Everyone poops. Cardiologists are counting on it…

NOT an illustration of the actual device 🙂

❝ Engineers at Rochester Institute of Technology have designed a high-tech toilet seat that effortlessly flushes out data on the state of your cardiovascular system. The tricked-out porcelain throne measures your blood pressure, blood oxygen level, and the volume of blood your heart pumps per beat (stroke volume)—taking readings every time you sit down to catch up on some reading of your own. The engineers, led by David Borkholder, recently published a prototype of the seat in the open-access journal JMIR mHealth and uHealth.

❝ According to the inventors, the seat’s daily data dump could make patients and their doctors privy (har!) to early warning signs of heart failure, potentially helping to prevent further deterioration and avoid costly hospital stays. Moreover, the seat could ease in-home monitoring for heart patients, who often strain to consistently track their tickers with other, non-toilet-based monitors.

Makes great sense to me…if I had any sort of heart concerns. Apple’s HealthKit built into my iPhone made it a piece of cake for me to finally get round to integrating nutrition and exercise with other apps…lose weight, keep it off and get in better shape than a significant chunk of my [old geezer] age group.

Latest air pollution finding shouldn’t surprise anyone…

Click to enlargeKieran Doherty/Reuters

A smoggy day in London town…

❝ The hearts of people who live in polluted areas are weaker than those who regularly breathe cleaner air, according to a new study which adds to the growing volume of evidence that fossil fuels are killing us.

The researchers said they found evidence of harmful effects even when levels of pollution associated with diesel vehicles were less than half the safety limit set by the European Union…

❝ According to a UK government estimate, about 40,000 people die prematurely because of the air they breathe…

❝ The process by which air pollution harms the body has been poorly understood. Until recently it was not known if fine particles could pass through the lungs into the bloodstream.

However, a study in which volunteers inhaled gold nanoparticles showed it was possible for this to happen with gold showing up in their blood and urine 15 minutes after they had breathed it in. The particles were still there up to three months later.

…Shouldn’t surprise anyone, that is, except heartless conservatives!

Canada’s Prime Minister, Ontario Premier, greeting first planeload of Syrian refugees

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Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne will join Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in throwing out the welcome mat for Syrian refugees.

“Tonight I will be going to Pearson Airport help welcome the first plane carrying Syrian refugees who will settle in Ontario over the coming months,” Wynne told reporters at Queen’s Park on Thursday.

“Arriving in a new country will no doubt be an exciting but an overwhelming experience for these new Canadians, but I’m very confident that people across the province will welcome them and will demonstrate the same kind of compassion that we have historically showed to each other,” she said.

“Ontario has been actively preparing for a smooth and welcoming settlement,” the premier said, noting Citizenship and Immigration Minister Michael Chan and Health Minister Eric Hoskins have been hard at work with municipalities, refugee agencies, and volunteer groups.

“I want to just thank all of the people who have stepped up.”

With 25,000 Syrian refugees coming to Canada by the end of February, some 10,000 are expected to settle in Ontario, which has earmarked $10.5 million for the effort.

Wynne was also asked about the anti-Muslim comments from billionaire Donald Trump, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination in next November’s U.S. election…

“The rhetoric that has come out of Donald Trump … is despicable,” Wynne said.

“Everything he has said in this vein is antithetical to what I believe. I think it’s antithetical to a harmonious, pluralistic society, and it is antithetical to the compassion and the outpouring of support … that will manifest itself tonight when the first wave of Syrian refugees arrive here in Ontario,” she said.

“It’s up to the United States to deal with Donald Trump, but I can tell you that the kind of divisive, hostile rhetoric that he has been espousing I think does damage. It divides people and I think it is generally dangerous in terms of a democratic society.”

One of those occasions when I wish the Canadian economy was a bit stronger in the Maritimes BITD when my grandfather’s family was deciding about emigrating to the United States. All said and done, though, that was only half my genes and I appreciate the Italian half equally as much. Since I was born here, grew up and began to fight for freedom and opportunity for all – here – this is where my battle must be fought.

It is my responsibility.

A consensus on coffee’s benefits

Coffee has long had a reputation as being unhealthy. But in almost every single respect that reputation is backward. The potential health benefits are surprisingly large…

Just last year, a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies looking at long-term consumption of coffee and the risk of cardiovascular disease was published. The researchers found 36 studies involving more than 1,270,000 participants. The combined data showed that those who consumed a moderate amount of coffee, about three to five cups a day, were at the lowest risk for problems. Those who consumed five or more cups a day had no higher risk than those who consumed none.

Of course, everything I’m saying here concerns coffee — black coffee. I am not talking about the mostly milk and sugar coffee-based beverages that lots of people consume. These could include, but aren’t limited to, things like a McDonald’s large mocha (500 calories, 17 grams of fat, 72 grams of carbohydrates), a Starbucks Venti White Chocolate Mocha (580 calories, 22 grams of fat, 79 grams of carbs), and a Large Dunkin’ Donuts frozen caramel coffee Coolatta (670 calories, 8 grams of fat, 144 grams of carbs).

…Years earlier, a meta-analysis — a study of studies, in which data are pooled and analyzed together — was published looking at how coffee consumption might be associated with stroke. Eleven studies were found, including almost 480,000 participants. As with the prior studies, consumption of two to six cups of coffee a day was associated with a lower risk of disease, compared with those who drank none. Another meta-analysis published a year later confirmed these findings.

Rounding out concerns about the effect of coffee on your heart, another meta-analysis examined how drinking coffee might be associated with heart failure. Again, moderate consumption was associated with a lower risk, with the lowest risk among those who consumed four servings a day. Consumption had to get up to about 10 cups a day before any bad associations were seen.

No one is suggesting you drink more coffee for your health. But drinking moderate amounts of coffee is linked to lower rates of pretty much all cardiovascular disease, contrary to what many might have heard about the dangers of coffee or caffeine. Even consumers on the very high end of the spectrum appear to have minimal, if any, ill effects.

But let’s not cherry-pick. There are outcomes outside of heart health that matter. Many believe that coffee might be associated with an increased risk of cancer. Certainly, individual studies have found that to be the case, and these are sometimes highlighted by the news media. But in the aggregate, most of these negative outcomes disappear.

Aaron E. Carroll is a professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine. He blogs on health research and policy at The Incidental Economist. He carries forward from this point in his article to broaden his search for understanding of the effects of coffee drinking – usually in moderation – on your health.

I suggest you RTFA. It’s even written in human being-English.

Dispute over chess move ends with murder and cannibalism

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An Italian man was arrested in Dublin on Sunday and charged with killing his Irish landlord and attempting to eat his heart after an argument about a game of chess.

Police said that 34-year-old Saverio Bellante admitted to killing Tom O’Gorman, 39.

O’Gormans body had been stabbed dozens of times and his chest cavity was opened up. Although the heart was still in his body, a lung was missing…

“The victim’s heart was intact but the post-mortem confirms that a lung was removed from the body and has not been located,” the source said. “The investigation is following a definite line of inquiry.”

At his arraignment on Monday, Bellante requested to represent himself and offered no plea. According to Det. Patrick Traynor, when Bellante was charged with murder, he replied: “I am guilty.”

The argument allegedly occurred over a move in a chess game that Bellante and O’Gorman had been playing for a year.

This blog and those involved with its production are all friendly to the discipline, skill and history of chess. At least one of us is damned good. It ain’t me.

We all understand that things like this can happen. They also happen between people watching telenovellas. We don’t approve of either circumstance allowed to descend into violence. 🙂

College student ate his roommate’s brain and heart — WTF?

Alexander Kinyua and his victim, Kujoe Bonsafo Agyei-Kodie

A Maryland man is accused of dismembering his missing housemate, gorging on his heart and brain, and then storing his severed head and hands in the basement…

Alexander Kinyua, a 21-year-old Morgan State University student, was arrested Wednesday in the attack against Kujoe Bonsafo Agyei-Kodie, a friend of Kinyua’s father. Kinyua was charged with first-degree murder and ordered held without bail Thursday…

Agyei-Kodie, a 37-year-old Ghanian immigrant described by authorities as “very intelligent,” had been staying at the Kinyua home in Joppatowne, Md., for six months before his disappearance last Friday…

On Tuesday, Alexander Kinyua’s brother discovered two tins in the home’s basement that contained a human head and two hands, according to charging documents.

Kinyua’s brother confronted him, but he denied they were human, and when his brother and father returned to the basement, the containers were gone, the report said.

Police were called to the home and obtained a search warrant the next day. They interviewed Kinyua, who allegedly said he cut up Agyei-Kodie with a knife and then “ingested (his) heart and portions of his brain,” according to the report.

The rest of Agyei-Kodie’s remains were placed in a trash bin at a nearby church

I’m wondering lately if I should add another news category to this blog of mine? Cannibalism?

Of course, the history of this sort of behavior stretches from primitive times all the way through transubstantiation to contemporary aberrant behavior. I don’t believe that even the more wacko religions are going around advocating the practice, though.

Scientists discover that Viagra makes your heart, um – unstiff

Viagra helps ailing hearts to recover in a surprising way – by making them less stiff, scientists have learned.

The impotency drug causes too-rigid heart chamber walls to become more elastic.

The research explains how Viagra might benefit patients with diastolic heart failure. People with the condition have abnormally inflexible ventricles, the heart’s major pumping chambers, that do not fill sufficiently with blood. This leads to blood ”backing up” in the lungs and breathing difficulties…

Scientists found that Viagra activates an enzyme that causes a protein in heart muscle cells to relax…

The drug’s active ingredient, sildenafil, inhibits an enzyme involved in the mechanism that regulates blood flow. However, the enzyme is slightly different in different parts of the body.

But, then, you already knew that.

Death row chef offers to cook free meals for Texas condemned

A former death row chef says he will pay for and cook every last meal for condemned inmates himself, after Texas announced it was stopping the tradition.

“We should not get rid of the last meal,” said Brian Price, an ex-convict who spent a decade in Texas preparing last meals for the condemned. “Justice is going to be served when this person is executed, but can we not show our softer side? Our compassionate side?”

Last week’s audacious last meal request by killer Russell Brewer was the last straw for some in Texas.
Brewer was executed September 21 for his role in the infamous racially motivated racist 1998 dragging death of James Byrd Jr.

He made a complex request for his last meal, then didn’t eat it.

“Enough is enough,” said Texas state Sen. John Whitmire, a day after the execution. “It is extremely inappropriate to give a person sentenced to death such a privilege — one which the perpetrator did not provide to their victim.”

Texas prison officials agreed with Whitmire, immediately halting the tradition of letting an inmate about to be executed choose the menu for his or her last meal.

“Texas has always been coldhearted about these type of things,” said Price. “Not to minimize these crimes, the majority of them have earned their place at that dinner table. But with my offer it would not cost Texas taxpayers anything.”

And above all else, Texas bureaucrats care about keeping money for themselves.

But it seems that Texas will not take Price up on his offer.

“While we appreciate Mr. Price’s offer, it’s not the cost but more the concept that we’re moving away from,” said Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark.

Mr. Clark – like most Texas officeholders – is a liar. He hands out the politically correct answer – like most conservatives.

No word, yet, from Rick “Have a heart” Perry. But, he’s never concerned himself in the past with simpler, easier questions about guilt or innocence, whether or not a trial was conducted fairly. I find it hard to believe he’ll enter into a question of dignity – unless it aids his campaign for Bishop-in-Chief of the United States.