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May 26, 2016 / 18 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘University of Haifa.’

Israeli Scientist Finds Omega-3 Reduces Smoking

Monday, November 10th, 2014

Want to stop smoking, for real, and you just can’t seem to manage it on your own but hate the thought of patches and “chemicals” ?

A new study conducted by an Israeli scientist  has found that Omega-3 reduces a smoker’s craving for nicotine, thereby making it easier to quit the unhealthy habit.

The study was headed by Dr. Sharon Rabinovitz Shenkar, head of the addictions program at University of Haifa’s school of criminology and the department of psychopharmacology laboratory at Bar Ilan University.

Subjects participating in the study were asked to take five capsules per day for 30 days of Omega-3 950 produced by Solgar. A second group, used as controls, received placebos. Neither group was asked to stop smoking.

The groups included 38 smokers ages 18 to 45 who somked at least 10 cigarettes per day during the past year, and an average of 14 cigarettes per day. The average subject had been smoking for at least 11 years.

Levels of nicotine craving and consumption were measured using a series of scales at the beginning of the study, after 30 days of treatment and after 60 days (30 days after stopping the Omega-3 capsules.)

“The substances and medications currently used to help people reduce and quit smoking are not very effective and cause adverse effects that are not easy to cope with,” Shenkar observed.

“The findings of this study indicated that Omega-3, an inexpensive and easily available dietary supplement with almost no side effects, reduces smoking significantly,” she added.

Among myriad other health problems, smoking also reduces the levels of essential fatty acids in the brain – especially that of Omega-3. When the body is deficient in Omega-3, the cellular structure of nerve cells is damaged, and it interrupts neurotransmission in areas of the brain involved with feeling pleasure and satisfaction, Shenkar explained.

These areas are essential in reward and decision-making, and are very important in the process of the development, maintenance and relapse of the addict and inability to stop smoking.

“In simpler terms, Omega-3 deficiency makes it harder for the smoker’s body to deal with its craving for another cigarette.

The findings of the new study show that while no difference was found between the groups at the beginning of the study, after thirty days the smokers who had taken Omega-3 reduced their cigarettes by an average of two a day (an eleven-percent decrease), even though they were not asked to change their smoking habits in any way. No less important, they showed a significant decrease in nicotine craving. After another thirty days of not taking anything, cigarette cravings increased slightly but still remained significantly lower than their initial level. In other words, the craving to smoke cigarettes did not return to the baseline level even a month after stopping to take the supplement. The group receiving the placebo did not show any significant changes in their craving levels or in the number of cigarettes they smoked a day during the sixty days.

“Earlier studies have proven that an imbalance in Omega-3 is also related to mental health, depression and the ability to cope with pressure and stress,” Shenkar emphasized. “Pressure and stress, in turn, are associated with the urge to smoke. It is also known that stress and tension levels rise among people who quit smoking. Despite all this, this connection between all these factors had not been studied until now.”

The finding that people who were not interested in stopping to smoke showed such a significant change reinforces the assumption that taking Omega-3 can help smokers to regulate their addiction and reduce their smoking, Shenkar pointed out.

Hana Levi Julian

Cheerleading and Legal Support for Terrorism at Haifa University

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

In recent days the University of Haifa in northern Israel, where I am employed, has come under intensive criticism because the “legal clinics” operated by its School of Law are assigning law students the task of counseling and defending convicted Arab terrorists and mass murderers of Jews.

The president of the university issued a statement defending the activities of these clinics. The dean of the law school, together with the head of the clinics, went on the attack and denounced those who criticize the clinics’ practice of counseling and defending terrorists.

The dean, Prof. Gad Barzilai, is a radical who is active in leftist “human rights” groups and involved in academic politicization in Israel. (Barzilai was a defender of the Department of Politics at Ben Gurion University – the worst anti-Israel agitprop center in the country – when an international panel of experts called for shutting it down).

Barzilai claims that all criticism of the law school for its involvement with terrorists is politically motivated. In particular he denounced the Zionist student movement Im Tirtzu for criticizing the law school. Several faculty members at the university called for filing SLAPP suits against the students to silence them, and one anti-Israel faculty extremist complained that the clinics were not defending the terrorists enough.

Im Tirtzu claims that 80 percent of the cases taken on by the University of Haifa’s legal clinic for “prisoner rights” involves Arab terrorists and spies. One involved a terrorist and convicted rapist seeking a furlough.

Dean Barzilai insists the law school is simply devoted to “repairing society” and defending the “weakened populations” of Israel.

In the past, the law school prohibited the singing of Hatikvah, the Israeli national anthem, at its graduation ceremonies, claiming it would offend the sensitivities of Arab students.

On a discussion list for faculty members in the University of Haifa, I posted the following as a response to the statement from the dean of law:

To: The Segel-Plus Discussion List

From: Prof. Steven Plaut

Re: Some more Ideas for the Law Clinics to Achieve Social Justice and Help the Weak

Date: November 13, 2013

I am sure we are all grateful for the amazing statement distributed by the Dean of Law and the head of the “law clinics” in the school of law. It is chock full of impressive claims and arguments.

There we learn how the law school is dedicated to achieving reforms of and repairs of society without any need for students (or faculty?) to study social science.

We learn how the law school is dedicated to rehabilitation of prisoners without the need to take any courses or training in social work.

We learn there is such a discipline taught at the law school entitled “feminist law,” as well as dedication to supporting “Palestinian Israelis,” whatever that is, and not only via prohibition of the singing of Hatikvah, the national anthem.

How fortunate that, unlike the Im Tirtzu student group, the law school is not politicized!

And most importantly, we learn the law school is dedicated to recruiting students to counsel and serve imprisoned terrorists and mass murderers because of the school’s concern for “weakened populations,” but clearly not counseling and serving the families of the victims of these terrorists.

Numerous questions arise from reading the distinguished statement by the Dean of Law and the head of the “clinics.”

First of all, we would all like to know whether the university’s law clinics will be defending the gentleman who stabbed the soldier Eden Atias in the neck this morning in Afula, after which he bled to death.

It goes without saying that the law school will not be sending any students to help the family of Atias defend itself or litigate. After all, they live in Upper Nazareth and so are not part of any “weakened population.”

After that, can we expect the law clinics to send out students to counsel and defend the convicted murderers of the child Dani Katz, who was kidnapped and murdered by Arab terrorists just a few steps from the campus?

Surely they are as deserving of such counseling as the other terrorist clients of the law school clinics. But since the family of Dani Katz lives in Denya (a luxurious upscale neighborhood), they clearly are not part of any “weakened population” in need of special attention from the clinics.

But why stop here? What about the terrorists who participated in the massacre of children in Maalot in 1974? I do not know if any of the perps are now in prison or will ever be, but – if they are – surely they are deserving of a special clinic in which students are sent out to promote social justice by defending them.

As for the victims of the massacre and their families, these are no doubt well entrenched in the middle class these days and so there is no need for them to be treated as clients of the clinics.

And why not get ahead of current events? Why should the law school clinics not offer their services to the leaders of Iran, so that if Iran ever uses nuclear weapons against Israel, those Iranian leaders will know they can expect qualified legal counseling and representation from the clinics?

Among those who clearly can never be part of the “weakened population” are settlers, haredim, Russian immigrants, soldiers, and members of Shas (religious party of Sephardic Jews).

More generally, would it not be simpler just to announce openly that the test for being part of a weakened population is participation in anti-Israel activities, while the test for being in a non-weakened population is to be the victim of any of the former?

And since all anti-Israel political groups in the universe these days define themselves as “human rights defenders” – while never of course defending Jewish victims of Arab terrorism because clearly those folks are entitled to no human rights, the law school can form alliances with such anti-Israel groups in the name of human rights. Just as long as it never forms any alliances with any non-leftist or pro-Israel NGOs.

Finally, it is always refreshing when people openly promote the idea that the purpose of a university is to indoctrinate students in far-leftist ideology and to engage in political advocacy.

It helps to prevent confusion of purpose. It helps to convey the single correct point of view. After all, alliance, collaboration, and semi-merger with far-leftist anti-Israel activist groups is not political at all for a university department. Only the Im Tirtzu student group is political.

Steven Plaut

Oldest-Ever Graves Decorated with Flowers Found in Israel

Monday, July 1st, 2013

Israeli archaeologists have unearthed 12,000-old Natufian society graves that are the oldest-ever proof that flowers were used for decorating graves.

The Natufian society is considered to be one of the first, if not the first, to reside in permanent villages instead of being nomadic, according to University of Haifa archaeologist Daniel Nadel. Carbon dating revealed that the graves were between 11,700 and 13,700 years old.

The graves were discovered in the nearby Mount Carmel area overlooking Haifa, with imprints of flowering plants, such as mint and sage, stamped into the dirt of the ancient graves.

“From [the Neanderthal] example until the Natufians,” a period spanning some 50,000 years, “there is not one example” of flowers decorating graves, Nadel and his team wrote in study published Monday in the journal of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

People may have been using flowers during the entire period, but “finding such flowers is very difficult” since they decay, Nadel added.

He based the importance of the use of flowers on evidence that indicates that the place of burial was dug out and that a thin veneer of mud, a form of primitive plaster, was used to cover the sides. Plants lined the bottom of the grave before bodies were buried, and scented flowers were likely chosen as much for their aromas as their appearance.

“There are hundreds of flowers on Mount Carmel during the spring, but only a small group provide very strong fragrances. It’s impossible that the Natufians didn’t recognize the smell,” Nadel explained.

Twenty-nine skeletons, all within a 160 square-foot area, were found several years ago, but meticulous research recently led Nadel to reach his conclusions. The impression from plant stems and flowers indicated that they may have been from sage and mint and other aromatic plants.

The researched were able to identify them under a scanning electron microscope.

Nadel estimated that the burial were very ceremonial because animal bones also were found in the cave cemetery.

“They didn’t just place the bodies inside the graves and leave,” he said. “We have to envision a colorful ceremony that maybe included dancing, singing, and eating. They may have hunted a few animals and had a big meal around the graves and then threw bones or meat inside.”

Like today, the grave flowers were intended both for those who died and for the survivors.

Jewish Press Staff

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/oldest-ever-graves-decorated-with-flowers-found-in-israel/2013/07/01/

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