Thursday, September 19, 2013


There are five senses: sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. There are organs connected with these sense that take in information that is sent to the brain so that the body can act on it.


The eye is the organ of the sense of sight. Eyes detect light, and convert it to electro-chemical impulses in neurons.

Parts of the eye:

The transparent window at the front of the eye which is covered in a thin layer of tears.
Aqueous humor
On the other side of the cornea is more moisture. This clear, watery fluid is the aqueous humor. It circulates throughout the front part of the eye and keeps a constant pressure within the eye.
Pupil and iris:
The pupil is the circular opening in the colored part of the eye which is the iris. The iris dilates or opens and contracts to let in more or less light.
Resembles the lens of a camera and focuses the light, changing shape as it takes in light reflected from objects near and far.
A clear jelly that the focused light passes through to the retina.
The inner lining at the back of the eye. It contains blood vessels which bring nutrients to the nerve cells. The macula is at the very center of the retina and contains the fovea. The photoreceptors of the retina are the rods and cones. The cones perceive color and finer elements. The retinal pigment epithelium, choroid and sclera are three more layers. The photoreceptors send light and images to a large nerve called the optic nerve. This carries the information to the occipital lobe of the brain where they are interpreted.
Eyelids and eyelashes:
These protect the eye and along with tears keep the eye clear and moist.

The ear is the organ concerned with hearing. The ear has three parts: the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear.
Outer ear:
The outermost part of the ear made of cartilage that is connected to the outer tube called the auditory canal. This leads to the eardrum.

Middle Ear
Eardrum, stirrup, anvil and hammer:
This membrane vibrates and along with the three tiny bones in the middle ear, the hammer, anvil and stirrup, and sends the stiumuli to the cochlea.

Inner Ear:
Is spiral shaped and it transforms sound into nerve impulses that travel to the brain.
Semicircular canals:
These fluid filled tubes attach to the cochlea and nerves in the inner ear. They send information on balance and head position to the brain.
Eustachian tube:
Drains fluid from the middle ear into the throat behind the nose.

Is a muscular organ in the mouth. The tongue is covered with moist, pink tissue called mucosa and tiny bumps called papillae. Thousands of taste buds cover the surfaces of the papillae. Taste buds are collections of nerve-like cells that connect to nerves going into the brain. There are four types of taste buds: sour, sweet, bitter and salty.
The tongue is vital in tasting and chewing food and in speech.

The nose, along with the mouth, lets air in and out of the body. It also helops us distinguish different smells in that air.
The nasal root is the top of the nose, forming an indentation at the suture where the nasal bones meet the frontal bone. The anterior nasal spine is the thin projection of bone at the midline on the lower nasal margin, holding the cartilaginous center of the nose. Adult humans have nasal hairs in the anterior nasal passage.

The skin is the largest organ of the body, with a total area of about 20 square feet. The skin protects us from microbes and the elements, helps regulate body temperature, and permits the sensations of touch, heat, and cold. The epidermis, the outermost layer of skin, provides a waterproof barrier and creates our skin tone.

The dermis, beneath the epidermis, contains tough connective tissue, hair follicles, and sweat glands.
The deeper subcutaneous tissue (hypodermis) is made of fat and connective tissue.
The skin's color is created by special cells called melanocytes, which produce the pigment melanin. Melanocytes are located in the epidermis.


The nervous system consists of the brain, spinal cord, sensory organs, and all of the nerves that connect these organs with the rest of the body. Together, these organs are responsible for the control of the body and communication among its parts. The brain and spinal cord form the control center known as the central nervous system (CNS), where information is evaluated and decisions made. The sensory nerves and sense organs of the peripheral nervous system (PNS) monitor..
 . conditions inside and outside of the body and send this information to the CNS. Efferent nerves in the PNS carry signals from the control center to the muscles, glands, and organs to regulate their functions.

Nervous System Anatomy

Nervous Tissue
The majority of the nervous system is tissue made up of two classes of cells: neurons and neuroglia.
  • Neurons. Neurons, also known as nerve cells, communicate within the body by transmitting electrochemical signals. Neurons look quite different from other cells in the body due to the many long cellular processes that extend from their central cell body. The cell body is the roughly round part of a neuron that contains the nucleus, mitochondria, and most of the cellular organelles. Small tree-like structures called dendrites extend from the cell body to pick up stimuli from the environment, other neurons, or sensory receptor cells. Long transmitting processes called axons extend from the cell body to send signals onward to other neurons or effector cells in the body.

    There are 3 basic classes of neurons: afferent neurons, efferent neurons, and interneurons.
  1. Afferent neurons. Also known as sensory neurons, afferent neurons transmit sensory signals to the central nervous system from receptors in the body.
  2. Efferent neurons. Also known as motor neurons, efferent neurons transmit signals from the central nervous system to effectors in the body such as muscles and glands.
  3. Interneurons. Interneurons form complex networks within the central nervous system to integrate the information received from afferent neurons and to direct the function of the body through efferent neurons.
  • Neuroglia. Neuroglia, also known as glial cells, act as the “helper” cells of the nervous system. Each neuron in the body is surrounded by anywhere from 6 to 60 neuroglia that protect, feed, and insulate the neuron. Because neurons are extremely specialized cells that are essential to body function and almost never reproduce, neuroglia are vital to maintaining a functional nervous system.
The brain, a soft, wrinkled organ that weighs about 3 pounds, is located inside the cranial cavity, where the bones of the skull surround and protect it. The approximately 100 billion neurons of the brain form the main control center of the body. The brain and spinal cord together form the central nervous system (CNS), where information is processed and responses originate. The brain, the seat of higher mental functions such as consciousness, memory, planning, and voluntary actions, also controls lower body functions such as the maintenance of respiration, heart rate, blood pressure, and digestion. Spinal Cord
The spinal cord is a long, thin mass of bundled neurons that carries information through the vertebral cavity of the spine beginning at the medulla oblongata of the brain on its superior end and continuing inferiorly to the lumbar region of the spine. In the lumbar region, the spinal cord separates into a bundle of individual nerves called the cauda equina (due to its resemblance to a horse’s tail) that continues inferiorly to the sacrum and coccyx. The white matter of the spinal cord functions as the main conduit of nerve signals to the body from the brain. The grey matter of the spinal cord integrates reflexes to stimuli.
Nerves are bundles of axons in the peripheral nervous system (PNS) that act as information highways to carry signals between the brain and spinal cord and the rest of the body. Each axon is wrapped in a connective tissue sheath called the endoneurium. Individual axons of the nerve are bundled into groups of axons called fascicles, wrapped in a sheath of connective tissue called the perineurium. Finally, many fascicles are wrapped together in another layer of connective tissue called the epineurium to form a whole nerve. The wrapping of nerves with connective tissue helps to protect the axons and to increase the speed of their communication within the body.
  • Afferent, Efferent, and Mixed Nerves. Some of the nerves in the body are specialized for carrying information in only one direction, similar to a one-way street. Nerves that carry information from sensory receptors to the central nervous system only are called afferent nerves. Other neurons, known as efferent nerves, carry signals only from the central nervous system to effectors such as muscles and glands. Finally, some nerves are mixed nerves that contain both afferent and efferent axons. Mixed nerves function like 2-way streets where afferent axons act as lanes heading toward the central nervous system and efferent axons act as lanes heading away from the central nervous system.
  • Cranial Nerves. Extending from the inferior side of the brain are 12 pairs of cranial nerves. Each cranial nerve pair is identified by a Roman numeral 1 to 12 based upon its location along the anterior-posterior axis of the brain. Each nerve also has a descriptive name (e.g. olfactory, optic, etc.) that identifies its function or location. The cranial nerves provide a direct connection to the brain for the special sense organs, muscles of the head, neck, and shoulders, the heart, and the GI tract.
  • Spinal Nerves. Extending from the left and right sides of the spinal cord are 31 pairs of spinal nerves. The spinal nerves are mixed nerves that carry both sensory and motor signals between the spinal cord and specific regions of the body. The 31 spinal nerves are split into 5 groups named for the 5 regions of the vertebral column. Thus, there are 8 pairs of cervical nerves, 12 pairs of thoracic nerves, 5 pairs of lumbar nerves, 5 pairs of sacral nerves, and 1 pair of coccygeal nerves. Each spinal nerve exits from the spinal cord through the intervertebral foramen between a pair of vertebrae or between the C1 vertebra and the occipital bone of the skull.
The meninges are the protective coverings of the central nervous system (CNS). They consist of three layers: the dura mater, arachnoid mater, and pia mater.
  • Dura mater. The dura mater, which means “tough mother,” is the thickest, toughest, and most superficial layer of meninges. Made of dense irregular connective tissue, it contains many tough collagen fibers and blood vessels. Dura mater protects the CNS from external damage, contains the cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds the CNS, and provides blood to the nervous tissue of the CNS.
  • Arachnoid mater. The arachnoid mater, which means “spider-like mother,” is much thinner and more delicate than the dura mater. It lines the inside of the dura mater and contains many thin fibers that connect it to the underlying pia mater. These fibers cross a fluid-filled space called the subarachnoid space between the arachnoid mater and the pia mater.
  • Pia mater. The pia mater, which means “tender mother,” is a thin and delicate layer of tissue that rests on the outside of the brain and spinal cord. Containing many blood vessels that feed the nervous tissue of the CNS, the pia mater penetrates into the valleys of the sulci and fissures of the brain as it covers the entire surface of the CNS.
Cerebrospinal Fluid
The space surrounding the organs of the CNS is filled with a clear fluid known as cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). CSF is formed from blood plasma by special structures called choroid plexuses. The choroid plexuses contain many capillaries lined with epithelial tissue that filters blood plasma and allows the filtered fluid to enter the space around the brain.
Newly created CSF flows through the inside of the brain in hollow spaces called ventricles and through a small cavity in the middle of the spinal cord called the central canal. CSF also flows through the subarachnoid space around the outside of the brain and spinal cord. CSF is constantly produced at the choroid plexuses and is reabsorbed into the bloodstream at structures called arachnoid villi.
Cerebrospinal fluid provides several vital functions to the central nervous system:
  1. CSF absorbs shocks between the brain and skull and between the spinal cord and vertebrae. This shock absorption protects the CNS from blows or sudden changes in velocity, such as during a car accident.
  2. The brain and spinal cord float within the CSF, reducing their apparent weight through buoyancy. The brain is a very large but soft organ that requires a high volume of blood to function effectively. The reduced weight in cerebrospinal fluid allows the blood vessels of the brain to remain open and helps protect the nervous tissue from becoming crushed under its own weight.
  3. CSF helps to maintain chemical homeostasis within the central nervous system. It contains ions, nutrients, oxygen, and albumins that support the chemical and osmotic balance of nervous tissue. CSF also removes waste products that form as byproducts of cellular metabolism within nervous tissue.
Sense Organs
All of the bodies’ many sense organs are components of the nervous system. What are known as the special senses—vision, taste, smell, hearing, and balance—are all detected by specialized organs such as the eyes, taste buds, and olfactory epithelium. Sensory receptors for the general senses like touch, temperature, and pain are found throughout most of the body. All of the sensory receptors of the body are connected to afferent neurons that carry their sensory information to the CNS to be processed and integrated.

Functions of the Nervous System
The nervous system has 3 main functions: sensory, integration, and motor.  
  • Sensory. The sensory function of the nervous system involves collecting information from sensory receptors that monitor the body’s internal and external conditions. These signals are then passed on to the central nervous system (CNS) for further processing by afferent neurons (and nerves).
  • Integration. The process of integration is the processing of the many sensory signals that are passed into the CNS at any given time. These signals are evaluated, compared, used for decision making, discarded or committed to memory as deemed appropriate. Integration takes place in the gray matter of the brain and spinal cord and is performed by interneurons. Many interneurons work together to form complex networks that provide this processing power.
  • Motor. Once the networks of interneurons in the CNS evaluate sensory information and decide on an action, they stimulate efferent neurons. Efferent neurons (also called motor neurons) carry signals from the gray matter of the CNS through the nerves of the peripheral nervous system to effector cells. The effector may be smooth, cardiac, or skeletal muscle tissue or glandular tissue. The effector then releases a hormone or moves a part of the body to respond to the stimulus.
Divisions of the Nervous System
Central Nervous System
The brain and spinal cord together form the central nervous system, or CNS. The CNS acts as the control center of the body by providing its processing, memory, and regulation systems. The CNS takes in all of the conscious and subconscious sensory information from the body’s sensory receptors to stay aware of the body’s internal and external conditions. Using this sensory information, it makes decisions about both conscious and subconscious actions to take to maintain the body’s homeostasis and ensure its survival. The CNS is also responsible for the higher functions of the nervous system such as language, creativity, expression, emotions, and personality. The brain is the seat of consciousness and determines who we are as individuals.
Peripheral Nervous System
The peripheral nervous system (PNS) includes all of the parts of the nervous system outside of the brain and spinal cord. These parts include all of the cranial and spinal nerves, ganglia, and sensory receptors.
Somatic Nervous System
The somatic nervous system (SNS) is a division of the PNS that includes all of the voluntary efferent neurons. The SNS is the only consciously controlled part of the PNS and is responsible for stimulating skeletal muscles in the body.
Autonomic Nervous System
The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is a division of the PNS that includes all of the involuntary efferent neurons. The ANS controls subconscious effectors such as visceral muscle tissue, cardiac muscle tissue, and glandular tissue.
There are 2 divisions of the autonomic nervous system in the body: the sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions.
  • Sympathetic. The sympathetic division forms the body’s “fight or flight” response to stress, danger, excitement, exercise, emotions, and embarrassment. The sympathetic division increases respiration and heart rate, releases adrenaline and other stress hormones, and decreases digestion to cope with these situations.
  • Parasympathetic. The parasympathetic division forms the body’s “rest and digest” response when the body is relaxed, resting, or feeding. The parasympathetic works to undo the work of the sympathetic division after a stressful situation. Among other functions, the parasympathetic division works to decrease respiration and heart rate, increase digestion, and permit the elimination of wastes.
Enteric Nervous System
The enteric nervous system (ENS) is the division of the ANS that is responsible for regulating digestion and the function of the digestive organs. The ENS receives signals from the central nervous system through both the sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions of the autonomic nervous system to help regulate its functions. However, the ENS mostly works independently of the CNS and continues to function without any outside input. For this reason, the ENS is often called the “brain of the gut” or the body’s “second brain.” The ENS is an immense system—almost as many neurons exist in the ENS as in the spinal cord.
Action Potentials
Neurons function through the generation and propagation of electrochemical signals known as action potentials (APs). An AP is created by the movement of sodium and potassium ions through the membrane of neurons.
  • Resting Potential. At rest, neurons maintain a concentration of sodium ions outside of the cell and potassium ions inside of the cell. This concentration is maintained by the sodium-potassium pump of the cell membrane which pumps 3 sodium ions out of the cell for every 2 potassium ions that are pumped into the cell. The ion concentration results in a resting electrical potential of -70 millivolts (mV), which means that the inside of the cell has a negative charge compared to its surroundings.
  • Threshold Potential. If a stimulus permits enough positive ions to enter a region of the cell to cause it to reach -55 mV, that region of the cell will open its voltage-gated sodium channels and allow sodium ions to diffuse into the cell. -55 mV is the threshold potential for neurons as this is the “trigger” voltage that they must reach to cross the threshold into forming an action potential.
  • Depolarization. Sodium carries a positive charge that causes the cell to become depolarized (positively charged) compared to its normal negative charge. The voltage for depolarization of all neurons is +30 mV. The depolarization of the cell is the AP that is transmitted by the neuron as a nerve signal. The positive ions spread into neighboring regions of the cell, initiating a new AP in those regions as they reach -55 mV. The AP continues to spread down the cell membrane of the neuron until it reaches the end of an axon.
  • Repolarization. After the depolarization voltage of +30 mV is reached, voltage-gated potassium ion channels open, allowing positive potassium ions to diffuse out of the cell. The loss of potassium along with the pumping of sodium ions back out of the cell through the sodium-potassium pump restores the cell to the -55 mV resting potential. At this point the neuron is ready to start a new action potential.
A synapse is the junction between a neuron and another cell. Synapses may form between 2 neurons or between a neuron and an effector cell. There are two types of synapses found in the body: chemical synapses and electrical synapses.
  • Chemical synapses. At the end of a neuron’s axon is an enlarged region of the axon known as the axon terminal. The axon terminal is separated from the next cell by a small gap known as the synaptic cleft. When an AP reaches the axon terminal, it opens voltage-gated calcium ion channels. Calcium ions cause vesicles containing chemicals known as neurotransmitters (NT) to release their contents by exocytosis into the synaptic cleft. The NT molecules cross the synaptic cleft and bind to receptor molecules on the cell, forming a synapse with the neuron. These receptor molecules open ion channels that may either stimulate the receptor cell to form a new action potential or may inhibit the cell from forming an action potential when stimulated by another neuron.
  • Electrical synapses. Electrical synapses are formed when 2 neurons are connected by small holes called gap junctions. The gap junctions allow electric current to pass from one neuron to the other, so that an AP in one cell is passed directly on to the other cell through the synapse.
The axons of many neurons are covered by a coating of insulation known as myelin to increase the speed of nerve conduction throughout the body. Myelin is formed by 2 types of glial cells: Schwann cells in the PNS and oligodendrocytes in the CNS. In both cases, the glial cells wrap their plasma membrane around the axon many times to form a thick covering of lipids. The development of these myelin sheaths is known as myelination.
Myelination speeds up the movement of APs in the axon by reducing the number of APs that must form for a signal to reach the end of an axon. The myelination process begins speeding up nerve conduction in fetal development and continues into early adulthood. Myelinated axons appear white due to the presence of lipids and form the white matter of the inner brain and outer spinal cord. White matter is specialized for carrying information quickly through the brain and spinal cord. The gray matter of the brain and spinal cord are the unmyelinated integration centers where information is processed.
Reflexes are fast, involuntary responses to stimuli. The most well known reflex is the patellar reflex, which is checked when a physicians taps on a patient’s knee during a physical examination. Reflexes are integrated in the gray matter of the spinal cord or in the brain stem. Reflexes allow the body to respond to stimuli very quickly by sending responses to effectors before the nerve signals reach the conscious parts of the brain. This explains why people will often pull their hands away from a hot object before they realize they are in pain.
The skeletal system in the body provides the shape, supports and protects organs and the soft areas of the body. Its others functions are bodily movement, producing blood for the body, and storing minerals that the physical structure needs.

Shape and Support

The skeleton is made up of various bones and provides the framework for the body. Thus the skeleton provides the basic shape and structure for the body.
The bones are like the structural members of a building, and all of the organs, muscles and skin are incorporated with the bones, just like the furnishings, rooms, walls, and finishing of a building.

The skeleton protects organs in the body. Bones can cover and protect many of the major organs.
  • cranium: protects the brain
  • ribs/sternum: protects the lungs, heart and digestive organs
  • pelvis: protects and supports the digestive and reproductive organs
  • spinal column: protects the major nervous branching into the entire system
  • mandible, maxilla and teeth protect the tongue and buccal cavity.

Blood Cell Production

Inside of the long bones there is a cavity that is filled with a substance called Bone Marrow that produces blood cells and repairs damaged blood cells.

The bones of the skeleton are the levers that help the body move in different directions and in different ways. Bones anchor muscle to provide movement.The bones by themselves can't move without the muscles that are connected to them.

Mineral Storage
Mineral is a substance that the body needs to carry out all of the bodily functions like thinking, breathing and moving around. One of the minerals that the body needs is calcium. Calcium is a major part of bone, and this is where the body stores its calcium. The less calcium the bone has, the weaker it will become. In case the body does not get enough calcium from the daily intake of food, it will take the calcium it needs from the bones.
The skeleton holds up your body like the trunk on a tree.

Monday, September 16, 2013


Smiling may seem like an involuntary response to something cute or funny, but it is much more than that.
Studies suggest that smiling, forced or not, can have a positive effect on your mood, decrease stress levels, and even make everyone around you feel better. Here are 6 surprising benefits of smiling that will really give you something to smile about.

Benefits of Smiling

1. Smiling is Contagious
Because of complex brain activity that occurs when you see someone smiling, smiles are contagious. Studies report that just seeing one person smiling activates the area of your brain that controls your facial movement, which leads to a grin.
Even in bad situations, if you smile, others are likely to mimic the expression.

2. You’ll Decrease Stress and Anxiety
It’s not easy to keep smiling in stressful situations, but studies report that doing exactly that has health benefits. When recovering from a stressful situation, study participants who were smiling had lower heart rates than those with a neutral facial expression.
So, the next time you’re feeling stressed, just try smiling to calm yourself down.

3. Smiling Releases Endorphins
Smiling decreases stress and anxiety by releasing endorphins, chemicals that makes you happier. Endorphins are the same chemicals you get from working out or running, resulting in what is known as a runner’s high.
4. You’ll Be More Attractive
A smile suggests that you’re personable, easy going, and empathetic. In fact, a study in the European Journal of Social Psychology found that smiling actually makes you more attractive to those you smile at.
5. Smiling Strengthens Your Immune System
Smiling even makes your immune system stronger by making your body produce white blood cells to help fight illnesses. One study found that hospitalized children who were visited by story-tellers and puppeteers who made them smile and laugh had higher white blood cell counts than those children who weren’t visited.
6. You’ll Be Friendlier
Studies have found that people are more willing to engage socially with others who are smiling. A smile is an inviting facial expression that tells people you are ...

Over the past few decades, soda has become a staple of the American diet. Every restaurant offers a variety of flavors, vending machines fill the lunch rooms of office buildings and schools, and every convenience store sells it by the bucket-sized cup. In fact, it’s hard to grab a quick meal without a soda being added as part of the price.
What most people don’t consider as they crack open a can of their favorite sweetened beverage is that this daily habit could be wreaking havoc on their health.
“The problem is high level of sugars in soda and consuming them every day,

Drinking beverages such as regular soda, sports drinks, energy drinks, juices and sweetened teas and coffee drinks could mean consuming anywhere between 90 to over 500 calories in simple sugars. Unlike more complex dietary carbohydrates found in fruits and vegetables, simple sugars are metabolized quickly and stimulate the production of insulin. The continued production of high levels of insulin can lead to weight gain and obesity, which is linked to numerous medical problems including heart disease, diabetes, degenerative joint disease, asthma, fatty liver disease and reproductive cancers.
Weight gain may not be the only hazard associated with drinking soda or sugary beverages daily.

Sugar-coated youth

“Sugary drinks can do a lot of damage to your health. And there is one group that drinking soda is becoming an increasing problem for: kids,” says Dr. Fujioka. “The number of kids that are becoming obese has increased dramatically over the past two decades and one of the biggest changes to their diet has been the amount of soda that they drink.”
Today, approximately 12.5 million American children are classified as obese. A report from the Centers of Disease Control noted that almost 25 percent of high school students drank a serving of soda at least once per day and 15 percent drank two or more per day. The study also found that as many as 62 percent of high school students drink some type of sugar-sweetened beverage at least once per day.
“Parents may need to deny their kids soda sometimes,” says Dr. Fujioka. “They should make sure it’s truly a treat, not an everyday thing.”

Alternatives to drinking soda

For many people, that daily soda is part of their routine and not having one every day may be difficult.
“People need to be aware how much sugar is in what they drink as well as what they eat,” notes Dr. Fujioka. “If they are getting more than 25 calories per serving, then it’s too high in sugar.”
Checking the label for serving sizes is also important since many containers contain 2 or more servings per bottle or can.
Water and low-fat or non-fat milk are both healthy ways to stay hydrated. For people who love the fizziness of soda, mineral water can be a good alternative. However, Dr. Fujioka doesn’t recommend switching to regular juice, since the high sugar content requires a lot of insulin to metabolize, just like soda. Juice without added sugars watered down to a quarter of the strength may help with the sugary drink cravings without being too high in calories.
“The best way for someone to get sugar is in fruit, People shouldn’t juice it though, they should just eat it. In that form, it’s a very safe and healthy thing to have.”
Marijuana is the word used to describe the dried flowers, seeds and leaves of the Indian hemp plant. On the street, it is called by many other names, such as: astro turf, bhang, dagga, dope, ganja, grass, hemp, home grown, J, Mary Jane, pot, reefer, roach, Texas tea and weed.
Hashish is a related form of the drug, made from the resins of the Indian hemp plant. Also called chocolate, hash or shit, it is on average six times stronger than marijuana.
“Cannabis” describes any of the different drugs that come from Indian hemp, including marijuana and hashish.
Regardless of the name, this drug is a hallucinogen—a substance which distorts how the mind perceives the world you live in.
The chemical in cannabis that creates this distortion is known as “THC.” The amount of THC found in any given batch of marijuana may vary substantially, but overall, the percentage of THC has increased in recent years.

How is it used?

Marijuana is a mixture of dried-out leaves, stems, flowers and seeds of the hemp plant. It is usually green, brown or gray in color.
Hashish is tan, brown or black resin that is dried and pressed into bars, sticks or balls. When smoked, both marijuana and hashish give off a distinctive, sweet odor.
Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in the world. A survey conducted in 2007 found that 14.4 million individuals in the US alone had smoked marijuana at least once during the previous month.
Marijuana is usually smoked as a cigarette (joint), but may also be smoked in a pipe. Less often, it is mixed with food and eaten or brewed as tea. Sometimes users open up cigars and remove the tobacco, replacing it with pot—called a “blunt.” Joints and blunts are sometimes laced with other, more powerful drugs, such as crack cocaine or PCP (phencyclidine, a powerful hallucinogen).
When a person smokes a joint, he usually feels its effect within minutes. The immediate sensations—increased heart rate, lessened coordination and balance, and a “dreamy,” unreal state of mind—peak within the first 30 minutes. These short-term effects usually wear off in two to three hours, but they could last longer, depending on how much the user takes, the potency of THC and the presence of other drugs added into the mix.
As the typical user inhales more smoke and holds it longer than he would with a cigarette, a joint creates a severe impact on one’s lungs. Aside from the discomfort that goes with sore throats and chest colds, it has been found that consuming one joint gives as much exposure to cancer-producing chemicals as smoking five cigarettes.
The mental consequences of marijuana use are equally severe. Marijuana smokers have poorer memories and mental aptitude than do non-users.
Animals given marijuana by researchers have even suffered structural damage to the brain.


Trying to follow all the studies on vitamins and health can make your head swirl. But, when it’s all boiled down, the take–home message is actually pretty simple: A daily multivitamin, and maybe an extra vitamin D supplement, is a good way to make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need to be healthy. True, a healthy diet should provide nearly all the nutrients you need. But many people don’t eat the healthiest of diets. That’s why a multivitamin can help fill in the gaps, and may have added health benefits. The folic acid in most multivitamins helps prevent neural tube defects in newborns, if women take it before they become pregnant; folic acid may also lower the risk of heart disease, colon cancer, and breast cancer. Vitamin D from a multivitamin or single supplement can lower the risk of colon and possibly many other cancers, as well as other chronic diseases.
Of course, there can be too much of a good thing. It’s important not to go overboard with vitamins. While a multivitamin and a vitamin D supplement can help fill some of the gaps in a less than optimal diet, too much can be harmful. In general, stick close to standard recommended doses in a multivitamin. And since your multivitamin will likely contain all the folic acid you’ll need, stay away from cereals, protein bars, and other foods that are super-fortified with folic acid.
Read enough nutrition news, and you’ll see that not all scientists agree on multivitamins. Some say that there’s not enough proof that multivitamins boost health, so they don’t recommend them. It’s a short-sighted point of view. Other scientists point to studies that seem to show a link between multivitamin use and increased risk of death.  But those studies are flawed. Looking at all the evidence, the potential health benefits of taking a standard daily multivitamin seem to outweigh the potential risks for most people.

 Getting the Right Vitamins

1. Eat a healthy diet. A multivitamin provides some insurance against deficiencies but is far less important for health than the healthy food patterns described on this website. Choose a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and healthy oils, and low in red meat and unhealthy fats—let the Healthy Eating Pyramid be your guide.
2. Choose a daily multivitamin. A daily multivitamin is an inexpensive nutrition insurance policy. Try to take one every day.
3. Think about D. In addition to its bone health benefits, there’s growing evidence that getting some extra vitamin D can help lower the risk of colon and breast cancer. Aim for getting 1,000 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day—this likely will require an extra vitamin D pill, in addition to your multivitamin.  For more information, see the vitamin D section of The Nutrition Source.
4. Say no to “megas.” In general, avoid mega-dose vitamins and mega-fortified foods. Higher doses of vitamin E may help to prevent heart disease, but in general, the amount in a standard multivitamin is enough to have health benefits. A standard multivitamin also has a day’s worth of folic acid, so you should avoid foods that have high amounts of folic acid added to them. Vitamin D is an exception, as many people need more than the RDA.
5. Avoid “super” supplements. Don’t be swayed by the wild health claims of the many health supplements advertised on TV and the Internet. If they sound too good to be true, you can be sure they are. Save your money for healthy food and a good vacation.

Sunday, September 15, 2013


You’ve just met a man who, at least on the surface, seems to be your dream guy. He’s attractive, funny, charming, successful and his smile (let alone the thought of his caress) makes you weak in the knees. You go out on a date or two, and he’s nothing short of perfect. He treats you like a queen, compliments your sense of style and tells you all of the things that you’ve been longing to hear from a guy.
So how do you know this guy’s the real thing and not just some womanizer who’s going to disappear after your first slumber party? While the only way to know for sure is to pass the test of time, here are a few red flags that would definitely indicate a potential for womanizer status.
1. He has a reputation. If your girlfriends have warned you that he uses women and throws them away, you need to listen to them and know he’s most likely a womanizer. Granted, there’s a small chance that you are the woman that can change him, but even if you do, you’ll just wind up spending the rest of your relationship worrying he’s going to revert back to his old womanizing ways. It’s very likely a guy like this will.

2. He moves fast. Before you’ve even had a chance to meet his friends and family, he’s telling you that you’re the woman of his dreams and he’s been waiting his whole life just to find you. While this is certainly exciting and thrilling, how could he possibly know that this quickly? It’s much more likely that he’s just in love with love (best case), or he’s just trying to get one thing from you (you know what it is). And this womanizer wants to reach his goal as soon as possible.
3. He’s over the top with the romance. We all love romantic gestures, whether it be a hand-written poem or a bouquet of flowers delivered to our desks at work, but if your guy constantly wants to jet you off to the islands for a romantic weekend or often surprises you with lavish jewelry, then he’s most likely had plenty of practice. While you might be thinking that you’re just graciously accepting his gifts, to him, these come with surprise expectations on your part.
4. He only has eyes for you … and anything else in a skirt. If you notice that your guy is checking out other women, or worse, flirting with the waitress, hostess, barista, etc., then he’s most likely a womanizer. As he’s telling you how beautiful you are and that you’re exactly the type of woman for him, he’s already thinking about how the woman that just walked by fits the same description. He’s not lying — the womanizer feels this way about every woman that strikes his fancy — you just happen to be part of the (very populated) crowd.
5. He seems too good to be true. He’s just a little too smooth, a little too charming, a little too perfect and that little voice in your head is telling you he’s done this before, probably many times over. While you may be tempted to ignore that nagging little voice and head upstairs to his apartment, just know that your instincts are more attuned to the situation than you think. It’s likely that as he’s telling you over coffee that he has a busy day ahead and can’t spend more time with you, you’ll be hitting yourself wishing you had listened to your gut last night.
Of course, this isn’t an all-inclusive list, nor should any of these traits be considered an immediate deal breaker. However, if any of the above are hitting close to home, your best bet is to take things slow and see if your guy survives the test of time. True womanizers rarely can.

Most people normally shed 50 to 100 hairs a day. But with about 100,000 hairs in the scalp, this amount of hair loss shouldn't cause noticeable thinning of the scalp hair. As people age, hair tends to gradually thin. Other causes of hair loss include hormonal factors, medical conditions and medications.
Hormonal factors
The most common cause of hair loss is a hereditary condition called male-pattern baldness or female-pattern baldness. In genetically susceptible people, certain sex hormones trigger a particular pattern of permanent hair loss. Most common in men, this type of hair thinning can begin as early as puberty.
Hormonal changes and imbalances can also cause temporary hair loss. This could be due to pregnancy, childbirth, discontinuation of birth control pills or the onset of menopause.
Medical conditions
A variety of medical conditions can cause hair loss, including:
  • Thyroid problems. The thyroid gland helps regulate hormone levels in your body. If the gland isn't working properly, hair loss may result.
  • Alopecia areata. This disease occurs when the body's immune system attacks hair follicles — causing smooth, roundish patches of hair loss.
  • Scalp infections. Infections, such as ringworm, can invade the hair and skin of your scalp, leading to hair loss. Once infections are treated, hair generally grows back.
  • Other skin disorders. Diseases that can cause scarring, such as lichen planus and some types of lupus, can result in permanent hair loss where the scars occur.

Hair loss can be caused by drugs used to treat:
  • Cancer
  • Arthritis
  • Depression
  • Heart problems
  • High blood pressure
Other causes of hair loss
Hair loss can also result from:
  • A physical or emotional shock. Many people experience a general thinning of hair several months after a physical or emotional shock. Examples include sudden or excessive weight loss, a high fever, or a death in the family.
  • Hair-pulling disorder. This mental illness causes people to have an irresistible urge to pull out their hair, whether it's from the scalp, their eyebrows or other areas of the body. Hair pulling from the scalp often leaves patchy bald spots on the head.
  • Certain hairstyles. Traction hair loss can occur if the hair is pulled too tightly into hairstyles