blood

We are invited to imagine the return of all events

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With traditional birth control, a woman takes a hormone pill for 21 days to stop her cycle. Then she takes a sugar pill for a week, so she can have what looks like a period.

But Micks says, physiologically this isn’t a real period at all. And it isn’t necessary. “There’s absolutely no medical need to have a period when you’re on contraception,” she says.

So why have women been having all these “fake” periods for decades? “It’s actually a historical thing,” she says.

One of the doctors who helped invent the pill was Catholic. He thought the pope might accept the pill if it looked like women were having periods.

{ NPR | Continue reading }

See the sun turn green

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Sally Ride’s tampons might be the most-discussed tampons in the world. Before Ride became the first American woman in space, scientists pondered her tampons, weighed them, and NASA’s professional sniffer smelled them—better to take deodorized or non-deodorized?—to make sure they wouldn’t smell too strongly in a confined space capsule. Engineers considered exactly how many she might need for a week in space. (Is 100 the right number?, they famously asked her. No, Ride said. That is not the right number.)

The engineers were trying to be thoughtful, though; reportedly they packed the tampons with their strings connected so that they wouldn’t float away. […]

Before women went into space, there were not only the sadly typical concerns that women would become weepy or unable to function during their periods, but also that the menstrual cycle might somehow break in space. Would the blood come out without gravity to pull it from the womb? Maybe it would all pool up in there, or even flow backward through the fallopian tubes into the abdomen—a frightening condition called retrograde menstruation.

In the end, someone just had to try it and see what happened. And what happened was … nothing much. The uterus is pretty good at expelling its lining sans gravity, it turns out.

{ Phenomena | Continue reading | More: The Conversation }

related { Early Menarche is Associated With Preference for Masculine Male Faces and Younger Preferred Age to Have a First Child }

photo { Eri Morita }

‘Sound trumpets! Let our bloody colours wave! And either victory, or else a grave.’ –Shakespeare

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By licking a wound it heals faster — this is not simply popular belief, but scientifically proven. Our saliva consists of water and mucus, among other things, and the mucus plays an important role. It stimulates white blood cells to build a good defense against invaders.

{ Lunatic Laboratories | Continue reading }

Blood is a bodily fluid in humans and other animals that delivers necessary substances such as nutrients and oxygen to the cells and transports metabolic waste products away from those same cells. […] In vertebrates, it is composed of blood cells suspended in blood plasma. Plasma, which constitutes 55% of blood fluid, is mostly water (92% by volume), and contains dissipated proteins, glucose, mineral ions, hormones, carbon dioxide (plasma being the main medium for excretory product transportation), and blood cells themselves. Albumin is the main protein in plasma, and it functions to regulate the colloidal osmotic pressure of blood. The blood cells are mainly red blood cells, white blood cells (also called leukocytes) and platelets. The most abundant cells in vertebrate blood are red blood cells.

{ Wikipedia | Continue reading }

related { A completely new view of how human blood is made has been discovered by scientists, upending conventional dogma from the 1960s. }

photo { Young Kyu Yoo }

‘If youth were not ignorant and timid, civilization would be impossible.’ –Balzac

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In a stunning discovery that overturns decades of textbook teaching, researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have determined that the brain is directly connected to the immune system by vessels previously thought not to exist. That such vessels could have escaped detection when the lymphatic system has been so thoroughly mapped throughout the body is surprising on its own, but the true significance of the discovery lies in the effects it could have on the study and treatment of neurological diseases ranging from autism to Alzheimer’s disease to multiple sclerosis.

{ EurekAlert | Continue reading }

unrelated { The benefits of a herpes infection }

‘Augurs and understood relations have by magot pies and choughs and rooks brought forth the secret’st man of blood.’ –Shakespeare

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Red blood cells carry oxygen to all the cells and tissues in our body. If we lose a lot of blood in surgery or an accident, we need more of it – fast. Hence the hundreds of millions of people flowing through blood donation centres across the world, and the thousands of vehicles transporting bags of blood to processing centres and hospitals.

It would be straightforward if we all had the same blood. But we don’t. On the surface of every one of our red blood cells, we have up to 342 antigens – molecules capable of triggering the production of specialised proteins called antibodies. It is the presence or absence of particular antigens that determines someone’s blood type. […]

If a particular high-prevalence antigen is missing from your red blood cells, then you are ‘negative’ for that blood group. If you receive blood from a ‘positive’ donor, then your own antibodies may react with the incompatible donor blood cells, triggering a further response from the immune system. These transfusion reactions can be lethal. […]

There are 35 blood group systems, organised according to the genes that carry the information to produce the antigens within each system. The majority of the 342 blood group antigens belong to one of these systems. The Rh system (formerly known as ‘Rhesus’) is the largest, containing 61 antigens.

The most important of these Rh antigens, the D antigen, is quite often missing in Caucasians, of whom around 15 per cent are Rh D negative (more commonly, though inaccurately, known as Rh-negative blood). But Thomas seemed to be lacking all the Rh antigens. If this suspicion proved correct, it would make his blood type Rh null – one of the rarest in the world, and a phenomenal discovery for the hospital haematologists. […] Some 43 people with Rh null blood had been reported worldwide.

{ Mosaic | Continue reading }

‘Death is the only thing we haven’t succeeded in completely vulgarizing.’ —Aldous Huxley

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Leveraging the insight that periods, while a pain, also bring women together, JWT has created an augmented reality app that combines Chinese consumers’ love of technology, cute characters and selfies into a new branded platform for Sofy sanitary pads.

{ Campaign Asia | Continue reading | Thanks Tim }

Six feet of land was all that he needed

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She also learned an old cop trick: If you’re recovering a body in an apartment building, ask every tenant to make coffee — it covers the smell. “Oldest trick in the book,” one officer told her. […]

She began, as all autopsies do, by inserting a needle into the side of each eye to collect fluid — a delicate procedure Melinek perfected after once popping out a cadaver’s glass eyeball. […] Then she removed Booker’s testes, took a samples from each, and put them back in the scrotum. […]

There was the subway jumper at Union Square, for example, whose body was recovered on the tracks of the uptown 4 train with no blood — none at the scene, none in the body itself. She’d never seen anything like it, and only CME Hirsch could explain: The massive trauma to the entire body caused the bone marrow to absorb all the blood. […]

In one case, a man was shot in the chest, but the bullet was found in his liver.

{ NY Post | Continue reading }

photo { Hiroshi Sugimoto }

I’ll get a dollar from my mama’s purse and buy that skull and crossbones ring

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Vein geometry is just as unique as irises and fingerprints. The serpentine network of your vascular system is determined by many factors, including random influences in the womb. The result is a chaotic, singular print. Even twins have different vein structure in their hands. Vein patterns don’t change much as you age, so a scan of your palm can serve as biometric identification for the rest of your life.

{ Quartz | Continue reading }

3 or 4 times with that tremendous big red brute of a thing

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{ Mouse cloned from drop of blood }

Panther power on the hour from the rebel to you

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Why do humans menstruate, when most animals don’t? When you shake the tree of life, you find that only a handful of mammals aside from us – primates, a small number of bat species, and the elephant shrew – have opted for the monthly bleed.

Evolution is often viewed in terms of a cost-benefit ledger: if something is costly, it must have some benefit. Women lose over half a standard glass of wine’s worth in iron-rich blood and tissue – about 90 millilitres – each time they menstruate, so the process does seem quite costly. And in the predator-filled environs of our early ancestors, leaving a trail of blood was presumably not advantageous.

So how did menstruation arise? Over recent decades, evolutionary biologists have come up with three key theories to explain human menstruation.

{ United Academics | Continue reading }

And then one day, a magic day he passed my way

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When we age, our brain gradually looses the ability to give birth to new neurons (neurogenesis). This sad decline is linked to impairments in cognitive functions such as learning and memory. The brain, like any other organ, feeds off of nutrients and chemicals in the blood to keep it going. This made researchers wonder: is something in the blood affecting neurogenesis as we age?

To explore this, researchers hooked up the circulation of young and old mice (with young-young & old-old pairing as control) so that their blood intermixed.[…] Several weeks after the surgery, researchers examined the animals’ brains to look for changes in neurogenesis. Young mice, when linked with older mice, had significantly fewer newly born neurons and neural progenitor cells than young-young controls.

{ Neuroxia | Continue reading }

photo { Bill Brandt }

Are you sure about that Voglio?

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Cruentation was one of the medieval methods of finding proof against a suspected murderer. The common belief was that the body of the victim would spontaneously bleed in the presence of the murderer.

Cruentation was part of the Germanic Laws, and it was used in Germany, Poland, Bohemia, Scotland and the North-Americans colonies. In Germany it was used as a method to find proof of guilt until the middle of the 18th. century.

The accused was brought before the corpse of the murder victim and was made to put his or her hands on it. If the wounds of the corpse then began to bleed, or if other unusual visual signs appeared, that was regarded as God’s verdict (judicium Dei) announcing that the accused was guilty.

{ Wikipedia | Continue reading }