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! ūüôā

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! ūüôā

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… ūüėČ

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! ūüôā¬†

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!