Monday, 16 November 2015

All will be revealed...

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My Dear Sexy Readers,

My sincere apologies for not posting much this year. As you can expect, life has been absolutely hectic: I changed jobs, twice!, I went on holiday, twice!, my son got chicken pox, once! - but at the same time as his best friend so I guess I can say twice as we kept them together for company.

As it seems I do everything in double this year, I have to confess to something else.. I've been secretly preparing for the launch of a second Science blog...

Fear not, it will still be a nice easy to read Science blog, but the content will focus on only one subject: our microbiota!

If you remember, I already talked about our gut microbes a while back, and it's really that research I had done at the time that sparked my interest for our microbiota.

During the months that followed, I read more and more articles on the role of our gut microbes on our health and sanity. If you follow me on twitter, you may have noticed the fact that I mentioned quite a few time how excited I was about this new field of research.

Recently, I read a truly inspiring book called 10% human:

From the first page, I knew that I was holding something special in my hand - or rather my kindle was containing an amazing file! I devoured page after page - not sure what the kindle equivalent is - and decided that everyone should know about the amazing therapeutic potential that represents the modulation of our gut microbes, and I should do something about it! As a writer, a blog seemed the obvious solution.

I hope you are as excited as I am, I can't wait to share it with you.

Launch will be on Monday 4th January 2016

See you Soon for more Sexy Science,

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Shelf Life - a Collection for Curious Minds

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My Dear Sexy Readers,

I was contacted a few weeks ago by Roberto from the Department of Marketing at the American Museum of Natural History. He was telling me about their new original series called Shelf Life which is on the history and importance of scientific collections. Curious as I am, I clicked, clicked clicked and discovered these videos, watched them with big wide eyes the same way my son discovers new episodes of Peter Rabbit!
Shelf Life is a collection for curious minds—opening doors, pulling out drawers, and taking the lids off some of the incredible, rarely-seen items in the American Museum of Natural History - Tweet This

Shelf Life is a monthly feature and 3 episodes have been published so far.
Here is their first one:

What I found interesting in this first instalment is the fact that they have 200 scientists, working on 33 million items classified in anthropology, paleontology, vertebrate or invertebrates, rocks and gems but they also have a massive collection of frozen DNA-containing tissue available to scientists all over the world. More surprisingly, they have 12 meteorites from mars!!!! But also, the astrophycisists are amassing massive digital data from the skies.
It truly is a 21st Century Museum Collection!

In the second episode, my highlight was "The wonder part of these collections is not so much in the object but in the relationship in what they tell us in a sophisticated way."

Their next episode is premiering on February the 17th. If you are interested in getting updates, you can subscribe to their Youtube channel. I can't wait to discover what they have in their drawers :)

See you Soon for more Sexy Science,

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Myths about Cancer

2 Sexy People gave their opinion
My Dear Sexy Reader,

Today, I've decided to be a bit lazy in the writing department. But it's only because in doing my research I came across this article on that I thought was perfect.
The original article is actually part of a Cancer file where you can found amazing information on about anything you've always wondered about cancer. Here it is:

Cancer Myths and Reality 

Myth #1
Progress for people with advanced cancer has been so slow because there is a conspiracy between the American Medical Association and drug companies. Some people with cancer and their families think doctors are keeping the cure for cancer under wraps so that money can be made from cancer treatments.

Reality #1
Does any reasonable person think that a cure for cancer would remain secret for long? Obviously not.
  • Now, let's think about this for a moment. Nurses get cancer. Pharmacists get cancer. Physicians get cancer, as do family members of these professionals. With the Internet and high-speed modems, it is inconceivable that some scientist laboring in isolation in a bunker someplace will have a cure for this problem.
  • The World Wide Web can be your best source for sound information (but also at times a repository for some of the worst). A cure for cancer does not exist in cyberspace, or in a clinic in Mexico, or with a healer in the Philippines.
Myth #2
We can put a man on the moon. We can send a rocket around Jupiter. Why can't we cure cancer?

Reality #2 
This question underscores a common misbelief that cancer is one disease. In fact, cancer is a group of hundreds of diseases. Each disease has a unique biological record, and each of which may be caused by very different circumstances. One "magic bullet" will not eradicate all types of cancers.
  • A major study from the University of Chicago stated that the survival from cancer is no different now compared with 30 years ago. This is an extreme view because, in fact, people with cancer are living longer and clearly have a better quality of life than they did a generation ago. Today, 2 of every 3 of those diagnosed with cancer are alive more than 5 years following their diagnosis. In 1970, this was only true for about 1 in 3.
  • We know this because some cancers are indeed curable, even in the far advanced stages as with testicular cancer, Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkins lymphomas, acute leukemia in both children and adults, and in a few other types of cancer.
Myth #3
If we can only hold on for a few more months, a cure will be on the horizon and all will be well.

Reality #3 
Although there have been spectacular advances in the treatment of cancer and although people are living far longer today than in any time in history, it is not reasonable to expect that, within the next years, there will be a "heat-seeking missile" or some magical vaccine to annihilate cancer. Progress against this dreaded group of diseases has been agonizingly slow, but it is moving forward in the right direction.
  • Clinical trials and conventional therapies hold promise, but cure is not possible for most people with advanced cancer.
  • But what is possible is a better quality of life because we now have far better treatments for pain, nausea, and vomiting than we did just a few years ago.
Of course, there are many more myths surrounding the complexities of cancer. If you are interested, feel free to leave me a comment with the myth or the info you may have heard and are not sure if it's true.

See you Soon for more Sexy Science,
This article originally appears here:
Cancer: What you need to know

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

What are superfoods?

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My Dear Sexy Readers,

Thank you all for the amazing feedback I got from you on the different social networks about my latest article "What's a gluten-free diet?".

Right after the holiday season, we all love a good detox program to purify our body and soul from all our Christmas sins. Some of us take the plunge and go for the latest fad diet. Whereas others feel they got the whole Healthy Diet with particular attention to superfoods.

But what are those Superfoods everyone seem to talk about these days? And most importantly is there any truth, medical or theoretical evidence that these foods are Super?

What are Superfoods?

Superfoods are nutrient-rich foods that are considered to be especially beneficial for our health and well-being.
Superfood Berries

However the name 'Superfood' has been disputed by many saying that it is a non-medical term used in marketing with little scientific evidence for it. The term itself has been prohibited in the European Union since 2007 unless it is accompanied by a medical notice approved by an medically and scientifically accredited name or organisation.

What are these superfoods?

Berries, nuts and seeds in general, dark green vegetables (such as spinach, kale, collard greens, Swiss chard, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli), citrus fruits, fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, vegetables with bright, dark, or intense colors (such as beets and their greens, and sweet potatoes), many legumes (peanuts, lentils, beans, raw cocoa), and whole grains as a group.

You might say, 'Well, if these are good foods to begin with, foods that could be part of a healthy diet, what's wrong with naming them Superfoods?'

Tweet This - If these are good foods, part of a healthy diet, what's wrong with naming them Superfoods?

And in essence, there's nothing wrong with it if these are actually eaten as part of a healthy diet and not popped in your mouth in a pill form!!!

Green tea leaves from Chengdu
For example, green tea is well known for its superfood quality as it is a superoxidant and contains B vitamins, folate (naturally occurring folic acid), manganese, potassium, magnesium, and caffeine. Many weight loss supplements include green tea extracts but there is currently insufficient scientific evidence that consumption of green tea or its specific extract EGCG has any health benefit.  The FDA itself sent a warning letter in 2013 about false advertising and health claims concerning the effects of green tea consumption.

Why are they called Superfoods?

Many Superfoods contain natural chemicals that have been shown to have positive health effects in laboratory studies. These include antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

It’s certainly true that a healthy diet can help to reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes but it is unlikely that any single food will make a major difference on its own.  

Cancer Research UK note that Superfoods are often promoted as having an ability to prevent or cure diseases, including cancer; they caution, 'you shouldn’t rely on Superfoods to reduce the risk of cancer. They cannot substitute for a generally healthy and balanced diet'.

Fighting Cancer with Superfoods?

There is some lab data that show that some of these ingredients can affect cancer cells in a laboratory setting, including killing them and stopping them from growing. But unfortunately jumping to the conclusion that eating those nutrient-rich foods can affect your cancer outcome is a biiiiiiig leap!

First of all, your body is a complex organism and the interactions between the food we eat and our bodies are much more complex than those between a purified chemical and cells in a tube.
Secondly, food is itself complex: An isolated chemical may behave very differently in a test tube than when it is eaten as part of food.
Last but not least, dose as always is of paramount importance. Even eating very large portions of a ‘superfood’ might not provide enough of a specific ingredient to a sufficient amount to have any effect on our health. For example, garlic contains a nutrient alleged to help reduce cholesterol and blood pressure. But you'd have to eat up to 28 cloves a day to match the doses used in the lab!

Is it bad though?

As part of a healthy diet, the short answer is not at all. With everything though, dosing and pacing are essential. You won't get a quick fix by gorging yourself on Superfoods, you won't cure any disease and your disease risk may not be that much reduced if you are already on a healthy diet. If anything, an exclusive diet might put you at risk of deficiency of other essential nutrients.
Some foods when eaten in large quantities can put you at risk of toxicities - think fish and mercury - for example, some seaweeds contain natural toxins which are thought by some to increase risk of cancer and liver damage.

Do you like your Superfoods? Do you include them in your diet on purpose?

See you Soon for more Sexy Science,

References and further reading
Cancer Research UK - Superfoods
NHS - Superfoods

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