Learn How to Operate Your Body
You have built-in machinery and software that’s beyond your awareness. Here are ways to enlist your equipment for better health.
Navigation: How do you know where you are? Some German scientists went looking in the brain for the equipment that keeps you from getting lost. A press release from Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum (RUB). Here’s their tip of the day after researching with ten epileptics given a navigational task: focus, and don’t let irrelevant details distract you.
“Distributed and local activity patterns appear to be related: the brain regions that contributed to distributed spatial representations also contained fairly precise information on a local scale,” explains Nikolai Axmacher. “The accuracy of spatial representations was rather variable; interestingly, more reliable representations occurred if the brain’s overall activity in a rapid frequency range was comparatively low.” These results suggest that spatial navigation is particularly successful if other, irrelevant activities can be suppressed.“
Fight cancer from the inside: This tip will have to wait for years of clinical trials, but it appears you have a potent anti-cancer agent inside you. A press release from Concordia University starts with this teaser:
Where can you find the next important weapon in the fight against cancer? Just do a little navel-gazing. New research from Concordia confirms that a tool for keeping the most common forms of cancer at bay could be in your gut.
The molecule with “massive potential” is called lithocholic acid. It’s a bile acid produced in the liver. In tests of cancer cells in a petri dish, lithocholic acid showed the most potential to kill cancer cells of thousands of body chemicals they tested. “When entering a cancer cell, the acid goes to ‘energy factories’ called mitochondria and then sends molecular signals that lead to the cells’ demise.” Here’s another benefit the molecule may have for all of us: it appears to slow down aging, too.
Save your hearing: We all know we should avoid loud noises, but perhaps you didn’t know your body is trying to help you. A press release from Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine explains:
Our hearing has a secret bodyguard: a newly discovered connection from the cochlea to the brain that warns of intense incoming noise that causes tissue damage and hearing loss, according to new research by Northwestern Medicine scientists.
Scientists believe they have identified the ear’s own novel pain system that protects it from very loud or damaging noise. It may be the reason you jam your fingers in your ears when a fire engine or ambulance wails close by. The nerves that normally alert you to pain – like touching a hot burner on a stove – are not present in your inner ear. So, it needs its own private alert system.
Those who suffer from hearing loss or tinnitus (ringing in the ears) may benefit from this discovery. For now, stay away from excessive noise when you feel that pain signal.
Breathe deep for your brain: Nature posted a short item that will make you gasp—with a smile. When you breathe in deeply, it boosts the flow of cerebrospinal fluid in your brain. “Cerebrospinal fluid cushions the brain, flushes out waste and in rodents seems to be controlled by pulsating blood flow,” the article says. So before starting a mentally-intensive task, try taking three deep breaths and letting the air out slowly.
Taste your health: Quick! Name the four tastes. Sweet, salt, sour, bitter, right? Wait: you forgot umami, the fifth one. MSG is a food additive that activates this taste. Did you know that the umami taste may benefit health? Medical Xpress says so. “Despite the widely held belief that monosodium glutamate (MSG) is an unhealthy addition to food, researchers from Tohoku University Graduate School of Dentistry, Japan, show that the taste it triggers, umami, is important for health, especially in elderly people.” A taste test with 44 elderly participants showed that loss of this sense was associated with poor health ( including low appetite and weight loss). Did you know that your gut also has umami taste sensors? This suggests that “the umami taste sensation functions in nutrient sensation and modulating digestion in the gut, which could be important for maintaining a healthy daily life.”
Reset your travel clock: The body’s circadian clock has a reset button, claims a press release from Vanderbilt University. Experiments on mice, either stimulating or suppressing the neurons in the suprachiasmatic nucleus, showed promise for adjusting their daily cycles. It’s not ready for human testing, but offers hope to “lead to new treatments for conditions like seasonal affective disorder, reduce the adverse health effects of working the night shift and possibly even treat jet lag.”
Unclog your arteries: The right diet can assist a ‘cleaner’ protein that is trying to protect you from blood clotting and atherosclerosis, a major cause of heart attack. Medical Xpress tells how A1M (alpha-1 microglobulin) patrols your vessels, working to “clear out oxidised heme and other harmful molecules,” converting them into harmless substances.
“You could say that the tissue is rinsed by A1M in a 5-10 minute cycle, with the protein absorbing the free radicals and heme-groups. A1M acts like a bin that captures and neutralises toxic substances throughout the body – in and around all cells – that would otherwise cause inflammation and damage to surrounding tissue”, said Professor Åkerström.
A1M appears to also “clean and reduce oxidised blood fats from LDL,” a primary risk factor for atherosclerosis. Some day, there may be A1M supplements; for now, help your cleaning crew by sticking to healthy dietary guidelines so that the cleaners are not overwhelmed.
Fast! put out the flames: Maybe there’s something to all those Biblical admonitions about fasting. Beyond meditation and supplication, fasting appears to reduce inflammation, too. A Yale press release says the anti-inflammatory mechanism of dieting and fasting has been “revealed”.
Researchers at Yale School of Medicine have found that a compound produced by the body when dieting or fasting can block a part of the immune system involved in several inflammatory disorders such as type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, and Alzheimer’s disease.
In their study, published in the Feb. 16 online issue of Nature Medicine, the researchers described how the compound β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) directly inhibits NLRP3, which is part of a complex set of proteins called the inflammasome. The inflammasome drives the inflammatory response in several disorders including autoimmune diseases, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, atherosclerosis, and autoinflammatory disorders.
Experiments on diet-regulated mice showed that BHB was able to tame the flames of the inflammasome; it probably would work for humans too. In addition to fasting, low-carb dieting and high-intensity exercise appear to have the anti-inflammatory response. The press release didn’t offer any guidelines for fasting, but it might be worth a try for better health, not that meditation and prayer are any less beneficial. New Scientist says it’s not necessary to starve to get the benefits of fasting.
Stay in circulation: Walking keeps the circulatory system in good operation, but what about whose who are bedridden? They are in danger of ailments such as deep vein thrombosis, a life-threatening condition that allows clots to form. To help immobilized patients, researchers at the National University of Singapore have developed bio-inspired socks that wave like the tentacles of corals. This is better than anti-coagulant drugs, because it stimulates the body’s own protective mechanisms. “Equipped with soft actuators that mimic the tentacle movements of corals, the robotic sock emulates natural lower leg muscle contractions in the wearer’s leg, thereby promoting blood circulation throughout the wearer’s body,” the press release says. “In addition, the novel device can potentially optimise therapy sessions and enable the patient’s lower leg movements to be monitored to improve therapy outcomes.” That will be nice to know if it happens to you, but until then—if you are on your feet—give your legs a lot to do.
We hope you enjoy these news clips. They are but a few samples that showcase the wonders inside your body. The Creator thought of everything. How many of these and a thousand other systems could have developed through aimless processes of chance? No; we have been blessed with dwellings for our souls that surpass the most magnificent palaces one could dream of owning. Our body palaces come equipped with billions of willing servants who know just what to do—within limits. Be a good king or queen. Treat your servants with respect and care, and they will care for you. Even in this world under the curse of sin, we have much to appreciate, enjoy, and be grateful for. And for those who love the Lord Jesus Christ, a better body awaits after this one wears out.