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August 19, 2011

Brain-eating amoeba kills Florida girl

The amoeba gets in via the nose and makes its way to the brain where it devours brain tissue. She likely picked it up swimming in a river. Brain-eating amoebas claim the life of a teenager in Florida
Over the weekend, a sixteen-year-old girl lost her life to a rare infection from an amoeba called Naegleria fowleri, which eats neurons in the brain (in the image here, you can see the amoeba eating rat neurons). Most likely she caught it while swimming in a river near her Florida home. Experts say the Naegleria fowleri ameoba is most likely to breed during the summer months in the South, but infections are so rare that people are unlikely to know when they see an infection. The teen's mother watched her daughter grow sicker, running a high fever and throwing up, but had no idea what to do. A local hospital gave them some painkillers and sent her home. It wasn't until the teen became delirious that her mother brought her to another hospital and got the proper diagnosis, but by then it was too late. The ameoba makes fast work of eating neurons, destroying huge amounts of brain tissue within days. . . .

August 16, 2011

How soft drinks affect your health

Ill Effects: How Soda Pop Consumption Affects Your Body | Apartment Therapy The Kitchn

August 11, 2011

Is skim milk making you fat?

Is Skim Milk Making You Fat?: The Body : Details
. . . It's becoming widely accepted that fats actually curb your appetite, by triggering the release of the hormone cholecystokinin, which causes fullness. Fats also slow the release of sugar into your bloodstream, reducing the amount that can be stored as fat. In other words, the more fat in your milk, the less fat around your waist. Not only will low-fat milk fail to trim your gut, it might even make you fatter than if you were to drink whole, according to one large study. In 2005, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and other institutions studied the weight and milk consumption of 12,829 kids ages 9 to 14 from across the country. "Contrary to our hypothesis," they reported, "skim and 1% milk were associated with weight gain, but dairy fat was not." But surely low-fat milk is better for your heart? We are often told to watch our consumption of dairy because it raises our bad cholesterol, the kind known as LDL. But LDL comes in at least four varieties, and only the smallest and densest of them are linked with heart disease. Dairy fat, it turns out, affects only the large, fluffy kind of LDL—the benign kind. And here's a final thought: How would you feel if you opened a carton and poured a chalky, bluish-white liquid into your coffee? That's the color many nonfat milks are before powdered milk is added to whiten them—a process that brings its own problems. Any way you look at it, there's been a lot of whitewashing of skim milk's image. . . .

August 04, 2011

This rat poisons its own fur and kills lions

Killer rat daubs fur with poison-arrow plant toxins - life - 03 August 2011 - New Scientist
The deadly secret of a rat that kills lions and jackals has at last been revealed. Unlike some mammals that produce their own toxins, the African crested rat is the first known to protect itself by daubing its fur with poisons from plants. The same lethal toxins are used by African tribal hunters to coat their arrow-tips. Suspecting that Lophiomys imhausi may obtain toxins from chewing on the bark of the poison-arrow plant, acokanthera, Fritz Vollrath of the University of Oxford and his team offered some to a captive animal. Over the course of a week, it periodically chewed the bark then smeared its saliva over a section of short hairs that lies along its flank, hidden inside its fur. Placing the hairs under a microscope revealed that their surface is perforated. Each also contains fibres at its core, allowing it to soak up the toxins and store them. Vollrath says the findings tally with reports that when attacked, the rat stands its ground, parts its fur to reveal the stripe of poisonous hair, and invites the aggressor to bite its flank. Aggressors who do go in for the kill have been seen to shrink back, froth at the mouth and often collapse and die, apparently from heart failure. . . .

August 02, 2011

Creationist claims that dinosaurs breathed so hard their nostrils burst into flame

At the four minute mark it gets especially absurd. Potholer 54 - Epic Creationists fails #2