Chuckles of the Day



One night, a police officer was staking out a particularly rowdy bar for possible violations of the driving-under-the-influence laws.

At closing time, he saw a fellow stumble out of the bar, trip on the curb, and try his keys on five different cars before he found his. Then, sat in the front seat fumbling around with his keys for several minutes.

Everyone left the bar and drove off. Finally, he started his engine and began to pull away.

The police officer was waiting for him. He stopped the driver, read him his rights and administered the Breathalyzer test. The results showed a reading of 0.0.

The puzzled officer demanded to know how that could be.

The driver replied, “Tonight, I’m the Designated Decoy.”

* * * * * * *

A couple from Minneapolis decided to go to Florida for a long weekend to thaw out during one particularly icy winter. Because both had jobs,they had difficulty coordinating their travel schedules. It was decided that the husband would fly to Florida on a Thursday, and his wife would follow him the next day.

Upon arriving as planned, the husband checked into the hotel. There he decided to open his laptop and send his wife an e-mail back in Minneapolis. However, he accidentally left off one letter in her address, and sent the e-mail without realizing his error.

In Houston, a widow had just returned from her husband’s funeral. He was a minister of many years who had been “called home to glory” following a heart attack. The widow checked her e-mail, expecting messages from relatives and friends.

Upon reading the first message, she fainted and fell to the floor. The widow’s son rushed into the room, found his mother on the floor, and saw on the computer screen…


To: My Loving Wife
From: Your Departed Husband
Subject: I’ve Arrived!

I’ve just arrived and have checked in. I see that everything has been prepared for your arrival tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing you then!

Hope your journey is as uneventful as mine was.

P.S. Sure is hot down here!




Age and Aging Have Critical Effects on the Gut Microbiome

Researchers at Cedars-Sinai have found that aging produces significant changes in the microbiome of the human small intestine distinct from those caused by medications or illness burden. The findings have been published in the journal Cell Reports.

“By teasing out the microbial changes that occur in the small bowel with age, medication use and diseases, we hope to identify unique components of the microbial community to target for therapeutics and interventions that could promote healthy aging,” said Ruchi Mathur, MD, the study’s principal investigator.

Research exploring the gut microbiome, and its impact on health, has relied predominantly on fecal samples, which do not represent the entire gut, according to Mathur. In their study, investigators from Cedars-Sinai’s Medically Associated Science and Technology (MAST) Program analyzed samples from the small intestine–which is over 20 feet in length and has the surface area of a tennis court–for examination of the microbiome and its relationship with aging.

“This study is the first of its kind to examine the microbial composition of the small intestine of subjects 18 years of age to 80. We now know that certain microbial populations are influenced more by medications, while others are more affected by certain diseases. We have identified specific microbes that appear to be only influenced by the chronological age of the person,” said Mathur, an endocrinologist and director of the Diabetes Outpatient Treatment & Education Center.

The 21st century has been referred to as the “era of the gut microbiome” as scientists turn considerable attention to the role trillions of gut bacteria, fungi and viruses may play in human health and disease. The microbiome is the name given to the genes that live in these cells. Studies have suggested that disturbances in the constellations of the microbial universe may lead to critical illnesses, including gastroenterological diseases, diabetes, obesity, and some neurological disorders.

While researchers know that microbial diversity in stool decreases with age, Cedars-Sinai investigators identified bacteria in the small bowel they refer to as “disruptors” that increase and could be troublesome.

“Coliforms are normal residents of the intestine. We found that when these rod-shaped microbes become too abundant in the small bowel–as they do as we get older–they exert a negative influence on the rest of the microbial population. They are like weeds in a garden,” said study co-author Gabriela Leite, PhD.

Investigators also found that as people age, the bacteria in the small intestine change from microbes that prefer oxygen to those that can survive with less oxygen, something they hope to understand as the research continues.

“Our goal is to identify and fingerprint the small intestinal microbial patterns of human health and disease. Given the important role the small bowel plays in absorption of nutrients, changes in the microbiome in this location of the gut may have a greater impact on human health, and warrants further study,” said Mark Pimentel, MD, director of the MAST program and a co-author of the study.

Source: Cedars Sinai

Chart: The Swiss Cheese Model of Respiratory Pandemic Defense


See large image . . . . . .

Source : The New York Times

New Tests for Colon, Prostate Cancer Show Promise

Dennis Thompson wrote . . . . . . . . .

A pair of experimental tests could help doctors detect colon or prostate cancer with just a sample of blood or saliva.

One test examines a person’s blood for four biomarkers linked to inflammation. In a small study, it outperformed the fecal blood test now used in colon cancer screening, said lead researcher Dr. Mona Eldeeb, of Alexandria University Medical Research Institute in Egypt.

“These combined blood base markers could detect early cancer [of the] colon, especially if applied in a screening program,” she said.

The other test uses a man’s saliva to look for genetic material linked to prostate tumor growth, according to the Iranian researchers who developed it.

If approved in the United States, the tests could make screening and diagnosis for these cancers easier on patients, without the need for needle biopsy or colonoscopy, experts said.

“The exciting part of this study is that the [prostate cancer] test truly is noninvasive, requiring no need for needles as it relies on saliva that can be easily and repeatedly obtained,” said Dr. Corey Speers, a radiation oncologist at the University of Michigan’s Rogel Cancer Center in Ann Arbor.

The colon cancer test uses microscopic, color-coded beads to capture four inflammatory proteins from a blood sample. Laser technology then provides a count of the beads.

Eldeeb and her team tried the test with 35 patients with colon cancer and 52 people who were cancer-free.

They found that the proteins were at higher levels in the cancer patients, indicating that they could be used to screen for colon cancer without resorting to colonoscopy, Eldeeb said.

“This new test showed higher accurate results than the routinely used stool-based noninvasive test, and if used in combination with the fecal occult blood test gives very strong and accurate sensitivity with less need for colonoscopy,” she said.

The prostate cancer test searches saliva for eight RNA samples that indicate whether a man has developed prostate cancer or is simply suffering from age-related enlarged prostate. The research was led by Jamal Amri and Mona Alaee, from Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Iran.

The researchers tried the test on 180 men between the ages of 45 and 50, including 60 diagnosed with prostate cancer and 60 with enlarged prostate.

The study found that the saliva panel accurately sorted the men with prostate cancer from those with an enlarged prostate — something that up to now has required a needle biopsy.

“Of course, with all such preliminary studies questions still remain as to the accuracy and reliability of the test when you expand to a larger group of patients, and it isn’t yet ready for general adoption, but this represents an exciting first step,” said Speers, a spokesman for the American Society for Clinical Oncology.

He said future studies would seek to confirm these initial findings in a larger and more diverse set of men. They will also seek to determine appropriate cutoffs for levels of RNA in the saliva samples.

“We look forward to these confirmatory studies being completed,” Speers said.

Both reports were presented this week at the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) annual meeting, in Atlanta. Findings presented at medical meetings are considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

“These reports are very interesting early observations, and it will be exciting to see how they perform in follow-up studies,” AACC President Dr. Stephen Master said in a statement. “Of course, it’s important to note that both of these studies are preliminary, and both tests will need to be validated in larger studies before we can really know if they can be used in clinical practice or not.”

Source: HealthDay

Moroccan-style Meatballs

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, very finely chopped
1 lb ground (minced) lamb
3 large cloves garlic, crushed through a press
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley leaves, finely chopped
1 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, finely chopped, plus sprigs for garnish
2 tablespoons fine dried bread crumbs
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
salt and freshly ground pepper
lemon wedges for squeezing and garnish

Method

  1. In a frying pan over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and saute, stirring occasionally, until very soft, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool.
  2. Add the lamb, garlic, eggs, parsley, chopped mint, bread crumbs, cumin, cinnamon, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to the onion. Combine the ingredients thoroughly with your hands (the only way to achieve an even distribution of the ingredients).
  3. Fry a small pinch of the mixture, taste, and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
  4. Form the mixture into balls about the size of a walnut, rolling them very lightly in the palms of your hands. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet with a shallow rim.
  5. Preheat the broiler (grill).
  6. Place the meatballs about 4 inches from the heat source and broil (grill), turning once with tongs, until brown and crispy on both sides, about 10 minutes total. Remove the baking sheet from the broiler and transfer the meatballs to a platter.
  7. Squeeze some lemon juice over the meatballs and arrange the remaining lemon wedges and mint sprigs on the platter. Using cocktail picks, skewer each meatball if desired. Serve at once.

Makes about 42 meatballs.

Source: Hors Doeuvre


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