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"All wishes are small compared to being healthy." That is the saying - and perhaps that is also the reason why hardly a day goes by without new types of medication, groundbreaking therapies or apparently important health recommendations being advertised.
But is it all just moneymaking or is it really useful? For example, those new-fangled, colorful ribbons that many athletes are stuck with? Is it really a good idea to swallow vitamin pills and can a look back at the Middle Ages help fight a modern widespread disease? Here are our ten amazing medical findings.
P.Last 10: Dangerous lack of exercise - is sitting the new smoking?
Exercise is good, exercise is fun, exercise is the best medicine. And what we do? We sit - in the office, in the car, on the train and even in our free time. Our question is: How many hours does the average German actually sit every day?
First of all: It is important that it is about the average Sitting time goes. Because not all people sit the same amount by a long way. Anyone who is on their feet a lot professionally, for example as a postman, will have sat much less at the end of the day than a typical office stallion. But in the computer age, desk work affects a large part of the population. Together with other sedentary activities, this adds up to around 7.5 hours a day.
And that can be quite dangerous - for our cardiovascular system and the body structure, for example. Sitting for long periods of time, for example, atrophies the back muscles. This increases the pressure on the spine. The result: the intervertebral discs can become full of holes over time - in extreme cases they can even tear, for example during a jerky movement. Problem two: Constant sitting puts pressure on the stomach and intestines. This affects digestion. In addition, the metabolism works more slowly - the body burns fewer calories and the risk of obesity increases. But even slim people are threatened with health by sitting for long periods of time. Why?
This is supposed to be shown by an experiment at the German Sport University in Cologne. In the morning, the subjects' blood sugar levels are measured. It is still around 100. Now the motto is: Work as highly concentrated as in the office, but only while sitting. Large movements are not allowed, even standing up is forbidden. At lunchtime there is a completely normal meal. How has blood sugar changed after the 6-hour test? "At the beginning we had a value of 100 that was already relatively high because the test subjects were stressed," says Prof. Ingo Froböse, "at the end of the day we had 145, 147 in individual cases! These are values that make a difference I'm very worried because they almost resemble those who are diabetic. "
If you sit a lot, you risk dying sooner. Not just from diabetes, but also from heart attacks. This is shown by international studies. So we should move more. Or? Can the risk of movement be reduced? The second part of the test should show that a day later. At the beginning, the blood sugar level of the two test persons is again around 100. Now they work again.
However, this time our test subjects have to take active breaks every two hours: For example, doing squats, walking upstairs or bobbing their feet. How has blood sugar changed through exercise? Ingo Froböse is quite satisfied: "During the course of the day, the values were 30 to 37 percent below the inactive value from the previous day. And that shows that you can also get a grip on diseases such as diabetes with it. And thus avoid vascular damage, for example that could possibly lead to a heart attack! "
A crucial point is to interrupt long periods of sitting again and again and to get your body going. Whether at work or in your free time: exercise is extremely important. And studies show that even brief physical activity is usually enough to significantly improve fitness and health. So, what are you waiting for?
9th place: Healthy through Kneipp?
When it's bitterly cold outside in winter, some contemporaries dive into the lake. This should strengthen the immune system. But is that really true? The doctor Thomas Rampp treats his patients according to Sebastian Kneipp, i.e. with cold water, albeit a little less radically than the lake exchanger: "These cold water sprays according to Kneipp are a very intense stimulus for the body, strengthen the immune system the keyword Hardening. And it is enough to do this on individual parts of the body to strengthen the immune system - for example on the face. "
A test shows that this really works: two test subjects are asked to pour cold water on their faces for a week. At the beginning they give a saliva sample. The so-called immunoglobulin A, or IgA for short, can be measured in it. It is a defense against colds. And that is exactly what should multiply through the cold water showers.
The facial shower is ideally given in the morning and in the evening. The cold water jet should be run three times over the forehead and cheeks. But why the face? Quite simply: Cough and runny nose viruses, for example, get into our organism through the mouth, nose and throat. However, the mucous membrane and saliva contain the IgA defense bodies. They attach to the viruses and prevent the viruses from attacking the mucous membrane. And: The IgA attract other virus enemies: phagocytes. They then give the viruses the rest.
Only: How much does the number of IgAs in the test subjects' saliva increase after a week of facial showers? After a week of Kneipp therapy, the test subjects give a second saliva sample. Shortly afterwards the result: The IgA levels have increased significantly! The researchers found a good 25 percent more IgA antibodies in the test subjects' saliva!
The researchers are still puzzling over how exactly the Kneipp pour works in the body. Presumably, however, it works through the blood circulation: This is stimulated by the cold water - and apparently ensures that more immune systems can be formed in the mouth, throat and nose. By the way: So that the water cure works well, you should start with the face treatments a few months before the cold season.
8th place: Kinesio tapes - miracle plasters for the muscles?
Sometimes it's red, sometimes blue, sometimes black. The so-called "Kinesio-Tape" is supposed to increase performance - and is not only considered a kind of miracle plaster for athletes. Our question: Which color do you use especially for your back?
More on that in a moment. But regardless of the color, how is the tape supposed to help? Example handball: ligaments and muscles are heavily strained here. The tapes should therefore provide relief and even protect. The effectiveness of the adhesive tapes is controversial and has not yet been scientifically proven. Many team doctors still prescribe them. Because the players report that it makes them feel better.
"You can use it to detonate muscles, that is, to take some of the tension down," says the physiotherapist Jenny Köster. "But you can also use the tape to encourage muscles that generally work too little to work more and faster, to be a little more active. "The tape is supposed to work through its wavy adhesive surface. It lifts the skin at fine intervals. The layers underneath are massaged and stimulated by the movement of the body. Sports doctors suspect that the muscles give signals depending on the adhesive technique to relax or get tension.
And the colors? Red is said to stimulate, blue to calm and black to enhance the effect of the other colors. But no color is specifically intended for the back. Scientists consider the theory of colors to be nonsense anyway, because apart from the color, the tape is usually always the same.
7th place: pacemaker for the tongue
Snoring is annoying. And snoring is a mass phenomenon. It is estimated that 20 to 30 million Germans, mostly men, snore. And with increasing age, more and more people saw them at night. For the snorer himself, this can be a life-threatening danger - if his breath is interrupted. With what is known as sleep apnea, the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke increases immensely. In addition, there is daytime sleepiness or sudden sleep. We want to know: How long can people with so-called sleep apnea stop breathing?
Klaus W. has suffered from such nocturnal pauses in breathing for years. Recordings in the sleep laboratory show that there are more than 30 dropouts per hour, the longest lasting 39 seconds. But things can get worse. For some people, the pauses in breathing can last up to two minutes. The therapy so far: A breathing mask for the night that supplies air with pressure. A loud, uncomfortable procedure that makes many people sleep poorly. Now there is a new, completely silent treatment option - the tongue pacemaker.
Because it is the slack tongue that hinders breathing during sleep. The tongue pacemaker is implanted below the collarbone. From there, a cable leads to the diaphragm and measures the respiratory rate. A second cable leads to the tongue nerve. If you breathe too little, the pacemaker sends an electrical impulse to this nerve. This then stimulates the tongue muscles - the tongue no longer falls back and the airway remains free.
You don't notice the impulses in your sleep. And the sleep laboratory shows that many patients breathe more regularly and can now get enough air again. As Klaus W. He reports: “The next day I'll be in the way one should be normal. Fit, rested, happy, ready for the day. "
The tongue pacemaker has been included in the catalog of services of the health insurance companies since 2016 and we are paid under certain conditions.
6th place: spiders - healing on eight legs?
They lurk in their web for defenseless prey - and in many of us they cause disgust: spiders. But the eight-legged friends could actually be a gift for medicine.
This is what Dr. Sarah Strauss at the Hannover Medical School: With the help of spiders, the biologist wants to treat patients who have suffered serious injuries. But how will that work? How are spiders supposed to help injured people through a poisonous bite? Through their cobwebs? Or do they serve as a nutritious protein snack?
The answer: spiders produce spider silk. For example, research is being carried out on plasters made from spider silk. But Sarah Strauss is aiming for deeper injuries in her research. If nerves are cut in an accident, for example, it can be dangerous. If the nerves do not grow back together, paralysis threatens.
"An injured nerve can regenerate," says Strauss, "but it is disoriented and does not know where to grow. And it then grows all over the place and, in the worst case, in a circle. "This is exactly what cobwebs are supposed to prevent! That of the golden orb-web spider. The researcher wins the spider silk by" milking "the spider Then Sarah Strauss fishes for the silk thread and begins to wind it around a kind of spinning wheel. This is completely painless for the spider. The result of 15 minutes of milking: around 100 meters of spider silk. But how can spider silk grow back injured nerves If a nerve is severed, it needs a kind of guide rail on which it can grow back together. To do this, a piece of animal vein is filled with hundreds of spider silk threads. The filled vein is then placed between the severed nerve endings. New nerve fibers grow along it . And find their way from one nerve end to the other.
The method has already been successfully tested on a sheep. The researchers want to test them on humans soon. The problem: The extraction of the silk is very complex and not enough for mass production. That is why researchers are working on a spider-free form of manufacture. With initial successes.
5th place: Healing hospital rooms - do they really exist?
Charité Berlin, intensive care unit. A perfectly normal bed. A completely normal room. One could think so. But: The sun rises every morning in this room - by means of a light installation on a canopy-like sky. Everything is a bit reminiscent of a design hotel. But this is one of the two new intensive care rooms at the Charité! The medical devices - they can hardly be seen by the patient. And: It is comparatively quiet in this room. Next to it a classic intensive care room. The patients lie in the neon light, surrounded by noisy machines. We have measured and want to know: How loud is it in such an intensive care unit? 50 decibels, as loud as the twittering of birds? Or 80 decibels, like heavy traffic? Or 110 decibels like a chainsaw?
In any case, it is too loud in the rooms. "We think that the patients don't feel comfortable here," says study director Prof. Claudia Spies. "These patients do not feel well. And if you imagine you are sick and lying in a warehouse and it is noisy around you, you have constant light interactions that you do not want, you do not feel comfortable in the situation and become A team of doctors from the Berlin Charité is investigating whether there is another way. Do seriously ill patients get better faster in a more pleasant room atmosphere? In addition to the volume, daylight is a recovery factor The ceiling projection of this room simulates the times of day, the light is created as in the open air. Even a canopy of leaves can be modeled. The doctors also hope that the new rooms will mean that patients will experience less pain and less need for painkillers.
In the study, the sound levels were measured regularly. According to the WHO, it may not exceed 40 decibels at night in residential areas! In the old intensive care rooms, however, there are values of up to 80 decibels! The redesigned new intensive care rooms, on the other hand, are soundproofed. First measurements show: The volume is up to 20 decibels lower here.
Above all, the sleep logs show a positive effect of the new light and sound design. Because the patient's deep sleep phases, which are important for recovery, are 20 times longer. The healing design is expensive, but it is expected to help patients recover a day or two faster. And that in turn saves a lot of money.
4th place: Dietary supplements - too much of a good thing?
Dietary supplements - they are supposed to keep us young, beautiful and healthy. Beta carotene for beautiful skin. ACE to strengthen our immune system. But artificial vitamins can turn out to be a risk factor for the development of sometimes serious diseases. Instead of helping, certain supplements appear to cause prostate cancer or lung cancer.
Take beta-carotene as an example: In a US study, 20,000 men were given an increased dose of beta-carotene. All subjects were smokers or ex-smokers. The hope: the increased administration of beta-carotene should reduce the risk of lung cancer. But the result was shocking: Up to 18 percent MORE lung cancer from beta-carotene. The researchers reacted immediately: the study was canceled. Tests with other vitamin supplements also produced worrying results. Take ACE supplements, for example, for more immune system. The result: taking vitamin C turned out to be simply ineffective. Vitamin E, on the other hand, increased mortality by four percent, and with vitamin A by as much as 14 percent!
But why additional vitamins at all? Researchers suspect: Stress, smoking, poor nutrition or too much sunlight create so-called free radicals in the body, which damage our healthy cells and can mutate into cancer cells. Vitamins should actually bind the free radicals and thereby render them harmless. But why should these vitamins now promote the development of more cancer cells?
Water-soluble vitamins such as vitamin C are apparently not a problem because they are quickly excreted in the urine. In contrast to the fat-soluble vitamins A, E and beta-carotene. "That is not the case with the fat-soluble", says Prof. Rudolf Kaaks from the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg. "And this can lead to toxicity if you really use high doses of supplements. It can be really toxic and it builds up in the body. "
Conclusion: The funds can be dangerous. But what percentage of Germans still use dietary supplements on a regular basis? It shouldn't be particularly few. After all, around 900 million euros are generated annually in Germany with dietary supplements. And in fact, according to surveys, around 30 percent of Germans regularly take such funds.
Our tip: Instead of using artificial vitamins, it is better to use fresh vegetables and fruit. About the apple. It has a variety of valuable ingredients, has been proven to strengthen our immune system and, unlike pills, it also tastes really good.
3rd place: Matter of the mind - does distraction help against pain?
Chronic pain is common.Whether in the head, in the joints or - especially often - in the back. Many pain patients have a long history of suffering. Our question: How many people in Germany suffer from chronic pain? There are so many. Experts estimate the number of pain patients at up to 23 million.
Grazyna P. is one of them. Her back has been troubling her for years. Like many other sufferers, she is initially prescribed strong pain relievers. But they have a number of side effects. Therefore Grazyna P. seeks help from Andreas Böger. The Kassel pain therapist uses a form of therapy that sounds unusual: Among other things, he wants to help the patient to direct attention away from pain - towards pleasant activities in her life. "And with this we achieve that you feel the pain less and it affects you less," says Andreas Böger.Grazyna P. loves her garden, the trees and flowers do it to her. She should be part of these beautiful things your therapy - concentrate now and distract yourself from your pain. Can that work?
Scientists from Hamburg conducted a study on this: Subjects were given painful stimuli on their arms. At the same time, they should solve a demanding memory task. Distracted by the task, they actually felt the pain was 20 percent less.
Grazyna P. had practiced distracting herself from her pain in the garden. Some time later she should do a so-called biofeedback. Sensors measure your muscle tension, an important indicator of pain. If she manages to distract herself with nice thoughts, the muscles relax. The sensors report this to the bio-feedback device, which then symbolically opens a rose on a monitor. And the test result actually looks promising. Dr. Böger is satisfied: “It has been seen that you already had experience in moving your attention spotlight away from pain. This has been shown well in this biofeedback presentation, because you have learned to open the rose very quickly. ”Grazyna P. benefited enormously from the distraction therapy. She no longer takes pain pills - and can finally enjoy gardening, which was previously an ordeal for her, again.
2nd place: Globules - medicine without active ingredients?
They are tiny, and yet should help against so many things: against headaches, allergies, gastrointestinal complaints. Your area of application: virtually limitless. We are talking about so-called globules, tiny sugar globules. But: do these homeopathic remedies help at all? This is controversial, even among doctors. "Homeopathy is a blessing for medicine and also for my practice," says Gerhard Bleul, general practitioner and homeopath, "because I can treat a lot of cases homeopathically very well on my own." Prof. Martin Hermann, specialist in general medicine and naturopathic treatment, says on the other hand: "The drugs contain nothing, something is awarded to them by both the doctor and the patient." Like Hermann, many doctors consider the centuries-old healing method to be ineffective, if only because the alleged active ingredient is much too diluted. "Despite Today's analytics are significantly improved, "says Hermann," nothing can be proven now and 200 years ago nothing can be proven either. " Depending on the dilution, the agents have different names, such as D23. Our question: How much diluted is the active ingredient in "D23"? Does that correspond roughly to a drop in an Olympic swimming pool, in the Hessian Edersee or in the entire Mediterranean?
The homeopathic active ingredient is obtained from a so-called mother tincture. However, this is diluted several times, to different degrees depending on the process. Part of the tincture is first poured into a certain amount of water or alcohol - and distributed there. From this dilution, only a small amount is then taken again, placed in the next liquid container, and so on. At the end of this procedure, for example, the dilution for D23 corresponds to just one drop of active ingredient in the entire Mediterranean. And that's not the strongest homeopathic dilution yet.
Nothing in it, but still effective? How can that be? And: Why do many doctors still rely on the supposed effect of the mini-balls? “There is no substance, that's for sure,” says homeopath Bleul. “But we don't know which principle is used in it. We have seen how many millions of cases that homeopathy helps. And there are enough studies that can prove that. We just don't know what mechanics are behind it. ”School physicians have a very simple explanation for this. "I think," says Hermann, "the main role is actually played by the placebo effect. But not only in homeopathy, but also in all other healing methods."
However, this should not be relied on for serious illnesses. Our conclusion: Globules often have no detectable active ingredient, if they help at all, then probably only as placebos. Therefore, be careful: If you only rely on the pellets, you may spread a serious illness. In case of doubt: first to the doctor and then to the pharmacist.
1st place: Bloodletting - therapy for high blood pressure?
If people were sick in the Middle Ages, it was bloodletting time. The bloody ritual was carried out by so-called bathers, medieval healers. It was hoped that it would alleviate numerous ailments.
Medieval medicine assumed that diseases were caused by an imbalance in the body's fluids. Yellow and black bile, mucus and the dominant juice, blood. If you were of the opinion that too much or even “sick” blood was circulating in the body, bloodletting should restore balance and heal the patient. But the bloodletting was mostly ineffective, and even made the diseases worse. With the beginning of modern surgery and diagnostics - in the middle of the 19th century - bloodletting disappeared as a form of therapy. But he could see a comeback.
The Berlin doctor Prof. Andreas Michalsen says: Bloodletting can help. “If you read the old writings, then of course it says that bloodletting is mainly used for heart disease, stroke flow - that is, stroke - for signs, red face, strong pulse. Where we would say today: That was high blood pressure. ”But what is it? In a study, doctors in Berlin drew almost half a liter of blood from 300 high blood pressure patients every two months. As much as a normal blood donation. Before and after the bloodletting, the participants' blood pressure was measured and noted. The study ran for a whole year. Then the exciting question: Can bloodletting actually lower blood pressure? "We really weren't that sure," says Michalsen. "And then there was a big surprise when we saw this marked drop in blood pressure in the statistics after several weeks. And we were really stunned. We were surprised at this characteristic." Because the value for high blood pressure patients fell by just under on average 20 points - and remained at the low level if the bloodletting was repeated every two to three months. So a very simple solution to a common ailment? Unfortunately, it is not that simple. With severe high blood pressure, it is not possible without medication. But why works At least not because there is less blood in the body. The researchers suspect that fresh red blood cells are formed after the bloodletting. They are more elastic and easier to deform. This is why the blood can be pumped through the vessels with less pressure. And that's exactly what could have a positive effect on blood pressure. Medieval bloodletting could help about 70 percent of today's high blood pressure patients e thought that !?
Broadcast: hr-fernsehen, "Alles Wissen", 04.01.2018, 8:15 pm
- Subtitles for the hearing impaired
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