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Yoga Boosts Brain Gray Matter
September 2015

Regular Practice Improves Mental Health

yogaResearch from the Brain Imaging and Analysis Center at Duke University Medical Center has found that a regular hatha yoga practice increases gray matter within the brain, reversing the loss found among those with chronic pain. The researchers tested seven hatha yoga meditation practitioners and seven non-practitioners. Each of the subjects underwent tests for depression, anxiety, moods and cognition levels, along with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scans.

The scientists found that the brains of the yoga meditation practitioners contained significantly greater gray matter by volume in key brain regions, including the frontal, temporal and occipital cortices, plus the cerebellum and the hippocampus, compared to the non-yoga subjects.

The yoga meditation practitioners also had more gray area in the prefrontal cortex regions that are involved in decision-making, reward/consequence, control and coordination.

 
Chamomile Tea Helps Us Live Longer
September 2015

Herbal Beverage Can Extend Life

chamomile-teaIn a study of 1,677 Mexican-American men and women over the age of 65 from the Southwestern U.S., researchers have found that drinking chamomile tea decreases the risk of earlier mortality by an average of 29 percent.

Researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch followed the study population for seven years. Among those tested, 14 percent drank chamomile tea regularly. These were primarily women, and those women that drank chamomile tea experienced a 33 percent reduced mortality during the study period. The small group of men that drank the chamomile tea regularly did not register a significant difference in mortality.

Chamomile also has a long history of use in folk medicine and is primarily used to settle digestion and calm the mind. It is a leading natural herbal tea in many countries and contains no caffeine.

While various species may be used, chamomile tea is traditionally made by infusing the flowers of either German chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) or Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) into hot water. In Spanish-speaking regions, chamomile tea is often referred to as manzanilla tea—consumed in Mexico and other Spanish cultures for centuries.

 
Bottomless Well
September 2015

De-Salting Water Could Help Drought-Stricken Areas

waterAteam from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Jain Irrigation Systems has devised a method of turning brackish water into drinking water using renewable energy. This solar-powered machine is able to pull salt out of water and disinfect it with ultraviolet rays, making it suitable for both irrigation and drinking.

Electrodialysis works by passing a stream of water between two electrodes with opposite charges. Because the salt dissolved in water consists of positive and negative ions, the electrodes pull the ions out of the water, leaving fresher water at the center of the flow. A series of membranes separate the freshwater stream from increasingly salty ones.

The photovoltaic-powered electrodialysis reversal system recently won the top $140,000 Desal Prize from the U.S. Department of Interior. “This technology has the potential to bring agriculture to vast barren lands using brackish water,” says Richard Restuccia, Jain’s vice president of landscape solutions. The prize was developed to supply catalytic funding to capture and support innovative ideas and new technologies that could have a significant impact on resolving global water demand.

Among 13 desalination projects under consideration along the California coast, the Carlsbad Desalination Project will be the largest in the Western Hemisphere once it is completed in the fall.


Source: EcoWatch.com

 
Breeze Please
September 2015

A Third of U.S. Power May Be Wind by 2050

wind-powerAccording to a new study by the U.S. Energy Department, wind power could provide more than a third of the nation’s electricity in a few decades, while posting a net savings in energy costs. Undersecretary for Technology and Energy Lynn Orr, Ph.D., states, “With continued commitment, wind can be the cheapest, cleanest option in all 50 states by 2050.”

Wind power has tripled since 2000, and now supplies nearly 5 percent of the country’s electric power. The report says that it could dramatically reduce air pollution and go a long way toward meeting the country’s goals of slowing climate change.

Meanwhile, Spanish engineers have invented the Vortex Bladeless wind turbine, a hollow straw that sticks up 40 feet from the ground and vibrates when the wind passes through it. Instead of using a propeller, the Vortex takes advantage of an aerodynamic effect called vorticity. The result is a turbine that’s 50 percent less expensive than a bladed model and is nearly silent. It’s not as efficient as conventional turbines, but more of them can be placed in the same amount of space, for a net gain of 40 percent in efficiency. Plus, with no gears or moving parts, maintenance is much easier and they are safer for bats and birds.


Source: Wired

 
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