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Lumbar back pain can be relieved with self-administered acupressure

Lumbar back pain, or pain in the lower back, can be relieved through the acupressure technique, also self-administered, according to a new study by Susan Murphy, a professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Michigan.

This same technique provides benefits very similar to acupuncture, as also specified by the researcher herself. Of course, instead of needles penetrate the body, just below the skin, in this case it is a pressure, which can be more or less strong, in specific points of the body.

It is not the first study that highlights the positive aspects of acupressure but it is probably one of the first to link it directly to this specific area of ​​the back. In the study, published Pain Medicine, Murphy, together with her team of researchers, explains how she performed the experiments on 67 people who suffered from chronic low back pain.

The participants in the experiments were divided into three groups: one treated with relaxing acupressure, another with stimulating acupressure and another, the control group, with the usual or traditional care they had received previously. The sessions lasted from 27 to 30 minutes and were performed every week for weeks.

Compared to the control group, in particular people who were treated with relaxing acupressure felt a lower level of pain and in general an improvement in that area of ​​the back after three weeks, as stated by Murphy herself. It is therefore a non-drug-based treatment option that can also be performed alone (just stretch your hands back in the lower back).

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Research shows that optimists live longer

More research has shown how being optimistic is important in relation to a longer life. The new research, produced by scientists from the Boston University School of Medicine, analyzed data from 69,744 women and 1,429 men. Optimism levels and other data such as general habits regarding health, diet, smoking and alcohol use were analyzed through these surveys.

Researchers have taken into account other factors such as age, demographic factors, possible chronic illnesses, depression, exercise habits and more. Women were performed for 10 years while men were followed for thirty years.

The researchers, analyzing the data, discovered that the most optimistic people showed on average a life span of 11-15% longer. They also showed a probability of reaching 85 years, compared to less optimistic people, 50-70% higher.

Although it is not entirely clear how optimism can increase the chances of having a longer life, the suspicion of various researchers, expressed in previous studies, is that a positive attitude is linked to a lower presence of stress, a state mental health for which the strong effect it can have on health has been shown and explained.

According to the researchers behind this study, the most optimistic people tend to have healthier habits, denote a lower likelihood of smoking and greater chances of exercising or otherwise being on the move.

The senior author of the study, Fran Grodstein, comments on the results: “The research on why optimism matters so much remains to be done, but the link between optimism and health is becoming more evident.”

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Mekong Delta may be completely submerged by 2050 according to scientists

The Mekong delta, an area where more than 12 million people live, could be completely submerged by 2050 due to rising sea levels caused by global warming underway according to a Utrecht University scientist in The Netherlands.

Philip Minderhoud has in fact collected the topographic data of the Mekong delta area, analyzed them and published the results in a study published today in Nature Communications. The sea level altitude data of this area had been unknown for years because it was owned only by the Vietnamese government, which only recently allowed some teams of scientists to perform more in-depth analysis.

The researcher, together with his colleagues, realized that the average altitude above sea level of this area is only 0.8 meters, which is two meters lower than the estimates previously made based only on satellite data. Such an altitude practically doubles the number of people involved in the processes that will see the now inevitable sea-level rise, processes that at this point will involve more than 12 million Vietnamese.

According to the same Minderhoud similar assessments can also be made for other areas of river deltas that could do the same purpose: in this regard, the scientist cites the river Ganges in Bangladesh and India and the Irrawaddy river in Myanmar.

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Units of measurement already used in commerce 3,000 years ago in northwestern Europe

An archaeological study shows that the use of weights and scales to measure the value of goods and materials in general was already widespread in the second millennium and at the beginning of the first millennium BC in north-western Europe.

Lorenz Rahmstorf, a researcher at the University of Göttingen, published a work in the journal Antiquity following analyzes that he and his team carried out of various objects from the middle and late Bronze Age found in various British islands and northern France.

The researcher found that these objects were based on the same weight units. This indicates that weights and standard measures to facilitate trade and exchange were already in use along European trade routes.

This contrasts with the common belief that trade during the Bronze Age in Northwestern Europe was substantially based on simple exchange and bartering. The existence of a real unit of measurement, as precise as that identified by the researcher, instead allowed people to compare exact reports of the value of the materials exchanged, using the latter as if they were precise sums of money.

This also allowed traders to perform much more complex calculations, such as calculating profits, creating currencies and exploiting any production surplus. Furthermore the weight units identified by the researcher are compatible and in some respects identical to those dominant in the eastern Mediterranean at that time: this indicates that the same knowledge of standard weights and measures was much more widespread than previously thought and was not alone limited to the advanced cultures of the eastern Mediterranean and western Asia, such as those of Greece, Egypt or Mesopotamia.

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Fasting useful for reducing inflammation according to a new study

A fasting regimen can be positive to reduce inflammation and to generally combat chronic inflammatory diseases and the pathologies that can result from them. A new study, this time published on Cell, highlights the positive aspects of fasting and in general of the strong caloric restrictions that can be applied to a normal diet periodically.

Miriam Merad, the author of the study and director of the Precision Immunology Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, showed that intermittent fasting in mice promotes the reduction of the release of pro-inflammatory cells called “monocytes” in the blood.

During the fasting period, these cells appeared in mice to enter a sort of “sleep,” which led them to reduce their inflammatory action compared to the same cells of the mice that had instead taken food. According to Merad herself, “Monocytes are highly inflammatory immune cells that can cause severe tissue damage and the population has seen an increasing amount in their blood circulation due to the eating habits that humans have acquired over the last few centuries.”

The same researcher also admits that the study of the anti-inflammatory effects of fasting can have an “enormous potential” – if the molecular mechanisms by which fasting acts on inflammatory diseases are accurately discovered, new therapeutic strategies could be developed to mimic this process.