Sunday, November 30, 2014

Olestra, Fat Free Failure

The Failure of the Fat Free Revolution: "....In 2011, a Purdue study hammered the final nail in the olestra coffin. It found that olestra incites weight gain by tricking the body into thinking it doesn’t need to metabolize fatty foods. Used to olestra fat without any calories, the body is surprised by the calories of the real thing. The finding fits our current organic ethos; it would have surprised parents in the 1990s who regarded fat-free cookies and crackers as healthy. It’s only relatively recently that applying the laboratory to our food supply ceased to seem futuristic and be in vogue. Today, olestra has achieved immortality, just not in the way its inventors expected: in 2010, TIME Magazine ranked it as one of the 50 worst inventions of all time."

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Phineas Gage, Famous Frontal Lobe Patient, Neuroscience

Another truth stranger than fiction--

Phineas Gage neuroscience case: True story of famous frontal lobe patient is better than textbook accounts.: "....Modern neuroscientific knowledge makes the idea of Gage’s recovery all the more plausible. Neuroscientists once believed that brain lesions caused permanent deficits: Once lost, a faculty never returned. More and more, though, they recognize that the adult brain can relearn lost skills. This ability to change, called brain plasticity, remains somewhat mysterious, and it happens achingly slowly. But the bottom line is that the brain can recover lost functions in certain circumstances. In particular, Macmillan suggests that Gage’s highly regimented life in Chile aided his recovery. People with frontal-lobe damage often have trouble completing tasks, especially open-ended tasks, because they get distracted easily and have trouble planning. But in Chile Gage never had to plan his day: Prepping the coach involved the same steps every morning, and once he hit the road, he simply had to keep driving forward until it was time to turn around. This routine would have introduced structure into his life and kept him focused...."

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Implanted Electrical Devices Treat Hypertension, Other Conditions

Bodily functions, Parkinson's--

Implant Offers New Treatment for Hypertension | MIT Technology Review: "...Implanted electrical devices that control bodily functions have been used for many years. Pacemakers for heart patients are perhaps best known, but electrical devices are also used to control Parkinson’s disease and, experimentally, some psychiatric conditions (see “Brain Pacemakers” and “Brain Implants Can Rest Misfiring Circuits”). They may be helpful even for such unlikely conditions as bladder dysfunction and rheumatoid arthritis (see “Implanted Device Controls Rheumatoid Arthritis”)...."

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Sunday, November 9, 2014

Facial Arachnids, What Are You Really Kissing?

Who or What are you Really Kissing?

Three Things You Didn’t Know About the Arachnids That Live on Your Face | NC State News: "You are not alone. Your body is a collection of microbes, fungi, viruses…and even other animals. In fact, you aren’t even the only animal using your face. Right now, in the general vicinity of your nose, there are at least two species of microscopic mites living in your pores. You would expect scientists to know quite a lot about these animals (given that we share our faces with them), but we don’t...."

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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Transform American Medicine With A Simple System

Why someone or something needs to take leadership and start setting protocols and standards:

This Man's Simple System Could Transform American Medicine | WIRED: "Sometimes the NNT can be functionally infinite. Haney Mallemat, an emergency physician at the University of Maryland School of Medicine describes what happens to patients who come to the ER with upper gastrointestinal bleeding. They’re given an intravenous proton pump inhibitor and kept in the hospital, sometimes for as long as 72 hours. But Mallemat, who uses the NNT web site with his patients and students alike, points out that “of all the studies they’ve looked at, no person saw any benefit.” No one was harmed, either, unless you consider the cost and time spent in a hospital a harm, which most people would. (The practice gets a red on the NNT site.) But doctors administer proton pump inhibitors because administering proton pump inhibitors is what they’re trained to do. Habits—whether based on old literature, biased studies, or just educated hunches that get ingrained in protocol—die hard."

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