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Chamaecyparis thyoides

Botanical Name: Chamaecyparis thyoides
Family: Cupressaceae
Genus: Chamaecyparis
Species: C. thyoides
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales

Synonyms:
Chamaecyparis thyoides (L.) Britton, Sterns & Poggenb.

CHHE4 Chamaecyparis henryae Li
CHTHH Chamaecyparis thyoides (L.) Britton, Sterns & Poggenb. var. henryae (Li) Little

Common Names :Atlantic White Cypress or Atlantic White cedar

Habitat :Chamaecyparis thyoides is   native to the Atlantic coast of North America from Maine south to Georgia, with a disjunct population on the Mexican Gulf coast from Florida to Mississippi. It grows on wet sites on the coastal plain at altitudes from sea level up to 50 m, more rarely in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains up to 460 m altitude.

Description:
Chamaecyparis thyoides is an evergreen coniferous tree growing to 20-28 m (rarely to 35 m) tall, with feathery foliage in moderately flattened sprays, green to glaucous blue-green in color. The leaves are scale-like, 2-4 mm long, and produced in opposite decussate pairs on somewhat flattened shoots; seedlings up to a year old have needle-like leaves. The seed cones are globose, 4-9 mm diameter, with 6-10 scales, green or purple, maturing brown in 5–7 months after pollination. The pollen cones are purple or brown, 1.5–3 mm long and 1–2 mm broad, releasing their yellow pollen in spring.

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There are two geographically isolated subspecies, treated by some botanists as distinct species, by others at just varietal rank:

Chamaecyparis thyoides subsp. thyoides (Atlantic Whitecedar). Atlantic coast, Maine to Georgia. Leaves and cones usually glaucous blue-green; facial leaves flat, not ridged; cones 4-7 mm long. (Least concern)
Chamaecyparis thyoides subsp. henryae (H.L.Li) E.Murray (Gulf Whitecedar; syn. Chamaecyparis thyoides subsp. henryae (H.L.Li) Little; Chamaecyparis henryae H.L.Li). Mexican Gulf coast, Florida to Mississippi. Leaves and cones always green, not glaucous; facial leaves with a longitudinal ridge; cones 6-9 mm long. (Near threatened)
Older gypsy moth caterpillars sometimes eat the foliage, whereas young ones will avoid it.

Cultivation :
Chamaecyparis thyoides is of some importance in horticulture, with several cultivars of varying crown shape, growth rates and foliage color having been selected for garden planting. Named cultivars include ‘Andelyensis’ (dwarf, with dense foliage), ‘Ericoides’ (juvenile foliage), and ‘Glauca’ (strongly glaucous foliage).

Medicinal Uses:
A decoction of the leaves has been used as a herbal steam for treating headaches and backaches. A poultice made from the crushed leaves and bark has been applied to the head to treat headaches.

Other Uses:
The wood is reported to endure moisture indefinitely; it has been used for fence-posts, ties and shingles

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chamaecyparis_thyoides

http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=CHTH2

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Pill With a Will

Patients often fail to take their medication properly. Technology steps in with some ideas. Amber Dance reports .

Did you take your medicine today?” Soon, patients won’t have to rely on their memories for the answer. Scientists are developing tablets and capsules that track when they’ve been popped, turning the humble pill into a high-tech monitoring machine. The goal: new devices to help people take their medicines on time and improve the results of clinical trials for new drugs.
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Doctors can already prescribe pills that release drugs slowly or at a specific time. They even have camera pills that take snaps of their six to 12-metre journey through the gastrointestinal tract. The new pills tote microchips that make them even cleverer: they will report back to a recorder or smart phone exactly what kind and how much medicine has gone down the hatch and landed in the stomach. Someday they may also report on heart rate and other bodily data.

This next generation of pills is all about compliance, as it’s termed in doctor-speak — the tendency of patients to follow their doctors’ instructions (or not). According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), half of patients don’t take their pills properly. They skip doses, take the wrong amount at the wrong time or simply ignore prescriptions altogether.

The most common reason for medication mistakes is forgetfulness, particularly among the elderly. “The number of prescriptions they get is mind-boggling,” says Jill Winters, dean, Columbia College of Nursing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. According to a 2004 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Merck Institute of Aging and Health, the average 75-year-old takes five different drugs.

Often, occasional lapses don’t matter. Smart pills like these are “not for your aspirin or even simple antibiotics,” says Maysam Ghovanloo, an electrical engineer at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. The new technology is aimed at time-sensitive or costly medications.

For certain medications, not taking every pill can have serious consequences. For example, those mentally ill may require regular treatment to stay stable. Chemotherapy drugs and antibiotics for treating tuberculosis (TB) are also time-sensitive.

Blood pressure (BP) medication works only when taken on a regular basis; suddenly stopping it can cause the BP to skyrocket, says Daniel Touchette, a pharmacist and researcher at the University of Illinois, Chicago.

With drugs for transplant patients, a person who misses a dose risks rejection of the new organ. Novartis International AG, based in Basel, Switzerland, is developing pills for transplant recipients; the pills communicate with a patch on the skin when they reach the stomach.

And in the case of TB, treatment requires a six-month course of antibiotics that come with side effects such as nausea and heartburn. Many people don’t understand why they have to keep taking the unpleasant drugs once they feel better — but going off the medication may make patients contagious again and allow drug-resistant TB to develop.

Yet another arena where compliance is crucial is clinical drug trials. Drugmakers can only be sure their medicine works if they’re sure subjects are actually taking it as directed. For now, experimenters rely on diaries where participants record their medication use. But people may fudge the data, not wanting to admit they dropped a pill down the drain or forgot to take it for a few days. To account for those who miss their medicines, firms have to spend extra — trials cost hundreds of millions of dollars — for larger trials just so enough people will actually take the drug.

Technology already offers some solutions, with mobile phone reminders and pill bottles that record when they’re opened. But none of these actually confirms that the medicine has been swallowed.

Ghovanloo hopes to improve compliance with a necklace that records every time a special pill slides down the esophagus. He calls it MagneTrace. By sounding an alarm or sending a mobile phone message, the necklace also would inform the wearer when it’s time for another dose. Caretakers or doctors could monitor the signals too.

The system works by radio-frequency identification, or RFID. Three magnets on a choker-type necklace act like pillars, continually surveying the neck. The pill contains an RFID chip to communicate with the magnets. When Ghovanloo tested the system in an artificial neck made of PVC pipe, the necklace detected 94 per cent of pills passing through it. He hopes to get that number up to 99 per cent and is adding a microchip that will also transmit information about the specific drug taken and its dose.

Ghovanloo coats the chips with a non-reactive material so that after the medicine dissolves, the hardware simply passes through and out of the digestive tract. However, Ghovanloo says he needs make the design more fashionable. “Right now, it’s not something that a lady would be willing to wear,” he says. For men, he might embed the device in a shirt collar.

Rizwan Bashirullah, an electrical engineer at the University of Florida in Gainesville, is also working on pills that will confirm they’ve been taken. “They’re essentially little stickers,” he says of his technology, called the ID-Cap. Gainesville-based eTect is developing the product.

Each sticker contains three components: a microchip, an antenna and an acid sensor. Altogether it’s approximately half the size of a postage stamp, says eTect President Eric Buffkin. The sensor activates the device when it lands in the acid environment of the stomach, and the chip uses the antenna to send electronic signals directly through the body’s tissues to a receiver, worn on a wristband. The silver antenna and sensor dissolve into safe components; these and the microchip, about as big as a grain of sand, are flushed out of the gut. Over the next year, the company plans to test the capsule for safety in animals and people, Buffkin says.

Source :
Los Angerles Times

Published by
The Telegraph ( Kolkata India)

Why Do Ants Work 24/7?

You think they are working 24 hours a day because you see them working at every wakeful hour. And all the workers look the same. But no one knows whether ants “sleep”. They don’t have eyelids, so they can’t close their eyes. But they do have periods of rest, where the brain and biological functions slow down and they stop moving. Though not well documented and possibly varying from species to species, it is generally accepted that most ants have periods of dormancy akin to sleep.

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As workers, ants have to respond to the colony needs. Ants seen foraging for food work from sunrise to sunset. Others inside the colony do other chores like tending to the queen and raising the larvae. The whole colony does not ‘sleep’ at the same time. They have “shifts” — one ant takes up the responsibilities, relieving another which can then tend to its own needs like sleep and feeding itself. Once inside for the night, ants reduce their activities. They fall in a sleep-like idleness with reduced biological functions. Each ant rests (a way of preserving resources) when necessary and “wakes up” when the colony needs it again, but the ants need time to get to normal functioning, resulting in a sluggish movement.

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)