Monday, May 15, 2017

New Analysis Finds the Ancient World Populated by Diverse Hominin Species

Lucas Delezene with Homo naledi fossils.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — New analysis of fossils from a recently discovered human ancestor, Homo naledi, reveals that it evolved parallel to Homo sapiens in South Africa, a finding that potentially redraws the human family tree.

Luke Delezene, assistant professor of anthropology in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas, has been a key part of the international research team studying Homo naledi since the fossils were found in the Rising Star Cave in 2013 near Johannesburg, South Africa. An expert in hominin dental anatomy and morphology, Delezene helped verify in 2015 that the remains were a previously unknown hominin.

The latest analysis, published this month in eLife, was the result of work done last summer on the Homo naledi remains found in a second chamber of the cave. The remains were deposited in the cave between 236,000 and 335,000 years ago, much later than researchers expected, indicating they lived in South Africa around the same time as Homo sapiens and Neanderthals roamed the Earth.

“Three years ago this species was totally unknown,” Delezene said. “And now naledi fossils outnumber those of other species of Homo in South Africa. Now, with two large samples of Homo naledi teeth that are practically identical anatomically, we can start to tell the story about how Homo naledi and Homo sapiens evolved in South Africa.”

Homo naledi has an exceptionally small brain — less than half the size of a modern human — a short stature and curved fingers. These features are common in hominins before 2 million years ago. Previously, it was commonly believed that no small-brained hominin species could have survived this late against the intensifying competition from larger-brained humans, with their advanced social and technological behaviors. This discovery indicates that diverse hominins populated the world through much of the last half million years, from small-brained and small-bodied species like Homo naledi to those like modern humans and Neanderthals, who had much larger brains and bodies.

Where Homo naledi belongs on the human family tree, however, is currently debated. Delezene points to its unique mix of modern and primitive anatomical traits – fairly modern wrists and elongated legs and primitive traits like small brains and large wisdom teeth.

“Homo naledi teeth are not like those of living humans; neither are they like the teeth seen in the earliest species of Homo that are nearly 2 million years old,” Delezene said. “The shape of their premolars and molars are quite different from all other hominins, which suggests they adapted to a different dietary regime than other species of Homo, including us.”

Others at the U of A will be looking at the microwear on the teeth to get a better idea of what they did eat. “We have a tremendous opportunity, with these teeth, to tell the story of Homo naledi, but it’s going to take time,” Delezene said.

The team has divided the analysis by anatomical structure, and plans to “write articles as quickly as we can.” The biggest challenge, Delezene said, is that “we have so much material coming out of the ground so fast, we have trouble keeping up.”

The new discovery and research was done by a large team of researchers from the United States, South Africa, Australia, Europe and more than 30 international institutions.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.

Keeping love alive as memories fade

On April 27, Alamance Eldercare presented its annual Family Caregiver Resource Fair. I enjoy going to these, not only because I discover an abundance of resources (and ideas for future columns), but also because I have the privilege of meeting (or seeing again) some of the finest people in the world — caregivers.

The speakers at these events are always inspiring. Debbie Barr, author and health educator, gave this year’s keynote address. Along with Gary Chapman, Ph.D. and Edward Shaw, M.D., she recently co-authored “Keeping Love Alive as Memories Fade: The 5 Love Languages and the Alzheimer’s Journey.”

She informed the audience that this book was inspired by Dr. Chapman’s series of 5 Love Languages books in which he describes the five main ways people express and experience love — the love languages. They are gift-giving, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service and physical touch.

Barr was an editorial assistant to Dr. Chapman when he wrote the original “5 Love Languages” book in 1995. More recently she worked as clinic coordinator for the Memory Counseling Program at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, where she discovered that Dr. Shaw was using the five love languages in his dementia counseling. In 2008, his wife Rebecca, not yet 55 years old, had been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. The book is dedicated to Rebecca Shaw who passed away in August 2016, just before the book was released. I was so impressed by Barr’s synopsis of the book that I purchased one and couldn’t wait to read it.

The first chapter is entitled “Ed and Rebecca: A Love Story” and indeed, the entire volume is about love. This is a theme that sometimes goes missing in manuals for caregivers of people with dementia; how unfortunate, because without love the journey does become strenuous and maybe unbearable. A striking introductory statement was, “The deep human need for love does not disappear with a diagnosis of dementia.” It is vital for caregivers to understand this concept.

A wealth of inspiration and information flows from the pages. The authors provide easily understood definitions of terms such as “cognitive function” and “plaques and tangles.” There are diagrams of the brain with explanations about the disease and its progression.

You also will find quizzes you can take to help you determine your own love language as well as the preferred love language of your loved one. Suggestions are offered to help you learn to “speak” the preferred love language, along with lists of actions that should be avoided.

A number of caregivers were interviewed and their stories are intertwined with helpful do’s and don’ts. Some of the stories are heartbreaking; many are uplifting. What I like best is that they give caregivers a glimpse into the world of others who are on the same journey; you realize you are not alone.

Of all the caregiving books I have read, this is my favorite.

• Caring Quote: “I am convinced that God wants everyone to experience His love and then to share that love with all whom we encounter. By nature, we are selfish —we love those who love us. When we receive God’s love, we are empowered to love even those who do not, or cannot, love us. This is the love that I have seen demonstrated by so many caregivers.” — Gary Chapman, Ph.D.

Ruth Z. W. Johnson is an author, columnist and speaker who has served as both a family caregiver and a nurse in long-term care. She is available to share her experiences and knowledge of caregiving with groups, both small and large. She welcomes your caregiving comments and questions. Letters published only with reader’s consent. Contact her at or P.O. Box 125, Alamance, NC 27201.

Psychologist offers cheats for everyday cravings like cheese and sugar

A leading food psychologist has revealed ways to beat our favourite cravings like salt, cheese and coffee - with a series of healthy substitutes.

Dr Christy Fergusson answers why so many Brits can’t resist everyday temptations - and how to conquer them.

She claims that by providing the body with quick solutions it IS possible to lower the amount of unhealthy food consumed and stop these cravings in their tracks.

The doc says cravings like carbs and sugar can be avoided by munching on healthier options such as fruit, water and turkey.

Dr Christy, working with Seasonal Berries, says sugar and chocolate cravings can be beaten by eating fruit - particularly berries.

Cravings for salt like pretzels, nuts or crisps can be trumped with Himalayan pink salt of Celtic sea salt and filtered water.

Carbohydrates yearnings can be driven away by eating turkey, fish, chicken, quinoa, buckwheat, nuts, seeds, beans, and pulses.

Cravings for coffee can be staved off by an intake of tyrosine-rich foods such as bananas, meats, fish, eggs, nuts, beans and oats.

And Dr Christy says cheese lovers can beat their addiction by eating foods such as nuts and seeds, as well as oily fish such as tuna, salmon and trout.


The craving - Most Brits crave sugar when trying to eat healthily, but snacks such as chocolate bars and cakes simply serve to send us on a blood sugar rollercoaster - which means we ride high and then crash soon after. Fergusson says that the body needs essential glucose for energy.

The cure - to ensure the body is fed glucose every three to four hours, folk should be stocking up on strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries as these fruits contain fructose (fruit sugars) which are released slowly into the bloodstream. Eating these regularly will keep moods consistent and energy levels steady throughout the day. Fresh berries are one of the best foods to snack as they are loaded with antioxidants and highly nutritious. You could say they are nature’s brain food. They pack a serious nutritional punch for every calorie consumed. This makes them the ideal way to supercharge your system with nutrients, without escalating your blood sugar levels.”


The craving - Fergusson claims that what the body actually wants is minerals. The body needs minerals such as calcium, sodium, magnesium, and zinc to stay healthy - if you are deficient in any of these you will think you want salt. Similarly, craving salt can be a sign of dehydration, as sodium works by keeping water in the body to hydrate cells.

The cure - Rather than opting for pretzels, salty nuts or crisps which are sprinkled with table salt, opt for Himalayan pink salt of Celtic sea salt which are rich in minerals. And always drink plenty of filtered water.


The craving - During the dark winter months the lack of sunshine leaves most of us deficient in our feel-good brain chemical serotonin. As our serotonin levels drop, our brain seeks balance and we crave carbs. Refined carbohydrates - such as white rice, white bread or white - spike our blood sugar levels causing amino acids to get shunted out of our cells giving tryptophan gets a free ride across our blood/brain barrier. This gives a temporary boost in serotonin. The problem is that refined carbs are often nutrient deficient and lack the building blocks we need to create serotonin. So when our blood sugar plummets again, the craving comes back, but what the body really wants is serotonin.

The cure - to keep your brain brimming with serotonin without spiking your blood sugar levels, you need to eat good quality protein such as turkey, fish, chicken, quinoa, buckwheat, nuts, seeds, beans, and pulses to provide your body with a good supply of amino acids including tryptophan. Avoid serotonin sabotages such as caffeine, nicotine, and artificial sweeteners. These deplete the body of nutrients essential for converting tryptophan to 5-HTP to serotonin.


The craving - If you struggle to start the day without a strong cup of coffee, your body might need a boost of catecholamines - adrenaline and dopamine which help to energise and motivate. This means the body really wants Tyrosine - as this supports the production of catecholamines.

The cure - rather than drinking coffee you could increase your intake of tyrosine-rich foods such as bananas, meats, fish, eggs, nuts, beans and oats.


The craving - although delicious, eating a cheese board every night isn’t ideal, but if the body is craving cheese this could be a sign of an essential fatty acid deficiency. These are good fats which the body can’t manufacture itself - omega 3 and omega 6.

The cure - rather than tucking into a block of Edam, Fergusson recommends eating foods such as nuts and seeds, as well as oily fish such as tuna, salmon and trout.

Dr Christy Fergusson, a food psychologist for Seasonal Berries, said: “Serotonin is our feel good happy brain chemical which keeps our moods high and our cravings at bay.

“As the dark nights roll in and our serotonin levels plummet, we can find our energy drops, our moods turn and the sugar cravings kick in. Relying on high sugar foods, biscuits and crisps to keep us going can leave us riding the blood sugar rollercoaster.

“We feel buzzed for a spell but soon our energy, concentration and mood can plummet. If you find yourself losing focus and the brain fog descending as the afternoon wears on, bust out a punnet of fresh berries and the antioxidants will help sharpen your mind.”

Global Brain Monitoring Market size demand will increase by 2016-2024

Zion Market Research, the market research group announced the analysis report titled ‘Brain Monitoring Market: Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecasts 2016–2024’

Global Brain Monitoring Market: Overview

The activities associated with the brain monitoring include functions related to the brain such as the blood flow, magnetic movement, cerebral oxygen capacity, electrical motion, gravity adjoining the brain, tumor along with other conditions. These conditions of the brain can lead to severe symptoms such as paralysis, tremors, loss of sensation and muscle pain and weakness. The diseases that are associated with the brain are very complicated and their treatments are very costly too. Nowadays, there are several types of brain monitoring devices available that combat these diseases.

Global Brain Monitoring Market: Segmentation

The brain monitoring market is segmented globally into its product, end user, therapeutic application, procedure, and geography. On the basis of the product, the brain monitoring market is categorized into devices and accessories. The devices segment is further sub-segmented into magnetoencephalography devices, intracranial pressure monitors, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) devices, positron emission tomography devices, electroencephalography devices, transcranial doppler devices, cerebral oximeters, computerized tomography devices and sleep monitoring devices. The segment of accessories is divided into the type and usability. According to the type, the market is further categorized into electrodes, pastes and gels, cables, sensors, caps, batteries, and others. Based on the usability, the market is categorized into non-disposable and disposable. On the basis of the procedure, the global brain monitoring market is segregated into non-invasive and invasive. Based on therapeutic application, the global market is classified into epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, Huntington’s disease, stroke, headache disorders, sleep disorders, traumatic brain injuries and other therapeutic applications such as autism, Williams syndrome, schizophrenia, Landau-Kleffner syndrome, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression, dyslexia and sickle-cell disease. On the basis of the end user, the global market is categorized into diagnostic centers, neurological centers and institutions, hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers and clinics, ambulances and other end users such as home care settings and academic and research institutions.

Global Brain Monitoring Market: Growth Factors

The major factor driving the global brain monitoring market include the high rate of incidences of the neurological disorders caused by various factors such as changing lifestyles, changes in the social environments and the rising levels of stress. The brain monitoring devices are used to examine the conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, brain tumors among other diseases. In the recent years, the number of people suffering from these conditions has increased considerably; hence, it is becoming one of the major factors that are driving the global market. The other factor driving the growth of the global market is the increasing number of post-surgical accidents of cerebrovascular. These incidences have raised the demand for the automated brain monitoring devices in the hospitals in order to understand the effects of the sedatives and anesthesia. The factors that are restraining the growth of the brain monitoring market includes the lack of the trained professionals, the reimbursement policies that are not favorable, the high cost of the complex devices and the concerns related to the accuracy of the diagnostic devices.

Global Brain Monitoring Market: Regional Analysis

The global brain monitoring market is dominated by the North American region. The factors that contribute to this growth are the increasing number of the sleep and neurodegenerative disorders, the presence of the strong distribution and sales network of the neurodiagnostic companies, availability of the insurance coverage for the techniques of the brain monitoring and the investments made by the government to support the field of neurosciences. The Asia Pacific region is also an emerging market and is anticipated to dominate the global market in the future.

Global Brain Monitoring Market: Competitive Players

The major market players in the global brain monitoring market include Natus Medical Inc., Philips Healthcare, Siemens Healthcare, Electrical Geodesics Incorporated, CAS Medical Systems, Inc., Nihon Kohden Corporation, GE Healthcare, Compumedics Ltd., Medtronic Inc. and Advanced Brain Monitoring.

Brain Monitoring Market by Geographical Analysis: North America( U.S.), Europe( UK, France, Germany), Asia-Pacific (China, Japan, India), Latin America( Brazil), Middle East and Africa

Our value reports provide full, in-depth analysis of the parent market including most significant changes in market dynamics; the report also presents a detailed overview on segmentation of this market. We managed to present as many important information in essential form – thanks to our report You will learn more about former, on-going, and projected market analysis in terms of volume and value, assessment of niche industry developments and Market share analysis. We have not forgotten to present key strategies for major players, emerging segments and regional markets and last but not least, testimonials to companies in order to fortify their foothold in the market.

Regular snoring in babies can be a danger sign

Melbourne [Australia], May 15 : Turns out, if your baby snores at least four nights a week, it could indicate serious health problems.

"Breathing is an automated process, controlled by the brain. By monitoring chemical levels in the blood, the brain can work out if the breathing is working properly," Kidspot quoted ENT expert David McIntosh as saying.

There are reasons why babies snore, and not all of them are cause for concern.

McIntosh noted that if the signals to the brain indicate that something is wrong, the brain can alter the rate of breathing to compensate.

"The problem of airway obstruction [which is what happens when you are snoring] though is that even if the brain recognises there is a problem, increasing the effort of breathing achieves very little," he added. "Furthermore, blockage to breathing results in oxygen levels in the blood dropping. This is something the brain does not like very much."

Through his research and through observing children who habitually snore, McIntosh has seen evidence of reduced attention, higher levels of social problems and anxiety, depressive symptoms, cognitive dysfunctions, memory problems and problems with thinking through things logically.

In a much larger study conducted, which monitored 1,000 children over a period of six years, it was found that children who snored, breathed through the mouth, or had sleep apnoea had a higher incidence of the behavioural issues listed above, and were 50 to 90 percent more likely to develop ADHD-like symptoms than normal breathers.