Tag Archives: coffee

Where the Germs Are: Office Kitchens, Break Rooms

A study aided by UA microbiologist Charles Gerba finds that office kitchens and break rooms are frequent hot spots for bacteria.

If you thought the restroom was the epicenter of workplace germs, you don’t want to know about office break rooms and kitchens.

The place where U.S. workers eat and prepare their lunches topped the list of office germ hot spots, with the sink and microwave door handles found to be the dirtiest surfaces touched by office workers on a daily basis. (more…)

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People with Paralysis Control Robotic Arms Using Brain-Computer Interface

A new study in Nature reports that two people with tetraplegia were able to reach for and grasp objects in three-dimensional space using robotic arms that they controlled directly with brain activity. They used the BrainGate neural interface system, an investigational device currently being studied under an Investigational Device Exemption. One participant used the system to serve herself coffee for the first time since becoming paralyzed nearly 15 years ago.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — On April 12, 2011, nearly 15 years after she became paralyzed and unable to speak, a woman controlled a robotic arm by thinking about moving her arm and hand to lift a bottle of coffee to her mouth and take a drink. That achievement is one of the advances in brain-computer interfaces, restorative neurotechnology, and assistive robot technology described in the May 17 edition of the journal Nature by the BrainGate2 collaboration of researchers at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Brown University, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

A 58-year-old woman (“S3”) and a 66-year-old man (“T2”) participated in the study. They had each been paralyzed by a brainstem stroke years earlier which left them with no functional control of their limbs. In the research, the participants used neural activity to directly control two different robotic arms, one developed by the DLR Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics and the other by DEKA Research and Development Corp., to perform reaching and grasping tasks across a broad three-dimensional space. The BrainGate2 pilot clinical trial employs the investigational BrainGate system initially developed at Brown University, in which a baby aspirin-sized device with a grid of 96 tiny electrodes is implanted in the motor cortex — a part of the brain that is involved in voluntary movement. The electrodes are close enough to individual neurons to record the neural activity associated with intended movement. An external computer translates the pattern of impulses across a population of neurons into commands to operate assistive devices, such as the DLR and DEKA robot arms used in the study now reported in Nature. (more…)

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When Plants Go Polyploid

*Plant lineages with multiple copies of their genetic information face higher extinction rates than their relatives, researchers report in Science magazine.*

While duplication of hereditary information is a relatively rare event in animal evolution, it is common in plants. Potatoes, coffee, bananas, peanuts, tobacco, wheat, oats and strawberries, to name but a few, all carry multiple copies of their genetic material, in a condition called polyploidy.

In contrast, most animals including humans are diploid, meaning an individual carries only two copies of each chromosome, the carriers of genetic information, one from each parent. (more…)

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Cubans Say Lots of Sex and Tobacco is Why They Live Longer

Cubans are proud of their longevity, and the sharp mind of Fidel Castrol is a prime example. Certainly the totally free and complete medical care and stress free environment contribute greatly to length and quality of life, as does the the availability of community recreational, cultural and educational programs. A family doctor can be found on every block.

A methodical life with varied food habits, which does not exclude tobacco, coffee or sex, would be the “secret formula” to achieve satisfactory longevity, according to a recent study of more than 50 people over a hundred years old in Cuba. (more…)

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Energy Drinks: To Drink or Not to Drink?

Energy drinks are a recent invention of mankind, even though their ingredients have long been used to stimulate the nervous system. They have become the salvation for students during the exams and office workers that have to meet the deadlines. Yet, are these products as good as they seem? (more…)

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Why Coffee Protects Against Diabetes

*Researchers discover molecular mechanism behind drink’s prophylactic effect*

Coffee, that morning elixir, may give us an early jump-start to the day, but numerous studies have shown that it also may be protective against type 2 diabetes. Yet no one has really understood why.

Now, researchers at UCLA have discovered a possible molecular mechanism behind coffee’s protective effect. A protein called sex hormone–binding globulin (SHBG) regulates the biological activity of the body’s sex hormones, testosterone and estrogen, which have long been thought to play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes. And coffee consumption, it turns out, increases plasma levels of SHBG.  (more…)

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