Showing posts with label Harvard University. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Harvard University. Show all posts

Nov 14, 2014

Famous Inventions by Women

A Shaker community in Massachusetts had a woman named Tabitha Babbitt who worked as a weaver. She would regularly witness the men cutting the wood with a pit saw (a two-handled saw that needed two individuals to operate). Although the saw needed to be pulled in two directions to cut the wood, there was only cutting going on when the saw was being pulled in a forward direction making the backward motion useless. In 1810 Babbitt developed her own draft of a saw that was circular in shape and would eventually be commonly used in saw mills. She attached the blade to her own spinning wheel in order to make every movement count toward cutting results.

Admiral Grace Murray Hopper joined the military during 1943 and was stationed at Harvard University where she was employed using IBM’s Harvard Mark I computer, which was the first large-scale computer in the US. She was the third individual programming the machine and she wrote a handbook of operations that led the way for many that would follow her. During the 1950s, the Admiral came out with the compiler, which converted English instructions into a computer code. This meant that computer code could be developed by programmers with less errors and complications. Hopper then created the Flow-Matic, which was utilized to program the UNIVAC I and II computers. Hopper had also been overseeing the advancements of Common Business-Oriented Language or (COBOL), which was one of the very first computer languages. She went on to obtain various awards for her work and even had a US warship named after her. Heard her speak one time and she used a length of wire 11.8 inches long as a prop. She described how light traveled that distance in one nanosecond.

Apr 17, 2013

Salt Myth Debunked

There continues a myth that originated in the 1940s when a professor used salt-reduction to treat people with high blood pressure. Science has since found out that there is no reason for a person with normal blood pressure to restrict salt intake.

Decades of scientific research have failed to prove any benefits of a low-salt diet, and in fact tend to show the opposite. Studies have also failed to prove salt's connection to heart disease.

Salt is essential for life. Natural salt is important to many biological processes, including:
Being a major component of your blood plasma, lymphatic fluid, extracellular fluid, and even amniotic fluid;  Carrying nutrients into and out of your cells;  Increasing the glial cells in your brain, which are responsible for creative thinking and long-term planning; and  helping your brain communicate with your muscles, so that you can move on demand via sodium-potassium ion exchange.

A Scottish Heart Health Study, was launched in 1984 by epidemiologist Hugh Tunstall-Pedoe and colleagues at the Ninewells Hospital and Medical School in Dundee, Scotland. The researchers used questionnaires, physical exams, and 24-hour urine samples to establish the risk factors for cardiovascular disease in 7300 Scottish men. This was an order of magnitude larger than any intrapopulation study ever done with 24-hour urine samples. The BMJ published the results in 1988: Potassium, which is in fruits and vegetables, seemed to have a beneficial effect on blood pressure. Sodium had no effect.

A review published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. University of Copenhagen researchers analyzed 114 randomized trials of sodium reduction, concluding that the benefit for hypertensives was significantly smaller than could be achieved by anti-hypertensive drugs, and that a "measurable" benefit in individuals with normal blood pressure of even a single millimeter of mercury could only be achieved with an "extreme" reduction in salt intake.

Recent studies, including those cited by Harvard University at St. George’s Medical School in London, have shown that potassium rich foods are an essential defense in helping to relieve high blood pressure. Potassium is an essential mineral that enables the body to maintain a healthy fluid and electrolyte balance, while also promoting optimal nerve and muscle functions.

If a person has high blood pressure he or she may become salt-sensitive. Hypertension is actually promoted more by excess fructose than excess salt. This can be relieved by reducing salt intake or increasing potassium intake, because it is the balance of the two that is important. Eating more potassium is probably more important than reducing salt.

Potassium is found in orange colored fruits and vegetables, including pumpkins, carrots, and apricots. Tomatoes and bananas are another source of high potassium. It is also found in artichokes, avocados, broccoli, dark chocolate, spinach, potatoes, yogurt, fish, and and a variety of beans.

Oct 7, 2011

IgNobel Awards

Each year for the past 21 years, the Ig Nobel Prizes are given. Last week, they were presented at Harvard University, 10 awards in the fields of Physiology, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature, Biology, Physics, Mathematics, Peace and Public Safety.

It points out the ridiculousness of real research that we have to scratch our heads and wonder why would anyone actually spend money to study that. Naturally, much of it is government funded and that should end the lingering doubt about why.

Winners researched such areas as a safety alarm that sprays wasabi and beetles that mate with beer bottles. One study was conducted to find out about contagious yawning of red footed turtles. Another all wet study sought to uncover why people make better decisions about some kinds of things, but worse decisions about other kinds of things when they have a strong urge to urinate.  If you are truly curious you can read more at the following link, or just be happy that somebody else studies these studies.  LINK 

May 21, 2010

Sausage vs. Steak

A recent study suggests that eating processed meat such as sausages increases the likelihood of heart disease, while red meat does not seem to be as harmful.

A Harvard University team which looked at studies involving over one million people found just 50g of processed meat a day also raised the risk of diabetes, but there was no such risk from eating even twice as much meat, such as beef, lamb, or pork, even though the two forms of meat have a similar fat content.

The researchers speculated that given the similar quantities of cholesterol and saturated fats, the difference may be explained by the salt and preservatives added to processed meats. This is defined as any meat preserved by smoking, curing or salting and includes bacon, sausages, salami and other luncheon meats.

The team from Harvard School of Public Health looked at 20 studies involving more than one million participants from 10 countries. On average, each equivalent of a sausage or a couple of rashers of bacon was associated with a 42% higher chance of developing coronary heart disease and a 19% higher risk of diabetes.
Go for lean cuts and aim to cook from scratch using healthier cooking methods like grilling or baking.

"Although cause-and-effect cannot be proven by these types of long-term observational studies, all of these studies adjusted for other risk factors," said Renata Micha, lead author. I love the disclaimer - the results of these studies can't be proven. Hmmm. Maybe I will put a bit less salt on my bacon and sausage, just in case. . .