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A sense of purpose may add years to your life

A sense of purpose may add years to your life | Food, Health and Nutrition |
Feeling that you have a sense of purpose in life may help you live longer, no matter what your age, according to new research. The research has clear implications for promoting positive aging and adult development, says the lead researcher.


"Our findings point to the fact that finding a direction for life, and setting overarching goals for what you want to achieve can help you actually live longer, regardless of when you find your purpose," says lead researcher Patrick Hill . "So the earlier someone comes to a direction for life, the earlier these protective effects may be able to occur."


The researchers looked at data from over 6000 participants, focusing on their self-reported purpose in life (e.g., "Some people wander aimlessly through life, but I am not one of them") and other psychosocial variables that gauged their positive relations with others and their experience of positive and negative emotions.


Greater purpose in life consistently predicted lower mortality risk across the lifespan, showing the same benefit for younger, middle-aged, and older participants across the follow-up period


Purpose had similar benefits for adults regardless of retirement status, a known mortality risk factor. And the longevity benefits of purpose in life held even after other indicators of psychological well-being, such as positive relations and positive emotions, were taken into account.


Read the full article here: ;

Frank J. Papotto, Ph.D.'s curator insight, August 12, 9:50 AM

It is interesting to consider the power of purpose in organizations. Both how organizational purposes might help give purpose to individual lives and how people with a sense of purpose might enhance organizational life are worth thinking about. 

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A Message From The Curator

A Message From The Curator | Food, Health and Nutrition |

Food, Health and Nutrition covers a range of topics ranging from functional foods, health information and nutritional tips. I have always liked eating good food and most of my research is centered around phytochemistry i.e. the study of plant compounds with biological significance.


The cover photo highlights the following functional foods:
Red Wine


Green Tea


Please follow my topic and share my scoops if you found the curated articles interesting, and check out the popular tags listed in the post above. I also welcome suggested scoops related to this topic and give credit where credit is due.

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

I teach chemistry at UCSI University, Malaysia and most of my research is centered around phytochemistry.


My research interests can be viewed here:


I manage the Facebook and Google+ pages for the Faculty of Applied Sciences, UCSI University. Curated scoops are shared here:

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This new veggie burger which looks just like meat

This new veggie burger which looks just like meat | Food, Health and Nutrition |
Here’s one for all those vegetarians out there who sometimes just really feel like a good ol’ hamburger - a veggie burger complete with what looks like a perfectly cooked, medium rare beef patty.


The burger is the brainchild of biochemistry professor Patrick Brown from Stanford University in the US, and it’s now being manufactured by his food company, Impossible Foods. The secret ingredient is called heme, or ‘plant blood’, which is an organic molecule found in the protein leghemoglobin - the plant version of haemoglobin.

Which is all very efficient and clever, but what’s particularly relevant to Brown in this scenario is the fact that each heme molecule with the leghemoglobin protein is arranged in a circle, and in the middle of that circle sits an iron atom. This gives the heme molecules oxygen-attracting qualities - just like the haemoglobin in our blood - and when the heme and oxygen molecules bind together, they change colours, becoming noticeably redder. 

Heme also creates flavours not unlike the ones we taste in meat when it's exposed to sugars and amino acids. So what Brown had to do was come up with the perfect formula for his veggie patties using heme and a variety of different plant-based compounds to not only replicate the flavour of meat, but also the textures of animal fat, muscle fibre, and tissue.

Read more here:

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Looks really tasty. Would be interesting to see how vegans and vegetarians react to this new meat patty. Most vegans would have to get over the "yuck" factor associated with meat. 


Changing global diets is vital to reducing climate change This new burger makes it easier to reduce our meat intake.

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A compound found in turmeric encourages brain repair

A compound found in turmeric encourages brain repair | Food, Health and Nutrition |
Scientists have discovered that a common curry spice encourages the growth of neural stem cells in rats, and could help the brain heal itself.


New research suggests that aromatic-tumerone, a compound found in the spice turmeric, could be used to create future drugs to treat patients with neural impairment, such as sufferers of strokes and Alzheimer’s disease.


Scientists from the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine at the Research Centre Juelich in Germany studied the impact that aromatic-tumerone has on neural cells by injecting the compound into the brains of rats. Scans revealed that, after being injected with the compound, the regions of the brain involved in nerve cell growth were more active. 


The researchers also tested the impact of the compound directly on neural stem cells, which are cells that have the ability to transform into any type of brain cell and, in theory, should be able to repair damage or disease. But in humans and other mammals this process doesn’t seem to work so well.


"In humans and higher developed animals their abilities do not seem to be sufficient to repair the brain but in fish and smaller animals they seem to work well,” Maria Adele Rueger, a neuroscientist who was part of the research team, told Smitha Mundasad from BBC News.


The turmeric compound also sped up the differentiation of the stem cells. The results are published in the journal Stem Cell Research and Therapy


Read more here:

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

My PhD research was on the bioactive properties of gingers and I find this study rather interesting. I did not work on stem cells and I focused more on the Etlingera genus but turmeric is interesting nonetheless.


Read more scoops on functional foods and regenerative medicine here:


Susan Walker-Meere's curator insight, October 19, 3:32 PM

Using ethnological knowledge, one would think that simmering it in oil like curries are prepared or making it bio-available during a fermentation process like in a kimchi, or adding to a secondary kefir ferment would make it more efficacious.

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Granny Smith apples can help prevent the damage of obesity

Granny Smith apples can help prevent the damage of obesity | Food, Health and Nutrition |
Research has revealed that apples contain compounds that can help prevent disorders associated with obesity, and Granny Smiths are the best for you.


Scientists from Washington State University in the US discovered that non-digestible compounds found in apples can help fight disorders associated with obesity - and that Granny Smiths contain the most.


The research revealed that the sour, green Granny Smith apples promote the growth of good bacteria in the colon, due to their high content of non-digestible compounds, including dietary fibre and polyphenols, and a low amount of available carbohydrates.

This means that, despite being chewed and subjected to stomach enzymes, these compounds are still intact when they reach the colon, where they are fermented by bacteria to benefit the growth of friendly bacteria colonies.


Scientists now understand that many people with obesity have an imbalance in the bacterial communities in their colon, and this can lead to inflammation and trigger disorders such as diabetes. The non-digestible compounds in apples can help to restore this balance and prevent some of the damage of obesity.


This is the first study to show the difference between certain apple varieties, and is published in the journal Food Chemistry:

Read more here:

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

The gut bacteria which trigger diabetes associated disorders also vary with gender. Read the scoop here:

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Kids' Lunch Boxes Often Fall Short on Nutrition

Kids' Lunch Boxes Often Fall Short on Nutrition | Food, Health and Nutrition |

There are many benefits of packing a lunch for your child. In most cases, you save money and gain the peace of mind of knowing that your kids aren't left to their own devices in the lunch line (french fries and apple pie, anyone?).


But are you giving your kids the best meal they could eat? It turns out that the brown-bag lunches we make may be less nutritious than we think they are, according to a study published last month in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.


The study showed that most home-packed lunches flunked when they were graded based on the criteria set by the National School Lunch Program. This organization requires that school lunches contain servings from all five major food groups: fruit, veggies, grains, protein and dairy. But when researchers studied lunches from over 600 third and fourth graders, the results showed that none of the home-packed lunches contained servings from all of the food groups. None.


In fact, only 27% of the lunches contained three or more food groups. The typical lunch contained a sandwich, chips and water. Sugar-sweetened beverages were a close second beverage choice. Milk, an excellent source of calcium, was missing from most lunches. It could be an oversight, personal preference or lactose intolerance that is causing this issue, but milk seems to be an unpopular choice.


Read more here:


The associated research article can be read here:

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Many parents may be reluctant to trust their kids nutrition to a school cafeteria. However, planning and preparing a nutritious lunch is not an easy task. This is especially true for working parents.


In particular, preference for high calorie foods may prove to be a difficult habit to kick


More scoops on health and nutrition can be read here:

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Bio-reactive food expiry label could cut food waste

Bio-reactive food expiry label could cut food waste | Food, Health and Nutrition |
Researchers have created a use-by-date label that decays as the same rate of food, in order to drastically reduce unnecessary food waste.


Known as the Bump Mark label, this new bio-reactive expiry date is made from gelatine, a protein that reacts to environmental conditions such as temperature and light - and anything else that affects food.


Developed by Sloveiga Pakstaite from Brunel University in London, the label has been named the UK winner of the James Dyson Award for innovatively tackling the global problem of food waste.


Each year the UN estimates that seven MILLION tonnes of food is wasted in the UK alone, often because it’s passed its marked use by date. However, much of this food would still be fine for consumption.


But the Bump Mark, because it contains an edible substance, can actually work out when something is no longer safe to eat. "Gelatine sets solid but it has this property that when it is fully expired it loses its structure,” Pakstaite told the International Business Times UK.


The design works by placing gelatine on top of a textured plastic sheet - and when food goes off, the label will feel bumpy instead of smooth. This means it would also help people who are visually impaired to find out if what they were about to eat had gone off.


Read more here:

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Recently, scientists have also developed an active packing method which keeps bread mold free

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Artificial sweeteners linked to glucose intolerance

Artificial sweeteners linked to glucose intolerance | Food, Health and Nutrition |

ARTIFICIAL sweeteners can cause glucose intolerance in mice, and perhaps in humans, by altering gut bacteria, a series of experiments suggests. Although artificial sweeteners – among the world's most widely used food additives – are approved by most food regulation agencies as safe for humans, the researchers who led the work suggest that their use should be reassessed. 


"The most shocking result is that the use of sweeteners aimed at preventing diabetes might actually be contributing to and possibly driving the epidemic that it aims to prevent," says Eran Elinav at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, who co-supervised the work with his colleague Eran Segal.

Non-caloric artificial sweeteners are synthetic alternatives to sugar that can taste up to 20,000 times sweeter. They provide no calories because we cannot digest them. They are found in many common foods such as diet sodas, cereals and sugar-free desserts, and often form part of recommended diets for people with type 2 diabetes.

Nevertheless, Segal and Elinav were concerned that some studies have shown a link between the use of sweeteners and a tendency towards weight gain and diabetes. To probe for a causal link, their teams carried out a series of experiments. They began by adding one of three commonly used sweeteners – saccharin, sucralose or aspartame – to the drinking water of healthy young mice. The dose of sweetener was the equivalent to the maximum acceptable daily intake in humans, as set by the FDA. The mice drinking sweeteners – which are made up of 5 per cent active ingredient and the rest glucose – were compared with mice drinking plain water or water supplemented only with glucose.

After 11 weeks, the researchers tested all the rodents' glucose tolerance by giving them a high-glucose drink and taking regular blood samples. Under normal conditions, the blood tests should show an initial spike in glucose, followed by a decline as the body secretes the insulin in response. Insulin instructs cells to use the extra glucose for energy or turn it into fat. Glucose intolerance occurs when this process becomes inefficient, and is strongly associated with type 2 diabetes.

A second test, with saccharin, confirmed this. Wiping out the rodents' gut bacteria using antibiotics abolished all the effects of glucose intolerance in the mice. In other words, no bacteria, no problem regulating glucose levels. Further experiments supported this conclusion. For example, when the researchers transferred the gut bacteria of mice who had consumed saccharin into mice whose guts were bacteria-free, it caused these previously healthy mice to become glucose intolerant. Similar transplants from mice drinking glucose-enriched water had no negative effects on health.

Read more here:

These findings published in Nature along with associated research articles can be read here:

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Our intestinal biota varies according to what we eat. Even gender differences affect the composition of our gut bacteria

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Talent vs Training

Which is more important - genetics or hard work?

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Even with regular workout sessions, I find it difficult to lose weight. Likely, I am considered one of the "low responders" as described in the video. A more humorous take on nature vs nurture scooped here:


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The 10 Most Filling Foods for Weight Loss

The 10 Most Filling Foods for Weight Loss | Food, Health and Nutrition |
Baked potatoes, greek yogurt, and popcorn can help you load up on fiber and protein


If you were to describe The Perfect Food, it might go something like this: healthful, delicious, bigger than a morsel and filling enough to fight hunger for hours. “Foods that promote satiety”—a feeling of lasting fullness—”do exist,” insists David Katz, MD, founder of the Yale University Prevention Research Center.


What makes some grub extra satisfying? “Fiber and protein can help,” says Barbara Rolls, PhD, author of The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet. Getting more bang for your bite matters, too: Low-energy-density foods, which yield big portions for few calories, “allow you to eat more without gaining weight,” Rolls says. Want some of that? Make room for these secret-weapon picks:


1. Baked potato
2. Eggs
3. Bean soup
4. Greek yogurt
5. Apples
6. Popcorn
7. Figs
8. Oatmeal
9. Wheat berries
10. Smoothies


Read more about how to prepare meals from the 10 food items listed above, here:

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Satiation is an important factor is any diet. Read more scoops on diets here:

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Drinking tea is better for you than drinking coffee or no tea at all

Drinking tea is better for you than drinking coffee or no tea at all | Food, Health and Nutrition |

Drinking tea can reduce your non-cardiovascular mortality by 24%, according to a new study comparing the effects of tea and coffee on the health of volunteers in France.


A new study of 131,000 volunteers in France has revealed that drinking tea can significantly reduce a person’s risk of dying from a non-cardiovascular cause. A non-cardiovascular cause of death can be anything that doesn't have to do with the heart, such as a heart attack, high blood pressure, heart failure, angina, palpitations, or deep vein thrombosis. 


Led by Nicholas Danchin from the European Hospital Georges Pompidou in France, the study involved volunteers aged 18 to 95 years who were at a low risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and had a health check at the Paris IPC Preventive Medicine Center between January 2001 and December 2008.


The volunteers were asked about their coffee and tea consumption, and were placed in one of three groups depending on how much they consumed - no cups, one to four cups per day, or more than four cups per day. During the 3.5 years that the team took to follow-up on the results, there were 95 deaths from cardiovascular causes (CV) and 632 deaths from non-cardiovascular causes (CV). 


Using the data, the team investigated the effects of coffee and tea on CV mortality and non-CV mortality and presented their results at the 2014 European Society of Cardiology Congress last week. From the results, the team says there is enough evidence to suggest that drinking tea is better for your health than drinking coffee, or even no tea at all. "If you have to choose between tea or coffee it's probably better to drink tea,” Danchin said in a press release.


Read more here:

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Tea has also been shown to boost brain cognitive functions


However, coffee has been shown to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes

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15 'Healthy' Foods That Are Actually Bad For You

15 'Healthy' Foods That Are Actually Bad For You | Food, Health and Nutrition |

The truly healthy foods are those that don’t need any health claims.


Unhealthy foods are the main reason the world is fatter and sicker than ever before. Surprisingly, some of these foods are considered healthy by many people.  Here are 15 “health foods” that are really junk foods in disguise:


1. Processed “Low-Fat” and “Fat-Free” Foods.
2. Most Commercial Salad Dressings.
3. Fruit Juices… Which Are Basically Just Liquid Sugar.
4. “Heart Healthy” Whole Wheat.
5. Cholesterol Lowering Phytosterols.
6. Margarine.
7. Sports Drinks.
8. Low-Carb Junk Foods.
9. Agave Nectar.
10. Vegan Junk Foods
11. Brown Rice Syrup
12. Processed Organic Foods
13. Vegetable Oils
14. Gluten-Free Junk Foods
15. Most Processed Breakfast Cereals


The original article provides a good review of 15 foods above and has links to research articles which support their statements. Read more:

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Some of the more surprising myths discussed in the article includes how the "war" on saturated fat was based on weak evidence and how wholemeal bread has a glycemic index comparable to white bread.


Read more scoops on food myths here:

Alive Juices's curator insight, September 5, 11:17 AM

Interesting post! Love to read this. I want to know these all 15 Healthy foods that are really junk foods ? Why?

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Breakfast isn't as important as you've been told

Breakfast isn't as important as you've been told | Food, Health and Nutrition |
Is breakfast the most important meal of the day? Not according to the latest research.


The importance of breakfast might be one of the longest running myths when it comes to dietary health, because when you actually look into the science behind it, there’s not much evidence to support its lofty status as “the most important meal of the day”. In fact, a spate of new research independently conducted by different universities around the world and published this month in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that breakfast has little to no effect on a person’s weight and overall health.

In one of the studies, researchers at the University of Alabama and other institutions in the US gathered almost 300 volunteers who had started dieting before the study. These volunteers were split into three groups and told to either eat breakfast every day, skip breakfast every day, or keep on doing what they were doing. The people who were told to continue what they were doing were already in the habit of consistently eating or skipping breakfast.

A separate study conducted by researchers at the University of Bath in the UK took on 33 slim volunteers and started out by measuring their metabolic rates, cholesterol levels and blood-sugar profiles. They were then split into two groups, and half were told to eat breakfast, and half to skip it. They were given activity monitors to record how active they were in the morning.

Read more here:

Read the associated research articles here:

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Breakfast being the most important meal of the day is likely propagated by cereal and milk commercials.


Read other scoops on food myths here:



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A 5-minute run per day could add years to your life

A 5-minute run per day could add years to your life | Food, Health and Nutrition |

According to a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, running 5 minutes per day can reduce an individual’s risk of premature death by about 3 years. Researchers found that people who ran less than an hour per week also saw an increase in lifespan, not just a decrease in risk of premature death. The study took place over the course of 15 years, testing participants ranging in age from 18-100.


Separate research found that running more than 20 miles per week could take years off an individual’s life, providing further evidence that less can be more with regard to exercise. According to that research, individuals who exhibit consistent but moderate workout patterns are likely to live the longest.


Watch the video featured in Time magazine here:


Read the associated research article here:

Via Peter Mellow, Richard Haddad, H2O Alkalizer, Demarcio Washington
Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

A sense of purpose can also add years to your life

Richard Haddad's curator insight, August 3, 5:21 PM

je ne vais pas contredire d'eminents cardiologues, mais 5mn me parait trop court , a peine le temps de chauffer ses muscles 

Kirra Rose's comment, September 29, 10:11 AM
this is perfect. many people sit at home playing games, sleeping all day, etc, but do they even think that a couple if minuted of excercise every day might just help them?
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A capsule containing poo can treat chronic intestinal infections

A capsule containing poo can treat chronic intestinal infections | Food, Health and Nutrition |
Over the past year there’s been a lot of talk about the medical benefits of feacal transplants - and now scientists have found a way to give them orally.


A feacal transplant is a procedure in which poo from a healthy patient is implanted into the colon of an unhealthy patient. Unexpectedly, it's been shown to treat a range of intestinal illnesses and infections, but right now it's too expensive and uncomfortable to be used widely.


Officially known as feacal microbiota transplant (FMT), the poo is currently transplanted into the sick patient using a colonoscopy or by feeding a tube down from the nose to the colon - which, as you can imagine, isn't pleasant.


But now researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital in the US have managed to put frozen feacal matter into capsules that can be taken orally. And small-scale trials show these capsules have a similar 90 percent success rate against the potentially fatal bacteria Clostridium difficile bacteria as traditional poo transplants. 


"The use of capsules simplifies the procedure immensely, potentially making it accessible to a greater population," said Ilan Youngster, a co-author on the paper, in a press release.


C. difficile infection causes 250,000 hospitalisations and 14,000 deaths each year in the U.S. alone, and up to 30 percent of patients infected with it don't respond to antibiotics. Chronic infection can lead to debilitating digestive issues. 


In the past, feacal transplants have been shown to have a more than 90 percent success rate in treating these patients. This is because the poo also carries the gut bacteria from the health donor’s gut, and these microbial communities can fight off C. difficile infections within days.


The results were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association

Read more here:

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Feacal transplants sounds like a quaky alternative therapy but it is accepted by mainstream medicine with proven benefits. The balance of our intestinal microbiota can be disrupted by what we eat potentially leading to glucose intolerance


Scientists have also developed a "spiky capsule" which allows vaccines, hormones and intravenous drugs to be administered orally These substances are broken down in the gastrointestinal tract and would normally have to be administered with an invasive injection.


Other scoops on probiotics can be read here:

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Antioxidant Found In Grapes Can Help Treat Acne

Antioxidant Found In Grapes Can Help Treat Acne | Food, Health and Nutrition |
Got grapes? UCLA researchers have demonstrated how resveratrol, an antioxidant derived from grapes and found in wine, works to inhibit growth of the bacteria that causes acne.


The team also found that combining resveratrol with a common acne medication, benzoyl peroxide, may enhance the drug’s ability to kill the bacteria and could translate into new treatments.


Early lab findings demonstrated that resveratrol and benzoyl peroxide attack the acne bacteria, called Propionibacterium acnes, in different ways.


Resveratrol is the same substance that has prompted some doctors to recommend that adults drink red wine for its heart-health properties. The antioxidant stops the formation of free radicals, which cause cell and tissue damage. Benzoyl peroxide is an oxidant that works by creating free radicals that kill the acne bacteria.


“We initially thought that since actions of the two compounds are opposing, the combination should cancel the other out, but they didn’t,” said Dr. Emma Taylor, the study’s first author and an assistant clinical professor of medicine in the division of dermatology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “This study demonstrates that combining an oxidant and an antioxidant may enhance each other and help sustain bacteria-fighting activity over a longer period of time.”


Read more here:


Their research article published in the journal Dermatology and Therapy can be read here:

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Studies on how different compound behave synergistically are uncommon. Fairly interesting synergy between two unlikely compounds. 


More functional food scoops here:

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Personality, Homework Behavior and Academic Performance

Personality, Homework Behavior and Academic Performance | Food, Health and Nutrition |

A study to be published in the upcoming issue of the journal Learning and Individual Differences explored the relation between personality and homework behavior. Yes, of course, procrastination is a key variable here, and personality does make a difference in students' homework behavior and academic achievement.


Although cognitive ability is the key predictor of grades and overall academic performance, personality also plays a role. The question that researchers explored in this study was how personality affects academic performance. Their basic hypothesis was that the effects of personality on academic performance are mediated by homework behavior. For example, someone who is not very conscientious in terms of personality (lacking a sense of self-discipline, orderliness and need for achievement) would be less likely to do his or her homework, and this would negatively affect grades. In fact, previous research indicates that the personality trait of conscientiousness is the strongest personality predictor of academic performance (as important as cognitive ability in terms of prediction), and it's also a strong predictor of success in the work place.


Researchers from the Groningen Institute for Educational Research at the University of Groningen in The Netherlands collected data from a large, nationally representative sample of students in the equivalent of U.S. Grade 7 and above (the base-year sample in this longitudinal data set consisted of 19,391 students drawn from 825 classes). In addition to end-of-year grades for language and mathematics, the researchers had data from students' self-reports on homework behavior and personality (Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, Emotional Stability and Autonomy


What they found:

Personality predicted homework behavior. Students with different personalities learn in different ways, some of which are rewarded within secondary education and others not, and this partly determines why they perform at different levels. Procrastination was predicted most strongly by Conscientiousness


Read more here:


The associated research article can be read here:

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

In DISC terms, conscientiousness is the hallmark of those with an "S personality". However, most entrepreneurs and CEOs have a dominant "D personality".


Personality is to a certain extent hereditary. Personality traits and disorders are often shared by close family members


Therefore, our genes determine how well we do in school

Susan Walker-Meere's comment, October 19, 3:36 PM
So, therefore, we can see that different personality types may 'rise to the top' in different situations. Thus, the possibility that the contemporary focus on scholastic success as a predictor of create thought, innovation and general success is misinformed?!
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How to Deal with Panic Attacks?

How to Deal with Panic Attacks? | Food, Health and Nutrition |

Panic attacks and anxiety, although similar, but are different in some aspects. It’s because of these similarities that people tend to put the both in a single basket; however for a successful treatment it is good to differentiate the two and proceed from that knowledge.


People who suffer from panic attacks know that this intense feeling of fear comes out of nowhere; instead, people who suffer from a kind of anxiety have specific triggers for the tension. For example, people with social anxiety disorders are affected when they are in a social situation.

Panic attacks can leave you emotionally exhausted, thinking there is no way out of the nightmare. The sudden attacks of fear makes you feel helpless. However, thanks to the advancement of medicine and therapy, overcoming panic attacks is something possible.


The two main treatments used for panic attacks are medication and therapy, they are often combined to give the patient a full spectrum of ways to deal with the problem. The medicines used are antidepressants, prescribed and supervised by doctor and have been proved to be highly effective to control panic attacks.


When you start feeling the symptoms of a panic attack, there are a few things you can do. You can for instance do some physical activity like walking while trying to remain calm and relaxed. Doing regular exercise has helped some people reduce the frequency and severity of attacks.

If you think you have panic attacks but are not certain, the best idea is to talk to a professional. Through tests and questions you will be evaluated and the diagnose will be determined for treatment. Remember that both disorders are treatable and there is no need of suffering for a longer time.


Read more here:

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Some of the tips, such as exercise, keeping calm and relaxed are also useful for people going through a stressful period. Nonetheless, panic attacks are real and suffers should seek help.


People with above average intelligence are more prone to panic attacks as they readily form connections between disparate pieces of information


More scoops on psychology and psychiatry can be read here:

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Junk Food Craving Linked to Brain Lapse

Junk Food Craving Linked to Brain Lapse | Food, Health and Nutrition |
Reduced activity in the area that controls self-restraint can boost high-calorie cravings, study shows


The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex helps people control their own behavior, according to the study. Previous studies have shown that increasing activity in this part of the brain can cut cravings for unhealthy foods, but the new research found that reduced activity has the opposite effect and can lead to overindulgence in junk food.


"It has long been thought that the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex helps to keep automatic, or knee-jerk, reactions in check," study senior author Peter Hall, from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, explained in a news release. "We discovered that when you temporarily dampen the operation of this particular part of the brain, strongly ingrained and quite universal preferences for high-calorie foods start to hijack people's thought patterns and even their eating patterns."


Using a form of magnetic stimulation of the brain, the researchers temporarily reduced activity in the left dorsolateral cortex of participants' brains. The study, published recently in Psychosomatic Medicine: Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine, revealed that the lowered activity caused greater food cravings for calorie-dense foods as well as greater intake of junk food.


"This is the first study to demonstrate that taking the prefrontal cortex temporarily offline results in increased snacking," study author Cassandra Lowe, doctoral student in the university's School of Public Health and Health Systems, said in a news release. The researchers concluded their findings suggest brain health should be an integral part of public health campaigns.


Read more here:


Read the associated research article here:

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

This study shows the part of the brain controlling food cravings. However, this does not mean that high high-calorie cravings are inevitable. Other study's have shown that it is possible to train our brain to prefer healthier foods; and our food choices can influence brain chemistry and cause depression

Read more scoops on the human brain here:

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Scientists can make your wine better with nanotechnology

Scientists can make your wine better with nanotechnology | Food, Health and Nutrition |
A team of scientists creates a "mini-mouth," a group of nanosensors that not only mimic the sensation of a wine's dryness in the mouth, but can also accurately measure it.


This technology could eventually benefit wine producers by allowing them to test this dryness earlier in the winemaking process. When grapes become wine, producers carefully control what happens to the grapes throughout the process. Something called astringency, or that dry sensation that wine creates in the mouth, is of particular importance to producers because it affects how a wine tastes to a drinker. The wine's tannins, which have a direct impact on the flavor of each individual wine, creates this sensation.


Currently, producers test for astringency much later in their winemaking process, by human tasters. However, the Aarhas University's "mini-mouth" allows for sensors to test for astringency earlier in production, even before the wine is ready for consumption.


"We don't want to replace the wine taster," says Joana Guerreiro, PhD, author of the study. "We just want a tool that is useful in wine production. When you produce wine, you know that the finished product should have a distinct taste with a certain level of astringency."

The mini-mouth not only simulates astringency, but also measures it. Astringency naturally occurs in the mouth when proteins there interact with molecules in the wine. When that happens, the proteins and molecules bind, creating the sensation of dryness that happens when we drink wine.


The sensor consists of gold nanoparticles on a small plate. Scientists add proteins found in saliva to the plate, and then they add wine. They focus a beam of light on the nanoparticles that allows them to see the proteins and the effect the wine has on them.


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Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Good wine tasters are hard to come by. This technology would benefit small startup wine producers. 


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Changing global diets is vital to reducing climate change

Changing global diets is vital to reducing climate change | Food, Health and Nutrition |

A new study, published recently in Nature Climate Change, suggests that – if current trends continue – food production alone will reach, if not exceed, the global targets for total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2050.


The study’s authors say we should all think carefully about the food we choose and its environmental impact. A shift to healthier diets across the world is just one of a number of actions that need to be taken to avoid dangerous climate change and ensure there is enough food for all.


“Western diets are increasingly characterised by excessive consumption of food, including that of emission-intensive meat and dairy products. We tested a scenario where all countries were assumed to achieve an average balanced diet - without excessive consumption of sugars, fats, and meat products. This significantly reduced the pressures on the environment even further,” said the team.


As populations rise and global tastes shift towards meat-heavy Western diets, increasing agricultural yields will not meet projected food demands of what is expected to be 9.6 billion people - making it necessary to bring more land into cultivation. This will come at a high price, warn the authors, as the deforestation will increase carbon emissions as well as biodiversity loss, and increased livestock production will raise methane levels. They argue that current food demand trends must change through reducing waste and encouraging balanced diets.


If we maintain ‘business as usual’, say the authors, then by 2050 cropland will have expanded by 42% and fertiliser use increased sharply by 45% over 2009 levels. A further tenth of the world’s pristine tropical forests would disappear over the next 35 years.


The study shows that increased deforestation, fertilizer use and livestock methane emissions are likely to cause GHG from food production to increase by almost 80%. This will put emissions from food production alone roughly equal to the target greenhouse gas emissions in 2050 for the entire global economy.


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Research article published in Nature Climate Change can be viewed here:

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Ensuring a diverse diet is not only healthy and good for the environment, it also ensures food security. Crop diversity is one way of ensuring resilience to climate change. Although changing global diets would be challenging, research has shown that we can train our brains to prefer a healthier range of food


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Three short walks can reverse the damage of three hours of sitting

Three short walks can reverse the damage of three hours of sitting | Food, Health and Nutrition |

New research has revealed that breaking up three hours of sitting with three slow, five-minute walks undoes the damage that sitting causes to the leg arteries.


We all know by now that sitting for long periods of time can be deadly - recent research has linked prolonged sitting to high cholesterol, obesity and cardiovascular problems. This is partly because sitting makes the muscles in our bodies become lazy and stop contracting, causing blood to pool in our legs instead of being pumped back to the heart. This causes instant damage to the endothelial function of the arteries, which means that the inner lining of the blood vessels (the endothelium) begin to fail at dilating and contracting.


But new research by scientists from Indiana University in the US suggests we’re not all doomed. By taking three slow, five-minute walks, we can actually reverse the damage to our arteries caused by three hours of sitting down, the study shows.


The researchers investigated this by dividing up 12 non-obese men into two groups - one that sat at a desk for three hours without  moving their legs or feet (like most of us do each day), and another that sat at the desk for three hours but got up and took slow, five-minute walks on a treadmill three times during the period. This second group only walked at 3.2 kilometres an hour (2 miles per hour) at 30 minutes, 1.5 hours and 2.5 hours into the sitting.


After the three hours, the researchers used ultrasound to see what state the inner lining of the femoral arteries of the test subjects were in - the femoral artery is the large artery in the thigh which supplies blood to the leg. 


The arteries of the first group of men, who sat for three hours straight, had decreased dilation by an astonishing 50% compared to the start of the experiment. Their rate of blood flow had also dropped.


On the other hand, the group who took three short walks during the study didn’t experience any decrease in artery dilation. Although this experiment involved a small sample size, the results were so striking that they were statistically significant.


The results are published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.


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Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Some of the health hazards associated with sitting were previously scooped here:


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Eating junk food triggers a cycle of unhealthy food choices

Eating junk food triggers a cycle of unhealthy food choices | Food, Health and Nutrition |
Scientists have shown that junk food not only makes rats fat, it also stops them from trying different foods and seeking out a balanced diet.


Research by the University of New South Wales (UNSW) has found that a diet of junk food can change rats' eating behaviour and trap them in a cycle of unhealthy eating. The team of scientists, led by head of pharmacology Margaret Morris, taught male rats to associate two different sound cues with two flavours of sugar water - cherry and grape.


Usually rats, and most other animals, will avoid a flavour or food that they’ve recently over indulged in. This is an inborn mechanism that protects against overeating and promotes a healthy, balanced diet in animals.


To test the effect junk food had on this mechanism, they fed one group of the rats a healthy diet for two weeks, and the other a diet of cafeteria foods, including dumplings, cookies and cakes, which had around 150 percent more calories than the healthy diet. The researchers then tested how the different groups responded to sound cues for the two types of flavoured water.

They found that the healthy rats would stop responding to cues for a flavour they’d recently overindulged in and try the new flavour instead, as they normally would. But the rats who had been living on junk food for a fortnight changed their behaviour dramatically. Not only did their weight increase by 10 percent, they also became indifferent to their food choices and didn’t avoid the sound cues for the water they’d recently overindulged in. Instead, they continued to drink the overfamiliar taste, and lost their natural preference for new flavours.


Even one week after the rats returned to their healthy diet, the changes persisted. The results are published in Frontiers in Psychology.

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Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

These findings explain why the early stages are the most difficult when switching to a healthier diet. 


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You can train your brain to prefer healthy foods

You can train your brain to prefer healthy foods | Food, Health and Nutrition |
It might be possible to train your brain to prefer healthy foods over unhealthy, higher-calorie foods, according to new research.


A team from Tufts University and Massachusetts General Hospital in the US has performed a brain scan study on a group of adult men and women to find that it might be possible for us to ignore the addictive powers of junk food while also developing a preference for healthy foods.

“We don’t start out in life loving French fries and hating, for example, whole wheat pasta,” said lead researcher and professor of psychiatry Susan B. Roberts from the Tufts Energy Metabolism Laboratory in a press release. “This conditioning happens over time in response to eating - repeatedly! - what is out there in the toxic food environment.”


Previous studies have suggested that once you grow addicted to unhealthy foods, it can become extremely difficult to wean yourself off them, which makes it hard for people who have gained weight from a poor diet to change their habits. To investigate this, Roberts and her team studied the reward system in the brain of 13 overweight and obese men and women, eight of which were already trying to lose weight by following a dieting program that was specifically designed to stop them from getting hungry. They were instructed to get 25% of their energy from protein and fat and half from low-glycemic carbohydrates. The other five participants were not trying to lose weight, so acted as controls.

Their brains were studied via magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans at the beginning of the study, and then six months later at the end. The team found that in the weight-loss group, there were changes in the areas of the brain’s reward centre that are associated with learning and addiction - they now had increased sensitively towards healthy, low-calorie foods, and decreased sensitivity towards unhealthy foods. This means when they ate healthy foods, they got greater enjoyment than when they were eating unhealthy foods.


The team reported their findings in the journal Nutrition & Diabetes.

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Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Our food can also influence our brains,  changing their eating habits could be a key part of these people’s recovery from depression. A team Deakin University, Australia is studying the link between depression and diet


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Is fast food making us depressed?

Is fast food making us depressed? | Food, Health and Nutrition |

The people entering Felice Jacka’s offices over the next few months will be in the throes of depression. She wants to help them – but her approach is unorthodox. Her team at Deakin University in Australia won’t be trying out a new cocktail of drugs. Nor will they be mulling over the patient’s childhood, their jobs, or their marital difficulties to help them cope with their problems. Instead, she wants them to talk about food.


If Jacka is right, changing their eating habits could be a key part of these people’s recovery. She has good reason to believe this; over the last few years, a series of striking findings have begun to suggest that fatty, sugary diets are bad for the mind, as well as the body. The result is a cascade of reactions in the brain that can eventually lead to depression.


To grasp why your favourite dishes could be influencing your mental health, you first need to understand a strange aspect of the mind-body connection that first came to light 20 years ago. At the time, doctors were concerned that the stresses of poor mental health would weaken the body’s immune response, leaving them open to infection. Instead, they found the exact opposite was true; in people with depression, the immune system seemed to be going into over-drive. For instance, the blood of depressed people was awash with a particular type of protein, called cytokines, which normally lead to inflammation after illness or injury.

As the scientists pressed on, it became clear that this was a two-way process: not only could depression cause inflammation, but crucially,inflammation from other causes seems to be triggering depression. Some grounds for this link came from diseases that are known to send cytokines flushing through the body, like arthritis or cancer; patients often report depression before a diagnosis has even been made. “The people become depressed even before they know that they have cancer, and it ties in with the high levels of cytokines” says Michael Maes at Deakin University in Australia, who has pioneered work on the biological basis of depression.

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A review of relevant research articles can be read here:

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Inflammation provides a surprising link between eating habits and depression. Many increase their sugar intake when they feel depressed and the research above shows that it may be contributing to their depression. 


Other scoop related to inflammation can be read here:

Beth A. Williams's curator insight, September 1, 3:09 PM

More studies have positively connected the mind-body connection. This one also ties food in to the connection with inflammation, depression and levels of wellness. For those of us recovering from any kind of illness, and especially brain cancer,  why wait for 100% proof? Eating healthfully can serve us well in so many ways. In my personal experiment, I went after good nutrition, exercise and mindfulness as a way to support my recovery. Although depression "runs in the family," I have not suffered from this ailment since using the mind-body-spirit approach to recovery from brain cancer.

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Gen Z: Should smoking be banned?

Gen Z: Should smoking be banned? | Food, Health and Nutrition |

Values Exchange (VX) is a collection of free online sites and school-based forums where over 40,000 young people across Australia, NZ, UK and USA can participate.

VX is primarily an educational tool designed for critical thinking and ethical reflection. Consistent and powerful trends have
emerged from many thousands of responses to issues ranging from 'favourite soft drink' to 'should smoking be banned',
giving a voice to Gen Z - a new generation of citizens.


On the matter of smoking, the survey showed that Gen Z kids understand the ill effects of smoking very well. The vast majority of Gen Z kids reject smoking, however a handful see the importance of allowing people to choose. 


Watch the video comparing the lung capacity of a smoker and a non-smoker via SPLOID:


Read the results of the VX survey here:

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Generation Z refers to individuals born at the dawn of the current millennium, many of whom are currently in their teens. The results of the survey shows that Gen Z kids have good access to information and are socially aware. 

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Bullies get health benefits from their behavior

Bullies get health benefits from their behavior | Food, Health and Nutrition |
A new study in PNAS that investigates the long-lasting physical effects of bullying on both victims and their aggressors finds that bullies show lower levels of inflammation, which is linked to higher risks of chronic diseases like cancer or heart trouble


William Copeland, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University Medical Center, and other researchers report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) that bullies show lower levels of inflammation, a biological process linked to higher risks of chronic diseases such as heart trouble and cancer, while victims show spikes in the very inflammatory markers that could prime them for serious health problems. The results aren’t an excuse for bullying, says Copeland, but serve as a lesson for how social status can have lasting positive effects on health—as long as it doesn’t come at the price of hurting others.


The fact that there are physical benefits to being the top dog socially—and that these effects are long-lasting—is an important message of the study. And it’s not just bullying—other research has linked higher socioeconomic status to lower levels of inflammation. But what distinguishes Copeland’s work is the long consequence of this effect, which extended from childhood into young adulthood. “It shows the possibility of social interactions for positively affecting a person’s health,” he says. “It’s striking that we can still detect that effect down the road.”


Clearly, there are ways to enhance your social status without threatening to pound your peers. Copeland hopes the study serves as an endorsement of more positive ways of promoting self-esteem and confidence: through athletics, extracurricular activities and other experiences that can help people feel good about themselves—and that don’t come at the expense of others. Bullying shouldn’t be its own reward.


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Read Copeland's research article in PNAS here:

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's insight:

Self-esteem and purpose may add years to your life, and there are studies which support this


This is a provocative finding and Copeland makes a good point, endorsing the search of more positive ways of promoting self-esteem.


@Jocelyn Stoller scooped an interesting article on how bullying negatively affects the health, psychology and social outcomes of both victims and bullies compared to children who were uninvolved in bullying

Eric Chan Wei Chiang's comment, August 13, 4:03 AM
@Barb Jemmott, @Bobby Dillard and @Ellen Diane, a scoop you may be interested in.