Recent Study on Spanish Siestas Linked to Increased Health

Dr. Manolis Kallistratos, based in Athens, Greece, conducted a study on 386 middle-aged patients. The study was done to determine the benefits of the Spanish-style siesta. The goal of the study was to determine if sleeping at noon had any beneficial side effects.

The study included 200 men and 187 women. All of the participants had arterial hypertension with the average age of 61.4.

During the study, the team documented how long each participant slept and measured their blood pressure afterwards. Both diastolic and systolic blood pressure was measured, and 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure measurements were also taken. The team made sure to account for body mass index, gender, age, exercise, caffeine intake and dietary habits.

The heart’s left atrial was measured as well as pulse wave velocity, which is used to measure arterial stiffness.

Those that took a midday siesta, taking place at noon, demonstrated dramatic health benefits over those that did not take a nap. The group that did take a siesta had a pulse wave velocity that was 11% lower and a left atrium diameter that was 5% smaller on average.

Findings suggest that a midday nap reduces damage of high blood pressure in both the heart and arteries.

Blood pressure readings were also lower for the siesta-taking group. Ambulatory blood pressure was 5% lower and systolic blood pressure was 4% lower.

While the mean blood pressure decrease seems minimal, a reduction of just 2mmHg in systolic blood pressure can reduce major cardiovascular events by as much as 10%, states Dr. Kallistratos. The group that took siestas saw a reduction of 5mmHg.

The study also found that the longer the nap, the lower a person’s blood pressure was after they woke up. Participants also had to take less medication when they had longer siestas. All of the study’s findings were presented to the European Society of Cardiology Congress this past weekend.

What to Expect at the September 9 Apple Event

apple store tokyo

Apple is set to host its next big iPhone event on September 9 in San Francisco, CA. The entire event will be streamed live on PCs, Macs, Apple TVs, iPads and iPhones.

Media invites are being sent out in a new way this year, with the company making Siri a part of the game. The “Siri, give me a hint” campaign alludes to the upcoming September 9 event, and news of the iPhone 6 release is expected. Apple is likely to release the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s Plus this year.

A report from The Independent reveals that the iPhone 6s will likely carry a price tag that’s similar to the current iPhone.

In terms of technical specs, the iPhone 6s is expected to feature animated wallpapers, ForceTouch display, Qualcomm-built cellular chips and an A9 processor. Cameras for both versions of the phone will also be upgraded to 12MP. It’s also rumored that the camera will support 4K recording.

Rumors are also swirling that Apple will be releasing the iPhone 6c at the event, which is said to be a cheaper version of the phone.

In addition to new iPhones, Apple is also expected to launch a 12.9” iPad, known as the iPad Pro. Rumors have been circulating about the iPad Pro since 2013 when leaked images of the device were released. Reports in early 2015 stated that Apple will be delaying production of the iPad Pro until September because of issues with the display panel supply.

Apple will also be launching a new Apple TV at the September event. Reports from earlier this month hint at the company being in talks with CBS, ABC, Fox and NBC. New changes may also be seen internally and in the design of Apple TV. New changes, such as the App Store and voice control through Siri may be included as well as an improved touch pad.

Ohio Lawmakers Protest Mount McKinley Name Change

Lawmakers in Ohio are protesting Obama’s decision to rename Mount McKinley to its original native name, Denali.

The mountain, which is the tallest peak in North America, was originally named after President William McKinley, who was an Ohio Republican.

Senator Rob Portman of Ohio stated that the decision was another example of Obama “going around Congress.” John Kasich, Ohio’s Governor, stated that the President “overstepped his bounds”. Another state representative, Bob Gibbs, took the statement further, citing that it was a “constitutional overreach.”

Gibbs elaborated on his comment, stating that in renaming Mount McKinley, Obama was “ignoring an act of Congress,” and that the move was merely a way to promote the President’s “job-killing war on energy.”

The renaming of the mountain came after Obama’s three-day trip to Alaska to address climate change issues in the Arctic. However, disputes over the mountain’s name have been going on for decades.

Standing at 20,237-feet, the mountain’s original name was Denali, which translates to “the great one” in the aboriginal Alaskan language of Athabascan. Denali’s name would change after William Dickey, a Seattle man, rediscovered the mountain while prospecting for gold in 1896.

Dickey wrote in a dispatch to the New York Sun that they had named the peak Mount McKinley after William McKinley, the presidential nominee at the time. President Woodrow Wilson formalized the name in 1917 when signing the Mount McKinley National Park act.

The Alaska government petitioned the Interior Department to change the name back to Denali in 1975, but Ohio delegation was able to prevent a name change for decades by introducing new bills to preserve the McKinley name, even if those bills were never passed.

Obama’s decision to restore the mountain’s original name upset many Ohio lawmakers.

Gibbs has stated that he will work to overturn the name change legislatively. Portman stated he will ask the National Park Service if there is any way to preserve the McKinley name somewhere else in the national park.

Nearly 2,500 Migrants Rescued by Greek Coastguard

Over the course of three days, Greece’s coastguard managed to rescue nearly 2,500 refugees and migrants off its eastern islands. The flow of people attempting to cross over into Europe continues to grow, and shows no signs of slowing.

Greece has recently seen a surge in refugees arriving in small boats from Turkey. Aid agencies estimate that approximately 2,000 migrants and refugees have crossed over each day this month. Most are from areas of conflict, such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

Over the past week, the numbers of migrants picked up by the coastguard has been steadily increasing, and numbers over the last three days are significantly higher than those seen throughout the summer.

Any migrant boats intercepted in Greek waters are considered rescues, even if the vessels are not in any kind of danger.

Greece’s coastguard went on hiatus from rescuing migrants and refugees for a few days last week, but resumed operations on Saturday. The authorities continued ferrying refugees from Syria to Greece’s mainland, and the largest group of 2,500 refugees landed at the port of Piraeus early on Monday.

Most of the refugees are expected to make their way over to the Macedonian border as they journey into northern Europe. Large crowds are expected to form at the border in the coming days as a result.

Tensions at the Greek-Macedonian reached its peak this month after the Macedonian police fired stun grenades and teargas at large, angry crowds. Overwhelmed by the crowds at the border, Macedonian authorities eventually gave up, and are now allowing refugees to cross the border.

Conditions at the border are calm for now, but tensions could flare up again if Hungary makes the decision to close its borders. The country has been scrambling to reinforce its borders to cope with the influx of migrants. Hungary plans to tighten its migration laws and may set up holding camps outside the border near Serbia.

Over 300,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean this year in an attempt to flee from conflict-ridden areas. Nearly 108,500 have arrived in Italy, and 181,500 have arrived in Greece.

NASA One Step Closer to Mission to Mars

NASA continues testing for a future Mission to Mars. The recent testing aims to simulate a failure test for the Orion spacecraft. The test was conducted in Arizona in what is called a “dramatic” project.

Two parachutes were made to fail on purpose to test the back-up system that would allow for safe landing on Mars, and future deep space missions. The model, which is similar to the Orion spacecraft, was dropped from 6.5 miles in the air. The goal of the recent testing is to replicate how the spacecraft would land under extreme duress with two of its landing parachutes failing.

Traveling at more than 300mph, the spacecraft’s parachutes will slow the speed of the fall to just 20mph. In total, 11 parachutes are used for landing.

CJ Johnson, Orion’s parachute project manager, states that the test is to “ensure a safe system that allows crew members to return to earth even when something goes wrong with the initial landing.”

Parachute perform is too difficult to simulate using computers, so actual tests are required to predict how Orion will perform with less-than-optimal parachute deployment.

NASA is further exploring the Mission to Mars with a year-long test starting last Friday. A group of people have been placed in a dome in Hawaii where they’ll live for one year to simulate life on Mars.

The six-person team will not be able to leave the dome without a full spacesuit. The test will require the team to persist without fresh food or air for the duration of the project. Team members include a pilot, architect, journalist, astrobiologist, physicist and soil scientist.

Each person has their own room with a sleeping cot and a desk. Food will include canned tuna and powdered cheese. Internet access for the group will be severely limited.

Currently, NASA believes a trip to Mars could take 3 years to complete.






Egypt’s Newly Found Natural Gas Field Could Be Trouble for OPEC

A “super-giant” gas field recently found in Egypt may be the biggest ever discovered on earth. The gas field was found by an Italian energy firm: Eni. Found off of the northern coast of Egypt, it’s estimated that there are 5.5 billion barrels of oil in the field named Zohr. Spanning a massive 100 square kilometers, the field is 1,450 meters below ground, and could supply the Middle East and Mediterranean with oil for decades.

Egypt’s petroleum industry confirmed the find, but remains cautious in their statement due to the true size of the oil field being unknown until drilling begins.

The country hopes that the find is as large as Eni believes. Egypt is currently reliant on Persian Gulf States and OPEC nations for all of their oil needs. If Zohr proves to have as much natural gas as initially estimated, it would add to the Egyptian economy and break the country’s reliance on OPEC.

OPEC nations are currently struggling from falling oil prices, and analysts speculate Zohr could produce oil for Egypt, Italy and other Mediterranean countries.

Eni has been partnered with Egypt for over 50 years and recently signed a $2 billion deal with the country’s oil ministry. Eni is the only license holder for the Zohr field and will set up new pipe lines in the coming year. The company believes that Egypt will start seeing production benefits in 2018.

The company remains confident that there is a massive oil field, but is cautious in predicting a full production date. While Eni hopes production can begin in 2018, the company states that it could take a couple of years before full production begins, but that fast track development is already being discussed.

Egypt’s Zohr oil field comes at a time when Eni is struggling from low oil prices.

Counterfeit Medications Made With Poison and Brick Dust

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates a staggering 1 million people die each year from ingesting counterfeit medications. Shazill Maqsood is a prime example of a person that almost lost his daughter due to counterfeit medications.

Maqsood’s daughter got sick and was diagnosed with pneumonia. According to his local market, he was advised to give his daughter a powder medication that was “known” to help fight off pneumonia. Under the guidance of the local market, his daughter got even sicker and the medication didn’t help.

Bringing his daughter to another local doctor for help, Maqsood was told that the medication given to him was poisoning his daughter and ceasing the medication proved life-saving.

Not all stories of counterfeit medications end up this way. In Pakistan, 120 people died in 2012 following just one incident where counterfeit heart medications were being dispensed to patients. Asia has the largest number of counterfeit medication crimes, with 875 taking place in 2014. Europe follows with 408 pharmaceutical crimes reported in 2014.

Pakistan’s markets are filled with kiosks selling pills, tablets and medications – many of which are counterfeit. Residents state that it’s impossible to tell which medications are genuine or counterfeit.

CNN conducted their own investigation following a recent story of counterfeit medications in Pakistan. Not far from the markets where the counterfeit medications are being sold, cameramen found workers grinding powder in the alleyway before adding them to pill capsules.

An unnamed man states that they “make everything as long as it’s in high demand in the market place”.

All of the ingredients go into different capsules and bottles with only small color changes when needed. The same market where the counterfeit products are sold supplies the materials needed for counterfeiting: bottles, bottle caps, capsules and even boxes are sold by medical supply salesmen.

Fake drugs show signs of poison, brick dust, pesticides and pain among several other ingredients, states the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency.

Brain-eating Amoeba Claims the Life of 14-year-old Athlete


The deadly brain-eating amoeba has claimed yet another life; this time a 14-year-old star athlete. Michael John Riley Jr., a Houston teen, was just days away from his first day of high school.

Michael may have only been 14 years old, but the star athlete had already qualified for the Junior Olympics three times for track. The teen was swimming with his cross-country team at the Sam Houston State Park on August 13 when he contracted the amoeba, Naegleria fowleri.

In just a matter of days, Michael’s bad headache took a turn for the worse, and he lost all brain function. The teen passed away on Sunday.

Infections from Naegleria fowleri are rare, but when they do occur, they are often fatal. This single-cell organism can cause an infection in the brain. Naegleria fowleri is typically found in bodies of fresh water, such as hot springs, lakes and rivers. While naturally found in most ponds, rivers and lakes, these organisms multiply rapidly in stagnant, warm water.

People can get infected by simply diving or swimming in infected bodies of water. While it can occur, it’s extremely rare for people to become infected by swimming in a pool. People can also become infected by drinking contaminated drinking water. The infection is not contagious.

While concerning, brain-eating amoeba is very rare. Over the last 53 years, there have only been 133 documented cases of infection. Most of these cases have occurred in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Texas and Florida.

Although infections caused by Naegleria fowleri are rare, they are extremely deadly. Of the 133 documented cases, only three people survived.

Earlier this month, another man from Oklahoma died from the brain-eating amoeba after swimming in a lake in Ardmore. Last year, a 9-year-old child died in Kansas after swimming in multiple bodies of fresh water.

Bangkok Police Searching for Bombing Suspects

Police in Bangkok, Thailand are on a manhunt for two suspects, a man and a woman, who are believed to be connected to the recent deadly explosions that rocked the city’s Erawan Shrine this month.

Warrants were issued on Sunday (August 30) for the two new suspects in connection with the bombing as well as another explosion on the Sathorn pier of the Chao Phraya River.

Images of the male and female suspects were released to the public during a televised statement Monday afternoon. The statement came after police spent the weekend raiding the suspects’ residence in Minburi. Police discovered bomb-making material during the raid.

The woman has been identified as Wanna Suansan, 26, and was seen in the photo released by the police wearing a hijab. Suansan was originally from the southern province of Phang Nga.

To date, Suansan is the only suspect that authorities have identified by name. However, the woman’s mother insists that she left Thailand to stay with her husband in Turkey two months ago.

Little information is known about the male suspect, but he is seen in the police sketch with a mustache and dark hair. Authorities state that the male suspect is a foreigner. The unidentified suspect was caught on surveillance video wearing a yellow t-shirt and hiding a backpack underneath a bench near the shrine just minutes before the explosion.

Another unidentified man is suspected of being involved in the Erawan bombing, which killed 20 people. The man denies having any involvement in the attack despite police finding bomb-making material in his residence. The man has been taken into police custody, but is not the man in the yellow t-shirt from the surveillance footage.

Authorities believe that at least 10 people may have played a role in the bombing, but the attack is not believed to be connected to any international terrorist groups.