Today's Medical Fact
Eating breakfast helps to burn calories throughout the day.
Not quite the place we thought we would find the fountain of youth, but a worm study might help us find a way of living longer.
US researchers experimented with 88,000 different drug compounds searching for ones that extended the life of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. They found that the antidepressant drug mianserin extended the life span of the worms by about 30 percent. While it's a big step from a worm to a person, the biology of this roundworm is very similar to humans and other animals.
The research seems to show that the antidepressant extends life by tricking the brain into thinking the body is starving. The drawback to the life extending benefits of the drug is the side effects of weight gain and increased appetite. The findings are interesting to compare to previous studies which have shown that reducing food intake in certain animals by 30% can cause them to live longer.
The researchers now want to find out if the same mechanism can help people live longer as well without the misery of going hungry.
In a blind taste test, 7 out of 20 people preferred the taste of sauerkraut made from urine fertilized cabbage. It may seem like a twisted prank of sorts, but the findings were actually part of a legitimate scientific study conducted by Finnish researchers.
The practice of fertilizing with human urine is not a new concept. Although the method is not commonly used today, it has been known since ancient times. Aside from the obvious repulsion factor in today’s germaphobic world, there are many benefits to using human urine as a fertilizer.
Not only is human urine organic, inexpensive, and abundant, but it is a good source of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus that helps grows better crops than conventional chemical fertilizers. From a medical standpoint, healthy human urine is virtually sterile and does not pose any significant health threats. As for the taste of the food, not only does it not leave any distinctive flavor but many actually preferred the taste.
Perhaps it is time that fertilizing with human urine is given a new look. Not only can it benefit organic farming methods and help reduce our dependence on unhealthy chemical fertilizers, but it can also help third world countries protect their water sources and grow better crops.
A new discovery offers hope for finding a treatment for hair loss from male-pattern baldness, scarring alopecia, and scalp injury. Studies done on adult mice at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have shown that hair follicles can be regenerated in adult mammals, something that was once thought to be impossible.
The research focused on the healing process of deep skin wounds on the backs of adult mice. It is known that mammals are able to heal from injuries, but it was accepted that they could not replace lost body parts, such as limbs or hair follicles. In this study, the researchers found a way to amplify the natural healing process and reactivate dormant embryonic molecular pathways. Stem cells, which are master cells capable of transforming into other cell types, were sent to the damaged skin. The stem cells reprogrammed epidermal cells, which are cells that don't normally make hair follicles, and instructed them to make a follicle. The new follicle functioned normally, cycling thru the hair growth cycle and producing hair.
The findings of the research will be used to develop treatments not only for male-pattern baldness, but also for hair loss due to diseases and injuries that destroy hair follicles. It is also thought that the information will lead to scar free surgery. While products available for actual use in humans will take years to develop, at least there is hope on the horizon for an effective baldness remedy.
Produced only in the intestines of male Sperm whales, ambergris is a rare substance that has been used in pharmaceuticals and perfume for thousands of years. Middle Easterners historically powdered and ingested it to increase strength and virility, combat heart and brain ailments. Perfumes such as Chanel No. 5 use it to enrich olfactory notes.
During the Black Death in Europe, people believed that carrying a ball of ambergris could help prevent them from getting the plague as the fragrance covered the smell of the air which was believed to be the cause of plague.
Ambergris is found in lumps of various shapes and sizes, weighing from ½ oz to 100 or more pounds. It can be found floating upon the sea, or in the sand near the coast. Some, but not all, scent qualities of ambergris have been synthesized, so the original remains valuable - commanding prices of $5,000 per pound (even much higher for high-quality samples). A ten-year-old vacationing in Wales recently stumbled across a lump of ambergris worth nearly $6,000.