Whole Life Magazine

February/March 2014

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whole living By Laura G. Owens The male-dominated pre-sex question, "Are you on the pill?" might soon have a welcome fl ip. Scientists have found a novel way to block sperm from moving toward its end goal after ejaculation. By blocking two proteins located on the smooth muscle cells that trigger sperm transport, it's possible to make the boys, well, not swim. The study has only been tested on mice but results look promising to develop a drug that will create short-term male infertility in humans. Earlier efforts to alter hormonal targets and the mechanisms involved in male fertility interfered with a man's sexual mojo and caused long term irreversible effects on sperm viability. The new approach keeps sperm healthy and doesn't affect sex drive; sperm stay intact but don't receive chemical messages needed to motor forward and fertilize an egg. In the high-fi ving it's-about-time category, this is a big win for reproductive choice. Next up, getting men to take the pill. Everyone knows breathing in nature's landscape brings instant inner Tahiti. But how long does the ahhhh of a sunset or green city park last? British researchers with the University of Exeter Medical School found that when people move to places with greener spaces, not only do they experience an immediate bump in mental health, but the effect lasts up to three years after they move. The analysis is one of the fi rst to look at the impact of green spaces on mental health over time. Data also revealed that people who moved to more built-up places had a drop in mental health. Besides being a universally welcome mood booster, the fi ndings are useful for mental health counselors who work with depressed patients and for urban planners interested in creating "sustainable public health benefi ts." GREEN SPACES = HAPPY PLACES HEY MAN, YOU ON THE PILL? Rock Body YOUR Although medicinal marijuana dates back thousands of years, these days pot for any purpose is on shifting public ground. Researchers have, however, created a synthetic no-vote-needed cannabis-like compound that may one day be used to lower osteoarthritis pain and joint infl ammation. Think you're too young to care about that kind of joint? Maybe not. Osteoarthritis, a condition in which cartilage at the ends of bones wears away and leads to joint pain and stiffness, hits nearly 14 percent of adults over age 25 (Centers for Disease Control). Moreover, given our sugary soda addictions, arthritis may nab our knees sooner than we think. A 2012 study found that soda not only packs on j o i n t - s t re s s i n g pounds, it may make knee osteoarthritis worse (especially in men). Scientists at the University of Nottingham discovered that targeting a synthetic cannabis toward a molecule involved in the body's natural pain-sensing pathways (CB2 receptor) lowers pain. When they extended the study to humans, r e s e a r c h e r s found the CB2 receptor in spinal cord tissue. Until this hits the market, treatment is limited to exercise, pain relief, physiotherapy and weight loss programs, or joint replacement. MARY JANE FOR JOINT PAIN S wedish researchers found that omega-3 fatty acids in supplements can penetrate the formerly near- impenetrable blood-brain barrier (BBB) in people with Alzheimer's disease. The BBB is an extraordinary double-edged sword that protects the brain from harmful chemicals found in blood, but also blocks drugs that treat the brain. Researchers have long been interested in the effects of infl ammation on Alzheimer's and the infl ammation-lowering benefi ts of DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid). Earlier studies suggest DHA may help prevent Alzheimer's, while current fi ndings will help determine if it can benefi t patients who already have the disease. BREAKING THROUGH THE ALZHEIMER'S BRAIN BARRIER 14 wholelifetimesmagazine.com WLT-FEB-MAR-1-30.indd 14 1/30/14 1:10 AM

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