NY Times: Fukushima’s Shameful Cleanup.
“It is long past time that the government take direct control of the disaster site.” What’ve I been saying for a year or so?
SciAm: New Mexico Cancels Permit to Expand Leaky Nuclear Waste Site.
“New Mexico on Friday withdrew a temporary permit allowing two new disposal vaults at a U.S. government nuclear waste dump grappling with a release of radiation in February, state regulators said.” Remember, the Feds really wanted to widen the scope of WIPP to detritus with higher radioactive levels. Now they find they can’t even handle the low-grade stuff properly.
Observer.UK: Scientists to classify gut bacteria to prevent the side-effects of radiotherapy.
“There is 1.4kg of bacteria in the average human gut. That is roughly the same weight as the human brain. Indeed, you can think of your microbiome as an extra organ inside your body and its behaviour can have distinct consequences.”
ooomf Blog: Tips and other good things.
Perhaps my usual “Italian F1 driver” working posture ain’t so bad after all ...
SciAm:New Drugs May Transform Down Syndrome.
“The possibility of actually giving Down syndrome people the ability to improve learning and memory significantly—that’s something I never thought I’d see in my entire career. [snip] And it’s now happening. The game has changed.”
DailyKos: Scientists identify protein that protects aging brains from Alzheimer’s and dementia.
“Our work raises the possibility that the abnormal protein aggregates associated with Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases may not be sufficient to cause dementia; you may also need a failure of the brain’s stress response system.”
Forbes: Lack Of Sleep Kills Brain Cells, New Study Shows.
“It’s the first study to show (if only in animals) that sleep loss can lead to irreversible brain cell damage.” My work schedules in the 80’s and 90’s have doomed me, if true … (eye rolling and drooling starts) ...
Paris Review: Ovid’s Ancient Beauty Elixirs.
“The rumors are true: it’s Publius Ovidius Naso’s 2,057th birthday. You can score some points with the classicists in your life by mentioning this in casual conversation, especially if you toss in a reference to the Metamorphoses.”
SciAm: Antianxiety Drugs Successfully Treat Autism.
“Exactly how much impact the drugs could have on a given patient remains unknown, and no human clinical trials have yet been performed.” Think twice before diving on this one. Benzodiazepenes have one of the most insidious addiction profiles out there; it’s not the ‘high’ … it’s the withdrawal. Even when taking them, you start ‘chasing the half-life’ of the pills long before the next pill is due. The “Xanax twitch”, the inability to concentrate, the watching-of-the-clock. Don’t sentence your children to such an existence, without concrete evidence.
KRQE.com: Increased radiation in Carlsbad not related to WIPP leak.
“He says high wind speeds are causing natural radiation found in the Earth’s soil to land on the filters. ‘This is not man-made stuff, but God-made stuff that’s in the ground that’s getting blown around.’” There’s the quote of the week.
ArtDaily: Archaeologists find 3,200-year-old skeleton with a spreading form of cancer.
“Cancer, one of the world’s leading causes of death today, remains almost absent relative to other pathological conditions in the archaeological record, giving rise to the conclusion that the disease is mainly a product of modern living and increased longevity. However, investigation of the skeleton of a young adult male found in February 2013 at the archaeological site of Amara West in northern Sudan has revealed evidence of metastatic carcinoma from a malignant soft-tissue tumour on the collar bones, shoulder blades, upper arms, vertebrae, ribs, pelvis and thigh bones. Buried in a tomb around c.1200BC, this is the earliest complete example in the world of a human who suffered metastatic cancer found to date.”
LA Times: Fed report slams safety lapses at New Mexico nuclear facility.
“Workers at a New Mexico nuclear waste storage facility that suffered an underground fire and radiation leak last month lack adequate safety training, oversight or a proper response plan for emergencies, a federal investigation has found.” Surprised? No. Concerned? Yes.
Guardian.UK: Statins have no side effects? This is what our study really found.
CJR: Hospitals find one more way to jack up healthcare costs.
“Trauma centers are specialized units that have to be ready 24 hours a day, and no one disputes that that’s expensive. That’s why in 2002 a federal committee authorized trauma centers to charge what amounts to a cover fee for some incoming patients, in addition to the cost of actual services. But since then, the fees have ballooned without regulation or oversight.”
SciAm: Spice Imports Carry Lots of Filth.
Yum, yum. Bugs, poop and mold. The ‘rodent filth’ column makes me twitch, living here in hantavirus/plague country.
Guardian.UK: Statin side-effects minimal, study finds.
“Scientists examining the results of 29 trials involving more than 80,000 people found that only a small minority of side effects were attributable to statins. Patients were found to have a greater number of serious adverse effects from inactive pills taken as part of a control group.” Interestingly, Consumer Reports (of all places) has recommendations for best performance vs. price.
Presentation Zen: Sam Berns presents “My Philosophy for a Happy Life”.
Guardian.UK: The scientific study has become a flawed manual for living.
“Every ‘study’ becomes a guide to modern life, a teacher who knows us better than we know ourselves, an analyst who can look into our souls. Where our ancestors relied on the Bible or at least a political philosophy, we can write our biography in studies. They become the measure against which we judge ourselves. Worse, they become the measure we hold other people to.”
WaPo: How virus sleuths and public health officials track the cause of a mysterious illness.
LRB: Bee Wilson reviews ‘Farmageddon’ and ‘Planet Carnivore’.
Guardian.UK: Fukushima’s children at centre of debate over rates of thyroid cancer.
If equipment sensitivity is suspected, it’s easy to prove. Pick another group of children, far removed from Fukushima, and run the same tests. Every experiment needs a control.
PubMed: High-dose of vitamin C supplementation reduce amyloid plaque burden …
Eat your fruits.
Guardian.UK: HIV gene therapy using GM cells hailed a success after trial.
“Tests on people enrolled in the trial found that the disease-resistant cells multiplied in their bodies. Half of patients were taken off their usual drugs for three months and scientists recorded reduced levels of the virus.”
99U: Do Antidepressants Stifle Creativity?
Yes. But. And it’s a very big “but.” Depends on individual tolerance. Both of depression and medication.