Wednesday, April 29, 2015

World Health Day: How safe is your food?

New data on the harm caused by food-borne illnesses underscore the global threats posed by unsafe foods, and the need for coordinated, cross-border action across the entire food supply chain, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

       Access to sufficient amounts of safe and nutritious food is key to sustaining life and promoting good health
       Unsafe food containing harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances causes more than 200 diseases – ranging from diarrhoea to cancers
       Food safety, nutrition and food security are inextricably linked. Unsafe food creates a vicious cycle of disease and malnutrition, particularly affecting infants, young children, elderly and the sick
       Food-borne diseases impede socioeconomic development by straining healthcare systems and harming national economies, tourism and trade
       Food supply chains now cross multiple national borders. Good collaboration between governments, producers and consumers helps ensure food safety.
Unsafe food is known to be involved in more than 200 different diseases — from communicable diseases such as cholera and other diarrhoeal diseases, to a range of noncommunicable diseases, including various forms of cancer,” said Dr Ala Alwan, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean. Examples of unsafe food include under-cooked foods of animal origin, fruits and vegetables contaminated with faeces, and shellfish containing marine biotoxins.
WHO also issued the first findings from what is a broader ongoing analysis of the global burden of food-borne diseases. The full results of this research, being undertaken by WHO’s Foodborne Disease Burden Epidemiology Reference Group (FERG), are expected to be released in October 2015.
Despite the fact that governments have committed themselves to establish, operate and maintain well-functioning food safety systems, in some countries, food safety systems are still fragmented, under-funded and under-staffed. In addition, food safety authorities are often restricted in their powers and find themselves struggling to take appropriate public health action because of old and outdated legislation,” ,” he said.

Of the 22 Member States of the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region, only five have reported that they meet completely the core capacity requirements of the International Health Regulations with regard to food safety. Overall, the countries of the region report an average of only 75 per cent fulfillment of the capacity to deal with food safety events of international concern.”

One-hour TV daily may up diabetes risk

Think twice before you settle down for your favorite TV show as every hour you spend in front of the idiot box increases the risk of developing diabetes by over three percent, warns a study. The study, published in the journal Diabetologia, examined the impact of sedentary behavior over time on diabetes incidence. 

These results should inform future lifestyle intervention efforts that already focus on goals of increasing activity and reducing weight to also consider emphasising sitting less,” said senior author Andrea Kriska from the University of Pittsburgh in the US.
In this new research, the authors used data from participants in the Diabetes Prevention Programme (DPP) study funded by an arm of the US National Institutes of Health.
That study enrolled 3,234 overweight US adults (1996-1999) of at least 25 years of age with the goal of delaying or preventing Type 2 diabetes in high risk individuals with either a metformin drug or lifestyle intervention.
This new study examined whether the DPP lifestyle intervention, which was shown to be effective at increasing physical activity, also decreased self-reported sitting time.
The effect of sedentary behaviour on diabetes development was also examined. For the lifestyle participants, a reduction in reported TV watching time throughout follow-up was observed for all participant subgroups including age, gender, work status, race/ethnicity, obesity status, or those achieving the weight and/or activity goal(s).
These findings are particularly noteworthy because a decrease in sitting occurred despite the absence of programme goals aimed at reducing sitting,” Krisk noted.

The researchers also calculated that for all the participants the risk of developing diabetes increased approximately 3.4 per cent for each hour spent watching TV after adjustment for age, gender, treatment arm and time-dependent leisure physical activity.

7 Things You Didn't Know About Skype

Arguably the best known video conferencing tool out there, Skype seems about as basic as pumpkin spiced lattes in the autumn. However, there are a few things you don't know about the video giant, and some of them can certainly work in your favor. Whether you're a long-time Skype devotee, just starting to sniff around its features, or sitting firmly on the fence, these seven interesting facts just might sway you into the arms of this communication giant. 

It made communication free--way before WhatsApp
Okay, it's not technically "free" but getting a Skype phone number with the country code of your choosing is less expensive than a regular landline. It's perfect for anyone who regularly travels abroad, runs a business from abroad, or works with several international clients. For just a couple of dollars per month, you can have an US (or nearly any other country's) phone number, set up voicemail, and get calls just like you were in that country. It's totally free for those in that country to reach you.
Skype's in bed with Microsoft
Love Microsoft (okay, Windows 8 is a little iffy)? Then you'll be happy to know the two tech giants have teamed up and Skype is technically considered a "division of Microsoft". The goal is to provide the best possible experience for users without an increase in cost. It's nearly impossible to actually compete with a monster like Microsoft, so Skype opted to join them.
Banned! Not everyone loves Skype
Since Skype is a popular global tool, it's not surprising that there are some countries and industries which have banned it. In fact, there are some network administrators that have nixed the use of Skype for certain education, corporate, home, and government networks due to "inappropriate usage of resources" or using too much bandwidth. Security concerns are also an issue for some network administrators.
It's Not Made in America
It might seem like Skype is an American company, but it didn't start out that way. Initially founded by Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom in 2003--out of Denmark and Sweden respectfully--the actual software was created by a team of Europeans. In 2005, an agreement was made with a Polish web portal, and it wasn't until later that year that eBay became the first American company to acquire Skype Technologies (to the tune of $2.5 billion in cold, hard cash plus some eBay stock).
It fell Windows Live Messenger
On May 10, 2011, Microsoft picked up Skype for $8.5 billion and quickly brought it into the fold. Remember Windows Live Messenger? Microsoft's goal was to have Skype take over that faltering project and it did so with flying colors. However, there are some places (such as China) where Live Messenger is still the preferred method of communication.
SOS! (But not on Skype)
You can almost use Skype like a regular land-line or smart phone, but not quite. Did you know you can't call 911 in North America or the equivalent emergency numbers in Europe, Nepal or India? Beginning in 2012, there was some limited headway in the right direction for a few key countries (none of them the US). According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Skype isn't an "Interconnected VoIP provider" so it doesn't have to offer emergency access.
The numbers are astounding
In 2005, Skype had just 2.9 percent of the overall international call market share. The 2014 figures are shaping up to be 40 percent. That's some serious growing pangs, but proof that the technology works.
For business or pleasure, Skype remains one of the most user-friendly and secure options for calls and video chats. Turning 13 next year, it's time for the teenager to grow up--and you'll reap all the benefits.

Sip a cup of coffee every day to prevent Alzheimer's

Daily coffee may help reduce beta amyloid levels -- plaque accumulation in the brain -- as a means to prevent, treat and slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease, finds promising research by a team led by an Indian-origin scientist. 

To say that strategising medicines to treat Alzheimer's disorders is important is an understatement. "Moreover, to say that caffeine is just an ordinary staple in our lives, whether caffeine is part of coffee or a chocolate bar, is also an understatement," said Patricia A Broderick, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Caffeine Research that published the study.
In the article "Caffeine as Treatment for Alzheimer's: A Review", Abhishek Mohan from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia and co-authors identified the potential opportunities for using caffeine to reduce beta amyloid levels.
Mohan and his team found that the proposed link between caffeine and reductions in the beta amyloid plaque accumulation characteristic of Alzheimer's disease (AD) suggest a possible role for caffeine in AD treatment.

"Thus, what Mohan has published herein is elegant in its simplicity; his work is critically on target," added Broderick, also adjunct professor in neurology at New York University.

How to tackle work-life balance?

For most people, juggling the demands of a career and a personal life is an ongoing challenge, especially at a time when the expectations from us at work are scaling day by day. Achieving the elusive “work-life balance” can often feel like an impossible goal, especially for people who strive to give everything 100%.. In today’s “do more with less” competitive reality, how can we manage careers and families, and feel satisfied with both? We tried to ask our team mates their master plan to make both ends meet.

In order to have proper balance between work and life, never take work pressures to home and vice-versa. Try to enjoy wherever you are and stay happy, replied one of the respondents.
It is not easy for many of us to balance life and work in this present scenario. Work life balance is a challenge for all of us. In our life the most important thing we need is Time management; if we have proper management then definitely we can make maintain balance in life and work. Achieving a healthy work-life balance can help you manage your stress and improve your health. Some of tips to maintain work life balance are, Set goals and Plans, Have proper structure, Time management and Love your job. If we maintain a proper work life balance then definitely we will be more productive for longer periods. According to me we should plan in a good manner and should work out things. If we are drained out, then it will reflect at our personal life and even spoil our relations, commented another employee.

For me and I think for all family life is very important, so in my case if I have a perfect balance in my personal life, then it does give me a free hand at work and helps me perform my tasks in the best way. Work-Life balance is really a vital factor and one has to make sure he/she tackle it well, replied one of the employees.

Have peanuts with meal to ward off heart diseases

Including peanut in a high-fat meal may protect your heart from the negative effects of such a diet, suggests a new study. Peanuts can be substituted for high-fat, nutrient-poor foods in the diet that contain solid fats, said the study recently presented at the American Society for Nutrition’s 79th scientific sessions and annual meeting in Boston. 

Previous studies have shown that individuals who consume peanuts more than two times a week have a lower risk of coronary heart disease,” said lead researcher Xiaoran Liu, graduate student at the Pennsylvania State University, US. ”This study indicates that the protective effect of peanut consumption could be due, in part, to its beneficial effect on artery health,” Liu added.
The purpose of this research was to evaluate vascular function after a high-fat meal. Overweight males were randomised to consume either shake with peanuts or a control meal (a shake without peanuts) that were matched for energy and macronutrients. The lipid profile, glucose and insulin were measured five times after each meal.

Flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) was measured to assess vascular function. The control meal decreased FMD by 1.2 per cent compared to baseline. In contrast, there was no decrease in FMD after the peanut meal. These results demonstrate that the peanut meal maintained normal vascular function whereas the control meal impaired vascular function acutely, the researchers noted. Vascular dysfunction plays a major role in the development of atherosclerosis, the formation of coronary plaques and lesions that lead to coronary artery disease.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Ways to boost your productivity

TalentSmart has tested more than a million people and found that the upper echelons of top performance are filled with people who are high in emotional intelligence (90% of top performers, to be exact). The hallmark of emotional intelligence is self-control—a skill that unleashes massive productivity by keeping you focused and on track. Unfortunately, self-control is a difficult skill to rely on. Self-control is so fleeting for most people that when Martin Seligman and his colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania surveyed two million people and asked them to rank order their strengths in 24 different skills, self-control ended up in the very bottom slot. And when your self-control leaves something to be desired, so does your productivity.

When it comes to self-control, it is so easy to focus on your failures that your successes tend to pale in comparison. And why shouldn’t they? Self-control is an effort that’s intended to help achieve a goal. Failing to control yourself is just that—a failure. If you’re trying to avoid digging into that bag of chips after dinner because you want to lose a few pounds and you succeed Monday and Tuesday nights only to succumb to temptation on Wednesday by eating four servings’ worth of the empty calories, your failure outweighs your success. You’ve taken two steps forward and four steps back. Since self-control is something we could all use a little help with, I went back to the data to uncover the kinds of things that emotionally intelligent people do to keep themselves productive and in control. They consciously apply these behaviors because they know they work. Some are obvious, others counter-intuitive, but all will help you minimize those pesky failures to boost your productivity.
They Forgive Themselves
A vicious cycle of failing to control oneself followed by feeling intense self-hatred and disgust is common in attempts at self-control. These emotions typically lead to over-indulging in the offending behavior. When you slip up, it is critical that you forgive yourself and move on. Don’t ignore how the mistake makes you feel; just don’t wallow in it. Instead, shift your attention to what you’re going to do to improve yourself in the future. Failure can erode your self-confidence and make it hard to believe you’ll achieve a better outcome in the future. Most of the time, failure results from taking risks and trying to achieve something that isn’t easy. Emotionally intelligent people know that success lies in their ability to rise in the face of failure, and they can’t do this when they’re living in the past. Anything worth achieving is going to require you to take some risks, and you can’t allow failure to stop you from believing in your ability to succeed. When you live in the past, that is exactly what happens, and your past becomes your present, preventing you from moving forward.
They Don’t Say Yes Unless They Really Want To
Research conducted at the University of California in San Francisco shows that the more difficulty that you have saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout, and even depression, all of which erode self-control. Saying no is indeed a major self-control challenge for many people. “No” is a powerful word that you should not be afraid to wield. When it’s time to say no, emotionally intelligent people avoid phrases like “I don’t think I can” or “I’m not certain.” Saying no to a new commitment honors your existing commitments and gives you the opportunity to successfully fulfill them. Just remind yourself that saying no is an act of self-control now that will increase your future self-control by preventing the negative effects of over commitment.
They Don’t Seek Perfection
Emotionally intelligent people won’t set perfection as their target because they know it doesn’t exist. Human beings, by our very nature, are fallible. When perfection is your goal, you’re always left with a nagging sense of failure that makes you want to give up or reduce your effort. You end up spending your time lamenting what you failed to accomplish and what you should have done differently instead of moving forward excited about what you’ve achieved and what you will accomplish in the future.
They Focus On Solutions
Where you focus your attention determines your emotional state. When you fixate on the problems that you’re facing, you create and prolong negative emotions which hinder self-control. When you focus on the actions you’ll take to better yourself and your circumstances, you create a sense of personal efficacy that produces positive emotions and improves performance. Emotionally intelligent people won’t dwell on problems because they know they’re most effective when they focus on solutions.
They Avoid Asking “What If?”
What if?” statements throw fuel on the fire of stress and worry, which are detrimental to self-control. Things can go in a million different directions, and the more time you spend worrying about the possibilities, the less time you’ll spend taking action and staying productive (staying productive also happens to calm you down and keep you focused). Productive people know that asking “what if? will only take them to a place they don’t want—or need—to go. Of course, scenario planning is a necessary and effective strategic planning technique. The key distinction here is to recognize the difference between worry and strategic thinking.
They Stay Positive
Positive thoughts help you exercise self-control by focusing your brain’s attention onto the rewards you will receive for your effort. You have to give your wandering brain a little help by consciously selecting something positive to think about. Any positive thought will do to refocus your attention. When things are going well, and your mood is good, self-control is relatively easy. When things are going poorly, and your mind is flooded with negative thoughts, self-control is a challenge. In these moments, think about your day and identify one positive thing that happened, or will happen, no matter how small. If you can’t think of something from the current day, reflect on the past and look to the future. The point here is that you must have something positive that you’re ready to shift your attention to when your thoughts turn negative, so that you don’t lose focus.
They Eat

File this one in the counter-intuitive category, especially if you’re having trouble controlling your eating. Your brain burns heavily into your stores of glucose when attempting to exert self-control. If your blood sugar is low, you are far more likely to succumb to destructive impulses. Sugary foods spike your sugar levels quickly and leave you drained and vulnerable to impulsive behavior shortly thereafter. Eating something that provides a slow burn for your body, such as whole grain rice or meat, will give you a longer window of self-control. So, if you’re having trouble keeping yourself out of the company candy bin when you’re hungry, make sure you eat something else if you want to have a fighting chance.

Stem cell injection may soon reverse age-related vision loss

A new study has reveals an injection of stem cells into the eye that may soon slow or reverse the effects of early-stage age-related macular degeneration.
Lead author Shaomei Wang of Cedars-Sinai said that this is the first study to show preservation of vision after a single injection of adult-derived human cells into a rat model with age-related macular degeneration. The stem cell injection resulted in 130 days of preserved vision in laboratory rats, which roughly equates to 16 years in humans. 

Age-related macular degeneration affects upward of 15 million Americans. It occurs when the small central portion of the retina, known as the macula, deteriorates. The retina is the light-sensing nerve tissue at the back of the eye. Macular degeneration may also be caused by environmental factors, ageing and a genetic predisposition.
When animal models with macular degeneration were injected with induced neural progenitor stem cells, which derive from the more commonly known induced pluripotent stem cells, healthy cells began to migrate around the retina and formed a protective layer. This protective layer prevented ongoing degeneration of the vital retinal cells responsible for vision.
Researchers first converted adult human skin cells into powerful induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC), which can be expanded indefinitely, and then made into any cell of the human body. In this study, these induced pluripotent stem cells were then directed toward a neural progenitor cell fate, known as induced neural progenitor stem cells, or iNPCs.
Researcher Clive Svendsen said that these induced neural progenitor stem cells are a novel source of adult-derived cells which should have powerful effects on slowing down vision loss associated with macular degeneration, adding that though additional pre-clinical data is needed, their institute is close to a time when they can offer adult stem cells as a promising source for personalised therapies for this and other human diseases.

Next steps include testing the efficacy and safety of the stem cell injection in preclinical animal studies to provide information for applying for an investigational new drug. From there, clinical trials will be designed to test potential benefit in patients with later-stage age-related macular degeneration.

How to write emails that get replies from extremely busy people

Over the years, you all might be writing mails to a wide section of people in a wide variety of fields. If you're looking to initiate a mutually beneficial, professional relationship with someone you admire, consider the email tips below: 

Don't be a salesman.
Don't try to convince them of anything in the message. It's not the way, You can start the conversation like, I think it would be really good to do this because of X, Y, and Z. [It's] This is what I do... I think what you're doing is fascinating, and I'd like to sit down with you and talk about what you're up to.
Keep it as short as possible.
You want the recipient to look at your message and be able to give an adequate response, even if it takes them 30 seconds on their smartphone. When Levy emails a high-demand person like a celebrity, he keeps his email down to a single sentence that cuts out any trace of filler. If he emails an executive, who makes decisions based on available information, he'll limit his message to three to five sentences and include some links they can click if they'd like to learn more about him and the Influencers.
Entice them with your subject lines.
If you're being referred by someone in their inner circle, mention their name in the subject. Levy likes the subject line "Quick Question" because it signals to the reader that they can open the email and remain on a path to a cleaner inbox.
Offer a clear next step.

If your recipient is interested in you, let them know how you'd like to move things forward by asking a question or extending an invitation to talk further.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

How to Build the Perfect Company Culture

One of the most important things to get right when founding a company is its culture. You don't need free gourmet lunches or Ping-Pong tables, but your company does need a blueprint to follow for every decision, system, and action. Great performance can never come without great people and culture, and the opposite is also true--great people and culture are affiliated most with high-performing organizations.
Companies need to recognize the interconnection from their inception: The team is the company's raw DNA, the purpose their religion, and culture their unique way of operating based on common principles, norms, and values. Like aiming a rocket ship into orbit, if you get this wrong from the start, your trajectory will only get worse over time. 

Below, read the tips on how to build a culture that will ensure your company launches with the optimal trajectory.
Solidify your mission.
You need to begin by formulating and understanding your "why" statement. This is about mission, not marketing. What calling does your business serve? This should feel authentic, inspirational, and aspirational. The companies with strong purpose are the ones we tend to love best because they feel different. Whether it's trying to just offer better food, or democratize great design, the cause behind the brand is clear.
Lay out your values and standards.
After your "why" statement is all set, you need to set values and standards to help reinforce it. Great cultures need a common language that allows people to actually understand each other. First, a common set of values, which are the evergreen principles of the firm, and second, a common set of standards by which a business will measure how they're upholding those principles.
Live your culture.
As the leader, you need to be the living example of your own culture. Company leaders must be the strongest representations of the firm's culture and purpose, not just writing or memorizing the mission statement, but rather internalizing and exemplifying what the company stands for. As examples, look at how Steve Jobs defined Apple's culture and how Richard Branson continues to represent Virgin.
Support your cultural ambassadors.
You cannot keep your culture alive by yourself. You need a team of culture ambassadors, people who bleed your company's culture and purpose. If that culture and purpose are strong enough, ambassadors will manifest naturally. But you need to make sure they know and feel how important to your company they are: Do you know who these people are? Have you rewarded them and thanked them? At a time when outsourcing functions such as customer service or automating checkout procedures are becoming more common, the role of frontline cultural ambassadors does not diminish, but rather disproportionately increases and can become a real competitive advantage.
Hire for character, not skill.

Skills can be learned and honed, but character cannot. In order to perpetuate your company's culture, you need to look for employees who not only are talented but have the character that fits within your company. The mantra at our own firm is that in the end it's always about people and character, he writes. When recruiting folks, spend more time screening for character than you do screening for skill. You need to hire A players, because great employees will attract more great employees. Compromising on talent that is good enough but not necessarily the best you think you can get, especially in pivotal job roles, is a sure formula to short-circuit your own culture and long-term performance.

How to Preempt Performance Dips?

Is the performance of your team slipping? What if there was a way to stay ahead of performance dips? There is. And, fortunately, you don’t have to wait until things aren’t working well to get this approach working for you and your team. Proactively have one-on-one conversations with each person you work with about their relationship between your roles. Consider this. It is your respective roles in the organization that place you in work relationships with each other. Each role has its own “lane” or area of responsibility. Now is the time to design each relationship so that, in the places where your lanes overlap, you can create a clear context for all your interactions. You can shape your dialogue about the relationship between your roles along the lines of the following three ideas.
Responsibilities -
We each have specific and unique responsibilities which are posited by our roles. Predictably, there is inherent tension between our role responsibilities. These responsibilities have us interpret our work in a particular way. Invariably, that means what is of significant importance to you at a tactical or transactional level may or may not be important to me, and vice versa. This is a reality between the roles that we inherit.
Start your role relationship conversation by sharing what each person sees as their responsibilities in the work you are doing together, what you each think your responsibilities are, and how they are aligned or misaligned. Consider where you may be competing for each other’s time and attention. Have the discussion to achieve alignment. Identify exactly what you will be counting on each other for. This is also known as “count-on-ability” (a.k.a. “mutual accountability”).
Priorities -
Each of our responsibilities comes with its own set of specific priorities. We are operating in dynamic circumstances, so priorities will shift and change over time and even masquerade as hidden agendas. What is in-the-moment urgent for me may become a backburner item in a month. What was a burning issue for you yesterday has disappeared off your radar today. This plays havoc with effective teamwork. Which makes it all the more important that we inform each other when a priority that impacts our work together shifts.
Take the first step and identify where your current priorities compete. Identify these competing priorities as areas for potential conflict moving forward—and have the conversation as to how you will resolve the competing priorities now. These may be challenging conversations to have, but they pale in comparison to the challenge presented by not having them.
For example, a division President responsible for doubling the division’s capacity may want to secure working capital for growth. His primary concern is on making sure his division has the capabilities in place to deliver value in the given timeframe. The CFO, whose most important concern is to reduce costs for the whole enterprise, may want to limit all capital expenditures to manage ROI. It isn’t lost on either of them that their priorities are competing. Both leaders can, if they proactively discuss their competing priorities (which are legitimate) ahead of time, have candid discussions to resolve the conflict between making the capital investment and balancing ROI.
We need to design a good working relationship first—before we can resolve the inevitable disagreements and conflicts we will have within it.
Expectations -
We sometimes come into a conversation about our responsibilities and priorities with preconceived expectations of the role, based on our prior experience. The role you currently play in the organization may have been played by other people. I may unconsciously expect that you will repeat what they did and how they did it. Or we may have hidden expectations of each other simply because of what we associate with our titles.
Commit to take nothing for granted in the realm of expectations. Rather in a new role relationship, a new project or an emerging situation, articulate any expectations you have of the other person—and invite them to do the same with you. Remember that what was urgent and important in the past may have no bearing on our current role responsibilities and priorities. Discuss whether some, all or none of these expectations of each other are still valid.
Effectively getting work done together can happen when we are clear about the responsibilities, priorities and expectations underlying our “arranged” work relationship. I strongly recommend to my clients that they not wait for a conflict or crisis to initiate a conversation about role relationships. In fact, I recommend they have these conversations early and often.
We can give each other our best when we design our relationships proactively. Better to prepare ourselves with some competence for those inevitably painful moments in which we will need some equanimity and presence of mind to see our way through—together. When everything else has been taken into consideration, it will be our ability to reconcile our conflicts together that maintains the high performance of our team and our organization.

Milk is just what your brain ordered for you

Milk is not just good for babies, but for adults as well—at least their brains. New research at the University of Kansas Medical Center has found a correlation between milk consumption and the levels of the naturally-occurring antioxidant glutathione in the brain in older, healthy adults. The research findings, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggests a new way that drinking milk could benefit the body. 

In-Young Choi, Ph.D., an associate professor of neurology at KU Medical Center, and Debra Sullivan, Ph.D., professor and chair of dietetics and nutrition at KU Medical Center, worked together on the project. “We have long thought of milk as being very important for your bones and very important for your muscles,” says co-author Debra Sullivan, professor and chair of dietetics and nutrition at KU Medical Center.
This study suggests that it could be important for your brain as well.” Co-author In-Young Choi asked the 60 participants in the study about their diets in the days leading up to brain scans, which they used to monitor levels of glutathione—a powerful antioxidant—in the brain. The researchers found that participants who had indicated they had drunk milk recently had higher levels of glutathione in their brains.
This is important, the researchers said, because glutathione could help stave off oxidative stress and the resulting damage caused by reactive chemical compounds produced during the normal metabolic process in the brain. Oxidative stress is known to be associated with a number of different diseases and conditions, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and many other conditions, Choi says.
You can basically think of this damage like the buildup of rust on your car,” Sullivan says. “If left alone for a long time, the build-up increases and it can cause damaging effects.” The recommended daily intake is three dairy servings—or cups—per day, Sullivan says. The new study showed that the closer older adults came to those servings, the higher their levels of glutathione were.

If we can find a way to fight this by instituting lifestyle changes including diet and exercise, it could have major implications for brain health,” Choi says. An editorial in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition said the study presented “a provocative new benefit of the consumption of milk in older individuals”, and served as a starting point for further study of the issue.

Tips to Be a More Impressive Speaker

If you're a shaky public speaker, your next big presentation offers so many things to be worried about. There's conceiving of and planning your speech, practicing it, keeping your nerves in check, actually presenting it, and dealing with audience questions, as well as any memory lapses that might trip you up.

With this minefield, no wonder your nerves are on edge. Thankfully, there's plenty of advice out there on each of these aspects of giving a truly compelling presentation. And while they're usually spread across the internet, Here's the wisdom on offer.
1. How can I be of service?
Most of us focus on ourselves and our performance before giving a big speech or presentation. But that's the wrong location for your attention, to calm your nerves and boost the usefulness of your presentation, instead think of yourself as serving the audience and focus on their needs.
2. Hook them with emotion
No matter how data-driven or arcane your subject, you still need to try to inject a little emotion into your speaking. Why? Emotion sticks. People remember emotionally charged messages much more readily than fact-based ones. In fact, modern scientists are finding that our emotional responses have a fast track to our long-term memory. So when possible, try to bring some emotion into your presentation, whether in the form of your delivery or the content itself.
And no excuses that your speech on algae concentrations in local ponds just can't be made emotional. If it's worth talking about, there has to be a reason why and that why is always at least a little emotional. Even the most technical talks can have some emotional aspect, especially if you focus on the benefits or implications of the science or technology. Benefits are inherently emotional--saving time, saving money, saving trees, saving lives ... these are things people care about.
3. Practice right
Many presenters don't practice properly. They simply mentally rehearse or flip through a slide deck, passive approaches that don't really simulate the conditions of a presentation. To practice effectively, you also need to stand and deliver--even if you are presenting virtually, you need to physically stand up to project effectively. Rather than only thinking through a presentation, standing up and practicing your speech helps you remember it.
Specifically he recommends breaking down your presentation into bite-sized bits and mastering them one by one. One very useful technique, called focused practice, involves taking one aspect of your presentation-- the introduction--and delivering it repeatedly until you become highly familiar and comfortable with it.
4. Eat right for success
Food might not be the first thing on your mind when you're about to give a big speech, eating right before a presentation can significantly improve your performance.
Like a long-distance runner carbo-loading for a marathon, you will find it helpful to eat certain foods--in this case, to facilitate memory formation and retention--ahead of your presentation. Complex carbohydrates, nuts, oils, foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and foods that contain flavanols (such as grapes, berries, apples, and cocoa) are good choices. Avoid simple sugars and sweets because they provide a quick energy boost that is often followed by sluggishness and mental haziness, you should also plan your caffeine consumption wisely: Caffeine facilitates creativity and productivity, but it also invites jitters, dry mouth, and flighty memory. It may make some sense to go for the triple mocha latte when you're preparing a speech, but it's not a good idea the day of.
5. Beat "up-talking" with breathing
What's up-talking? That annoying habit of raising the pitch of your voice at the end of your sentences, making everything you say sound like a question. Nothing can be more confusing (and annoying) to an audience as when a speaker makes an important point like 'our profits are expanding,' yet it sounds like 'our profits are expanding?
To beat up-talking, focus on your breathing. If you are an up-talker, then you likely take a quick inhalation prior to the end of your sentences because feel you are running out of air to support the remainder of your spoken thought. This inhalation is often followed by a rise in pitch. To address this, you need to practice what is termed 'landing; your sentences and phrases. Rather than inhale close to the end of your sentences, focus on exhaling completely as you finish your thought.

What is your success mantra at work?

Success comes to those who dare to dream, to people who truly want to succeed. It does not come knocking the doors of people who only wait for things to take happen on their own. There is no success spell, so if you want it, go get it. We all know, the world is moving fast and our expectation from our professional life has also changed. We all in our own ways seek to beat the odds and strive for success in whatever we do. We tried to know what is the success mantra of our colleagues at various roles.

Learn from failures - For me success is largely dependent upon how we fail, how we view our unsuccessful endeavors; and most importantly how we learn from our failure and take encouragement from it and come out more hard replied one of the respondent.
Punctuality - For me punctuality is the mantra for my success and I proudly endorse it, I like to take up my work on time and finish the task on time which is something which motivates and adds to my success at work, said another employee.
Innovative - To be innovative is something which is the mantra of my success. To draw different strategy and learn and explore innovative ideas is what keeps me going replied another respondent. 
Tell us what’s your success mantra is, share your views in the comment session below.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

How you deal with office bullies?

The workplace becomes toxic in the presence of co-workers who are bullies. The victim must raise objections if it is hurting him/her in any ways or resort to intervention by the organization. If not handled deftly, office bullies can cause irreparable damage to the individual as well as overall productivity. We tried to explore among our colleagues and ask them how they deal with the office bullies. 

 I deal with office bullies in a sporting way; I tend to laugh it off and at times, reply to them or pretend as if I am not listening to them. It depends on person to person how they handle these kind of situations, said one of the employees. For me smile is the weapon believe me, Smile is a curve that makes everything straight, said another respondent.

Office bullies are really irritating for me, because sometimes it gets too much. It is the mindset of people who tend to enjoy bullying others. According to my opinion we should have the courage to deal with all these bullies by taking them with confidence, if not it’s better to sit quiet and avoid. Workplace bullying might include Shouting in private , disrespectful comments, excessive criticizing one's work to name a few said one of the employees.

Kids exposed to smoking may have higher risk of heart disease as adults

A new study has indicated that kids who are exposed to their parents' smoking may have a higher risk of developing heart disease in adulthood than those whose parents didn't smoke. According to the American Heart Association Rapid Access Journal Report, the percent of children with non-detectable cotinine levels were highest among households where neither parent smoked (84%), decreased in households where one parent smoked (62%) and were lowest among households where both parents smoked (43%).
Regardless of other factors, the risk of developing carotid plaque in adulthood was almost two times (1.7) higher in children exposed to one or two parental smokers compared to children of parents who did not smoke. Further, risk was elevated whether parents seemed to limit their children's exposure.
Costan Magnussen, Ph.D., study lead author and senior research fellow at the Menzies Institute for Medical Research, University of Tasmania in Australia, said that although they could not confirm that children with a detectable blood cotinine in their study was a result of passive smoke exposure directly from their parents, they knew that a child's primary source of passive smoke exposure occurs at home.

Researchers stressed that to provide the best long-term cardiovascular health for their offspring, parents should not smoke. However, for parents who are trying to quit smoking, they may be able to reduce some of the potential long-term risk for their children by actively reducing their children's exposure to secondhand smoke.

Demand for water to outstrip supply by 2050: Study

Global demand for water will outstrip supply if the current population growth trends and present of levels of water consumption continue, a study has predicted. The researchers used what is called a delayed-feedback mathematical model to analyse historic data to help project future trends. 

Per-capita water use has been declining since 1980, largely due to improved efficiency measures and heightened public awareness of the importance of conserving Earth’s limited supply of freshwater. This has helped offset the impacts of recent population growth, the study published in the journal WIREs Water noted. “But if population growth trends continue, per-capita water use will have to decline even more sharply for there to be enough water to meet demand,” said researcher Anthony Parolari from Duke University.
The world’s population is projected to surge to 9.6 billion by 2050, up from an estimated seven billion today, the study pointed out. “For every new person who is born, how much more water can we supply? The model suggests we may reach a tipping point where efficiency measures are no longer sufficient and water scarcity either impacts population growth or pushes us to find new water supplies,” Parolari noted.
The researchers said that periods of increased demand for water—often coinciding with population growth or other major demographic and social changes—were followed by periods of rapid innovation of new water technologies that helped end or ease any shortages. Based on this recurring pattern, the model predicts a similar period of innovation could occur in coming decades.
Water recycling, and finding new and better ways to remove salt from seawater, are among the more likely technological advances that could help alleviate or avoid future water shortages, he said.

How to be an effective team player?

In today’s contemporary work culture team play remains a pivotal aspect to run through projects, where everyone pitches in, and you all work together in a perfect harmony. It is worth mentioning that teamwork is not only the effective mode to work, it even develops and refines the skills that will help you make a valuable contribution to whichever type of team you're in. To be precise a good team player is not just someone who contributes, but someone who can absorb, understand, and consider ideas and views from other people. Let us know what our colleagues have to say.

According to my opinion, an effective team player should have 5 qualities like, always reliable, communicate with confidence, come up with creative ideas, adapt to the changing environment & should have commitment. Team player should be friendly and lovable to the teammates unless he is friendly there will be no success for the team mates. Team player should be capable to handle all the responsibilities. Team player should always maintain positive attitude & good rapport which helps not only him but also the whole team. Team player should always have good mind to accept all ideas, thoughts and feelings given by team members, said one of the respondent.
To be an effective player, open your mind to listen, we have to listen to the team before we make our viewpoint; rather arguing we have to try describing details on why we thought different; discuss much about work with team and accept suggestions rather treating it as complaints replied another colleague.
An unbiased work culture with full dedication to work and support to team members is what makes an effective team player said one of the employees. 
Teams need strong team players to perform well. But what defines such people is what remains crucial, feel free to have your say on this in the comment section below.