Monday, April 14, 2008

Coffee Makes You Dehydrated: Say What?

Coffee Makes You Dehydrated: Say What?

By: Brie Cadman (Little_personView Profile)

It has long been thought that coffee and other caffeine-containing beverages are dehydrating and don’t count toward your daily fluid intake. In fact, some go as far as recommending one cup of water for every cup of Joe you consume. Most of us know that caffeine is a diuretic (it makes us have to go pee), but does it deplete our bodily fluids?

The Straight Talk
In his review, “Caffeine, Body Fluid-Electrolyte Balance, and Exercise Performance,” Lawrence E. Armstrong, a professor of exercise physiology at the University of Connecticut disproves the notion that caffeinated beverages rob us of our precious fluids. By reviewing the scientific research on the subject, he concludes that although caffeine, like water, is a mild diuresis (it increases excretion of urine), moderate caffeine consumption does not produce a “fluid-electrolyte imbalance” that can affect health or exercise performance. Furthermore, we retain roughly the same amount of fluid after drinking a caffeinated beverage as we do after drinking water.

Even more encouraging for habitual coffee consumers is the finding that those with caffeine tolerance have reduced likelihood that a fluid electrolyte imbalance will occur. The more regular your caffeine habit, the more fluid your body is conditioned to retain.

Other findings support his conclusions. A small study done at the University of Nebraska tested the body weight, urine output, and blood of eighteen subjects after they consumed caffeinated and non-caffeinated beverages. They determined that there was “no significant differences in the effect of various combinations of beverages on hydration status of healthy adult males.” The Institute of Medicine expert panel on water and electrolyte intake asserts that the diuretic effects of caffeine are transient, and that coffee, tea, and colas can contribute to total water intake.

The Takeaway
Moderate caffeine consumption won’t dehydrate you and can actually help you reach your overall daily fluid intake. Make mine a double.

Say What? is a series created to support or debunk common health myths. If you have a question for Brie, please send it to her in care of the editor at

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Nicolas Sarkozy inspires plastic surgery boom

Growing numbers of middle-aged men embarking on second marriages are trying to turn the clock back with plastic surgery, experts claim.

Surgeons at a Harley Street clinic say more and more "alpha males", particularly those who are marrying younger women, are going under the knife, with Botox and male breast reduction top of the list.

They have called the trend "The Sarkozy Effect", after the French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who last year married Carla Bruni, a former supermodel 13 years his junior.

The Harley Medical Group says 50 per cent more men aged between 35 and 55 had Botox injections to reduce wrinkles so far this year, compared with the same period in 2007.

Demand for male breast reduction surgery has increased by 47 per cent, and 43 per cent more men have undergone microdermabrasion - when the outer surface of the skin is sloughed off.

Chin lifts, blepharoplasty - the removal of eye bags - and face lifts are also more popular than ever among what surgeons call FAMs - forty or fifty-year-old alpha males.

Surgeons say that despite their wealth and high-powered jobs, male patients increasingly want to ward off the effects of old-age to please their younger partners.

Although there no suggestion that Mr Sarkozy has gone under the knife, famous alpha males who have had surgery include the actor Michael Douglas, who is 25 years older than his second wife Catherine Zeta Jones.

Simon Cowell, 48, whose long-term girlfriend Terri Seymour is just 33, has admitted to having Botox, while in 2003, Britain's then most senior soldier, General Sir Mike Jackson, 63, had surgeons remove the bags from under his eyes.

Liz Dale, director of the clinic said: "Second marriages and career opportunities are the most commonly cited reasons for FAMs undergoing rejuvenation treatments.

"Men in their forties often start with Rejuvenation Packages, and then start looking for a more dramatic surgical solution when they hit their fifties, opting for eye bag removal and even full face lifts to turn back the clock."

The figures released yesterday show that 20 per cent of all Botox patients at the clinic are now men, with an average age of 34 - 45.

Dr Julian Northover, a surgeon said: "Our patients are looking to gain an edge in their looks and take off a few years. The desire to have Botox treatments is driven by both business and social reasons.

"Quite regularly we treat patients who have a much younger partner. The results from a short treatment with Botox and possibly fillers can be dramatic and make them much more confident in their relationship."

Most popular areas for treatment are smile lines or crows feet and the deep wrinkles across the forehead, he added.

Surgeons are also seeing an increase in men in their 50s undertaking facelifts, often as a preventative measure so they stay looking younger for longer.

Cosmetic Surgery Boom: The full figures

Botox up 57 per cent

Male Breast Reduction 47 per cent

Chin lifts up 44 per cent

Microdermabrasion 43 per cent

Blepharoplasty (eye bag removal) up 25 per cent

Face lifts up 17 per cent

Original here

Your Body Hates You: 6 Gruesome Disorders Anyone Can Get

You are the picture of health. You get adequate rest and nutrition, your personal hygiene is beyond reproach and you never even touch yourself inappropriately. And none of it fucking matters.

Your body, probably bitter that it doesn't house someone more interesting, can without warning turn you into a creature so ridiculous the duck billed platypus would avert its eyes in shame. If it really wanted to be a dick, here's how your body would do it.

A Damned Horn Growing Out Of Your Head (Cornu Cutaneum)

That Sounds Fancy. What is it?

Not everyone can be a supermodel. Sure, a flawless complexion and refined bone structure is a prerequisite for Cracked writers, but we understand it's an unfair standard to hold you slobs to. All that is important is you realize that your staggering unattractiveness makes you a unique and beautiful snowflake and the keratotic horn sprouting from your head just makes you that much more exotic.

Cornu cutaneum is more specifically an epidermal lesion common to the face, ears, nose, forearms and hands. If the image is striking a particularly National Geographic tone with you, it's because the horn is actually made of the same substrates that form a rhinoceros horn. It's pretty similar in construction to those horns as well, though of course the human equivalent isn't anchored to anything. Remember that distinction when the other kids on the playground taunt you about your horn so you can counter with "Shut up! Histologically, this isn't a horn because no axially positioned bone is present!" It's sure to stun them into silence before they laugh and beat the crap out of you.

We're just kidding about that last part. You don't have to be worried about being brutalized because of your horn. We guarantee no one will ever dare to touch you again after seeing it.

I'm Scared. How Scared Should I Be?

Think of the horns as a pop-up turkey timer. When one erupts from the otherwise placid surroundings--DING!--sir, your malignant melanoma is (probably) ready. In truth, over 60 percent of the lesions are benign, but 100 percent of the lesions are still associated with "Eww." Luckily, unlike other cancers with nondescript symptoms, odds are pretty good you'll find your way to a dermatologist tout suite when you start growing a fucking horn.

Try to look on the bright side. It may give you a distinct advantage when mating season arrives and you must demonstrate your alpha-rhino status in the herd.

Man, How Much Does Your Body Hate You?

For the purposes of this article, your body's loathing of you was quantified in the standard metric of kilojoules. However, since this is not readily relatable for most laypersons, we have a rough illustration for each measurement. The scale goes from absolute zero (approximately how much Mother Teresa despised the laughter of children frolicking with puppies) to 100 kilojoules (the theoretical bounds of hate as defined by Mr. T confronted with jibba-jabba).

= As much as we quietly despise Hugh Hefner for not adopting us, despite our many letters.

Petrified Muscles (Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva)

That Sounds Fancy. What is it?

One day, out of the blue, every microscopic injury or tear occurring within your muscles will repair itself by replacing the affected tissue with bone. Over time this process will either result in joints locking into place, limiting mobility and the ability to perform rudimentary tasks, or you'll be recruited to the X-Men in a plot-twist that reveals you're Colossus' bastard son.

Good or bad is really a matter of perspective here.

The most common early presentation of this disease is being born with oversized toes. Seriously. It's what helped popularize the the old axiom "You know what they say about guys with big toes, right? They probably have fibrodysplasia ossificans progressive. But they might have a big dick too."

I'm Scared. How Scared Should I Be?

Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva is a very rare disorder, with only several hundred cases reported worldwide. That said, if you've won the ossification lottery, you're kind of fucked.

We already mentioned your body remodeling into the Tin Man, probably prompting you to beg passersby to give you a sweet hit off an oil can. What you may not have considered is that your jaw is likewise as prone to this as anything. You could just as easily cease to eat or talk over time. The real rub is that none of this is treatable by surgery because it turns out scalpels somehow injure your body as well.

Man, How Much Does Your Body Hate You?

= As much as Satan hates bands using rock music for Christianity.

Man-Boobs (Gynaecomastia)

That Sounds Fancy. What is it?

For those not richly schooled in the biomedical sciences, here's a quick pro-tip. If you're a male diagnosed with a disorder with the prefix "gyn," you know it's going to be a rough one.

Gynaecomastia, occasionally referred to as bitchtits-itis, is a hormonal imbalance that causes a male to do something that no man should have thrust upon him, namely blossom. Courtesy of anabolic steroid abuse, some medication side effects or other unknown causes, the mammary glands have a surge of growth that results in honest to goodness funbags.

They are the real-deal, capable of lactation though probably not preferential admittance into the hottest clubs. This condition was popularized by the movie Fight Club, in which Bob/Meatloaf is forced to throw left hooks around his pendulous sweatermeat.

Even if those weren't props, they would still be less embarrassing than his song "I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)." In fact, we're pretty sure that listening to that in its entirety is a probable cause of this condition.

I'm Scared. How Scared Should I Be?

Gynaeomastia will not kill you, but will most certainly assassinate your self-confidence. On the upside, if you've got a bad case of acne, this will really take the attention off it.

This is basically nature's greatest game killer, apart from the inappropriately timed and readily apparent erection in math class. If you're not popular at all, this just joins the legions of other blemishes that people will mock you for. If you do happen to be popular, this is pretty much assured to knock you down a peg or 12.

Man, How Much Does Your Body Hate You?

= As much as Wilford Brimley hates diabeetus.

Your Body Eats Your Brain (Opsoclonus-Myoclonus Syndrome)

That Sounds Fancy. What is it?

Anti-drug PSAs have long threatened that consumption of illicit substances will slowly devour your brain, rendering you a shell of your former self. This could well be true, but at least you got to trip balls before it happened. Opsoclonus-myoclonus syndrome (a.k.a. Kinsbourne Syndrome) cuts out the pleasant euphoric middleman and just starts chewing through your brain by itself.

Opsoclonus-myoclonus syndrome is an auto-immune attack on your brain. The mechanism for how it initiates is unclear, but researchers theorize that the pituitary gland starts a rumor that the cerebellum is housing WMDs and the immune system is obliged to tear the brain a new asshole while futilely searching them out. The attack has the surgical precision of operating with a hand blender, usually obliterating areas of the limbic system and brain stem as well. This hijacks control of basic motor functions, sleep regulation and emotional stability.

Though it probably finds a way to leave your ability to hate life intact.

I'm Scared. How Scared Should I Be?

Shockingly, this syndrome isn't fatal. So if you're the 1 in 10 million who develops it, rest assured that none of the facial tics, body tremors, bouts of confusion and rage, insomnia and instances of your eyes spastically jerking around in their sockets will kill you. Gosh, some guys have all the luck!

Man, How Much Does Your Body Hate You?

= As much as a vampire hates the sun.

An Invisible Nail in Your Eye (Cavernous Sinus Granulomatosis)

That Sounds Fancy. What is it?

Imagine for a moment that one of the contact lens you're wearing starts to slip around on your eye. If you don't wear contacts, imagine you were inexplicably drawn to tuck something in your eyelid for safekeeping. No matter how you blink, squint or fish around for it, you just can't shake that uncomfortable prodding sensation on your most delicate tissue. Annoying, right?

Now imagine that contact lens is a 10 penny nail soundly lodged in your ocular cavity for days or longer. If you didn't have the balls to imagine it don't fret because cavernous sinus granulomatosis would happy to take the guesswork right out of it for you.

Cavernous sinus granulomatosis is a condition where channels behind the eye become inflamed, putting pressure on the bundles of nerves behind it. These nerves, not having the chops to secure a legitimate gig doing pain sensation on the outside of the body, can't miss their time to shine and really lay it on thick. This can also cause blurred vision and a tingling sensation in the forehead, but most patients seem to focus on the OH MY HOLY FUCK sensation of a nail in their eye.

The condition is idiopathic, a term constructed from Greek roots idios and pathos to mean "a disease of its own kind". It's a very fancy way of saying "We have no idea what is causing this ... are you certain there's not a nail in there somewhere?"

I'm Scared. How Scared Should I Be?

There's actually little to be scared of here, assuming you're a carny accustomed to goring your face with nails. The rest of you may feel free to shit yourself now.

Real nails through the eyes are usually reserved to the domain of B-movie action scenes, which means you're probably ill-prepared to deal with this pain. In a way, having an actual nail in your eye would be preferable, since even correspondence-schooled opthamologists will be able to diagnose and treat it. You might be able to suppress it with corticosteroids, but half of the patients have recurrences in a year regardless.

Man, How Much Does Your Body Hate You?

= As much as chihuahuas hate essentially anything.

Huge, Monstrous Jaw Syndrome (Mandibular Ameloblastoma)

That Sounds Fancy. What is it?

A strong jawline is often equated to manliness. There's just something so stout and indomitable about it that anchors ruggedness to the face. Really, the bigger the jaw the better. Hell, if you look like a blowfish that just had it's wisdom teeth removed, all the manlier.

We can only hope that belief is part of your cultural ideology before mandibular ameloblastoma sets in or you may find your quality of life reduced by the fleshy Suburban that just parked on your face.

Comparing them with Jay Leno is futile. Someone with mandiubular ameloblastoma looks like they've tucked Jay Leno into their cheek for wintertime storage. These bulbous cysts not only extend several inches from the face, but often deform and expel teeth from the jaw in the process. It acts as a tumor, but the root causes are speculated at everything from jawline infection to autoimmune issues. The only thing leading medical journals can agree on is that is it best classified as "fucking horrifying."

I'm Scared. How Scared Should I Be?

Mandibular ameloblastoma doesn't wish to kill you. In fact, it wouldn't even entertain the notion as that would perceived as merciful. It just wants to bleed your will to live, real slow.

It is unresponsive to traditional modes of chemotherapy and radiation. You can try and excise it, but if any is left behind, it will all too likely grow back. You can't reason with it. It doesn't feel pain or emotion. And it absolutely will not stop until it has forced you to excise your entire jaw.

Man, How Much Does Your Body Hate You?

= As much as Blu-Ray hated HD-DVD. Via con Dios, HD-DVD.

Original here

Mouth test could predict lung cancer, study finds

A Bulgarian man smokes a cigarette in a cafe in central Sofia, January 16, 2005. (Stoyan Nenov SN/AA/Reuters)
Reuters Photo: A Bulgarian man smokes a cigarette in a cafe in central Sofia, January 16, 2005....

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Damage to cells lining the mouth can predict similar damage in the lungs that eventually leads to lung cancer in smokers, U.S. researchers reported on Sunday.

They hope it may be possible to some day swab the mouths of smokers to predict who is developing lung cancer -- saving painful and dangerous biopsies of the lung.

The process may also lead to tests that will predict other cancers, said Dr. Li Mao, an expert in head, neck and lung cancer at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

"Our study opens the door to enhancing our ability to predict who has higher probability of getting tobacco-related cancers," Mao said in a statement. "Not only lung cancer, but pancreatic, bladder and head and neck cancers, which also are associated with tobacco use."

Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, but only about 10 percent of smokers ever get it. It causes few symptoms until it is advanced, which means patients are rarely diagnosed or treated until it is too late for a cure.

Mao's team wanted to find a way to monitor patients taking a drug -- the COX-2 inhibitor celecoxib, sold by Pfizer under the brand name Celebrex -- in the hopes of preventing lung cancer.

They looked at two genes known to help prevent the development of cancer -- p16 and FHIT. "There is substantial damage (to the two genes) long before there is cancer," Mao said.

Speaking to a meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in San Diego, they said they looked for specific damage to these genes in both lung samples and mouth samples from 125 long-time smokers.

"We are talking about just a brushing inside of the cheek to get the same information we would from lung brushings obtained through bronchoscopy," said Dr. Manisha Bhutani, who works with Mao.

The p16 gene was shut down via a process called methylation in the lungs of 23 percent of the volunteers, while FHIT was affected in 17 percent. In the mouth, p16 was silenced in 19 percent of the smokers and FHIT in 15 percent of them.

In 95 percent of those whose genes were affected, they were affected in both the mouth and the lung, Mao and Bhutani said.

This would make an easier test for pre-lung cancer than having to access the lung, the researchers said.

This could be useful in monitoring for lung cancer and also looking to see if prevention measures might work.

"This could have strong implications for further lung cancer prevention trials," they wrote in a summary submitted to the conference.

At least one other group is working on a saliva test for breast cancer, one that looks for a mutated version of the HER-2 protein linked to some breast cancers.

(Reporting by Maggie Fox)

Original here

Red-light camera monkey business may be a national trend

Red-light cameras are often billed as a great way to improve traffic safety and prevent speeding. A few cities across America, however, have been caught short-timing their own yellow lights below legal levels in what may be an attempt to boost ticket revenues by giving drivers less time to come to a stop. So how many anecdotes do you need to pronounce something a trend? It's hard to say, especially when the anecdotes in question support the abolishment of something as universally hated as the red light camera.

Six possible red-light "gotcha" stories, some of which go back as far as 2005, were originally reported by theNewspaper, but were compiled into a single list of events by One city, Chattanooga, Tenneessee, has been forced to repay the $8,800 it collected in ticket revenue, while investigations in Lubbock and Dallas, Texas and Springfield, Missouri, have uncovered evidence of similar practices, although no charges have been filed.

In the single court case that has occurred thus far, Chattanooga's city traffic engineer John Van Winkle testified that the yellow signal light should be (and was) turned on for the 3.9 seconds necessary to meet basic safety standards. The judge in question ordered the claim verified, and discovered that the light was only set for three seconds—significantly less than the 3.9-second minimum. Van Winkle claims that the problem was caused by an accidental mixup with turn arrow timing, but there might be more behind the issue. According to confidental documents released in 2001, Lasercraft, the company behind Chattanooga's red camera lights, only installs red light cameras at high-volume intersections with an "amber phase" of less than four seconds.

None of the other cities are facing court actions, but investigative reports have turned up troublesome trends. In Dallas, yellow lights at the city's revenue generators camera-enforced intersections were timed for just 3.15 seconds, or 0.35 seconds less than the Texas Department of Transportation minimum. In this case, a third of a second may make a substantial difference in revenue—theNewspaper reports that most (80 percent) red-light tickets are issued less than one second after the light has turned to red. Ironically, Dallas is now considering scrapping its ticket revenue program after new legislation forced the city to post signs alerting drivers to the existence of the cameras as well as requiring all towns to send 50 percent of their camera-derived income to the state's coffers.

In Lubbock, city council members eventually deployed red light cameras in the summer of 2007 after completing a series of timing tests at all twelve of the intersections scheduled to receive the cameras. As of February, 2008, however, the cameras are back down. While the cameras were initially credited with reducing the total number of crashes in Lubbock by 5.5 percent, rear-end crashes at the intersections in question rose 90 percent. The cameras also failed to generate sufficient revenue while they were deployed in Lubbock, which undoubtedly contributed to the city's decision to can the program.

Springfield has a similar story. There, residents voiced concerns last spring after the city announced its intention to slash yellow lights by one second at multiple intersections. Again, evidence from the investigation indicated that longer yellow lights actually reduce the number of accidents at busy intersections. The only problem is, long yellows also have a negative impact on revenue, which can make the cameras cost more than they are worth.

Ultimately, whether you take's list of cities who are short-timing yellow lights as indicative of a national trend depends on where you draw the line between "trend" and "anecdote collection." But with state and city budgets tightening in the current economic climate, it wouldn't be surprising if a bona fide trend were eventually realized.

Original here

Graffiti artist Banksy pulls off most audacious stunt to date - despite being watched by CCTV

Banksy pulled off an audacious stunt to produce what is believed to be his biggest work yet in central London.

The secretive graffiti artist managed to erect three storeys of scaffolding behind a security fence despite being watched by a CCTV camera.

Then, during darkness and hidden behind a sheet of polythene, he painted this comment on 'Big Brother' society.

Scroll down for more...

'One nation under CCTV': CCTV (pictured top right) failed to catch Banksy

Yesterday the scaffolding gang returned to remove all evidence - again without the camera operator stopping them.

The work, above a Post Office yard in Newman Street near Oxford Circus, shows a small boy, watched by a security guard, painting the words: 'One nation under CCTV.'

Andrew Newman, 35, a businessman from Dulwich, who works locally, said: 'It was only on Sunday morning that the Post Offices guys realised what had happened.'

You're being watched: Despite being observed by CCTV cameras, elusive grafitti artist Baksy managed to create his latest - and biggest - work to date under the cover of darkness

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