terça-feira, 18 de outubro de 2016

Audi's all-electric vehicle line will be called the 'E-Tron'

Audi used "E-Tron" for a couple of hybrids in the past, as well as for the premium R8 electric supercar that it recently killed off. What Stadler is saying, though, is that the E-Tron name will eventually represent a line of EVs. Clearly, the automaker is gearing up to compete with new and long-time rivals getting into the EV business, including BMW and Mercedes. Besides the SUV, which will be the first one to carry the name, Audi also plans to release a hatchback and a sedan (pictured below) under the line before the end of 2020.

[Image credit: Autocar]

Does weed help you sleep? Probably not


American Academy of Sleep Medicine,

Marijuana users may believe that frequent use helps them sleep, but that perception has been challenged by a BU School of Public Health study.
The study, published in the Journal of Addictive Diseases, was coauthored by Michael Stein, an SPH professor and chair of health law, policy, and management. It found that daily marijuana users actually scored higher on the Insomnia Severity Index and on sleep-disturbance measures than those who did not use it daily. The study's 98 subjects were broken into three groups: daily users of marijuana (49 people); those who were not daily users (29), defined as those who smoked at least one day in the past month and up to five days a week; and a control group who didn't use the drug at all (20). Most of the study participants were in their early 20s.
"Better sleep is one of the positive effects that marijuana users swear by, but there has been relatively little careful research on this topic," says Stein, the study's principal investigator.
In the study, he and colleagues cite previous research indicating that as many as one-third of young adults, ages 18 to 25, complain of sleep problems. The study findings show that while occasional marijuana use doesn't disrupt sleep, heavy (or daily) marijuana use is associated with sleep difficulties.
"The effects of marijuana on sleep in intermittent users may be similar, in part, to those of alcohol, where improvements in sleep continuity measures have been reported with intermittent use," the researchers wrote. But "daily use results in the worsening of sleep."
The study examined sleep patterns in the three groups of young adults. The researchers found no significant differences in the sleep characteristics of those who did not use marijuana daily compared to those who did not use it at all. Daytime sleepiness also did not differ among heavy users, lighter users, and nonusers.
"Sleep disturbance, which is common in this age group, may not be increased by non-daily use," the authors wrote.
While 20 percent of the nonsmokers met the criteria for clinical insomnia, for the daily users meeting those criteria, it was 39 percent. Similarly, sleep disruption measures were worse for daily users than for occasional users.
The researchers noted that daily marijuana users typically reported smoking marijuana in the daytime and at night, and less frequent users smoked primarily at night.
"Study participants who didn't smoke every day usually smoked in the evening," Stein says. "But once you're smoking multiple times a day, there's a greater chance that you'll report disturbed sleep. Only by stopping marijuana completely, and waiting some time without using at all, will a person be able to determine how marijuana was affecting, or not affecting, his or her sleep."
The research team cited previous studies showing an association between higher marijuana use and higher rates of anxiety, which may be a factor in disrupted sleep.
"It remains possible that the [insomnia] scores might have been higher in the daily marijuana users because marijuana was contributing to anxiety, which in turn may have exacerbated the severity of insomnia," they wrote. But, as Stein notes, "only by doing prospective longitudinal studies can we begin to get at the causal chain here."
Stein and colleagues recommend that future studies look at mood disorders as a factor in the relationship between marijuana use and sleep. People with anxiety may be heavier users of marijuana because they are trying to mitigate their sleep problems, they said.
In terms of gender (45 men and 53 women participated in the study), the research team found that women reported more sleep disturbance problems than men on several measures. That finding was expected, Stein says, as insomnia is more common in women than men. Also, marijuana use has been shown to affect women's performance on neurological tasks more than it affects men's.
The research team urges more study of the issue, so that health providers can talk more clearly to marijuana users about its effects on sleep, and drug-treatment providers can "meaningfully target sleep" among heavy marijuana users.
Marijuana is one of the most commonly used drugs in the United States, especially among young adults 18 to 25. Many users report turning to the drug to alleviate a variety of medical and psychiatric symptoms, including pain, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
"The biopsychosocial changes of young adulthood affecting sleep are well known and may contribute to marijuana use," the authors wrote.

Smartphone microscope creates interactive tool for microbiology

 A new 3-D printed, easily assembled smartphone microscope developed at Stanford University turns microbiology into game time. The device allows kids to play games or make more serious observations with miniature light-seeking microbes called Euglena.
"Many subject areas like engineering or programming have neat toys that get kids into it, but microbiology does not have that to the same degree," said Ingmar Riedel-Kruse, an assistant professor of bioengineering. "The initial idea for this project was to play games with living cells on your phone. And then it developed much beyond that to enable self-driven inquiry, measurement and building your own instrument."
Riedel-Kruse named his device the LudusScope after the Latin word "Ludus," which means "play," "game" or "elementary school." He and first author Honesty Kim, a graduate student in Riedel-Kruse's lab, are set to publish details of the LudusScope in PLOS ONE on Oct. 5.
Playing with cells
The LudusScope consists of a platform for the microscope slide where the Euglena swim freely, surrounded by four LEDs. Kids can influence the swimming direction of these light-responsive microbes with a joystick that activates the LEDs.
Above the platform, a smartphone holder positions the phone's camera over a microscope eyepiece, providing a view of the cells below.
On the phone, children can run a variety of software that overlay on top of the image of the cells. One looks like the 1980s video game Pac-Man, with a maze containing small white dots. Kids can select one cell to track, then use the LED lights to control which direction the cell swims in an attempt to guide it around the maze and collect the dots. Another game looks like a soccer stadium. Kids earn points by guiding the Euglena through the goal posts.
Other non-game applications provide microscope scale-bars, real-time displays of swimming speed or zoomed-in views of individual cells. These let kids collect data on Euglena behavior, swimming speed and natural biological variability. Riedel-Kruse encourages teachers to have students model the behaviors they see using a simple programming application called Scratch, which many kids already learn in school.
Each of the elements, from the plastic microscope to the chamber that holds the Euglena, is something youngsters can build themselves from simple, easily available parts.
Complex beginnings
The project began as part of a Stanford bioengineering class Riedel-Kruse taught, with much more complex parts. But he wondered if the elements could be simplified for younger learners.
"We wondered if we could make it so easy to replicate that even middle-schoolers could build it," he said.
In its current iteration, a teacher who wanted to use the device in class could start with the open-source 3D printing patterns and software included as part of the paper. An increasing number of schools have 3D printers, but those that don't can send the plans to a professional printer. That produces pieces to construct the stage that holds a microscopic slide and a holder for the microscope eyepiece and smartphone.
For the joystick controller, students would need to wire a small circuit out of common electronics parts to receive signals from the joystick and transmit them to the LEDs.
Euglena are already commonly used in classrooms and they can be purchased through biological supply companies. For the game, Euglena swim within a chamber made by adhering strips of double-sided tape to the slide and to the cover slip.
The act of building, observing, interacting and modeling the cells fits easily within the new science learning guidelines emphasized by the Next Generation Science Standards being adopted by many schools, Riedel-Kruse said.
Expert opinion
The real experts on what makes for a fun game are the kids who Riedel-Kruse hopes might one day use the LudusScope. To test it out, his team took the scope to a walk-by science event and also invited students and teachers to the lab.
Science teachers and high-school students who had a chance to interact with the LudusScope saw potential for education, although Riedel-Kruse said they valued the game aspect less than other properties of the LudusScope.
"I thought the interactive cell stimulation and the resulting games was the coolest thing but the teachers and students didn't necessarily agree," Riedel-Kruse said. "What they were more excited about is the more basic things like the ability to build your own instrument, that multiple people can see the screen at the same time and that you can select and track individual cells."
Riedel-Kruse is continuing to update the LudusScope with input from teachers and students. He has received a seed grant to collaborate with an educational game company to carry out more user studies and to develop a science kit. He expects that kit could be available for purchase in over a year.
See a video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEJg9RFbqA0

sábado, 15 de outubro de 2016

Under pressure: New world record set on path to nuclear fusion


Michael Franco a day ago

A look inside the Alcator C-Mod t MIT(Credit: Bob Mumgaard/Plasma Science and Fusion Center)

While there is a lot of attention on non-fossil-fuel sources these days such as solar and hydrogen, the true Holy Grail of alternative energy is nuclear fusion, which theoretically could produce an endless source of clean power. Because scientists would have to basically reproduce the conditions at the core of the sun to bring this atom-mashing technology to fruition though, it's been a bit slow to evolve. Researchers at MIT however, have just passed an important milestone on the long path to a fusion future, placing plasma under what they say is the most pressure ever created in a fusion device.
In nuclear fusion, the nuclei of atoms are basically forced to join together despite their natural repellency. When they fuse, they release a tremendous amount of energy. How much? Well, it's the process that keeps our sun churning, where molecules of hydrogen are fused together in its core to create helium.
To recreate controlled nuclear fusion on Earth (unlike the uncontrolled version involved in a hydrogen bomb), gas is first heated to super-hot temperatures to form plasma. The plasma is simultaneously placed under intense pressure with the goal of keeping it stable, and is contained by an electromagnetic field.
While machines known as tokamaks, such as China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST), have created the intense temperatures needed for fusion reactors before, MIT is claiming first place in having created pressures never before attained. Using a tokamak called the Alcator C-Mod, which has been in operation at MIT for 23 years, researchers were able to place plasma under pressure equaling 2.05 atmospheres, a 15 percent leap over the previous C-Mod record of 1.77 atmospheres that was set in 2005. The university says it expects the new record to hold for 15 years as long as a new device – such as the one proposed by MIT itself – isn't built before then.
MIT says that the Alcator C-Mod can create a magnetic field up to 8 tesla strong, which is 160,000 times the Earth's magnetic field. In this particular record-smashing experiment, the machine reached 5.7 tesla. It also was heated to more than 35 million degrees Celsius (about twice the temperature at the core of the sun), produced 300 trillion fusion reactions per second, and carried 1.4 million watts of power. All of that took place in a chamber of about 1 cubic meter, which MIT says is not much larger than a coat closet.
Due to defunding by the US government, the Alcator C-Mod has now been deactivated; it reached its new record on its final day of operation.

Source: MIT

terça-feira, 11 de outubro de 2016

Why Google's Chromebooks make more sense than ever

If you've got a good memory then you might be able to remember back to the summer of 2011 and the first Chromebooks, which appeared to less-than-universal acclaim. Despite a slow start, in the five years since these laptops have become a much more viable proposition – so what's happened?
In today's computing climate the idea of a computer based around a browser doesn't seem quite so bizarre as it once did. It was almost as if Google knew what was coming down the line (perhaps it did) and made a laptop to match.
When they first appeared though, the list of complaints was lengthy. So-so specs. No local storage. No desktop applications. A complete reliance on the web and very little offline support. Here are the main reasons those problems matter a lot less in 2016.

The internet is available (almost) everywhere

It's easy to take Wi-Fi access for granted these days. If you're too young to remember the time when even setting up a wireless network in your own home with broadband you'd already paid for was a tricky proposition, consider yourself lucky.
Average internet speeds have gotten a lot faster in the last half decade, and internet access itself has become more ubiquitous, covering coffee shops, hotels, planes and all kinds of private and public hotspots.
If you think about it, there aren't that many places left where you can sit down and open a laptop and don't have at least a few Wi-Fi options to pick from (in developed, urban parts of the world anyway), even if some of them involve coughing up a fee.
That's partly because the infrastructure is improving, partly because we're all now carrying data-hungry smartphones, and partly because of the demand for streaming services like Netflix and Spotify (and trying to sell someone on a Chromebook when the whole of the world's recorded music is stored in the cloud is a lot easier).
Yes, there are places where getting online is difficult, but the situation is a lot better than it used to be, and it's only going to improve from here on in. Indeed, that's part of the reason why Netflix has so far refused to offer an offline mode to its users.

Web apps are better – and work offline

One of the original problems with relying solely on web apps was that as soon as your connection went, your Chromebook became just a very expensive paperweight. That situation has changed dramatically too, with Google leading the way.
Google Drive and its online office suite can now work perfectly happily without a web connection. You can create and edit files, with all the changes getting synced back to the cloud as soon as a connection is restored. That means with Google Docs' offline support you can use a Chromebook to go and write a novel in a cabin in the woods. You just won't be able to look up any background facts while you're there.
Unlike Netflix, Google Play Movies does offer downloads for offline viewing, and you do get a few gigabytes of local storage on Chromebooks if it's media files you're interested in (there's always the USB stick or external hard drive option too).
Of course you'll still come across a lot of web apps that break when there's no Wi-Fi available, but like Wi-Fi access itself, the trend is in the right direction. With or without internet access, these online apps are becoming more powerful and feature-rich, like the online versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint now offered by Microsoft.
Even Apple is getting in on the act, adding features year-on-year to its iCloud offering. We're still a long way from getting iTunes through a web browser, but there are already some decent Photoshop alternatives if you can live without the most advanced features.

Android apps are coming

Greater Wi-Fi coverage, better apps, and better offline support would be great reasons in themselves why Chromebooks are more appealing than ever, but on top of all that there's the recent introduction of Android apps to Chrome OS.
Whether or not Google ever merges these two operating systems together, putting the Google Play Store on Chromebooks is a clever move. It increases the offline capabilities of the devices for a start, because a lot of apps can use local storage.
It also opens up more possibilities for apps that feel like native, desktop tools, such as the Microsoft Office apps for Android, for instance. It's an opportunity to install a whole new pile of games too, in addition to those already available in the browser.
It's no coincidence that the first Chromebooks to support the Play Store have touchscreens, giving users another way (and a very natural way) to interact with Android apps running in windows on Chrome OS.
Full-scale web apps combined with all the variety of the Android app store really is the best of both worlds.

The original Chromebook advantages still stand

One trending point of view when Chromebooks came out went like this: Why buy a laptop that's just the Chrome browser, when for a little extra you can buy a Windows or Mac machine that's the Chrome browser and so much more?
What that perspective misses is that sometimes less is more. Not everyone wants to have to deal with antivirus programs, OS updates, desktop applications and regular backups. In fact, it's probably fewer people than ever that are willing to trade the extra hassle for the extra capabilities.
Google's very first Chrome OS adverts focused on the benefits of a laptop that never slowed down and never needed updating – one that you could drop in a river without losing a single document, email or photo. A lot of people are now growing up with the idea that when you move from device to device, everything moves seamlessly with you.
Are Chromebooks for everyone? Absolutely not. Are Windows and Mac laptops more versatile and powerful? Of course. But for a growing number of people who spend all their time in a web browser anyway, Chromebooks make a lot of sense – particularly with the added bonus of Android app support.

domingo, 9 de outubro de 2016

Don't panic, but your avocado is radioactive: Study eyes radiation of everyday objects

Most people assume all radioactive materials are dangerous, if not deadly. But a new study on the radiation emitted by everyday objects highlights the fact that we interact with radioactive materials every day. The goal of the work is to give people a frame of reference for understanding news stories or other information about radiation and nuclear safety.
"We did this study because understanding how much radiation comes off of common household items helps place radiation readings in context -- it puts things in perspective," says Robert Hayes, an associate professor of nuclear engineering at North Carolina State University. "If people understand what trace levels of radiation mean, that understanding may help prevent panic."
The researchers used a portable gamma radiation meter to measure the external gamma radiation emitted in a North Carolina home. The radiation was measured in microgray per hour (μGy/hr).
Avocados, for example, gave off 0.16 μGy/hr of gamma radiation -- slightly less than the 0.17 μGy/hr emitted by a banana. Bricks gave off 0.15 μGy/hr, while smoke detectors (with their americium components) gave off 0.16. By way of comparison, natural uranium ore measured 1.57 μGy/hr.
"If you're surprised that your fruit is emitting gamma radiation, don't panic," Hayes says. "The regulatory level for workers -- which is safe -- is exposure to 50,000 μGy per year. The levels we're talking about in your household are incredibly low."
Story Source:
Materials provided by North Carolina State University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

quinta-feira, 6 de outubro de 2016

Recipe: Best honey whole-wheat bread

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Dietitian's tip:

This is not a fast, easy recipe, but if you like to make nutritious bread, this is for you. Making good bread takes practice, so keep trying. Be sure to knead it long enough. Like most baked goods, this bread is great right out of the oven.

Number of servings

Each loaf serves 17


  1. 1 cup dry rolled oats
  2. 3 cups water
  3. 3 cups whole-wheat flour
  4. 3/4 cup soy flour
  5. 3/4 cup ground flaxseed or flaxseed meal
  6. 3 tablespoons flaxseed
  7. 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  8. 3 tablespoons poppy seeds
  9. 4 1/4 tablespoons yeast
  10. 1 tablespoon sea salt
  11. 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  12. 1/2 cup honey
  13. 1/4 cup olive oil
  14. About 5 cups unbleached white flour


In microwave-safe bowl, microwave dry rolled oats mixed with water to about 120 F to 130 F. In mixer bowl of a heavy stand mixer with dough hook, combine whole-wheat flour, soy flour, ground flaxseed or flaxseed meal, seeds, yeast, and salt. Stir to mix.
Add applesauce, honey and oil. Mix by hand. Add the hot rolled oats mixture. Mix by hand.
When blended, start mixing with dough hook of mixer and continue for about 3 minutes. Slowly add white flour until dough comes away from sides of bowl and becomes smooth and elastic.
Cover dough in bowl and place in a warm spot. Let rise until about double in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Punch dough down. Turn onto countertop. Divide evenly into 4 pieces. Shape into 4 loaves. Place in 2 1/2-by-4 1/2-by-8 1/2-inch loaf pans that have been generously sprayed with cooking spray.
Cover and place in a warm spot. Allow to rise until nearly double in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Bake at 350 F for 25 minutes, or until tops of loaves are golden. Remove from pans and cool on rack. Cut into half-inch-wide slices.

Nutritional analysis per serving

Serving size :1/2-inch slice

  • Total carbohydrate 15 g
  • Dietary fiber 2 g
  • Sodium 104 mg
  • Saturated fat 0.2 g
  • Total fat 2 g
  • Cholesterol 0 mg
  • Protein 3 g
  • Monounsaturated fat 1 g
  • Calories 90
  • Trans fat 0 g
  • Added sugars 2 g
This recipe is one of 400 recipes collected in the "Fix-It and Enjoy-It! Healthy Cookbook" published by Good Books and available at the MayoClinic.com Bookstore.
June 04, 2015

quarta-feira, 5 de outubro de 2016

Yemen famine feared as starving children fight for lives in hospital


Emma Graham-Harrison

Dozens of emaciated children are fighting for their lives in Yemen’s hospital wards, as fears grow that civil war and a sea blockade that has lasted for months are creating famine conditions in the Arabian peninsula’s poorest country.
The UN’s humanitarian aid chief, Stephen O’Brien, described a visit to meet “very small children affected by malnutrition” in the Red Sea city of Hodeida. “It is of course absolutely devastating when you see such terrible malnutrition,” he said on Tuesday, warning of “very severe needs”.
More than half of Yemen’s 28 million people are already short of food, the UN has said, and children are particularly badly hit, with hundreds of thousands at risk of starvation.
There are 370,000 children enduring severe malnutrition that weakens their immune system, according to Unicef, and 1.5 million are going hungry. Food shortages are a long-term problem, but they have got worse in recent months. Half of children under five are stunted because of chronic malnutrition.
A sea blockade on rebel-held areas enforced by the Saudi-coalition supporting the president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, stops shipments reaching most ports.
Its effects can be seen in centres such as the Thawra hospital, where parents cram waiting rooms seeking help for hungry and dying children. In April, between 10 and 20 children were brought for treatment, but the centre is now struggling with 120 a month, Reuters reported.
A woman waits to weigh her son in an intensive care unit in Sana’a.

A woman waits to weigh her son in an intensive care unit in Sana’a. Photograph: Khaled Abdullah/Reuters
Among them are Salem Issa, a six-year-old so emaciated he looks years younger and is now too ill to eat. “I used to feed him biscuits, but he’s sick. He won’t eat,” said his mother.
The crisis may get worse after Hadi ordered changes at the central bank. Aimed at squeezing the funds of Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, the move could leave ordinary Yemenis short of cash and make food shortages worse by depriving traders of the financial cover the bank has offered.
Ibrahim Mahmoud, of Yemen’s Social Development Fund, told Reuters only an improvement in the country’s financial system and an emergency aid effort could prevent the spread of hunger.
“If there is no direct and immediate intervention on behalf of the international community and state organisations, we could be threatened by famine and a humanitarian catastrophe,” he said.
Oxfam’s humanitarian policy adviser, Richard Stanforth, said: “Everything is stacked against the people on the brink of starvation in Yemen. The politicisation of the central bank and attempts by the parties in the conflict to use it as a tool to hurt one another ... threaten to push the poorest over the edge.”
Hadi moved the central bank headquarters from Sana’a, the capital currently controlled by Houthi rebels, to the southern port of Aden which his government holds. He also appointed a new governor, who said the bank had no money.
“It risks leaving the salaries of more than a million Yemenis unpaid. There may be a long-term effect on the Houthis, but the immediate effect will be on normal people trying to put food on the table,” the Yemeni economic analyst Amal Nasser said.
The sea blockade and daily airstrikes, which have hit civilian targets including hospitals, are part of a campaign to push rebels out of the capital.
There have been widespread calls for an independent inquiry into the conflict, including from senior British MPs. More than a third of Saudi-led bombing raids are thought to have hit civilian sites, and human rights groups say violations are also being perpetrated by Houthi rebels.

Caregiver depression: Prevention counts - Mayo Clinic

Caregiver depression: Prevention counts

Caregiver depression can take a toll on you and your ability to care for your loved one. Understand the signs of caregiver depression — and how to prevent it. 

Caregiving can be physically and emotionally stressful. To provide the best care possible, you might put your loved one's needs before your own. In turn, you could develop feelings of sadness, anger and loneliness, as well as guilt. Sometimes, these emotions trigger caregiver depression.

What are the symptoms of caregiver depression?

Everyone has a bad day sometimes. However, depression is more than just a bout of the blues. It is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. During an episode of depression, symptoms occur most of the day, nearly every day and might include:
  • Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness
  • Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies or sports
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Tiredness and a lack of energy, so even small tasks take extra effort
  • Changes in appetite — often reduced appetite and weight loss, but increased cravings for food and weight gain in some people
  • Anxiety, agitation or restlessness
  • Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself for things that aren't your responsibility
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
  • Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide
  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches

July 22, 2016
See more In-depth

Choosing blood pressure medications - Mayo Clinic

Choosing blood pressure medications

Choosing the right high blood pressure medication can be tricky. Find out which of the various drug options is appropriate for you.By Mayo Clinic Staff
Dozens of high blood pressure medications (anti-hypertensives) are available, each with pros and cons. Your doctor might prescribe more than one high blood pressure medication to treat your condition.
If you have high blood pressure or are at risk of developing it, lifestyle changes can help keep your numbers under control. But you might need medication, as well. Having an effective medication regimen, taking drugs as prescribed, monitoring your blood pressure and making lifestyle changes can help you keep your blood pressure under control.

Lifestyle changes

Whether you're beginning to develop high blood pressure (prehypertension) or you already have it (hypertension), you can benefit from lifestyle changes that can lower your blood pressure.
Lifestyle changes can reduce or eliminate your need for medications to control your blood pressure.
  • Eat a healthy diet, focusing on fruits and vegetables and, especially, reduce the sodium in your diet.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Exercise. Get 30 minutes of moderate activity on most days of the week. It's OK to break up your activity into three 10-minute sessions a day.
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you drink. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than 65, and up to two drinks a day for men 65 and younger.
  • Don't smoke.
  • Manage stress.

Medication options

If a trial of making lifestyle changes isn't enough to control your blood pressure, you'll likely receive a prescription for one or more of these medications in addition to maintaining your lifestyle measures.
  • Diuretics (water pills). Your doctor might first suggest diuretics, which remove excess water and sodium from your body. That decreases the amount of fluid flowing through your blood vessels, which reduces pressure on your vessel walls.
    There are three types of diuretics: thiazide, loop and potassium-sparing. The Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure recommends that most people try thiazide diuretics first to treat high blood pressure and heart problems related to high blood pressure.
    If diuretics aren't enough to lower your blood pressure, your doctor might recommend adding other blood pressure medications to your treatment.
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. These help relax blood vessels by preventing the formation of a hormone called angiotensin, a substance in your body that narrows blood vessels. Frequently prescribed ACE inhibitors include enalapril (Vasotec), lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril) and ramipril (Altace).
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs). These help relax blood vessels by blocking the action, not the formation, of angiotensin, a chemical in your body that narrows blood vessels. ARBs include valsartan (Diovan), losartan (Cozaar) and others.
  • Calcium channel blockers. These medications prevent calcium from entering heart and blood vessel muscle cells, thus causing the cells to relax. Frequently prescribed calcium channel blockers include amlodipine (Norvasc), diltiazem (Cardizem, Tiazac, others) and nifedipine (Adalat CC, Afeditab CR, Procardia).
  • Beta blockers. Also known as beta-adrenergic blocking agents, these work by blocking the effects of the hormone epinephrine, also known as adrenaline. They cause your heart to beat slower and with less force.
    Frequently prescribed beta blockers include metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol-XL), nadolol (Corgard) and atenolol (Tenormin).
  • Renin inhibitors. Renin is an enzyme produced by your kidneys that starts a chain of chemical steps that increases blood pressure. Aliskiren (Tekturna) slows the production of renin, reducing its ability to begin this process.
July 06, 2016 See more In-depth

segunda-feira, 3 de outubro de 2016

Friendships: Enrich your life and improve your health

Discover the connection between health and friendship, and how to promote and maintain healthy friendships.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Friendships can have a major impact on your health and well-being, but it's not always easy to build or maintain friendships. Understand the importance of friendships in your life and what you can do to develop and nurture friendships.

What are the benefits of friendships?

Good friends are good for your health. Friends can help you celebrate good times and provide support during bad times. Friends prevent loneliness and give you a chance to offer needed companionship, too. Friends can also:
  • Increase your sense of belonging and purpose
  • Boost your happiness and reduce your stress
  • Improve your self-confidence and self-worth
  • Help you cope with traumas, such as divorce, serious illness, job loss or the death of a loved one
  • Encourage you to change or avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as excessive drinking or lack of exercise
Friends also play a significant role in promoting your overall health. Adults with strong social support have a reduced risk of many significant health problems, including depression, high blood pressure and an unhealthy body mass index (BMI). Studies have even found that older adults with a rich social life are likely to live longer than their peers with fewer connections.

Why is it sometimes hard to make friends or maintain friendships?

Many adults find it hard to develop new friendships or keep up existing friendships. Friendships may take a back seat to other priorities, such as work or caring for children or aging parents. You and your friends may have grown apart due to changes in your lives or interests. Or maybe you've moved to a new community and haven't yet found a way to meet people.
Developing and maintaining good friendships takes effort. The enjoyment and comfort friendship can provide, however, makes the investment worthwhile.

What's a healthy number of friends?

Quality counts more than quantity. While it's good to cultivate a diverse network of friends and acquaintances, you also want to nurture a few truly close friends who will be there for you through thick and thin.
Sept. 28, 2016 See more In-depth

Banana oatmeal pancakes - Mayo Clinic

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Dietitian's tip:

For a nuttier flavor, replace 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour with ground flaxseeds or ground pumpkin seeds.

Number of servings

Serves 4


  1. 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  2. 1 cup hot water or boiling water
  3. 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
  4. 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  5. 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
  6. 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  7. 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  8. 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  9. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  10. 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  11. 1/2 cup skim milk
  12. 1/4 cup fat-free plain yogurt
  13. 1 mashed banana
  14. 1 egg


In a large bowl, combine the oats and hot water. Let sit for 1 to 2 minutes until the oats are creamy and tender. Stir in oil and sugar; set aside to cool slightly.
In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ground cinnamon; whisk to blend.
Add the milk, yogurt and banana to the oats and stir until well-blended. Beat in the egg. Add the flour mixture to the oat mixture and stir until just moistened. Place a nonstick frying pan or griddle over medium heat. Once hot, spoon 1/4 cup pancake batter into the pan. Cook for about 2 minutes, until the top surface of the pancake is covered with bubbles and the edges are lightly browned. Flip the pancake and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Repeat with remaining pancake batter.

Nutritional analysis per serving

Serving size :3 pancakes

  • Calories 288
  • Total fat 9 g
  • Saturated fat 0 g
  • Trans fat 0 g
  • Monounsaturated fat 6 g
  • Cholesterol 48 mg
  • Sodium 453 mg
  • Total carbohydrate 45 g
  • Dietary fiber 3 g
  • Total sugars 12 g
  • Protein 9 g
Created by the executive wellness chef and registered dietitians at the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program.

April 29, 2016