Dry Skin on the Face? The Causes and Remedies to Treat It

Some people are more prone than others to dry skin on the face. Gentle treatments and home remedies can relieve dry facial skin and prevent it from coming back.

People may experience dry skin on their face as a result of many factors, including changes in temperature or humidity, using soaps with harsh chemicals, and skin conditions, such as eczema.

In most cases, people can get rid of dry skin using home remedies and over-the-counter (OTC) treatments.

What causes it?

A person can moisturize daily to treat dry skin on their face. The skin naturally produces an oil called sebum. When the skin produces too much oil, this can lead to pimples. However, having some sebum on the skin is important for keeping it hydrated and protecting the cells from infection.

Skin that is not creating or replenishing enough sebum can become dry.

Dry skin can be itchy, and it may look flaky and bumpy or have red patches. Dehydrated skin lacks water and appears dull or rough.

1. Moisturize daily

Moisturizers, ointments, and creams improve the skin’s natural barrier function, which promotes water retention.

Moisturizing overnight can provide extra benefits. A person can apply moisturizer to their face before bed and wash it off with a gentle cleanser in the morning.

2. Use a gentle cleanser

Soaps that contain fragrances, colors, and other chemicals can irritate and dry out the skin. It is generally better to opt for mild, fragrance-free cleansers or facial soaps and to avoid products that contain alcohols, artificial colors, and plastics.

Read more at Medical News Toda

Gene-edited Foods are Safe, Japanese Panel Concludes

Japan will allow gene-edited foodstuffs to be sold to consumers without safety evaluations as long as the techniques involved meet certain criteria, if recommendations agreed on by an advisory panel yesterday are adopted by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. This would open the door to using CRISPR and other techniques on plants and animals intended for human consumption in the country.

“There is little difference between traditional breeding methods and gene editing in terms of safety,” Hirohito Sone, an endocrinologist at Niigata University who chaired the expert panel, told NHK, Japan’s national public broadcaster.

Now, Japan appears set to follow the U.S. example. The final report, approved yesterday, was not immediately available, but an earlier draft was posted on the ministry website. The report says no safety screening should be required provided the techniques used do not leave foreign genes or parts of genes in the target organism. In light of that objective, the panel concluded it would be reasonable to require information on the editing technique, the genes targeted for modification, and other details from developers or users that would be made public while respecting proprietary information.

The recommendations leave open the possibility of requiring safety evaluations if there are insufficient details on the editing technique. The draft report does not directly tackle the issue of whether such foods should be labeled. The ministry is expected to largely follow the recommendations in finalizing a policy on gene-edited foods later this year.

Consumer groups had voiced opposition to the draft recommendations, which were released for public comment in December 2018. Using the slogan “No need for genetically modified food!” the Consumers Union of Japan joined other groups circulating a petition calling for regulating the cultivation of all gene-edited crops, and safety reviews and labeling of all gene-edited foods.

Read the full article at Science Mag

You Sound How You Eat: Speech Evolved As Diet Changed

A surprising new study has revealed that diverse sounds produced by human speech not only evolved after Neolithic times but also stem from biological alterations in the human bite as a result of eating softer diets.

The findings contradict the theory that the range of human sounds has not changed since Homo sapiens emerged about 300,000 years ago. Linguistic diversity was also commonly thought to evolve independently of biological changes.

In 1985, linguist Charles Hockett suggested that labiodentals – the class of speech sounds including ‘f’ and ‘v’ in English – might have evolved as diets became softer with the move away from hunting and gathering towards agriculture and industrialized food processing.

These changes, he said, altered the human bite so that new sounds were easier to produce.

Damian Blasi and Steven Moran, researchers from the Department of Comparative Linguistics at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, thought the proposal was intriguing.

Their investigations revealed that labiodental sounds arose recently and that they did indeed stem from changes in diet and bite just as Hockett hypothesized.

“Soft diets led to the preservation of overbite and overjet, which characterizes the majority of the bites that people have nowadays,” Blasi explains. These rendered labiodental sounds low cost, or “easy” to produce.

“Since our upper teeth protrude from our mouth, they can touch the lower lips with very little effort,” he says.

“Before, heavy wear diets produced an edge-to-edge bite so the upper teeth didn’t protrude, and hence it was harder to produce those sounds. Try it yourself – put your upper and lower teeth in contact then try to produce an ‘f’.”

The team’s research suggests that the sounds originated not long before the Bronze Age in Europe and Asia. They suspect they emerged from bilabials, another class of speech sounds which include, for instance, ‘b’.

The authors explore how labiodentals might be “useful” sounds for communicating.

Read more at Cosmos Magazine

How Diet Became The Latest Front in the Culture Wars

The latest study warning us to eat less meat has brought angry skeptics out in droves. But who should we believe?

Food, how to cook it, what it does to you and what growing or rearing it does to the planet are issues that crowd the media. And yet, as the clamor grows, clarity recedes. An estimated 820 million people went hungry last year, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation. A third of all people were vitamin-deficient. Two billion were classified as overweight and 600 million as obese.

It’s also estimated that 1bn tonnes of food is wasted every year – a third of the total produced. A plethora of academic reports concerning food consumption and production have been published in recent years. The latest and arguably the most far-reaching is Food in the Anthropocene: the Eat-Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems, which was conducted over three years by 37 senior scientists from around the world and published earlier this year.

To combat the world’s growing demand for food – there will be 10 billion people to feed by 2050 – we need to cut meat almost entirely out of our diet, say the authors of the report. The argument they put forward is that eating more plant-based foods will lower the incidences of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, enable more environmentally helpful use of land and reduce carbon emissions.

The report provides a “planetary health diet” based on eating vegetables, grains, pulses and nuts, which limits red meat to one serving a week and other animal protein to greatly reduced amounts, as little as an ounce a day of fish or chicken. This, say the authors, is what we should all be eating if we’re concerned about our health and that of the planet.

In fact, the report was wholly financed by the Wellcome Trust, which is also a participant in Eat, which supplied staff, but they were paid for by Wellcome Trust.

Another criticism Blythman raised was the prospect of “cranky diets and nutritional deficiencies in affluent countries and acute protein shortages in the poorer ones”. She’s not alone, with many bloggers weighing in to question Eat-Lancet’s findings. One critic was Zoë Harcombe, who has a Ph.D. in public health nutrition and has previously questioned dietary fat guidelines. Harcombe said that the Eat-Lancet diet was “nutritionally deficient” in vitamins B12, D, sodium, potassium, and iron.

More of this story at The Guardian

Boosting Your Levels Of Exercise May Also Improve Your Diet

A new US study suggests that individuals who want to make healthier diet choices may find that starting an exercise regime could help, as results indicated that regular exercise is linked to better eating habits.

The findings, published in the International Journal of Obesity, showed that despite being told not to make any diet changes, after several weeks of exercise participants naturally started to opt for healthier food, such as lean meats, fruits, and vegetables. Their preferences for fried foods, sodas and other unhealthy options also decreased.

“The process of becoming physically active can influence dietary behavior,“ said corresponding author Molly Bray. “One of the reasons that we need to promote exercise is for the healthy habits it can create in other areas. That combination is very powerful.”

“Many people in the study didn’t know they had this active, healthy person inside them,“ Bray said. “Some of them thought their size was inevitable. For many of these young people, they are choosing what to eat and when to exercise for the first time in their lives.”

Bray also added that she believes that the findings are probably applicable to other age groups who started an exercise regime.

The Sun Daily

Note to Parents: Most ‘Home Remedies’ for Children’s Colds Don’t Work

Vitamin C tablets or regular hand-washing?

And is echinacea a better cold treatment than a tall glass of water?

Your answer matters.

More than half of parents may be using non-evidence–based methods of helping prevent or treat their children’s colds, a new survey from the University of Michigan suggests.

Those methods included vitamin C supplements, echinacea, supplements marketed as “immune system boosters,” and zinc, among others, according to the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health shows.

What Parents Are Doing Right

Colds are viruses, so the main way to prevent them is to prevent kids from coming into direct contact with the virus.

That means staying away from mucus droplets spread through the air from someone coughing or sneezing, or from playing with toys, or touching door handles, countertops, and other objects that may have the cold virus on them.

The Mott poll reports 99 percent of parents polled said that encouraging good hygiene was an important way to help prevent their children from catching a cold.

Read the complete article at Health

Plant-Focused Diet Won’t Save The Planet

Richard Vernon says population reduction would do more for the planet than a change of diet, Stuart Roberts and John Davies extol the benefits of British farming, Dr. Michael Antoniou calls for balanced scientific information and Paul Faupel on meeting his dietary needs with chocolate-enrobed brazil nuts.

Damian Carrington gives us a fine review of the “planetary health diet” in his article (New plant-focused diet would ‘transform’ planet’s future, say, scientists, theguardian.com, 16 January). It’s clear that this diet offers both better health than the current norm of a high-meat diet and a more environmental food production system with its emphasis on plant rather than animal production. However, I doubt the validity of some claims in the report.

Moreover, population reduction should be easier to effect that the proposed change of diet, the latter clearly being, as the report states, a daunting task. “Humanity has never aimed to change the global food system on the scale envisioned. Achieving this goal will require the rapid adoption of numerous changes and unprecedented global collaboration and commitment.” Conversely, when women have access to education and contraception, they will not choose to have more children than they can support. Population decline follows. The provision of education for girls and women, and of contraception, needs an only expansion of existing well-known programmes.

We do not yet understand the implications of a heavily plant-based diet like the report recommends on either our health or the environment. There is a very real possibility it could see us relying on imported produce, produced to lower standards than our own and with increased transport emissions.

In Britain, we have extensive grasslands, which act as carbon stores helping to mitigate climate change. The most effective and sustainable way to use this land is to graze livestock, which will turn inedible grass into high-quality, grass-fed, nutrient-rich beef, lamb and dairy, all reared in an extensive system.

Read more at The Guardian

Opposed to G.M.O.s? How Much Do You Know About Them?

Most scientists agree that genetically modified organisms, or G.M.O.s, are safe to eat. But a new study suggests that the people who are most extremely opposed to them know the least about them.

Researchers surveyed 501 randomly selected adults, testing their knowledge of G.M.O.s with a series of true/false questions — for example, the cloning of living things produces genetically identical copies (true), or it is not possible to transfer animal genes into plants (false).

The study, in Nature Human Behaviour, also tested how strongly the participants opposed G.M.O.s by measuring on a seven-point scale the desire to regulate them, the willingness to eat them, and the inclination to actively oppose them by participating in protests or donating to anti-G.M.O. organizations.

“This shows that extreme beliefs stem from an overestimation of knowledge,” said the lead author, Philip M. Fernbach, an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Colorado. “We have to somehow get people to appreciate that they don’t understand things as well as they think they do.”

The New York Times

Home Remedies To Ease A Hangover

A hangover can leave someone with fatigue, nausea, and muscle aches. People swear by certain hangover cures, but do home remedies really help?

Home hangover cures aim to treat these symptoms. There is no specific food, drink, or magic pill to cure a hangover, though certain remedies can ease the symptoms in some people.

1. Medication
2. Drinking plenty of water
3. Eating breakfast
4. Antioxidants
5. Drinking coffee or tea

Some people may even have a genetic disposition for worse hangovers than others.

Scientists have to rely on people’s self-reported hangover symptoms, which may vary between people and depend on day-to-day factors, and these are very difficult to control scientifically.

The lack of research has left room for a wide range of myths to develop the best ways to cure a hangover, most of which rely on anecdotal evidence.

There is currently no such thing as a cure for hangovers. Certain home remedies can help people manage some hangover symptoms, including taking anti-inflammatories or antacids, eating a nutritious breakfast, rehydrating, and eating foods that are rich in antioxidants.

Read the complete article at Medical News Today

Are Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs) Safe?

Recently, in the news media, there have been various reports about the introduction of certain Genetically Modified, GM, crops, and seeds into the country. Examples of such include: the release of genetically modified cowpeas to farmers in the country; the release of two transgenic cotton hybrid varieties into the Nigerian Seed Market; the granting of permits by the Federal Government for confined field trials on genetically modified maize, rice, cassava, sorghum and cowpea to ascertain ability to resist insect attack; etc.

All these despite growing opposition by a coalition of Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, against the introduction of Genetically Modified Organisms, GMOs, in the country. GMOs, according to the World Health Organisation, WHO, are organisms (i.e. plants, animals or microorganisms) in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination.

What are the potential dangers of GMOs? According to an April 22, 2000 issue of Awake! Magazine: “Biotechnology has moved at such a dizzying pace that neither the law nor regulating agencies can keep up with it. Research can scarcely begin to prevent unforeseen consequences from arising.

A growing chorus of critics warns of unintended results, ranging from severe economic dislocation for the world’s farmers to environmental destruction and threats to human health. Researchers warn that there are no long-term, large-scale tests to prove the safety of genetically modified food. They point to a number of potential dangers:

Allergic reaction. If a gene producing a protein that causes allergic responses ended up in corn, for instance, people who suffer from food allergies could be exposed to grave danger. Despite the fact that food-regulating agencies require companies to report whether altered food contains any problem proteins, some researchers fear that unknown allergens could slip through the system.

Increased toxicity. Some experts believe that genetic modification may enhance natural plant toxins in unexpected ways. When a gene is switched on, besides having the desired effect, it may also set off the production of natural toxins.

Full article at Vanguard