danconnolly.co.uk

Lab mice

August 14, 2015

So cute!

Oscillococcinum

September 13, 2009

Oscillococcinum…is a homeopathic alternative medicine marketed to relieve influenza-like symptoms…The preparation is derived from duck livers, which are diluted such that to obtain one molecule of the original substance would require consuming a dose larger than the known universe.

That’s a big ol’ dose.

Familiarity without recognition

March 25, 2009

From a New Scientist article about déjà vu:

Mr P, an 80-year-old Polish émigré and former engineer, knew he had memory problems, but it was his wife who described it as a permanent sense of déjà vu. He refused to watch TV or read a newspaper, as he claimed to have seen everything before. When he went out walking he said the same birds sang in the same trees and the same cars drove past at the same time every day. His doctor said he should see a memory specialist, but Mr P refused. He was convinced that he had already been.

Whilst it doesn’t provide a definitive answer to what déjà vu is and why/how it happens it does have some interesting ideas, as well as quite an amusing coda:

One anecdotal finding that came to light while working on this article is that people who think a lot about déjà vu are more prone to it. I had déjà vu about reading about déjà vu, and researchers have had déjà vu about having déjà vu…Just reading this article could give you déjà vu.

Water

March 18, 2009

After this week’s earlier revelation that making an organic cotton t-shirt requires 10,000 litres of water, you can now get a better idea of how much water you really use each day with a graphic GOOD have published giving an idea of part of an average person’s daily water footprint and how it can be reduced.

The ones that leap out at me are:

  • A bottle of soft drink (half a litre) uses 165 litres of water in its production, as does a single egg
  • Tea requires a quarter of the water that coffee does
  • And beef weighs in at 15000 litres of water per kilo

To put some of the information in context, Wikipedia’s article on Water Footprints tells us that:

The global average Water Footprint is 1240 m³ water/person/year. The Chinese average is 700 m³ water/person/year one of the smallest in the world and the United States’s 2480 m³ water/person/year is the largest in the world…  The water footprint of the UK is 1695 m³ water/person/year.

A cubic metre is equal to 1000 litres so the average person in the UK uses 1.7 million litres of water a year.

The term Water Crisis refers to, “the status of the world’s water resources relative to human demand.” And I think the fact that it’s called the water crisis gives us an indication that we don’t have fresh water in abundance. The entry lists some of the consequences of the lack of (and uneven distribution of) fresh water including the inadequate access to safe drinking water and water for sanitation and waste disposal, its effect on agricultural yields, the harm to biodiversity caused by overuse and pollution and warfare caused by scarcity of water, but for a scary statistic how about:

At any given time, half of the world’s hospital beds are occupied by patients suffering from waterborne diseases. According to the World Bank, 88 percent of all diseases are caused by unsafe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene.

As old as you feel

February 17, 2009

An article from Psychology Today – apparently how we grow old is up to us:

A 2002 Yale University study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that people who have a positive perception of aging tend to live seven and a half years longer than those who don’t. The difference may be the result of a better response to stress or even just the will to live, according to the study.

Between the ages of 30 and 90, the brain loses about 10 percent of its volume. Forgetfulness isn’t an automatic result, however. Scientists have found that loss of brain cells due to aging isn’t as steep as once thought. In fact, they now believe memory problems aren’t a natural part of growing older. Studies have shown that people with bad memories as older adults probably had the same deficiency when they were younger. But later in life, we may attribute it to aging.

Crossword puzzles, practicing the piano and playing chess exercise the brain, counteracting these natural changes. Exercise helps cognitive function too, studies show.

More or less…

January 27, 2009

Spotted this on the BBC Website yesterday:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7850666.stm

And seemed to recall some conflicting advice from a few years ago, a brief search turned up this:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/3072021.stm

Browsing some of the related articles tells us:

Meat, Dairy and Multivitamins = Bad

Broccoli, Pomegranate Juice and Grape Seeds = Good

Exercise has turned up on both lists