From the archives: Food schmafety

Inspired by Effect Measure, I thought I’d dredge up an old snarky post since the Senate is about to join the House in gutting state food standards.

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SchadenFriday Late Edition: The Passion of the Drunk

I refuse to see Mel Gibson’s snuff film Passion because I’m pretty sure that Gibson has flipped his lid and I have no desire to see a guy in a rubber suit get flogged for 2 hours. The desire to even make such a movie suggests to me a diseased mind, and it seems like I might be getting confirmation.

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Antisense Oligonucleotide Therapy for ALS patients?

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is a devastating disease that claims the upper and lower motor neurons, and ultimately the lives of most patients within 3-5 years of diagnosis, usually from respiratory failure. Patients lose control of voluntary muscles as the pathways that innervate them degenerate. Lou Gehrig and Stephen Hawking are two famous ALS patients.
Now a group suggests that antisense oligonucleotide therapy may be used to effectively treat some forms of the disease.

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Everybody Post About Mirror Neurons!!!

Mixing Memory brings up some excellent points regarding mirror neurons in primates, and Frontal Cortex follows up with his thoughts. To both of them I say “bravo, but your skepticism probably doesn’t go far enough”.
We give Rizzolatti et al too much credit with their conclusions. After all, they’ve only demonstrated the existence of mirror neurons in monkeys. Due to the obvious inherent difficulties associated with recording from human neurons in vivo, no one has yet (to my knowledge) published anything that demonstrates the existence of mirror neurons in people. Instead, we stick people in scanners and infer that they have mirror regions, or mirror neural systems, that are at least in part composed of mirror neurons. These regions are associated with language and imitation, but any evidence that mirror neurons are involved with either behavior in humans is circumstantial at best.

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Easy Indian Rice Pudding

This one is a really simple, quick treat that’s virtually fat-free. Can’t vouch for carbs though.

  • 14 oz can Fat Free Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 1/2 cups Jasmine or Basmati rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom, or Seeds from 6 cardamom pods, ground
  • 1-2 teaspoons Rosewater

Empty Condensed milk into saucepan. Add 3 additional cans of water. Heat and stir, add the rice, cardamom, and rosewater. Cover and simmer until desired consistency, about 1/2 an hour. Tends to form lots of bubbles and bubble over even if only barely boiling; if this is a problem then crack the lid and keep the heat as low as possible. Stir frequently. Garnish with ground pistachios to satisfy even the most skeptical Indian mother-in-law and aunties.
Rosewater not necessary. Experiment with cinnamon and nutmeg if you like. Feel free to add raisins, currants, chopped dates, dried cranberries, or whatever floats your boat. Add crushed-up Benadryl and put the kids to bed early for an easy clean-up.

Ixnay the EdRay UllBay

Think that sugar rush is gonna help you beat the afternoon blues? Think again.

Ten healthy adults had volunteered to restrict their sleep to 5 hours on the day before participating in the trial. An hour after eating a light lunch they were given either an energy drink (42g sugar + 30mg caffeine) or an identically tasting zero-sugar drink. They then performed a monotonous 90-minute test during the afternoon ‘dip’ that assessed their sleepiness and ability to concentrate.
For the first 30 minutes there was no difference in the reaction times or error rates, but 50 minutes after consuming the drinks, the performance of those who had had the energy drink started to slip, and they became significantly sleepier.

I found this to be the case a while ago, and started using coffee instead of soda. (Come to think of it, I’ve only had one energy drink in my life and it was artificially sweetened.) Unfortunately the coffee helped contribute to my GAD, so that had to go away.
A better “prescription”, for those of you who can handle caffeine?

“A ‘sugar rush’ is not very effective in combating sleepiness – so avoid soft drinks that contain lots of sugar but little or no caffeine,” explains Professor Jim Horne, who runs the Sleep Research Centre at the University of Loughborough. “A much better way to combat sleepiness is to have a drink that contains more useful amounts of caffeine and combine this with a short nap”.

Ahhhh, a nap. How quaintly European. Actually I wish we’d adopt that sort of schedule over here in the States….

Francis Collins is Confused

I just don’t get it. On one hand, Francis Collins is clearly a bright guy and an established researcher. He headed the Human Genome Project, for cryin’ out loud. He’s an evangelical Christian, which I personally don’t care about one way or the other, as long as his beliefs remain his personal beliefs. An article in the Washington Post, however, has me wondering what he’s thinking.

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