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Prunus andersonii

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Botanical Name ; Prunus andersonii
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Prunus
Species: P. andersoni
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Common Names: Prunus andersonii, Desert peach, Desert almond.

Habitat : Prunus andersonii Desert Peach is native to Western N. America.( eastern California and western Nevada) It grows on the dry slopes and mesas, 1000 – 2200 metres in California.

Description:
Prunus andersonii is a shrub approaching two meters (80 inches) in height, its tangling branches narrowing to spiny-tipped twigs. Serrated, lance-shaped to oval leaves occur in clusters, each leaf measuring up to 3 centimeters (1.2 inches) long. The shrub is deciduous. The inflorescence is a solitary flower or pair of flowers. Each flower has usually five concave pink petals each just under a centimeter (0.4 inches) long, with many whiskerlike stamens at the center. Flowers bloom before or at the same time as the leaves appear. The fruit is a fuzzy reddish-orange drupe around a centimeter (0.4 inches) wide. The fruits are fleshy in years with ample moisture, and dry in drought years. The seed is a heart-shaped stone. The plant reproduces sexually via germination of the seed, and vegetatively by sprouting from its rhizome. One plant may sprout and resprout from its rhizomes to form a very large clone which can spread over several acres.

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The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
Cultivation:
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Thrives in a well-drained moisture-retentive loamy soil. Prefers some lime in the soil but is likely to become chlorotic if too much lime is present. Succeeds in sun or partial shade though it fruits better in a sunny position. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.

Propagation:
Seed – requires 2 – 3 months cold stratification and is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. Protect the seed from mice etc. The seed can be rather slow, sometimes taking 18 months to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in a greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July/August in a frame. Softwood cuttings from strongly growing plants in spring to early summer in a frame. Layering in spring.
Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Fruit; Seed.

Fruit – raw or cooked. Considered to be a great delicacy. Seed – raw or cooked. Do not eat the seed if it is too bitter – see the notes below on toxicity.

Medicinal Uses:

Antirheumatic; Astringent; Pectoral.

A decoction of the stems, leaves or roots has been used in the treatment of diarrhoea. A weak decoction of the bark has been used in the treatment of rheumatism. A hot infusion of the branches or the leaves has been used in the treatment of colds. A decoction of the dried bark strips has been used as a winter tonic to ward off influenza. All members of the genus contain amygdalin and prunasin, substances which break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid (cyanide or prussic acid). In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being.
Other Uses; Dye…..A green dye can be obtained from the leaves. A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit
Known Hazards: Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where most, if not all members of the genus produce hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. This toxin is found mainly in the leaves and seed and is readily detected by its bitter taste. It is usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm but any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunus_andersonii
http://www.pfaf.org/USER/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Prunus+andersonii

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Fight Glaucoma With Leafy Green Vegetables

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Think about this the next time you fill your plate with kale or spinach: a study published recently in JAMA Ophthalmology, found that boosting leafy green vegetable intake is associated with a reduced risk of developing glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness.

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Harvard researchers analyzed the dietary information reported by more than 100,000 men and women in two long-term studies, each lasting more than 25 years. Those who ate the most leafy greens had a risk of developing glaucoma that was 20% to 30% lower than that of those who ate the least. What’s the link? Glaucoma causes damage to the optic nerve, through increased pressure from fluid in the eye or impaired blood flow to the optic nerve. Leafy greens are loaded with nitrate, which the body converts to nitric oxide. “Nitric oxide is important for maintaining optimal blood flow, and possibly for keeping eye pressure low” speculates Dr. Jae Hee Kang, the lead author of the study and a Harvard Medical School assistant professor. The study doesn’t prove that leafy greens reduce glaucoma risk; it only shows an association between the two. Eating leafy greens is also linked to lower rates of inflammation, cancer, heart disease, and even macular degeneration.

Sources: Harvard researchers

Baby Development & Care from Birth to Three Months

It is very difficult to know  what a newborn baby is capable of. In the early days and weeks after birth, to the naked eye, not much. Eating, crying, sleeping, and pooping seem to take up the majority of her day, with a few moments of alertness thrown in for good measure. But recent research has shown that she’s doing a lot more than that. “Even in the first minutes of life, babies are a wonder,” says Naomi Steiner, MD, a developmental and behavioral pediatrician at Tufts-New England Medical Center, in Boston. “The newborn has a superactive brain and is primed to learn.”
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Recent research, much of which relies on high-tech advances in intrauterine photography and brain imaging, now offers empirical proof of what parents have known all along: Babies are smart. What’s more, each baby is born with a unique personality that becomes readily apparent within the first few weeks of life. “Babies come into the world as themselves,” says Dr. Steiner. “It’s our job to get to know them.”

Baby’s Ability

Even though your baby can’t care for herself, what she is capable of at birth may surprise you. She’s born with 70 innate reflexes designed to help her thrive, some of which are truly remarkable. “Reflexes like the tonic neck reflex — in which your baby turns his head to one side, straightens one arm, and holds the other out — are critical to labor and delivery, helping your baby squirm around during the birth process, stimulating the uterus to keep contracting,” says Dr. Brazelton. In essence, he’s helping your labor progress.

Other reflexes are less subtle to a new parent. If left on his mother’s abdomen in a dim, quiet room after birth, a healthy newborn “will rest for about 30 minutes and will gaze at his mother’s face on and off,” reports Marshall Klaus, MD, who wrote the first textbook on neonatology and has coauthored a number of popular books for new parents, including Your Amazing Newborn (Perseus). Then he’ll begin smacking his lips and moving toward the breast completely unaided, using a powerful stepping reflex and bobbing his head up and down to gather momentum. Once at the breast, a newborn will open his mouth wide and place his lips on the areola, latching on all by himself for his first feeding. From that point on, these inborn responses will affect your newborn’s every move. The rooting reflex, for example, helps your baby seek nourishment. However, seemingly random, reflexive movements may be more intentional than we first thought. “When in a quiet, alert state, and in communication with a caregiver, some babies will reach out to try and touch something,” says Dr. Klaus.

Normal newborns at birth apparently have the underlying potential to reach for things, he explains, but their strong neck muscles are linked to their arms, so that a slight neck movement moves the arms as well. This connection protects the baby’s head from suddenly dropping forward or backward.

Baby’s Thinking

It depends upon how you define thought; of course, a newborn can’t share ideas. But some researchers believe that babies do put concepts together (albeit on a primitive level), evidenced by the fact that they remember and recognize their mother’s voice from birth, and express and respond to emotions before and immediately after birth. One could argue that memory and emotion are inextricably linked to thought. “A baby’s brain grows very differently depending on what sorts of experiences the baby has both in utero and after birth,” says Wendy Anne McCarty, PhD, the founding chair and faculty of the Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology Program at the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute, in California. “During gestation, birth, and early infant stages, we learn intensely and are exquisitely sensitive to our environment and relationships. From the beginning of life, we’re building memories.” Other experts say that a baby’s brain is too undeveloped to do more than orchestrate vital body functions. One fact remains clear: Newborns learn every day and apply that knowledge to their growing repertoire of skills. So can a newborn really think? Watch your baby, and judge for yourself!

Yopu may find the following:-In the first three months, your baby will learn to raise his or her head, smile, kick, move both arms and legs, roll over and make babbling noises. You will also learn to distinguish your baby’s cries, which will help you determine what your baby wants from you. Baby may also learn to wake up less as his or her stomach grows bigger and takes more in at a feeding.

Dr. Klaus discovered that newborns instinctively reach out until about 3 weeks of age, when this ability apparently disappears until about 3 months of age. This coincides with the time it takes your baby to start learning how to integrate his senses and gain control over his muscles. This is a prime example of how your baby’s need to learn so much, so quickly, means he must set aside some tasks while focusing on other, more important ones, such as regulating his sleep-wake cycles and figuring out how to focus his brand-new eyes on all the new sights around him.

So why do all these useful survival instincts seem to disappear so early — some as early as the 2-month mark? A baby spends the first few months of his life reacting to the world around him. But once he starts to understand where he ends and the world begins, which is partly a matter of brainpower, and partly a matter of practice, some behaviors that were once reflexive become active, as gradually baby learns that he can make things happen on his own and affect his environment. And, says Dr. Brazelton, “Just watching a baby learn is enough to give you hope for the human race.”

Baby’s Senses and Sensibility:-
Touch:
Your newborn’s skin is his largest and most highly developed sensory organ. At birth, your baby can respond to variations in temperature, texture, pressure, and pain. Your newborn’s lips and hands have the largest number of touch receptors, which may account for why newborns enjoy sucking on their fingers.

Smell:
By the 28th week of pregnancy, your baby can use her nose. One piece of evidence: Newborns placed between a breast pad from their mother and one from another woman most often turn toward the one with the alluring Mom-smell.

Taste:
In your womb, your baby gets a sampling of flavors as he swallows amniotic fluid. Studies have shown that fetal swallowing increases with sweet tastes and decreases with bitter or sour tastes.

Hearing:
Although your baby’s middle ear is still somewhat immature at birth, as are the sound processing centers of his brain, your newborn can hear you and will prefer human speech over any other sounds, especially if the voice is yours.

Vision:
By the time you actually meet your baby, her eyes are capable of excellent vision; however, her brain is still too immature to distinguish between different shades of color. By the time your baby is 3 months old, she will want to look at the world around her. She’ll prefer bright colors or sharp contrasts, and her favorite thing to look at will be faces.

Resources:

http://www.parents.com/baby/care/newborn/your-baby-from-birth-to-3-months/?page=5
http://www.thebabydepartment.com/babycare/baby-development.aspx

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Wine, Veg & Meat: Key to Long Life

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Want to know the perfect recipe for a long and healthy life? Drinking a goblet of red wine as well as eating adequate fruit, vegetablesand a small portion of red meat  everyday all add up to it, says a new study.
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Previous research has found that sticking to the diet can protect the brain against developing Alzheimer’s and other memory problems, cut the chances of developing heart disease and even reduce the risk of being diagnosed with cancer.

The latest study, which followed 23,000 people, found that those who adhered most closely to a typical Mediterranean diet were 14 per cent more likely to still be alive at tView Posthe end of eight years, ‘The Daily Telegraph‘ reported.

“The analysis suggests that the dominant components of the Mediterranean diet are moderate consumption of alcohol, mostly in the form of wine during meals, low consumption of meat and meat products, and high consumption of vegetables, fruits and nuts, olive oil and legume,” said lead researcher Dimitrios Trichopoulos of Harvard School of Public Health.

Drinking wine had the most benefit on life span the findings suggest, followed by reducing meat consumption and then eating high numbers of fruit, vegetables and nuts.

Source: The Times Of India

 

Pregnant Women Should Avoid Eating for Two

Pregnant women should avoid “eating for two” since too much weight gain is linked with complications at birth, according to a new study  of 1,300 women.

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Alison Stuebe, assistant professor of gynaecology at the Chapel Hill School of Medicine of the University of North Carolina (UNC), found that those who consumed extra calories as well as fried foods and dairy products were more likely gain as much as 35 pounds.

Stuebe found that eating an extra 500 calories daily increased the odds of gaining weight by 10%. Gaining too much weight is linked with complications at birth, such as pre-eclampsia, a set of symptoms that indicate a basic disorder with the placenta, as well as higher odds that both mother and child will be obese later in life.

However, the study found that several eating habits reduced moms’ risk of gaining too much. Women with vegetarian diets in early pregnancy were half as likely to gain an unhealthy amount of weight.

Researchers also found that consuming more monounsaturated fat, found in olive oil and nuts, was linked with a lower risk of excessive weight gain. Stuebe did the research while at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, said an UNC release.

Sources: The Times Of India

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