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Two Upcoming Events at Observatory by Torino:Margolis

Posted: June 12, 2010 at 8:16 am

Morbid Anatomy is very pleased to present an electricity-and-the-body-on-display themed lecture and performance pairing by Torino:Margolis. Event number one, a lecture entitled "Electricity and the Body in Public Performance," will investigate over 250 years of electricity and the body in spectacular scientific performance via an illustrated historical lecture. Event number two will explore the same rich territory via a historically informed interactive performance. Hope you can make it to one or both of these amazing sounding events!

Electricity and the Body in Public Performance
An illustrated lecture by Torino:Margolis
Date: June 15, 2010
Time: 8:00 P.M.
Admission: $5
Presented by Morbid Anatomy

Beginning with the first known public performance by Stephen Gray in 1729 and continuing through the present, scientists and artists have been exploring electricity and the human body for hundreds of years. The innate electrical potential of the human body, electricity as a medium of destruction and using outside electricity to manipulate the body have been served as conceptual fodder throughout this rich history. Although the collaboration between the arts and sciences may seem recent, due to its popularization in the media and 20th century art movements such as Bioart, the connection between these two groups have existed for centuries. Benjamin Margolis, MD and Jenny Torino, MS, RD current tinkerers in both worlds, will take you through the history of public performances in this arena and discuss how it relates to their own work using invasive electronics and the body.


Torino:Margolis Performance
A performative exploration of electricity, biomedicine, and spectacle
Date: June 29, 2010
Time: 8:00 P.M.
Admission: $5
Presented by Morbid Anatomy

Tonight, join Observatory as it hosts Torino:Margolis in a three-part performance investigating the rich history of biomedicine, electricity, and spectacle. First, the audience will have the opportunity to control the movement of the performer using neuromuscular stimulation, which sends outside electricity into the performer’s muscle, forcing their muscle to contract and the performer to move involuntarily.

In the second part of the performance, they will use electromyography (EMG) in a sound-based performance. EMG is a way of sensing the electricity produced naturally during muscle contraction when an individual moves voluntarily. However, when the performer is physically manipulated by another person there is no action potential generated, no signal sensed by the EMG, and no change in the sound is produced. In this way you can hear someone’s free will.

In the third portion they will add a vocal component to the EMG “rig” by manipulating sound coming from the vocal cords using neuromuscular stimulation.

Torino:Margolis will then explain the workings of the biomedical tools used in the performance and the audience will have the opportunity to ask questions.

Torino:Margolis is a performance art team that smashes through physical and psychological barriers separating one body from another using invasive electronics and biomedical tools. They explore the idea that the self is transient, elusive and modular by playing with the notion of control and free will. Their extraction of physiological processes concretizes these concepts and presents them as questions to the viewer — not to illustrate the mechanism, but to explore the experience. The team has performed nationally and internationally at New York venues such as Issue Project Room, POSTMASTERS Gallery and Exit Art, the HIVE Gallery in California, and the Bergen Kunsthall Museum in Norway. They have lectured for institutions such as SUNY Stony Brook and the School of Visual Arts. For more information please see

You can find out more about these presentation here and here. You can get directions to Observatory--which is next door to the Morbid Anatomy Library (more on that here)--by clicking here. You can find out more about Observatory here, join our mailing list by clicking here, and join us on Facebook by clicking here.

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

Chili Peppers May Combat Extra Flab

Posted: June 11, 2010 at 8:17 am

Chili peppers, one of the world's most beloved spices, is showing much promise in terms of reducing fat percentage when introduced to one's daily diet.

In a recent report from Science Daily, a new study suggests that chili peppers may just be the missing key to increased weight loss.  The new study shows that  a compound in chilies called capsaicin, which also makes a chili hot to the taste, is responsible for initiating specific changes in protein.

According to lead researcher Jong Won Yun, this could very well be the good news the world has been waiting for.  If chili peppers can be used on a particular scale for lowering body weight, then chilies can be utilized to combat obesity.

Chili vs. obesity

Obesity is one of the world’s leading causes of chronic, degenerative diseases like adult-onset diabetes, hypertension and other cardiovascular maladies.  Being overweight has also been linked to cancer in the prostate and even the development of asthma.

Yun’s study made laboratory rats confirm their initial hypothesis that capsaicin can help burn off the calories.  Two groups of test animals were both given diets in high in fat. The control group was given a capsaicin supplementation, while the other group of rat were not given the chili compound.

After the study, the control group had lost an average of 8 percent of body weight compared to the group that did not receive capsaicin.  It was also discovered that capsaicin can produce changes in up twenty types of protein found in fat.

While the study did not provide a conclusive explanation that capsaicin actually reduces body weight, it can be viewed as a pioneering study that explores the anti-obesity effects of the chili compound on the molecular level. The study was published in the Journal of Preteome Research.

Fight visceral fat!

There are two main types of fat that people have to deal with: regular fat, which is found above the muscle tissues and visceral fat, which lies underneath the muscles of the abdominal region.  So what is the big difference?  Visceral fat actually surrounds many vital organs, including the liver and intestines.  According to recent studies, visceral fat may also contribute to the development of adult-onset diabetes and other diseases.

In a study published in the medical journal Obesity, lead researcher  Dr. Gary Hunter states that just eighty minutes of exercise every week can help fight off the formation of deadly visceral fat.  Initially, the 97 respondents (composed of European-American & African-American individuals) were given a calorie-restricted diet plus a regular exercise regimen.

After the study, the respondents were asked to continue exercising at least eighty minutes a week.  A year later, the researchers measured the amount of visceral fat the respondents had and found out that the ones who continued exercising regardless of the exercise model did not regain harmful visceral fat. The study concluded that this type of exercise was effective in reducing visceral in both the European-American respondents and African-American respondents.

Vinegar vs. fat

Vinegar, a natural byproduct of bacterial action, fruit/vegetable and water, is now being studied for its potential benefit as a fat fighter.  According to Japanese researcher Tomoo Kondo, vinegar showed great promise as a fat fighter when an animal test showed that acetic acid can reduce up to ten percent body fat in test animals.

How does it work?  Well, the established belief was that acetic acid activates a particular gene in the body responsible for breaking down fat.  When the gene is activated, the body starts producing proteins that help break down the stubborn stores of fat.  When this happens, accumulation of fat is greatly reduced.

Low carbs diet for lower blood pressure

For many years now, proponents of weight loss diets and regular practitioners of medicine have associated too much carbohydrates in one’s diet with higher risk of developing high blood pressure and uncontrollable weight gain.  According to Dr. William Yancy, the lead author of the study, a low-carbohydrate diet might be a better choice than investing in weight loss medication like orlistat.

The study indicated that while weight loss medication like orlistat can reduce weight, it did not produce identical beneficial effects on the respondents’ blood pressure.  This was not the same for the low-carbohydrate group.  Nearly fifty percent of the respondents in the low carbohydrate group were able to reduce their blood pressure.  Some of them had such an improvement that they were able to discontinue medication.  Only twenty-one percent in the weight loss medication group experienced a reduction of their blood pressure.


Discuss this article in Frank Mangano’s forum!

Recommendation and review posted by Fredricko

Study Identifies Link Between Smoking and Urinary Health

Posted: June 11, 2010 at 8:17 am

Smoking cessation plus exercise can improve the male sexual function and also improve the urinary health of both males and females.

In a recently concluded study presented in the annual conference of the American Urological Association, researchers pointed to a vital link between smoking, exercise and urinary health.

The study involved two thousand individuals (males and females). The respondents were interviewed about their smoking habits and were also given questions regarding their urinary health.  It was found that individuals who smoked were three times more likely to urinate frequently.

Also, these individuals are also 2.7 times more prone to experience sudden urges to go to the bathroom to urinate.

In a related study performed by US researchers from South Carolina, it was found that men who exercised more had experienced improved sexual function.  The two studies, if taken together, point to an age-old medical adage: folks have to stop the smoking habit and begin a healthier habit – exercise!

More reasons to love exercise

Here are even more reasons to love exercise:

1. Exercise reduces the risk of mortality from chornic, degenerative health conditions.

2. Exercise reduces the chance of developing of type 2 or insulin-dependent diabetes.

3. Exercise can help control the blood pressure, even the blood pressure of people already have cardiovascular problems.

4. Exercise can help reduce the probability of developing one of the top killers worldwide: colon cancer.

5. Exercise helps improve your mood and also helps people ease out of anxiety and depression.

6. Exercise improves balance, coordination and also strengthens the bones and muscles, therey reducing the risk of fractures from falls.

7. Exercise is also an excellent means of losing weight.

8. Exercise make the body and mind more fit. If you are physically and mentally fit, you would be able to perform better at work or in school.

9. Exercise reduces the risk of stroke.

Exercise may also reduce the risk of breast cancer and loss of bone mass (osteoporosis) – two common problems of women over the age of 45.


Discuss this article in Frank Mangano’s forum!

Recommendation and review posted by Fredricko

Cranberry Helps Cure Urinary Tract Infection, US Study Says

Posted: June 11, 2010 at 8:16 am

Higher doses of cranberry can help treat UTI or urinary tract infections by helping remove the bacteria from the surface of the urinary tract tissue.

According to a study performed by researchers from Rutgers University,  72 mg of cranberry (Vaccinum macrocarpon) can help ward off and even treat urinary tract infections or UTIs.

The study directly supports an early health claim from France that states that at least 36 grams of fresh cranberries is effective against UTI because it prevented some of the Escherichia coli (E. Coli) bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract (in males and females).

According to lead researcher Amy Howell, there is still much more to explore in terms of determining the most effective dose to fight off urinary tract infections.  The study was performed in different countries, including Japan, Hungary and even in Spain. Howell reports that they are also trying to determine the link between the adhesion of the bacteria responsible for UTI and the origins of the respondents.

What the study does show presently is that as the cranberry dose increases, the more effective it becomes in fighting off the adhesion of the bacteria.  The study noted 50% less adhesion at eighteen milligrams and 100% less adhesion at seventy-two grams of cranberries.

Cranberry health benefits

In addition to its ability to fight off infections of the urinary tract, cranberry can also boost your health in other ways:

1. Drinking fresh cranberry juice or drinking cranberry supplements can help reduce the occurrence of cystitis in women.  Drink lots of water, too, because water has the ability of flushing out bacteria naturally.

2. Cranberries are packed with vital nutrients, including protein, carbohydrates, fiber, fruit sugars, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, zinc, ascorbic acid, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, folate, vitamin A, E, K and lutein. It’s nature’s power-packed fruit with all the nutrients you would need to stay healthy.

3. According to a study performed in Cornell University, cranberries have the ability to arrest the growth and maturation of breast cancer cells.

4. Cranberries can help reduce LDL or bad cholesterol.

5. Due to the fruit’s anti-bacterial activity, cranberry may also help prevent tooth decay.

6. Cranberry also strengthens the respiratory system.

7. The fruit may also help ward off stomach ulcers caused by Helicobacter pylorii.


Discuss this article in Frank Mangano’s forum!

Recommendation and review posted by Fredricko

GSK, MedTrust launch iPhone/iPad app for cancer trials

Posted: June 11, 2010 at 8:16 am

GlaxoSmithKline has teamed up with MedTrust Online,  provider of specialist data and technology to oncologists, to launch CancerTrialsApp, described as “the first free geo locating cancer clinical trials application” for the Apple iPhone and iPad.

The application enables cancer doctors to find and share with their patients information about experimental therapies in clinical trials

Recommendation and review posted by Fredricko

18% tax on pizza and soda can decrease U.S. adults’ weight by 5 pounds (2 kg) per year

Posted: June 11, 2010 at 8:15 am

From Reuters:

With two-thirds of Americans either overweight or obese, policymakers are increasingly looking at taxing as a way to address obesity on a population level.

"Sadly, we are currently subsidizing the wrong things including the product of corn, which makes the corn syrup in sweetened beverages so inexpensive."

Instead, the agricultural subsidies should be used to make healthful foods such as locally grown vegetables, fruits and whole grains less expensive.

Tax soda, pizza to cut obesity, researchers say | Reuters.

Image source: Soft drinks, Wikipedia, public domain.

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Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

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