From the physical and social well-being of an individual to the functioning of an ecosystem, health has many different meanings and applications. More than just the absence of disease, health implies a state of well-being. Ever since the origin of life, physical, chemical and biological factors have impacted the health or biological status of living things. And in response life has evolved immune systems, detoxification systems and redundancies to stave off infection, disease, and toxicity. As the world becomes more interconnected, and industrialized, diseases never seen in one part of the globe now threaten to devastate human, wildlife and plant populations, while industrial chemicals now contaminate life in the most remote regions. Maintaining health, whether ecosystem, human or microbial arguably presents one of the greatest challenges of the day.
Chemicals that mimic or antagonize the actions of naturally occurring estrogens are defined as having estrogenic activity (EA), which is the most common form of endocrine...
Fenugreek Last Updated on 2014-08-22 15:04:52
(Source: Saikat Basu, own work)
Species: Trigonella foenum-graecum
Binomial name: Trigonella foenum-graecum L.
Fenugreek (Trigonella) is the oldest medicinal plant in the world. Most popular species of this genus is Trigonella foenum-graecum, where the term “foenum-graecum” means ‘Greek hay’ pointing to its use as a forage crop in the past, fenugreek is grown mainly as a spice crop in the recent times. The plant is believed to be native to the Mediterranean region1-6. There are several controversies regarding the origin of the fenugreek plant for which no proper theory as to the... More »
RicinLast Updated on 2014-06-30 13:49:34
The Director's Emergency Operations Center at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has assembled basic information about the toxin ricin. You can find more detailed information on the CDC's Ricin Homepage.
Ricin is a poison found naturally in castor beans. If castor beans are chewed and swallowed, the released ricin can cause injury. Ricin can be made from the waste material left over from processing castor beans.
It can be in the form of a powder, a mist, or a pellet, or it can be dissolved in water or weak acid.
It is a stable substance under normal conditions, but can be inactivated by heat above 80 degrees Centigrade (176 degrees Fahrenheit).
Castor beans are processed throughout the world to make castor oil. Ricin is part of the waste “mash” produced when castor oil is made.
Ricin has been used experimentally in medicine to... More »
Healthy Community DesignLast Updated on 2014-06-29 19:10:40The way we design and build our communities can affect our physical and mental health. Healthy community design integrates evidence-based health strategies into community planning, transportation, and land-use decisions.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that healthy community design can improve people’s health by:
Increasing physical activity;
Increasing access to healthy food;
Improving air and water quality;
Minimizing the effects of climate change;
Decreasing mental health stresses;
Strengthening the social fabric of a community; and
Providing fair access to livelihood, education, and resources.
According to the World Health Organization, health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of infirmity. A healthy community as described by the U.S. Department of Health and... More »
SeleniumLast Updated on 2014-06-29 16:59:07
Selenium is a gray, metallic element. Its atomic number is 34 and its symbol is Se. The Swedish scientist Jons Jacob Berzelius discovered selenium in 1817. In studying the sulfuric acid produced in a particular Swedish factory, he discovered an impurity which he eventually identified as selenium. Selenium occurs in three distinct forms: as a non-crystalline, gray metal; it can form as a deep red to black powder; and it can form as red crystals. It is stable in air and in water. Selenium is actually an important trace element to mammals and some plants. Too much selenium in a mammal’s diet is poisonous and has been shown to cause deformities. When there is not enough selenium, a mammal can also have health problems. For example, sheep that graze in areas with too little selenium in the soil eventually have a problem known as “white muscle disease.” Lack of selenium... More »
Lifestyle, technology and CO2 emissions in ChinaLast Updated on 2014-06-28 17:59:40
China as the world’s largest developing country and the most populous country has achieved notable success in developing their economy with approximate 10 percent average annual growth of GDP over the last two decades [1-3]. Large sections of the population have been experiencing a transition from ‘poverty’ to ‘adequate food and clothing’; today growing parts of the population are getting closer to ‘well to do’ lifestyles . However, the rapid growth of the economy has not only lead to dramatic changes of wealth and people’s lifestyle, but has also caused a huge amount of resources and energy consumption and associated CO2 and other emissions creating serious environmental problems on both local, regional and global scales [4-6]. Between 1990 and 2004 China’s total energy consumption has grown 5.0% annually from... More »
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