health

Sleep no more

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Humans need more than seven hours of sleep each night to maintain cognitive performance. After ten days of just seven hours of sleep, the brain is as dysfunctional as it would be after going without sleep for 24 hours. […]

The best ways to train your body to fall asleep quicker is to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even if you don’t have a good night of sleep.

{ Quartz | Continue reading }

photo { Thomas Prior }

The eye could not see from any point

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There’s been an explosion of interest in the use of psychedelics in psychiatry. […]

Psychedelics have mostly been investigated in small studies run by true believers. […] Some of the most exciting psychedelic findings have already failed to replicate […]

Ketamine is the best comparison for psychedelics. […] Like psychedelics, it got hyped as an exciting new innovation that was going to revolutionize everything in psychiatry (in this case, depression treatment). But it’s been in pretty common (albeit non-formulary) use for five years now, and nothing has been revolutionized. […]

Between 10% and 50% of Americans have tried psychedelics. If psychedelics did something shocking, we would already know about it. […]

Even if all of the above are wrong and psychedelics work very well, the FDA could kill them with a thousand paper cuts. Again, look at ketamine: the new FDA approval ensures people will be getting the slightly different esketamine, through a weird route of administration, while paying $600 a pop, in specialized clinics that will probably be hard to find. Given the price and inconvenience, insurance companies will probably restrict it to the most treatment-resistant patients, and it probably won’t help them (treatment-resistant patients tend to stay that way). Given the panic around psychedelics, I expect it to be similarly difficult to get them even if they are legal and technically FDA-approved. Depressed people will never be able to walk into a psychiatrist’s office and get LSD. They’ll walk into a psychiatrist’s office, try Prozac for three months, try Wellbutrin for three months, argue with their insurance for a while, eventually get permission to drive to a city an hour away that has a government-licensed LSD clinic, and get some weird form of LSD that might or might not work, using a procedure optimized to minimize hallucinations.

{ Slate Star Codex | Continue reading }

‘Buying a 25-year-old 757 is like buying a bag of Cheetos. It’s a lot of food for a low price.’ –Greg Raiff, CEO of Private Jet Services

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“In many countries, poor diet now causes more deaths than tobacco smoking and high blood pressure […] we have shown that, at the population level, a low intake of healthy foods is the more important factor, rather than the high intake of unhealthy foods”

[…]

more than half of all global diet-related deaths in 2017 were due to just three risk factors: eating too much salt, not enough whole grains and not enough fruit.

{ CNN | Continue reading }

If you’re vegetarian, use the kombu in your dashi, but skip the bonito flakes

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The goal of this study is to determine if thong underwear use is associated with a higher report of urinary tract (UTI) or vaginal infections. […] We found that thong use is not associated with UTI, BV, or VY. Instead, sexual behaviors and hygiene choices are risk factors for these infections. We recommend that providers take a more complete sexual history to identify these risk factors rather than focusing on underwear as a primary risk factor.

{ Site | Continue reading }

unrelated { A man in Chicago attempted to board a plane butt naked }

screenprint on Perspex { Bridget Riley, Untitled [Fragment 2/10], 1965 }

Jambalaya!

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For every 100,000 inhabitants, Okinawa has 68 centenarians – more than three times the numbers found in US populations of the same size. Even by the standards of Japan, Okinawans are remarkable, with a 40% greater chance of living to 100 than other Japanese people. […]

one of the most exciting factors to have recently caught the scientists’ attention is the peculiarly high ratio of carbohydrates to protein in the Okinawan diet – with a particular abundance of sweet potato as the source of most of their calories. […]

Despite the popularity of the Atkins and Paleo diets, there is minimal evidence that high-protein diets really do bring about long-term benefits.

So could the “Okinawan Ratio” – 10:1 carbohydrate to protein – instead be the secret to a long and healthy life? […]

The typical Okinawan centenarian appeared to be free of the typical signs of cardiovascular disease […] Okinawa’s oldest residents also have far lower rates of cancer, diabetes and dementia than other ageing populations. […]

Genetic good fortune could be one important factor. Thanks to the geography of the islands, Okinawa’s populations have spent large chunks of their history in relative isolation, which may has given them a unique genetic profile. […]

It is the Okinawans’ diet, however, that may have the most potential to change our views on healthy ageing. Unlike the rest of Asia, the Okinawan staple is not rice, but the sweet potato. […] Okinawans also eat an abundance of green and yellow vegetables – such as the bitter melon – and various soy products. Although they do eat pork, fish and other meats, these are typically a small component of their overall consumption, which is mostly plant-based foods.

The traditional Okinawan diet is therefore dense in the essential vitamins and minerals - including anti-oxidants - but also low in calories. Particularly in the past, before fast food entered the islands, the average Okinawan ate around 11% fewer calories than the normal recommended consumption for a healthy adult.

{ BBC | Continue reading }

photo { Stephen Shore, New York City, New York, September-October 1972 }

Newman and I are reversing the peepholes on our door so you can see in

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An electronic synapse that fires millions of times faster than the ones in your brain could be used to build artificial neural networks.

[…]

A clinical trial of drugs called mTOR inhibitors found that they boosted elderly people’s immune systems, potentially extending their life spans. Another trial in progress is testing senolytics, drugs that eliminate the senescent cells that make aging bodies break down.
[…]

A team that built a brain-to-brain communication device in 2015 has now expanded it to three people, paving the way for larger groups to transmit thoughts directly to one another.

[…]

An ordinary smartphone can be used to track people on the other side of a solid wall by detecting how their movements distort the signals from any Wi-Fi transmitters in the area.

{ Technology Review | Continue reading }

image { Google hires camel for desert Street View, 2014 }

The Knight Antonius Block: I want knowledge!…

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Study provides insight into the neurobiology of dying. Investigators performed continuous patient monitoring following Do Not Resuscitate - Comfort Care orders in patients with devastating brain injury to investigate the mechanisms and timing of events in the brain and the circulation during the dying process.

{ ScienceDaily | Continue reading }

Oxygen deprivation results in brain injury. For years, researchers have been studying the underlying processes in animals: within 20 to 40 seconds, the brain enters an ‘energy-saving mode’ - it becomes electrically inactive, and all interneuronal communication ceases. Within a few minutes, the brain’s fuel reserves have become depleted that maintain the uneven distribution of ions between the inside and outside of nerve cells, and the ion gradients start to break down. This breakdown takes the form of a massive wave of electrochemical energy release in the form of heat, which is known as ’spreading depolarization’. More vividly described as a ‘brain tsunami’, this energy loss spreads through the cortex and other areas of the brain, triggering pathophysiological cascades which gradually poison the nerve cells. Importantly, this wave remains reversible up to a certain point in time: nerve cells will recover fully if circulation is restored before this point is reached. However, if circulation remains disrupted, the cells will die. Until now, recordings of electrical brain activity obtained from human subjects have been of limited applicability, and experts have been divided as to the transferability of results from animal-based research. […]

“We were able to show that terminal spreading depolarization is similar in humans and animals. Unfortunately, the research community has been ignoring this essential process of central nervous system injury for decades, all because of the mistaken assumption that it does not occur in humans,” explains Prof. Dreier.

{ EurekAlert | Continue reading }

paint on plaster { Eduardo Paolozzi, Targets, 1948 }

How can you face your problem if your problem is your face

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From 1936-1972, approximately 50,000 lobotomies were performed in the US. The majority of these occurred during the “lobotomy boom” which occurred in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Curiously, the lobotomy’s popularity coincided with a consensus within the medical community that it was ineffective. […]

Physician Walter Freeman performed approximately 10% of all US lobotomies during his medical career (El-Hai 2005). Although the procedure was widely used, it swiftly fell out of favor when the FDA approved the first antipsychotic drug in 1954. […]

In this paper, we propose the lobotomy’s popularity and longevity in the US was the result of the incentives generated by the institutional structure of mental health provision. Primarily, we note that funding for public mental hospitals and asylums were provided by state and federal governments on a very low per capita basis. This served to constrained revenues. Lobotomized patients were easier to manage (their brain damage often made them docile), and the procedure was comparatively cheaper than other treatment methods. These factors, in conjunction with little incentive to effectively treat patients provided by bureaucratic oversight, motivated physicians to perform cost and conflict minimizing treatment.


In contrast, physicians operating in private mental hospitals and asylums were funded by the patients, their caregivers, or through philanthropic donations. […] [L]obotomy was less used in private mental hospitals.

{ North Dakota State University Public Choice & Private Enterprise Research Paper Series | Continue reading }

acrylic, oil, oilstick and paper collage on three hinged wooden panels { Jean-Michel Basquiat, Self-Portrait, 1981 }

that bomb shit burning, we smoking

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{ Caper magazine, May 1959 | Enlarge }

Or for royal, Am for Mail

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a non-comprehensive list of the ways your sleep deprivation is personally harming you:

Your overall cognitive performance — particularly your visual attention and ability to form memories — deteriorates. (More colloquially, this is that “brain fog” we all experience after a late night.)

Your ability to learn new information is impaired, both by sleep deprivation before you learn new information and afterward.

You’re less likely to correctly read facial expressions, even interpreting some expressions — even neutral ones — as threatening.

You’re likely to be more cranky and react worse when presented with obstacles.

Beyond your severely impaired mental abilities, your body is affected,

too: A lack of adequate sleep can contribute to weight gain, puts you at a higher risk of diabetes and heart disease, and makes you far less resistant to the common cold. […]

So what are we to do? […]

First, learn how much sleep you need […] the gold standard of eight hours per night might not be right for you […] The only real guideline is to get as much sleep as you need to feel refreshed and energized the next day, and then do that every single night. […]

Fall asleep and wake up at the same time every day (including weekends) […] And don’t forget to keep your bedroom cool.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

photo { Brooke Shields photographed by Richard Avedon, New York, January 26, 1988 }

related { Zzzz Poster }

Light travels faster than sound, this is why some people appear bright until they speak

Case of Tetanus, in Which a Large Quantity of the Tincture of Opium Was Administered by Mistake (1819)

On the Cure of Tetanus by Opium and the Warm Bath (1812)

{ PubMed }

‘Grace Jones came by in her macho outfit with a big raving beauty Swedish guy, like 6′6″. He had such a weak handshake, really wimpy.’ –Andy Warhol

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A survey was performed to determine the frequency of unrecognized repetitive licking of fingers while reviewing hospital charts by various healthcare professionals who, by this habit, may be putting themselves at risk of acquiring a nosocomial infection. Nine of 14 charts demonstrated the presence of Staphylococci aureus, cultures obtained from three of nine charts grew methicillin-resistant S. aureus, and six grew methicillin-susceptible S. aureus. Of the 50 healthcare professionals surveyed, five (10%) admitted to habitual repetitive licking of fingers while reviewing charts. In addition, 30 (60%) of those surveyed had observed other professionals doing so. Forty-seven (94%) acknowledged that they did not routinely wash their hands after reviewing the charts, potentially placing themselves at risk of acquiring a nosocomial infection. As an immediate consequence of this study, staff members have been encouraged to wash their hands before and after reviewing a patient’s chart.

{ American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation }

photo { Lisa Taylor photographed by Francesco Scavullo, Vogue, January 1975 }