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  Hahoe, Yangdong named U.N. World Heritage       2010-10-29 12:45:18
Two historic villages in Korea were designated as UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites on Saturday.

Hahoe and Yangdong, both located in North Gyeongsang Province, are known for their notable cultural display of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), preserving its old tradition of nobility clans.

The World Heritage Committee officially put the two villages on the UNESCO World Heritage List during its 34th convention meeting in Brasila, Brazil. Hahoe and Yangdong reflect “the distinctive aristocratic Confucian culture” of the dynasty, the Committee said on UNESCO’s website.


Korea’s historic village Yangdong (above) and Hahoe, both in North Gyeongsang Province, have been designated as UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites. (Yonhap News)


“The landscapes of mountains, trees and water around the village, framed in views from pavilions and retreats, were celebrated for their beauty by 17th and 18th century poets,” it said.

The International Council of Monuments and Sites evaluated Korea’s initial application for Hahoe and Yangdong in June. The council had deferred a decision back then, asking for solid administrative strategies to manage the two villages that are physically apart from each other.

“We stressed that both the Cultural Heritage Administration of Korea and North Gyeongsang Province have been collaborating and successfully working together to manage the two villages,” said Yeo Sung-hee, an official of the Cultural Heritage Administration of Korea. “I think that’s what’s made the final designation possible.”

Hahoe and Yangdong were founded in the 14th to 15th centuries. Both villages still preserve, and provide insights on, the Joseon era, through centuries-hold residences of the leading families, study halls, Confucian academies for learning, and mud-walled and thatched-roofed houses.

A Hahoe scholar with the Andong City Hall, Sohn Jae-wan, said people in the village are extremely pleased. “We’ve been working on it for almost 10 years,” he said. “I think the village did very well by showing the real Confucius lifestyle when the investigation team visited this May.”

The village is planning to launch a celebratory festival sometime this month.

With the new addition, Korea now has 10 UNESCO World Heritage sites.

By Claire Lee (clairelee@heraldm.com)





  Exhausted? Feeling really tired can threaten your health       2010-10-29 12:20:53
For many of us, exhaustion is a fact of life. But for the rich and famous, it seems acute weariness can be so debilitating that it requires hospitalization and, in the case of Chicago Symphony Orchestra music director Riccardo Muti, a monthlong rest along Italy’s Adriatic coast.

Though eyes often roll when celebrities vanish to be treated for “exhaustion,” experts say it can be a valid medical condition, even for those who don’t have a publicist. Prolonged periods of physical stress and sleep deprivation can cause problems that shouldn’t be ignored, they say, though Americans may not want to admit it.

“Exhaustion is real on many levels, but it’s not part of our medical lexicon,” said Dr. John Stracks, a mind-body specialist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Center for Integrative Medicine who treats chronic pain. “So when you hear about Muti (being prescribed rest), it seems like a spoof, which speaks to how jaded and hard-driving we are these days.”

Americans have more sleep loss and longer work schedules than residents of most other industrialized countries, and both factors can lead to physical and emotional collapse, said Dr. Eve Van Cauter, a sleep researcher and professor of medicine at the University of Chicago.

Experts say chronic stress can trigger a cascade of negative health effects in particular, the gastrointestinal distress suffered by Muti. The condition is frequently seen in night or shift workers, a description that, in some ways, applies to the maestro.

“Your mood and your gut function are intimately tied together,” said Dr. Gerard Mullin, a gastroenterologist and associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

When you’re stressed, for example, the body’s “flight or fight” response causes a surge in adrenaline, which can result in valves in the upper digestive tract staying open. When this happens, food and digestive enzymes can travel the wrong way, resulting in reflux, heartburn and other stomach problems, Mullin said.

Sleep loss and fatigue also lead to problems with people’s circadian rhythm, which can promote inflammation throughout the body and cause gastrointestinal issues, Van Cauter added.

In some cases, fatigue is a sign of an underlying disease, including cancer, low thyroid, anemia or other metabolic abnormalities, such as adrenal insufficiency. Exhaustion is commonly seen with depression and is a possible side effect of many prescription drugs, including beta blockers, muscle relaxants and mood stabilizers.

But University of Chicago Medical Center internist Dr. Alex Lickerman said fatigue caused by dehydration, infection, drug or alcohol abuse, or lack of sleep either due to insomnia or just burning the candle at both ends is treatable in the outpatient realm. Lickerman has yet to admit anyone to the hospital for being tired.

“It’s a symptom,” he said.

Kat Ryan plays with her daughter, Zoe Ryan-Riley, 2 months, at their home in Chicago, Illinos. Kat was recently hospitalized for exhaustion. (MCT)

Of course, dozens of celebrities from hip-hop star Wyclef Jean to actress Lindsay Lohan have been carted off to the hospital amid reports of exhaustion. Though the term is a common euphemism for “drug or alcohol addiction” or a mental illness such as depression, performers also can suffer physical effects from their frenetic lifestyle and the harsh glare of the spotlight.

“It is a legitimate diagnosis when exhaustion causes someone to collapse and be unable to function,” said Los Angeles-based psychiatrist Judith Orloff, who frequently treats exhausted celebs. “Exhaustion can also lead to low serotonin, which causes depression, anxiety and insomnia. But it’s not accurate if the real diagnosis is drug or alcohol intoxication or overdose.”

Exhaustion, by any name, is hardly a new phenomenon. In the 1800s, women were said to suffer from hystero-neurasthenia, or “nervous exhaustion.” Triggers included excessive amounts of exercise, cohabitation, brain work and worries over motherhood, according to an 1887 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Women were also at risk if they worried too much about “impending or actual misfortune.”

In the 1950s, around the time women were having “nervous breakdowns,” scientists published research showing that it was, indeed, possible for business executives to suffer from exhaustion. Today the term burnout, which is characterized by emotional exhaustion, is recognized in Europe and is a common concern among those who work in the medical or humanitarian aid fields.

Still, while the World Health Organization recognizes several forms of medical exhaustion due to heat, pregnancy, excessive exertion, combat, malaise and other conditions, the U.S. government has not given it a diagnostic code.

Some data suggest “vital exhaustion,” or a state of excessive fatigue, irritability and hopelessness, can be a risk factor for heart attacks and death. Dutch researchers found that people with high vital exhaustion scores were three times as likely to suffer a subsequent heart attack, perhaps because it increases blood clotting.

In the U.S., a problem is that the main treatment for exhaustion sleep is often seen as laziness, a bother or a barrier to productivity. In 1960, the average American received a luxurious amount of shut-eye: 8 hours a night. Today, most people get by on an average of less than seven hours, and a substantial proportion sleep less than six hours, according to National Sleep Foundation data

Stracks says he believes investing in rest for the chronically tuckered-out could have a large payoff down the road. “Would a two-week break really cost that much more than another MRI or ER visit?” he asked.

He recently prescribed several doses of sleep and relaxation for Chicago’s Kat Ryan, who made her way to his office two weeks ago feeling dizzy and complaining that she “couldn’t get her head on straight.”

Ryan, a new mother, said she has been exhausted by her pregnancy and by getting up every two hours for the first six weeks of daughter Zoe’s life.

“It had been building for months,” Ryan said. “I was a little dehydrated, I wasn’t eating well, I was tired, I was going back to work (after six weeks) and the combination was causing the dizziness.”

Ryan, the artistic administrator for the Chicago Jazz Ensemble, spent the weekend sleeping; her daughter’s father cared for their infant.

“I now know what stress can do to your body,” said Ryan, who still has residual dizziness if she doesn’t get enough sleep or eats poorly. “But Dr. Stracks was dead-on. On days that I do get rest which are few and far between I feel fine.”

By Julie Deardorff,

(Chicago Tribune)



  Kimbap, the quintessential Korean snack       2010-10-29 11:18:30
Kimbap, the quintessential Korean snack





By Samia Mounts



When I decided to do a column featuring ubiquitous Korean snack food kimbap, I knew it would be an emotional piece. My earliest experiences with kimbap are irrevocably intertwined with memories of my dear nanny and housekeeper, who was like a mother to me and a beloved grandmother to my daughters. Ms. Paek, as we always called her, even after she transitioned from housekeeper to full member of our family, passed away about five years ago. She was a wonderful, kind woman, and I miss her dearly to this day.

Ms. Paek would always make us kimbap, and she would serve it so elegantly, as if it wasn’t a common snack food at all, but a delicious gourmet delicacy. My youngest daughter, the baby of the family, loved eating the dried seaweed, or kim, by itself or with rice, so Ms. Paek would accommodate her with trays of kim and rice when she got home from school. For a long time, I didn’t understand the appeal of the crunchy-salty sheets of kim. Ms. Paek tried so hard to help me see the error of my ways. She would smile and say, “Mommy, eat, it is good for you, lots of minerals and vitamins.” Eventually, I had to give in -- who could resist that look of maternal love and caring? Now, I am a kim devotee, and every time I eat it, I think of Ms. Paek, and I thank her for loving my family so well.

Ms. Paek is sadly long gone, and I am left with only the memories of her great accumulated wisdom. As I began to research this column, I realized that everything she had said about the nutritional value of kim is true. I found plenty of research to validate her claims.

The Latin name for seaweed is kelp, the Japanese call it nori, the Chinese refer to it as zicai, and in English, it’s called laver. In this column, I will mostly refer to it as kim, since that is the name I first learned for this incredible food. Kim is seaweed that has been processed by roasting and seasoning. Several edible seaweed species are used to make kim. The process of making edible seaweed is similar to the process of making paper. Kim actually looks a bit like dark green, crinkled paper, but it’s more flexible to the touch. It’s also quite popular -- kim production is a multi-billion dollar industry.

Different varieties and versions of kim are used to make delicious dishes in the cuisines of many cultures. The Welsh use laver to make lava bread, or laverbread, which is made by boiling down seaweed, rolling it in oatmeal, and frying it. It is commonly eaten with bacon and cockles for breakfast. In Japan, nori is used as a wrap for sushi rolls. It is also used in many cultures in soups and as a flavoring. In Korea, of course, kim is used to make kimbap, which consists of glutinous rice, vegetables, and various meats or eggs wrapped in large sheets of kim, rolled into a cylinder, and sliced into bite-size discs of goodness.

Numerous researchers have undertaken research on seaweed. Jane Teas, et al., reported in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, June 2009, vol. 18, that it is possible to reverse metabolic syndrome (risk factors include high blood pressure, obesity, and other disorders) through the consumption of seaweed. Teas, et al., stated that metabolic syndrome is on the increase everywhere except for in Asian countries, where diets including seaweed are the norm. The study suggested that consumption of about 4 to 6 grams of seaweed a day may be associated with low metabolic syndrome occurrence.

Jane Teas et al., reported in the Journal of Nutrition, March 25, 2009, that dietary seaweed modified estrogen and phytoestrogen in healthy women. It was noted that postmenopausal Japanese women who ate seaweed and soy foods daily showed a lower rate of breast cancer than postmenopausal women in the West.

An important study in the Nutrition Review Journal, December 2007, vol. 65, part 1, pp 535-43, reveals that kim is highly nutritious. Many articles have been reviewed to validate the claim made by the authors, Paul MacArtain, R. Gill, Mariel Brooks, Ross Campbell, and Ian R. Rowland, who was the investigator of the research. The authors stated that the nutritional value of seaweed, in terms of the fiber, vitamins, minerals, protein, and fat and lipid content is worth noting, and that people should consider eating seaweed on daily basis.

MacArtain, et al., stated the nutritional impact of kim as a source of essential nutrients is quantified. Many kim commercial companies do make many claims about the health benefits of eating kim, which can be misleading, but the nutrients in kim may be comparable to those of the fruits and vegetables that many scientists state are best for humans to eat. MacArtain’s review of the current literature also stated the nutrient content of kim as a food has not been assessed. This is because kim is not a food that is normally eaten in Western countries.

That being said, it is known that kim is high in fiber, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, iodine (a trace element), and protein. The fiber content in kim can help produce a feeling of satiety, and it also helps with improving digestion and decreasing colon transit time, which is a great factor in preventing colon cancer. One serving of kim is equal to one banana in fiber content, with 3.8 grams of fiber per 100-gram serving.

The mineral content of kim is also high. Kim is often described as a super natural source of minerals. Calcium is also found in much higher quantities in kim than in other foods, and it’s high in potassium, sodium, iron, copper, and iodine, which is needed for metabolic regulation.

Kim contains many antioxidants, including vitamins and protective pigments. Vitamins A, B, C, and E are all found in kim. All of these vitamins are required for good health. Vitamin B12 is normally found mostly in meats. Vegans who avoid all animal produces will benefit from eating kim, because it is one of the few vegetables that is a good source of B12.

The protein content of kim is excellent. Aspartic and glutamic acids are two powerful amino acids present in kim. These two amino acids are involved in the flavor development of kim.

To conclude, edible seaweeds, such as kim, is high in many important vitamins and minerals at levels that will supplement normal balanced diets. Western society may benefit from using seaweed in form of kim in their diet to improve health.

The following recipe is great for a snack or a light lunch or dinner. Enjoy!



Kimbap

3-4 cups cooked short grain rice, warm

Vinegar mixture to mix with rice: mix 3.5 tablespoons white vinegar with 3.5 teaspoons sugar and ½ teaspoon salt.

4 sheets of kim (19x21 cm)

1 small cucumber

2 eggs, beaten

½ cup carrots

½ cup pickled white radish

½ cup cooked ham, cut in strips

5 teaspoons soy sauce

2½ teaspoons sesame oil

1 teaspoon white sugar

Put cooked rice in a bowl, pour vinegar mixture over rice and mix with a wooden spoon.

Cut carrots into 5 cm long strips, cut radish in strips.

Beat eggs with 1 tablespoon oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon sugar. Pour egg mixture thinly in a greased pan and cook until golden brown. Remove from heat and cut into 4 lengthwise strips. Cut ham into strips. Set all the fillings on a plate.

To fill kim and roll

Lay a sudare (bamboo mat used to roll foods) on table so the slats run horizontally. Put a sheet of kim down with the long side facing you. With dampened hands, spread ¼ cup rice onto it, leaving a 2.5cm border along top edge. Press rice gentle into kim. Arrange cucumber, egg strips, carrots, radish, and ham in contrasting colors in the center. Grasp edges of kim and the mat from the side facing you, lift kim and mat slightly, and roll kim evenly and tightly away from you, pressing down with each quarter turn. Seal roll with a drop of water on far edge of kim. Press seam closed and transfer the roll to a cutting board. Makes 4 rolls in the same manner. With a sharp serrated knife, dipped in hot water, trim ends of rolls and cut each roll crosswise into 6-8 2cm sections. Serves 4-5 as an appetizer.



(Samiamounts@yahoo.com)



Samia Mounts is a long-time nutritionist and gourmet aficionado. She works as the Assistant Principal at Seoul American Elementary School.




  Skipping breakfast may lead to fatal heart disease: study       2010-10-29 10:07:58
A group of researchers from the University of Tasmania in Australia has confirmed that skipping breakfast is a major risk factor for deadly heart disease, the British Daily Mail reported.

The research revealed that an empty stomach causes weight gain, an increase in amount of fat around the waist and higher cholesterol levels, changing the way the body stores fat. Aside from these factors leading to the disease, adults, who also habitually skipped breakfast growing up, are said to have an increased chance of suffering from the disease over time.

Not eating the morning meal also prompts higher levels of insulin in the blood, a sign of the onset of diabetes.


(AP-Yonhap News)


Scientists attribute the causes of the lethal disease to a consumption of highly sugary snacks and a tendency to avoid exercise while consuming a minimal amount of fiber, vitamins and minerals.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which published this research, concluded that those who have been missing breakfast for a long period of time are more likely to experience symptoms of heart disease.

The scientists, who kept track of 2,184 volunteers over two decades, said omitting breakfast could also mean people are less likely to eat at regular times.

By Ryu Jeong-hyun (mutalisk3000@nate.com)
Intern reporter

Edited by Hannah Stuart-Leach




  Smoking raises risk of suicide       2010-10-29 09:56:21
‘Smoking raises risk of suicide’
2010-10-28 17:40

Experts agreed in a recent symposium that smoking raises the risk of a suicide attempt.

“According to several studies here and abroad, smokers were more likely to commit suicide than nonsmokers, and the more they smoke, the more the risk increases,” Jo Geun-ho, a psychiatrist at Eulji Hospital in Seoul, said during a meeting hosted by the National Medical Center on Tuesday.



To find out the correlation between smoking and suicide, a team at Harvard University conducted a survey on 300,000 American soldiers from 1987-1996. Smokers who smoked more than a pack of cigarettes a day were found to be 3.6 times more suicidal than nonsmokers.

Saying depression was more prevalent in young and middle-aged smokers, Jo explained that smoking worsens psychological conditions such as emotion, compulsion and aggression.

“A study also found that when a nonsmoker was injected with a high density of nicotine, negative emotions surged in the body,” said Jo, adding that anti-smoking treatment needs to be considered for depression patients who smoke.

Experts warn smoking causes negative emotions in smokers. (MCT)

Unlike other OECD member countries where the suicide rate has been declining since 2000, Korea has seen a surge of more than 50 percent over the past 10 years.

In 2009, Korea reported 31 suicides per 100,000 persons a year, the highest among the 33 most advanced countries. Japan and Hungary, two countries that have long been known for a prevalence of suicides, showed 24.2 and 21.5, respectively.

The suicide rate of elderly people aged 60 or older is seven-fold higher than that of 20-somethings and their high smoking rate can be considered one of the reasons, said Kim Dae-jin, a psychiatrist at Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital.

“Elderly citizens who smoke made up 16 percent of the total senior population. Considering the nation’s fast aging, this age group’s psychological health is a serious issue,” he said.

In order to prevent suicides among elderly smokers, anti-smoking campaign should be launched focusing on elderly people, he added.

“The nation’s high suicide rate is the result of various factors such as a surge in aging population, a lack of welfare system, the increase of social stress and depression,” said Ha Kyu-sub, a psychiatrist at Seoul National University College of Medicine, who also heads the Korean Association for Suicide Prevention.

Ha called on “systemic efforts” to prevent suicide by raising professional social workers and laying out the legal background for the related policy.

Some citizens were skeptical about the correlation between smoking and suicide, saying smoking sometimes prevents suicide by relieving intense stress or that they felt the urge to commit suicide when they tried to quit smoking.

However, experts pointed out that the addiction to nicotine itself is an extreme stress. “People think they relieve stress by smoking but it is a huge misunderstanding. The stress is something that would never have occurred if they didn’t smoke,” they explained.

By Lee Ji-yoon (jylee@heraldm.com)


  2010 Japan International Racquetball Championships       2010-10-01 17:02:07
EVENT:                IRT SATELITE TOUR
MAKE A WISH & INTERNATIONAL Cooperation fund-raising Charity Event
2010 Japan InternationalRacquetball Championships


Sponsor:        International Racquetball Tour Japan
Date:                Nov 6th —7th, 2010
Venue:                Tokyo YMCA Toyocyo Wellness Center
                2-2-20 Toyo
                Koto-ku, Tokyo, 135-0016

                Gold Gym Yokohama Bashamichi
                4-67-1 Bentendouri, Naka-ku
                Yokohama, Kanagawa 231-0007

Division        /entry fee:
        Men’s Pro: 90 US dollar
       (Players are limited to six. Two pros from out of Japan,
           four from Japan)
                Men’s & Women’s doubles Open:  55  US dollar (each player)
                   (limited to 12 pairs )
                Men’s & Women’s doubles B        :    55  US dollar (each player)
                    (limited to 8 pairs)
                Men’s & Women’s Singles Novice: 55US dollar
                     (limited to 8 entrant. Men and Women, total 16 players )

Rules:                Open and B doubles: tournament
                11-11-9 points , 1 time out (30 sec) for a match 

                SinglesNovice :league
                Qualifying     11 point 1 game, 1 time out.
                Final league  11-11-9 points,   1 time out (30 sec) for a
match
※ all rules is applied for only amateur. Rule may be changed by the number of entrant.  

Entry:                e-mail your name, entry division, address, phone number, home
club name, skill level to info@irt-jp.com
Entry Deadline:         Nov 15, 2010
Total entrants is limited to 96. We will stop entry when it
reached to the number.
        
Prize Money:        1st place 1,000 US dollar (only for pro)
                2nd place: 500 US dollar (only for pro)

Watching Ticket ¥1,500 for adult
                 ¥1,000 for students

Entrants:        Limit to 96 in total
Official Ball:        PENN HD purple for pro
                PENN Green for amateur
Procedure:        Send the application


MAKE・A・WISH We will donate 5 percent of the income from this event to MAKE・A ・WISH


IRT-JAPAN International Racquetball Organization
   3-2-6 Royal bldg 3F,
   Kashiwa-city, Chiba 277-0832 JAPAN
   Phone: 81-4-7100-1943  FAX: 81-4-7100-1943
   Website: www.irt-jp.com

  IRF World Junior Championships (2010. 11.15~ 11.20)       2010-09-29 15:28:00
IRF World Junior Championships
Opening ceremonies for the 22nd IRF World Junior Championships will take place on Sunday, November 14, followed by a full week of competition - from November 15-20 - which is one month earlier than previous years. The Spectrum Club in Los Angeles, California will host the pre-Thanksgiving week event and the event webpage has been updated with details.

Host Hotel Reservations OPEN ... The Hilton Woodland Hills has activated its online reservation page for players and families planning to attend the World Juniors.
http://www.internationalracquetball.com/events10/10irf_jrs1.htm
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