Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Immune cells called T cells battle infections and guard against cancer. But first they need to be tipped off about the threat. The informants are a group of cells called dendritic cells, which chew up infected and damaged cells and present the regurgitated pieces to T cells. If the T cells judge the pieces to be foreign or in need of removal, they reproduce, forming an army of clones that hunt down infected and rogue cells in the body.
--Dan Ferber, ScienceNOW Daily News

But here's the best news if you happen to be somewhere in the country right now that's getting a little sun. That which calls the T cells into army action is none other than a sunbeam producing a little vitamin D. Once the T cells are all over D'd, "the altered T cells make a beeline for the outer layer of the skin, where they began destroying defective and infected cells."

So yesterday p.m. I got outside in short sleeves and destroyed some defective cells with sunshine. I also chopped up a bit of ice on our front sidewalk and succeeded in turning our bumpy, navigable path into a skating rink.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

All those months without caffeine for nothing.

A large Danish study just concluded that I could've spent those 18 pregnant months drinking my coffee with cream and impunity. They supplied 1200 women and their unborn children with packets of instant coffee--caffeinated or not--over 2 years time, and followed the gestational outcomes. Mattered not whether the women brewed leaded or unleaded, the babies came out the same.

Not enough evidence to wish another pregnancy in my life, but nice to know that those who do now have a new morning choice.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

All aboard the sperm train*

Studly rodents, as in those most successful at spreading their seed through the murine world, do so with the sharpest hooks on their little pirates. This configuration "allow groups of up to 100 sperm to attach to each other, and these 'sperm trains' moved faster than sperm swimming alone."

*What will those crazy research scientists study next?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Let it never be said that I don't practice what I preach. Since falling ill to a nasty and fluish sort of virus six days ago, courtesy of a patient who didn't cover her mouth while coughing, I've taken:

1. Tamiflu (just in case it was the flu)
2. Robitussin with codeine (only way to sleep through the night with total body misery plus cough)
3. Levaquin (just one--wanted to start antibiotics the moment the sinuses gave way to infection)
4. Biaxin (the choice of Dr. Ed Hepworth--Denver's top sinus doc--because it not only kills bad bugs hiding in dark moist places, but also decreases the inflammation of those infected spaces)

This afternoon, I finally felt well enough to eat two dark chocolate turtles on top of the a.m. Starbucks coffee cake. Back to business as usual!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Traction Action

What's up with this weather? I'm home, laid low with the flu (and I even had a flu shot!), watching the Weather Channel and stupid movies on TNT when I'm not watching the inside of my eyelids.

The entire mid-section of the nation is slipping into something dangerous. This past week alone, I've seen four people who lost their footing on ice and went to ground. One false step could change your life forever!

Check out Yaktrax. These dandy little slip-ons will help you get a grip and never slip.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Thanks Jean for kicking me out of the Harry Potter book (read all of Book IV and most of Book V during blizzards one and two) and back to the blog. And thank you for braving the icy streets of Aurora and Denver today to get to the office!
The latest trend in neuroscience is to stick volunteers inside MRI machines and see which part of their brain lights up as they undertake various tasks. They've found the area of the brain that makes you feel like you're being followed, the bit o' gray matter that provides for mystic religious experiences, and the neurons that over-react to scary movies if you happen to be the kind of person--like myself--who walked out of "The Ring" the moment they showed the little dried up girl crouched in the closet corner.

Scanning my brain this past week may have revealed very little activity. Yesterday I put my stethoscope on someone's chest and heard nothing. It took me more than one moment to realize that I had not yet stuck the ear pieces in my ear.

If I access my frontal lobe later today, I'll tell you what happens to people's brains when they shop.