Sensing the World Requires Intelligent Design

first_imgHow do our bodies make sense of the external world?  Through our senses, of course; at least they are the entry points of data into the mind.  Behind those senses are remarkable mechanisms that we use but do not actively operate.  The design in their automatic operations is slowly being revealed with better observing techniques.Sensing sound with motors:  “From grinding heavy metal to soothing ocean waves, the sounds we hear are all perceptible thanks to the vibrations felt by tiny molecular motors in the hair cells of the inner ear,” began an article on PhysOrg.    A single mutation – one amino acid change – in a molecular motor protein called myo1c is enough to disrupt the function of the myosin motor in the hair cell and cause hearing loss.  The mutation causes a reduced sensitivity, perhaps due to making it spend less time attached to actin filaments.  The amino acid is “highly conserved” (unevolved) throughout the superfamily of myosin motors, the article said.Sensing light with circuits:  A novel microscope technique has allowed scientists at Max Planck Institute to decode the eye’s complex circuitry, Science Daily reported.  “The properties of optical stimuli need to be conveyed from the eye to the brain,” the 03/31/2008).    One example of pre-processing accomplished by ganglion cells is responding to light moving in a particular direction.  “This direction selectivity is generated by inhibitory interneurons that influence the activity of the ganglion cells through their synapses.”    Just as with man-made network protocols, the scientists “discovered that the distribution of the synapses between ganglion cells and interneurons follows highly specific rules.”  These ganglion cells intercept and process the visual information before it is received by the brain.  The article described various rules the network of cells follow in activating or inhibiting visual information.Sensing time with clocks:  All living things follow “circadian rhythms,” biological responses to changes in time of day, month, and year.  As in other mammals, the human master clock is located in the brain – specifically, in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), a group of nerve cells in the hypothalamus near the visual cortex.  In response to its data inputs, the SCN can direct the brain to produce more or less melatonin, a hormone that induces sleep.    Live Science described how the SCN works.  There are internal inputs, like genes and proteins produced in the body, and external inputs from the senses.  “Biological clocks aren’t made of cogs and wheels, but rather groups of interacting molecules in cells throughout the body,” the article said.  One of the proteins is aptly named CLOCK – “an essential component in directing circadian rhythms in humans, fruit flies, mice, fungi and other organisms.”  Another is SIRT1, which senses energy use in cells.  The balance of these factors affects how the SCN directs the body to respond to light and darkness and other factors.    Disruption of the biological clock can lead to a host of problems.  Jet lag is a common example.  Fortunately, clock repair is available for that: “Eventually your body is able to adjust its circadian rhythms to the new environment” by a kind of clock reset.  Other dysfunctions, though, can lead to more serious problems, like “obesity, depression and seasonal affective disorder.”  That’s because “hormone production, hunger, cell regeneration and body temperature” are some of the processes that rely on accurate circadian rhythms.All sensory inputs must be processed by the brain.  Fortunately, the brain, like good computer systems, has redundancy mechanisms that give it “plasticity” – the ability to change as we learn, or as parts become damaged.  Science Daily described how researchers at the University of Michigan Medical School are testing mice to see how “the plasticity of the brain allowed mice to restore critical functions related to learning and memory after the scientists suppressed the animals’ ability to make certain new brain cells.”    Fault-tolerant artificial networks, like the power grid and the internet, provide for alternate routes when hubs become unavailable.  Similarly, we have “mechanisms by which the brain compensates for disruptions and reroutes neural functioning,” the article said.  Part of this is recovering from loss of the ability to make new brain cells by giving existing cells more activity and longer life spans.    “It’s amazing how the brain is capable of reorganizing itself in this manner,” Geoffrey Murphy, an associate professor of molecular and integrative physiology at the medical school said.  “Right now, we’re still figuring out exactly how the brain accomplishes all this at the molecular level, but it’s sort of comforting to know that our brains are keeping track of all of this for us.”It makes sense that readers will sense the wonder of the senses a little more after reading these sensible articles, free as they were of evolutionary nonsense.(Visited 8 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Soybean price will rely on demand

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Ben Brown, Program Manager for the Ohio State University Farm Management ProgramFor the last few years, soybeans have provided a per acre return to producers greater than corn. Thus, acreage shifts to soybeans have ensued across the Midwest. The ratio of new crop soybean to corn prices from November 2017 to April 2018 traded at 2.5:1. Historically a ratio of 2.5:1 or greater signaled that acres would continue to move from corn to soybeans and that the expectation was for more soybean acres in 2018. However, in March producer signaled that they intended to plant 1 million fewer acres than 2017. With a trend yield of 48.5 bushels per acre, the expected soybean crop would be the third largest crop on record behind the record set in 2017 and the third straight year over 4 billion bushels. Weather will be the largest factor over the summer months to the final production value, but expectations are for another large crop. The carry-over from 2017 was also high creating an expectation that the 2018 supply will be 2.5% higher than a year ago.Demand for soybeans and soybean products continues to be strong. Increases in livestock numbers, especially pigs, has driven demand for soybean meal. Increases in crude oil prices could encourage use of biodiesel and expand soybean crush further. Chinese per capita income is strengthening and the demand for pork continues to grow internationally. Exports of U.S. soybeans to China have tripled in the last decade, but since 2012, Brazil has been the largest supplier of soybeans to China. Nearly 60% of U.S. soybean exports head to China, and the strength of that market will continue to influence U.S. soybean demand. Exports are projected higher in 2018, but Chinese tariffs could shrink Chinese demand of U.S. soybeans. The drought in South American weakened Chinese leverage over the U.S, as production in South America finished below expectations. Overall, the growth in soybean use appears strong at a 5.5% increase next year, but international trade and weather provide large uncertainties looking forward.Soybean prices in 2018 are expected to be similar to 2017 with the potential for a rally in late June, which would set up an opportunity for producers to contract grain. Trade uncertainty in the Chinese market could change the outlook for soybean profitability for both old and new crop soybeans. Weekly sales numbers will be an important indicator of the ending U.S. export value.Access to Brown’s full report with information on poultry, eggs and wheat can be found here: https://aede.osu.edu/sites/aede/files/imce/images/Current%20Commodity%20Situation%20and%20Outlook%20for%20Ohio%20Report%20.pdf.last_img read more

Ketogenic Diets: The Silver Bullet for Weight-Loss?

first_imgKetogenic Diet ReferencesMartin-McGill KJ, Jackson CF, Bresnahan R, Levy RG, Cooper PN. Ketogenic diets for drug-resistant epilepsy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018;11:CD001903. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD001903.pub4Rezaei S, Abdurahman AA, Saghazadeh A, Badv RS, Mahmoudi M. Short-term and long-term efficacy of classical ketogenic diet and modified Atkins diet in children and adolescents with epilepsy: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutr Neurosci. October 2017:1-18. doi:10.1080/1028415X.2017.1387721Astrup A, Meinert Larsen T, Harper A. Atkins and other low-carbohydrate diets: hoax or an effective tool for weight loss? Lancet. 2004;364(9437):897-899. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(04)16986-9Foster GD, Wyatt HR, Hill JO, et al. A randomized trial of a low-carbohydrate diet for obesity. N Engl J Med. 2003;348(21):2082-2090. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa022207Brehm BJ, Seeley RJ, Daniels SR, D’Alessio DA. A randomized trial comparing a very low carbohydrate diet and a calorie-restricted low fat diet on body weight and cardiovascular risk factors in healthy women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2003;88(4):1617-1623. doi:10.1210/jc.2002-021480Stern L, Iqbal N, Seshadri P, et al. The effects of low-carbohydrate versus conventional weight loss diets in severely obese adults: one-year follow-up of a randomized trial. Ann Intern Med. 2004;140(10):778-785.Bravata DM, Sanders L, Huang J, et al. Efficacy and safety of low-carbohydrate diets: a systematic review. JAMA. 2003;289(14):1837-1850. doi:10.1001/jama.289.14.1837Foster GD, Wyatt HR, Hill JO, et al. Weight and metabolic outcomes after 2 years on a low-carbohydrate versus low-fat diet: a randomized trial. Ann Intern Med. 2010;153(3):147-157. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-153-3-201008030-00005Lim SS, Noakes M, Keogh JB, Clifton PM. Long-term effects of a low carbohydrate, low fat or high unsaturated fat diet compared to a no-intervention control. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2010;20(8):599-607. doi:10.1016/j.numecd.2009.05.003Larosa JC, Fry AG, Muesing R, Rosing DR. Effects of high-protein, low-carbohydrate dieting on plasma lipoproteins and body weight. J Am Diet Assoc. 1980;77(3):264-270.Denke MA. Metabolic effects of high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets. Am J Cardiol. 2001;88(1):59-61.Seidelmann SB, Claggett B, Cheng S, et al. Dietary carbohydrate intake and mortality: a prospective cohort study and meta-analysis. Lancet Public Health. 2018;3(9):e419-e428. doi:10.1016/S2468-2667(18)30135-XSylvetsky AC, Edelstein SL, Walford G, et al. A High-Carbohydrate, High-Fiber, Low-Fat Diet Results in Weight Loss among Adults at High Risk of Type 2 Diabetes. J Nutr. 2017;147(11):2060-2066. doi:10.3945/jn.117.252395Liu L, Wang S, Liu J. Fiber consumption and all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortalities: a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2015;59(1):139-146. doi:10.1002/mnfr.201400449Reynolds A, Mann J, Cummings J, Winter N, Mete E, Te Morenga L. Carbohydrate quality and human health: a series of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Lancet. 2019;393(10170):434-445. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(18)31809-9Dreher ML. Whole Fruits and Fruit Fiber Emerging Health Effects. Nutrients. 2018;10(12). doi:10.3390/nu10121833Chan CW, Lee PH. Association between dietary fibre intake with cancer and all-cause mortality among 15 740 adults: the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2016;29(5):633-642. doi:10.1111/jhn.12389 Author: Christian Maino Vieytes, B.S. Nutritional Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park, M.S. Candidate, Division of Nutritional Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignKeto is in! The newest low-carbohydrate craze is the magic pill that will rescue all of our weight-loss efforts! Or will it?You may have heard about the ketogenic diet, or “keto” for short, over the past year. Don’t be fooled; the latest diet craze is nothing but a rebranding of the Atkins Diet, which was popularized by Robert Atkins in the 1970s. This fad diet is fixated on restricting an entire macronutrient category: carbohydrates (which by the way are the preferred fuel source for all of your body’s cells). The goal, of course, is weight-loss. It may seem harmless, but eating fewer carbohydrates means that you are, instead, eating exorbitant amounts of total fat, saturated fat, and protein.The burning question: is it an effective method for short-term weight-loss?… Yes! But hold your horses, as we will look deeper into the science to see what it has to say on this “newest” diet.So what led us here? Well, it turns out that ketogenic diets are incredibly effective for treating drug-resistant epilepsy. 1,2 This has been a well-known and recognized treatment in the dietetic and medical community for quite some time. The evidence for using this diet in the general public is nowhere near as convincing.Weight LossWhy do Atkins, keto, and carbohydrate-restricting diets cause weight-loss? The answer is not as appealing as one may think. These diets are very effective at promoting weight loss in the short term (i.e., for no longer than three months). The primary way this occurs is by water-loss. When we restrict carbohydrates and eat a high-fat, high-protein diet, our body begins to deplete its glycogen stores, which are the carbohydrate reserves that muscle and liver cells keep handy in case of starvation (remember when I told you that carbs were the primary fuel source?). Water binds tightly to glycogen.3 As you start using up these glycogen stores for energy, the water is set free. The result? You’ve lost a lot of water weight without burning a lot of fat.Repeatedly, studies have shown that weight-loss resulting from a ketogenic, low-carb diet is not sustainable. In these studies, weight loss was observed after 3-6 months, but the weight was regained after 12 months.4–6 Moreover, weight loss appears to be more related to reduced calorie intake as opposed to the carbohydrate composition of the diet itself.6–9Your Health is More Important! Low-carb diets may come with a host of potential side-effects that include: kidney stones, constipation, fatigue, irritability, and headache. The long-term consequences are a bit scarier: elevated cholesterol, increased risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, kidney disease, and even osteoporosis.3,10,11 A landmark study, released earlier this year, reported that both very low carbohydrate consumption and high consumption patterns were associated with a greater risk of death from all causes, especially when the diet was made up of high amounts of animal protein and saturated fat that took the place of carbohydrates. 12So what should we make of all these data? The focus should be on eating the right types of carbohydrates. Eating complex carbohydrates, primarily fiber and those found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains has been associated with longevity and weight-loss.13,14 Several studies have confirmed that eating vast amounts of these types of foods can help prevent cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and different cancers and promote better gastrointestinal health and function.14–17 Consumption of carbohydrate from refined and processed sources should be kept to a minimum.The Take Home MessageDon’t fear carbs! Just make sure to eat the right kinds from whole food sources. Ketogenic and carbohydrate-restricting diets may help us lose weight quickly in the short-term, but the long-term health consequences may not be worth it. Instead of embracing a dieting mentality and restricting and entire food-group, the focus should be on eating a varied diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and adequate amounts of fat and protein. Not only is this beneficial for long-term longevity and for preventing chronic illness, but the science says it can help with weight management as a secondary effect.last_img read more

If You Want Better Results Focus on Competency

first_imgIf you want better results than you are generating now, you have to pay for them in advance. Paying for them means first improving yourself. If you’re going to do more, have more, and contribute more, you have to start with being more than you are now. You have to grow, and you have to improve until you become someone capable of producing better results.Getting Things BackwardsEverybody wants. They want more money. They want better results. They want to advance in their career. They want a great life outside of work. But mostly they want these things without having to change who they are and what they are doing. If wanting were enough, everyone would already have there every wish and hope and dream.Wanting, wishing, hoping, and dreaming isn’t enough to give you the results you want. The result doesn’t come before the effort, and the effort isn’t usually effective before the growth that allows one to take sufficient action in pursuit of their desired results. Wanting, wishing, hoping, and dreaming requires nothing from you. Results, success, the attainment of your goals all require more—much more—starting with you becoming a person capable of the effective action necessary to produce the results you want.Professional Development is PersonalWhen you are working on developing yourself personally, you are developing yourself professionally. Whatever you do as it pertains to your professional development also spills over into your personal life. How could it be otherwise? There is only one “you,” and the “you” at work is the same “you” at home.For most of human history, people believed that you grew as much as you need to—and as much as was possible—by the age of around 18 years old. Robert Keegan’s work has proven otherwise; we continue to grow throughout our lives—and we are all pure potential, which brings me to one of my core beliefs that no human has ever reached their full potential, not DaVinci, not Einstein, not me, and not you.Without knowing how accurate the stat is, they say some meager percentage of the population every reads a book after high school, and a small number reads after college. I do know, however, that most people do very little to improve their competencies when it comes to their profession—including salespeople.Your primary directive must be to grow and evolve, leaving what you are now to become the person that comes after who you are now.The First Order of BusinessYour first order of business must be becoming an expert. You have to acquire and develop your skills. You are not going to produce the result of a professional when your competency is that of an amateur. You are not going to match the expert when you have the skills of a novice. If you want big-time success, you have to develop big-time competencies.The time you work in a role is not a real indication as to your competency. The 10,000 hour doesn’t suggest that the famous number is proof of positive of expertise. Instead, Ericsson’s theory is that it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice, practice so intense that after a couple of hours of work, you need to rest. Deliberate practice means working on something until you perfect it. When was the last time you worked so hard on some competency that you need a nap?If you work in sales, you need competencies in many different areas, many of which you will find in The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need, starting with your mindset, with Self-Discipline, Optimism, Caring, Competitiveness, Resourcefulness, Persistence, Initiative, Communication, and Accountability. The reason these attributes (or character traits) come first is that they are what is necessary to becoming someone worth buying from in the first place. At the same time, you also need to be competent in the skills of sales: Closing, Prospecting, Storytelling, Diagnosing, Negotiating, Business Acumen, Change Management, and Leadership. Learn Anthony’s core strategies & tactics for sales success at any level with The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever NeedI put a reading list at the end of every chapter in that book so readers could get additional help in developing these competencies. The two books that followed both focused on skills, with The Lost Art of Closing focused on commitment-gaining, and Eat Their Lunch devoted to making business acumen practical and tactical, so you can displace your competitors and steal your dream client away.Build a PlanIf there is some area where you need to improve your competency, pick up three books on the subject, read them all, take notes on the author’s beliefs and the actions they suggest you take. Make a list of things you will do differently after studying the topic and stick with it long enough to improve in that area.With the advent of the internet, there is no end of courses and training available to you at a lower cost than ever, especially since you can take them without having to travel and at your own pace. If you are not enrolled in a program now, find something you want to learn and get started. Start applying what you learn.Competency only follows action. Reading a book and not acting on what you learned is the same as not having read the book. Taking a course without applying what you are learning is the same as not taking the course at all, expect you will have wasted your time and money, leaving you no better than you were—and maybe worse off.High PerformanceThe best performers in any human endeavor are the ones with the highest competency, experts, if you will. There are a few with natural attributes and talents, those who were born to do something, but most of them developed themselves in the quiet hours of the day when it was dark outside, and everyone else was sleeping.You don’t see people doing the work of developing the competency you admire; you only see the result. A result this also available to you, should you decide to do the work to acquire it. Get the Free eBook! Want to master cold calling? Download my free eBook! Many would have you believe that cold calling is dead, but the successful have no fear of the phone; they use it to outproduce their competitors. Download Nowlast_img read more

‘Wide access to OTC drugs frees up govt. resources’

first_imgSelf-medication is not new to India. A 2015 survey conducted by Lybrate among 20,000 people across 10 cities showed that 52% of people practised self-medication. But the country lacks a well-defined regulation for over the counter (OTC) medicines, important for patient safety. The government is in the process of finalising an OTC drug policy, which may bring more clarity on the drugs that a wider population can access. The Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI), a body of multinational drug companies, has worked with the government over the past one year by providing inputs to the draft of the OTC policy.The Hindu spoke to OPPI president Annaswamy Vaidheesh about the need for such guidelines and the changes they will bring about in healthcare.What role did OPPI play in creating the OTC policy draft?We brought experts together to help develop the guidelines. We also invited companies like Cipla, Glenmark, Sun Pharma and others who are not members of OPPI, but their inputs were valuable. Additionally, we got international experts to bring in perspective. The government has hailed the inputs and is seriously considering taking them forward. We have looked at the best practices in various economies and highlighted what we can take from them, the kind of drugs that should be included in the OTC list and the ones that should not.How will an OTC policy help?First of all, when you widen access to OTC drugs, it automatically releases the government’s time and resources, which can be focussed on drugs that need to be stringently prescribed. We are saying that drugs that are known to have negligible side effects and don’t require much explanation can be classified as OTC so that access to them becomes easy and wide. These drugs can be made easily accessible in small towns as well. The idea is to make sure that the right product rests in the right place. Society has learnt that OTC medicines are those that don’t have major side effects but help improve health. Many countries have brought more products under the OTC category to focus on drugs that need to be strictly regulated.We also face the threat of antibiotics resistance. Will bringing more drugs under the OTC category lead to overuse or misuse? An antibiotic is a drug meant to treat a bacterial infection. But people who have viral infections, fever and so on are taking antibiotics, causing the resistance. However, when drugs for common viral infections, sore throat, acidity, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, injury, cuts, wounds, burns, acne etc are made available under OTC, people will get access to the right medication. Many people are using such drugs without prescription anyway. But an OTC policy will improve access to drugs that are okay to be sold as OTC and restrict access to other drugs. Besides antibiotic resistance, steroid use is also a big problem. There are people who use steroid creams for skin whitening. But we are working with the government to spread awareness about the responsible use of antibiotics and steroids.What stage is the policy in?The submission has gone; we have crossed three-fourths of the passage. The government may take six months or a year. It is in the process of finetuning it and converting it into a legislation.last_img read more