure to Second-Hand Smoke Linked to Mental Disorders

Smoking has been linked to depression and other mental health conditions, but recently it was found that not only smokers are prone to this, but also those exposed to second hand smoke are also at an increased risk.

The study looked at over 5,600 people who do not smoke, and about 2,600 who do smoke. Using a questionnaire the researchers found out that people who do not smoke, but are exposed to second-hand smoke were 1.5 times as likely to suffer from psychological symptoms as non-smokers who were not exposed to second hand smoke. Although people who actually smoke are 4 times more likely to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital than those who have not smoked or been exposed to second hand smoke, it is astonishing to find that those exposed people are also 3 times as likely to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital. It is still unknown whether those who establish mental health problems are more likely to start smoking or if smoking helps cause the mental health problems.

So far it is only known that mental health and smoking are connected, but further research is needed to develop these ideas. Now that these risks have been increased, smoking warnings are becoming increasingly serious. Smoking has been linked to heart disease, lung cancer, cancer of the larynx, cancer of the oral cavity or esophagus, emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and most recently, mental conditions. Exposure to second-hand smoke has been linked to causing sudden infant death syndrome, acute respiratory infections, ear problems, severe asthma, slowing lung growth in children, and mental diseases.

June 14, 2010

Top 5 Benefits of Eating Spicy Foods

Filed under: health — Tags: , , , , , — @ 4:22 pm

If you love spicy foods, there is good news in store for you. In addition to the tremendous boost of flavor that spices give to many different kinds of foods they also offer many health benefits.

Weight Loss

Eating spicy food increases your metabolic rate and allows your body to burn a greater number of calories. As well, many studies state that a person eating a spicy meal will eat less than a person having a meal that is not spicy. You may have noticed this yourself! I personally think that eating spicy food makes you feel more full than you actually are.

Better Breathing

Eating spicy food unclogs your nasal passages which allows for easier breathing. This can be especially helpful for people with asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema.

Healthy Heart

Eating spicy foods increases your overall body temperature. As a result, blood flow also increases which makes for better blood circulation. In addition, hot peppers also have the ability to rid the vessels of blood clots.

Reduces Risk of Cancer

Eating spicy foods on a regular basis has been known to reduce the risk of cancer. Capsaicin, a chemical compound of chili peppers (what makes them spicy), can kill the cancer cells that enter and are harmful to the body.

A Better Mood

Spicy foods increase the amount of endorphins in the body. Endorphins give a comforting feeling that tells the body that everything is okay. It often acts as a stress reliever and can help fight depression as well.