Tag Archives: health

On The Path to Universal Blood

It used to be the case that in the event of needing a blood transfusion you could only get specific types of blood. For certain people that could be a worse thing than others, but it could all be a thing of the past thanks to scientists at the University of Copenhagen led by Henrik Clausen. The Danish team have developed a way to scrub the antigens (sugars that give blood its “type”) from blood cells, effectively transforming it into the universally-accepted type “O”. The process uses two enzymes, one of which is found in the human gut and the other commonly causes opportunistic infection.

??The A and B antigens, which give blood groups their name, are sugars carried on the surface of red blood cells. Human red blood cells can carry one of these antigens, both, or neither; giving four blood groups: A, B, AB and O, respectively.??

For more about this amazing discovery, read this “article”:http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn11508&feedId=online-news_rss20 in the “New Scientist”:http://www.newscientist.com/ . Credit goes to the “American Red Cross”:http://www.givebloodredcross.org for the blood-type chart used above.

British women have Europe’s biggest breasts

According to a survey performed by the European bra company Triumph, British women have the highest percentage of women (57%) who have a cup size of D or higher. Italians are predominantly B-cups, and the Swedes and Swiss women are the smallest. Here are the results of the survey:

Percentage of women wearing cup size: D, C, B, A
————————-
UK 57, 18, 19, 6
Denmark 50, 19, 24, 7
Netherlands 36, 27, 29, 8
Belgium 28, 28, 35, 9
France 26, 29, 38, 7
Sweden 24, 30, 33, 14
Greece 23, 28, 40, 9
Switzerland 19, 24, 43, 14
Austria 11, 27, 51, 10
Italy 10 21 68 1

(Via “Gridskipper”:http://gridskipper.com and “The Sun newspaper”:http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2-2007070249,00.html#nogo )

Canadian embassy to Paris closed after nosebleed scare

Shortly after opening an envelope, a Canadian embassy staff person suffered a nosebleed. This prompted security personnel to call for a Parisian haz-mat team and a full shutdown of embassy activity. The whole affair was reminiscent of the White Powder plot on Congress in 2001 and is now over. That is all.

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Napping lowers chance of heart trouble

Yet another bit of good news for those of us who sleep far too much of our lives away. According to this “Greek study”:http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/6354855.stm reported by the BBC, men who take naps of any duration are 34% less likely to die of heart-disease.

See “previous post”:http://duenos.net/article/30/sleeping-in-is-good-for-you about the link between sleeping in and intelligence.

Do you remember… bird flu?

I largely ignored avian flu the first time it came through the news cycle. At the time it seemed like Bird Flu was just another everybody-panic-now kind of news story designed to scare suburban soccer moms away from poultry. As I read about it over the last year I realized more and more that this is actually a pretty big deal and the rate at which it is spreading over the globe is, well, alarming. In fact, a good illustration of that is this interactive map from the BBC. Pay particular attention to the jump in cases between January and June of 2006.

Not only is bird flu a big potential problem from a public health point of view, but economically, outbreaks of the virus can spell financial ruin as it has recently for these Suffolk turkey farmers. As with other potentially explosive viral problems in the past (mad cow, Ebola, SARS) let”s hope that the world health community can keep a handle on this issue before, well, we all die. PANIC.

Loneliness, another "cause" of Alzheimer's

There are a lot of things out there that are blamed for the devastating neurological disease, but what exactly causes Alzheimer”s.
Scientists can describe what it is, sort of, but they certainly don’t know what causes it.  As in any case where we don’t have a clear idea of what’s going on, a number of potential “causes” are popular.  Aluminum (like the kind in 12 oz cans and anti-perspirant) is a pretty popular villain, as well as copper.  I even had an girlfriend once who refused to eat pork on the grounds that it was linked to the disease.  A new report coming out of the US has just added another potential source of the problem: loneliness.  Apparently loneliness, or more specifically feeling lonely can up to double your chances of developing Alzheimer’s.

Does that mean that having imaginary friends could prevent it?

Sleeping in is good for you

‘Huzzah! I may finally be vindicated for all those wasted morning hours I”ve spent sleeping in while others slaved at their breakfast meetings and morning classes. The BBC reported research in 1999 that correlates sleeping later in the day with higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Another report released yesterday, also reported by the BBC, indicates that higher levels of cortisol may slow-down or even completely halt production of new neural connections. In other words, sleeping in may not only make you a happier person, but also a smarter one.

Kudos Gov. Perry

Texas Governor Rick Perry has just mandated that all female students aged 11 and 12 be vaccinated against HPV, the leading cause of cervical cancer.

nn Cervical cancer is one of the worst diseases out there and it has only recently become preventable with the development of a vaccine.  Governor Perry’s decisive move to support a comprehensive vaccination program for girls in Texas shines as an example of visionary executive leadership and I’ve written him a letter and you can find it in the letters section of my website.