Mice don’t vomit

The fact that mice don’t vomit is one of the many things that I learned while reading an extraordinary May 16 Boston Globe article about an experimental cancer treatment that cured, yes, cured a dog, a golden retriever, from soft tissue sarcoma. This cancer treatment, immunotherapy, might possibly (someday) help human patients, too.

Anyway, have a look here: goo.gl/DyBnJZ

Really quite amazing. Incidentally, many thanks to Cynthia for posting the link to this article on Facebook…

Quick update: our 8.5 month old kittens, Pandora and Pixie, were sterilized on Monday and are doing well, phew… Tomorrow I’m taking them back to the vet clinic for their post-op check-up. Everything seems to be going fine, but my fingers are still crossed! 🙂

Check-up

This morning one of my best friends and I took Pandora and Pixie (my two 8.5 month old kittens) to the vet clinic for a pre-spaying check-up to make sure they are healthy enough for surgery…heart, lungs, etc.

Pixie was fine. But when Pandora’s turn came, I related this incident to the anesthesiologist: one day, not too long ago, Pixie (probably in heat) was zooming like a maniac around the house, with Pandora right behind her.  After a few minutes, Pandora threw herself down on the carpet, panting like a dog, with her tongue out. Pixie was resting, too, but normally (no panting, i.e.).

I’d never seen a cat PANT like that, so, worried, I picked her up and tried to calm her down. But when Pixie jumped up and took off again, Pandora struggled to get free. I let her go.

Based on this story, the anesthesiologist said she’d like to do an X-ray to see if Pandora might have asthma. Or…whatever. I agreed, of course.

Turns out that her lungs are fine, but the vets did see something on the x-ray that made them want to do an echocardiogram. I’m taking Pandora to the vets on Thursday to have that test done and to speak with the cardiologist.

One thing the anesthesiologist told me is that Pandora has a bigger-than-normal heart. Not sure what that means. Need to do some research…Anyway, I’ll find out on Thursday…

Then, on Monday, presuming all goes well (with the test results, I mean), Pandora and Pixie will be spayed, and I’ll be super relieved since they are making the other cats (all spayed and neutered) very JUMPY these days…

It’s time.

These are some photos I took during the check-up…The first two show Pixie being examined by the anesthesiologist, with Pandora in the background. Then it’s the post-visit relief/exhaustion before going home…Note: they’re in my beloved Piccolo’s carrier…

Incidentally, everyone at the clinic stopped what they were doing to come over and admire my babies. And, well, I have to admit that they are both…simply irresistible! 🙂

Positive reinforcement may have an effect even on…PLANTS!!!

Okay, this post really has nothing to do with myeloma (although one could argue that it’s related to stress, in some way…), but I found it absolutely FASCINATING.

It describes an experiment by IKEA, which recently placed two of its own plants in a school in Dubai and asked students to verbally abuse one of them while talking in a positive manner to the other. See: goo.gl/DJFsBF

As you will see in the video, after only one month, the “abused” plant looked terrible, all wilted, with brown-spotted leaves, while the “complimented” plant was healthy, with lovely green leaves.

As you can read in the article, some people were skeptical about the results of this experiment, which they even called a hoax.

Well, here’s what I think: I doubt that plants understand actual WORDS (except in “Little Shop of Horrors”  and perhaps other, similar horror movies featuring killer plants), but I do find it easy to believe that our TONE OF VOICE could have an impact…yes, even on plants…

It’s the difference, say, between whispering gently and shouting angrily. No, I don’t find that outrageous at all…

Besides, the article mentions another experiment carried out by Mythbusters in two different greenhouses. The “silent” greenhouse performed worse than the other greenhouse where “recorded messages” were played. In this case, it seems quite clear that the CONTENT of the messages was totally irrelevant. What had an impact, IMO, was the “noise”…Of course, it has to be a nice, gentle noise. I doubt that loud music such as heavy metal could possibly be beneficial to the plants. But hey, you never know… 😉

Okay, I’m ready to test this theory. I’m off to our terrace to whisper words of encouragement to my lemon tree, so that all of its pretty little flowers will turn into delicious lemons…mmmmh, yeah!

(Last year, you see, all its flowers fell off for unknown reasons, so we ended up with zero lemons…Fingers crossed for this year…).

At any rate, good job, IKEA! 🙂 

IgA’s role in maintaining and controlling bacteria in the gut

A couple of days ago, I came across a very interesting article on gut bacteria, a topic I’ve written about in the past.

The article focuses on a recent finding: our IgA helps a certain type of bacteria stick to, and become part of, our gut. This finding may not seem important, at first glance, but it could someday lead to the treatment of many diseases. 

But the main message that I got from this article is that we should supplement with probiotics on a daily basis (I’ve highlighted this issue more than once).

I didn’t realize until today, in fact, that my low levels of IgA might be having a very negative effect on my microbiome.

Anyway, do have a look at the article. It’s easy to read, to boot: goo.gl/zAAUZX

Excerpt: “…Without IgA, the microbes fail to permanently colonize the gut…” Yikes!

9/11 firefighters have an increased risk of developing cancer, especially multiple myeloma

I have read that firefighters in general are three times more likely to get cancer because of their exposure to toxic chemicals that they inhale and that also get stuck in their clothing. But it really saddened me last week to read a recently published report about the 9/11 firefighters…

In this NBC News article, multiple myeloma is the first cancer mentioned: goo.gl/XaZJsa

The fact that so many of these brave people were being diagnosed with MGUS and MM is actually not the news of the day. I’ve been reading articles about this for years now. But, as I wrote above, there is a new study, published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA Oncology: ) that officially confirms this terrible trend.

And I quote…The JAMA “study shows that WTC exposure may be a risk factor for the development of multiple myeloma and its precursor disease.”

Here’s the link to the actual (full) study: goo.gl/BcyEqn

My best wishes to them and their families.

A big win for European honeybees

The European Union has voted to expand a 2013 ban on three neonicotinoid pesticides that harm/kill bees and other pollinators. The ban is now permanent. See: goo.gl/yWyJoL

This is a major victory for science AND for common sense. I mean, even if, for some weird reason, you are NOT in favor of banning pesticides, do you really want to be eating food that has been contaminated with toxic crap that kills bees and birds?

Didn’t think so…

Incredibly, the EU vote was not unanimous, as it SHOULD HAVE BEEN. I read that four countries voted against it, namely, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Romania, and Hungary. Eight others abstained, including Belgium…Finland… Luckily, these countries made no difference.

Well, there are more toxic pesticides that should be banned out there…But for today, let us celebrate this major win for the European honeybees. Yaaaay!

 

Sexy curcumin

This morning, to help out a friend of mine, I was checking out a curcumin brand on Amazon Italy where I came across an Italian curcumin advertisement that sent me into peals of laughter.

I tried to copy and paste just the photo here on the blog, but Amazon wouldn’t let me do that, so I’ll have to give you the link to the entire ad. Sorry about that. I mean, obviously, I am NOT endorsing this product (although it may be perfectly fine…)…I just think the photo is hilarious!!!

Here’s the link: goo.gl/V19YS1

Enjoy!!!  😆 

Flying poop particles

Throughout the years, because of my teeny tiny immune system, I’ve become rather obsessed with washing my hands, which I do A LOT, several times a day. And, when I’m not near soap and water, I use an Italian hand sanitizer that I always have in my purse.

Public bathrooms…Sometimes you just have to use them (say, in an airport), but boyohboy, I try to be super careful. Anyway, at some point, paper towels were replaced by high tech hot air hand dryers. I was suspicious of them from the start, but I didn’t know why. I think I might have used them once or twice…that’s it.

Then, in 2011, I watched an episode of “The Big Bang Theory” (see below 😀 ) in which Sheldon goes on a rant against these hand dryers. I did some research at that point, and now, if I’m in a public bathroom, and someone begins using a hot air hand dryer, I get out of the way/bathroom as fast as I can. Thanks, Sheldon! 😉

I’m writing about this today because I just came across a new study confirming that Sheldon was right (yes, yes, I know he’s a fictitious character 😉 ). Here’s an easy-to-read synopsis: goo.gl/b3P1fP

The actual study can be found in PubMed: goo.gl/9KLfep

If you’re super interested in this enthralling topic, you can also check out this recent New York Times article discussing what apparently happened when a petri dish was put in an enclosed Dyson hand dryer in a women’s restroom: goo.gl/JgSNvx

YUCKARONI!!!

But what if there is no other way you can dry your hands in a public bathroom, you might ask? Well, simply wipe them on your clothes, if possible, or have a Kleenex ready.

That’s what I do.

P.S. Oh, and please please please, always put the toilet lid DOWN before flushing. Yes, you got it: more flying poop and pee particles…AGGGHHHHH!

Bone marrow biopsies begone!

The days of painful, or very painful!, BMBs, without sedation, blablablablaetcetcetc, are almost over…or so it seems.

We may soon be able just to have a simple blood test, thanks to the work of a University of Kansas team that has developed a small plastic chip, the size of a credit card, which can yield the same information as a BMB. No pain, no discomfort. Nada. Just a blood test…

You can read all about it in this Science Daily article: goo.gl/vDymjQ

As someone who has always had painful BMBs, without sedation, I find this bit of news to be nothing short of FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffantastic!!!

Not just myeloma

First bit of news: I’ve had absolutely no pain in my heel. It’s as good as new. I have to admit I’m still stunned…and I wonder if a more conventional doctor, let’s say a physiotherapist, would have made the connection between my relatively new eyeglass prescription and my heel pain. I doubt it.

This makes me wonder how many similar cases there are, of people who think they have plantar fasciitis or tendonitis or, sorry for the mention! 😉 , heel spurs, but whose pain actually originated in a different part of the body, an easy-to-fix part of the body. Mind-blowing, eh?

But the reason I’m writing today is that EBV, that is, the Epstein-Barr virus, is in the news again.

I wrote a few posts about the EBV connection to MGUS (and, therefore, to SMM and MM) back in October of 2017 when I came across an Italian study on this very topic, and then another bunch of posts in December and January, as I recall. To find and read these posts, all you have to do is put the acronym “EBV” in my blog’s “Search” box.

But now we have a more recent EBV study (which a dear SMM friend, thanks!!!, brought to my attention), conducted by a team at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, showing that this terrible virus is linked to SEVEN OTHER diseases, as follows: lupus, MS, RA, inflammatory bowel disease, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, celiac disease, and type 1 diabetes. (!!!)

Here’s the link to the Science Daily article: goo.gl/FMyGe5

It’s a very interesting, easy-to-read article…a highly recommended read. As my friend commented, EBV has reached the mainstream now.

Here’s a food-for-thought excerpt from the SD article: “When viral and bacterial infections strike, our bodies respond by commanding B cells within our immune systems to crank out antibodies to battle the invaders. However, when EBV infections occur, something unusual happens. The EBV virus invades the B cells themselves, re-programs them, and takes over control of their functions.”

Given all the possibly dire consequences of an EBV infection, and given the fact that more than 90% of adults all over the world are antibody positive by the time they are 35 years old (freaky fact), we must take action. So, while we wait for an EBV vaccine to be developed (see article for more info), we need to build up our immune systems and, more importantly, those of our kids. How do we do that? Well, by looking up all the natural ways to block EBV…Curcumin would be at the top of my list: it prevents B cells infected with EBV from becoming immortal, etc. etc. etc. (check PubMed…I even found a study published back in 1998 about how curcumin affects EBV!)…There is lots we can do…

Oh how I wish I’d known all this stuff when I was in grad school, BEFORE I contracted this bloody virus, which, I just read, is an ancient fellow, perhaps 100 million years old…another freaky fact!!!

Anyway, it’s too late for me now…But it might NOT be late for you, so…get going! PREVENTION IS KEY!!! 🙂