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Signs your HGH injections might be fake

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From Paul Byrd and Rick Ankiel to the upcoming Mitchell Report, accusations of HGH are flying around baseball. But Human Growth Hormone use is also on the rise outside of sports; plenty of people looking to get bigger are injecting themselves. So, let's say you want to bulk up, get taller, increase your focus or just feel younger. You've bought some HGH on the Internet or from a pharmacy (hint: stay away from BALCO). But, could it be fake? Here are some signs your HGH might be phony.

Your joints don't hurt

With all those new hormones being injected, you can't expect your body to just sit idly by. Among the side effects of HGH are joint pain, fluid retention and nerve pinching. There can also be unusual bone growth, potentially in the face. It's been linked to cancer, both in mice and humans, but a definitive tie hasn't been established.

You're not using a needle

Lots of sites, like this one, say they have HGH in oral or nasal form, either through a spray, tongue drop or pill. Trouble is, they're all bogus. There's no evidence that HGH can be received through any receptor not in the bloodstream. Not only that, the fragile molecules will break apart if diluted in a spray or pill. Some testify that using the spray makes them elated and more energetic, but that's something else talking, not the HGH.

It was approved by the FDA and you don't have Turner syndrome

byrd.jpgAny distributor can just say they've got FDA-approved HGH. But it's only true under a few conditions: you're a child with a growth defect, you have Turner syndrome, you have adult short bowel syndrome, you have a pituitary tumor or your muscles are deteriorating from AIDS. For a while, the FDA had only authorized HGH use for children, but in recent years they've expanded the allowances for adults with other conditions. Any other use of HGH is illegal, which is why all those sports stars are acting like kids trying to get out of high school gym and scrambling for a doctor's note (Paul Byrd, for example, is using a pituitary tumor as his excuse).

It's not putting you in debt

For HGH injections to work, you need to inject two or three times a day. Individual injections can cost as high as $25 each, which means just a week of injections can cost an arm and a leg (but don't worry, the rest of you will grow strong enough to make up for the missing limbs). The full bill can run around $2,000 a month. HGH scams will promise the same results for a much lower cost "“ some advertise as low as $35 a month.

You didn't get it out of Sylvester Stallone's suitcase

stallone.jpgOkay, this one isn't all that helpful. Odds are you didn't go rummaging through Sly's bag for your growth hormone. But if you had, you wouldn't have been disappointed, at least earlier this year. The "Rocky" star was caught importing 48 vials of HGH into Australia that month and pleaded guilty to the charges in May. He was first caught with the hormone during a routine airport check. Then three days later, customs officials caught him throwing four vials of growth testosterone from his hotel room when they came for a search. He apologized for being "ignorant to [the] official rules" and setting a bad example for the public, a fear ABC News was more than happy to explore. Sly's not the only celebrity who's been caught with HGH; there were traces of the hormone detected in Anna Nicole Smith's body during her autopsy.

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Land Cover CCI, ESA
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Afternoon Map
European Space Agency Releases First High-Res Land Cover Map of Africa
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Land Cover CCI, ESA

This isn’t just any image of Africa. It represents the first of its kind: a high-resolution map of the different types of land cover that are found on the continent, released by The European Space Agency, as Travel + Leisure reports.

Land cover maps depict the different physical materials that cover the Earth, whether that material is vegetation, wetlands, concrete, or sand. They can be used to track the growth of cities, assess flooding, keep tabs on environmental issues like deforestation or desertification, and more.

The newly released land cover map of Africa shows the continent at an extremely detailed resolution. Each pixel represents just 65.6 feet (20 meters) on the ground. It’s designed to help researchers model the extent of climate change across Africa, study biodiversity and natural resources, and see how land use is changing, among other applications.

Developed as part of the Climate Change Initiative (CCI) Land Cover project, the space agency gathered a full year’s worth of data from its Sentinel-2A satellite to create the map. In total, the image is made from 90 terabytes of data—180,000 images—taken between December 2015 and December 2016.

The map is so large and detailed that the space agency created its own online viewer for it. You can dive further into the image here.

And keep watch: A better map might be close at hand. In March, the ESA launched the Sentinal-2B satellite, which it says will make a global map at a 32.8 feet-per-pixel (10 meters) resolution possible.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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Scientists May Have Found the Real Cause of Dyslexia—And a Way to Treat It
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iStock

Dyslexia is often described as trying to read letters as they jump around the page. Because of its connections to reading difficulties and trouble in school, the condition is often blamed on the brain. But according to a new study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the so-called learning disability may actually start in the eyes.

As The Guardian reports, a team of French scientists say they've discovered a key physiological difference between the eyes of those with dyslexia and those without it. Our eyes have tiny light-receptor cells called rods and cones. The center of a region called the fovea is dominated by cones, which are also responsible for color perception.

Just as most of us have a dominant hand, most have a dominant eye too, which has more neural connections to the brain. The study of 60 people, divided evenly between those with dyslexia and those without, found that in the eyes of non-dyslexic people, the arrangement of the cones is asymmetrical: The dominant eye has a round, cone-free hole, while the other eye has an unevenly shaped hole. However, in people with dyslexia, both eyes have the same round hole. So when they're looking at something in front of them, such as a page in a book, their eyes perceive exact mirror images, which end up fighting for visual domination in the brain. This could explain why it's sometimes impossible for a dyslexic person to distinguish a "b" from a "d" or an "E" from a "3".

These results challenge previous research that connects dyslexia to cognitive abilities. In a study published earlier this year, people with the condition were found to have a harder time remembering musical notes, faces, and spoken words. In light of the new findings, it's unclear whether this is at the root of dyslexia or if growing up with vision-related reading difficulties affects brain plasticity.

If dyslexia does come down to some misarranged light-receptors in the eye, diagnosing the disorder could be as simple as giving an eye exam. The explanation could also make it easy to treat without invasive surgery. In the study, the authors describe using an LED lamp that blinks faster than the human eye can perceive to "cancel out" one of the mirror images perceived by dyslexic readers, leaving only one true image. The volunteers who read with it called it a "magic lamp." The researchers hope to further experiment with it to see see if it's a viable treatment option for the millions of people living with dyslexia.

[h/t The Guardian]

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