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How to Know You're Reading a Legit Science Blog.

Whilst I was preparing a new blog post, I decided to take a break on Facebook (that’s just my way of glorifying procrastination- LOL) and I saw this post –  I'm  not going to say by who – and it was from a blog claiming to give the truth about cancer and how a certain type of chemical in food causes obesity and “excites the brain to death”.  If you know me personally, or if you realised this through my posts, I absolutely HATE scaremongering and I hate using that technique of writing in my blog.  They even use this technique to scare people into not taking protective measures against possible deadly diseases -  i.e . anti-vaxxers.  If you want to explain something, explain it without using excessive comparisons in order to scare people. Fear  isn't  the right way to explain science. There are bloggers out there that fill their blogs with pseudoscience; they are self-proclaimed experts in their chosen field, especially after  they've  graduated from Google Univer

What's in your Pumpkin Spice Latte? ( + A Recipe!)

Autumn is easing its way in and the leaves are turning orange and brown hues and the pumpkin spice latte is making a major comeback. So surely everyone is starting to feel it's autumn now.  The PSL is now the official symbol of autumn - forget the weather or the leaves changing colour. Pumpkin Spice Latte Image Anybody who has tried the PSL and tasted it knows that it doesn’t even taste of pumpkin, nor does it have any of its nutritional benefits.   A cooked, mashed cup of it has most, if not all of your daily vitamin A and a significant percentage of both your daily potassium and fibre. Recently, the autumnal drink has been in the news for its recipe, which doesn't include real pumpkin or real, natural flavours. All flavours are replaced with chemicals which make up the flavouring. The caffeinated drink now has pumpkin included in it as of this year, part of the recipe.   In between a yoga retreat and a vision quest, I made a big decision to use real pumpkin. My

Understanding Detoxification and Teatox

We’ve all heard of detoxification and detox teas and you must have seen at least one advertisement for at least one of these products in your social media feeds.  They promise to cleanse out your body from all the dirty toxins that you come across in your day which could cause horrible diseases and they also promise help you lose those five pounds that just won’t budge. They even have a familiar famous face to encourage their products. The definition for detoxification is the physiological or medicinal removal of toxic substances from a living organism, including, but not limited to, the human body, which is mainly carried out by the liver. Basically, the liver is in charge of clearing up the body from toxins which include alcoholic, drug, metabolic detoxification. Detox has been turned into a sort of marketing strategy that treats a non-existent health condition (key word: non-existent). The actual act of detoxification occurs in a hospital under life threatening co

One Paragraph on Green Tea Supplements

Using high doses of green tea extract supplements for weight loss become increasingly popular, but at the same time potential liver toxicity has become a serious concern. In the last decade, dozens of people have been diagnosed with the condition. However, it’s been found that drinking green tea in the weeks before taking supplements likely reduces risk, according to researchers. Researchers gave mice high doses of the green tea polyphenol epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG).  The dosage was equivalent to the amount of the polyphenol found in some dietary supplements taken by humans. The research data showed that dietary pre-treatment with the green tea polyphenol protects mice from liver toxicity caused by subsequent high oral doses of the same compound, explained Josh Lambert, associate professor of food science. He suggested that the research has relevance to people who are taking or are considering taking supplements containing green tea extract. There are some daring people w

One Paragraph on Hypoallergenic Parks

Are we ready for hypoallergenic parks? Sounds like an oxymoron, right?  Well, this dream could soon become a reality thanks to research published in the American Society of Agronomy. The researchers hope their efforts will lead to “fantastic urban green spaces that don't cause allergic reactions for 30 percent of the city's population”. Professor Paloma Carinanos’ team specifically studies the city of Granada, Spain. This city's climate and layout is like that of many cities in the Mediterranean area, which has the highest occurrence of pollen allergies in the world. The researchers hope their efforts will lead to fantastic urban green spaces that don't cause allergic reactions for 30% of the city's population. To research team lead by Carinanos began by classifying the trees in Granada's ten largest green spaces. They grouped the trees into three categories. Then they recorded the type of pollination, the length of the pollination period, and the potenti

One Paragraph On Designer Drugs

Designer drugs  make up a larger proportion of the illegal drug market and although they  don’t have a specific definition, it's a term that’s used to describe illegal and abused drugs such as ketamine, fentanyl, LSD, PCP, quaaludes, methcathinone, and amphetamine derivatives such as ecstasy and cocaine. Chemists are continually trying to solve the growing problem of designer drugs – whose regulation is elusive because they involve ever-changing formulas. This is one of the topics which has been discussed at a session at the 250 th  ACS National Meeting & Exposition this summer in Boston U.S.A. “ It is relatively simple to take a drug that has a known psychoactive effect and change one substituent group to make it into another drug that is not yet classified as illegal but provides the same or similar psychoactive high”, explains   William Hoffmann , a postdoctoral student at West Virginia University’s forensic and investigative science department. Hoffmann and his colleagu

One Paragraph On The Ultimate Flu Vaccine

The flu virus mutates every year and there are many different strains of flu virus. If you are in the “at risk” group of people you’re required to take a flu shot every year / every flu season. This can be very cumbersome, so scientists are working on developing a universal flu vaccine that would be active against all strains of the virus and you wouldn’t need inoculations every year. Promising research published in Science Express journal, demonstrates how the team of scientists at the  Crucell Vaccine Institute at the Janssen Center of Excellence for Immunoprophylaxis in the Netherlands (and other research centres in the US) , have extracted different antigens from most flu virus and placed them in the vaccine to mimic the flu virus and stimulate the immune response to produce antibodies in defence, and also keep in memory different types of flu virus, so in the future, dealing with the virus is easier and less burdensome on the victim.  Final results of the study have de

One Paragraph on Meningitis B Vaccines

Today, a new Meningitis B vaccine has been released for babies at age two, four and 12 months old. Every year, 1761 cases are diagnosed in the UK.  Meningitis is the acute inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord,  known as the meninges. The inflammation may be caused by infection with Meningococcal bacteria, which is carried harmlessly in the nose or throat by approximately 1 in 10 people. Meningitis can be life-threatening because of the inflammation's proximity to the brain and spinal cord; therefore, is a serious medical emergency. After years of discussions and plenty of research, the Meningitis B vaccine will be available for children from September 2015. Campaigners said it could prevent up to 4,000 cases by 2025, but warned that parents should also be aware of meningitis symptoms.  Finally, a catch-up programme will be available for babies born since May who have missed the first jabs. This vaccination has been delayed before, due to c

One Paragraph on Invisibility Cloaks

This Christmas, kids will be expecting something bigger and a million times better than the latest new toy or piece of tech, instead they'll be expecting an invisibility cloak! (Okay, maybe not this year, but very soon indeed.) Scientists in the University of California - San Diego are working on making a  cloaking device that is "both thin and does not alter the brightness of light around a hidden object." They've basically created an invisibility "carpet" which doesn't change the brightness of light around an object sitting on a flat surface by mimicking  the reflection of light off the flat surface, which therefore   cancels the overall distortion of light caused by the object's shape - making the observer  think that there's a flat surface .   Commenting on their research, Dr Hsu explains  "By changing the height of each dielectric particle, we were able to control the reflection of light at each point on the cloak." Dr Hsu

One Paragraph on Smart Drugs

Modafinil (a stimulant drug normally used to treat narcolepsy, to help people with sleeping disorders to stay awake) could soon become the new “smart drug” according to a review published in European Neuropsychopharmacology. Neuroenhancement is the term used to describe the targeted enhancement and extension of cognitive and affective abilities based on an understanding of their underlying neurobiology. The FDA-approved drug modafinil, has been heavily researched for cognitive modulation in healthy humans, and appears safe for widespread use. Their review on the cognitive effects of the “smart pill” modafinil has found that it can improve the performance of healthy people on cognitive tasks, meaning it can be considered the first of these “neuroenhancement agents”. References: [ 1 ]