“Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” misses top spot – Yup. Only made it to #2 in the 4 days since Thatcher died

Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead – the song propelled into the charts by opponents of Baroness Thatcher – has failed to reach the number one spot.

The recording, taken from 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, entered the charts at number two…It was more than 5,000 sales short of this week’s chart-topper Need U (100%) by Duke Dumont featuring A*M*E…

It entered the charts at number 54 on Tuesday, the day after Baroness Thatcher’s death, and climbed to number 10 on Wednesday. By Thursday, it had reached number four and was at number three by Friday.

There was a final rush of 18,000 sales between Friday morning and today, the Official Charts Company said, but its final total was 52,605 copies – 5,700 behind Duke Dumont, which achieved 58,321 sales in the past week.

An Official Charts Company spokeswoman said it had been a “relatively quiet” week for sales however, with the average sale of a number one in 2012 being just under 106,000 copies.

Some Tory MPs demanded the BBC ban the song – but others warned that politicians should not interfere in the choice of records played by broadcasters.

Conservatives in the UK and the US are claiming this is a “victory”. Hilarious.

In related news, revelers are still being arrested while celebrating the death of Margaret Thatcher. No doubt there will be a well-funded committee to enshrine her so-called legacy. After all, we have one in the United States for Ronald Reagan. Rewriting history remains a modern-day specialty for Western conservatives.

Outliving some miserable thug is not a political victory, of course. What is important is foiling the efforts of revisionist historians who now will try to construct a synthetic history of phony accomplishments for Thatcher. I have no idea if reactionary moguls in the UK will rely on the range of crappola constructs always at play here in the States – for Reaganites. The Brits probably have automatic scripts still in place since the critical ouster of Churchill and the Tories in 1945.

How exercise may aid your memory

Two new experiments, one involving people and the other animals, suggest that regular exercise can substantially improve memory, although different types of exercise seem to affect the brain quite differently. The news may offer consolation for the growing numbers of us who are entering age groups most at risk for cognitive decline…

For the human study, published in The Journal of Aging Research, scientists at the University of British Columbia recruited dozens of women ages 70 to 80 who had been found to have mild cognitive impairment…

Earlier, the same group of researchers had found that after weight training, older women with mild cognitive impairment improved their associative memory, or the ability to recall things in context — a stranger’s name and how you were introduced, for instance.

Now the scientists wanted to look at more essential types of memory, and at endurance exercise as well. So they randomly assigned their volunteers to six months of supervised exercise. Some of the women lifted weights twice a week. Others briskly walked. And some, as a control measure, skipped endurance exercise and instead stretched and toned…

And in this study, after six months, the women in the toning group scored worse on the memory tests than they had at the start of the study. Their cognitive impairment had grown…But the women who had exercised, either by walking or weight training, performed better on almost all of the cognitive tests after six months than they had before.

There were, however, differences…While both exercise groups improved almost equally on tests of spatial memory, the women who had walked showed greater gains in verbal memory than the women who had lifted weights…

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Spleen-on-a-chip could filter and treat bloodstream infections

The spleen’s job is to filter our blood. When people are critically ill or have received traumatic injuries, however, the spleen alone is sometimes not able to remove enough of the pathogens on its own – potentially-fatal sepsis is the result. In order to help avert such an outcome in those situations, scientists from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University are developing a device known as the spleen-on-a-chip.

The patient’s blood is circulated through the device. The process begins with magnetic nanobeads being mixed with the blood. Those beads are coated with a genetically engineered version of a human blood opsonin protein, that bonds with pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi and toxins.

The blood/nanobead mixture proceeds to flow through a series of microchannels, in which magnets are used to pull the beads back out. The beads bring the pathogens with them, leaving all the regular components of the now-cleansed blood (such as the cells and proteins) to be returned to the patient…

The Wyss Institute (which also brought us the gut-on-a-chip) recently received a US$9.25 million contract from DARPA, to further develop the spleen-on-a-chip. DARPA has reason to be interested in the technology, as it could be used to treat soldiers injured on the battlefield.

Testing on large animals is now being planned, with human trials down the road.

Having been one of those humans taking part in previous biological tests – following upon large animal tests – I’d be willing to volunteer for something as useful as this procedure. The bucks to pay for trials may be coming from the military – who have a unique priority pushing for treatment like this – but end use can save beaucoup lives throughout the world, especially non-military.