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Setac Europe 2010: ‘It’ll all come out in the wash’

Posted: June 3, 2010 at 8:16 am

Anyone else recognise this saying? My parents used it a lot while I was growing up when I’d taken a course of action that, while not ideal, wasn’t going to cause any lasting damage.

In the case of silver nanoparticles in textiles, however, it seems it probably will come out in the wash – disappear down our domestic waste pipes and into our environment, with no guarantee that lasting damage won’t be done.

It has been predicted that 12-49 per cent of the silver nanoparticles produced globally end up in textiles, as antimicrobials in socks for example. And in a first step towards figuring out whether this practice poses an environmental risk, Bernd Nowack and his team at EMPA in Switzerland have assessed whether or not these particles remain embedded in the textiles when they are washed in a washing machine.

Their key finding was that different textiles behave very differently, some release 20 per cent of their silver particles in the first wash after purchase where as others release hardly anything. The conclusion the team has drawn from this is that how the manufacturers have embedded the particles is very important. ‘Companies have possibilities to design safe nanotextiles that release only small amounts of silver,’ said Nowack.

Other, more predictable, findings include that less particles are released the second time the item of clothing is washed and that the mechanical stress of the washing machine aids their release.

As well as trying to get textile companies to change their ways, the team also plan to consider both the environmental fate and toxicology of the released particles.

Until they do, maybe I should be thinking about more than my nose before buying these sweet-smelling socks next time.

To learn more: the work was published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology in September last year, and was well covered by the press at the time (see here, here and here).

Nina Notman

Recommendation and review posted by Guinevere Smith

Crystal Head Vodka

Posted: June 3, 2010 at 8:16 am

Crystal Head Vodka

Behind this beautiful packaging, lies a historical event that boggles minds today.  Way before Street Anatomy and the Skull-a-Day blog, 13 magnificently crafted skulls were found scattered around the world. No one really understands how they were made that well so long ago. The thought is that they hold magical powers that have healing qualities.  After drinking some of this vodka, you too may feel the magic! Check out the origin of this design here!

Recommendation and review posted by Guinevere Smith

"I’m Officially Obsessed with Observatory," Melissa Stern for Time Out New York, June 2010

Posted: June 3, 2010 at 8:16 am

…Observatory celebrates the eccentric and nurtures the curious; its oddities delight the eye as well as the mind.

Thanks to Melissa Stern for loving Observatory–the arts/event space I run with 6 other people in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York–enough to write a charming piece about it for this week’s Time Out New York.

The piece is entitled “I’m Officially Obsessed with Observatory;” You can read the article–from which I drew the excerpt and image above–in its entirety by clicking here. You can find out more about Observatory by clicking here; you can join the Observatory mailing list by clicking here, and can join us on Facebook by clicking here.

The above image is sourced my Secret Museum exhibition, which closes with a party this Sunday, June 6. More on that soon; in the meantime, you can visit the Secret Museum website by clicking here. Image caption reads: Muséum national d’histoire naturelle, Gallery of Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy, Paris, France, Established 1793

Recommendation and review posted by Guinevere Smith

An Hour’s Worth of Benefits with 10 Minutes of Exercise

Posted: June 3, 2010 at 8:15 am

Ten minutes of exercise produces benefits that can last for up to one hour. Exercise also has endless benefits that makes it the most natural anti-aging activity around.

In a recent study performed by researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital, it was found that ten minutes worth of real exercise (jogging, walking, etc.) produced positive changes in a person’s metabolism that last for at least one hour.

This means that the more you exercise, literally, the more calories and fat your process and burn.  So in a way, exercise can create that very healthy addiction: the more you exercise, the more benefits you get on an exponential rate.  It’s a healthy cycle that everyone should adapt for a healthier, more vibrant life.

The study involved 70 participants who engaged in exercise and were measured based on their speed, oxygen intake and general fitness profile.  It was found that thinner people were generally more able to handle the exercise and produce more metabolites associated with calorie and fat-burning.  Inversely, heftier individuals showed signs of possible heart problems such as shortness of breath – a dire reminder what excess weight could do to the heart.

Why exercise is good for you

We all know that exercise is good for us, and here’s why:

1.  Exercising lifts depressive moods and improves your mental outlook, instantly. – exercise activates the production of chemicals in the brain that allows you to feel better.  It’s the body’s natural means of rewarding the body for a hard day’s work.

In addition to this, exercise reduces the total fat percentage in the body, which makes you look more fit and healthy – this always gives people reasons to smile and feel good about themselves.

Think of exercise as a cost-effective way of gaining more self confidence and becoming healthier over the long term.  This type of investment requires nothing but your willpower and time.

2.  Exercise keeps your heart healthy – regular exercise (at least 30 minutes everyday) lowers your blood pressure, burns excess fat, improves your circulation, lower bad cholesterol and makes you look younger, too!

3.  Exercise – the only weight loss tool you will ever need –forget all those fad diets. Exercise is the real deal. Exercise directly burns fat, controls your appetite and increases your metabolism naturally – no pills, fad diets or special supplements needed.

4.  Who needs energy bars when you’ve got exercise? – people experience low energy levels even if they eats lots of calories. So forget about energy bars and sugar & sodium-packed energy drinks. Instead of buying another energy bar, start walking daily for extra energy throughout the day.

5.  Quality sleep – if you schedule your exercise in such a way that you have cooled down sufficiently at bedtime, you will get better sleep.

6.  More loving with exercise – having problems with lovemaking? Exercise may be the key. Exercise naturally energizes you, even after a hard day’s work. A run on the treadmill just might be the key for better lovemaking.

7.  Exercise is fun! – why do people run or walk everyday? Well they are doing it not just for the benefits. They do it because it is fun! Try to find an exercise or sport that fits your needs. Find something that entertains you as well. Dancing, stretching and even Olympic wrestling can make you very fit.

8.  Exercise calms you down – when you exercise, the body’s core temperature is increased. When you cool down, the natural cooling process relaxes the whole body and allows your body to de-stress at its own pace.

9.  Better immune system – exercise increases your body’s natural defense system. Even cancer survivors will attest to the vibrancy they felt after engaging in a specially-tailored exercise regimen, which helps them cope with the side effects of cancer treatment.


Discuss this post in Frank Mangano’s forum!

Recommendation and review posted by Guinevere Smith

Air Pollution May Spark Adult-Onset Diabetes

Posted: June 3, 2010 at 8:15 am

Lifelong exposure to air pollution can increase a person's risk for type 2 diabetes.

In a new study that will appear in the journal Environment Health Perspectives, air pollution was linked to increased incidence of diabetes 2 or adult-onset diabetes.  The study involved respondents in Germany who lived in heavily polluted industrial areas.

The study was first initiated in the eighties.  After sixteen years, researchers made a follow-up study and found out that many of their original respondents (many aged fifty and up) now have type-2 diabetes.  Out of 1,775 of the total number of respondents in the long-term study, it was found that 187 of the respondents (all women) developed the degenerative condition by late 2006.

How did it happen?  Researchers are still non-conclusive, but there are many solid theories surrounding the phenomena.  Many doctors agree that lifelong exposure to pollutants can set off a biological chain reaction in the body, which produces chronic inflammation that affects many of the body’s organs and functions.

Many doctors agree that inflammation is a significant contributing factor to the development of type 2 diabetes.  According to Rashmi Gulati MD of New York City, breathing in polluted air does not help prevent type 2 diabetes.  Couple this with the Couch Potato syndrome and unhealthy eating patterns and a person is at higher risk for many health conditions, not just diabetes 2.

Type 2 diabetes

What is type 2 diabetes? Type 2 diabetes occurs when one or both of these happen: the body does not produce enough insulin to break down the blood sugar or the body’s cells are no longer sensitive to the natural insulin produced by the body.

When either of these happen, the sugar in the body accumulates, leading to damage to many of the body’s organs over the long term.  Diabetics are at higher risk for heart diseases and stroke, as well.  Slow wound healing and gangrene are also potential risks that face the type 2 diabetic.  Type 2 diabetes is not limited to adults.  Increasingly, this disease has manifested in overweight children.

The most common treatment for type 2 diabetes is insulin shots and medication like metformin, which is used to control blood sugar levels and bring down blood sugar levels to normal.  If left untreated, diabetics can suffer from neuropathies and even vision loss as well.

Protect yourself from air pollution

There are several steps to avoid the hazards of air pollution:

  1. Air pollution can adversely affect your respiratory tract.  If you live in a heavily polluted area, make sure that you get more than enough water everyday.  Water helps carry away toxins and also keeps your respiratory system working efficiently.
  2. Avoid areas that have declared high ozone levels.
  3. If you have to go out near heavily polluted areas, wait until sunset before going out.  The higher the sun is up in the sky, the higher the ozone content of the air.
  4. If there is a wildfire near your neighborhood, close your doors and windows and seal any cracks or openings with tape.  This will create a limited ‘clean zone’ that prevents most of the smoke from outside from entering your home.
  5. Invest in vitamin supplements – especially those that are high in easily-absorbed vitamin C.  Vitamin C strengthens the lungs and protects you from the harsh effects of air pollution.
  6. Exercise regularly so your body can naturally detoxify. Many toxins are stored in the body’s tissues.  When you exercise, these toxins are transported outside of the body.  With regular exercise, you will feel lighter and more energized because you have less toxin load in your body.
  7. If you live in a highly polluted area and you need to use your bike or motorcycle, do wear a dust mask.


Discuss this post in Frank Mangano’s forum!

Recommendation and review posted by Guinevere Smith

Psychological Stress, Exercise, and Telomere Length

Posted: June 3, 2010 at 8:15 am

Researchers continue to dig into the connection between psychological stress and telomere length: “Exercise can buffer the effects of stress-induced cell aging, according to new research … A growing body of research suggests that short telomeres are linked to a range of health problems, including coronary heart disease and diabetes, as well as early death. … Telomere length is increasingly considered a biological marker of the accumulated wear and tear of living, integrating genetic influences, lifestyle behaviors, and stress. … Results support [the] discovery six years earlier in premenopausal women that psychological stress has a detrimental effect on immune cell longevity, as it relates to shorter telomeres. The new study showed, however, that when participants were divided into groups – an inactive group, and an active [group] – only the inactive high stress group had shorter telomeres. The active high stress group did not have shorter telomeres. In other words, stress predicted shorter telomeres in the sedentary group, but not in the active group.”

View the Article Under Discussion:–ber052510.php

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Recommendation and review posted by Guinevere Smith

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