Discover Magazine: Stem Cell Breakthrough Puts Type 1 Diabetes Cure In Reach.
“The researchers developed a 30-day, six-step process that transforms embryonic stem cells into pancreatic beta cells, the same sugar-regulating cells that are destroyed by the immune system of people with type 1 diabetes. The new cells can read the levels of sugars that enter the body after, say, a meal, and secrete the perfect dose of insulin to balance sugar levels.”
Slate: Annie Baker’s The Flick and the joy of reading plays.
One of the things I still do to stay fluent (in case my stutter ever comes back) is to read plays aloud. It’s fun. We used to have a small group of literati in college who’d get together every so often and just read (and act, of course) something off-the-cuff. Beats Trivial Pursuit. I was once told I sound like a mix between Robert Goulet and Yogi Bear when reading “Hamlet.”
Aging Journal: Reversal of cognitive decline - A novel therapeutic program.
Of interest. They are not proposing diet-and-exercise changes alone will cure Alzheimer’s, but that it may go a long way to making existing drugs more effective by maintaining ‘plasticity.’ Of course this is an anecdotal study - a larger clinical trial is needed.
NPR: Firestone Did What Governments Have Not: Stopped Ebola In Its Tracks.
“Dr. Flannery of the CDC says a key reason for Firestone’s success is the close monitoring of people who have potentially been exposed to the virus — and the moving of anyone who has had contact with an Ebola patient into voluntary quarantine.” Money and procedure.
Salon: Fracking company teams with Susan G. Komen, introduces pink drill bits “for the cure&rd
Truly bizarre. Ammonia, benzine, toluene, diesel are all so very beneficial for cancer sufferers. I remind those who say fracking fluids will not surface in our lifetimes because they’re deposited under ‘impermeable rock layers’, that Los Alamos National Labs is experiencing this exact scenario - chemicals injected that were not supposed to surface for hundreds of years are appearing in ever-greater concentrations in local wells.
The Atlantic: Why Americans Are Drowning in Medical Debt.
“... patients have few options beyond attempting to research hospital charges ahead of time—which is probably the furthest thing from a person’s mind when they are most in need of a hospital.” A friend got caught in the ‘out-of-network’ scam. It was the physician who should have known not to send out for blood tests to an out-of-network lab. After a complaint, they soaked the cost themselves.
You’ve probably heard about Soylent.
Here. A whole lot of quasi-cerebral hoo-hah. The major ingredient is maltodextrin. Blech. And it uses sucralose, which is gathering more and more negative studies for the destruction of beneficial gut bugs. Even MetRx (a better alternative to the above, methinks, comparing ingredient lists) is using sucralose these days. Shame.
Back to Tang and Space Food Sticks.
Science of Us: Ebola Fears Are Triggering Mass Hypochondria.
“We tend to think of hypochondriacs as the irrational individuals who, after spending entirely too much time on WebMD, become convinced that a minor headache means a brain tumor, or that a lingering cough means lung cancer. But that anxiety and fear some of us are having over catching Ebola (a highly unlikely health outcome)? That’s hypochondria, too ...” The media is exacerbating this. Too much information can be worse than too little.
SciAm: Ebola in the U.S.—Politics and Public Health Don’t Mix.
“We don’t need high tech to control Ebola. This has been demonstrated repeatedly. In the 1995 Kikwit oubreak, we learned that transmission was not airborne and that the epidemic could be controlled with very basic personal protective equipment. PAPRs and HazMat suits may, in fact, be more of a risk, given they complicate care.”
[Note: I hate to have to dive into the whole Ebola thing, but after watching a few silent minutes of cable news on a neighboring treadmill (mine was blank), I feel a little commonsense might help things along. The cable newscasters were, on one hand, saying coughing and sneezing on airplanes was safe, but encountering it in your home, you need surgical masks. The amount of wrong and disinformation getting broadcast, along with the thinly veiled ‘informative fear-and-panic’, is getting up my nose. There are no health hypochondriacs like American health hypochondriacs. Tell someone you have a fever, see what happens.]
CJR: Reporters struggle to stay safe covering Ebola.
“Really, if you’re going anywhere that requires personal protective equipment, you need to be under the supervision of someone who knows what he or she is doing. Proper removal requires about 20 sequential steps, with spraying and hand washing throughout.” In which we may see the act of feeding the 24/7 cable news behemoth is a suicide that involuntarily takes others along for the ride. Freelance journalists are free to go just about anywhere; the question is, should they? In this case, their barebones modus operandi and ill-preparedness can kill innocents.
If I hear one more newscaster ...
... trying to sew fear-and-panic over ‘the man in Dallas with a bowler’, I’m gonna implode. I know you want to be all PC and all, newsies, but if you can’t get the pronunciation correct, don’t even try. Most tourists are calling it eee-BOW-lah anyway.
Every time newscasters do it, I picture John Cleese in the Ministry of Silly Walks.
SciAm/Nature: Manure Fertilizer Increases Antibiotic Resistance.
“Perhaps we’ve been enriching inadvertently for bugs that could eventually jump across agriculture to hospitals. [snip] Before we say anything about ‘nitrogen treatment is terrible and organic is wonderful’, we need to see what the downsides are.”
NiceMarmot: A Place for Everything.
Thought-provoking. What reading this brought to mind: what if Alzheimer’s is a loss of one’s mental map key ... no sense of scale, no ability to quantify the raw data within one’s mental map? We know the brain is very good at squirrelling stuff away in parts unknown. I wonder if the ‘key’ could ever be restored, post diagnosis. Just an amateur’s five second reflection.
Authority Nutrition: Whey Protein 101 - Surprising Benefits of Powders and Shakes.
I don’t need convincing. I currently use NOW whey protein isolate, unflavored. No sugars. I add my own unsweetened chocolate powder or other flavorings.
Guardian.UK: HIV pandemic originated in Kinshasa in the 1920s, say scientists.
“Though the virus probably crossed from chimpanzees to humans in southern Cameroon years earlier, HIV remained a regional infection until it entered the capital of what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”
DesignYouTrust: Iris Grace, The Five-Year-Old Autistic Art Prodigy.
Guardian.UK: Aspirin and a stiff upper lip are best remedies for a broken heart.
SciAm: Dry Roasting May Up Peanut Allergic Potential.
“... here’s a finding that could start to thwart the peanut threat: peanuts that are dry roasted may be more likely to trigger an allergic reaction than do their raw counterparts. At least that’s the case in mice. ” My italic emphasis.
SciAm: How Big Animals Deter Cancer.
NY Times: Artificial Sweeteners May Disrupt Body’s Blood Sugar Controls.
So then ... what’s the point?
NY Times: F.D.A. Panel Weighs Restrictions on Testosterone Drugs.
“A fifth to a quarter of men who are prescribed testosterone have not had a baseline test for their testosterone level. And 60 percent of the prescribing is done by primary care doctors, while just 20 percent of the drugs are prescribed by specialists like endocrinologists and urologists.” So it’s treated like the depression pharmaceutical market then. So what’s the problem? (tongue in cheek)
$3 Million Gift Creates Stuttering Institute at UT Austin, Provides Free Treatments.
ProPublica: A New Way Insurers are Shifting Costs to the Sick.
“Health insurance companies are no longer allowed to turn away patients because of their pre-existing conditions or charge them more because of those conditions. But some health policy experts say insurers may be doing so in a more subtle way: by forcing people with a variety of illnesses — including Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and epilepsy — to pay more for their drugs.” Aha. I wondered why some rudimentary generic drugs had gone exponential in price.
ABC: Experts - Chopin’s Heart Shows Signs of TB.
“The experts said heart is ” very well preserved,” but they did not open the jar.” The benefits of a long soak in quality cognac.