New Scientist: Blood of world’s oldest woman hints at limits of life.
“Tantalisingly, Holstege says the results raise the possibility of rejuvenating ageing bodies with injections of stem cells saved from birth or early life. These stem cells would be substantially free of mutations and have full-length telomeres.”
PacificStandard: What Life Is Like When Having Your Period Means You Are Shunned.
Helping break these taboos would be more rewarding than the usual ‘Eat-Pray-Love’ self-discovery tourism.
US Nat’l Library of Medicine: An Ancient Medical Treasure at Your Fingertips.
If you don’t even trust aspirin, here’s an option for you.
Science 2.0: Neuroscientists Discover Brain Circuits Involved In Emotion.
“This latest research has discovered a brain pathway leading from the PAG to a highly localised part of the cerebellum, called the pyramis. The research went on to show that the pyramis is involved in generating freezing behaviour when central survival networks are activated during innate and learnt threatening situations. The pyramis may therefore serve as an important point of convergence for different survival networks in order to react to an emotionally challenging situation.” It may point the way to help for panic disorders.
ProPublica: MIA In The War On Cancer: Where Are The Low-Cost Treatments?
DiscoverMagazine: Lead in Ancient Rome’s Water Was 100 Times Natural Levels.
“Despite the significantly elevated levels of lead in Rome’s waters during the empire’s height, researchers noted that their work does not examine what, if any, health problems were caused.” No doubt, the start of the consumer-waste bottled water movement … ?
Bloomberg: How Americans Die.
Animated chart porn. Nicely designed, with good use of color.
WaPo: Jenny McCarthy says she isn’t anti-vaccine.
Guardian.UK: Fertility mystery solved: protein discovered that joins sperm with eggs.
It’s like two-part epoxy … ?
SciAm: Mummy’s Hair Reveals Signs of Arsenic Poisoning.
Sounds so sensational, until you read: “However, researchers weren’t able to determine whether the people had ingested arsenic or if the toxic element in the soil had diffused into the mummies’ hair after they were buried.” My italic emphasis.
The Verge: Gut feelings - the future of psychiatry may be inside your stomach.
“Probiotics’ potential to treat human behavior is increasingly apparent, but will manufacturers one day toss an anxiety-fighting blend into their probiotic brews? It’s a distinct possibility …” Science should map the gut biome before manufacturers start pushing out ‘beneficial’ blends.
SF New Mexican: Patients hit with fees amid health care consolidation.
Representatives of several of the state agencies that were contacted said consumers would be best served by asking whether out-of-pocket hospital-based service charges apply under their insurance plans before setting an appointment at a specialty clinic. Caveat emptor, never moreso than with health care.
MetaFilter: Tamiflu, Roche and the Cochrane Collaboration.
Having worked many drug rollouts as an A/V tech, I can tell you this sort of thing is true for just about every drug out there.
NPR: Measles At A Rock Concert Goes Viral In A Bad Way.
“The reason we’re doing this is that it’s so highly contagious. [snip] It can stay in the air for hours after the contagious person has left. If we don’t treat these people, the chain of transmission can continue.”
UCL.UK: UCL study finds new evidence linking fruit and veg consumption with lower mortality.
BrandeisNOW: Don’t beat yourself up, you’ll live longer.
“The research illustrates how easy it is for stress to build over time and how a seemingly small daily stressor, such as traffic, can impact a person’s health if they don’t have the right strategies to deal with it.” Find your chill pill and take it regularly.
ShortFormBlog: This drug cures most cases of hepatitis C, but there’s a problem.
Slate: Electroconvulsive therapy for autism.
[Puts me in mind of the old ‘cures’ for stuttering. Scalding the tongue with a hot iron. Trimming the sides of the tongue. Searing the lips. Putting spiked objects in the mouth to prevent the tongue from ‘resting’. And other whacked-out concepts that work for a day, a week, then stop. When I came of age, I appreciated Francis Bacon’s cure all the more: copious amounts of warm wine laved on the back of the tongue. That works every time!]
BBC: Ketamine ‘exciting’ depression therapy.
Only 28 people in the study. Eight showed results (about a third). I wouldn’t get too excited. And I wouldn’t have put it in the news yet, really, if I were the BBC.
FrancisWade: Agent Orange 40 Years On - Heartbreaking Photos inside Vietnam Orphanages.
“I think there’s a lack of understanding about how damaging the effects of Agent Orange continue to be. Remember that the spraying of the dioxin stopped more than 40 years ago, so you’d think it was confined to history, but that’s not the case at all—thousands of children are being born each year with severe deformities that are likely linked to ongoing Agent Orange contamination of the soil and water.”
NHS: No proof Earl Grey can fight heart disease.
“… this study tested a pure extract rather than tea containing the extract, the effects of which may be different. For instance it is unclear how much Earl Grey you would need to be exposed to a comparable level of HGMF; it may take gallons of the stuff.” I’ve seen more than one outfit touting this study as a reason to drop statins and start chugging Earl Grey. Beware such studies, do your research first - and be aware that bergamot can have a similar drug interaction effect as grapefruit (contraindicated for several drugs).
DiscoverMag: Study proves cat bacon just as tasty as pig bacon.
“The high cost of swine production has caused producers of processed meat products to seek alternative sources of bulk meat. The objective of this study was to compare the nutritional values and taste acceptance of processed cured bacon produced from readily-available feline sources to that of traditional porcine bacon.” Some are going to hate me for posting that. [It is a joke, people.]
ProPublica: In Fracking Fight, a Worry About How Best to Measure Health Threats.
Of note. UK, pay attention.
BBC News: Altitude sickness ‘two illnesses’ says Edinburgh University study.
“For more than two decades we have thought of altitude sickness as a single disease. We have now shown that it is at least two separate syndromes that happen to occur in the same people at a similar time.”
Observer.UK: Black death was not spread by rat fleas, say researchers.
“According to scientists working at Public Health England in Porton Down, for any plague to spread at such a pace it must have got into the lungs of victims who were malnourished and then been spread by coughs and sneezes. It was therefore a pneumonic plague rather than a bubonic plague.”