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Red Wine May Help Control Weight Gain

The health benefits of red wine have long been recognized by the scientific world. Compounds found in the beverage are believed to provide protection against heart and neurodegenerative diseases, as well as reduce the risk of several cancers. Now, research suggests it may help control obesity, too.

Though exercise is certainly imperative for both weight control and general health, a substance called piceatannol was found to hinder the growth of fat cells in the body. According to Purdue University in Indiana, this red wine compound limits insulin activity that results in the growth and maturity of fat cells.

Dr. Kee-Hong Kim, lead researcher, explained: “In the presence of piceatannol you can see delay or complete inhibition of young fat cells.

Piceatannol alters the timing of gene expressions, gene functions and insulin action during adipogenesis- the process in which young fat cells become mature fat cells.”

He added that in order for the discovery to have an impact on society, the scientists need to “work on improving the stability and solubility of piceatannol to create a biological effect.”

Other red wine compounds, such as resveratrol, have similar effects on the body’s health. Resveratrol is sometimes sold as an agent to combat disease, as well as to prevent heart conditions and cancers. Both compounds can be found in blueberries, grapes and passion fruit as well as red wine.

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Dinosaur Eggs Uncovered in Chechnya?

Geologists believe they have uncovered around 40 fossilized dinosaur eggs in the Chechnya region of Russia. According to Chechen State University geologist Said-Emin Dzhabrailov, “there could be many more laying under the ground” as well.

The eggs, theoretically dating back over 60 million years, were discovered as a result of construction in the area, through a controlled blast in the Caucasus Mountains. The stone-like objects are spherical, and range in size from 25cm to over a meter. Paleontologists have yet to determine which dinosaur species laid them.

In the meantime, Magomed Alkhazurov, another scientist from the Chechen State University, guessed that the eggs belong to a large, herbivorous species of dinosaur. Perhaps they belong to the hadrosaurs family. These slow-witted, herd-oriented reptiles are associated with deer, cows and other grazers today.

A sample from the findings has been sent to Yessentuki for examination, though many scientists around the world remain skeptical.

Dr. Aleksandr Averianov of the Institute of Zoology in St. Petersburg said “These are no dinosaur eggs. This is some kind of sand rock. Dinosaur eggs have a different shell structure.”

Other scientists agree, claiming that the egg-shaped formations are of a geological nature, not biological.

Chechnya’s violent reputation and dying tourism industry can actually support this claim, leaving a window for conspiracy theories. The country’s government has already revealed its hopes of creating a nature preserve in the area in an effort to attract tourists. Violence in the region has in fact lessened under Ramzan Kadyrov, who dedicates millions of dollars to construction, tourism and the general improvement of the area’s reputation.

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Coca-Cola Hug Me Machine Spreading Happines

Coca-Cola has teamed up with the advertising firm Ogilvy & Mather for a brilliant ad campaign. As part of their “Open Happiness” global marketing campaign, they’ve introduced a new Coca-Cola Hug Machine in Singapore.  As Leonardo O-Grady, ASEAN IMC Director for the Coca-Cola Company said,

“Happiness is contagious. The Coca-Cola Hug Machine is a simple idea to spread some happiness. Our strategy is to deliver doses of happiness in an unexpected, innovative way to engage not only the people present, but the audience at large.”

The new machine, at the National University of Singapore certainly lived up to the Coca-Cola “Open Happiness” mission.

As did this part of the marketing campaign delivered a few years ago.

Nice job Coca-Cola!

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Discovery Takes Off on Last Journey to New Home

Discovery, the oldest surviving space shuttle of NASA’s fleet, is about to embark on her last journey- to the Smithsonian Institution.

Discovery’s maiden voyage was launched in 1984, and she has traveled to outer space 39 times since then. Her experience makes her the number one shuttle in history, completing more missions in our solar system than any other.

Discovery’s feats include delivering the Hubble Space Telescope to orbit; connecting with Mir, the Russian space station with the first female shuttle pilot; being the first U.S. spaceship to launch a Russian cosmonaut; boosting shuttle flights after the Challenger and Columbia tragedies; and returning John Glenn to orbit.

Discovery will arrive at the Smithsonian’s hangar via a modified jumbo jet, after a farewell flight over Cape Canaveral and Washington D.C. Security officers, firemen, shuttle workers and, of course, Discovery’s last astronaut crew all gathered at Kennedy Space Center to say their goodbyes.

“It’s good to see her one more time, and it’s great that Discovery is going to a good home. Hopefully, millions of people for many, many years to come will go see Discovery,” Steven Lindsey, the last astronaut to command the shuttle, said emotionally. “It’s also sad…it’s sad to see that the program is over.”

Discovery will replace Enterprise, the spaceship prototype that was used only in landing tests over four decades ago. Enterprise will go on display in New York’s Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum.

Stephanie Stilson, a NASA manager, said “To see her like this is quite an amazing site. We’re finally here.” She added that it’s been almost exactly one year since Discovery’s last mission.

Still, “there’s no denying the sadness associated with it,” according to another of Discovery’s last crew.

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Tree Nuts Have Slimming Effect, Lower Risk of Heart Disease

Though many avoid nuts because of their high fat content, recent studies have found that they may in fact have a slimming effect.

The research involved 13,292 participants from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys from 1999-2004. It found that people who consumed more than one quarter of an ounce of tree nuts every day were found to be significantly thinner, and with lower risks of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

“One of the more interesting findings was the fact that tree nut consumers had lower body weight, as well as lower body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference compared to non-consumers,” revealed lead researcher Carol O’Neil. “The mean weight, BMI, and waist circumference were 4.19 pounds, 0.9kg/m2 and 0.83 inches lower in the consumers than non-consumers, respectively.”

In addition, nut consumption is associated with high levels of the ‘good’ cholesterol, health blood pressure, and healthy blood sugar levels. Now, experts recommend a daily intake of 1.5 ounces of tree nuts per day. These nuts include almonds, pistachios, cashews, walnuts, pecans, pine nuts, Brazil nuts, macadamias and hazelnuts.

O’Neil said: “Tree nuts should be an integral part of a healthy diet and encouraged by health professionals- especially registered dieticians.”

O’Neil is not the only expert to appreciate the results. Maureen Ternus of the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research & Education Foundation said of the research: “In light of these new data and the fact that the FDA has issues a qualified health claim for nuts and heart disease with a recommended intake of 1.5 ounces of nuts per day, we need to educate people about the importance of including tree nuts in the diet.”


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