Archive | March 2018


“Easter Eggs can have health benefits – just go for dark chocolate which contains high cocoa content. Dark chocolate is made with a high proportion of cocoa and also contains large amounts of flavonoids, which act as powerful antioxidants and lower blood pressure.”

Enjoy your Easter wisely!

Easter is a day of celebration and indulgence in hearty casseroles and sugary sweets. While it’s easy to go overboard in the Easter feast, it’s all about balance. Yes, you are allowed your Cadbury Eggs, but use these tips to keep you from completely falling off your diet plan.

  1. Start with the real breakfast of champions. You may not be able to control what’s served at the lunch table, but you certainly can control what you eat when you wake up. Make a giant green smoothie so you load up on nutrients and fiber, or try a protein shake, eggs or greek yogurt for filling protein.
  2. Drink plenty of water. Drink a glass of water before you endulge in your meal in order to make you feel fuller, faster. Try place thin cucumber and lemon slices in your glass for a clean and refreshing twist.
  3. Fill up on greens. Before you dive into the cheese plate or Easter basket full of candy, munch on a plate full of veggie sticks or salad. The fiber will fill you up, so you are less inclined to overindulge in the bad stuff.
  4. Remember your serving sizes. Serve half of the plate with veggies, a quarter with grains, and a quarter with protein. If you prefer stricter measurements, forget the cups and teaspoons, and use your hand as a measuring cup. Two fingers equals one serving of cheese. An open palm equals one serving of meat. A closed fist is one serving of fruit or vegetables. A cupped hand is one serving of grains.
  5. Enjoy bread and candy last. After you’ve filled up on veggies and protein, then enjoy the bread and butter, Peeps, jellybeans, or chocolate-covered caramels. While it’s tempting to inhale five or six candies in one sitting, slow down and thoroughly savor each bite.


“Our violence operates far outside the bounds of any other species.  Human beings kill anything.  Slaughter is a defining behavior of our species.  We kill all other creatures, and we kill our own.  Read today’s paper.  Read yesterday’s, or read tomorrow’s.  We kill our- selves in suicide.  We kill friends, rivals, coworkers, & classmates.  Children kill children, in school and on the playground. ”

R. Douglas Fields, Why We Snap, p. 286, 2016. R. Douglas Fields is senior investigator at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

Part II Emotions and how they make the creature think!

One pattern stood out pretty clearly: Lethal violence increased over the course of mammal evolution. While only about 0.3 percent of all mammals die in conflict with members of their own species, that rate is sixfold higher, or about 2 percent, for primates. Early humans likewise should have about a 2 percent rate—and that lines up with evidence of violence in Paleolithic human remains.

The medieval period was a particular killer, with human-on-human violence responsible for 12 percent of recorded deaths. But for the last century, we’ve been relatively peaceable, killing one another off at a rate of just 1.33 percent worldwide. And in the least violent parts of the world today, we enjoy homicide rates as low as 0.01 percent.

“Evolutionary history is not a total straitjacket on the human condition; humans have changed and will continue to change in surprising ways,” says study author José María Gómez of Spain’s Arid Zones Experimental Station. “No matter how violent or pacific we were in the origin, we can modulate the level of interpersonal violence by changing our social environment. We can build a more pacific society if we wish.”

Lethal Lemurs

What may be most surprising to some of us, though, isn’t how violent we are, but rather how we compare to our mammalian cousins.

It’s not easy to estimate how often animals kill each other in the wild, but Gómez and his team got a good overview of the species most and least likely to kill their own kind. The number of hyenas killed by other hyenas is around 8 percent. The yellow mongoose? Ten percent. And lemurs—cute, bug-eyed lemurs? As many as 17 percent of deaths in some lemur species result from lethal violence. (See “Prairie Dogs Are Serial Killers That Murder Their Competition.”)

Yet consider this: The study shows that 60 percent of mammal species are not known to kill one another at all, as far as anyone has seen. Very few bats (of more than 1,200 species) kill each other. And apparently pangolins and porcupines get along fine without offing members of their own species.

View Images

Dolphins, long thought to be relatively peaceful marine mammals, have been documented trying to kill their own young.

Photograph by Wolcott Henry

Whales are also generally thought not to kill their own kind. But dolphin biologist Richard Connor of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth notes that a dolphin infanticide attempt was documented recently, and he cautions that whales, as their close relations, might also be more violent than we’ve thought.

“We could witness a lethal fight in dolphins but not know it, because the victim swims away apparently unimpaired, but is bleeding to death internally,” he says.

More often, though, people think animals are more violent than they really are, says animal behavior expert Marc Bekoff, an emeritus professor at the University of Colorado Boulder.


“Violence might be deep in the human lineage, but I think people should be very cautious in saying that when humans are violent, they’re behaving like nonhuman animals,” Bekoff says.

Bekoff has long contended that nonhumans are predominantly peaceful, and he points out that just as some roots of violence can be found in our animal past, so can roots of altruism and cooperation. He cites the work of the late anthropologist Robert Sussman, who found that even primates, some of the most aggressive mammals, spend less than one percent of their day fighting or otherwise competing.

After all, challenging another animal to a duel is risky, and for many animals the benefits don’t outweigh the risk of death. Highly social and territorial animals are the most likely to kill one another, the new study found. Many primates fit that killer profile, though as experts point out, not all of them. Bonobos have mostly peaceable, female-dominated social structures, while chimps are much more violent.

These differences among primates matter, says Richard Wrangham, a biological anthropologist at Harvard known for his study of the evolution of human warfare. In chimpanzees and other primates that kill each other, infanticide is the most common form of killing. But humans are different—they frequently kill each other as adults.

“That ‘adult-killing club’ is very small,” he says. “It includes a few social and territorial carnivores such as wolves, lions, and spotted hyenas.”

While humans may be expected to have some level of lethal violence based on their family tree, it would be wrong to conclude that there’s nothing surprising about human violence, Wrangham says.

When it comes to murderous tendencies, he says, “humans really are exceptional.”  It appears expected with the reason irrational more for the human than animals.  Animals primarily do it for protection, food but some animals do it just to kill at times, like Bamboon’s. Know most animals don’t kill for that reason.

Sad about this whole article is humans are considered the most intelligent creature on Earth, yet we kill our own species!



“These popular works are bringing into focus, and wider awareness, what research has discovered in the past 30-40 years; that non-human animals are more sentient, intelligent, and rational than we have assumed, and that humans are far less rational than we have pretended.

Now if only we can use this knowledge, about human and non-human intelligence, more intelligently.”

Beyond Words joins Virginia Morell’s Animal Wise: The Thoughts and Emotions of Our Fellow Creatures and other writing on animal cognition as the equivalent for non-humans to Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow and Daniel Ariely’s Predictably Irrational and lots of other literature on human cognition; works that pull together remarkable recent discoveries about how living beings thin including Extension Harvard University.

Part I Emotions and how they make the creature think!


Successful navigation of the social world requires the ability to recognize and track emotions as they unfold and change dynamically. Neuro-imaging and neurological studies of emotion recognition have primarily focused on the ability to identify the emotion shown in static photographs of facial expressions, showing correlations with the amygdala as well as temporal and frontal brain regions.

Our mood is a transient frame of mind that influences how we think and view the world. It is influenced by events in our lives, the amount of sleep we get, hormones, even the weather. But what role does the brain play in shaping our mood?

The limbic system

Many regions fundamental to mood are buried deep in the most primordial parts of the brain; that is, they are thought to have been among the first to develop in the human species. This is probably because mood is evolutionarily important.

Being glum can be advantageous and has been shown to sharpen our eye for detail, for instance. But, overall, the brain seems geared towards maintaining a mildly positive frame of mind. Being in a good mood makes us more likely to seek new experiences, be creative, plan ahead, procreate and adapt to changing conditions.

Our mood is a transient frame of mind that influences how we think and view the world. It is influenced by events in our lives, the amount of sleep we get, hormones, even the weather. But what role does the brain play in shaping our mood?

The limbic system

Many regions fundamental to mood are buried deep in the most primordial parts of the brain; that is, they are thought to have been among the first to develop in the human species. This is probably because mood is evolutionarily important.

Being glum can be advantageous and has been shown to sharpen our eye for detail, for instance. But, overall, the brain seems geared towards maintaining a mildly positive frame of mind. Being in a good mood makes us more likely to seek new experiences, be creative, plan ahead, procreate and adapt to changing conditions.

The limbic system is the major primordial brain network underpinning mood. It’s a network of regions that work together to process and make sense of the world.

Neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, are used as chemical messengers to send signals across the network. Brain regions receive these signals, which results in us recognising objects and situations, assigning them an emotional value to guide behaviour and making split-second risk/reward assessments.

The limbic system sits under the cerebrum (the largest and newest part of the brain) and is made up of structures such as the hypothalamus, hippocampus and the amygdala.

The almond-shaped amygdala attaches emotional significance to events and memories. It came to the attention of emotion researchers in 1939 when monkeys whose amygdalae were removed showed bizarre patterns of behaviour. They became fearless, hypersexual and either devoid of emotion or irrationally aggressive.

Dubbed Kluver-Bucy Syndrome, it is rare in humans, but has been observed in people with amygdala damage incurred, for instance, after a bout of brain inflammation.

The hippocampus, meanwhile, reminds us which courses of action are congruent with our mood. For instance, if you feel great you might like to walk down a path fringed with daffodils. If you feel crap, you may instead be drawn to that bar that spins melancholy albums by The Smiths.

The hippocampus has been shown to be shrunken in people with chronic depression. This may account for common features of the condition, such as vague or non-specific recall of personal memories.

The limbic system also regulates biological functions in line with our mood, such as accelerated heart rate and sweating triggered by feeling flustered. Being so old, however, the limbic system is rather primitive. In day-to-day life it’s controlled by some newer networks that co-ordinate how we think and act, so our behaviour is conducive to achieving longer-term goals, rather than always going wherever the mood takes us.



“Influenza is a contagious respiratory disease transmitted from person to person primarily via virus-laden droplets. Viral shedding starts 24 to 48 hours after infection, and typically 24 hours before the onset of symptoms. Shedding normally persists less than 5 days but can be longer in children and in those who are immuno-compromised.  Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, is a respiratory virus that infects the lungs and breathing passages. Like influenza, RSV is transmitted via virus-laden droplets. People infected with RSV are usually contagious for 3 to 8 days, although some infants or immunocompromised people can be contagious for several weeks.”


What is the actual difference of RSV vs Influenza?


For patients: the flu vs. RSV

If you have young kids or a weakened immune system, chances are you’ve heard of something called RSV. But what is it exactly? How is it different from the flu? And what can you do to protect yourself from it?

  • Flu (influenza) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that can cause mild to severe illness. Serious outcomes of flu infection can result in hospitalization or death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk of serious flu complications.
  • RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. Most people recover in a week or two, but RSV can be serious, especially for infants and older adults.

The respiratory tract is one of the most common sites for infections because it comes into contact with pathogens frequently. While infection may be caused by a number of different viruses and bacteria, influenza A and B viruses and RSV are collectively responsible for a majority of respiratory illnesses and cause significant morbidity and mortality.1-4

Infections with influenza A and B viruses often result in the respiratory illness commonly referred to as the “flu.” Flu is highly contagious, and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 5% to 20% of the population contracts the flu each year. Flu viruses are believed to be transmitted primarily via small droplets when individuals with the flu cough or sneeze. Typically, healthy adults are capable of infecting others from one day before symptoms are present to five to seven days after the onset of symptoms. Because of the ease of transmission and high infectivity of flu particles, flu epidemics and even pandemics are always a potential for seasonal flu strains. Each year, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized and between 3,000 and 49,000 people die of complications, typically pulmonary, depending on the severity of the season.5 Symptoms include fever, cough, headache, body aches, congestion, and fatigue.

The elderly, very young, and immunocompromised are at an increased risk of serious complications from the flu, as the virus can potentially spread to the lower respiratory tract, causing pneumonia. Flu can lead to other serious complications such as bronchitis, sinus infections, and a general worsening of chronic conditions.6 These viral infections can also decrease the immune system’s line of defense against many bacteria. Secondary bacterial pneumonias, caused by a range of bacteria including Staphylococcus aureus and Strepococcus pneumonia, become a potential threat that physicians must monitor closely until the illness has cleared.

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) infection is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in children under one year of age in the United States. Each year 75,000 to 125,000 children in this age group are hospitalized due to RSV infection. Symptoms include coughing, sneezing, runny nose, fever, and decrease in appetite. RSV is also recognized as a serious contributor to respiratory ailments in the aged and immunocompromised demographic.

Epidemiologists agree that there is a prevailing seasonality in the presentation of epidemic waves of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections and influenza. The aim of this study is to quantify the potential relationship between the activity of RSV, with respect to the influenza virus, in order to use the RSV seasonal curve as a predictor of the evolution of an influenza virus epidemic wave. Two statistical tools, logistic regression and time series, are used for predicting the evolution of influenza. Both logistic models and time series of influenza consider RSV information from previous weeks. Data consist of influenza and confirmed RSV cases reported in Comunitat Valenciana (Spain) during the period from week 40 (2010) to week 8 (2014). Binomial logistic regression models used to predict the two states of influenza wave, basal or peak, result in a rate of correct classification higher than 92% with the validation set. When a finer three-states categorization is established, basal, increasing peak and decreasing peak, the multinomial logistic model performs well in 88% of cases of the validation set. The ARMAX model fits well for influenza waves and shows good performance for short-term forecasts up to 3 weeks. The seasonal evolution of influenza virus can be predicted a minimum of 4 weeks in advance using logistic models based on RSV. It would be necessary to study more inter-pandemic seasons to establish a stronger relationship between the epidemic waves of both viruses.

So remember Flu and RSV occur as seasonal outbreaks in the United States, generally starting as early as October or November and ending as late as April or May!



Quote for Monday

“I saw many people who had advanced heart disease and I was so frustrated because I knew if they just knew how to do the right thing, simple lifestyle and diet steps, that the entire trajectory of their life and health would have been different.” » Mehmet Oz