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Why a Big Mac a day isn’t healthy

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All around the world there are many Fast Foods serving us these delicious sandwiches and half as many campaigns about why you are not supposed to eat them. Indeed everyone focuses on McDonald’s because it’s massively promoted, but there are no actual differences between fast foods, they all have the same effects on your body. Although many campaigns against Big Mac are exaggerated, one fact is indeed true, it is not healthy to consume fast foods on a daily basis.

I am not going to bore you with how many calories or fat a Big Mac contains, you can google those by yourself, let’s just focus on what actually happens inside our bodies and brains while we consume them. In the first 10 minutes, a Big Mac is starting to be decomposed by our digestive system and calories alongside with salt are being absorbed. The high amount of calories produce an increase of blood sugar levels, which depending on how well our pancreas is working, will determine a peak of insulin secretion to lower those sugar levels. Of course if you continue eating high amounts of calories on a daily basis, even a perfectly functioning pancreas will lose its ability to secrete enough insulin, leading to type 2 diabetes. The amount of salt ingested covers more than half of the daily amount recommended. It doesn’t lead to instant dehydration as many activists want you to believe, but again consuming it regularly might produce a disequilibrium in our mineral levels.

The most interesting part comes about 20 minutes after we eat our tasty meal. The Big Mac bun contains corn syrup, which is high in fructose and sodium. This combination makes the brain release dopamine, which is a hormone responsible for our pleasure and reward system. Our brain is tricked into thinking that every time we eat a Big Mac it’s a reward, so we crave more. This feeling is not that dangerous in adults, but imagine a child feeling this, he will become addicted and want a treat every time he does something right.

The danger that starts to attract attention on the Big Mac consumption is the high fat levels. It is said that it takes our bodies more than 3 days to entirely digest that amount of fat. That is an exaggerated fact, it depends on everyone’s metabolism. To actually digest that amount of fat we need between 24 and 72 hours. The actual problem is that all that fat gets stored more than it is used to produce energy, leading to obesity. Again children are at a higher risk, because fat tissue that is formed in our first years of life remains there, it cannot be reduced by exercise or diets, those adipose cells simply remain there.

A Big Mac now and then, when you feel like you need a boost of calories might be good, as long as you are aware of its addictive ingredients and resist them. Also, do not use fast foods as a reward, we all love how it tastes, but the only way to keep a balance between pleasure and health is by consuming them occasionally. Next time you crave a Big Mac with some fries and Cola, which are almost as damaging, think about how they affect your body and when was the last time you had one.

Who doesn’t enjoy listening to a good story. Personally I love reading about the people who inspire me and what it took for them to achieve their success. As I am a bit of a self confessed tech geek I think there is no better way to discover these stories than by reading every day some articles or the newspaper . My bookcases are filled with good tech biographies, they remind me that anyone can be a success. So even if you come from an underprivileged part of society or you aren’t the smartest person in the room we all have a chance to reach the top. The same message shines in my beliefs. All it takes to succeed is a good idea, a little risk and a lot of hard work and any geek can become a success. VENI VIDI VICI .

Medicine and Health

A new immune pathway discovery points to a “possible cure” for lupus in the future

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Finding a pathway in the immune system that seems to be a main cause of lupus could lead to the creation of more targeted treatments for this autoimmune disease. This new study is good news for a lot of people who have been living with this long-term condition. In the US alone, 1.5 million people are affected.

People with systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE, or just “lupus,” have a long-term autoimmune disease that shows up in many ways. Some of the most common are joint and muscle pain, extreme tiredness, and a rash that looks like a sunburn on the face. Other symptoms include headaches, fevers, hair loss, and swollen glands.

It may take some time to figure out if someone has lupus because their symptoms are so different and can look like other health problems. If you catch the disease early, you may be able to get better. Moderate to severe forms of the disease can damage organs like the heart and kidneys and, in some cases, even kill you.

Lupus affects millions of people around the world, mostly women and people who were assigned female at birth, but no one knows what causes it.

There is some evidence that it results from issues between the T cells and B cells, two different types of immune cells. Patients usually have a lot of T follicular helper cells and T peripheral helper cells. These cells make CXCL13, an inflammatory molecule that attracts B cells. It’s less clear why this happens, though.

The main goal of treatment is to weaken the immune system so that it doesn’t attack the body’s own tissues. However, this method doesn’t always work and can cause a number of side effects. “Ever since the beginning, all lupus treatment has been rough.” “It’s a broad immunosuppression,” dermatologist and co-corresponding author of the new study, Dr. Jaehyuk Choi, said in a statement.

Choi and his colleagues have now found a pathway in the immune system that seems to be responsible for the disease process in lupus. More importantly, they think they know how to fix it.

Co-corresponding author Dr. Deepak Rao said, “We’ve found a fundamental imbalance in the immune responses that people with lupus make, and we’ve identified specific mediators that can correct this imbalance to dampen the pathologic autoimmune response.”

The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) controls the pathway in question. Its main job is to help cells deal with things that stress them out, like bacteria and pollution. If the AHR pathway isn’t activated enough, too many T peripheral helper cells are made. This leads to more autoantibodies, which are what make people with lupus have so many problems.

They put their theory to the test by adding AHR activators to blood samples from people with lupus. The researchers saw that the T cells changed into the Th22 subtype, which might help the body heal itself instead of making it inflamed and sick.

We learned that we can lower the number of these disease-causing cells by either using small-molecule activators to turn on the AHR pathway or limiting the amount of interferon that is too high in the blood. It might be possible to cure this if the effects last, Choi said.

People who have an autoimmune disease would love to hear those two words: “potential cure.” However, more research needs to be done before these results can be turned into clinical therapies that could help patients. The writers have already started this project and are looking into how AHR activators can be used in a treatment in a safe and effective way.

Still, these results are a big step toward finding better ways to treat a disease whose causes are still not well understood.

The study was written up in Nature.

 

 

 

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Medicine and Health

That’s not easy to do, but this cutting-edge bionic ankle can do it

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A new robotic ankle that is controlled by electrical signals in muscles below the knee is showing promise for making it easier to move and lessening pain. Seven people in a clinical trial testing the new device were able to walk as fast as people who weren’t amputees after just two practice sessions that lasted a total of six hours. Their bionic joints moved in ways that were similar to how their natural ankles moved.

It is simple to walk when you don’t believe it. Controlling something that seems so simple, like walking, is more complicated than just tightening the right muscles. It’s a complicated dance of feedback and control.

When you decide to take a step, your brain tells your spinal cord and legs to contract the muscles in those legs. This bends your joints. Two types of muscles—agonists and antagonists—work in opposite ways to control how each joint moves and where it is located.

Consider your arm. Whenever you bend your elbow, your biceps contracts, pulling your forearm closer to your upper arm. Your triceps, which are on the other side of your arm and are the enemy of this movement, are relaxing and letting it happen at the same time. In the opposite direction, when you stretch your arm, your triceps pull the forearm away, and your biceps relax their pull.

Your brain can figure out how bent your elbow is by reading the tension in both the biceps and the triceps. Proprioception, which means “the perception of yourself” in Latin, is the ability to feel this tension. This then tells your motor system what to do.

When you walk, your hip, knee, and ankle joints bend because your leg muscles work. You walk on uneven ground, slopes, and sticky mud, and each of these joints is in a different place at the beginning and end of each step. You may also face different amounts of resistance during each movement. This means that the brain can’t just send a “walk” command that works for everyone.

There’s a lot to think about when you walk

Leg amputees have lost a lot of muscle and nerves that control muscle contraction and proprioceptive nerves that let the body know how the movement is going. Walking is a lot to think about. New developments in prosthetic limbs are trying to bring back all of the commands and feedback.

Early prosthetic users could move their limbs by using a harness that they powered with their bodies. For example, to move their prosthetic hand, they would learn to move their shoulder. Then, better prostheses came out that controlled ankle joint movement by sending electrical signals to muscles in the upper leg.

Up until now, feedback signals weren’t being used, which made movements less flexible and less able to adapt to a changing environment.

Now there is a new kind of leg prosthesis called the agonist-antagonist myoneural interface (AMI) that promises to make walking smoother. That’s a lot to say. The AMI fixes proprioceptive signaling by linking the agonist and antagonist muscles back together. That way, the brain and the device can figure out how tight the two muscles are in a way that works like our biceps and triceps.

For people who have lost limbs below the knee, the first prosthetic of this type is a bionic ankle that lets the muscles of the shin and calf grow back together. Because the agonist and antagonist are linked again, the tension in the two muscles can be used to figure out how the joints are bending. This tension can be changed to fit different situations, such as stairs and sloped ground.

A decoder in the prosthesis can change the ankle’s flexion in real time, just like a real limb would. It was amazing how much the prosthesis’s ankle moved like a normal person’s when they walked.

What’s next for the legs that don’t work? The sense of smell. The authors talk about studies that show prosthetics work better when they are attached to the bone, or ossum in Latin. Bionic limbs are getting farther away from just moving like real limbs and toward also feeling like real limbs.

Nature Medicine has written about the study.

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Medicine and Health

It’s that time of year again: Do I have COVID-19 or Hay Fever?

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There’s no getting rid of COVID-19, no matter how much we all want it to. To stay alive, it changes all the time, which means that new symptoms appear. The problem is that some of those symptoms could be mistaken for hay fever, which is very common right now. How can you tell them apart?

There is a lot of room for confusion. In 2021, more than 25% of adults in the US were diagnosed with hay fever, and this year, pollen levels have been especially high and early.

At the same time, new types of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, are going around. These types usually have milder but still unpleasant symptoms that can be confused with seasonal conditions like hay fever.

There are, however, some important differences between the most common hay fever symptoms and KP.3, which is thought to be the most common COVID variant in the US right now.

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Some people have been feeling sick, having diarrhea, and throwing up because of the newer strains, but a pollen allergy probably won’t make them feel that way.

When you have COVID, on the other hand, you always have a cough. Pollen might make your throat tickly enough that you need to cough, but probably not as much as when you have COVID.

If we’re still talking about the throat, you might get a sore one with both COVID and hay fever, though it doesn’t happen very often with hay fever. It’s more likely to be an infection if it doesn’t go away after being away from pollen for a while and getting better from other pollen symptoms.

You say you can’t taste or smell anything. Do you also have a stuffy nose? If so, it’s possible that your hay fever is making it hard for you to fully enjoy food and drink.

The so-called FLiRT group of variants, which have spread widely, are to blame for the most recent COVID-19 symptoms. KP.3 is part of this group. All of them come from JN.1, an Omicron spin-off that showed up earlier this year and caused trouble.

These versions aren’t as naughty as their name suggests. The name comes from the amino acid changes they’ve gotten in the spike protein, which is the part of the virus that attaches to cells in our bodies and infects them.

Either naturally or through vaccination, the immune system can learn to recognize spike proteins and get rid of the virus. However, the virus can avoid being killed by changing into slightly different forms.

It doesn’t always happen, but viruses can sometimes cause much milder symptoms during this process. And that, kids, is how we got to this confusing place.

This article is not meant to be a replacement for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a trained professional. If you have questions about a medical condition, you should always talk to a qualified health professional.

 

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