Science & technology

for a better life



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» 071 Keep your computer screen low  » 072 Eat your antioxidants  » 073 Avoid unnecessary X-rays  » 074 Think positive most of the time  » 075 Avoid risk  » 076  Listen to classical & mild music  » 077 Grow some plants  » 078 Have enough vitamin D & calcium  » 079 Practice safe sex  » 080 Use your helmet

071 Keep your computer screen low

              Positioning your computer screen lower than your eye level minimizes the possibility of you experiencing dry eyes due to prolonged computer use.

Eye care

              Our eyes are our windows to the world around us. Protecting our eyes from the harmful effects of sunlight by wearing eyeglasses that filters UV is one important thing to do. Another is keeping them healthy through proper diet adequate in vitamin A, and also important is appropriate eye care.

              To care for your eyes, avoid exposing them to harmful chemicals or microorganisms. Do not over use your eyes. Allow relaxation and exercises that can relieve your eyes from strain.

              Eye strain and other bothersome visual symptoms can cause physical fatigue, decreased productivity and may make you prone to accidents. If you wear eyeglasses, use the ones with anti-reflective coating to improve your vision, minimize eye strain and may refrain you from having accidents.


Avoid dry eyes

              Dry eyes are a common complaint encountered in eye clinics. This problem is even more common in people who work with computers for long hours. There are ways you can avoid eye drying. One is by positioning your computer screen about 45 degrees lower than your eye level. At this angle, your eyes can adequately see but are less open thus slowing the rate of fluid loss from your eyes.

              In addition, try to make it a habit to blink more frequently to keep your eyeballs wet and also drink plenty of water and other fluids for adequate hydration.

              Eating foods plenty of essential fatty acids such as fish rich in omega-3 may also prevent dry eyes, according to a new research.233


Computer vision syndrome

              For many people who spend hours daily in front of a computer screen, visual problem is a real issue. This eye problem associated with computer use is called computer vision syndrome which is a component of a broader problem called computer user syndrome.234

              There are ways how to avoid computer eye strain235 (see Table 71).


Table 71. Ways to prevent dry eye & computer eye strain.

1. Position your computer screen lower than your eye level (45o)


2. Use proper lighting & minimize glare or consider eyewear


3. Adjust screen brightness and contrast to a comfortable level


4. Use new LCD screen display


6. Take frequent breaks & do some stretching exercises


7. Modify your work station to satisfy 1 to 6 above


4. Exercise your eyes & avoid touching your eyes


5. Blink more often & take adequate fluids


6. Eat food rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as fish


10. Get an annual eye examination


Sources include allaboutvision.com, retrieved March 12, 2010


072 Eat your antioxidants

              Antioxidants, substances that are found in food ranging from cinnamon to blueberries, can scavenge free radicals, compounds whose unstable chemical nature accelerates the effect of aging on our cells. Until these excess free radicals are quenched by antioxidant molecules, cellular damage accumulates. This contributes to an array of degenerative diseases, including atherosclerosis, Alzheimer's and cancer. Research shows that certain types of beans (kidney, pinto, black) are among the best sources of antioxidants, while blueberries and other berries follow close behind.

              Muscadine grapes are also known to contain powerful antioxidants.

Have folate in your diet

              Folate is a B vitamin, also thiamine, niacin and vitamin B12; all of which have important roles in a child's normal growth and development.

              Eating food that contains plenty of folate may sharply reduce your risk of colorectal cancer.


Coenzyme Q10

              Coenzyme Q10 (1,4-benzoquinone), also called Ubiquinone-10, CoQ, Q, or Q10, is present in most eukaryotic cells, primarily in the mitochondria. Q10 participates in aerobic cellular respiration, generating energy in the form of ATP by acting in the electron transfer and therefore considered a potent antioxidant. When given as dietary supplement, Q10 reduces radiation damage to the animal blood.236 Q10 has been shown to lower blood pressure in hypertensive patients, may have anticancer property, extends life span of animals,237 and a daily 150 to 300 mg supplementation shown to improve migraine symptoms.238 Good sources of Q10 include fish, animal liver and heart, soybeans, olive, peanuts, parsley, and avocado.239

             When using skin cream and lotions, try considering products that contain 0.03 to 0.3 percent of Q10.


Wellness programs

              Workplace wellness programs including nutrition education and promotion are an effective way to reduce major risk factors for heart disease.


073 Avoid unnecessary X-rays

              Radiation produces either somatic or genetic effects. Long-term somatic effects include induction of cancer and production of cataracts.240

X-ray and CT scan

              Use of X-ray in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases is part of modern medicine. However, its introduction has also brought deeper understanding on the risk associated with its use.

              Computer tomography or CT scan is one of the two biggest contributors of radiation exposure.241


Table 73a. Medical procedures, both diagnostic and therapeutic.




Ultrasonography (US)

CT scan


Proton therapy


Radiation Therapy


Mammography (X-ray)




CT scan and the risk of cancer

              CT scan has advanced the diagnostic medicine by being able to create a 3-dimensional image of the body or part of the body for the doctor to see any tell-tale sign of possible disease.

              But the procedure requires higher multiple exposures and a higher dose of X-ray. For example, a chest CT scans exposes the patient to more than 100 times (even up to nearly 400 times) the radiation dose of a chest X-ray. This significantly increases your chances of developing cancer later in life.

              CT scan is overused in the US, according to several research studies. For example, children, after minor bump on the head, undergo CT scan and 1 in 4 of these children, CT scan was not necessary.242

              CT scan exposure is expected to contribute a significant number of cancer cases in the future.243 Experts claimed that between 1.5 and 2% of cancers are caused by CT scanning in developed countries where this is commonly performed.


MRI and ultrasound

              MRI and ultrasound244 are considered safe but not totally without potential ill effects when not properly used.

              Diagnostic MRI and ultrasound may also affect a very young fetus of the mother undergoing this procedure. Ultrasound, at certain frequencies, intensities, and duration of exposure has known bioeffects, making up such field of study as therapeutic ultrasound.245

Ultrasound breast imaging

              X-ray mammograms may boost the risk of breast cancer in some high-risk women, according to a more recent study. Ultrasound offers a cheaper and safer form of diagnostic imaging. Ultrasound breast imaging is the method of choice for examining a young patient considering that this method is able to detect breast tumors more than twice better than X-ray mammography, based on a particular study.246


Minimize exposure

              It is important to know and discuss with your doctor the associated risk with the procedure and any safer alternative to that particular procedure. Keeping your old medical records and laboratory results including X-ray films might save you from another exposure to diagnostic radiation.


Table 73b. Tips to minimize X-ray exposure.

1. Ask for a safer alternative (MRI or ultrasound)

2. Always keep your old X-ray films & medical records

3. Ask & discuss risk with your doctor

4. Ask second opinion when in doubt


              Therefore, as a means of prevention in this group of population, indications for application of ionizing radiation, both diagnostic and therapeutic, should be applied only if the possible benefit outweighs the risk.247

              Use of antioxidants may also protect you from any harmful radiation. A study showed that coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinone-10, CoQ, Q10, or simply Q) acts as antioxidant and when given as dietary supplement reduces radiation damage to the animal blood.236


074 Think positive most of the time

              Having a positive outlook in life makes you less stressed and more likely to be happier than those with a negative outlook in life.

Live a happier and longer life

              Studies have shown that a positive outlook in life is associated with low cardiovascular problems, including stroke.248 On the other hand, a negative attitude may also result to psychological distress which is associated with increased mortality among patients, including cancer patients.249 Another study, however, has shown that being cheerful and optimistic doesn't make you live longer than those who didn't have these qualities.100 Taken together, having a positive outlook in life may add years to your life, or might just add more life to your years.

Have some positive pessimism

              Having a positive outlook in life is good but sometimes you need some degree of conservatism and pessimism to make things work better for you. This contention is supported by a recent study showing that too much optimism can be unrealistic and is associated with negative experiences250 and another study shows that people who are more conservative are happier than those who are more liberal.251


075 Avoid risk

              If you successfully live a healthy life and keep your look younger than your age yet dies early, then everything ends up meaningless. So staying alive is not purely living a healthy life, but living a healthy life style that includes taking no risk as possible. Living a less risky life is also important, just as conscientious people have lower mortality risk.252

Statistical risk

              Modern science and communication technology provide and update us on information, knowledge and understanding on how to stay healthy based on identifying causes of disease and preventing them, approximate risks by analyzing the statistical chances based on previous experiences, and little by little unraveling the secret of life to help postpone death itself. Modern health science also helps dispel superstitious beliefs that can be harmful to our health and life.

              Taking risks is really risky. The experts classified some jobs and sports risky for the reason that statistically the risk of dying or getting injured from doing them is significantly higher. Avoid high risk jobs or sports. Although sometimes the choices at hand all have considerable risks, thus choosing the less risky is the first step. The second step would be to take extra precautionary measures to avoid the risk.

Risky sports and risky occupations and industries

              High-risk sports, such as skydiving, parachuting, and hang gliding, have become increasingly popular in recent years. Included among the top ten incredibly dangerous sports (posted in listverse.com and retrieved March 1, 2010) are big wave surfing, cheerleading, motorcycle racing, and high altitude climbing.


Table 75a. Top 10 America's most dangerous jobs in 2008.


Fatalities per 100,000

1. Fishers & related fishing workers


2. Logging workers


3. Aircraft pilots & flight engineers


4. Structural iron & steel workers


5. Farmers & ranchers


6. Refuse & recycle material collectors


7. Roofers


8. Electrical power line installers & repairers


9. Driver/sales workers & truck drivers


10. Taxi drivers & chauffeurs


Source: Posted in jobs.aol.com and retrieved March 1, 2010


Mentally challenging jobs

              A review of studies has listed occupations and industries in Canada that can be considered risky to mental health.253


Table 75b. Prevalence of workers reporting poor mental health.



Textile product mills


Transportation (truck; rail)

34.1; 33.9

Clothing manufacturing


Food, beverage & tobacco wholesaler-distributors





Risk of working overtime

              We may not have a choice that sometimes our job requires us to work overtime, or that working overtime could be our means of making both ends meet. But you could be at increased risk of injury or illness. A US study on the impact of extended working hours on the risk of occupational injuries and illnesses have shown a 61% higher injury hazard rate among people who work overtime.254


076 Listen to classical & mild music

              Music can regulate mood making you more relax, decrease aggression and depression, and improve sleep. It can make you smarter and it improves memory and focusing attention.255 Some education experts even believe that listening to music facilitates neurogenesis, regeneration and repair of neurons.256


Enjoy your music

              Listening to classical music such as that of Mozart's is known to have benefits including improved brain performance; but what about to people who enjoy non-classical music? A study involving 10 and 11 years old showed that listening to contemporary pop music significantly improved their test performance.257


Selected modern music for you


Music heals

              Listening to classical music is known to benefit your body and soul. It has been shown to reduce epileptic attacks in children with epilepsy.258 Music reduces patient anxiety and prevents postoperative complications.259

              Known to be beneficial to health, recent paper reviewing studies concluded that music has proven to be significantly effective in suppressing and combating the symptoms of psychosis, be it classical or popular music.260 Music may also help relieve pain, depression and disability, and promote feelings of power among patients.261

              Music therapy has been applied by some health care facilities as part of their therapeutic and rehabilitative programs. While some cancer patients identify music as their way of finding solace, some also identify a sense of therapy from listening to music, even among Filipino cancer patients.262


Music relaxes

              Listening to music can make you relax. Even operating room staff members reported that music during an operation makes them calmer and more efficient.263


Turn it down

              According to the House Ear Institute, noise-induced hearing loss is a leading cause of permanent hearing loss that can be prevented by turning down the volume on your TV, radio, or headsets to a level that you can comfortably hear.


Table 76. Example music for health and related activities.

Genre (example)

Potential use/benefits

Classical (e.g. Sonata K.448) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Activates brain activity

Improves memory


Reduces epileptic attacks

New age (Perfect Balance: Musical healing) by David & Steve Gordon, & various artists; (The very best of Enya)

For general relaxation and meditation

When warming-up, stretching &  cooling down during exercise

Contemporary pop music of choice

Improves test performance

Improves exercise performance

Disco; Hip hop

When dancing or exercising


Plug noise with music

              People with "ringing ears" (medically called tinnitus) and have difficulty sleeping because of this, may benefit from listening to mild soft music. Mild music can be relaxing and tend to mask the unpleasant noise of tinnitus.


Mozart effect

              Mozart Sonata (K.448) has been shown to activate activity of the temporal cortex of the brain264 and showed a better task performance.265 Listening to K.448 reduced epileptiform activities in patients seizure problems.266 Some researchers believe that the improved spatial reasoning ability might be due to its arousal effect to the listener.267 Such effect is found to be influenced by the listener's gender.268

              Exposure to Mozart music using Baby Mozart CD album at 65 to 70 dB was also shown to reduce resting energy expenditure in preterm infants that may have played a role in the improved weight gain among the infants.269 Among geriatrics, improvement to their cognitive functions has been documented after listening to K.448.270


Classical music for pregnant women

              A fetus can hear from the mother's womb as early as 5 to 6 months of gestation. Listening classical music may prove to be beneficial both to the pregnant woman and her fetus leading to an improved overall outcome of her pregnancy and delivery.271


077 Grow some plants

              Household plants offer you visual, tactile, olfactory, and gustatory pleasures.272 A garden salad in your terrace can be a good source of organic fresh vegetable, while other household ornamental plants can provide you with clean fresh indoor air.

Indoor plants

              Plants use up carbon dioxide and releases oxygen that humans need to breath. Some indoor plants such as Asiatic dayflower (mommelia communis), spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) and any plant from the genera Philodendrons and Hedera can help clean up indoor air.

Ornamental plant in healing

              Plants can offer an effective, inexpensive, and noninvasive complementary therapy to patients. Ornamental plants in a hospital brighten up the room environment, reduced stress, lower pain perception, and also convey positive impressions of hospital employees caring for patients resulting in an enhanced health outcome of patients recovering from surgery.96

Gardening as a physical activity

              Gardening benefits the body and even the soul. Gardening is a source of physical activity that exercises the body and involves many muscles to a wide range of motion. It also helps reduce mental and emotional stresses.

              A more challenging and artistic way of planting is the art of bonsai. Watching your bonsai develop from year to year, while perfecting your skills, can be emotionally rewarding.273

Allergy to plants

              Some people may develop allergy to their indoor ornamental plants.274 If you develop frequent nasal irritations after having indoor plants, consider any of these plants as a potential allergen.


078 Have enough vitamin D & calcium

              Adequate intake of vitamin D and calcium will not only provide you with strong bones, this will also lower your risk of heart diseases and probably also prevents cancer.

Human bones

              A human infant may have 300 to 350 bones at birth. Some of these bones fuse together as the infant grows. When some bones fuse and become one bone, the number of overall bones drops to the 206 bones that most adults have.


Calcium and vitamin D

              The bones in our body need calcium and vitamin D to grow strong and healthy.

              Dietary calcium is available in many food and calcium supplements are widely available. Milk and other dairy products are good sources of calcium. A cup (250 ml) of cow's milk contains 285 mg of calcium while soy milk may contain about 80 mg. A cup of plain yogurt contains about 400 mg of calcium, making yogurt a healthier source of calcium in addition to the health benefits from probiotics in it.

              When taking calcium supplements, it is recommended that you should take no more than 600 mg at a time and this should be taken with food to facilitate absorption. The recommended daily intake of calcium for adults ranges from 1000 mg to 1500 mg.

              On the other hand, adequate vitamin D is needed for proper absorption of calcium in the body. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in very few foods. Vitamin D may be added to food and is available as dietary supplement. It is also produced endogenously when ultraviolet rays from sunlight strike the skin and trigger vitamin D synthesis.

              Very few food in nature contain vitamin D, flesh of fish and fish liver oils are good sources of this vitamin.275 Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) can also be found in beef liver and egg yolks.276 Some mushrooms also provide good sources of vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol). Vitamine D3 is readily absorbed by the body and more potent than vitamin D2 the form often found in multivitamins

              Vitamin D obtained from sun exposure, food, and supplements is biologically inert and must undergo two hydroxylations in the body for activation. The first occurs in the liver and converts vitamin D to calcidiol. The second occurs primarily in the kidney and forms the physiologically active calcitriol.


Table 78. Sources of vitamin D


Vit. D (IU)

Sunlight Exposure (full body exposure)

3,000 - 20,000

Cod liver oil (1 tablespoon or 15 ml)


Salmon (100 g of fresh, wild salmon)


Salmon (100 g of fresh, farmed salmon)


Mackerel (100 g, "galunggong")


Tuna (100 g, bluefin)


Fortified Whole Milk, (1 cup or 240 ml)


Egg (1 egg yolk)


Fortified Multi-vitamin


Note: 200 IU per day may be required for adequate intake of Vit. D. Persons above 50 years old need higher amount of 400 IU. Taking more than 2,000 IU per day is not recommended.


Vitamin D may prevent cancer

              The initiating event in cancer formation is loss of communication among cells due to, among other things, low vitamin D level.

              The local cellular production of calcitriol (1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D) acts to regulate cell growth and decrease the risk of the cells becoming malignant or cancerous.

              Maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D may help stop cancer development.277 In addition, a study showed that higher levels of vitamin D3 in the blood improved the prognosis of melanoma patients. The study suggests that patients with melanoma, and those at high risk of melanoma, should seek to ensure vitamin D sufficiency.189


Vitamin D3

              Vitamin D3 supplements (1,200 IU daily) helps fend off flu and asthma attack, according to a study.278

              Children born to mothers who drink lots of milk and have high dietary intake of vitamin D during pregnancy have a much lower risk of developing multiple sclerosis later in life.

              More dairy and calcium in childhood could mean longer life. Calcium intake in childhood has modest effect against stroke risk later in life from any cause.279


Vitamin D deficiency

              You may have heard that lack of vitamin D can cause rickets in children. Rickets is the softening of bones leading to deformities and fractures.

              Studies have also shown that vitamin D deficiency which is a very common condition among the general population can also cause increase in parathyroid hormone that may result in insulin resistance and is associated with diabetes, high blood pressure and increased cardiovascular risk.280

              Children with the lowest levels of vitamin D were more likely to have high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels and low levels of good (HDL) cholesterol, a clear association with cardiovascular risk factors.281


079 Practice safe sex

              Practicing safe and responsible sex is important in maintaining a healthy and trouble-free life.

Sex and society

              Sex is more than just a biological component for species' survival; it is a major component of an animal's instinct that can define extreme emotional desires that has become an integral part of human civility and morality. Different civilizations and different faiths vary in terms of sexual moral standards.

              Acording to a study, most young people feel pressured to have sex before they are emotionally ready and abstinence-only sex education program can work and help kids postpone sex. This will help them learn to resist pressure and delay having sex until they are ready.

If consensual, any sexual activity can bring extreme good feeling and is associated with hormonal changes in the body that are known to bring out good health. However, sexual promiscuity is also a risk factor for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) including AIDS and cancer-causing infections.


Safest form of sex

Abstinence from sex is the most effective way of avoiding STDs.

Next to abstinence, monogamy or having only one sexual partner is associated with the lowest risk of STDs. Refraining from intercourse with HIV or STD infected partners seems to be a sound strategy for preventing transmission of the infection. But the problem of identifying infected partners makes this strategy a difficult one to succeed.

For those who wishes abstinence but still wants to enjoy the sexual feeling, masturbation may work well.

Masturbation can be considered as the safest form of sexual activity. For most men successful ejaculation can be attained by the manual penile manipulation. For women, however, use of vibrators may be helpful.150 Use of vibrators is linked to positive sexual function such as desire and ease of orgasm, and it's rarely associated with any side effects both in women and men.282


Use condom

              Condom use has been shown to reduce transmission of STDs by up to 95%. Use of condom reduces HIV transmission by about 7 to 9 times, according to a study.283 Condom use reduces the risk for herpes simplex virus infection, pelvic inflammatory disease, genital ulcers, gonorrhea, Chlamydia trachomatis, and hepatitis B.284 Different studies have reported varying protection rates but all seem to agree that the protection rate is not 100%.

              When using a condom, be sure to have a well-fitting one. Poorly fitting condom not only reduces its ability to protect you from STDs, they also reduce sexual pleasure during sexual intercourse.


Other ways to lessen risk of STD

              Each act of receptive anal sex with ejaculation into the rectum carries 1.43% risk of contracting HIV. If the man's partner withdraws before ejaculation, the risk drops to 0.65%.

              Other things you can do are wash, gargle and urinate after sexual contact. These may help wash pathogens away before they cause infection.285

              Male circumcision also offers some degree of protection against infection and transmission of HIV and STDs.286


STD and HIV testing

              If you are sexually active and may have the chance of getting infected, you should have regular testing for STD and HIV. This can help you get immediate medical help and at the same time help prevent further transmission of the disease to others whenever you get infected. For HIV testing, allow 2 weeks before retesting to improve the chance of having a true positive test.


080 Use your helmet

              Wearing a helmet when driving a motorcycle or bicycle not only minimizes injuries during accidents, it may also save you from dying. Head injury is the major cause of death with motorcycle or bicycle accidents. Wearing a standard helmet protects from head injury and therefore saves life.

              A new kind of bicycle helmet developed in Sweden has been dubbed the invisible bike helmet that keeps you safe.


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