Latest Gifts for the techies - 2011

Don't scale down this holiday season. The Withings Wi-Fi Body Scale not only measures your weight, fat mass, lean mass and body-mass index, but will then transmit that data to your an app on your smartphone and chart it out for you. Just what you need after a big meal. $159.00, Withings.com.

Latest Gifts for the techies - 2011

It's not the size of the speakers that matters. The Jawbone Jambox portable wireless speaker delivers crystal clear sound with an output of up to 85 decibels, enough to fill the largest of New York apartments. 199.99, Jawbone.com

Latest Gifts for the techies - 2011

It's time to stop plugging your camera into your computer. The new Eye-Fi memory card has built in wi-fi capabilities that will tranfer photos and videos wirelessly straight from your digital camera straight to your smartphone, iPad or computer. $47.99 - $79.99, JR.com.

Latest Gifts for the techies - 2011

See without being seen, that's the goal of the Spy Net Video Glasses, which can record up to 20 minutes of video with sound. Perfect for the budding young spy in all of us. $29.99, Target.com.

Latest Gifts for the techies - 2011

Make your Skype/GChat experience a pleasurable one with the comfortable Logitech Wireless Headset H800, which connects to all devices via bluetooth and features a built-in equalizer. $99.99, amazon.com.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Is It Virtual, or Is It Rock? A Border-Tweaking Experience


Rock Band 3, new from Harmonix and MTV Games, can teach
 keyboards as well as bass and guitar.



With the invigorating arrival of the innovative Rock Band 3 from Harmonix and MTV Games, the basic idea of allowing everyday people to make rock music in their living rooms is closer to reality than ever.
Music video games, which took off with the emergence of Guitar Herofive years ago, have remained a virtual experience. There has been no pretense that pressing five colored buttons in various combinations and rhythms on a plastic guitar-shaped device has anything to do with playing a real electric bass or guitar. And since the genre exploded on the game scene, it has declined in sales and overall popularity.
But now Harmonix has brilliantly torn down the wall between music games and real music. If you’re willing to put in a reasonable amount of practice — like the couple dozen hours I did — Rock Band 3 can actually begin to teach you to play guitar, bass and keyboards. Just as important, Rock Band 3 emerges as the definitive modern music game even for those who just want to play around with family and friends once in a while.
In a genre in which the physical, tactile interface (i.e., what you put your hands on) is everything, the keys to Rock Band 3 are two extremely well-designed new controllers. First, Harmonix has designed an optional two-octave wireless keyboard (for $79.99 in addition to the game software) that sits flat on a lap or tabletop or can be strung with a strap and played while standing up, as a “keytar.”
The keyboard dramatically expands the rock repertory of Rock Band 3; otherwise you’d never be able to play songs like Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” or “Break On Through (to the Other Side)” by the Doors (not to mention “Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake).
In the game’s traditional mode, you need only use five white keys, which can be challenging enough. But switch to Pro Keys mode, and all 25 black and white keys begin to come into play. By the time you reach the Pro Expert level, you are playing what are meant to be note-for-note re-creations of the actual keyboard parts, if any, in the game’s 83 songs. (There are also around 2,000 more songs available for download.) The keyboard also includes a MIDI output for connection to computer music software like Apple’s Pro Tools.
But as impressive as the keyboard is, Rock Band 3 truly shines because of its new guitar. Sure, you can play Rock Band 3 with any older Rock Band peripheral (and most Guitar Hero devices), but this re-creation of the classic Fender Mustang costs $149.99. Coupled with the Rock Band 3 software, it could be the gateway to real guitar-playing for many people.
This device has six physical strings down where you strum, but the neck is covered with 102 thin horizontal buttons corresponding to 17 frets (multiplied by six strings) on a real guitar. And so with this guitar you unlock Rock Band 3’s Pro Guitar and Pro Bass modes.
The game includes an excellent tutorial to introduce the player to the six strings and the fret positions. Because the device knows where you are placing your hand on the frets, it can correct you and show you how to form chords. Then once you jump into a song, the easiest Pro level generally requires just single notes (which is one reason I prefer bass) before introducing more complex and realistic chords and techniques that are drawn directly from actual songs, say “China Grove” by the Doobie Brothers or Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train.”
Combined with the drum kit (now augmented in Rock Band 3 by three cymbals), which as usual is a direct replication of real drumming, and a vocal system that lets people sing along while scoring for pitch, the new keyboard and guitar complete the illusion that you and your buddies or family are actually on stage shredding “I Wanna Be Sedated” by the Ramones, “Fly Like an Eagle” by the Steve Miller Band or even Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird.” It is as close as I have ever come to feeling like a real musician. (I played Rock Band 3 on the Xbox 360, but it is also available for the PlayStation 3 and Wii.)
But another new music game, Power Gig: Rise of the Six String (from Seven45 Studios), only made me feel like a real musician in one sense: it made my whole arm cramp up. That is because Power Gig’s controller is actually a real electric guitar, wired with electric frets that can determine where you are holding the strings down. Power Gig’s software basically apes the well-established Guitar Hero and Rock Band system of having you strum along with the beat. But unlike Rock Band 3, which gradually introduces the user to playing guitar riffs and melodies, Power Gig’s expert mode requires only that you play certain basic “power chords” in time with the music. Outrageously, Power Gig does not even come with a full guitar-playing tutorial.
It is incredibly frustrating that you can plug the Power Gig guitar into a real amplifier (where it works as a very cheap electric guitar, according to my guitar-playing friends), but you cannot simply play it as a real instrument through your Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. For $179.99, consumers deserve a more fully hatched product.
So if you’re looking for a starter electric guitar for the kids and wouldn’t mind getting an ersatz version of a more polished music game, by all means buy Power Gig. But if you want the apex of the modern electronic home-music experience, Rock Band 3 is the only choice.

When Is Gambling an Addiction?

When is gambling an entertaining pastime, and when does it become a compulsive addiction? Is stock trading a form of gambling addiction? How common is compulsive gambling, and is there a gambling gene?  
Dr. Timothy Fong, co-director of the gambling studies program and an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles, responds. Additional responses from Dr. Fong, about treatments for compulsive gambling and more, will be posted next week. And for more information, visit the U.C.L.A. Gambling Studies Program Web site, and read this fascinating interview on the Well blog, “A Family Pastime Turns Addictive Online.”
When Is Gambling a Problem?
Q.
How can you tell when a person who plays Internet poker has become addicted? If the person limits how often he plays, can he still be addicted? I’m worried about my son, who thinks he has enough intelligence and self-control to earn a lot of money playing internet poker. I believe it’s a “slippery slope”.Susan, Austin
A.
Dr. Fong responds:
Gambling addiction occurs when someone’s quality of life is suffering because of their continued gambling. If your son lives a full and productive life — that is, if he is doing well in school, engaging with friends, active in multiple activities and is present for and contributing to family functioning — these are signs of health. Playing Internet poker may just be a form of entertainment (although technically illegal if he is under 21).
If there is a family history of gambling or substance abuse addiction, this would be a reason for concern. People do not develop gambling addictions overnight, so I would recommend that you share with your son how worried you are about his gambling. You might also consider seeing a gambling specialist to prevent the emergence of an addiction.
Is Addiction the Real Problem?
Q.
Is the problem truly gambling addiction, or losing money and the problems and stress this creates? After all, few would claim that George Soros, Billy Walters or Doyle Brunson, say, have gambling problems. The root cause of losing in gambling is irrational thinking, poor judgment of risks and superstitions that fly in the face of mathematics. Education, not drugs, is the cure. Gambling itself is as old as civilization and part of what it is to be human.Mickey Rosa, Las Vegas
A.
Dr. Fong responds:
What you are describing are the core symptoms of the disease of gambling addiction: cognitive distortions about gambling, loss of control, impulsive behaviors and continuing to gamble despite heavy losses. These behaviors are abnormal and are not part of recreational, social gambling.
Although just about anyone can gamble compulsively for a short while or make irrational decisions while gambling, the difference with pathological gamblers is that these behaviors are ongoing and repeat over and over despite the harm created. Science is now revealing how and where these thoughts and behaviors originate, and how they are maintained. Further understanding of these issues will reveal more effective ways to treat and prevent the disease from worsening.
Stock Trading as a Form of Gambling Addiction
Q.
Many of my friends who work on Wall Street began their careers as sports gamblers and graduated to stock trading. They say the addiction is the same except stock traders at the big firms keep their winnings and the house takes the losses. Do you find that many on Wall Street are suffering from a type of gambling addiction?Lyle Vos, New York, N.Y.
A.
Dr. Fong responds:
During the late 1990s, there were an increasing number of stock market and day traders who presented to the U.C.L.A. addiction clinic with the exact same signs and symptoms as someone addicted to traditional forms of gambling. In turn, as the economy soured and as poker gained popularity, many of these patients switched over to playing poker full-time. The exact percentage of stock market traders who meet criteria for gambling addiction is not known, but the personality traits between the two groups are quite similar: risk taking, sensation seeking and action driven.
Gambling Addiction as a Form of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Q.
Is ‘gambling addiction’ as aspect of what falls under the umbrella of “Debtor’s Anonymous,” and perhaps related to the hoarder’s issue? Some sort of compulsive disorder similar to O.C.D., but a little different?Mary Reilly
A.
Dr. Fong responds:
Many patients with gambling addiction do have obsessive-compulsive disorder, or many suffer from compulsive shopping. There are some shared clinical characteristics between the two disorders, namely an inability to stop the behavior and an ongoing desire to acquire items.
There is ongoing debate among researchers about this question. Some believe that gambling addiction is a relative of O.C.D., whereas others believe it lives separately as an impulse control or addictive disorder.
Is There a Gambling Gene?
Q.
What is this “impulsivity” gene, and is it the same one for drug addiction and gaming? I think it has to do with the dopamine reward and reinforcement parts of the brain. If so, how common is it?ACL, Seattle
A.
Dr. Fong responds:
Research has shown that pathological gambling does run in families, and that there are genetic contributions. These genes seem to impact how people handle losses, their reward seeking behaviors, and the high people experience from gambling.
So much more work needs to be done to better understand the similarities and differences between gambling addiction and substance abuse disorders, but it is clear that there are shared genetic links.
How Common Is Gambling Addiction?
Q.
How does one monitor the number of known and potential gambling addicted people? Is it a measure of how many are treated at centers that treat the issue, and at doctors’ offices? I would wager (no pun intended) that sometimes we cannot know the extent truthfully, given that there are also so many online sites that support gambling habits, and therefore may be easier to hide the debt’s reality.FreakyDeaky, Manhattan
A.
Dr. Fong responds:
Gambling addiction has been called the silent addiction, because the consequences are so easy to hide. Gamblers do not “overdose” and end up in the emergency rooms, nor do they present to doctors specifically asking for help for their gambling problems.
Our best tools to track the incidence and prevalence of gambling addiction is by conducting population surveys and monitoring treatment programs. These studies take a long time to conduct and are quite costly. The reality remains that only 10 percent of those with gambling addiction actually seek help. Those who don’t seek help continue to create problems that are easily hidden away.

Risks: Smokers Found More Prone to Dementia

Middle-aged smokers are far more likely than nonsmokers to developdementia later in life, and heavy smokers — those who go through more than two packs a day — are at more than double the risk, a new study reports.

Researchers analyzed the data of 23,123 health plan members who participated in a voluntary exam and health behavior survey from 1978 to 1985, when they were 50 to 60 years old.
Twenty-three years later, about one-quarter of the group, or 5,367, had dementia, including 1,136 with Alzheimer’s disease and 416 with vascular dementia.
After adjusting for other factors, the researchers concluded that pack-a-day smokers were 37 percent more likely than nonsmokers to develop dementia, and the risks went up sharply with increased smoking; 44 percent for one to two packs a day; and twice the risk for more than two packs.
Former smokers and those who smoked less than half a pack a day were no more likely to develop dementia than nonsmokers. The study was published online on Monday in Archives of Internal Medicine.
To its lead author, Dr. Rachel A. Whitmer, an epidemiologist with the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif., the study offered a silver lining: unlike age and family history, she said, “this is one risk factor for dementia that can be changed.”

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Missionary builds flying car, FAA certifies it




Sparks are flying as we walk into the airplane hanger. Steve Saint is sharpening a machete on an electric grinder.  He comes over to introduce himself wielding the knife he extols as both a tool and a weapon. But we've come to talk about something else he is working on, a flying car.
Saint heads i-tec, the Indigenous People's Technology and Education Center. He is working with the Waodani tribe at the edge of the Amazon in Ecuador to help them solve a transportation riddle plaguing hard to reach regions all over the world: What do you do when the road ends? His solution, build a flying car. So he and his team did.

Massive storm system marches eastward

The eastern third of the United States can expect a second blustery day Wednesday as severe storms stretch from the Deep South to Delaware, the National Weather Service said.
More tornadoes are possible a day after the system spawned at least 24 possible tornadoes. Ten twisters were confirmed.
Residents in Colorado, Kansas, Missouri and Illinois awoke to tornado warnings. Watches stretched from central Mississippi to western South Carolina.
Airlines also were making their plans for another day of wild weather. Delta Airlines Wednesday morning had canceled 95 national and regional flights.
Windy advisories are posted across the Upper Midwest and sections of the Ohio Valley.
Wednesday will be a day of cleanup for communities in North Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Indiana, Wisconsin and Illinois.
Wind, rather than rain, ended up being the greatest danger from the system, with gusts exceeding 70 mph in some places. The National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center said there were 268 reports of wind damage at the end of Tuesday.
High winds canceled hundreds of flights Tuesday -- more than 500 at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport alone -- along with dozens more in Minnesota.
Some delays were reported at Chicago Midway Airport. Indianapolis International Airport reported some delays for flights to Detroit, Michigan; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Cleveland, Ohio; and Minneapolis, Minnesota, while Detroit Metro Airport said most flights were on time.
The Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport reduced air traffic from three runways to one runway for landings and takeoffs Tuesday because of high winds.
Extensive damage from the high winds and possible tornadoes was reported from New York and Wisconsin to the Gulf Coast, but was most heavily concentrated in Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky.
Six tornadoes were confirmed in Indiana, three in Ohio and one more in Wisconsin.
In Lincoln County, North Carolina, eight homes were damaged and three of them destroyed by a possible tornado, spokesman Dion Burleson said late Tuesday. Eleven people were hurt; one has life-threatening injuries. Storms brought down trees, which took power lines with them, knocking out electricity for hundreds of residents
Several cars were overturned in North Carolina's Catawba County, according to the National Weather Service. Catawba emergency dispatch reported minor injuries, along with home damage.
In Chattanooga, Tennessee, a possible tornado struck a fence near Chickamauga Dam and threw debris into a roadway, police said. Five people suffered injuries.
Deputies were assessing damage where a tornado may have touched down near the town of Geraldine in DeKalb County, Alabama, and in Marshall County, said Lauree Ashcom, spokeswoman for the Alabama Emergency Management Agency.
Downed trees were making it difficult to reach residents and determine any injuries, said DeKalb County emergency official Michael Leath.
Up to 200,000 residents lost electrical power because of the storm. Indiana and Illinois each had at least 60,000 power outages and 38,000 were reported in Ohio. Other states reported smaller figures.
A tornado smashed into a business in LaPorte County, Indiana.
Dan Hill, general manager of Hoosier Machinery Solutions, heard a weather siren and went to check.
He turned to another employee after spying an odd cloud formation outside the business door. " 'Does that look like a tornado?' I asked. As soon as I said that, it touched down."
The twister tore a roof off a pole barn, damaged some reconditioned recycling equipment and employees' cars. No one was hurt. The 10 employees "all ran for [heavy] equipment and got inside," Hill said.
Storms caused extensive damage to buildings near Racine, Wisconsin, and Peotone, Illinois, Tuesday morning.
In St. Louis, Missouri, two reported partial building collapses were blamed on the extreme weather.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

PLAYBOY'S NUDE YOGA VIDEO CAUSES UPROAR

A video featuring Playboy model Sara Jean Underwood performing various yoga postures while naked,has caused outrage in the Indian community

The racy video is available for viewing on the playboy website and the use of the age-old technique as erotica has irked many,reported Ace showbiz online.

The video was posted online to promote DVD titles ' Erotic Nude Yoga' , 'totally nude Yoga' and 'Erotic Yoga for couples'

"Yoga is one of the six systems of orthodox Hindu philosophy and it is highly revered in Hinduism.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Amazon sales jump 40%


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Amazon is still keeping mum about how many Kindles it has sold, but the online retailer's business boomed last quarter.
Amazon's sales rose 39% in the third quarter compared to last year, hitting $7.6 billion. Earnings also topped Wall Street's estimates, with net income of $231 million, up 16% from last year.
The Kindle 3 came out in June, and Amazon said the newest versions are the "fastest-selling Kindles of all time." Since the company refuses to disclose sales figures for its e-reader, that's a fairly vague bit of hype.
But the Kindle business is expanding fast, helped by the e-reader's recent price cuts, which brought the most basic version down to $139. Amazon has Kindle apps available now for a wide variety of devices -- including the iPhone, iPad as well as BlackBerry and Android phones -- and plans to soon launch a "Kindle Singles" marketplace for short, inexpensive content.
A conference call with analysts was short on details, with Amazon executives declining to break out sales figures for specific products. They also shrugged off an analyst's question about whether Amazon plans to compete with Hulu or Apple's iTunes on video streaming and downloads.
Amazon (AMZNFortune 500) shares rose 4% in regular trading, but lost almost all of those gains in the after-hours session. Investors balked at Amazon's forecast for fourth-quarter operating income, which it said might decline compared with last year.
Still, Amazon's stock is up almost 23% year-to-date. The online merchant has bucked the generally downbeat retail trend.
Also on Thursday, rival Barnes & Noble (BKSFortune 500) announced a press event to be held in New York City on Tuesday afternoon. The blog rumor mill went into overdrive, with many speculating that the gathering will focus on B&N's Nook e-reader. To top of page

    Wednesday, October 20, 2010

    Microsoft Moves Office to the Cloud

    It has been a busy year inside Microsoft: the company is getting ready to introduce an entirely new mobile platform and a new type of Xbox gaming interface that uses the human body instead of a traditional controller. Now it is offering a new kind of Microsoft Office suite, called Office 365, which is based in the cloud.
    In a press release on Tuesday, Microsoft said this new product was “the company’s next generation in cloud productivity” and that it “brings together Microsoft Office, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online” into a single product that can be used by businesses and individuals.
    Office 365 will also make it easy for employees to collaborate with coworkers on projects through a browser, without having to install software on a computer.
    The new office suite will be available to smaller companies with fewer than 25 employees for $6 a month. Microsoft will also offer an array of options for larger businesses and government organizations, priced at $2 to $27 a month for each user, depending on the size and type of organization.
    By offering this service, Microsoft is making a number of gambles.
    Some businesses could still fear cloud-based computing, especially with sensitive documents, for both security and reliability reasons. Microsoft is also taking a chance that it can command the same profits as it does from its desktop software products by relying on customers to pay a smaller amount for Office 365, but to pay on a monthly basis.
    Some companies might even choose to skip the new Microsoft option and go with a free alternative like Google Docs, Google’s own online office suite.
    But Microsoft hopes to entice customers with its deep knowledge of and history with productivity software and its broad customer support options.
    In addition to Microsoft’s announcement on Tuesday, MarketResearch.com, an online technology research firm, released a report that says cloud computing, which is being offered by a host of companies including Amazon,I.B.M. and now Microsoft, could become a $25 billion market by 2013.

    Do Women Sweat Differently Than Men?

    Does a hard-working woman sweat like a man? That question, which has figured in many an antiperspirant commercial, has received surprisingly little scientific scrutiny. But a new study published this month in the journal Experimental Physiologyprovides persuasive evidence that women do sweat copiously during exercise. (Did anyone really believe they misted?) But fit women seem to sweat differently than unfit people of either sex, and quite differently than fit men, a fact that has implications for sports performance. It also may have some bearing on what it has meant, since prehistory, to be female.
    For the study, researchers at Osaka International University and Kobe University in Japan recruited a pool of trained athletes, male and female, as well as an age- and gender-matched group of untrained volunteers. The men and women in the two groups were similar in terms of weight. All of the volunteers rode stationary bikes in a physiology lab heated to a balmy 86 degrees. The beginning of the hourlong session was

    leisurely; the pedaling intensity was only about 30 percent of each volunteer’s maximal oxygen capacity (VO2max). Then it became tougher, rising to 50 percent of each rider’s VO2 max, while the final 20 minutes required that the riders work at a strenuous 65 percent of his or her VO2 max. Throughout, researchers monitored how much perspiration the cyclists were producing on their foreheads, chests, backs, forearms and thighs. The researchers also determined how many sweat glands were active during each rider’s session. A person’s overall sweat rate depends on how many sweat glands his or her body activates and how much sweat is excreted at each gland.
    What the researchers found was that the fit men, unsurprisingly, perspired the most, significantly more than the fit women, especially during the more intense exercise. But the athletic men weren’t using more sweat glands. The fit women had just as many glands active and pumping; they produced less sweat from each gland. Meanwhile, the unfit women, by a wide margin, perspired the least, especially during the strenuous cycling, and became physiologically hotter — their core temperatures rising notably — before they began to sweat at full capacity. These results, the scientists concluded, “revealed a sex difference in the effects of physical training on the sweating response” and, just as important, “a sex difference” in “the control of sweating rate to an increase in exercise intensity.” In other words, the women, whether fit or not, were less adept of ridding themselves of body heat by drenching themselves in sweat.
    Sweating is one of those bodily functions that seem uncomplicated, but it remains not fully understood by physiologists, at least in terms of how (and why) gender affects the process. “We know that fitness changes the sweating response,” said Timothy Cable, Ph.D., a professor of exercise physiology at John Moores University in Liverpool, England, who has extensively studied female athletes and how they perspire. As someone becomes more fit, his or her body begins to sweat at a lower body temperature. This is important, because “the body has a critical core temperature,” Dr. Cable said, which occurs at about 104 degrees, after which the brain simply “shuts down the motor cortex.” Unbidden, your legs stop churning and you curl up on the sidewalk until your core temperature drops (or a kind passerby calls 911). Sweating delays the onset of this critical heat buildup by dissipating the excess heat through evaporation. If you start to sweat at a lower temperature and increase your sweating rate as you get hotter during hard exercise, you’re less likely to reach the critical temperature.
    Scientists learned all that long ago. But they have yet to explain why women, even the fittest, don’t sweat as much as men, especially when they exercise at a high intensity. One answer, not yet definitively proved, seems to be “testosterone,” Dr. Cable said. Earlier studies suggest that the sweat rates of prepubertal boys and girls are roughly the same. Things begin to change when the sex hormones begin to circulate. Even then, men’s and women’s perspiration is similar in terms of water, salt content and smell, Dr. Cable said, strange as that may seem to anyone who’s been in close proximity to a young male athlete’s laundry hamper. (Sweat itself is odorless; the distinctive smell associated with sweating is produced by the waste products of bacteria feeding on the perspiration.) In an experiment conducted decades ago, male athletes were injected with estrogen and sweated less during subsequent exercise.
    But does this difference in sweating rates, whatever its cause, have practical implications? “It appears,” said Yoshimitsu Inoue, Ph.D., a professor of physiology at Osaka International University and one of the authors of the study, “that women are at a disadvantage when they need to sweat a lot during exercise in hot conditions.” On the other hand, it may be that women, during evolution, had the good sense to get out of the hot sun, and their bodies adapted accordingly. The “lower sweat loss in women may be an adaptation strategy that attaches great importance” to preserving body fluids “for survival,” he wrote in an e-mail, while “the higher sweat rate of men may be an adaptation strategy for greater efficiency of action or labor.”
    Dr. Cable agreed. “Prehistoric men followed the herds,” he said, whatever the temperature, while the women, cleverly, sought out the shade. “It’s not a bad survival strategy,” he said, even today.

    Tuesday, October 19, 2010

    Vision: A Quick High for Sex May Damage Vision

    Users call them poppers: a class of chemicals called alkyl nitrites that can be inhaled for a quick high, or to enhance sexual pleasure. Now doctors in France are warning that they can also cause eye damage and impaired vision



    In a letter to The New England Journal of Medicine, the ophthalmologists describe four cases over three months in which patients’ vision was affected after they used poppers at parties. Several complained of seeing bright dots of light, and retinal imaging revealed damage to the photoreceptors in the fovea, part of the retina that is responsible for the sharp central vision needed for driving or reading.
    Two of the patients’ vision returned to normal over time, though their retinas may still have sustained damage, the doctors said. In one, a 27-year-old woman, the impairment persisted for at least a month.
    The damage may occur because nitric oxide affects photoreceptor function and metabolism, the doctors said.
    And they warned that the problem was probably underreported. “We believe in fact that this complication is quite common,” one of the authors, Dr. Michel Paques, wrote in an e-mail, adding that the doctors have seen several more patients since the letter was accepted for publication. “Preliminary data indeed suggest that only a minority of consumers will show up at the ophthalmologist.”
    There were no severe cases of vision loss, and in some cases the retinal damage was mild. Still, Dr. Paques said, “even a single dose of poppers may affect the retina.”

    Saturday, October 16, 2010

    Practice Yoga For Good Health

    The history of yoga has shown that the individuals who choose to practice yoga on a regular basis are making a decision that has great positive benefits to their health. There is probably no other type of exercise that can be done so easily even by beginners, and which will result in so many positive rewards. It is amazing to see all the benefits that yoga provides as you go through a list of the different ways that this type of exercise can help you.

    If you practice yoga regularly and properly, you will start to notice an increase in your physical strength. Many people find yoga to be little more than stretching, but it actually provides the body with a sizable workout as your muscles work to hold certain positions over a period of time. This muscle toning helps to trim down some of the fat that your body has accumulated, and will improve your general health.

    Another benefit that those who do yoga find is the detoxification it provides. Your muscles and joints get a good stretch with each yoga posture and this helps to increase blood flow to those hard-to-reach areas of the body. The blood acts as a cleanser agent and flushes out the toxins that may have built up in these tight spots. This helps to delay negative effects like aging and produces positive effects like an increase in energy.

    Practicing yoga is in some ways like providing your body with a massage; specifically, the inner organs of your body. Your internal glands and organs get a chance to be stimulated, something that some of them rarely experience outside of yoga exercises. Yoga has shown that this massage of internal organs is a good way to not only prevent diseases, but to provide earlier warning signs when something is wrong. Our lifestyle in modern society has resulted in people doing a lot less moving around than what they used to, and this is causing a greater number of health problems.

    The number of people who practice yoga is growing these days, as more people look for ways to stay in shape in a society with so many overweight individuals. Yoga information shows that this form of exercise is a great way to lose weight, but more importantly it provides a method of increasing your level of health far more than traditional exercises can. In addition to the stress relief it provides, yoga is a strong contender for one of the most useful forms of exercise and activity.
     

    Why Should We Discuss The Benefits Of Yoga?

    When a person begins to practice Yoga, they become more in tune with their bodies. Knowing how the body works provides the reason to discuss the benefits of Yoga. Main benefits of Yoga are stress relief, pain relief, better breathing, flexibility, increased strength, weight management, improved circulation and cardiovascular conditioning.

    Yoga encourages relaxation. A powerful antidote to stress is our body's natural relaxation response. Yoga helps to activate this relaxation response through deep breathing, visualization, progressive muscle relaxation and meditation. These activities can reduce your stress levels if practiced regularly. They also boost your feelings of joy and serenity.

    Various studies prove that people who suffer from arthritis, cancer, back and neck pain and hypertension can find relief from the pain associated with these conditions when they practice Yoga. Stretching and strengthening muscles is the benefit of Yoga postures. A strong body is the key to extended healing. These deep, slow, gentle stretches put our bodies in balance. Balanced bodies allow the mind to focus on the positive instead of the pain. Yoga is very therapeutic when someone is living with the devastating pain of a chronic condition.

    Yoga teaches students to take slow, deep breaths. This helps to improve lung condition and blood oxygenation. Breathing properly allows blood to reach the essential body systems faster, providing each system with necessary nutrients to help them work at their fullest capacity. Proper breathing supplies the body with the right amount of oxygen making sure every cell is capable of functioning properly. This allows our body to rid itself of harmful gasses, like carbon dioxide. Well-oxygenated bodies prevent disease from surviving in them.

    As one progresses in their training, they will notice an increase in their range of motion. Muscles become limber allowing you to reach deeper into your postures. Stretching will lengthen your muscles allowing you to get into positions, which at one time would have been impossible. Another benefit of Yoga is that it reduces muscle soreness, so you will not feel exhausted after a session.

    As you advance in your practice, your whole body will become more flexible. Stretching exercises in Yoga help develop balance and harmony within the body. After your workout, you will feel rejuvenated and ready to tackle your day. Your mind and body will be in balance and you will display improved coordination, memory, reaction time and concentration.

    Yoga postures use every one of our body muscles, helping to increase strength. While they strengthen the body, they also help to relieve muscular tension. Yoga is the best way to lose weight because there are no bad side effects. It simply proportions your body weight to your height and lifestyle. Yoga acts on the metabolism of your body as well as on your fat cells. Deep breathing in Yoga increases the oxygen intake to body cells, including fat cells that will burn up when exposed to oxygen.

    Yoga relaxes your body and mind leading to a genuine inner contentment and self-actualization. In today's troubled world, we all need an escape to focus and strengthen our bodies. Yoga is a great way to take care of ourselves mentally and physically. When trying to discuss the benefits of Yoga, you need to understand how the body functions and what we can do to help it function better.

    Thursday, October 7, 2010

    Why do Yoga?

    People come to yoga for many reasons: to get or stay in shape, reduce stress, recover from injury, or as part of a spiritual path. Personally, though I’d taken a yoga class in college in the late 1970s for gym credit, I began practicing regularly about 10 years ago because I fell in love with a gorgeous spiritual seeker who practiced yoga. “Joe” was an ex-model and ex-world class runner, i.e. attractive inside and out, who left those worlds abruptly when he had the realization they were leading him nowhere. We spent the summer talking about God, reading Rumi, hiking in the Berkshire hills, dancing freely, sharing our life stories, and practicing yoga. I signed up for a beginning hatha yoga class in town and immediately began to feel more grounded and connected to myself. That same year I discovered Kripalu Yoga and began to attend retreats and trainings to deepen my practice. Eventually I became a yoga teacher and began passing on yoga’s many gifts to others.
    Whatever your reasons for starting a yoga practice, you’ll reap numerous benefits. Some of these include:
    - Increased strength. Asanas, or yoga poses, strengthen and tone the body both through movement and holding postures for various lengths of time.
    - Toned internal organs. The gentle squeezing and releasing of muscles surrounding organs helps them function more efficiently.
    - Improved flexibility. Practiced within your comfort zone to avoid strain and injury, over time yoga gradually brings more flexibility to both your body and your mind.
    - Increased breath capacity. Yoga practice includes pranayama, or breathing techniques, that open the chest and strengthen the diaphragm (the body’s primary breathing muscle), and other muscles involved with breathing.
    - Improved circulation. The contraction and release of muscles improves circulation of both blood and lymph fluid.
    - More efficient digestion. Yoga increases blood flow to the digestive tract and stimulates peristalsis–wave-like contractions that move food along the digestive tract — making digestion more efficient. Yoga’s calming effects also result in improved digestion and elimination.
    - Reduced stress. Yoga practice, including asana, pranayama, relaxation, (shavasana), and meditation, shifts us from the flight-fight response–sympathetic nervous system–that many of us find ourselves in frequently to the relaxation response–or parasympathetic nervous system. This results in an overall feeling of well-being.
    - Promotes better health. Practiced regulary, yoga reaches all aspects of our body/mind, resulting in improved health on all levels–physical, emotional, and spiritual.
    Anyone and everyone can reap the benefits of this ancient 5,000-year-old practice. The important thing is to find a class suitable for your age, background, and fitness and flexibility level; pay attention to what your body needs and never push yourself too hard; and practice regularly. In my next post, I’ll explain a few of today’s more popular styles (ultimately, there is only one yoga) to help you choose a practice that is right for you.
    Oh, and the guy? Like a moth attracted to a brightly burning flame, I got burned. At the end of the summer “Joe” flitted off to India to continue his free-spirited spiritual path. Fortunately for me–unlike many a moth–I later realized I was only singed. The relationship introduced me to a practice that has transformed my body, mind, relationships, career, and health in ways I am only grateful for.join today for yoga classes from nearby to your places and get the benefits.

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