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Decoded: Why people love to have coffee or beer

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Coffee , Beer

Whether you choose a dark roast coffee or hoppy beer in the summer, it may actually depend on how the drink makes you feel rather than how it tastes, reveals a genome-based study.

The researchers searched for variations in our taste genes that could explain our beverage preferences because understanding those preferences could indicate ways to intervene in people’s diets.

They found that taste preferences for bitter or sweet beverages are not based on variations in our taste genes but rather genes related to the psychoactive properties of these beverages.

“People like the way coffee and alcohol make them feel. That’s why they drink it. It’s not the taste,” said Marilyn Cornelis, Assistant Professor at Northwestern University Feinberg’s School of Medicine.

For the study published in the journal Human Molecular Genetics, beverages were categorised into a bitter-tasting group and a sweet-tasting group.

Bitter included coffee, tea, grapefruit juice, beer, red wine and liquor.

The researchers provided questionnaires to about 336,000 individuals asking them to report what they ate and drank over the past 24 hours.

The scientists also did a genome-wide association study of bitter beverage consumption and of sweet beverage consumption.

“To our knowledge, this is the first genome-wide association study of beverage consumption based on taste perspective.

“It’s also the most comprehensive genome-wide association study of beverage consumption to date,” said Victor Zhong, the study’s lead author.

According to the researcher Marilyn Cornelis, the study highlights important behavior-reward components to beverage choice and adds to our understanding of the link between genetics and beverage consumption — and the potential barriers to intervening in people’s diets.

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Lifestyle

Family Learning Adventure in California

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Travel Holiday vacation

With the diversity of experiences on this trip, kids might not even notice that they’ve been learning Exploratorium, San Francisco


Pier 15, The Embarcadero, San Francisco
Set amid San Francisco’s bustling Pier 15 , the crowd-pleasing Exploratorium invites guests to experience science in action—like standing in a fog cloud or walking into the totally dark Tactile Dome. Check out six unique galleries, like the hands-on Tinkering area, where you can watch museum staffers create wonders but also make your own. In the Living Systems gallery, look at fruit flies and stem cells under a powerful microscope, or let kids “pedal” the bike-powered machine outside that approximates a giant, squirting game of jump rope. Climb the stairs to the Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery for remarkable views of sailboats, freighters, and ferries, as well as the nearby Bay Bridge and Treasure and Yerba Buena Islands. And don’t miss the all-glass observation cube at the very tip of the pier.


California Academy Of Sciences
55 Music Concourse Dr, San Francisco
Earth meets sky at California Academy of Sciences, a combination of natural history museum, planetarium, and aquarium located in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Start at the domed, four-story rainforest exhibit, where you’ll spot free-flying birds, butterflies, amphibians, and even an Amazonian tree boa. Check the schedule at the Morrison Planetarium, which showcases films like Passport to the Universe, featuring footage from the Hubble Space Telescope, on its 75-foot-diameter screen. The CAS is a great place to eat too, from the house-made soups and salads at The Academy Café to the craft beer and locally-sourced dishes at The Terrace.


Computer History Museum
1401 N Shoreline Blvd, Mountain View
Your first impression of Silicon Valley, the Northern California brain trust south of the San Francisco Bay, may ironically be how pretty its landscape is, thanks to its lush green foothills. But the human-made wonders at Mountain View’s Computer History Museum will quickly grab your attention too. Learn about the birth of the computer, driverless cars, and tech heroes such as Ada Lovelace, an English mathematician. Another fascinating exhibit sheds light on the little-known story of Colossus, an electronic code-breaker device developed by British math whizzes and engineers, which helped win World War II.


Tech Museum Of Innovation
201 S Market St, San Jose
In Silicon Valley’s San Jose, the interactive Tech Museum of Innovation (nicknamed The Tech) creates a fun laboratory and learning experience for curious people of all ages. Play cyber detective or build your own robot using sensors, actuators, and controllers. Check out the Reboot Reality exhibit and design a digital painting, or climb onto Birdly, the virtual-reality flying simulator. For another kind of thrill, stand on the Shake Platform, which creates the sensation of the eight levels of earthquakes.


Children’s Discovery Museum Of San Jose
180 Woz Way, San Jose
Look for the distinctive purple building along San Jose’s Wozniak Way (a.k.a. “the Woz”), named after Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. Here, at the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose, kids get hands-on science lessons from 150 exhibits and an outdoor playground lab. Start by checking out Lupe, the replica of a woolly mammoth whose remains were found in Silicon Valley, then dig in the dirt to see how archeologists search for fossils. In other areas, kids can make art, climb trees, blow giant bubbles, and pump water out of a rain catchment system.


Santa Cruz Museum Of Natural History
1305 E Cliff Dr, Santa Cruz
With its hybrid terrain of coastline, redwood forests, and mountains, the college town of Santa Cruz is a natural magnet for families thanks to an old-fashioned amusement park on the boardwalk. But it’s also home to the century-old Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History, set above Seabright Beach. Stop in for the touch pool—with living, local inter-tidal plants and animals—and then visit the live honeybee exhibit or the Ohlone exhibit that shows life in the pre-colonial Central Coast. (Bonus: Admission is free for kids.)


Monterey Bay Aquarium
886 Cannery Row, Monterey
The world-class Monterey Bay Aquarium is an essential stop in the Central Coast town of Monterey—an attraction on the same level as historic Cannery Row. You’ll see brilliantly colored jellyfish that resemble some kind of alien life form as they gracefully glide through the water. Go nose-to-nose with adorable sea otters and catch glimpses of leopard sharks and schools of sardine swimming through the kelp forest exhibit. After all, with 28-foot windows, it’s one of the world’s tallest aquariums. Check out tours, too, like the surface scuba diving or the behind-the-scenes fish feeding.


National Steinbeck Center
1 Main St, Salinas
With a rich agricultural and literary history, the town of Salinas makes a fascinating stop. Start by exploring the world of author John Steinbeck: You can visit his boyhood home as well as the National Steinbeck Center. Even if the kids aren’t old enough yet to have read The Grapes of Wrath or Of Mice and Men, this engaging museum will give them a vivid introduction to the author, by way of films, artifacts, sound clips, and hands-on activities that illustrate how the people and landscape of the Salinas Valley informed Steinbeck’s classic American books. Come during August for the annual Steinbeck Festival, or during February for the annual birthday celebration.


Mission San Juan Bautista
406 2nd St5, San Juan Bautista
The town of San Juan Bautista, located off Highway 101, makes for an excellent time capsule thanks to its downtown lined with Old West storefronts. The centerpiece of town, though, is Mission San Juan Bautista, a classic among the 21 Spanish missions built in California between 1769 and 1834. Learn about the Spanish era and note the interesting features of the mission, like the animal paw prints depicted in the floor tiles.Two fun facts: The mission sits next to the San Andreas Fault and it was featured in the Hitchcock thriller Vertigo.


Gilroy Gardens
3050 Hecker Pass Hwy, Gilroy
The Santa Clara County town of Gilroy boasts of being the Garlic Capital of the World. That’s a title kids might not appreciate until you take them to them to Gilroy Gardens theme park, which celebrates the herb along with the other crops growing in the Central Coast farm country. Zoom and twirl on agriculturally-themed rides like the Artichoke Dip, the Mushroom Swing, and, of course, the Garlic Twirl. Be sure to check out the 25 incredible Circus Trees, grown in nature-defying shapes. For more garlic, even in ice cream, come to town in July for the Gilroy Garlic Festival.


SPOTLIGHT
Casa De Fruta
10021 Pacheco Pass Hwy, Hollister
What started as a humble cherry stand in 1908 is now a massive roadside attraction, welcoming more than 3 million visitors each year. Located 40 miles northeast of Monterey, Casa de Fruta in Hollister features a 10,000-square-foot market, 24-hour restaurant, sweetshop, RV park, 14-room inn, and playground. The market sells road-trip-friendly dried fruit, nuts, wine, and fresh produce from all over the state—visitors can try strawberries from Watsonville, pistachios from Fresno, garlic from Gilroy, and more. The family’s wine is offered in the traditional white, red, and blush, but visitors most often leave with a bottle of Casa de Fruta’s signature pomegranate wine.


Fresno Chaffee Zoo
894 W Belmont Ave, Fresno
Set along Highway 99, Fresno is the agricultural heart of the Central Valley—but it also offers gorgeous gardens, parks, and the Fresno Chaffee Zoo. The zoo has unique naturalistic enclosures such as the 13-acre, savannah-like African Adventure, and is home to almost 200 species of animals from around the globe, from red kangaroos and wildebeests to cheetahs and king cobras. Don’t miss the chance for the kids to feed giraffes and check out the behind-the-scenes experiences, like Breakfast with the Rhinos or sea lion training sessions.

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Haldi-derived curcumin can help in nano-based drug delivery

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Turmeric-Powder

Mandi, April 2 : Researchers from Indian Institute of Technology Mandi (IIT-M) and Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science in Kolkata have developed a new route by which curcumin, the medicinal chemical present in turmeric, can be incorporated into drug nanoformulations.

Turmeric has been used as a food item in India for centuries, not merely as a condiment but also as a medicinal material.

Curcumin, a low-molecular-weight compound present in turmeric, has been reported to be the active medicinal principle because of its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative (tending to inhibit cell growth) and antiangiogenic (refers to pertaining to a substance that reduces the growth of new blood vessels needed by tumours) properties.

Thus, curcumin is considered a potential drug for a variety of illnesses including cancer, cardiovascular problems and neurodegenerative disorders, the researchers said in the study, published in the international journal Crystal Growth & Design.

“Our research shows that curcumin can indeed be incorporated into stable drug formulations for better therapeutic efficacy,” said Dr Prem Felix Siril, Principal Investigator of the research and Associate Professor, School of Basic Sciences, IIT Mandi.

According to the study, despite the promise and the extensive use of turmeric in alternative and lifestyle therapies, the development of mainstream drugs based on curcumin has been hindered by a few problems.

Curcumin, in its natural form, is insoluble in water, which makes it less bioavailable and hence difficult for the drug to reach the tissues and cells in which they are needed.

Furthermore, free curcumin is unstable; it is susceptible to fragmentation with time, especially in a neutral medium. This leads to loss of efficacy of the drug.

“Curcumin, in its natural crystalline form, is poorly soluble in water”, Dr Siri explained.

To overcome this, the IIT Mandi team combined two approaches.

The researchers used Indomethacin, a well-known nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug to precipitate along with curcumin in order to stabilize it in amorphous form. The combination is expected to have the therapeutic benefits of both curcumin as well as Indomethacin.

Additionally, they coated each tiny particle (nanoparticle) of co-amorphous curcumin and indomethacin with a natural polymer called chitosan, which is extracted from shells of shrimps and other crustaceans.

The chitosan generate a hydrophobic (water repellent) covering around curcumin nanoparticles and prevent it from sticking to each other and forming crystals.

“These two approaches improve two major problems ‘aqueous stability and solubility’ of curcumin and introduce an additional pH (Potential of Hydrogen) responsive release behaviour to the formulation,” the researchers wrote.

This is expected to increase the chances of direct nanoparticle absorption through the intestine after oral intake and safe delivery of curcumin to the required site with minimal aqueous exposure, the researchers added.

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Most diets help you lose weight but only for some months

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Apple Tomato

New York, April 2 : Most diets lead to weight loss and improvements in cardiovascular risk factors but the results may disappear within a year, say researcher, suggesting that people should choose the diet they prefer without concern about the size of benefits.

Published in the journal The BMJ, the research found that in most diets, weight reduction at the 12-month follow-up diminished, and improvements in cardiovascular risk factors largely disappeared — except in association with the Mediterranean diet, which saw a small but important reduction in ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol.

To reach this conclusion, the International team of researchers set out to determine the relative effectiveness of dietary patterns and popular named diets among overweight or obese adults.

The findings are based on the results of 121 randomised trials with 21,942 patients (average age 49) who followed a popular named diet or an alternative control diet and reported weight loss, and changes in cardiovascular risk factors.

They grouped diets by macronutrient patterns (low carbohydrate, low fat, and moderate macronutrient – similar to low fat, but slightly more fat and slightly less carbohydrate) and according to 14 popular named dietary programmes (Atkins, DASH, Mediterranean, etc).

Compared with a usual diet, low carbohydrate and low-fat diets resulted in a similar modest reduction in weight (between four and five kg) and reductions in blood pressure at six months.

Moderate macronutrient diets resulted in slightly less weight loss and blood pressure reductions.

Among popular named diets, Atkins, DASH, and Zone had the largest effect on weight loss (between 3.5 and 5.5 kg) and blood pressure compared with a usual diet at six months. No diets significantly improved levels of ‘good’ HDL cholesterol or C reactive protein (a chemical associated with inflammation) at six months.

Overall, weight loss diminished at 12 months among all dietary patterns and popular named diets, while the benefits for cardiovascular risk factors of all diets, except the Mediterranean diet, essentially disappeared.

The researchers pointed to some study limitations that could have affected the accuracy of their estimates. But said their comprehensive search and thorough analyses supports the robustness of the results.

Evidence shows that most macronutrient diets result in modest weight loss and substantial improvements in cardiovascular risk factors, particularly blood pressure, at six but not 12 months.

The extensive range of popular diets analysed “provides a plethora of choice but no clear winner,” the researchers noted.

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