Monday, December 31, 2012

How Excess Holiday Eating Disturbs Your ‘Food Clock’

If the sinful excess of holiday eating sends your system into butter-slathered, sugar-soaked overload, you are not alone: People who are jet-lagged, people who work graveyard shifts and plain-old late-night snackers know just how you feel.

All these activities upset the body’s “food clock,” a collection of interacting genes and molecules known technically as the food-entrainable oscillator, which keeps the human body on a metabolic even keel. A new study by researchers at UCSF is helping to reveal how this clock works on a molecular level.

Published this month in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the UCSF team has shown that a protein called PKCγ is critical in resetting the food clock if our eating habits change.

The study showed that normal laboratory mice given food only during their regular sleeping hours will adjust their food clock over time and begin to wake up from their slumber, and run around in anticipation of their new mealtime. But mice lacking the PKCγ gene are not able to respond to changes in their meal time – instead sleeping right through it.

The work has implications for understanding the molecular basis of diabetes, obesity and other metabolic syndromes because a desynchronized food clock may serve as part of the pathology underlying these disorders, said Louis Ptacek, MD, the John C. Coleman Distinguished Professor of Neurology at UCSF and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator.

It may also help explain why night owls are more likely to be obese than morning larks, Ptacek said.

“Understanding the molecular mechanism of how eating at the “wrong” time of the day desynchronizes the clocks in our body can facilitate the development of better treatments for disorders associated with night-eating syndrome, shift work and jet lag,” he added.
Resetting the Food Clock

Look behind the face of a mechanical clock and you will see a dizzying array of cogs, flywheels, reciprocating counterbalances and other moving parts. Biological clocks are equally complex, composed of multiple interacting genes that turn on or off in an orchestrated way to keep time during the day.

In most organisms, biological clockworks are governed by a master clock, referred to as the “circadian oscillator,” which keeps track of time and coordinates our biological processes with the rhythm of a 24-hour cycle of day and night.

Life forms as diverse as humans, mice and mustard greens all possess such master clocks. And in the last decade or so, scientists have uncovered many of their inner workings, uncovering many of the genes whose cycles are tied to the clock and discovering how in mammals it is controlled by a tiny spot in the brain known as the “superchiasmatic nucleus.”

Scientists also know that in addition to the master clock, our bodies have other clocks operating in parallel throughout the day. One of these is the food clock, which is not tied to one specific spot in the brain but rather multiple sites throughout the body.

The food clock is there to help our bodies make the most of our nutritional intake. It controls genes that help in everything from the absorption of nutrients in our digestive tract to their dispersal through the bloodstream, and it is designed to anticipate our eating patterns. Even before we eat a meal, our bodies begin to turn on some of these genes and turn off others, preparing for the burst of sustenance – which is why we feel the pangs of hunger just as the lunch hour arrives.

Scientist have known that the food clock can be reset over time if an organism changes its eating patterns, eating to excess or at odd times, since the timing of the food clock is pegged to feeding during the prime foraging and hunting hours in the day. But until now, very little was known about how the food clock works on a genetic level.

What Ptacek and his colleagues discovered is the molecular basis for this phenomenon: the PKCγ protein binds to another molecule called BMAL and stabilizes it, which shifts the clock in time.

The article, “PKCγ participates in food entrainment by regulating BMAL1” is authored by Luoying Zhang, Diya Abrahama, Shu-Ting Lin, Henrik Oster, Gregor Eichele, Ying-Hui Fu, and Louis J. Ptácek and appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Friday, December 28, 2012

FAQ: Air Purifiers for Odor Control and Second-Hand Tobacco Smoke That Really Work

Have you tried numerous cleaners, fresheners, sprays ---even air purifiers to get rid of smoke odor only to be disappointed with the poor results? Smoke is easily one of the most stubborn odor problems that will often persist even in the presence of the most expensive HEPA air purifiers. That’s because HEPA air purifiers are designed to remove solid particles which account for only a small part of the composition of second-hand smoke. The most extensive by-products of smoking are gases and chemical vapours. 
Why Smoke Poses a Significant Challenge for Traditional Air Purifiers
Over 4,000 different chemicals have been identified in second-hand smoke.  Solid particles make up about 10 percent of the composition of tobacco smoke and include "tar" and nicotine. These particles are sticky and tend to clog traditional mass-market air purifiers. Gases and chemicals make up about 90 percent of tobacco smoke and include carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and ammonia. These dangerous and complex gases cannot be trapped by a dust filter, even a high efficiency filter like HEPA. Therefore, to successfully reduce the concentration of second-hand smoke and odor the most effective air purifiers must have multiple levels of filtration including an industrial strength filter for heavy chemical and odor control.

Air Purifiers with Activated Carbon
The most widely used filtration method for chemicals, gases and odors is activated carbon. It was first developed by military researchers for use in gases masks and is now used extensively in industrial air and water purification. Activated carbon is essentially charcoal that has been treated with oxygen to open up millions of tiny pores and fissures. It’s in these openings that pollutants are trapped. The surface area created by the activation is so extensive that if you could spread out all of the microscopic openings found in one teaspoon of carbon, it would cover an entire football field.  In home air purifiers specifically designed for tobacco smoke, polluted air is pulled through a deep bed of granular activated carbon where the chemicals, gases and odors are permanently trapped.  

AllerAir Air Purifiers for Smoke Odor Control
Known widely as experts in chemical and odor air filtration, AllerAir manufactures industrial-strength home air purifiers that use multiple filtration methods to better control tough tobacco odor.  Polluted air first passes through a special tar-trapping particle filter. This filter helps prolong the life of the main filters by preventing the sticky airborne tar from clogging the filtration system. The air then travels though an extra-deep bed of activated carbon where chemicals, gases and odors are trapped. Finally the air passes through a micro-HEPA particle filter which removes airborne particles. This multi-stage filtration approach offers superior odor reduction and cleaner air than traditional dust-collecting air purifiers.

To learn more about AllerAir air purifiers for smoke odor or other air purifiers for Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, allergies or mold contact an AllerAir air quality expert today at 1-888-852-8247 or connect via live chat or Twitter.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

How Does an Air Purifier Work?

Depending on the type of technology used, an air purifier can remove airborne dust, allergens, chemicals, gases, and odors. Owning an air purifier has become increasingly popular as indoor pollution levels have climbed. Here’s a brief overview of how various air purifier technologies work.
Furnace Filters
The most basic of air purifier filters can be used in your home’s heating and cooling system. It’s usually placed between the air return duct and the furnace. This box-like filter slides into a slot so that all air flowing to the furnace passes through a mesh of fibers. It traps large dust and other particles that could otherwise build up and damage the components inside the HVAC system.  This type of filter cannot remove chemicals, gases or odors.

A Room Air Purifier with a HEPA Filter
To be accepted as HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter, this type of cleaning technology must remove 99.97% of airborne particles 0.3 micrometers in size or larger. It’s generally made up of a densely fibrous type material that works by trapping passing dust and allergens. It is highly recommended and very effective on particles, but cannot trap chemicals, gases and odors. 

An Air Purifier with Ionizing Technology
This type of air purifier creates a small but intense electrical field. It works by charging air particles and pulling them to metal plates that have an opposite charge. This technology has come under fire for generating ozone, a potentially dangerous pollutant even in small quantities. Some experts, including doctors with the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology don’t recommend this type of air purifier. They say that without fans, these units cannot collect airborne particles from more than a few feet away and as a result do not significantly improve indoor air quality.

Ozone Generators
An ozone generator works like an ionizing purifier, but purposely produces ozone. Ozone is made up of three oxygen molecules one of which can detach and apply itself to other substances altering their make-up. Manufacturers of these units claim that their air purifier technology cleans the air, however most world health agencies believe there is strong evidence that ozone is not only inefficient, but dangerous to human health. These types of devices have actually been banned in the State of California. There is also concern that ozone may react with chemicals in the air and form new pollutants with unknown health effects.

The most complete and effective air purifier contains a HEPA filter and an adsorbent material like activated carbon to remove chemicals, gases and odors. Activated carbon is extremely porous and has millions of tiny nooks and crannies that trap passing pollutants. Only an air purifier with this type of “adsorbent” (not absorbent) can remove the airborne pollutants left behind by HEPA dust filters.

Learn More
For more information on how an air purifier works or for a personalized recommendation, chat live with an AllerAir Air Quality Expert at

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Downfall of the “Silent” Bedroom Air Purifiers

We spend more time in our bedrooms than any other room in our homes, so it’s not surprising that air purifiers are most often purchased for bedroom use. Cleaner air in the bedroom has been directly linked to a reduction in allergy symptoms and better quality sleep. There are currently dozens of different air purifiers recommended for bedroom use, here are the top tips for choose one that’s right for you.

The Downfall of the “Silent” Air Purifiers

When choosing among air purifiers for the bedroom, some people automatically assume that silent is better. However, air purifiers marketed as silent usually have no moving parts. While this may seem more attractive for bedroom use, most air quality experts agree that with no fans to move the air around, these units cannot collect airborne particles from more than a few feet away. As a result they cannot compete with fan-based air purifiers in terms of the improvement in overall air quality. Another issue with “silent” air purifiers is that they often use ionizing or ozone technologies that produce a gas which is considered potentially harmful to human health. Many of these types of “air cleaners” are not recommended by health organizations and are actually banned in the state of California.

Fan-Based Air Purifiers and the Benefits of White Noise

All fan-based air purifiers will generate some sound. It’s generally a low hum, comparable to a regular blade cooling fan. The mistake many people make when turning on air purifiers in the bedroom is to crank the unit on high speed. Most air purifiers on high will sound loud and obtrusive and not suitable for bedrooms. Better quality air purifiers, especially those with activated carbon filters for chemicals, gases and odors actually work better on low speed. The high speed should only be used to move the air around quickly for a brief time and then be reduced to low for continuous use. Ironically, the low hum produced by most air purifiers may actually be ideal for the bedroom. Research shows that a low, steady, continuous sound often referred to as “white noise” can increase sleep quality. It’s believed that white noise can reduce the time it takes to fall asleep and the number of times you’re awakened while sleeping. Many leading pediatricians also believe that white noise can be especially beneficial for calming babies as the sound mimics the noise heard in the womb.


More important than the sound factor is the filtration. The best air purifiers for bedroom use a HEPA particle filter combined with an activated carbon filter for chemicals, gases and odors. This type of air purifier requires a bigger investment than a basic, plastic air cleaner from your local big box or club store, but will clean a wider range of pollutants and be better built for 24/7 use.

To Learn More

For more information on the best air cleaner for the bedroom chat live with an AllerAir Air Quality Expert at

Friday, December 21, 2012

AllerAir Daily Deal! Buy an air cleaner and pre-filters and get 25% off

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Kids Don’t Get a Christmas Break from Allergies

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, candles filling the air with the smell of cinnamon and beloved decorations making their yearly appearance really do help make the season bright. But for kids with allergies these holiday delights can make the atmosphere miserable and even deadly.

“During the winter months many parents think their kids get a reprieve from allergies. Unfortunately, allergens are around all year long. Dust mites, mold, food and pet allergies don’t take a Christmas vacation,” said Pediatric Allergist Joyce Rabbat, MD.
With all the holiday parties and family gatherings food allergies can be a real concern for parents.

“During the holidays it can be easy to be tempted by all the wonderful goodies that everyone else is eating. And so often it can be difficult to decipher what contains allergens and what does not,” said Rabbat. “Food allergies are especially dangerous because even small exposure to a food allergen can be devastating.”

Here are some tips if your holiday plans include a child with a food allergy.

1. If possible avoid the allergen in food preparations.
“There are lots of alternatives that can be substituted into favorite holiday recipes,” said Rabbat.
2. If you just can’t change the recipe make sure you prepare all foods without the allergen first. This will limit cross contamination.
3. Make sure after you’ve prepared a food with the allergen that you thoroughly clean all utensils used and the surface areas that were exposed to the allergen.
4. When serving the meal try to have an allergy-free area to reduce the risk of accidental exposure.
“If food with an allergen is spilled on the table and the child touches it and/or ingests it, the child could have a serious reaction. Having allergen-free serving areas helps minimize the chance that serving utensils are used in both allergen-containing dishes and allergen-free dishes,” said Rabbat.
5. Make sure everyone who has come in contact with an allergen washes his or her hands and face before interacting with a child with an allergy.

“Parents need to understand that no matter how hard someone tries to keep the festivities allergen-free there is always a possibility of exposure so come prepared with medications,” said Rabbat.

She suggests adults seek medical attention if they notice a child has any of these symptoms:
• Shortness of breath
• Wheezing
• Swelling
• Throat swelling/closing
• Coughing
• Dizziness
• Change of color (pale or blue)
• Vomiting or diarrhea

Still, food allergies aren’t the only ones that impact kids over the holidays. Live Christmas trees, holiday plants, dust and mold from old decorations and even pets can cause an allergic reaction. But, according to Rabbat, one of the often-overlooked triggers are scented candles and air fresheners.

“Stay away from artificial scents in air fresheners and candles as these can irritate the lungs and trigger asthma symptoms. They might smell nice, but don’t smell nearly as good as cookies baking in the oven. So, enjoy the real scents of the holidays instead,” said Rabbat.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Grim future for the Eastern US; Study Predicts Extreme Weather

It's been a horrible year for weather events and it may only get worse according to a study by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Researchers developed precise scales of cities which act as a climate crystal ball seeing high resolution climate changes almost 50 years into the future.

The study found that heat waves will become more severe in most regions of the eastern United States and, that both the Northeast and Southeast will see a drastic increase in precipitation.

The findings are published in the Nov. 6 edition of Environmental Research Letters.

Harnessing the a supercomputer, the researchers combined high-resolution topography, land use information and climate modeling. Then they used dynamical downscaling to develop their climate model results. Dynamical downscaling allowed the researchers to develop climate scales as small as four square kilometers.

"Instead of studying regions, which is not useful when examining extreme weather, dynamical downscaling allows us to study small areas such as cities with a fine resolution," said Joshua Fu, a civil and environmental engineering professor.

The researchers evaluated extreme events along with daily maximum and minimum temperatures and daily precipitation. For the 23 states east of the Mississippi River, they analyzed the present-day climate from 2001 to 2004 and predicted the future climate from 2057 to 2059. This is the first study to predict heat waves for the top 20 cities in the eastern U.S. For example, Nashville will see a temperature rise of 3.21 degrees Celsius and Memphis will see a rise of 2.18 degrees Celsius.

In comparing present climate to future, the researchers found that heat waves will become more severe throughout the eastern part of the nation. The Northeast and eastern Midwest will experience a greater increase in heat waves than the Southeast, which will almost equalize the temperatures between the future North and current South.

"Currently, the mean heat wave duration is about four days in the Northeast and eastern Midwest and five days in the Southeast," said Fu. "By the end of the 2050s, the Northeast and eastern Midwest will be gaining on the Southeast by increasing two days."

In addition, the Northeast and eastern Midwest are likely to suffer from steeper increases in the severity of heat waves.

"While the Southeast has the highest intensity in heat waves, the northeast is likely to experience the highest increase," said Fu. "We are looking at temperature increases of 3 to 5 degrees Celsius, with New York experiencing the highest hike."

Both the Northeast and Southeast will experience an increase of precipitation of 35 percent or more. Most coastal states will see the greatest increase, of about 150 millimeters a year. Taking into consideration heat waves and extreme precipitation, the Northeast shows the largest increases in precipitation. This suggests a greater risk of flooding.

"It is important that the nation take actions to mitigate the impact of climate change in the next several decades," said Fu. "These changes not only cost money—about a billion a year in the U.S.—but they also cost lives."

Air Purifiers Daily Deal: 100$ off our Best Selling Air Cleaners

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Air Purifier Daily Deal! Buy an AllerAir Unit and Get a $150 Credit for Replacement Filters

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

AllerAir Filter Replacement Sale One Day Only!

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Monday, December 17, 2012

AllerAir clients: 25% off all replacement filters TOMORROW ONLY

It's time to change your filters! AllerAir's one day replacement filter sale tomorrow, December 18th, 2012.

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