Saturday, June 23, 2007

Monsters from the Deep

Some diseases are caused by bacterial monsters, and now we learn some of these creatures may have come to us from miles beneath the ocean's surface.

Recent Japanese oceanographic research at hydrothermal vents in the Pacific has revealed a striking genetic similarity between bacteria engaged in chemosynthesis at deep-sea vents and mammalian bacterial pathogens. This points to a direct evolutionary link between the bugs that make us sick and the bugs on the bottom of the sea.

Satoshi Nakagawa of the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology said his team has revealed that vent bacteria in the pitch-black, superheated, methane and sulphide infused environment have developed the ability to be rather facile, free and loose with genes - dropping some, gaining others, mutating quickly to adapt to the extreme conditions at these volcanic hot-spots - exactly the traits a pathogenic invader would need to survive the ravages of a host's immune response. According to the evidence in the genome, some of these bacteria may have left life at the hydrothermal vents for a new one as a pathogen on the planet's surface.

And in our bodies.

How Lucky Do You Feel?

One from 'Column A', please.

A succinct, concise, lecture on the ramifications of our global discussion and actions regarding global warming. What this video lacks in snazzy graphics and eye-candied-mind-numbing editing is a terrifying glimpse at our future beyond current truths, however inconvenient.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Our Ally in Weight Loss

Never fear; Alli's here.

An OTC version of the prescription drug, Xenical, brought to us by the good folks at GlaxoSmithKline, is flying off the shelves at drugstores everywhere. FDA approved, this diet drug packs a punch for the women to whom it is clearly marketed, along with some nasty possible side affects - or "treatment effects" as the drug's website explains in understated detail. The chemical works by blocking the absorption of about a quarter of any fat consumed. This may lead to "bowel changes" described on the company's website as diarrhea, uncontrollable bowel movements and oily flatulence.
The excess fat that passes out of your body is not harmful. In fact, you may recognize it as something that looks like the oil on top of a pizza. (emphasis mine.)

Until you have a sense of any treatment effects, it's probably a smart idea to wear dark pants, and bring a change of clothes with you to work.


Remember: these comments are from their commercial website - presumably putting the brightest gloss on a fabulous product, and all in the name of easy weight loss for the great American Herd.

Olestra, anyone?