A List Of The Best Air-Filtering Plants For Your Home According To NASA Study

In an increasingly post-industrial world, air quality is one of our chief environmental concerns. Most people keep their houses closed up when they feel like the air quality outside is low, but often unhealthy gases can get trapped in our homes and give us headaches, dizzy spells, or eye/nose/throat irritation. These gases include formaldehyde (famous for embalming but also used in paper bags, particle board, and synthetic fabrics), benzene (basically in all things plastic), and ammonia (in lots of cleaning products).

IMAGE SOURCE: LOVE THE GARDEN

However, NASA of all institutions has a solution for this – get a houseplant. No, seriously. Pick one or a few of the plants from this list, which are the best houseplants for filtering the air in your home, removing all those unwanted chemicals and providing you with better breathable air! Who knew! Some of these are quite pretty, and all of them are tiny little air purifiers in that they suck up chemicals in the air along with the CO2 they need to survive, and they exhale oxygen!

IMAGE SOURCE: LOVE THE GARDEN

Now, technically this study is quite old; NASA conducted it back in 1989 in partnership with the Associated Landscape Contractors of America. However, their research has been proven right 27 years later, and these 18 plants really are the best to have in homes. They actually recommend one plant per 100 square feet.

IMAGE SOURCE: LOVE THE GARDEN

However, don’t go right out and buy all of them. Note that some of these plants are extremely harmful to pets. Make sure to do your research before you bring home one of these leafy greens!

 

Groundbreaking Study Shows That The Bathroom Is Actually Not The Dirtiest Place On A Plane

It just takes one movie about an epidemic to realize that airplanes are the perfect breeding grounds for bacteria and disease. They house large amounts of people in a confined space with an almost perfectly closed system, making escape nearly impossible. The dirtiest place on an airplane, however, may surprise and dismay you.

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES

Travel planning site Travelmath recently set out to find which surface you come across while traveling is the grossest. A microbiologist went to five airports and four different flights on two major airline carriers to test and compare samples. Different items were tested along the way and then their median level of CFUs (colony-forming units – of bacteria) were compared. It’s important to note that CFUs won’t definitively make someone sick, they only present the potential for someone to fall ill.

IMAGE SOURCE: ISTOCKPHOTO

So what’s the dirtiest surface on that plane? Why, it’s the tray table that falls right into your lap from the seat ahead of you! Even compared to vents, seatbelt buckles, and bathroom parts like flush buttons and stall locks, the tray table is by far the surface with the most bacteria on the plane. This makes sense, in a way. Everyone touches the table, and they do so multiple times during the flight. The good news is that none of the surfaces, even the bathroom ones, showed a presence of fecal coliforms like E. coli. Whew! But, here are the six most contaminated areas:

 

  1. Tray table — 2,155 CFU/sq. in.
  2. Drinking fountain buttons — 1,240 CFU/sq. in.
  3. Overhead air vent — 285 CFU/sq. in.
  4. Lavatory flush button — 265 CFU/sq. in.
  5. Seatbelt buckle — 230 CFU/sq. in.
  6. Bathroom stall locks — 70 CFU/sq. in

 

Travelmath concludes the obvious from this study. “Since this could provide bacteria direct transmission to your mouth, a clear takeaway from this is to eliminate any direct contact your food has with the tray table.” In other words, that thing you’re supposed to eat on while flying? Don’t place unwrapped food directly on it. Travel safe and healthy this holiday season, Dwindlers!

This Simple Task Helps Prevent Depression According To Recent Study

Happiness is a difficult thing to define. Sometimes we seek happiness in a fleeting sense, like a delicious piece of cake or a night out with friends. Most of the time, we seek happiness in a long-term sense, like being satisfied with our jobs, what we contribute to society, or building a family. However, sometimes try as we might to make ourselves happy, mental disorders like major depressive disorder cannot be escaped, especially if you’re a woman.

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One in ten Americans report having major depressive disorder (MDD), with it being twice as likely to occur in women than men. When in a depressive episode, it’s hard to pull yourself out of it, but once out of the episode most people want to focus on preventing a relapse. There is a glimmer of hope out there for those that suffer from MDD, according to some new studies that have been released.

IMAGE SOURCE: GIPHY

According to one study in Translational Psychiatry, adopting a minimal cardio routine and practicing light meditation on a daily basis can decrease one’s chance of depression as much as 40 percent. In support of this study, a new study to be released in Preventive Medicine suggests that people who do not regularly have cardiorespiratory exercise routines have a 75% higher risk of suffering from depression. Both studies suggest that the cardio workouts performed to stave off depression do not need to be of marathoner-intensity. Instead the exercise can be 30 minute workout sessions, “at at a heart rate intensity range determined by their individual baseline fitness assessment,” meaning within your own comfort zone, yet still challenging.

IMAGE SOURCE: GIPHY

The combination of meditation and cardio is referred to as MAP Training, which has been shown to trigger activity in the hippocampus of the brain. In contrast, studies of individuals with MDD have been shown to have reduced hippcampal volume. MAP Training stimulates the reduced hippocampus in the brains of those who have experiences MDD, therefore, theoretically reducing the risk of another MDD episode.

Luckily, if either cardio or meditation is something you really don’t think you can stomach, other studies have significantly shown that either one of these exercises alone can still help reduce chances of depression.

NASA Reveals Why New Delhi Is Covered With Dangerous Smog And Has Pictures To Prove It

There are some things about big city living that city-goers come to accept. Things like traffic, congestion, and a Starbucks on every corner. As a result of so many people commuting to and from work in such a concentrated area, air pollution and smog are unfortunately also an accepted factor of city living. Most countries have laws in place to help decrease air pollution, but many countries, who are just getting their foot in the global industry, may still have some hard lessons to learn.

India, for example, has recently been blanketed in severe smog. New Delhi specifically is suffering from an air quality index rating of 943 AQI PM2.5, which is 15 times higher than the acceptable air quality standard put forth by the Indian government. PM describes particulate matter, which is defined as particles measuring in size of micrometers. The AQI rating describes the concentration of PM2.5 material in micrograms suspended in a cubic meter of air. This means a 943 AQI PM2.5 says that in one cubic meter of air, there are 943 micrograms of particulate matter.

Source: Mashable

This most recent smog crisis was at first blamed on celebratory firecrackers from Diwali celebrations. But, as officials continued to look into the surge of smog, that explanation seemed too simplistic. Images published by NASA are now showing that the surge in smog may be due to a traditional Indian custom of burning crops.

Farmers in neighboring provinces burning their leftover straw are resulting in high levels of, “fires and thermal anomalies,” according to NASA. Though the government has tried to deter farmers from this practice over the years, many are not ready to give it up.

Source: NASA
Source: NASA

The air quality that New Delhi is dealing with is dangerous to citizens, as the particulate matter can disturb lung function, especially for those who are already suffering from other diseases. The government is trying new practices to improve the AQI in the near future, including vacuuming the air and spraying down roads and construction sites to decrease dust.

20 Participants Dropped Out Of Male Birth Control Study After They Experienced Side Effects

For years we’ve been told that a reliable and easy male contraception is right around the corner, and for once, it seems like it might be. From 2008-2012, an injection based form of hormonal birth control was tested on 320 men to check not only if it worked, but also if there were any side effects for the men.

Well, it turns out it did work, but the side effects made 20 of the men, or about 6.2% of the participants, drop out. Their complaints? Moodiness, muscle pain, acne, and depression. Sound familiar, ladies?

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES

Before you get up in arms about how men can’t handle what we do every month, by some methods of measure, 6.2% is a high percentage of side effects in contraception, meaning a higher-than-average amount of men experienced bad effects, making the drug not ideal for the public.

SOURCE: USA TODAY

That being said, at the end of the study, a whopping 75% of participants said that despite the side effects, they would be willing to use the drug as-is for their contraception needs. Professor Allan Pacey of the University of Sheffield says that this clearly shows that “there is certainly an unmet need for an effective reversible contraceptive for men, along the lines of the hormonal contraceptive for women.” At this, women around the world reportedly let out a frustrated “duh.”

 

World Health Organization researcher and co-author Dr. Mario Philip Reyes Festin feels optimistic about this study’s implications for the future. “Although the injections were effective in reducing the rate of pregnancy, the combination of hormones needs to be studied more to consider a good balance between efficacy and safety,” he added.

So perhaps it wasn’t a complete wash. Here’s to hoping this happens quickly!