A face mask that detects pathogens<10 minutes – calls your cell phone!

Juan Gaertner/Getty

A team of scientists in China have developed a face mask capable of detecting common respiratory viruses including influenza and coronavirus from air droplets or aerosols after being exposed for 10 minutes. The masks…can alert the wearer via their cell phone if pathogens are detected…

“Previous research has shown face mask wearing can reduce the risk of spreading and contracting…disease. So, we wanted to create a mask that can detect the presence of virus in the air and alert the wearer,” said Yin Fang…a material scientist at Shanghai Tongji University.

Their design created a multi-channel sensor using three types of aptamer that can identify the surface proteins of SARS-CoV-2, H5N1, and H1N1…

Once the aptamers bind to the target proteins in the air, the ion-gated transistor amplifies the signal and can alert the wearers via their phones.

More and more novel and new functions are capable of inclusion in either new electronic devices or…as in this case, simply adding a function into an existing system…then, communicated to your existing comm device.

The North Atlantic Diet

Vladimir Zuev/Alamy

Although less popular than the glamorous Mediterranean Diet, the North Atlantic Diet is a great option for staying fit and healthy. The North Atlantic Diet is more than just a health regimen; it’s a total health system based on the life styles of swarthy eighteenth-century sea captains, near-insane lighthouse keepers, and stowaways who think only of revenge.

The North Atlantic Diet offers plentiful food options with good fats, whole grains, and lots of cod. Fruits and vegetables are limited to the hardiest types—you can only eat apples that are as tough as the bark on your family tree, or potatoes (the wisest vegetables, as they know to hide underground and out of sight, where the cruelties of the world and its so-called God cannot reach them)…

This diet is a seafood-lover’s bounty: scallops, oysters, and mussels are just some of the many options you’ll find on the North Atlantic table. One daily portion of seafood is suggested, and two daily portions of cod are required. Lobster may be eaten once a week…If necessary, lobster may be replaced with more cod.

I grew up eating everything in this photo…(and even more variety). Never setting foot in a fishmonger’s emporium. My father, my kid sister and I fished every weekend. Pretty much every weekend of the year. Only put off by sea-ice or blowing snow. We were shore-birds; so, never enough cod to match specification. But, cod’s favorite cousin – hake – was a fine substitute. Catchable from pier or breakwater along the New England coastline.

Link Between Artificial Sweeteners and Heart Disease

A potential direct association between higher artificial sweetener consumption and increased cardiovascular disease risk, including heart attack and stroke has been uncovered by a large study of French adults published on September 7 by The BMJ.

These food additives are consumed daily by millions of people and are present in thousands of foods and drinks. The findings indicate that these artificial sweeteners should not be considered a healthy and safe alternative to sugar, in line with the current position of several health agencies…

Because this is an observational study, it can’t establish cause. Additionally, the researchers cannot rule out the possibility that other unknown (confounding) factors might have affected their results.

Nevertheless, this was a large study that evaluated individuals’ artificial sweetener intake using precise, high-quality dietary data. Furthermore, the findings are in line with other studies linking exposure to artificial sweeteners with several markers of poor health.

This article and others associated with it say that there haven’t been any long-term studies differentiating between strictly artificial sugar substitutes and products derived from the stevia plant. Often used to produce sugar alternatives rather than artificial substitutes.

I have to put in a plug here for my own reading – and opinion. The safety and usefulness as an alternative of the herb stevia is one that I’ve decided to make my own choice.

Stevia’s history goes back to ancient times. Grown naturally in tropical climates, stevia is an herb in the chrysanthemum family that grows wild as a small shrub in Paraguay and Brazil, though it can easily be cultivated elsewhere. Paraguayans have used stevia as a food sweetener for centuries while other countries, including Brazil, Korea, Japan, China and much of South America, have a shorter, though still long-standing, record of stevia use…

There are more than 100 species of stevia plant, but one stands out for its excellent properties as a sweetener—stevia rebaudiana, which contains the compound rebaudioside A, the sweetest-flavored component of the stevia leaf. Rebaudioside A acts chemically similar to sugar in onset, intensity and duration of sweetness, and is free of aftertaste. A majority of stevia-sweetened products contain mostly extracted Rebaudioside A with some proportion of stevioside, which is a white crystalline compound present in stevia that tastes 100 to 300 times sweeter than table sugar.

This article is about a decade old and continues to serve as a reliable analysis. Conclusions endorse a number of brands of stevia-derived products. Including, I must admit, my favorite. Though, in practice, my feelings about a healthy lifestyle, nutrition and exercise, don’t especially include cultivating a taste for sweets. My only use is in 2 of the 4 cups of traditionally-strong styles of coffee I consume daily. :-]

NY governor declares polio disaster emergency 

New York Governor Kathy Hochul declared a state disaster emergency amid evidence of circulating poliovirus, a move that will increase the availability of resources including expanding the network of polio vaccine administrators, state health officials said.

Sequence analysis of wastewater surveillance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found poliovirus samples in Nassau County, bringing the total to 5 counties — Rockland County, Orange County, Sullivan County, New York City, and now, Nassau County.

“Bolstering the immunization drive, the E.O. (executive order) immediately expands the network of polio vaccine administrators with the addition of EMS workers, midwives, and pharmacists and authorizes physicians and certified nurse practitioners to issue non-patient specific standing orders for polio vaccines,” the release from DHS said.

One quote says it best: All samples are “samples of concern,” — essentially, types of poliovirus that can cause paralysis in humans. I grew up when summertime was polio epidemic time many places in the GOUSA.

I never want to go back to that!

Dr Scholl’s Eco Insoles

I had lots of foot problems as a kid – a couple centuries ago. Solved and resolved when I started playing squash and had to spend money on really good sports shoes. Or stop playing. Foot problems went away.

Then I started experimenting with sport insoles and discovered that added another level of protection, support and fitness in use. Been happy for many years with another brand; but, thought I’d try these Eco goodies from the Doctor…mostly to support the environmental effort. Guess what? They’re terrific! Less expensive. And trying to figure out how and why I love their performance has been interesting. Because most of the whole insole appears to be like everyone else’s construction.

Except the arch support. That’s cork and, for whatever reason, I’m more conscious of it being there – in a positive way. Could be the whole, the sum of the whole design that works so well. Whatever it may be, getting ready to order more and use them to substitute for the thinnest styles I’ve used from other brands.

Thanks, Doc!

A Citadel in New Mexico to fightback against anti-abortion crusaders

Chancey Bush/Albuquerque Journal

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham moved Wednesday to buttress access to abortions in New Mexico, signing an executive order that pledges $10 million to build a state-funded clinic providing abortion and other services in Doña Ana County.

The governor’s executive order also directs the state Department of Health to marshal state resources to expand access to reproductive health – including abortion – in rural parts of the state and study whether medication that ends pregnancies can be provided in public health clinics.

“This is a state that will stand against any attempts to remove or eviscerate women’s constitutional rights,” Lujan Grisham said during a remote briefing with reporters, legislators and members of the state’s Commission on the Status of Women.

The move comes as New Mexico has seen an influx of patients from Texas and other states seeking abortion services…

Lujan Grisham already issued a previous executive order aimed at shielding health care professionals targeted by lawsuits from losing their licenses or being disciplined for providing abortion services.

The June order also asserts the state will not comply with abortion-related arrest warrants or extradition requests from other states.

Our Governor Michelle is one tough woman. And as far as I can see, a majority of folks in the state agree with her.

Lunch at the Laboratory Kitchen

Bertha Stevenson was born at a time when a woman’s interest in chemistry, or any scientific field, could only be channeled into the limited confines of women’s realm. That was the same era in which Ellen Richards, the first woman admitted to MIT, became “the mother of home economics.”

Even though Stevenson was younger than Richards, she ended up directing her postgraduate study of chemistry to bread making. On the bright side, she was quite successful, not only at marketing bread but also in creating a string of high-quality lunch rooms with prices low enough that young working women could afford them.

She began making bread in Cambridge MA around 1902. Her shop was quite fashionable in a refined way…The following year they moved the bakery to Boston. A lunch room was opened with it, sponsored by the Women’s Educational and Industrial Union (WEIU), a non-profit organization in Boston founded in 1877 to advance the well-being of women.

Ate at Lincoln Street several times in the early 60’s. Every time I was up in Boston for discussions with my peers on the Left we always managed to combine lunch or an early supper at the Laboratory Kitchen. Good food, affordable…and a workingclass spirit that couldn’t be matched.

Rats fed sugary soda for two months = they got stupider

In order to study how cola-based sodas — which were chosen for study due to their prevalence in many modern human diets — might impact the rats’ brains, the scientists first separated the rats into three age groups: 2-month, 8-month, and 14-month olds. Each of those age groups were then split into water-drinking and cola-and-water-drinking cohorts…

Upon examination, the water-drinking rodents were perfectly fine. The soda sippers? Not so much…

During the behavioral tests, the scientists found that most of the soda-drinkers, specifically the 2- and 8- month olds, had worse memories and, generally, lower cognitive function than their purist counterparts — thus causing some serious difficulty when they tried to get around those damn mazes…

A closer look at the rattos’ brains confirmed that the soda groups had all sustained varying degrees of damage to the frontal cortex, which controls vital mental functions like attention, memory, and judgement, as well as the hippocampus, which plays a major role in both memory and learning.

Yeah, yeah. We all know rats ain’t people. So, just don’t feed the sugary stuff to your pet rodents. And think a little bit harder about whether or not you should be consuming the stuff.