Smoked Paprika Hummus with Warm Pita or Flatbread

Several years ago, our son, Alex, introduced us to one of Manhattan’s best gourmet vegan restaurants, Candle79.  We all go for dinner there, each time he comes to Manhattan . We all love it, by the way. Our strategy at Candle79 (on East 79th Street), is to have 3 or 4 courses, each ordering something different – and sharing. This way, we all get to sample a wide variety of what this inventive restaurant offers. For the appetizer course, one of the dishes was “Smoked Paprika Hummus.“ This and a few other items on the menu, which we ordered, were so-o delicious, that I bought one of the restaurant’s cookbooks in order to try their recipes out at home. The recipes are not that difficult. We want to share with our readers, Candle79‘s “Smoked Paprika Hummus“ recipe, exactly as it appears in their cookbook.

 

Ingredients

1 cup dried chickpeas, or 2 (15.5-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed (I use the canned chickpeas)

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons smoked paprika, plus more for garnish

1/2 teaspoon sea salt (I don’t use the salt)

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (I also like to use cilantro instead of parsley, for a change of pace)

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish

1/3 cup tahini

Optional garnishes: roasted red bell peppers, roasted garlic, lemon slices, olives, mint or parsley sprigs

 

Instructions 

If using dried chickpeas, put them in a saucepan or bowl and add cold water to cover by about 2 inches. Soak in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse.

Put the chickpeas in a saucepan and add cold water to cover by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil, decrease the heat, cover, and simmer until the chickpeas are tender, 50 to 60 minutes. Drain and let cool, reserving 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

Combine the chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, cayenne, paprika, salt, pepper, parsley, olive oil, and tahini in a bowl and stir to mix well. Transfer the mixture to a food processor fitted with the metal blade and process until well mixed. Add 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking liquid (or water or vegetable stock if using canned chickpeas) and process until smooth and almost fluffy. Add more liquid if necessary. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice. Transfer to a serving bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (The hummus can be made up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated. Return to room temperature before serving.)

To serve, drizzle a bit of olive oil over the hummus and sprinkle a bit of paprika. Serve with desired garnishes.

 

Some of the ingredients — Serve with warm pita bread

 

In the food processer

 

 

Try stuffing chunks of cucumber with this paprika hummus, or mushrooms or deviled eggs.

 

On an informal Sunday night at home, we find that this hummus is so good, we heat up some pita bread, break out a bottle of our favorite white wine, and just sit at our kitchen table, with raw carrot, celery, and cucumber sticks (and a few olives) and eat this delicious repast with total satisfaction. Sorta like a picnic at home.

 

See below the wine we enjoyed with the paprika humus.

 

Orvieto is a lovely light Italian white wine that we usually drink in the summer, but it went well with the paprika hummus  For dessert we had fresh mango spears and fresh blueberries.

 

From Our Table to Yours !

 

Bon Appetit!

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Storing one bit in one atom is possible: The extraordinary end of Moore’s law

Date:
March 9, 2017

Source:
Institute for Basic Science

Summary:
One bit of digital information can now be successfully stored in an individual atom. This result is a breakthrough in the miniaturization of storage media and has the potential to serve as a basis for quantum computing.

 

One bit of digital information can now be successfully stored in an individual atom. This result is a breakthrough in the miniaturization of storage media and has the potential to serve as a basis for quantum computing.
Credit: IBS

 

 

One bit of digital information can now be successfully stored in an individual atom, according to a study just published in Nature. Current commercially-available magnetic memory devices require approximately one million atoms to do the same. Andreas Heinrich, newly appointed Director of the Center for Quantum Nanoscience, within the Institute of Basic Science (IBS, South Korea), led the research effort that made this discovery at IBM Almaden Research Center (USA). This result is a breakthrough in the miniaturization of storage media and has the potential to serve as a basis for quantum computing.

Disks coated with a magnetized layer of metal allow our computers to store files in the form of bits, each with the value of either 1 or 0. A certain direction of magnetization corresponds to the 0 bit, the other direction to the 1 bit. While at the moment small areas of the disk, of around a million atom, correspond to each digital bit of information, this research went way beyond this and utilized the smallest amount of matter usable for this purpose: one atom.

In this study, scientists worked with a tool, called Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM), which has a special tip that enables the user to view and move individual atoms, as well as to apply a pulse of electrical current to them. They used this electric pulse to change the direction of magnetization of individual holmium atoms. By doing that, the team could write a memory of either 1 or 0 in a single holmium atom as well as swap the two.

A quantum sensor, designed by Heinrich’s team and currently unique worldwide, was used to read the memory stored in the holmium atom. It consists of an iron atom placed next to the holmium atom. Using this technique, as well as another one, called tunnel magnetoresistance, the researchers could observe that holmium maintains the same magnetic state stably over several hours.

Then, when Heinrich’s team of researchers tried to use two holmium atoms instead of one, they made another surprising discovery. Placing holmium atoms even one nanometer apart did not impact their ability to store information individually. This came as a surprise, since it was expected that the magnetic field from one atom would impact its neighbor. To put this scale into perspective, if a nanometer were blown up to the diameter of a typical human hair, the hair would have a diameter equivalent to the length of a school bus in comparison.

In this way, the scientists could build a two bit device with four possible types of memory: 1-1, 0-0, 1-0 and 0-1 clearly distinguished by the iron sensor.

Moore’s Law predicted that the amount of data that can be stored on a microchip would double every 18 months and indeed this happened for decades. The last model electronic devices are always smaller and more powerful than the previous one. However, as devices becomes smaller and smaller, since atoms are so close to each other, new interfering quantum properties begin to manifest and cause problems. The impossibility of keeping up with further miniaturization, brought experts to talk about the death of Moore’s Law.

Interestingly, holmium atoms seem to escape this fate, for still unknown reasons. “There are no quantum mechanical effects between atoms of holmium. Now we want to know why,” points out Heinrich. Holmium atoms can be arranged very closely together, so the storage density using this single-atom technique could be very high. He continues: “We have opened up new possibilities for quantum nanoscience by controlling individual atoms precisely as we want. This research may spur innovation in commercial storage media that will expand the possibilities of miniaturizing data storage.”

Heinrich is one of the few in the world using this tool to measure and change the properties of individual atoms. He plans to significantly expand on this research at his newly created IBS research center, located at Ewha Womans University in Seoul.


Story Source:

Materials provided by Institute for Basic Science. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Fabian D. Natterer, Kai Yang, William Paul, Philip Willke, Taeyoung Choi, Thomas Greber, Andreas J. Heinrich, Christopher P. Lutz. Reading and writing single-atom magnets. Nature, 2017; 543 (7644): 226 DOI: 10.1038/nature21371

 

Source: Institute for Basic Science. “Single atom memory: The world’s smallest storage medium: Storing one bit in one atom is possible: The extraordinary end of Moore’s law.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 March 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170309120521.htm>.

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Date:
March 8, 2017

Source:
University of Adelaide

Summary:
DNA in hair samples collected from Aboriginal people across Australia in the early to mid-1900s has revealed that populations have been continuously present in the same regions for up to 50,000 years — soon after the peopling of Australia.

 

Modern Aboriginal Australians are the descendants of a single founding population that arrived in Australia 50,000 years ago, while Australia was still connected to New Guinea. Populations then spread rapidly — within 1500-2000 years — around the east and west coasts of Australia, meeting somewhere in South Australia.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Adelaide

 

 

DNA in hair samples collected from Aboriginal people across Australia in the early to mid-1900s has revealed that populations have been continuously present in the same regions for up to 50,000 years — soon after the peopling of Australia.

Published in the journal Nature, the findings reinforce Aboriginal communities’ strong connection to country and represent the first detailed genetic map of Aboriginal Australia prior to the arrival of Europeans.

These are the first results from the Aboriginal Heritage Project, led by the University of Adelaide’s Australian Centre for Ancient DNA (ACAD) in partnership with the South Australian Museum.

Researchers analysed mitochondrial DNA from 111 hair samples that were collected during a series of remarkable anthropological expeditions across Australia from 1928 to the 1970s and are part of the South Australian Museum’s unparalleled collection of hair samples.

Mitochondrial DNA allows tracing of maternal ancestry, and the results show that modern Aboriginal Australians are the descendants of a single founding population that arrived in Australia 50,000 years ago, while Australia was still connected to New Guinea. Populations then spread rapidly — within 1500-2000 years — around the east and west coasts of Australia, meeting somewhere in South Australia.

“Amazingly, it seems that from around this time the basic population patterns have persisted for the next 50,000 years -showing that communities have remained in discrete geographical regions,” says project leader Professor Alan Cooper, Director of ACAD, University of Adelaide.

“This is unlike people anywhere else in the world and provides compelling support for the remarkable Aboriginal cultural connection to country. We’re hoping this project leads to a rewriting of Australia’s history texts to include detailed Aboriginal history and what it means to have been on their land for 50,000 years — that’s around 10 times as long as all of the European history we’re commonly taught.”

A central pillar of the Aboriginal Heritage Project is that Aboriginal families and communities have been closely involved with the project from its inception and that analyses are only conducted with their consent. Importantly, results are first discussed with the families to get Aboriginal perspectives before scientific publication. The research model was developed under the guidance of Aboriginal elders, the Genographic Project, and professional ethicists.

This is the first phase of a decade-long project that will allow people with Aboriginal heritage to trace their regional ancestry and reconstruct family genealogical history, and will also assist with the repatriation of Aboriginal artefacts.

“Aboriginal people have always known that we have been on our land since the start of our time,” says Kaurna Elder Mr Lewis O’Brien, who is one of the original hair donors and has been on the advisory group for the study. “But it is important to have science show that to the rest of the world. This is an exciting project and we hope it will help assist those of our people from the Stolen Generation and others to reunite with their families.”

“Reconstructing the genetic history of Aboriginal Australia is very complicated due to past government policies of enforced population relocation and child removal that have erased much of the physical connection between groups and geography in Australia today,” says Dr Wolfgang Haak, formerly at ACAD and now at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany.

The South Australian Museum’s collection of hair samples, complete with rich cultural, linguistic, genealogical and geographical data, comes from the expeditions run by the Board of Anthropological Research from the University of Adelaide.

“This Aboriginal Heritage Project is able to exist because of the extensive records collected by Norman Tindale and Joseph Birdsell and others on those expeditions, which are held in trust for all at the South Australian Museum. They include detailed information about the birthplaces, family history and family trees, film, audio and written records — allowing a wide range of approaches to be used by this project to reconstruct history,” says Brian Oldman, Director of the South Australian Museum.

“The South Australian Museum’s Aboriginal Family History Unit has also been instrumental to the project and has worked closely with the University team to consult with Aboriginal families and communities to obtain permission for tests to be performed,” he says.

Professor Cooper says: “We are very grateful for the enthusiasm and overwhelming support for this project we have received from Aboriginal families, and the Cherbourg, Koonibba, and Point Pearce communities in particular.”

The research will be extended to investigate paternal lineages and information from the nuclear genome. Team member Dr Ray Tobler, postdoctoral researcher in ACAD with Aboriginal heritage on his father’s side, has an Australian Research Council (ARC) Indigenous Discovery Fellowship to extend the AHP research, to examine how the longevity of Aboriginal populations in different habitats across Australia has shaped the remarkable physical diversity found across modern Aboriginal Australians.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6LzbKszKhQ


Story Source:

Materials provided by University of Adelaide. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ray Tobler, Adam Rohrlach, Julien Soubrier, Pere Bover, Bastien Llamas, Jonathan Tuke, Nigel Bean, Ali Abdullah-Highfold, Shane Agius, Amy O’Donoghue, Isabel O’Loughlin, Peter Sutton, Fran Zilio, Keryn Walshe, Alan N. Williams, Chris S. M. Turney, Matthew Williams, Stephen M. Richards, Robert J. Mitchell, Emma Kowal, John R. Stephen, Lesley Williams, Wolfgang Haak, Alan Cooper. Aboriginal mitogenomes reveal 50,000 years of regionalism in Australia. Nature, 2017; DOI: 10.1038/nature21416

 

Source: University of Adelaide. “Aboriginal hair shows 50,000 year connection to Australia.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 March 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170308131131.htm>.

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Date:
March 7, 2017

Source:
University of Sussex

Summary:
Concrete links between the symptoms of autism and synesthesia have been discovered and clarified for the first time. New research finds similarities between the two conditions and suggests how they might be much more closely associated than previously thought.

 

]

People with synesthesia and those with autism experience remarkably similar heightened sensory sensitivity, despite clear differences in communicative ability and social skills.
Credit: © thinglass / Fotolia

 

 

Concrete links between the symptoms of autism and synaesthesia have been discovered and clarified for the first time, according to new research by psychologists at the University of Sussex.

The study, conducted by world-leading experts in both conditions at Sussex and the University of Cambridge and published in the journal Scientific Reports, found that both groups experience remarkably similar heightened sensory sensitivity, despite clear differences in communicative ability and social skills.

Two previous studies had found an increased prevalence of synaesthesia in autistic subjects, suggesting that although they are not always found in conjunction, the two conditions occur together more often than would be expected by chance alone. However, this is the first study that has attempted to draw a definitive symptomatic link between the two.

Synaesthesia and autism seem on the surface to be rather different things, with synaesthesia defined as a ‘joining of the senses’ in which music may trigger colours or words may trigger tastes, and autism defined by impaired social understanding and communication.

The new research shows that both groups report heightened sensory sensitivity, such as an aversion to certain sounds and lights, as well as reporting differences in their tendency to attend to detail. However, the synaesthetes tended not to report difficulties on the traditional communicative symptoms that usually define autism. While the research shows that there are certainly links between the two conditions, these appear to be sensory rather than social.

The study was led by Professor Jamie Ward, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience and Co-Director Sussex Neuroscience group, alongside Sussex Psychology colleague, Professor Julia Simner; and Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, Professor of Developmental Psychopathology at the University of Cambridge and Director of the Autism Research Centre.

Commenting on the research, Prof Ward said: “Synaesthesia has traditionally been considered more of a gift than an impairment, whereas the opposite could often be said of autism. Our research suggests that the two have much more in common than was previously thought, and that many of the sensory traits that autistic people possess are also found in those who experience synaesthesia.

“Though further research is required, our understanding of autism in the context of synaesthetic abilities may help us unlock the secrets of some of the more positive aspects of autism, such as savantism, while also uncovering further neurological links between the two conditions.”

Another research paper by the group of researchers, looking more closely at the question of savantism in people with autism, is also due to be published soon.

Reinforcing their initial research, it shows that synaesthesia tends to be particularly prevalent in people with autism who also have unexpected ‘savant’ abilities, such as superior abilities in arithmetic, memory and art.

Prof Ward added: “Though some theories propose a causal link between increased sensory sensitivity and impaired social functioning in people with autism, our research so far demonstrates the value of considering synaesthesia on the same spectrum as autism from a sensory point of view.

We hope in future to be able to continue to explore the relationship between perceptual, cognitive and social symptoms and abilities in autistic and synaesthetic people.”


Story Source:

Materials provided by University of Sussex. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jamie Ward, Claire Hoadley, James E. A. Hughes, Paula Smith, Carrie Allison, Simon Baron-Cohen, Julia Simner. Atypical sensory sensitivity as a shared feature between synaesthesia and autism. Scientific Reports, 2017; 7: 41155 DOI: 10.1038/srep41155

 

Source: University of Sussex. “Sensory links between autism and synesthesia pinpointed.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 March 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170307100346.htm>.

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A new materials discovery approach puts solar fuels on the fast track to commercial viability

Date:
March 6, 2017

Source:
California Institute of Technology

Summary:
Combining computational with experimental approaches, researchers identify 12 new materials with potential use in solar fuels generators.

 

New materials are created through deposition onto disks, which are then tested to determine their properties.
Credit: Caltech

 

 

Researchers at Caltech and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have — in just two years — nearly doubled the number of materials known to have potential for use in solar fuels.

They did so by developing a process that promises to speed the discovery of commercially viable solar fuels that could replace coal, oil, and other fossil fuels.

Solar fuels, a dream of clean-energy research, are created using only sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide (CO2). Researchers are exploring a range of target fuels, from hydrogen gas to liquid hydrocarbons, and producing any of these fuels involves splitting water.

Each water molecule is comprised of an oxygen atom and two hydrogen atoms. The hydrogen atoms are extracted, and then can be reunited to create highly flammable hydrogen gas or combined with CO2 to create hydrocarbon fuels, creating a plentiful and renewable energy source. The problem, however, is that water molecules do not simply break down when sunlight shines on them — if they did, the oceans would not cover most of the planet. They need a little help from a solar-powered catalyst.

To create practical solar fuels, scientists have been trying to develop low-cost and efficient materials, known as photoanodes, that are capable of splitting water using visible light as an energy source. Over the past four decades, researchers identified only 16 of these photoanode materials. Now, using a new high-throughput method of identifying new materials, a team of researchers led by Caltech’s John Gregoire and Berkeley Lab’s Jeffrey Neaton and Qimin Yan have found 12 promising new photoanodes.

A paper about the method and the new photoanodes appears the week of March 6 in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The new method was developed through a partnership between the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP) at Caltech, and Berkeley Lab’s Materials Project, using resources at the Molecular Foundry and the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC).

“This integration of theory and experiment is a blueprint for conducting research in an increasingly interdisciplinary world,” says Gregoire, JCAP thrust coordinator for Photoelectrocatalysis and leader of the High Throughput Experimentation group. “It’s exciting to find 12 new potential photoanodes for making solar fuels, but even more so to have a new materials discovery pipeline going forward.”

“What is particularly significant about this study, which combines experiment and theory, is that in addition to identifying several new compounds for solar fuel applications, we were also able to learn something new about the underlying electronic structure of the materials themselves,” says Neaton, the director of the Molecular Foundry.

Previous materials discovery processes relied on cumbersome testing of individual compounds to assess their potential for use in specific applications. In the new process, Gregoire and his colleagues combined computational and experimental approaches by first mining a materials database for potentially useful compounds, screening it based on the properties of the materials, and then rapidly testing the most promising candidates using high-throughput experimentation.

In the work described in the PNAS paper, they explored 174 metal vanadates — compounds containing the elements vanadium and oxygen along with one other element from the periodic table.

The research, Gregoire says, reveals how different choices for this third element can produce materials with different properties, and reveals how to “tune” those properties to make a better photoanode.

“The key advance made by the team was to combine the best capabilities enabled by theory and supercomputers with novel high throughput experiments to generate scientific knowledge at an unprecedented rate,” Gregoire says.


Story Source:

Materials provided by California Institute of Technology. Original written by Robert Perkins. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Qimin Yan, Jie Yu, Santosh K. Suram, Lan Zhou, Aniketa Shinde, Paul F. Newhouse, Wei Chen, Guo Li, Kristin A. Persson, John M. Gregoire, and Jeffrey B. Neaton. Solar fuels photoanode materials discovery by integrating high-throughput theory and experiment. PNAS, March 2017 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1619940114

 

Source: California Institute of Technology. “New materials could turn water into the fuel of the future: A new materials discovery approach puts solar fuels on the fast track to commercial viability.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 March 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170306151722.htm>.

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New Website Launched

 

Target Health Website has a new look, although the banner designed by CEO Joyce Hays, remains as well as the famous Leaping Dog, a feature of our website from inception. We are also very proud of our publications, many of which are prescient and trailblazing.

 

For more information about Target Health contact Warren Pearlson (212-681-2100 ext. 165). For additional information about software tools for paperless clinical trials, please also feel free to contact Dr. Jules T. Mitchel or Ms. Joyce Hays. The Target Health software tools are designed to partner with both CROs and Sponsors. Please visit the Target Health Website.

 

Joyce Hays, Founder and Editor in Chief of On Target

Jules Mitchel, Editor

 

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21st Century, and We’re Still Cupping. Do You Know About This?

A person receiving fire cupping therapy.  Source: Alanna Ralph from Philadelphia, PA, USA – Cupping, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org

 

You can buy a cupping set on Amazon.com, for about $39.95.

 

Cupping therapy is a form of alternative 1) ___ in which a local suction is created on the skin. Cupping has been characterized as pseudoscience. There is no good evidence it has any benefit on health and there are some concerns it may be harmful. Through suction, the skin is drawn into the cup by creating a vacuum in the cup placed on the skin over the targeted area. The vacuum can be created either by the heating and subsequent cooling of the air in the cup, or via a mechanical pump. The cup is usually left in place for somewhere between five and fifteen minutes. It is believed by some to help treat pain, deep scar tissues in the muscles and connective tissue, muscle knots, and swelling; however, the efficacy of this is unproven. Cupping is poorly supported by 2) ___ evidence. In their 2008 book Trick or Treatment, Simon Singh and Edzard Ernst write that no evidence exists of any beneficial effects of cupping for any medical conditIon. A 2011 review found tentative evidence for pain but nothing else. The way it works is unclear but might involve the placebo effect. Advocates claim that cupping is an alternative treatment for cancer. However, the American 3) ___ Society notes that “available scientific evidence does not support claims that cupping has any health benefits“ and also that the treatment carries a small risk of burns.

 

Cupping is generally safe when applied by trained professionals on people who are otherwise healthy. It is not recommended for people with health problems, due to side effects from cupping. Cupping is not recommended as a replacement for typical treatments. Cupping may also result in bruising, burns, pain, and/or skin infection. Some research suggests that cupping is harmful, especially in people who are thin or obese: According to Jack Raso (1997), cupping results in capillary expansion, excessive fluid accumulation in tissues, and the rupture of 4) ___ vessels. Fire cupping can sometimes result in minor to severe burns, and may lead to hospitalization and may even require skin grafting to repair the injury. Also, other burns, due to carelessness with the flammable substances being used, such as spills and over application, can also occur.

 

Bamboo cups Source: Wikipedia

 

 

The dry cupping procedure commonly involves creating a small area of low air pressure next to the skin. However, there are varieties in the tools used, the methods of creating the low pressure, and the procedures followed during the treatment. The cups can be of various shapes including balls or bells, and may range in size from 1 to 3 inches (25 to 76 mm) across the opening. Plastic and glass are the most common materials used today, replacing the horn, pottery, bronze and bamboo cups used in earlier times. The low air pressure required may be created by heating the cup or the air inside it with an open flame or a bath in hot scented oils, then placing it against the skin. As the air inside the cup cools, it contracts and draws the skin slightly inside. More recently, vacuum is created with a mechanical suction pump acting through a valve located at the top of the cup. Rubber cups are also available that squeeze the air out and adapt to uneven or bony surfaces. In practice, cups are normally used only on softer tissue that can form a good seal with the edge of the 5) ___. They may be used singly or with many to cover a larger area. They may be used by themselves or placed over an acupuncture needle. Skin may be lubricated, allowing the cup to move across the skin slowly. Skin markings are common after the cups are removed, varying from simple red rings that disappear relatively quickly, to discolorization from bruising, especially if the cups are dragged while suctioned from one place to another, ostensibly to break down muscle fiber.

 

One method of fire cupping involves soaking a cotton ball in almost pure alcohol. The cotton is clamped by a pair of forceps and lit via match or lighter, and, in one motion, placed into the cup and quickly removed, while the cup is placed on the skin. 6) ___ heats the inside of the cup and a small amount of suction is created by the air cooling down again and contracting. Other types of fire cupping include using other flammable substances such as herbs, or paper in another cup and setting it on fire. As the fire goes out, the therapist puts the other empty cup upside down on the area of skin to be treated. As the air inside the cup cools, it creates a vacuum. This causes your skin to rise and redden as your blood vessels expand. Massage oil may be applied to create a better seal as well as allow the cups to glide over various muscle groups in an act called “moving cupping“. Dark circles may appear where the cups were placed because of rupture of the capillaries just under the skin. There are documented cases of 7) ___ caused by fire cupping. Wet cupping is also known as Hijama or medicinal bleeding. Today, wet cupping is a popular remedy practiced in many parts of the Muslim world. In Finland, wet cupping has been done at least since the 15th century, and it is done traditionally in saunas. The cupping cups were made of cattle horns with a valve mechanism in it to create a partial vacuum by sucking the air out. Cupping is still practiced in Finland as part of relaxing and/or health regiments.

 

People get cupping for many purposes, including to possibly help with pain, inflammation, blood flow, relaxation and well-being, and as a type of deep-tissue massage. The cups may be made of:

 

Glass

Bamboo

Earthenware

Silicone

 

Cupping therapy might be trendy now, but it’s not new. It dates back to ancient Egyptian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern cultures. One of the oldest medical textbooks in the world, the Ebers Papyrus, describes how the ancient Egyptians used cupping therapy in 1,550 BCE. As mentioned above, there are different methods of cupping, including:

 

Dry

Fire

Wet

Needle

 

A more modern version of cupping uses a rubber pump instead of fire to create the 8) __ inside the cup. Sometimes therapists use silicone cups, which they can move from place to place on your skin for a massage-like effect. Wet cupping creates a mild suction by leaving a cup in place for a few minutes. The therapist then removes the cup and uses a small scalpel to make light, tiny cuts on your skin. Next, he or she does a second suction to draw out a small quantity of blood. There may be 3-5 cups in a first session. However, it is rare to get more than 5-7 cups, the British Cupping Society notes. Afterward, one may use an antibiotic ointment and bandage to prevent infection. Skin should look normal again within 10 days.

 

Cupping therapy supporters believe that wet cupping removes harmful substances and toxins from the body to promote healing. But that’s not proven. Some people also get “needle cupping,“ in which the therapist first inserts acupuncture 9) ___ and then puts cups over them. There haven’t been many scientific studies on cupping; however, one report, published in 2015 in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, notes that it could help with acne, herpes zoster, and pain management. That’s similar to the findings from a 2012 report, published in PLoS One. Australian and Chinese researchers reviewed 135 studies on cupping. They concluded that cupping therapy may be effective when people also get other treatments, like acupuncture or medications, for various diseases and conditions, such as Herpes zoster, Acne, Facial paralysis and Cervical spondylosis. However, many of the studies may be biased and better studies are needed.

 

The British Cupping Society says that cupping therapy is used to treat:

 

Blood disorders such as anemia and hemophilia

Rheumatic diseases such as arthritis and fibromyalgia

Fertility and gynecological disorders

Skin problems such as eczema and acne

High blood pressure

Migraines

Anxiety and depression

Bronchial congestion caused by allergies and asthma

Varicose veins

 

Cupping is fairly safe, as long as one goes to a trained health professional. But you could have these side effects in the area where the cups touch your 10) ___:

 

Mild discomfort

Burns

Bruises

Skin infection

 

Talk with a doctor before you start cupping or any other type of alternative or complementary medicine. And talk extensively with your cupping therapist, too, before you try it. Ask:

 

What conditions do they use cupping for?

What is your training?

What is your experience in using it?

Am I already getting the standard treatments for my condition?

Are there reasons I should not get cupping?

 

Sources: Wikipedia; WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by David Kiefer, MD on August 10, 2016

 

ANSWERS: 1) medicine; 2) scientific; 3) Cancer; 4) blood; 5) cup; 6) Fire; 7) burns; 8) vacuum; 9) needles; 10) skin

 

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History of Cupping as a Medical Device

Cupping set, London, England, 1860-1875 Cupping was a method of bloodletting, a practice once carried out to treat a wide range of diseases and medical conditions. Warm glass cups were placed on the skin to draw blood believed to be harmful to health to the surface of the skin. In wet cupping, the blood was released from the body using a lancet or scarificator (a set of spring-operated lancets). The set was made by S Maw & Son, a surgical instrument maker based in London. Medical Photographic Library.

 

Woman receiving fire cupping at a roadside business in Haikou, Hainan, China. Source: Wikipedia Commons

 

 

According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), cupping is a method of creating a vacuum on the patient’s skin to dispel stagnation (stagnant blood and lymph), thereby improving qi flow, in order to treat respiratory diseases such as the common cold, pneumonia and bronchitis. Cupping also is used on back, neck, shoulder and other musculoskeletal conditions. Its advocates claim it has other applications as well. Cupping is not advised, in TCM, over skin ulcers or to the abdominal or sacral regions of pregnant women. For over 3,000 years, the practice has been typically performed unsupervised, by individuals without any medical background. Iranian traditional medicine uses wet-cupping practices, with the belief that cupping with scarification may eliminate scar tissue, and cupping without scarification would cleanse the body through the organs. Individuals with a profound interest in the practice are typically very religious and seek “purification.“

 

There is reason to believe the practice dates from as early as 3000 BCE. The Ebers Papyrus, written c. 1550 BCE and one of the oldest medical textbooks in the Western world, describes the Egyptians’ use of cupping, while mentioning similar practices employed by Saharan peoples. In ancient Greece, Hippocrates (c. 400 BCE) used cupping for internal disease and structural problems. The method was highly recommended by Muhammad. and hence well-practiced by Muslim scientists who elaborated and developed the method further. This method in its multiple forms, spread into medicine throughout Asian and European civilizations. In China, the earliest use of cupping that is recorded is from the famous Taoist alchemist and herbalist, Ge Hong (281-341 CE.). Cupping was also mentioned in Maimonides’ book on health and was used within the Eastern European Jewish community. There is a description of cupping in George Orwell’s essay “How the Poor Die“, where he was surprised to find it practiced in a Paris hospital.

 

Cupping has gained publicity in modern times due to its use by American sport celebrities including National Football League player DeMarcus Ware and Olympians Alexander Naddour, Natalie Coughlin, and Michael Phelps. Brad McKay,MD, wrote that Team USA was doing a great disservice to their fans who might “follow their lead“, calling cupping an “ancient (but useless) traditional therapy. Practicing surgeon David Gorski claims, it’s all risk for no benefit. It has no place in modern medicine. Critics of alternative medicine such as Harriet Hall, Mark Crislip, Simon Singh and Edzard Ernst have characterized cupping as pseudoscience nonsense, a celebrity fad, and gibberish. They’ve stated that there is no evidence that cupping works any better than a placebo. Pharmacologist David Colquhoun writes that cupping is laughable and utterly implausible. Sources: Wikipedia; WebMD

 

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Extreme Temperatures May Increase Risk For Low Birth Weight

 

Low birth weight  refers to infants weighing less than 5.5 lbs. at birth. Infants may be of low birth weight because they are born prematurely, while others may be of low birth weight even though they have completed the 37-40 weeks that is considered to be a term pregnancy. Some are otherwise healthy, but are genetically predisposed to small size. Others are of low birth weight because of an underlying health problem — illness, infection or a failure to grow in the womb. Compared to infants of normal weight, low birth weight infants may be at higher risk for infection and developmental delays.

 

According to an article published in Environmental Research (27 February 2017), extreme hot or cold temperatures during pregnancy may increase the risk that infants born at term will be of low birth weight. The study found that exposure to atypically cold temperature during the entire pregnancy, or just during the second trimester and third trimester, increased the risk for low birth weight. Exposure to atypically hot temperatures during the whole pregnancy, or during the third trimester, also increased this risk. The odds for low term birth weight were highest when the whole pregnancy was exposed to extreme temperatures.

 

For the study, the authors linked medical records from 223,375 births at 12 U.S. clinical centers to hourly temperature records for the region surrounding each center. Extreme cold was defined as below the 10th percentile of average temperatures for a region; extreme heat was defined above the 90th percentile. Results showed that infants born at term to mothers exposed to cold during either the second or third trimester were 18 to 21% more likely to be of low birth weight. When exposed to extended cold over the entire pregnancy, term infants were 2.6x more likely to be of low birth weight. Term infants exposed to heat in the third trimester were 31% more likely to be of low birth weight, and infants born after the entire pregnancy occurred during atypically hot temperatures were 2.5x more likely to be of low birth weight.

 

While the authors do not know why exposure to atypically high or low temperatures would affect birth weight, they noted that previous studies have suggested that heat exposure could affect birth weight by increasing oxidative stress i.e. toxic byproducts formed when oxygen interacts with cells and tissues, and by increasing inflammation. It is also possible that temperature extremes could reduce blood flow to the uterus, depriving the infant of oxygen and nutrients and hindering the placenta’s ability to remove fetal wastes.

 

The study adds to the researchers’ 2016 analysis of the same data in which they reported that extreme heat and cold may increase the risk of preterm birth.

 

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Mixed Results of Trials of Testosterone Therapy in Older Men

 

Recent studies have yielded conflicting results as to whether testosterone treatment increases cardiovascular risk and/or slows down the rate of cognitive function decline with age. As a result, two studies (Testosterone Treatment and Cognitive Function in Older Men With Low Testosterone and Age-Associated Memory Impairment; Testosterone Treatment and Coronary Artery Plaque Volume in Older Men With Low Testosterone); were reported on 21 February 2017 in JAMA, which tested the hypotheses as to whether testosterone treatment of older men with low testosterone 1) slows progression of noncalcified coronary artery plaque volume and 2) is associated with improved verbal memory and other cognitive functions and age-associated memory impairment (AAMI).

 

The clinical trials were conducted at 12 sites across the country in 790 men age 65 and older with low levels of testosterone and symptoms to which low testosterone might contribute. The studies were funded primarily by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health. Additional funding came from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, all part of NIH. Additional funding, and the study drug and placebo, were provided by AbbVie Pharmaceuticals.

 

Study participants were randomly assigned to receive testosterone gel or a placebo gel applied to the skin daily. Serum testosterone concentration was measured at one, two, three, six, nine and 12 months. The men were also closely monitored for prostate and cardiovascular problems. In addition to low testosterone, the presence of complaints such as low sexual function, difficulty in walking or low vitality was required for eligibility to participate in the trials. The results of these outcomes were reported in 2016. The study also measured testosterone treatment’s effects on additional outcomes in the study population, which are reported in the current publications:

 

Anemia Trial

Of all the men enrolled, 64 had anemia from known causes and 62 had unexplained anemia. After one year of treatment, 54% of the men with unexplained anemia and 52% of those with anemia from known causes had clinically significant increases in hemoglobin (red blood cell) levels, compared with 15% and 12%, respectively, of those in the placebo group. These changes may be of clinical significance, as suggested by the magnitude of the changes, the correction of anemia in the majority of men, and the association of the increases with improvements in global impression of change in overall health and energy. Measurement of testosterone might be considered in men age 65 and older who have unexplained anemia and symptoms suggestive of low testosterone levels.

 

Bone Trial

The goal of this trial was to determine whether testosterone treatment would increase volumetric bone mineral density (vBMD) — the amount of mineral in bone —   and estimated bone strength in older men with low testosterone. Results showed that vBMD, a marker of increased risk for fractures, was measured in hip and spine at baseline and 12 months later. After one year of treatment, older men with low T significantly increased vBMD and estimated bone strength compared to controls, more so in the spine than in the hip. A larger and longer trial would be needed to determine if testosterone treatment reduces fracture risk.

 

Cardiovascular Trial

The study assessed the effects of testosterone treatment on the progression of noncalcified coronary artery plaque — a build-up within  the walls of the blood vessels in the heart — which is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The study found that noncalcified plaque volume increased significantly more in the testosterone-treated group compared to controls, as measured by coronary computerized tomographic arteriography, a special type of heart scan. The authors note that, because just 170 men had the scans, the clinical importance is uncertain and may depend on how testosterone affects different components of plaque. A larger and longer trial is needed to establish the clinical significance of these findings.

 

Cognition Trial

This trial sought to determine if testosterone treatment improved cognition in older men with age-associated memory impairment (AAMI), a mild form of impairment, distinct from dementia. Of the initial participants, 493 met the criteria for AAMI. After one year of treatment, there was no significant change in either the treatment or the placebo group in verbal memory, visual memory, executive function and spatial ability.

 

According to the authors, the results on diverse outcomes indicate the potential trade-offs between benefits and risks of testosterone treatment in older men. However, clarifying the effects of testosterone on many major clinical outcomes such as cardiovascular events, fractures, and disability will require longer, larger scale trials. The authors added that the results also illustrate that decisions about testosterone treatment need to be individualized, taking into account each patient’s balance of risks for the various conditions that testosterone treatment could affect.

 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has additional information about testosterone.

 

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