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Honey Bee Nutrition Might Be Key To Healthy Colonies – Texas A&M Today – Texas A&M University Today

Posted: September 12, 2020 at 11:53 am

To prevent future managed colony losses, the team will look for ways to strengthen bee colony immunity by feeding them more nutritious diets.

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A newly fundedTexas A&M AgriLife Researchproject seeks to slow population losses among more than 2.6 million managed honey bee colonies in the U.S.

Honey bees provide pollination services that uphold $16 billion in U.S. agricultural crops. However, managed colonies have seen annual declines. Those include a 40% decline as recently as 2018-2019, said Juliana Rangel, AgriLife Research honey bee scientist in the Department of Entomology, Bryan-College Station.

The declines are attributed to several general issues, including poor nutrition and susceptibility to pathogens and diseases, said Pierre Lau, AgriLife Research graduate assistant and a Texas A&M Universitydoctoral candidate in Rangels laboratory.

Lau is also the project leader. To prevent future managed colony losses, his team will look for ways to strengthen bee colony immunity to disease pathogens by feeding them more nutritious diets.

The project is supported by aU.S. Department of Agriculture pre-doctoral fellowshiptitled Optimizing Macronutrient Contents in the Honeybee Diet as a Mechanism for Pathogen Defense.

The research team includes Lau, Texas A&M graduate student Alexandria Payne, undergraduate students Cora Garcia and Jordan Gomez, and Rangel. Spencer Behmer, AgriLife Research professor in the Texas A&M department of entomology, is also part of the team, as is his postdoctoral research associate Pierre Lesne.

Cups with different macronutrient mixes are presented to bees in these small cups.

Texas A&M AgriLif

Researchers will focus heavily on macronutrients, which are those nutrients in the highest demand by a healthy body for proper metabolism and physiology, Lau said.

His teams work will be to first understand the varying amounts of proteins and lipids, or macronutrient ratios, present in bees diets. They will work to optimize an ideal diet with varying ratios of macronutrients, then they will observe physiological benefits to bees that receive increasingly nutritious dietary mixes.

Commercial honey bee colonies succumb especially to Nosema ceranae and deformed wing virus. Nosema ceranae, a fungal pathogen, causes a fatal intestinal disease, while deformed wing virus causes death due to developmental complications in heavily infected adults, particularly due to crumpled wings.

Besides pathogens and diseases, Lau said, honey bee declines within agroecosystems which describe most agricultural crop scenarios can also come from parasitization, poor queen health, pesticide exposure and landscape fragmentation.

As such, in addition to immunity, the researchers will investigate how nutritional changes affect expression of genes that mediate proper honey bee development and growth.

We know that pollen is the most important source of nourishment for bees, but as a field of research, we have a poor understanding of all the macronutrients that make up pollen, Lau said.

At the same time, Lau and collaborators, in an unpublished study, were able to determine the nutritional content of certain pollens. In the same study, they noted that honey bees preferred pollen with a lower ratio of protein to lipids, or P:L ratio, than what would be currently available in the beekeeping industry. Moreover, Lau said, existing research shows that organisms naturally seek out pathogen-fighting nutrients in their surroundings.

Does this mean that honey bees can alter their macronutrient intake to self-medicate and increase their tolerance to a pathogen, given the availability? Lau said. It could also be that the role of lipids is more significant than we understand.

Additionally, Rangel said, honey bees need certain plants in the vicinity to help them with physiological processes. Those include metabolizing certain macro and micronutrients.

We know that honey bees need variety in their diet, Rangel said. But, to what extent are certain nutrients required, or even sought after, by the bees for proper nourishment?

Can we introduce supplemental macronutrients that allow honey bees to self-medicate in the presence of pathogen infections? Lau added. This will be our focus for the next two years.

Read more about theTexas A&M Honey Bee Research Program , and follow Rangels lab onFacebook.

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Honey Bee Nutrition Might Be Key To Healthy Colonies - Texas A&M Today - Texas A&M University Today

Weight loss: Eating more of one food can help burn fat and boost energy – what is it? – Express

Posted: September 12, 2020 at 11:53 am

Of course, ditching unhealthy snacks is sure to help tone up the waistline.

However, the expert explained eating more of certain foods is actually the key to a weight loss transformation.

Those hoping to lose a few pounds and feel more energetic should add more foods high in fibre into their diets.

Emily commented: "Despite a bland reputation, health experts now believe that fibre is more than just roughage that keeps you regular.


"According to UK government guidelines, adults should be getting 30 grams of fibre a day.

"And yet, nine in 10 people in the UK are not meeting this, with most adults eating only 18 grams a day.

"The latest research suggests that eating enough fibre could be the key to reducing your risk of various health conditions as well as helping you lose stubborn fat."

Not only can fibre help improve the overall health of the body, the food can speed up weight loss results.

Fibre may help with weight management by helping you to feel fuller for longer, as well as helping to feed the good bacteria in your gut," she added.

High fibre foods include wheat bran, brown rice, nuts, seeds and cereals.

Combining these with plenty of protein can also help dieters cut back on fat.

She continued: "Protein is whats known as a macronutrient, meaning its a nutrient the body requires a lot of it (along with carbohydrates and fats) in order to stay healthy.

"Protein is a not-so-secret weapon when it comes to weight loss. The main reason for this is protein is satiating which means it makes you fuller for longer.

For adults, the general daily requirement is 0.6g of protein per kilogram bodyweight.

"So if you weigh 80kg, youd need around 48 grams protein daily to stay healthy, but increasing your protein intake might have benefits if youre trying to lose weight."

High protein foods include meat, fish, dairy, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds.

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Weight loss: Eating more of one food can help burn fat and boost energy - what is it? - Express

Parveen Babi survived on a diet of milk, eggs towards the end of her life: Karishma Upadhyay – Hindustan Times

Posted: September 12, 2020 at 11:53 am

Few actors have captivated the Indian imagination like actor Parveen Babi did. She dazzled on the Indian silver screen at a time when being modest and coy was the order of the day. Glamorous, sensuous and successful, her personal life was as much in the news as her work -- she was known for her bohemian choices and doomed romances. Later, her health issues began to dominate headlines.

While much is known about her, a new book Parveen Babi A Life by writer Karishma Upadhyay, takes a fresh look at the late star and dives deep into her lifes challenges and background. In a chat with Hindustan Times, Karishma talks about the highs and lows in Parveens life, her regal background, her transformation from a shy and ambitious girl to a life in arc lights and more.

Which new facets of Parveen Babis life will we get to read in the book?

The book pretty much covers her life from birth to death.

While the relationships were an important part of her life, there is a lot more to her life. There is information about her family, what she was like as student, etc. One of the things that directors I spoke to mentioned was her photographic memory. She may not have been the best actress in the business, but she was someone who memorised dialogues pretty much instantly.

For my book, I spoke to Amol Palekar who had worked with her. He recalled an earlier interaction when he had brought along with him the celebrated playwright Badal Sirkar, who had wanted to see a film shoot. Amol took him to Mumbais Film City, where Parveen was shooting for The Burning Train. The moment she saw Badal, Parveen jumped up and touched his feet. It turned out that when Parveen had made her debut on theatre, back in Ahmedabad, she had done so in a famous play by Badal called Evom Indrajit. Amol mentioned about how they spent the next few hours talking about literature and theatre. It is hard to believe that someone who looked as glamorous as Parveen did would be able to talk at length on such topics.

A large part of the book also talks about her mental health issues. There is a lot about her breakdowns and what she was like, what the people around her saw. When she left the industry even her family didnt know where she had disappeared. She just left. So there is information about that as well. There are details about the time she returned, right down to how she converted to Christianity. There are details about what she ate, how she thought that there were people wanting to poison her and how, towards the end of her life, she survived on a diet of milk and eggs.

Writer Karishma Upadhyay spoke to as many as 100 people for the book, Parveen Babi A Life.

In the context of Sushant Singh Rajput case where there is much talk about mental health, this book should help in de-stigmatising the issue. You think so?

That is my only hope. I started researching for the book about three years back and later, the writing began. Then the lockdown happened. It is very uncanny that the book is coming out now. I can only hope that it gives people a better understanding... I am not a psychiatrist but, to the best of my ability, I have tried to understand what she went through.

That it is possible to be young, beautiful and successful and yet have to deal with a mental health issue. When people use a word like paagal, it is important to know that there are many different kinds of mental illnesses. They all look different, their symptoms are different... if people understand a little more, I will consider it my job done.

Tell us something about your research, who did you speak to and where all did it take you? Did you go to Junagarh, for instance?

No, I did not go to Junagarh. She didnt really have a family - her father passed away when she was really young and her mother died three years before Parveens death. I did go to Ahmedabad where she spent considerable amount of time and where she studied. I went to Gangtok to meet Danny Denzongpa. I went to Pune to meet Amol Palekar.

I have spoken to about 100 people for the book out of which 60 are on record. I spoke to Hema Malini, Amol, Deepti Naval, Manoj Kumar, Ravi Tandon, her friends from the industry like Sanjay Khan and his wife, right down to the inspector who found her body. Mahesh Bhatt, Danny and Kabir Bedi are there in the book and I spoke to all of them.

What would be the takeaway from this book?

For me, I would really like all to understand the importance of conversations around mental health. On the surface, her life was perfect. She had the money. She had the men she loved. But when you look a little deeper, you understood things were not what they appeared to be.

In the process of speaking to 100 people, what would you say could have been done in retrospect to help prevent her downward spiral?

I feel it would be about getting the help she needed. Mahesh Bhatt did try, he was the first one who saw it coming; she had her first breakdown when she was with him. He mentioned later that he didnt have any status in her life and he couldnt help her as much as she needed. She needed someone who could get her the medical attention she needed.

Would you say your book will help people empathise more?

I genuinely hope so.

Theres a fair bit of information about her in public domain...

And much of it is wrong, like her age. She was five years younger than what is publicly known. She was born on April 4, 1954.

Follow @htshowbiz for more

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Parveen Babi survived on a diet of milk, eggs towards the end of her life: Karishma Upadhyay - Hindustan Times

This Is the Best Diet For PCOS, According to a Dietitian – Yahoo Lifestyle

Posted: September 12, 2020 at 11:53 am

Photographer: Maria del RioEditorial and internal use approved. OK for Native and co-branded use.Photographer: Maria del RioInternal and Editorial use approved. OK for Native and Co-Branded use.

Polycycstic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, is a hormonal condition that affects an estimated six to 12 percent of people with female sex organs (as many as five million), according to the CDC. Symptoms of PCOS include ovarian cysts, irregular periods, high levels of androgen (male hormones), excess hair growth, acne, and weight gain. Although these symptoms can be controlled with medication including birth control to regulate hormones and Metformin to regulate blood sugar, the biggest way to get PCOS under control is through lifestyle changes: sleep, stress management, exercise, and - most notably - diet.

Since many women with PCOS also have insulin resistance, treating the condition requires a tricky balance of eating the right foods at the right times. Unfortunately, PCOS is a complex condition that doesn't adhere to a one-size-fits-all approach.

"Lifestyle management is recommended as a first-line treatment of PCOS; however, studies have not proven which type of diet is best," said PCOS expert Martha McKittrick, RD, CDE, and certified health coach. "This is probably because each woman is an individual and has different genes, metabolisms, medical issues, and phenotypes of PCOS."

Even if there's not one type of diet that's best for everyone with PCOS, there are some general diet tips that everyone with PCOS can benefit from. Here are the main guidelines McKittrick recommends:

Related: After Years of Suffering, the Whole30 Diet Helped Heal My PCOS Symptoms

McKittrick says balanced meals that contain protein and fat along with your carbs control blood sugar, prevent insulin spikes, and ward off carb cravings. For example, a slice of whole grain toast with natural peanut butter is more satiating than a bowl of cereal with fat-free milk since the peanut butter is higher in fat and protein to balance out the carbs from the toast. However, she emphasizes that it's a general guideline and not a rule you need to stick to 100 percent of the time; sometimes you may just want an apple by itself or a steak with salad and no carbs.

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She recommends is eating foods that are lower on the glycemic index and have a lower glycemic load, such as whole grains, fruit, and vegetables, instead of higher glycemic foods such as potatoes, white bread, rice, and refined sugar. Eating fiber-rich foods will also prevent blood sugar spikes and keep you feeling fuller longer.

Healthy fats such as nuts, nut butters, avocados, and olive oil will keep you feeling satiated and can help you lose weight. Omega-3 fats, like the ones found in fatty fish, walnuts, and canola oil, may decrease the risk of heart disease, improve insulin resistance, and decrease inflammation.

Related: Can You Eat the Pain Away? Here's What Happened When I Followed an Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Processed foods are usually loaded with refined sugars and carbs and empty calories that can spike your blood sugar. "Your best bet is to stick to food as close as possible to its natural state," she says.

PCOS is also associated with inflammation, so she recommends limiting inflammatory foods such as added sugars, trans fats, and refined carbs. Processed foods also tend to be inflammatory. Instead, she says to load up on anti-inflammatory foods such as fatty fish, dark leafy greens, berries, ginger, garlic, and turmeric.

Vegetables are not only anti-inflammatory; they can help you lose weight, too. They're low in calories but high in fiber, so loading your plate with vegetables will make you full without all the added calories of other calorie-dense foods. Veggies are also packed with micronutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants - all great news for those living with PCOS.

Poor gut health has been linked to obesity, according to a 2016 study, and McKittrick says gut health could also be tied to PCOS - after all, a healthy gut can help improve digestion, balance hormones, and boost immunity. Load up on probiotic-rich foods to feed your gut such as kombucha, unsweetened Greek yogurt, and fermented foods.

Since your hormones are all out of whack with PCOS, it's best to stay away from any other external sources of hormones such as meat and dairy. When it comes to buying your animal products, try to buy organic if you can, which means they haven't been given antibiotics or growth hormones, according to the USDA guidelines. However, organic meat is more expensive than nonorganic, so it's best to buy what's in your grocery budget.

Related: PCOS Affects as Many as 5 Million Women - Here's How to Know If You're One of Them

One of the best ways to stay on track with your healthy eating regimen is to meal prep. Plus, it will save you time during the week and money in the long run because you'll be less likely to order takeout or pick up something processed. Set aside some time on the weekends to prep all your meals and snacks for the week. It doesn't even need to be complicated - you can make a variety of foods in just 30 minutes!

At the end of the day, if you don't enjoy any of the food you are making or eating, you won't stick to your healthy eating plan.

"Eating is one of life's pleasures," McKittrick said. "If you feel deprived most of the time, it's likely that you'll end up bingeing on the foods you miss the most or will just feel totally miserable."

Find foods that you like and can eat frequently. If you miss your favorite comfort foods, try substitutes such as spiralized zucchini noodles instead of traditional pasta and cauliflower rice instead of white rice. It's all about balance, and as long as you are eating on your diet plan most of the time, there is still room for your favorite treats - just enjoy in moderation.

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This Is the Best Diet For PCOS, According to a Dietitian - Yahoo Lifestyle

Road Diet Pilot Project to continue in Reading – Wicked Local Reading

Posted: September 12, 2020 at 11:53 am

The following was submitted by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation:


The Massachusetts Department of Transportation recently announced that it is extending the Road Diet Pilot Project that is currently taking place on Main Street, Route 28, in Reading.

The pilot, which began in late April and was originally scheduled to conclude this fall, will now be extended through the winter months into 2021 to allow a more comprehensive sampling of data to be collected and evaluated during future time frames when traffic volumes may be more comparatively aligned to pre-COVID-19 levels.

The impacts of COVID-19 on traffic volumes and patterns in Reading and across the commonwealth have been significant. Although traffic volumes have continued to increase as a result of the phased reopening in the commonwealth, MassDOT wants to make sure that traffic data and public input being collected on the pilot are accurate and representative of future traffic conditions. While MassDOT expects that final lane configurations will be determined and installed in Spring 2021, exact dates will depend on weather and traffic conditions.

MassDOT plans to announce the results of the pilot evaluation and determine final lane configurations in March 2021. If it is determined that safety is not improved and traffic impacts reach unacceptable levels for an extended period of time, the lane configurations will be returned to the original pre-pilot conditions after the pilot evaluation period ends and the final pavement surface and permanent pavement markings are installed.

Road diets are proven safety countermeasures that reduce the number of conflict points and make travel safer for all roadway users. A study conducted by the Federal Highway Administration found that four-lane to three-lane road diets reduce the total number of crashes by 19-47%. Some road diets have shown an even greater improvement as much as a 70% reduction in crashes along a single stretch of road.

The road diet pilot on Main Street will reconfigure travel lanes within the existing roadway to create a center left-turn lane along the corridor and dedicated left-turn lanes at signalized intersections. This reconfiguration of travel lanes will simplify turning movements for cars, help provide more consistent traffic flow and reduce the likelihood of severe crashes and injuries for drivers and pedestrians.

For information, visit

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Road Diet Pilot Project to continue in Reading - Wicked Local Reading

India and Portugal have a special culinary bond: Claudia Matias – Times of India

Posted: September 12, 2020 at 11:52 am

Claudia Matias has joined Turismo de Portugal, India Office as a Director in January 2020. She has an experience of more than 20 years and is a representative expert and one of the most reliable marketing person in Portugal. We spoke to her about the culinary culture of Portugal and the bond that India and Portugal share and what we got was in an interview that would surely inspire any foodie to plan a trip to Portugal as soon as the travel ban is lifted.What are the five things you should not miss when in Portugal?Portugal is a country of beautiful contrasts, so selecting five its a challenge for a Portuguese soul. Portuguese are very passionate about their country, origins and achievements. Our historical background is amazing and that path made us a very friendly country, our people are natural-born hosts, we are storytellers and we take huge pleasure when we see visitors from other countries enjoying the secrets only locals can tell! I would say that the experience and what not to miss in Portugal can be many things, our, cuisine, nature, golden beaches with amazing sunsets, UNESCO heritage and history, monuments, medieval castles, cobblestone villages, captivating cities and the Portuguese, are the promise of an adventure that inspires a journey.

Why do you think it should be the most sought after travel destination in the post-COVID scenario?Portugal is already one of the most approached destinations by international travellers, with 4 of the 21 safest destinations for this summer with Madeira, Azores, Alentejo and Algarve being selected by the European Best Destinations for 2020 summer inside Europe. Three Portuguese beaches are among the 10 safest in Europe.

During the pandemic and confinement, we needed to take a break, the dream of the great days to come and face this together so we launched the #CantSkipHope movement that organically reached over 1.8 million people in over 90 countries. It is also translated in +12 languages, most of the translations were done by the users that wanted to share this inspirational message with the world.

According to Fowardkeys and the travel Outlook for Europe, Lisbon is one of the top 3 inbound destination cities for international travellers in October, November and December when examining tickets issued as of August 10. The Worlds Best Destination continues to be authentic, diverse, attractive, inclusive and safe. We maintain our purpose and undertaking, namely to welcome all our visitors and ensure that they can travel around the country safely and confidently. Its time to say #CantSkipHope... Start planning.

The Mediterranean Diet, classified as World Heritage by UNESCO, is part of the identity of the Portuguese gastronomy. It's based on plants, including vegetables, fruit, good quality bread and largely unprocessed cereals, dried and fresh vegetables (beans, chickpeas, broad beans, etc.), dried fruits and nuts (walnuts, almonds, chestnuts, raisins, etc.), but also the mentioned olive oil as the main source of fat, and fish at the expense of red meat.

Each dish is matched to the right wine and we love sharing wine with family and friends during long and joyful meals. The whole country produces wine among hundreds of native grapes, the less unknown ones are Tinta Barroca, Rabigato, Touriga Nacional, Baga, Alvarinho. Many of these grapes directly descend from pre-historic vine plants that developed in the country and have to endure thousands of years of human presence and climate changes. Don t forget that Rose is a Portuguese wine! Wine also pairs with cheese and we have wonderful mountain cheeses produced that the world has yet to discover. The creamy, oily or dry goat and sheep cheeses also make us bless the heavens. The Portuguese sweets are divine and full of heritage, like the nuns used to do in the old days while preparing their recipes of sugar, eggs and almond in the seclusion of their cloisters.

We celebrate the National Gastronomy Day in June and our cuisine lies in the human factor. Our chefs are increasingly talented and are winning more prizes, revolutionising the richness of Portuguese cuisine with their creativity, boldness and good taste. Currently, Portugal is proud to have a host of chefs who work at the highest levels of cuisine, using old-established recipes or more unusual methods that often enhance the flavour and quality of local products. Some come from our 12 tourism schools managed by Turismo de Portugal, and we just received the UNWTO TEDQUAL certification.

So, I must say that across Portugal and its islands you get different flavours and dishes, each region is a capital of food having everything to please even the most discerning palate because it is based on genuine quality products, cooked according to traditional recipes or the most innovative and unusual trends.

Do share some lesser-known facts about Portugal that people do not know?

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India and Portugal have a special culinary bond: Claudia Matias - Times of India

The Consequences of Spraying Fire Retardants on Wildfires – Tufts Now

Posted: September 12, 2020 at 11:52 am

Wildfires started burning in California early again this dry seasonmore than two million acres have burned so far. Larger and larger wildfires are occurring as new heat records are being broken each year.

Firefighting efforts have leaned heavily on aerial spraying of fire retardants, but their environmental and health effects are little studied, says Jordyn Ellorin, VG19, a native Californian who received an M.S. in conservation medicine (MCM) from Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.

For the capstone requirement of her masters program, Ellorin focused on the sustainability of current methods for fighting wildfires in California. (She now works as an animal diet technician for San Diego Zoo Global, where she did her MCM externship.)

Tufts Now talked to Ellorin about what she learned about wildfire management and mitigationand the consequences of those efforts.

Tufts Now: Does the use of these long-term fire retardants in California seem to be increasing?

Jordyn Ellorin: I cant speak to what is occurring with this round of fires. However, I can tell you from my research that the safety and usage guidelines for the fire retardants were developed nearly forty years ago. And the research that informed those guidelines was based on the amounts of chemicals that they were spraying back then, not at these increased amounts we see now.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) publish an estimated budget each year that contains the amount of flame retardant that they expect to use during the next fire season based on previous years and label-use specifications of the products. At the end of the year another report is published stating the amount of fire retardant actually used. These reports show that the actual use exceeded the anticipated amount for all years since 2014.

Why is that?

Its due in part to larger wildfires that are occurring as new heat records are being broken each year and from climate change and humans further encroaching on wildland areas.

The use of long-term fire retardants is designed to slow the fire ahead of ground crews so they can access and gain control of the fire. But fire retardants are now being used instead of ground crews, according to Firefighters United for Safety, Ethics, and Ecology (FUSEE), and the 19 million gallons sprayed on Californias federal lands is being applied differently than originally intended.

CalFire and USFS are not supposed to spray retardants within 300 feet of any waterway for environmental health reasons. However, theres an addendum to that rule that says you can spray near any waterway if human life or property is in danger.

In recent years, more people are living in forested areas, areas between urban and wild habitats, and other places where there is a fuel load for wildfires. So now theres a need to spray retardants in areas where they traditionally wouldnt have been allowedand then downstream effects from that.

What are the downstream effects on animals?

The really worrisome aspect is that we dont truly know. These fire retardants havent been fully studied over long periods of time at the increased amounts were currently using.

We do know that sprayed fire retardants feed harmful algal blooms along waterways and are toxic to fish. A 2014 study showed that the active ingredient in one common sprayed fire retardant is toxic to chinook salmon, causing death from direct exposure, as well as gill damage that would lead to reduced ocean survival at even dilute amounts. This is concerning, as salmon populations are a major contributor to the California river and ocean ecosystems and already in jeopardy as a native species.

On a larger scale, studies in the Canadian Arctic have shown that brominated fire retardants, which are now banned, accumulate in food systems from fish to wolf.

Until recently, these retardants were commonly used in close-contact household items such as furniture, so their effects have been better studied. It demonstrates the potential for exposure to fire retardants to create ripple effects in the environment and wildlife far from where they are first used.

And what about the effect on people?

On the human side, the chemicals material safety data sheets say that the retardants are not toxic to people but should not be ingested. The retardants are dyed orange so that when people see them come out of the planes, they know they shouldnt eat any food from their garden.

However, things can get tricky if your garden is sprayed while youre evacuated, because the fire retardants turn clear once exposed to sunlight. Meanwhile, California supplies more than two-thirds of the nations fruit and vegetables.

The U.S. Geological Services has a group, Columbia Environmental Research Center, that is working to pull together longitudinal research on effects of these fire-retardant chemicals. But there is currently nothing published on their effects on Californias agricultural products.

Human health researchers also have expressed concern that, although there is published research about the human hazards of smoke inhalation from wildfires, little is known about the inhalation of fire-retardant chemicals once theyre burned off by wildfires.

Can spraying fire retardants actually create more fuel for fire down the road?

One of the main components of most fire retardants is ammonium phosphate, which is a basic plant multi-nutrient fertilizer. When we essentially spray a fertilizer over California, so-called invasive plant species grow faster and outcompete the states native plant species, which do not thrive in a fertilized environment.

The non-native plant species then flourish in Californias wet season. And when this season changes to a very dry summer, there is a lot of dead brush or dead plant material that creates the fuel load for wildfires.

How can California adapt to prevent these dangerous fires before they start?

That is the key question. Fires are environmentally necessary. They burn dead or dry brush and other plant material first, clearing the forest and allowing space and light for new plants to thrive. Within some ecosystems, fires influence seedling germination, forest structure, and soil composition. They are how many wild plants seed and regrow, so theyre important for the states native species.

But if we're spraying fertilizer and all these non-native species are coming up and outcompeting the native species, how do we stop that cycle from feeding these huge wildfires? My case study while I was at Cummings looked at two potential mitigation tactics: prescribed fires and grazing.

Pine needles and other dry plant material burns hot and fast and, at a small level, thats okay. You want that dry plant material to burn and replenish the nutrients into the soil. But if too much of it burns, it starts catching the trees on fire. Once the trees start burning, the fire becomes super-hot and starts moving really fast. That is hard to stop.

California doesnt really have the human resources to safely conduct enough small controlled burns to thin that potential fuel load. And in the dry summer months, you dont want to conduct these prescribed fires, because thats when things can get out of control.

What about grazingis it a more feasible mitigation measure?

You dont want to graze those native plant habitats that are really vital to our state. But grazing could be a useful mitigation tactic in hilly or mountainous areas. Firefighters have a really hard time fighting fires on hills because they cant get trucks in there and fires tend to move up and down hills very quickly. So using livestock animals that are able to climb up and down those hills and graze and clear the ground of dead brush and plants would be helpful.

Goats may be a little bit less detrimental to the environment. You need fewer of them to browse an area clean, as they eat many different types of plant material when compared to cattle. Theyre also not quite as heavy as cattle, so they dont till up the ground quite as much as cows do. However, grazing is still a measure that has to be undertaken carefully, as domestic animals still will eat native plants that wildlife could be eating.

The USFS already leases land to agriculture professionals for grazing purposes, but this approach to land use could be further utilized to holistically benefit humans, animals, and the environment.

It sounds like there are competing interests at issue herepeoples safety and their property versus wildlife and the environment.

Growing up in northern California, I had experienced fire season, but within the last 10 years, every fire season has been labeled unprecedented and devastating to larger populations of the state. I think now that the majority of people living in the state have experienced the panic of evacuating or are related to someone who has.

It's hard to balance people feeling safe where they live and knowing how human actions are affecting the environment they live in. Further studying the effects of what we are doing currently will give people a better idea of humans impact and the opportunity to come up with innovative solutions for fire management.

Genevieve Rajewski can be reached at

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The Consequences of Spraying Fire Retardants on Wildfires - Tufts Now

Fitness during the pandemic: Here are 5 exercises you can try doing in the shower – Times Now

Posted: September 12, 2020 at 11:52 am

Fitness during the pandemic: Here are 5 exercises you can try doing in the shower  |  Photo Credit: iStock Images

New Delhi: As cases of COVID-19 rise all around the world, especially in India, with the country becoming the second-worst affected due to the pandemic, and reporting the fasting growing outbreak around the world, staying at home and ensuring the best of health becomes even more important to reduce the risk of contraction of the disease and to avoid any severe complications due to the same.

With the increased work pressure both professionally and personally, people are unable to find two seconds of peace for themselves, let alone for a proper workout routine. At the same time, physical activity remains restricted due to stay at home guidelines, and even as gymnasiums and fitness centres opened up in the latest phase of unlock, most people are refraining from visiting them. Therefore, it is very important to squeeze in some amount of exercise in your daily routine, so as to ensure that your body gets some sort of movement. Here is a genius idea why not exercise while you are in the shower?

While this may sound absolutely absurd, it does make sense if you think about it. The bathroom is the one place you find some amount of peace and can spare a few minutes to give your body a quick stretch or workout. Since most people shower as the first thing in the morning, it only makes sense to fit exercise in your routine at that time. Here are 5 exercises you can safely do in the shower.

Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.

Fitness during the pandemic: Here are 5 exercises you can try doing in the shower - Times Now

This Diet May Lead to More Weight Loss Than Cutting Calories, New Study Finds – Yahoo Lifestyle

Posted: September 11, 2020 at 8:01 pm

One diet typically doesn't work for all but those who have type 2 diabetes may fare better following one specific diet than othersespecially programs that only target calorie restriction. New research suggests that reducing carbohydrate intake coupled with increased exercise may be the ticket to weight loss for people with this condition.

The 2019 studywhich was conducted by a team of researchers in the Netherlands but just recently presented at the 2020 European and International Obesity Congressaddressed that calorie restriction alone may not be an effective weight-loss method for those who have insulin resistance caused by type 2 diabetes.

Insulin resistance occurs when your pancreas has to make more insulin to help glucose (sugar) enter into cells in your muscles and fat, and it's often associated with prediabetes which can lead to type 2 diabetes if not managed through diet and exercise. Having this condition can prevent weight loss depending on the types of food you eat. As many as 75% of people with obesity may also have insulin resistance. (Related: What Happens to Your Body When You Drink a Smoothie Every Day)

The study compared three types of diets geared toward promoting weight loss in 344 patients with obesity and type 2 diabetes. The three diets included a calorie-restriction diet, a low-carb diet, and the 66 dieta low-carb program that occurs in three phases. After monitoring participants for a year, researchers found the 66 diet was twice as effective as just calorie-counting alone. On this diet, not only did patients lose more weight, but they also reduced insulin resistance and lowered blood pressure.

So, what does the 66 diet look like exactly? Over the course of three phases, you keep your carb consumption low as well as your overall intake of processed foods. At the same time, you increase the amount of protein and fiber in your diet and incorporate vegetables into every meal. When following the 66 diet, the emphasis isn't around the number of calories you consume, but rather the quality of your calories.

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In phase one, patients limit their carb intake to just 36 grams per day while also increasing their protein intake to 1.2 grams or more per kilogram of body weight. The goal here is to cut alcohol and get protein from fish and plant-based sources such as nuts and beans. Note, this preliminary phase parallels the keto diet except the main objective with this low-carb diet is to increase protein intake. The keto diet on the other hand focuses more on elevating fat consumption.

Things change pretty dramatically in phase two because then you can slowly start introducing more carbs into your diet. By phase three, you can increase your carb intake even more. When patients stop losing weight, that indicates they've reached the carb intake that's best for them to maintain a healthy weight.

"This is a very individual need," said Ellen Grovers, registered dietitian and lead author of the study, in an online presentation. "Everyone has their own carbohydrate need, and this also counts for healthy people."

All patients were also instructed to exercise at least two to three times per week for an hour a day for the duration of this study.

At least 43.2% of patients who followed this special diet lost at least 5% of body weight in one year and 40% stabilized their blood glucose levels. For those who followed a standard low carb diet, 41.7% lost at least 5% of their body weight whereas only 23.3% of participants in the calorie-restricted group lost the same.

What's even more telling is that nearly 23% of participants who followed the 66 diet lost 10% or more from their weight at baseline, compared to just 17.3% and 10%, respectively, in the low-carb and calorie-restricted groups.

So, as you can see not only did patients following the 66 diet lose the most weight, but they also improved their blood glucose levels.

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This Diet May Lead to More Weight Loss Than Cutting Calories, New Study Finds - Yahoo Lifestyle

Spouses More Likely to Hit Weight-Loss Goals Together – Muscle & Fitness

Posted: September 11, 2020 at 8:01 pm

If you have a goal that youre looking to achieve, especially one that requires lifestyle changes, it stands to reason that having your significant other or spouse on board would make it easier. And thats exactly what researchers found when they looked at the success rates of heart attack survivors who were advised to lose weight, change their physical activity habits, and quit smoking.

The research, which was presented at European Society of Cardiologys Congress 2020, found that people who lived with their partners were more likely to change their ways, especially with weight loss.

Lifestyle improvement after a heart attack is a crucial part of preventing repeat events, study author Lotte Verweij, a registered nurse and Ph.D. student at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands, said in a press release. Our study shows that when spouses join the effort to change habits, patients have a better chance of becoming healthier particularly when it comes to losing weight.

The study analyzed a total of 824 patients, with 411 assigned to the group that would take on lifestyle intervention programs on top of typical post-heart attack care. The interventions included up to three programs depending on the patients needs and preferences: weight loss, physical activity, and smoking cessation.

Partners were encouraged to attend for free alongside those referred to the programs, and participation was defined as attending at least once.The programs were as follows, the release noted:

In all, 48 percent of partners took part in the lifestyle interventions, and the patients with involved partners were more than twice as likely to improve in at least one area within a year. Partner involvement made the biggest difference when it came to weight loss.

Couples often have comparable lifestyles and changing habits is difficult when only one person is making the effort, Verweij explained. Practical issues come into play, such as grocery shopping, but also psychological challenges, where a supportive partner may help maintain motivation.

Quitting smoking and getting active, on the other hand, didnt seem to be improved when a partner participated in the program. These lifestyle issues might be more subject to individual motivation and persistence, but this hypothesis needs more investigation, she said.

So if youre looking to lose weight but cant seem to avoid the junk food your partner has around the house, try getting them on board to boost your odds of success.

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Spouses More Likely to Hit Weight-Loss Goals Together - Muscle & Fitness

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