Sunday, October 17, 2010

'Noisy workplaces bad for heart'

Workplaces subject to constant noise increase risk of serious heart problems, making people susceptible to gaining weight and smoking more, a new research shows.

The study published in the British Medical Journal reports that people working in consistently noisy settings are at a double risk of serious heart problems. For people under 50 years old, the risk increases to four times and it is particularly evident with young male smokers. The study used more than 6,000 subjects over a five-year period.

It divided the employees into those who suffered from persistent loud noise at work for three months or more and those who did not.

Those suffering from a noisy environment tended to smoke and weigh more than those who worked in quiet environments, The Times of India reported. This link was even more evident with workers under 50 as they were between three and four times more vulnerable to having a heart attack, coronary artery disease or angina.

"Loud noise day after day may be as strong an external stressor as sudden strong emotion or physical exertion, the effect of which is to prompt various chemical messengers to constrict blood flow through the coronary arteries…

This study suggests that excess noise exposure in the workplace is an important occupational health issue," researchers told The Daily Mail. June Davison of the British Heart Foundation said, "Some people find sustained noise very taxing and stressful and that could explain this link between noisy workplaces and an increased risk of heart disease."

"For people who already have heart disease, occasionally stress can trigger chest pains or even a heart attack," she added.

3 cups of tea cuts heart attack risk

Apart from various benefits noted for tea, a new review suggests that drinking three cups of the beverage per day can keep heart attacks and stroke at bay.

According to the review article published in Molecular Aspects of Medicine, drinking three cups of tea per day can protect the individual against cardiovascular events including heart attacks and stroke, reducing the risk of the condition by 11 percent.

The high content of flavonoids in tea is believed to prevent the formation of fatty plaques in the arteries, particularly carotid artery, and subsequently counteracting cardiovascular disease, the study found.

"There is now consistent data indicating that tea and tea flavonoids can enhance nitric oxide status and improve endothelial function, which may be at least partly responsible for benefits on cardiovascular health,” said Jonathan Hodgson, co-author of the review.

Each two cups of tea is reported to have an antioxidants content equivalent to five portions of vegetables or two apples. Despite the general belief, the current study also revealed that the flavonoid content of black tea is equal to that of green tea.

“Adding milk to tea doesn't affect the absorption of flavonoids from tea, according to several human research trials. In addition, the antioxidant effects seen in our blood following tea consumption are similar whether or not milk is added,” said Catherine Hood from the industry-backed Tea Advisory Panel.

Walking helpful for memory: Study

Regular walking may help prevent shrinkage of the brain and assist in keeping memory in later life, a new study reveals.

The study published in online issue of Neurology reports walking some 9.66 Kilometers every week has many advantages, such as benefiting the heart and a positive contribution to the brain.

The new research indicates that walking prevents brain shrinkage and possibly helps the brain to fight dementia down the road.

Study researcher Kirk I. Erickson, PhD, of the University of Pittsburgh, said, “Brain size shrinks in late adulthood, which can cause memory problems.” The research team analyzed data on 299 dementia-free elderly with a mean age of 78.

The subjects recorded the number of blocks they walked every week. After nine years, the team took brain scans of the participants and measured the subject's brain size. And again four years later, the subjects were tested to see if they had developed any cognitive impairment or dementia.

Those who walked at least 72 blocks per week -- 9.66 to 14.48 kilometers -- had more gray matter in their brains nine years after.

Looking into the data the study reached the conclusion that those who walked the most reduced their risk of developing dementia by 50 percent, WebMD website reported.

“Based on our results, we can conclude that there is a relation between the amount of walking earlier in life and brain volume in later adulthood and that greater volume of tissue related to walking is associated with a reduced risk of cognitive impairment,” the study reports.

Watermelon helps lower blood pressure

Eating six grams of watermelon per day for six weeks can lower blood pressure values in middle-aged individuals, a small pilot study reveals.

According to the study published in the American Journal of Hypertension, watermelon can prevent pre-hypertension from advancing to full hypertension, a condition which contributes to stroke and heart attack.

Watermelon extract is the richest edible natural source of L-citrulline, an amino acid closely related to L-arginine which is responsible for regulating blood pressure values. While watermelon is well tolerated, the use of L-arginine as a dietary supplement can cause gastrointestinal tract discomfort, diarrhea and nausea, scientists noted.

Apart from the above mentioned vascular benefits, watermelon offers abundant amounts of vitamin C, B6, A, fiber and potassium along with lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. Functional foods such as watermelon are also believed to be capable of lowering blood glucose levels, the study found.

"Given the encouraging evidence generated by this preliminary study, we hope to continue the research and include a much larger group of participants in the next round," said lead researcher Arturo Figueroa.

"Individuals with increased blood pressure and arterial stiffness -- especially those who are older and those with chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes -- would benefit from L-citrulline in either the synthetic or natural [watermelon] form…

The optimal dose appears to be four to six grams a day," said Figueroa.

The Nobel Peace Prize, and an Instrument of Western Power

By Peter Baofu, Ph.D.

Contrary to the China-bashing coverage by mainstream Western media (which also controls much of global media), the award of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo, an imprisoned Chinese (convicted of violating state laws), does not promote world peace and prosperity in the long run, for seven major reasons as explained below.

(1) The first reason is that, contrary to the China-bashing tendency of mainstream Western media, the Chinese government has done much to promote freedom at home in the last few decades.
Anne-Marie Brady, a Chinese politics expert at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, made an insightful observation in reaction to the decision by the Norway-based committee to award the prize to Liu, when she said in an interview (as reported by Charles Hutzler on October 09, 2010) that, in China nowadays, "the average person has so much more freedom than they ever had in the post-'49 period. There's a strong feeling of 'don't rock the boat too far, don't prod into sensitive areas.'"
Not surprisingly, there is a resentment in China that this is under-appreciated by the West.

(2) The second reason is that, contrary to the China-bashing tendency of mainstream Western media, the Chinese government has also done much to contribute to world peace and prosperity in the last few decades.

For instance, under the economic reform in the past few decades, China has succeeded to do what no other country could in the history of man, that is, to lift hundreds of million people out of poverty. More specifically, Albert Park and Sangui Wangb in "China's Poverty Statistics" showed that the poverty rate in China has declined from 64% in the late 1970's to 16% in 2004. This is a tremendous achievement for human rights.

Besides, the dynamic economic growth of China has also become a major engine of the world's economic growth, precisely because its massive exports are heavily dependent on massive imports from other economies for raw materials and other products. While it has a trade surplus with some countries, for instance, it has a trade deficit with others.

In addition, unlike the earlier modern times when Western powers (like England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, the U.S., and others) conquered, enslaved, and colonized the rest of the world in their process of industrialization -- China nowadays has instead invested billions of dollars in the rest of the world and helped building roads, railways, sports complexes, hospitals, bridges, schools, and others (even when it remains a very poor country on a per-capita basis).

Furthermore, the rest of the world has also much benefited from all the Chinese products and services with lower prices in the last few decades to enhance world consumption.

Consequently, there is a resentment in China that all these are under-appreciated by the West.
(3) The third reason is that, contrary to the China-bashing tendency of mainstream Western media, Liu Xiaobo is not an innocent defender of peace and freedom in China as popularly depicted.

For instance, in a 1988 interview with Hong Kong's Open Magazine, Liu thus responded, when asked what it would take for China to change itself more in line with the modern West: "(It would take) 300 years of colonialism. In 100 years of colonialism, Hong Kong has changed to what we see today. With China being so big, of course it would take 300 years of colonialism for it to be able to transform into how Hong Kong is today. I have my doubts as to whether 300 years would be enough."

It is no wonder that Liu had offended and angered a lot of Chinese nationalists because of the hidden "treason" in his remark. Although Liu later tried to calm down the public uproar against him in 2006 by saying that his remark was not intentional, he refused to retract it.
(4) The fourth reason is that, contrary to the China-bashing tendency of mainstream Western media, the West has tried hard to subvert China by nurturing opposition inside the country for a more pro-Western government.

For instance, when the Nobel Peace Prize Committee cited Liu's participation in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, what was not cited is the Western effort to nurture opposition everywhere to subvert all those regimes which are different from the West, in the hope to create a pro-Western government which can serve Western interests.

A good lesson to learn is what happened in the neighborly country, Kyrgyzstan, earlier this year (in 2010), when, as Konstantin Sivkov aptly observed, "the events in Kyrgyzstan were engineered by U.S. secret services. When Kurmanbek Bakiyev was president, depots with weapons designed for the opposition against him were found. Therefore, we should clearly realize that U.S. secret services are actively trying to strengthen their position in the post-Soviet space, not shying away from any methods." Later, when the opposition succeeded in overthrowing the government by force, they quickly rewarded the U.S. (for its support of the coup d'etat) with an automatic renewal of the lease agreement for a U.S. military base in the country (which President Bakiyev did not quite like when in power).

(5) The fifth reason is that, contrary to the China-bashing tendency of mainstream Western media, there isno one-style-fits-all solution in political development, such that there is no political system which is universally good for all the peoples and all the cultures on Earth.

For instance, the Nobel Peace Prize Committee also cited Liu's wish for a fundamental political change of China, like his signature on "Charter 08" in 2008, which is a manifesto for fundamental political transformation in China comparable to the Western liberal style of democracy -- especially after the two years (in 1988 and 1989) of being exposed to Western ideas and values, when he was a visiting scholar at Columbia University, the University of Oslo and the University of Hawaii. But it is much debatable whether or not, or to what extent, the Western liberal style of democracy as so often expressed in Charter 08 and the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests are really conducive to the development of more freedom and peace in China.

Anyone who has studied Chinese history will notice that the establishment of peace and order has long been one of the most difficult tasks for all rulers in the last few thousand years of Chinese history. And whenever the effort failed, the immense country collapsed into disorder and became the target of foreign aggression and domination.

It is thus no wonder that even Jackie Chan, the famous Chinese action-movie actor in Hong Kong, confessed in 2009, when he said: "I'm not sure if it's good to have freedom or not. If you're too free, you're like the way Hong Kong is now. It's very chaotic. Taiwan is also chaotic. I'm gradually beginning to feel that we Chinese need to be controlled. If we're not being controlled, we'll just do what we want."

This remark by Chan is not as controversial as the China-bashing mainstream Western media would like us to believe, precisely because, even in the Western intellectual history of political philosophy, there has been the endless debate about the benefits and costs of freedom vs. order in both society and culture. A good example concerns the philosophical disagreement between Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, just for illustration.

(6) The sixth reason is that, contrary to the China-bashing tendency of mainstream Western media, the modern West has no genuine interest in promoting the human rights of the Chinese people. On the contrary, it has done much to colonize, exploit, and humiliate them, and this has continued until our days.

The Chinese may still be very poor on a per-capita basis, but they remember "the 100 years of humiliation" when Western powers divided and conquered China (especially in the coastal areas). The atrocities and brutality committed by Western troops in the Far East during the colonial period and by American soldiers in the Philippines and South Vietnam in the modern era, for instance, are notorious, when the term "fucking gooks" originated.

Even nowadays, Chinese individuals suffer from widespread racist discrimination in Western societies. In America, Asians (including the Chinese) are humiliated by being called "f***** gooks" on a routine basis; and in Western Europe, they are openly looked down upon as "sick." Many Westerners do not care much about the human rights of the Chinese, because they themselves treat the Chinese with racist discrimination in their own (Western) societies. Rather, they use the discourse of human rights as an ideological abstraction (and a political pretext) to serve Western interests (by subverting other countries through the promotion of pro-Western opposition) for the continuation of Western global dominance.

The West has no respect towards the ideas and values of the Non-West and has time and again indulged, since the modern era, in lecturing and dictating to other peoples in the Non-West how and what to behave, both by peaceful means if possible (e.g., nurturing opposition for the subversion of power) and by violent means whenever necessary (e.g., bombing, invading, and occupying weaker countries in the Non-West).

It is in this global context that the West does not welcome the rise of China (and for that matter, India) and in fact is afraid of it, because it directly challenges this Western global dominance since the modern era.

Western powers have tried hard to subvert and contain them, especially against China first and foremost, because of the rapid rise of the latter as the next superpower. But they also understand that the chance for them to succeed in stopping China from rising is almost zero. At least, they try to subvert it, hoping that when the East rises and reaches its peak, it would serve Western interests when the last days of the West to remain dominant in the world are imminently over.

(7) Finally, the seventh reason is that, contrary to the China-bashing tendency of mainstream Western media, the decision to award Liu Xiaobo the Nobel Peace Prize will perpetuate the vicious cycle of mistrust between China and the rest of the world (especially the West).
Charles Hutzier in a recent article on the Nobel Peace Prize put it well when he wrote that the decision "also aggravates the government's view that China is misunderstood in the world and under-appreciated for all the progress it has made...a sentiment shared by many Chinese...reinforcing Chinese feelings of being misperceived." This only fuels the rising tide of Chinese nationalism, with the subsequent reinforcement of the growing sentiment among many ordinary folks inside China that the West does not give the degree of respect towards the Chinese which they rightly deserve for what they have done for the world.

The ideas and ideals of Liu (under Western influence) do not represent those of the one-billion-plus Chinese population -- but only a few like him, whose ideas and ideals are exaggerated, nurtured, and glorified by the West for Western interests.

In light of this long history of modern Western colonial (and now neo-colonial) history in East Asia, the world would benefit much from a more stable relationship of cooperation between China and the rest of the world instead. But this award of the Nobel Peace Prize to someone whom China regards as a "criminal" (and a "traitor") only helps perpetuating the on-again-off-again cycle of broken relationship, which destroys the necessary rhythm to sustain a well developed history of trust and cooperation between China and the West for long-term world peace and prosperity. Even the U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was concerned with the decision of the Norway-based committee, in that "China's anger at the Nobel might impede rights work elsewhere," as reported by Charles Hutzier on October 09, 2010.

In the end, the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo underscores a different message against world peace and prosperity, in a way that mainstream Western media does not want us to know.
The important point to remember here is not that China is perfect. No, not at all, China is not perfect, neither is the West. China, like any other people and country on Earth, has both successes and shortcomings. But to blame China for its shortcomings by the Norway-based committee (from its own perspective of Western interests) reveals a heavily biased agenda not much spoken of in mainstream Western media.

Liu Xiaobo, whether he personally likes it or not, will be increasingly used as an agent for Western interests, now that he is a recipient of the prize. The Nobel Peace Prize has become an instrument of Western power, so as to perpetuate the existing world order for Western dominance -- for the seven reasons as discussed above.

This hidden politics of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee is not news, as it has a long history of doing the same (as revealed in its decision to award Barack Obama last year the Nobel Peace Prize, while, under his administration, countless innocent civilians are killed on a daily basis by the U.S. military strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and other places, besides the widespread destruction of the infrastructures, environments, and properties in Afghanistan and Iraq, for instance, due to the continued occupation and military strikes by the U.S. and its Western allies over the years).

But the West has turned a blind eye to all these continued Western killings day after day, as Westerners have treated non-Westerners with racist condescension and inhumanity for so long, even today, without any serious concern of the lives of the natives, which are regarded as cheap and not worthy as much when compared with those of Westerners. By contrast, when an European or an American gets arrested, injured, or killed in the Non-West, there is an instant international outrage in global media controlled by mainstream Western media. But the West has turned a blind eye to its own killings of others (many times over) in the Non-West for so long, with impunity.

But do not expect the Nobel Peace Prize Committee to change its hidden politics, as the world will time and again witness more awards in the future at the service of Western interests and power -- until one day, when its global dominance is over.
After all, this phenomenon of the Western quest for continued global dominance is something that I already went to great lengths to explain, among many other issues, in my 2-volume work titled THE FUTURE OF HUMAN CIVILIZATION (2000), especially in the context of what I originally called "hegemonic modernity" in the "trinity of modernity." I then showed that the Western liberal style of democracy has become more authoritarian as it is more advanced in another book of mine titled THE RISE OF AUTHORITARIAN LIBERAL DEMOCRACY (2007) -- and why Western global dominance is in its last days in still another book of mine titled BEYOND THE WORLD OF TITANS, AND THE REMAKING OF WORLD ORDER (2007), in the context of what I originally called the coming age of "the post-post-Cold War era."
About the author: Dr. Peter Baofu is the author of 36 books, in which he proposed 45 new theories in different fields, ranging from the social sciences through the formal sciences and the natural sciences to the humanities, with the final convergence into a unified theory of everything. Some of his latest books on world affairs include "The Future of Post-Human War and Peace" (2010), "The Future of Post-Human Law" (2010), "The Future of Post-Human Mass Media" (2009), "Beyond the World of Titans, and the Remaking of World Order" (2007), "The Rise of Authoritarian Liberal Democracy" (2007), "Beyond Nature and Nurture" (2006), "Beyond Civilization to Post-Civilization" (2006), "Beyond Capitalism to Post-Capitalism" (2005), the 2 volumes of "Beyond Democracy to Post-Democracy" (2004), "The Future of Capitalism and Democracy" (2002), and the 2 volumes of "The Future of Human Civilization" (2000). The rest of his 36 books touch on numerous other fields in the natural sciences, the formal sciences, the humanities, and the social sciences -- ultimately for a unified theory of everything.