A new gadget and some serious research on xanthones…

First, the funny bit (funny to me, anyway!). Before I left for the States, Stefano and I decided to buy ourselves (well, it’s for me, really…he already has an iPad) a mini iPad. He’s been bugging me for ages to get an iPad, so that I can download and read virtual books instead of filling up the house with real, dust-accumulating books. But I’m a bit old fashioned and sometimes resistant to new, high-tech gizmos. Plus, when I was an undergrad at Harvard (quite a long time ago!), one of my many jobs involved putting books back on their shelves at Widener Library (= book shelver, yes). Ah, how I loved that job…the smell of books…getting lost in the stacks…In fact, that’s when I began dreaming of becoming a librarian (still a dream!)… πŸ˜‰

Anyway, point is: because of my stubborn opposition to downloading books onto any sort of gadget, I’d refused, till recently, even to contemplate buying anything containing the word “pad.” But I finally gave in…Stefano can be very persuasive, you see!

So as soon as I arrived in the States, about a month ago, I went to a local Apple store and got on a mini iPad waiting list. Yes, a waiting list. The pre-Xmas sales period is not at all a good time to buy a super popular item of any sort. So (to make a long story longer!) I finally called the online Apple store and asked for an “in-store pickup” anywhere in the state of Massachusetts. It turned out that the closest Apple store that had a mini iPad for sale was in Braintree (= the South Shore Plaza mall, for those of you who live in MA). That’s more than an hour’s drive from here. But, no biggie. So a couple of mornings ago I set off for Braintree, which is just south of Boston.Β 

I didn’t intend for this part of the post to be so long. Okay, I’ll shorten it, even though, wowsers!, I’d never been inside such a HUGE mall…unbelievable (mmmh, loved the “games for the brain” store! πŸ˜‰ ). Anyway, the upshot is that I got my mini iPad. When I brought it home, though, it refused to connect to my parents’ wireless network. Stubborn little creature, I thought, a tad annoyed.

But yesterday I finally got it to work. So last night I decided to send Stefano an email on the mini iPad…from my bed…what a thrill!

I began typing a message in Italian. Well, let me tell ya, the auto-correct feature went absolutely mad. With hilarious results, I must say. Here’s an example: one of my standard emails greetings for my Italian friends is “cucu!!!,” which is related to the cuckoo clock and is used as a joke (in Italy, when you come out of a hiding place, e.g., you can say “cucu!” like the bird popping out of the cuckoo clock). So I wrote “cucu,” which of course Mr. English Auto-Correct changed to “cucumber.” Cucumber??? And that was just my FIRST word! πŸ™‚ For those who know Italian, the below list should be amusing:

  • “Qualche” became “quail he.” Qualche means “some, a few.”
  • “Questo correttore automatico” became “question correct tore automatics.” Correttore automatico means “Automatic Corrector.”
  • “Almeno ti fai una risata” became “lame no ti fai una roast a.” Almeno ti fai una risata means “At least it’ll make you laugh.” Roast a WHAT? πŸ˜‰
  • When I reread the message and began laughing hysterically at the “corrected” gobbledygook, I wrote “da schiantare dalle risate,” which became “da Schiaparelli dale rip sate.” Da schiantare dalle risate literally means “It’s so funny it will make you die laughing.” “Schiaparelli”??? Is that even ENGLISH? Oh, okay, just looked it up: Elsa Schiaparelli was a famous Italian fashion designer. Uhm…
  • “Pensa un po’ te” became “Pensacola te.” Pensa un po’ te means “Fancy that!” (hehe, indeed!)
  • And just one more: I wrote that I was laughing like a mad woman, “sto ridendo come una pazza furibonda.” Well, the auto-correct feature translated my comment as “I’m laughing like a mad piazza” (a mad city square???). πŸ˜€

Okay, enough. Let’s get serious now. I ran across an interesting item recently. Has anyone ever tasted a mangosteen? I haven’t, I admit. I have never even seen one in real life. It’s a dark purple tropical fruit (nothing to do with mangos, though) that contains heaps of antioxidants and, quelle surprise (not!!!), has been used for ages in traditional Southeastern Asia medicine to treat a variety of ailments, from skin rashes to bladder infections and irritable bowel syndrome.

Recent test tube studies have shown that its compounds, called xanthones, possess antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic properties. These xanthones are extracted from the thick, hard mangosteen rind (= the pericarp).

So why am I writing about mangosteen xanthones today? Because they also seem to have anticancer activity. Yup. Even more interestingly, they have been found to kill HL60 leukemia cells. In vitro, anyway. See this 2004 Japanese study: http://goo.gl/nfmne And this 2009 Chinese study, on a different leukemic cell line: http://goo.gl/dlzEX And there is also a 2008 French study, on cells from B-CLL patients:Β http://goo.gl/QyG5E These in vitro tests resulted in the death (= apoptosis) of all the cell lines. Aha! By the way, there are a few other mangosteen-leukemia abstracts on PubMed…

Now, I don’t have much time right now, as you know, so what I have isn’t much: it’s simply the result of a very quick, preliminary, superficial bit of research. That said, I decided to introduce the subject anyway, thinking it might be of interest to some of you. I should also mention that I came across a warning for patients undergoing chemo treatments. If you fall into that category, then don’t even look at a mangosteen or its extracts. It might lessen the toxic effects of the chemo, which would defeat the purpose, of course. I wrote “might” (the conditional tense) because, as usual!!!, we simply do not know…no studies on that topic. Sigh…

Well, that’s it for today. I hope you’ve enjoyed this bit of silliness…AND the mangosteen info, too, of course! Have a super weekend, everyone! πŸ™‚


  1. Hi Margaret

    Happy New year to you too, MIke, persuaded me to get a KOBO (Kindle competitor) by giving me one for christmas, I too hate changing the way I do things, but getting there slowly, just find it difficult to find the time, to look at all the new things it does.

    Not heard of Mangosteens, looks as though it could be interesting though.

    Sue x

  2. hey there margaret… just a thought, but on the IPhone you can switch between languages so that on the keyboard the ‘space’ bar becomes ‘spazio’… and the auto correct is happier! it is the little globe next to the space bar that does the switching. (so are apple products much cheaper there?) I was recalling that last new year’s i was with you and stefano. πŸ˜‰
    i have eaten the mangosteen in bangkok… but no doubt not enough
    especially if you needed to eat the skins to get to the good stuff.
    little like a lichee (can you imagine that one with auto correct)

  3. Loved the auto correction bit. I have an iPad with Norwegian and English writings. Use to get many funny auto correctives when I forget to change to the language I will write in.
    As for the mangosteen, interesting. Waiting for more.

  4. Too bad about the mangos..I devour mangos all summer; have @ least 2 for dinner..so sweet & succulent. Loved your Apple ipad story. In Farmington, Ct, there is the West Farms Mall wc is hugh as well & has a tremendous Apple store wc is always busy. Good luck with ipad.Always wonderful to read your blogs. I will google mangosteen just 4 curiosity. Thanx,Sally

  5. I tried that mangosteen juice from vitamin shoppe very expensive–did nothing for me, except make my reflux worse, terribly acidic tasting–I tried 2 bottles of it–it’s supposed to boost your immune system..didn’t work for me…the ondamed machine worked for me–but I’m not sure of it’s use for myeloma…it’s very popular in germany, perhaps one of your readers has tried it..people who have auto immune conditions like psioris have been cured with less than 20 treatments…i was having treatments with it lyme disease related–and had this mgus or the mgus was caused by the lyme don’t know…but it’s no conincidence that a lot of lyme patients are getting this–and if so, it clearly didn’t cure the mgus–

  6. A while back there was alot of interest and promotion of Mangosteen juice. I wonder if it would be beneficial to drink as they probably have to squeeze the rind as well as the pulp to extract the liquid? Interesting.

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