This Video Debunks 10 Misconceptions About Your Favorite Beverages

To be clear – tap water is more heavily regulated than bottled water, and the presenter makes sure to say that the actual water quality depends on location (obviously Flint and WV are outliers).

This Is a Very Strange Cure for Cyanide Poisoning

Cyanide poisoning is not a nice way to go. Essentially it’s open-air suffocation. Cyanide ions in the body interact with an enzyme called cytochrome oxidase. This enzyme works with hemoglobin in the blood. It preferentially picks up cyanide when it should be picking up oxygen, meaning the body slowly dies for lack of “air.”

Source: This Is a Very Strange Cure for Cyanide Poisoning

There’s a classic joke about how to get intoxicated at hospitals by claiming you drank methanol to get an IV with an ethanol solution.  It’s not that methanol will kill you or make you blind…  The problem is that the liver enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase turn methanol into formaldehyde (or methyl aldehyde).  Ethanol binds to the same enzyme to inhibit the production of formaldehyde.

Sunlight and Body Heat Make Vitamin D Inside Your Skin

Many people don’t get enough vitamin D in their food. They still get enough vitamin D, because ultraviolet radiation creates it—usually.

Source: Sunlight and Body Heat Make Vitamin D Inside Your Skin

If you’re as fair-skinned as the average northern European, you only need about 20 minutes per day.  All you have to show is an area of skin about the size of your face.

Without vitamin D from sunlight exposure, lactose assists with the use of calcium. So, cultures with easy access to leafy greens plus sunlight or fish, calcium is taken care of and milk has no advantage. Cultures without access to leafy greens, sunlight or seafood need dairy either as a source of calcium, lactose, or both.  You can read more about it in a previous post.

Sports Medicine Journal Reveals Our Childhood Coaches Tried To Kill Us

Remember when you were a kid and all your coaches and camp counselors and those vaguely hippie-ish guys who took your youth group hiking would tell you to drink, even when you weren’t thirsty? Turns out they were trying to murder you.

Source: Sports Medicine Journal Reveals Our Childhood Coaches Tried To Kill Us

I recommend reading one of my previous posts about trying to drink a gallon of water a day.  It has some interesting info about diagnosing the colour of your urine 😀

Four Myths About Hydration That Refuse To Die

As Derek Zoolander wisely put it, wetness is the essence of life. Whether you like drinking water or not, it accounts for about 60% of your body weight, and plays a pretty darn important role in making sure your body functions normally. But statistics aside, there are a couple of myths about hydration that refuse to die.

Source: Four Myths About Hydration That Refuse To Die

You can read about my experience looking into myth #1.  I have never attempted to drink that much water since.

The blurb about myth #3 does not mention skim milk or chocolate milk as a recovery drink.   Providing you’re not lactose intolerant or have ideological issues with drinking cows milk, it’s hydrating, provides carbs and protein, and a good source of calcium and vitamin D (necessary for processing calcium).

There is also an argument that diuretics (coffee, pop/soda) can be beneficial because they will encourage you to drink more when most aren’t motivated to drink more water.  They can be more enjoyable than water – certainly understandable in places where filtration can’t do enough for water.  Hard water tastes horrible…

As They Lay Dying: Terminally Ill and Organ Donation

…W.B.’s life was turned upside down by the diagnosis. But once the initial shock passed, he began researching his condition intensively. He learned that he was unlikely to survive five years, and that in the meantime his quality of life would diminish dramatically. With limited options, many patients retreat. But, quite bravely, W.B. had other ideas. After much consideration, he decided that if he was going to die, he would like to try to save another person’s life in the process, even if that person was a stranger. And so last May he approached the University of Wisconsin’s transplant program, where we are surgeons, as a prospective organ donor.

…From the earliest days of transplantation, surgeons subscribed to an informal ethical norm known as the “dead-donor rule,” holding that organ procurement should not cause a donor’s death. In practice, this meant waiting until patients were by all measures completely dead—no heartbeat, no blood pressure, no respiration—to remove any vital organs. Unfortunately, few organs were still transplantable by this point, and those that were transplanted tended to have poor outcomes by today’s standards.

Source: As They Lay Dying

The medicine, the US in this article particularly, operates in a strange paradox – we uphold the right to patient autonomy in nearly every situation… Except when an otherwise (legally) competent individual chooses a care option that involves the outcome of death/disability by intervention. Physician-aid-in-dying and this particular case are examples of decisions made by terminally-ill people where we interfere with their right to self-determination.

I don’t stand on a political soapbox – everyone gets an opinion and a vote – but rather an ethical one.

If we can not cure, what are the boundaries of what we do to palliate? What if we are able to simultaneously palliate (psychologically or physically) one patient, while providing an invaluable service to another? Is it truly against the spirit of the Hippocratic oath to provide psychologically and spiritually meaningful interventions at the expense of the physical body?

I personally am of the mind that if the patient and physician enter into a trusting and respectful relationship, that these questions can only be answered/defined within the context of that particular relationship.

How The First Bite Of Food Sets The Body’s Clock

Researchers are starting to learn why, when we cross time zones or pull an all-nighter, our bodies get out of sync.

Source: How The First Bite Of Food Sets The Body’s Clock

It’s a transcription of an interview.  It touches on how different organs have their own clock, though I’ve read that bacteria helping you digest food can also play with your rhythms.

The Math of Organ Donation: Kidneys are an NP-hard Problem

We’re bilaterally symmetric organisms—we’ve got matching bits on our left and right side. But many critical organs are present in only a single copy (hello heart) or we need both to function optimally (see: lungs). The kidneys are rare exceptions, as your body gets by just fine with only a single one. That has enabled people to become living kidney donors, with both the donor and recipient continuing life with one kidney.

Often, in cases where someone needs a transplant, there is a relative willing to make this sacrifice, but unable to do so because they aren’t a close enough tissue match, which would lead to the organ’s rejection by its new host’s immune system. Separately, there are some rare individuals who are simply willing to donate a kidney to an unknown recipient. So the medical community has started doing “donation chains,” where a group of donor-recipient pairs are matched so that everyone who receives a kidney has a paired donor that gives one to someone else.

That, as it turns out, has created its own problem: given a large pool of donors and recipients, how do you pull a set of optimized donor chains out? It turns out that the optimization belongs to a set of mathematical problems that are called NP-hard, making them extremely difficult to calculate as the length of the chain goes up. But now, some researchers have developed algorithms that can solve the typical challenges faced by hospitals with the processing power of a desktop computer.

Source: The math of organ donation: kidneys are an NP-hard problem

This is an article for why you did that math in high school/post-secondary 😉

We Used to Recycle Drugs From Patients’ Urine

When penicillin was first used medically, in 1940, it was a time of austerity. While Alexander Fleming first discovered penicillin in 1928, his world-changing observations had garnered hardly any notice, and it wasn’t until 1938 that another team of researchers finally began to isolate and test the active chemical ingredients in the world’s first antibiotic. By that time, World War II was raging, and medical manufacturing capacity that could be devoted to experimental treatments was in short supply.

Producing usable penicillin from Penicillium notatum mold was no easy feat, says PBS: “In spite of efforts to increase the yield from the mold cultures, it took 2,000 liters of mold culture fluid to obtain enough pure penicillin to treat a single case of sepsis in a person.”

Pencilin production couldn’t happen nearly fast enough to match rising demand. To make up the shortfall, writes Rebecca Kreston for her Body Horrors blog at Discover Magazine, researchers came up with a novel way to get the penicillin they needed: extracting and isolating it from patients’ urine.

Source: We Used to Recycle Drugs From Patients’ Urine

40 – 99 % of the penicillin antibiotic is excreted in urine in its fully functional form about 4 hours after administration thanks to our kidneys!   But doesn’t that mean that the dose was too high?
…But even today, some portion of the active ingredient from many drugs passes through our bodies unchanged. Instead of isolating and recycling them, though, we send them down the toilet and out into the world.
That part is why I sourced the Smithsonian article rather than the Discover one.  While our ability to synthesize antibiotics has greatly improved, the impact to our water supply is rather scary.

Why You Definitely Shouldn’t Drink Your Own Pee

During his 127-hour ordeal under that boulder, backpacker Aaron Ralston resorted to consuming his own urine in order to stay alive before eventually hacking off his own forearm and escaping. This was an extreme survival case, and pretty much the only time you should even consider drinking from your own spigot. Here’s why.

Source: Why You Definitely Shouldn’t Drink Your Own Pee

It doesn’t make sense that ingesting waste water would be a good idea.