Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Eye cancer Detection Using a Smartphone...

New report suggests that it will be easy to spot eye cancer if you have a smartphone. The camera on our smartphones can detect eye cancer generally found in children under the age of five, reveals a British non-profit organisation working in the field of childhood cancer. The flash from a smartphone camera can easily spot retinoblastoma (Rb), the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT), which works in the field of childhood cancer, said.
Retinoblastoma is a rare type of aggressive eye cancer that almost exclusively affects young children generally under the age of five. It develops as a tumor in the retina, eye's light-sensitive tissue, but can be diagnosed with just a smartphone. Children who have the disease often have a white glow around their pupils that shows up when photographed with a flash.
Retinoblastoma usually occurs in two forms - Genetic and 'Non-genetic' form. Approximately, 45 per cent of children with Retinoblastoma have the heritable form of the disease. The tumor is considered to be one of the less common cancers of childhood. In UK, it accounts for only about 3 out of every 100 cancers occurring in children under the age of 15 years. Between 50 and 60 children are newly diagnosed each year. Early detection of the cancer could save a child's vision, eyes and life.
Julie Fitzgerald, mother of a 2-year-old kid Avery whose life was saved with the help of smartphone, said that she just had this gut feeling that something was wrong with her son's eye as she had seen odd spots in his eyes in photos, and then took her son to the doctor who confirmed the presence of cancer. Since the operation, Avery has made a full recovery but unfortunately lost his eye to the disease.
Spotting a white flash in a child's pupil isn't a definitive diagnosis of retinoblastoma, but it's always worth following up, say doctors. When caught early retinoblastoma is very treatable. Current technology and chemotherapies can save the baby's life and vision.
Any patient with a white spot in the eye, squint or any type of shine in the eye balls should be taken to the eye doctor immediately for test, failing which it becomes dangerous and the child may lose his eyesight and it may even affect the brain. The retinoblastoma disease, once detected, can be cured with surgery, laser surgery, or by chemotherapy. But even after surgery, the eye sight will not be saved in these cases, warn doctors

As a diagnostic tool, smartphone cameras are so effective that the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT) even ran an ad campaign last year centred on the trick. They put up posters of children's eyes that flashed white when photographed thanks to the use of reflective ink. CHECT said that with the average person spending hours of their life staring at their phone screen, they should put the devices to better use to look for the eye disease. Its another example of phones we carry in our pockets every day can be lifesaving devices.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Slow Learners Vs Fast Learners

    Why are some people able to master a new skill quickly while others take longer? This was the question posed by many. Now, researchers have discovered exactly what happens in the brain of these two types of learners and why children are so adept at picking up new abilities.

Scott Grafton and colleagues from the University of California, the University of Pennsylvania, and Johns Hopkins University measured the connections between different brain regions while participants learned to play a simple game. During the six-week learning period, the research team examined the participants’ brains with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to track something different than typical fMRI studies. This technique measures neural activity by tracking the flow of blood in the brain, highlighting which regions are involved in a given task. They discovered that the quickest learners show different neural activity in comparison with the slower ones.

The investigators compared the activation patterns of 112 anatomical regions of the brain and measured the degree to which they mirrored one another. The more the patterns of two regions matched, the more they were considered to be in communication. By graphing the communication between brain areas over time, the researchers were able to identify differences in the brains of people learning the quickest to those learning the slowest. What they found is that the brains of the fastest learners showed gradually decreasing activity in their frontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex, the parts of the brain that manage executive function our capacity for thinking and planning. The other learners’ brains, in contrast, appeared bogged down in over-thinking, which significantly slowed the learning process.

Frontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex are thought to be most responsible for executive function. Executive function refers to a set of mental traits associated with goal-setting and achievement. These traits include the ability to make and follow through with a plan, resist impulses, pay attention and learn from past experiences. The frontal cortex isn't fully developed until young adulthood, which might explain why it's easier for children to learn languages and other new skills. The frontal cortex is certainly useful for higher-order thinking and complex tasks, but when it comes to learning simple tasks quickly, executive function seems to be a hindrance.

According to the study, it’s useful to think of our brain as housing a very large toolkit. When we start to learn a challenging new skill, such as playing a musical instrument, our brain uses many different tools in a desperate attempt to produce anything remotely close to music. With time and practice, fewer tools are needed and core motor areas are able to support most of the behaviour.

This study offers new insight into what happens in the brain during the learning process and sheds light on the role of interactions between different brain regions. Most importantly, the findings suggest that slow learners activate unnecessary parts of the brain for a given task, which is similar to overthinking the problem.

The team investigated the learning process as the function of a complex, dynamic network involving various regions of the brain, rather than trying to find a single spot in the brain that was more or less active. The team used a technique known as dynamic community detection, a method that employs algorithms to determine which nodes are incorporated into these clusters and how their interactions change over time.

This allowed the researchers to measure how common it was for any two nodes to remain in the same cluster while subjects practiced the same sequence some 10 times. Through these comparisons, they found overarching trends about how regions responsible for different functions worked together. Additional studies will search through why some people are better than others at shutting down the connections in these parts of the brains.

Fast Learner
Speed of learning is not the only important factor, however. Retention, recall, and transfer are also critical. Students need to be able to accurately remember the information they learn, recall it at a later time, and utilize it effectively in a wide variety of situations. Here are some tips to improve your speed of learning:
  • Keep a positive attitude: If you want to be a quick learner, optimism should be one of the first things you learn.
  • Develop passion for learning: When learning a new programming language or playing tennis or swimming, you will learn fast if the interest is intense in the respective subject.
  • Trying trying and trying without getting bored or irritated is the key to learn new stuff.
  • Keep Learning (and Practicing) New Things.
  • Review your mistakes and the suggestions and comments from those instructing you.
  • Devoting time regularly and sincerely.
  • Utilize Previous Learning to Promote New Learning.
  • Avoid feeling anxious. The most common barrier to learning quickly is anxiety. Anxiety causes our thinking processes to slow down and we react with our emotions and desire to run or hide, rather than sitting down to calmly think through the task at hand.
  • Teach What You've Learned to Another Person.
  • Use relational learning, which involves relating new information to things that you already know.
  • Learn the difficult stuff at the start of the day: We have lots of energy at start of the day, but it gets depleted as we make decisions and resist temptations.
  • If you are trying to acquire a new skill or ability, focus on gaining practical experience. If it is a sport or athletic skill, perform the activity on a regular basis. If you are learning a new language, practice speaking with another person and surround yourself with language-immersion experiences. Watch foreign-language films and strike up conversations with native speakers to practice your budding skills.
  • Do more,Think less: If you want to learn anything new, stop thinking too much about it.
  • We must give all of our attention to one topic at a time. Taking on too many tasks at once weakens our ability to learn.
  • Focus on learning in more than one way. Instead of just listening to a podcast, which involves auditory learning, find a way to rehearse the information both verbally and visually.
  • If you want to start learning anything new, you should openly and honestly admit that you do not know it. When you admit, you send a signal to your brain that you want to learn something new.
          Anyways think like a child if you want to learn faster… Learn to switch off part of higher brains not needed for task in hand.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Is Gossiping Good For You??

Girl Gossip

Gossip lovers have a great time ahead. Gossip is an age-old form of human communication which serves as an early-warning system to alert the group of events that may happen and prepares the ground. Why do people engage in gossiping? What do they gain from it? Do only women do it?

A new study claims that the act of keeping a secret exerts not only an emotional toll, but also physical damage. According to new research from Columbia Business School, keeping a secret is similar to carrying physical weight which can sap you of your energy.
As part of the study, scientists performed a series of experiments to assess the effect secrets had on a subject's ability to judge the steepness of a hill. Those that dubbed their secrets as preoccupying judged the hill to be steeper than it actually was. A secret can preoccupy your mind and the more you think about it, the more you use personal, intellectual and motivational resources. 'This is the same kind of outcome we see when people are carrying physical burdens, seeing the world as more challenging, forbidding and extreme,' added Slepian, an adjunct assistant professor of negotiations at Columbia Business School and co-author of the study.

The defined a preoccupying secret as one that causes daily concern and may be related to more serious life-altering issues like money, sexual orientation or a health concern, the researchers said. According to the study, one of the best ways to gain back your productivity is to simply get the burden off of your chest. He said it's important to remember that revealing the secret to the wrong person could do more harm than good. For those without a confidant, anonymous hotlines provide a way to reveal the secret, while keeping your identity a secret.

Another option if you cannot state the secret out loud is to simply write it down. For example, posting the secret on an online message board or a website that shares submissions confidentially, or hand writing the secret in a personal journal can help, the researchers added. Either way, Slepian argues there may be both physical and psychological benefits to getting a secret off your chest.

It’s believed that gossiping is a woman thing. But modern men cannot keep a secret. Researchers found that, contrary to the assumption that women can't wait to spill the beans, it is men who are first to pass on confidential information. Thanks to social media, men no longer wait to see their mates in the pub and typically share a secret within three hours. While almost half of men admit to passing on the information within minutes of first being told about it, women will keep it to themselves for at least three and a half hours before passing it on.

Gossiping can also be therapeutic, the volunteers' heart rates appeared to increase when hearing gossip, but lowered again once they passed on the information to someone else. A problem shared is a problem halved indeed. When you indulge in this so called ‘futile’ act of gossiping, you will soon realise that your stress is reducing and a new energised you will be ready to take up a fresh round of activities. When you think about a secret, you use up motivational resources. This can drain you energy and make simple tasks appear difficult. Telling a secret to someone you trust can help restore motivation.

Used properly, gossip can actually help us learn more about ourselves, better gauge our position in society and possibly protect ourselves from harm. By hearing about the misadventures of others, we may not make the same mistake. Positive gossip, about people doing something well, had “self-improvement value” for participants, as an example of how they themselves could do better.The negative gossip had increased self-promotion value and self-protection concerns.When you gossip for social bonding, share information that uplifts and inspires people. That means gossip is an integral part of our communication. But always remember some secrets are better left untold.

Friday, May 1, 2015

What is being Happy??

Be happy Always

We all want to be happy, don't we? Being happy is one of our goals for life. Modern science defines happiness as the positive range of emotions that we feel when we are content or full of joy. Happiness is anything that can bring a smile to someone's face.

Scientists have found that although our genes and circumstances matter, a huge proportion of the variations in happiness between us come from our choices and activities. Although we may not be able to change our inherited characteristics or the circumstances in which we find ourselves, we can be happy by the way we approach our lives.

To be happy is not the ultimate aspect of life. It is the fundamental aspect of life. If you are not happy, what else can you do with your life? Only if you are happy, can other great possibilities open up. The first thing you must do is transform yourself into a joyous being.

Happiness is a fleeting emotion. We are dynamic individuals with many layers to us that feel tons of different emotions in any given minute. Happiness is not something you capture, and many of us sought to find it in external things like money, cars, big houses etc., but the fact is these are merely things after all.

Having a positive attitude feels better than a negative one. Practice seeing yourself in a positive and confident light. Self-affirmations (list of positive statements about yourself and your self-image) are another simple and powerful tool to train your subconscious to see yourself in a positive light. 

True happiness, contentment and joy need to be nurtured, cultivated and practiced. Nobody is jolly and elated all the time, but some individuals are definitely more fulfilled than others. Following are some of simple tips which any one can follow to be happy. 
  • When you get up in the morning, the first thing you should do is smile. At whom No one. Simply, because you are awake. 
  • Be optimistic. You can influence your happiness in a multitude of ways. It's the totality of all you think, do and experience. 
  • Caring about others is fundamental to our happiness. Helping other people is not only good for them; it’s good for us too. Our relationships with other people are the most important thing for our happiness. People with strong relationships are happier, healthier and live longer. 
  • Learning affects our well being in lots of positive ways. It exposes us to new ideas and helps us stay curious and engaged. It also gives us a sense of accomplishment and helps boost our self-confidence and resilience. 
  • Positive emotions like joy, gratitude, contentment, inspiration and pride feel good when we experience them. They also help us perform better, broaden our perception, increase our resilience and improve our physical health. 
  • Our body and mind are connected. Being active makes us happier as well as healthier. It instantly improves our mood and can even lift us out of depression. 
  • Sleep More: You'll Be Less Sensitive to Negative Emotions 
  • Accept and embrace your habits, your personality, the way you talk, looks, your voice, and most importantly 'You'. This means Own yourself. 
  • Stop worrying about other’s petty judgments - You don't need anyone’s approval to be happy or to follow your heart. 
  • Feeling good about the future is really important for our happiness. We all need goals to motivate us and these have to be challenging enough to excite us, but also achievable. 
  • No matter where you are or what you are doing, always practice gratitude. I.e. Thankful to God and people around you. People who practice gratitude are happier, less stressed and less depressed. 
  • Surround yourself with Supportive People. Making a good friend causes an increase of happiness equal to tripling ones salary. 
  • Learn to say NO. No to projects that won't fit into your time schedule, or that will compromise your mental health. 
  • Practice patience. Keep a good attitude while working hard for what you believe in. When the time is right, it’ll happen. 
  • Stop comparison. Most people are miserable not because of what they don’t have. It is simply because they are comparing themselves with someone else. 
  • Change your approach and attitude. See if you can stop criticizing others and situations. Shift from fault-finding to appreciation-finding.
  • Happy people embrace mistakes as learning experiences and not judging themselves too harshly. 
  • Meditation is often touted as an important habit for improving focus, clarity, and attention span, as well as helping to keep you calm. 
  • Practice forgiveness for all who has wronged you. When we hold on to anger, resentment and fear towards people, they are actually occupying a space inside of us, blocking us from feeling truly happy and fulfilled.
  • Keep an inventory of memories that can immediately make you smile. Whenever you are in a negative frame of mind, consciously and deliberately pick up any leaf out of this inventory and dwell on it. Reminiscing those happy moments gives a balanced perspective to your situation.
  • Happy people are not afraid to push their boundaries and try new things.

        The great and terrible thing of life is the universality of real challenge and joy. Love, death, fear, ambition, stress, terror and joy are all integral parts of the human experience. So try to accept the challenge to live happily.

         Pursue happiness as a worthy ambition. Peace and calm is a concept worth striving for and acknowledging. You’re going to be fine.There is a lesson to be learned from every situation. No matter how unfortunate the situation may appear, recognize the beautiful lessons waiting to be discovered. 

         The best way for improving personal productivity is just be happier. Happy people accomplish more. Self-love is the greatest challenge and blockage to happiness. Take some time every day to look in the mirror and say “I Love you!” All that matters is just “YOU”, only you can make your life happier by the way you perceive and express yourself and the world. Just remember, we all have something within us that no one else can duplicate. I.e. we are unique.. Embrace it and let the confidence that you feel positively spread into other areas of your life. The world needs more people who have come alive instead of wondering if they can.…

Please share your thoughts........