Gazebos – An Attractive and Functional Outdoor Feature

A gazebo has become a common structure in many parts of Australia; it is used as a functional backyard structure. Gazebos come in various styles, from traditional gazebos to modern gazebos. It may be as simple as an open roofed structure, or it could be as complex as one with several levels and a canopy roof. The main function of a gazebo is to shelter plants from rain and heat and provide shade. It is often made from wood or metal and may include benches, parasols, or perhaps a barbecue.

A Mountainshade Australian gazebo can be as simple as a free standing gazebo in the backyard, to as sophisticated as an ornate structure constructed into a garden. Gazebos come in all shapes and sizes and are available in either pre-constructed gazebos or from kits. A traditional gazebo may be built out of wood, while a modern gazebo can be built from metal and glass or even out of concrete. The most common types of gazebos are gazebos in the backyard or outdoor area as well as gazebos in gardens and parks.

In most parts of the country, gazebos are available in kits and are assembled outside, but some are prefabricated outdoor gazebos that are ready to assemble and put together. These gazebos are typically cheaper than prefabricated outdoor gazebos and also more versatile in that they can be moved to various areas and different climates. One reason why gazebos are becoming more popular in the Western Australian area is because they offer an attractive feature to a landscape that gazebos can’t provide. The large canopy of the gazebos is usually the first thing that many people notice about the gazebos. Most gazebos are constructed in order to create shade and cover small areas, so their primary function is protection from sun and rain and heat. Gazebos are an elegant addition to a garden and an ideal place for you to sit and relax and enjoy the beauty and tranquility of your backyard.


A Memorable Night at Male Strip Clubs in Melbourne for the Ladies.

Male Strip Clubs have been known to give all the pleasures that any women desires and also gives a great time to men too.If you are someone who wants to have a great night out then Melbourne Male Strip Clubs is the right choice for you.  It can be said that this place provides more fun than any other place and women enjoy their time at it. The women who have attended in this club have always found great fun, the food is always of high quality and the ambience is extremely cool.


Male clubs are known to have some of the best dancers there in the world. They are the ones who take pleasure in dancing on the dance floor and enjoy every moment. This is the only way they get to relax after a tiring day’s work and have some fun in the process. This is the reason why these male clubs are so popular. There is no other place that can provide such amazing entertainment and that too at cheap prices. All you need to do is just find one of these places and enjoy a memorable night in your life.

If you are looking for a good night’s rest, then try going out with the female dancers. You will be able to see their eyes shining at you will feel like you belong in that world. You will enjoy every moment and enjoy dancing in front of them. So make this day unforgettable. Go out and enjoy a night with male strippers and get the best night’s rest ever.


A Detailed Guide for Buying Best Rechargeable Vibrator.

The rechargeable vibrator is just as good as the regular vibrators; they are just not the same. They are also made from all-natural ingredients, so your chances of getting an allergic reaction are greatly reduced. Just like other vibrators they work by applying a vibration to the genitals, and this causes them to produce intense orgasms in both males and females. Many people claim to be able to reach orgasm after orgasm with these vibrators, so you can get the same feeling as well as a lot more out of your sex life.

Many women prefer using the rechargeable Magic Wand Vibrator because it allows them to stimulate their clitoris and g-spot. They are also often a lot safer to use than a regular vibrator because they are powered by batteries. Another thing about these vibrators is that most vibrators are quite small and compact, which means they can easily be stored anywhere without taking up too much space. If you are buying a rechargeable vibrator, be sure to make sure that it has rechargeable batteries, so that you can use it again. This is because the vibrator will run down over time if you don’t use it regularly. It is also important to note that some vibrators don’t hold a charge when they are new, and this means that you will have to wait for it to recharge before you can use it again.

A rechargeable vibrator works by making the vibrations last longer and harder and therefore producing a lot more intense orgasms. A rechargeable vibrator is a great option for women and men alike, because they offer more than just the clitoral stimulation that most vibrators give. They are also great at stimulating the g-spot, making it even more likely for you to reach orgasm faster than before.


Coating and stains: this is what your tongue tells you about your health

White coating or red spots? Now you can stick your tongue out – without a guilty conscience. Because the sensitive sensory organ not only transmits whether something tastes sweet or salty. But there are also indications of certain diseases.

Everyone knows this from visits to the doctor: Please open your mouth wide! The doctor often starts his diagnosis with a glance at the tongue. Pink, clean, and covered with papillae that contain taste buds – this is what a healthy tongue looks like. Color, shape, stains or coating provide information about certain diseases.


The papillae are small elevations on the tongue. On the one hand there are those who are responsible for the tactile sensations and on the other hand those who are responsible for the taste. Inside are the so-called taste buds.

You can also decipher some of the clues yourself by looking in the mirror. Two aspects are important:

  1. Do not eat or drink anything that affects the color of your tongue, such as blueberries, coffee, tea, or olives.
  2. While the following overview provides important warning signs and symptoms, it is not a substitute for a medical examination.

Coating and spots on the tongue:

  • White coating : This change often indicates a cold. A gastrointestinal disease such as gastritis (inflammation of the stomach and mucous membranes) is also a possible cause of the discoloration.
  • Coated tongue without a cold: White spots can often be wiped away and come back. In this case, a fungal disease (oral thrush) is likely.
  • Yellow coating or brownish-yellow color : This indicates a liver and gallbladder disease.
  • Brown coating : could be a sign of kidney weakness.
  • Gray tongue : evidence of severe iron deficiency
  • Black hairy tongue (Lingua pilosa nigra): The papillae of the tongue are elongated and partially cornified. Possible causes are digestive tract disorders or antibiotic therapy. As a rule, the black hair tongue is harmless.
  • Raspberry tongue , sometimes also called strawberry tongue: The taste organ is very red and the taste buds protrude a little. This is a classic sign of scarlet fever , which occurs around the third day of illness. Be sure to see a doctor, because the disease is highly contagious. Measles can also be the cause of raspberry tongue.
    In infants and young children, this shiny redness can indicate Kawasaki syndrome. A doctor should treat this febrile illness as well.
  • Reddened streaks and spots plus reddened and enlarged taste buds: These symptoms could indicate glossitis, an inflammation of the tongue. The causes for this vary and range from diabetes to iron deficiency anemia and fungal infections (oral thrush) to vitamin deficiencies (e.g. vitamin A, vitamin B12 and vitamin C) and tartar.
  • Deep red, shiny and smooth tongue : This is the “lacquer tongue”. It indicates severe liver problems such as cirrhosis of the liver. In this case, you should urgently consult a doctor.
  • Whitish and reddish nodules and lines on the tongue: The nodules (papules) change to deep red depressions with a grayish-yellow edge. It is probably a map tongue (lingua geographica), the surface changes of which change again and again. The changes on the mucous membrane of the tongue are considered harmless and usually do not need treatment. If you have symptoms, it often helps to avoid acidic foods.
  • Small white-yellowish, painful areas with a reddish border : It could be canker sores, i.e. harmless mucosal injuries. They usually heal on their own. If this is not the case or the growths get bigger, a doctor should clarify whether it is a tumor.

The shape of the tongue can also indicate health problems. So the cause of a thin and narrow tongue is possibly a weakness of blood. For example, an enlarged tongue can indicate allergies or metabolic disorders such as an overactive thyroid.

Other symptoms related to the shape of the tongue:

  • Wrinkles and furrows : These variations in the mucous membrane are usually innate and typical of the tongue of folds – normally unproblematic in terms of health. Sometimes the wrinkled tongue can cause your tongue to burn.
    In rare cases, the deep wrinkles indicate Melkersson-Rosenthal syndrome (inflammatory disease).              
  • Furrows and cracks : Depending on how they are pronounced, these tongue characteristics suggest different intestinal problems, for example in the duodenum.
  • Cracks : A doctor should clarify whether you are deficient in trace elements or vitamins.
  • Longitudinal furrows : are also typical of syphilis.
  • Inflammation or lumps on the tongue, as well as unexplained bleeding, can be signs of oral cancer.
  • Swollen tongue : The cause of a swollen tongue could be an infection or an allergy. In some cases, Quincke’s edema, a sudden swelling, can also trigger a swollen tongue.
  • smooth or fleshy tongue could indicate a vitamin B12, iron, folic acid deficiency, and anemia.
  • Ulcers could indicate Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis .

According to the ProDente initiative, the best time to analyze the tongue is after getting up. Anyone who discovers changes in tongue diagnostics in daylight should discuss them with their doctor or dentist.


Kidney Transplantation – Chances and Risks of Living Donations

Frank Walter Steinmeier did it for his wife – he gave her a kidney. The number of living donors and those who survive thanks to such an organ has been growing for years. But donating life also harbors risks for the donor that should not be underestimated.

The regional express stops once an hour in Paulinenaue, a 1,500-inhabitant hamlet northwest of Berlin . You need a half hour train ride to the capital or a car here, where Brunhilde and Erich Ernst are now living their “second life”, as they say. The two of them also experienced firsthand what mobility means and what immobility means. After all, Erich Ernst, now 64, had progressive kidney failure tied to his armchair. Dialysis or transplantation was the alternative. But the waiting list for a donor organ was long. The couple decided to have a live transplant: in the summer of 2010, she donated one of her kidneys to him.

Endlessly long waiting lists

The subject of living donation has been gaining in importance for years, including on World Kidney Day (March 13). In 1991, only three percent of the kidneys transplanted came from living donors; in 2011 it was almost 28 percent. The reason is not only medical progress, but above all the low readiness of Germans to donate organs post-mortem, and which has recently continued to collapse: from 2012 to 2013 alone, the number of organ donors fell by a sixth to only 876. There were too many reports of bogus Allocation methods and manipulation of the waiting lists in some German clinics unsettled people.

In addition, there is the sensitive issue of brain death diagnostics. Recently, too, there were individual cases where the prescribed procedure for determining brain death had not been followed exactly. This is another reason why living donation, although formally subordinate to corpse donation as the second-best solution, is more important and, given the endlessly long waiting lists, promoted and recommended by many doctors. Family members, but also close friends, can donate for one another. Also because these organs are rejected less often and function better and longer on average than post-mortem donations, this is a real plus for most recipients.

Skepticism among kidney recipients

So for Erich Ernst: Today, three and a half years after the transplant, he is back in his armchair, but now voluntarily. He cheerfully picks up the coffee cup and tells about the fact that he can be on the road, riding a motorcycle. “I also have a mini job as a truck driver again.” The joy of being able to lead an almost normal life again can be seen in him. But with his wife’s decision, he initially had his problems.

“At the beginning I would have preferred to wait to see if there was still an organ from the donor list,” he says. He was worried about his wife – and also about their daughter. “If something had happened to my wife and me during the operation.” But dialysis, the other option, would have meant a trip to Berlin to the dialysis center three times a week. “Neither of us wanted that,” says Brunhilde Ernst energetically and lovingly nudges her husband. “No, we wanted to have the good life a little longer.” But the path to living donation posed a number of hurdles for the couple.

Living donation – danger for the donor?

Organ donation scandal in Göttingen

In the case of the Ernsts, a process of several months for living donations is set in motion: preliminary medical examinations and health checks, blood group comparisons, consultations with doctors and psychologists, and finally the mandatory visit to the ethics committee, which has to rule out the fact that commercial interests are involved. “I was asked about my motivation and was told so often that in the end I could hardly hear it,” says Brunhilde Ernst. On June 15, 2010, the two of them came under the knife in parallel. “When I was pushed out, I shouted to my husband: If everything goes well, we’ll go on a cruise.”

The two are lucky. The operation succeeds and the new kidney works promptly. But while Erich Ernst recovers quickly, his otherwise agile wife feels as if the plug has been pulled out of her. “I was very, very tired and limp. The doctors had already announced this to me, and that’s how it was: I just sat in the garden chair all summer, nothing more was possible.” Only after a joint rehab in autumn does she slowly regain strength. “I’m fine today,” she says.

“Cannibalized and exploited”

But things don’t always run so smoothly. Ralf Zietz from Morsum near Bremen donated a kidney to his seriously ill wife in the summer of 2010 and is still suffering from the consequences today. Chronic exhaustion, difficulty concentrating, and forgetfulness make it difficult for him to continue doing his job. The self-employed entrepreneur and sole earner can now only work part-time. He sees himself as a victim of a lack of medical education. “During these conversations, we only talked about the usual risks of an operation, possibly scarring problems or high blood pressure.” However, he was left in the dark that weakness and exhaustion can also be permanent. “With what I know today, I wouldn’t have the operation done again.”

While his wife is clearly better again, Zietz does not get out of the postoperative low. “I felt exploited and exploited,” he describes in an ARD film. Even today he still seems emotionally badly affected by the loss of his performance. Together with other people affected, he founded a self-help group and has since been campaigning for more information about the possible side effects of living donation. In several places in Germany, those affected have already filed lawsuits against the transplant centers – due to insufficient information.

More education for living donors

Zietz estimates the proportion of living donors who permanently suffer from the consequences of chronic fatigue due to their inadequate kidney function at around ten percent. He cites a Swiss study, which, however, has not been published in full. Zietz and his colleagues oppose the fact that their complaints are often not viewed as a neurological but a psychological illness – and in the worst case without any right to compensation.

“It is undisputed that the fatigue syndrome (chronic exhaustion syndrome) also occurs in donors, but it also occurs in healthy people. There are no serious studies that show a higher incidence in donors,” says Professor Uwe Heemann from the university hospital Munich and Chairman of the Living Donation Foundation. It is similar with depression. “Especially when living donations are unsuccessful and the organ is rejected, it can lead to depressive moods.” So far, there has been no evidence of an increased risk compared to the normal population.

The donor’s fate is unpredictable

Cool box for donor organs

What Heemann sees as well as the community of interests around Zietz are problems with insurance. “The new transplant law has brought us a big step forward in terms of donor protection, but there are still questions about its concrete implementation. Are chronic fatigue or high blood pressure a possible, foreseeable consequence? And: does the accident insurance pay? Not?”

Brunhilde Ernst has had similar experiences. “I always mess with my health insurance company – for example when they don’t want to reimburse the travel expenses to Berlin for my aftercare because the clerks don’t know about the new law.” Ernst also came to the conclusion from her experiences that it makes sense to exchange ideas with those affected and to support them – she is networked nationwide in a self-help group. “At the time I would have liked to be able to speak to one or the other donor beforehand and hear about their experiences. Many now turn to us when they are in the decision-making phase.”

Living Donation – A Moral Question?

The Berlin psychologist Merve Winter is also interested in this phase – from a professional point of view. She assesses possible donors and accompanies them in the decision-making process at a university clinic. “There is definitely a moral imperative to living donations. And women often comply particularly quickly,” she sums up. In fact, 60 percent of living donors in Germany are women. 

Winter notes that not all potential donors are really clear about their motives. Feelings of guilt, misunderstood altruism, the desire to generate gratitude in the recipient – a lot can play a role here. “In addition to the many positive aspects that it brings with it, living organ donation is still a psychological and physical challenge and an unreasonable burden for those affected, especially for the donors,” emphasizes Winter in a study. She therefore advocates giving ambivalent feelings more space in advance and not simply suppressing them.

The transplant doctor Andreas Pascher from the Virchow-Klinikum of the Berlin Charité knows this ambivalent attitude of many potential donors, who are torn between fears and the desire to help. “About a tenth of those willing to donate are turned down for such psychosocial reasons,” he says. A study on the progress of living liver donations, co-authored by Pascher, sums up: “Most living liver donations show a positive postoperative course.” However, the decision-making process prior to the intervention should not be accelerated and the medical follow-up care of the donors should be supplemented by discussions. 

“I was terrified for him”

As the recipient of a partial liver donation from her father, Claudia Schneider from the Heilbronn area also experienced this emotional rollercoaster ride. “I was terrified for him and at first didn’t want to accept the donation. But he said: ‘If I don’t help you now and you die, then I can no longer live afterwards.’ He made his will and clarified everything. But when I woke up from the operating room everything went well. Even if my father had problems with his scar for a long time – today his liver has completely grown back, he is healthy. And our relationship is still more intimate than before. ” She laughs happily. “I stroke my new liver every day. This is something really big for me.” Nevertheless, she would not recommend such a step to anyone who asks her for advice. 

Claudia Schneider has just celebrated her milestone birthday at the age of 42 – her 10th with a new liver. The Zietz family fights their way back to life. And the Ernsts from Paulinenaue? They went on their big cruise.


How high is your risk of addiction?

Pills, alcohol, chocolate, shopping, betting, sports, sex or drugs – test whether you are at risk of addiction.

Addiction doesn’t just begin with a glass of beer in the evening or a regular cigarette. Those who cannot resist certain pleasures and even increase the dose gradually often gradually builds up an addiction. Addictive substances not only include illegal drugs, alcohol , nicotine or tablets. Non-substance-related addictions that affect behavior also play a role, such as uncontrolled shopping or eating, excessive exercise, sex or gambling. They can change personality, make you mentally and physically ill. Answer the following questions and find out more about your individual addiction risk.

Note: Please keep in mind that this is only a short test and cannot replace a medical diagnosis. Not all of the listed signs have to be symptoms of an addiction risk. But if you suspect that you are at risk of addiction, you should definitely consult a doctor / psychologist.

Technical advice: Dr. med. Dr. phil. Dr. rer. pole. Felix Tretter, chief physician in the addiction department at the Haar district hospital, and the German headquarters for addiction issues DHS, Hamm


How psychotherapies work – and what side effects threaten

Depression, bulimia, addictions – different therapies are useful depending on the illness. In most cases, they will help in a short time. But like any treatment, psychotherapy also carries the risk of side effects.

There are three broad groups of disorders that are also the most common reasons for going to a psychotherapist: first, anxiety, second, depression, and third, addictions. To treat such disorders, psychotherapies have proven to be effective and promising. Eating disorders, sexual dysfunction, schizophrenia and bipolar disorders are sometimes more difficult to treat, says Jürgen Margraf, President of the German Society for Psychology. V. (DGPs). “For patients with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, medication in combination with psychotherapy can therefore be useful.”

What happens in the therapy session

If someone seeks a psychotherapist, they will have the problem explained to them in an initial consultation. Within a maximum of five test sessions, the patient and therapist can then find out whether “the chemistry is right” between them. During these preliminary discussions, the therapist will make a diagnosis and explain whether treatment is necessary. He then submits an application to the cash registers. The approval for psychotherapy then also includes the number of hours. Only then does the therapy really begin. The scope of treatment depends on the mental illness and the severity of the disorder. In behavior therapy, short therapy lasting a total of 25 hours is usually sufficient.

“The health insurance companies take on two forms of therapy, behavioral therapy and psychodynamic therapies, including psychoanalysis,” says Margraf. “These forms of therapy have been scientifically recognized for a long time.” The regulations of the private insurance companies are different, so that those with private insurance should ask directly. The statutory health insurances only pay 100 percent of the costs if the therapist has a license to practice medicine and diagnoses a mental disorder with an illness value. These disorders are for example phobias, panic attacks, depression or compulsions. The therapist makes the diagnosis in the trial sessions.

Success rate is 80 percent

Behavioral therapy is the method of choice, says Margraf, especially for anxiety and depression – and thus for the most common disorders. In the case of anorexia and chronic pain, on the other hand, behavior therapy is generally less successful. Behavioral therapy focuses on current problems, but also on current strengths, and tries to change behavior. It is about how patients classify and evaluate information. The aim is to reinterpret situations with the help of the therapist and to practice healthier behavior. The motto here: Everything that has been learned can be unlearned again. Behavioral therapists do not want to look into the past, into childhood – but into the future. “The success rates are good.

The psychodynamic approaches go back to Freud and his students. They assume that the current problem is based on repressed feelings and memories. Using dream interpretations or free associations, the patient should get access to these emotions. “The symptom is traced back to a conflict from the past.”

Other approaches such as systemic therapy, body and art therapies are not (yet) adopted by the health insurances, but they achieve success in many cases. Especially as a supplement in holistic therapy concepts.

Opportunities and dangers in therapy

Whether a therapy is promising or not also depends on the patient’s “gut feeling” during the trial sessions. After all, it is important that those affected have enough trust in the therapist to reveal their inner being to him.

Underestimated side effects and effects in psychotherapy

In individual cases, the patient’s condition can worsen at the beginning of therapy because, for example, repressed experiences and feelings come to the surface and then make people wonder. Other undesirable effects are financial exploitation of the patient, for example by artificially prolonging the therapy. In general, there is always the risk in the patient-therapist relationship that a dependency will arise and that this will be exploited by the therapist. “There are also cases of border crossing and even sexual assault,” says Margraf. Especially in body-oriented settings, the risk of such attacks is higher. Above all, charismatic and renowned personalities are prone to abuse their power and status.

Other negative effects of psychotherapy are less easy to measure. “When therapists give false hopes, do not agree on goals or interfere too much in the patient’s life, it is difficult to grasp,” says the psychologist. He describes it as a “classic” that many therapists identify the couple relationship as part of the problem, even though they have only heard one side. This often leads to a crisis in the partnership that would not have been necessary. “Some therapists also impose their own norms and values ​​on the patient.”

Mental health problems in children are underestimated

Despite sometimes hair-raising side effects, Margraf emphasizes: “Essentially and in the vast majority of cases, psychotherapy is good.” The only downer: it is a long way to go before this help reaches all affected people.

Children in particular are still too often neglected with their mental health problems. It was worthwhile to intervene early to prevent serious disruptions from occurring in the first place. The problem: While aggressive and hyperactive children move into the center of attention, depressed or anxious boys and girls often fail. “In a society with fewer and fewer children, there is a lack of siblings and playmates. This will be a big issue for children’s mental health in the future. “


Always angry? Maybe you have toxoplasmosis

If you meet a traffic hooligan on the street who is pushing, scolding or even showing the middle finger – then he could be suffering from toxoplasmosis. The infection can actually cause outbursts of anger. Fortunately, not everyone infected develops aggression, otherwise there would be many more rowdies on the streets.

  • The pathogen Toxoplasma gondii attacks the nerve tissue in the brain.
  • This apparently leads to outbursts of anger in infected people.
  • Animal studies have shown that the parasite can actually control mice remotely.

A traffic hooligan, pushing, honking or scolding may not be able to do anything for his outrageous behavior – his brain could simply be controlled by others. Parasites of the species Toxoplasma gondii may have nested in it and are now causing neuronal chaos.

At least this is what a study carried out by psychiatrists at the University of Chicago suggests on patients who have been noticed by aggressive behavior and sudden outbursts of anger. The work appears in the journal “Journal of Clinical Psychiatry”.

Twice as many outbursts of anger among infected people

It was found that people who had several seizures in succession were more than twice as likely to be infected by the pathogen as healthy people who had no psychiatric diagnosis.

The unicellular organism, one of the so-called protozoa, occurs worldwide and is widespread in the population. According to the Berlin Robert Koch Institute, 50 percent of Germans carry it in their bodies or have at least come into contact with it.

In the group of people over 50, the level of contamination is around 70 percent. It affects up to 16 million people in the United States, more than the country’s schizophrenia sufferers and those with bipolar disorder combined.

The pathogen usually affects cats

The actual host of the parasite is cats , which excrete it with their feces. People can get infected through smear infections, but also through contaminated water and the consumption of raw meat.

The infection usually proceeds without symptoms, but occasionally toxoplasmosis occurs, which is accompanied by flu-like symptoms. If women become infected during pregnancy, there is a risk of miscarriage.

Toxoplasma gondii affects the nervous tissue

Previous research found that Toxoplasma gondii affects nerve tissue in the brain and is associated with diseases such as schizophrenia , bipolar disorder, and suicidal ideation.

The Chicago scientists built on this. They examined 358 US citizens as test persons, one third of whom suffered from “pathological irascibility” (the technical term for the sudden attacks of aggression), another third from other mental disorders. The latter served as a control group to differentiate the irascibility from other ailments. The test subjects in the remaining third were mentally healthy.

In fact, blood analyzes and other tests showed that twice as many irascible patients had come into contact with the parasite than healthy subjects. The rates of the mentally ill group lay in between.

Sick people were much more aggressive

But the impulse control disorder – it was measured according to a point system – was much more pronounced in the irascible than in the other two groups, whose subjects hardly differed.

Overall, test subjects who tested positive in all groups were found to be significantly more aggressive and impulsive than those with a negative test result.

“Our work suggests that latent infections with Toxoplasma gondii can change brain chemistry in such a way that the likelihood of aggressive behavior increases,” explains study leader Emil Coccaro. “But we don’t know whether this connection is causal, because not everyone with a positive test result gets tantrums.”

Further studies are needed to find out. “A correlation is not yet a cause, above all it cannot be deduced from the fact that people should get rid of their cats,” adds Coccaro’s colleague Royce Lee, a co-author of the study. “We don’t yet understand the underlying mechanisms.”

This could be an inflammatory response in the body’s response to the infection, or it could be a direct modulation of the brain by the parasite. But a paradoxical reversal of the cause is also conceivable, Lee continues: Aggressive people could keep more cats or eat raw meat.

Further investigations will follow

Now the Chicago researchers want to investigate the connection between toxoplasmosis, aggressive behavior and pathological irascibility. They hope that this will provide further knowledge about the condition that will lead to new diagnostic and therapeutic methods. “We have to conduct experimental studies to see whether treating a latent infection reduces aggressiveness,” says lead author Coccaro. “Then it might prove sensible to fight toxoplasmosis first in irascible patients.”   

Several studies in recent years have shown that Toxoplasma gondii can actually change behavior.

The pathogen reprograms mouse brains

If the parasite attacks mice, it makes them forget their fear of cats so that they no longer flee from their enemy. Occasionally, infected rodents even run up to cats, attracted by the smell of their urine.

It seems like the mice are about to be eaten. This is exactly what the parasite wants to achieve, because it can reproduce sexually only in the cat’s intestine, so rodents are only intermediate hosts for it.

In 2015, scientists at the Indiana School of Medicine discovered how the pathogen reprograms the mouse brain: Apparently it modifies certain brain cells, namely the so-called star cells (astrocytes).

They help to supply the nerve cells with nutrients from the blood and generally maintain the physiological balance in the brain. In infected mice, certain proteins in the astrocytes were changed compared to the cells of healthy animals.

The task now is to find out whether this mechanism can change not only the character of mice, but also that of humans.


The truth about coffee

Every German drinks an average of 150 liters of coffee a year. But the pick-me-up is under suspicion: it is supposed to make you addicted, increase blood pressure and rob the body of fluids. Is that really true?

The passion for coffee is great in Germany . Germans prefer to drink espresso, cappuccino and latte macchiato rather than beer or mineral water. But for many, the guilty conscience tarnishes the pleasure, because coffee is suspected of being harmful to health. However, numerous studies have come to a different conclusion.

Udo Pollmer, food chemist and scientific director of the European Institute for Food and Nutritional Sciences (EULE), Munich, also gave the infusion of the ground coffee beans good marks. Coffee fans shouldn’t expect too much either, because, as is usually the case with food, the study results are contradictory.

Does Coffee Raise Cholesterol?

Coffee, as beans or powder, contains substances similar to fat, especially the terpenes Cafesol and Kawheol. “So to conclude that coffee raises cholesterol levels is nonsense. After all, there are no greasy eyes floating on the coffee, ”says food chemist Udo Pollmer. So far, studies have shown no long-term influence of coffee on blood cholesterol.

Does coffee increase the risk of a heart attack?

“For years there have been warnings about the harmful effects of coffee on cardiovascular diseases . However, this cannot be scientifically proven, ”says expert Udo Pollmer.

A study on more than 128,000 men and women showed that even more than six cups a day did not have a negative impact on the risk of heart attack. “There is even increasing evidence that coffee reduces the risk of heart attacks,” explains the scientist. A meta-analysis later came to the same conclusion.

Does coffee rob the body of fluids?

“Coffee contributes to the supply of fluids because it consists of almost 100 percent water,” says Udo Pollmer. Coffee has a slight diuretic effect, which is generally positive. The water balance of our body is not negatively influenced by the slightly diuretic effect of coffee, because the body can counter-regulate. Habitual coffee drinkers, however, no longer feel the diuretic effect at all, because their bodies get completely used to it.

Does coffee protect against cancer?

“So far, it is certain that coffee does not increase the risk of cancer,” says food expert Pollmer. Countless studies have examined the influence of coffee on various types of cancer.

According to Pollmer, it is now accepted that coffee protects the liver. Accordingly, the liver cancer rates in coffee drinkers are apparently falling. The exact reason for this is not yet known

Nevertheless, the expert advises: If you can’t tolerate coffee, you shouldn’t drink it because of its positive health aspects. In addition, based on research, it cannot be concluded that it is only the bean drink that protects against cancer. “There is much speculation about the influence of diet on cancer risk. The connections are probably much less than assumed, because the development of tumors is very complex and cannot be traced back to just one food, ”says the scientist.

Does Caffeine Increase Blood Pressure?

“Drinking coffee regularly does not increase blood pressure in the long term,” says the food expert. This is confirmed by a study of more than 155,000 women . Coffee has only a weak, short-term effect on blood pressure, if at all.

Does coffee prevent diabetes?

Coffee protects against diabetes, according to a study from Finland. Researchers from the country with the highest coffee consumption worldwide examined more than 14,000 women and men. The result: three to four cups reduce the risk of getting sick by almost 30 percent, ten cups reduce the risk for women by as much as 79 percent and for men by 55 percent.

“A number of other studies confirm the results of this study. On average, the data show that coffee halves the risk of diabetes, so that scientists now assume a protective effect. However, an effect can only be statistically proven from two to three cups a day and has so far only been proven for people who like coffee, ”says Udo Pollmer.

Is coffee addicting?

If you are used to coffee, you can experience slight withdrawal symptoms if you do not take the usual dose of caffeine. “Strong coffee drinkers react with headaches that disappear after about two days,” says food expert Udo Pollmer.

This is often the case on weekends, when coffee consumers forego their usual office decoration or when they drink a caffeine-free variety.

Nevertheless, coffee is not referred to as an addiction, because the dose does not have to be constantly increased as with a classic addiction.


In currywurst and coleslaw: How to spot hidden sugar traps

“Without sugar” is considered healthy. But “without sugar” doesn’t taste good. So the food industry brings sweetness into its products in many forms. Nobody has to remember the complicated names to identify hidden sugars. “Öko-Test” reveals how it is easier.

Ever since sugar fell into disrepute as a health hazard, the food industry has had a problem. Because the nutrient is a perfect flavor carrier. Even hearty products like pizza or herring salad don’t taste good without sugar. Manufacturers of finished products have come up with a few tricks to lure consumers with the “little sugar” selling point.

The magazine “Öko-Test” looked at the tricks that the food industry uses to hide sugar. In addition, a laboratory tested 34 foods for their sugar content – with surprising results. Because who would think that

  • Herring salad (Lysell Schwedenhappen) offers more sugar than salt ,
  • Currywurst contains the equivalent of eight sugar cubes ,
  • Pizza (Dr. Oetker Tradizionale Speciale) contains seven different sweetening ingredients ,
  • in coleslaw Zucker (Nadler) to second place in the list of ingredients creates
  • Ready coffee ( Rewe Best Choice Cappuccino with no added sugar ) brings a total of 30 sugar cubes ,
  • Ketchup (good & cheap curry spice ketchup) with the equivalent of 110 pieces of sugar per bottle consists of 40 percent sugar ,
  • Almost a third of a milk slice consists of sweetening ingredients, but that is “only” two pieces of sugar .

Many names for the desired taste “sweet”

As syrup, sweet whey, malt, honey, fructose, dextrose or agave syrup, the sweetening substances are also used in the tested spreads, breakfast cereals, smoothies, yoghurts, sauces and savory salads and add up to generous amounts of sugar.

To find the hidden sugars, you need to know the tricks the food industry uses to disguise the sweet stuff in their products:

Trick number 1: Instead of simply adding “sugar”, manufacturers often add glucose-fructose syrup, Detrose and sweet whey powder. In the list of ingredients, the sweeteners do not end up at the top, but in places 3, 5 and 9. 

Trick number 2: “Natural sweetness”, “fruit sweetness” – that sounds healthy, but it is also nothing more than a mixture of fructose and glucose and is therefore qualitatively equivalent to ordinary table sugar.

Trick number 3 : Everyone knows the terms sugar or syrup. But maltodextrin, oligofructose or dextrose? Anyone who wants to recognize sugar in any form has to learn many chemical terms.

Trick number 4 : “Less sweet” – this statement on a food does not necessarily mean that sugar has been saved, but that the product contains 30 percent less sweetener than a comparable food.

Trick number 5 : The smaller a manufacturer measures the portion quantity, the lower the proportion of the food in the total daily amount of sugar. So the content of sugar, but also fat, salt and calories are subtracted.

And how does the consumer find their way through this thicket of tricks? The experts from “Öko-Test” give two simple tips :

  1. On the list of ingredients, look out for terms that end with “-ose”. All of this is cute.
  2. To see the total sugar content, it is helpful to take a look at the nutritional value table.