Newsletter v4n22

Newsletter v4n22
Back Issues

"The establishment defends itself by complicating everything to the point of incomprehensibility." (Fred Hoyle)

The DOCTOR YOURSELF NEWSLETTER (Vol. 4, No. 22, for October 20, 2004) "Free of charge, free of advertising, and free of the A.M.A."

Written, edited and copyright 2004 by Andrew W. Saul of , which welcomes 1.5 million visitors annually. Commercial use of the website or the contents of this Newsletter is strictly prohibited.


But, as Ed Sullivan said, "Now before we bring on the Beatles," let's take a look at this:


I have received many readers' letters concerning a recent negative antioxidant study published in the journal Lancet (Goran Bjelakovic, Dimitrinka Nikolova, Rosa G Simonetti, Christian Gluud. Antioxidant supplements for prevention of gastrointestinal cancers: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet 2004; 364: 1219-28).

To put it succinctly, the Lancet study concludes that antioxidant supplements are killing people.


To say that antioxidants are bad is like saying that oxidants are good. That is not true, and even the giant breakfast cereal companies know it. If a box of Calvin's "Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs" ( needs antioxidants, so do your tens of trillions of perishable body cells.

The Lancet Anti-antioxidant Study: Some Cautions for Readers

1) Beware the Meta-Analysis: A meta-analysis is not new research, but a review of existing research. It is not a clinical study, but rather a statistical look at a collection of studies. If you analyze failed studies, you will get a negative meta- analysis.

2) Low-dose vitamin studies are the ones that get negative results. Most vitamin research is low-dose. So where's the surprise?

3) Specifically addressing the recent Lancet study, Dr. Abram Hoffer says:

"You will note that in every study analyzed, vitamin A and beta carotene were used and according to the analysis, these were the toxic components. There was no evidence whatsoever that vitamin C was harmful. The authors must have included the Finnish smoking studies, which were huge, or else they could not have found as many subjects. I have previously criticized the Finnish studies (Hoffer A. Editorial: The Finnish antioxidant and lung cancer study. Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, 1994. Vol 9, Second Quarter, 67-70.) because even though it was randomized, it turns out that the group given beta-carotene all had been smoking one year more than any of the other groups. That extra year could account for the slight increase in incidence of cancer in this group. Therefore, the Finnish cancer studies alone could account for the entire difference they found in the Lancet analysis."

4) Picking up on Dr. Hoffer's comment, I'd like to add that all bets are off when you introduce pitifully low doses of antioxidants into the contaminated body cells of long-time smokers. I call it "physiological food riot syndrome."

Imagine if Queen Marie "Let Them Eat Cake" Antoinette had gone out alone into the poverty-ridden streets of pre-revolutionary Paris, armed with nothing but a few dozen loaves of bread. I think there would have been a mob scene, and more people hurt from the scuffle than nourished by the bread. Tossing a token amount of some food to a starving crowd will not work. Giving inadequate doses of vitamins to the desperate body cells gasping away inside heavy smokers won't work, either. If you want to spend your time and go and analyze the failure, be my guest.

But I think the Lancet would have done better to take a stab at publishing some productive research, or, at the very least, a meta-analysis of high-dose nutrition therapy.

More of my hints on How to Spot Anti-Vitamin Biases in a Scientific Study will be found at

More of Dr. Hoffer's thoughts on this are posted at

ASCORBATE: THE SCIENCE OF VITAMIN C Hickey S and Roberts H. Ascorbate: The science of vitamin C. 2004. ISBN 1- 4116-0724-4. Morrisville, NC:

No medical professional's bias or belief system can long withstand Steve Hickey and Hilary Roberts' new and absolutely first-rate presentation of the safety and effectiveness of megadoses of vitamin C. There are only two possible reader responses to this book: persuasion or dismissal. Ascorbate: The Science of Vitamin C is a thorough review (575 references) of what, at least until now, has appeared to be a controversial topic. Along with Dr. Tom Levy's book, Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases, and Toxins: Curing the Incurable (reviewed at, it ranks among the absolute best.

I wish I'd had a book of this caliber back in the 1970's when my kids were infants, and there wasn't a doctor in sight that would give our vegetarian and megavitamin C lifestyle the time of day. The outlaws, er, ah, in-laws were against it, too. Even so, I raised my kids all the way into college without a single dose of any antiviral, antihistamine, or antibiotic. To put it bluntly: the stuff really works.

Flu season is coming: stock up now, both on the vitamin and the good books about it.

I am writing a full-length review of Ascorbate: The Science of Vitamin C to appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine. Since MEDLINE likely won't be indexing it (more on that further below), I also intend to publish the review in the Doctor Yourself Newsletter for my ever-curious readership.

THE DOCTOR YOURSELF INTERVIEW with Steve Hickey, PhD, co-author of Ascorbate: The Science of Vitamin C

DOCTOR YOURSELF NEWS: So how did it all start?

STEVE HICKEY, PhD: We (co-author Hilary Roberts and I) had been following the developments in vitamin C and antioxidants with some concern. Since Linus Pauling's death, there seemed to be a great deal of misinformation coming into the area. The NIH had performed some questionable experiments and were making the apparently ridiculous statement that blood plasma and tissues became saturated with low doses of vitamin C. There was no mainstream research on high doses and the establishment was making wild extrapolations from their low dose data. We could not see how a clinical trial with 200 mg of vitamin C, for example, could be used to suggest that higher doses were not effective.

The work of physicians like Bob Cathcart, Archie Kalokerinos and Abram Hoffer was intriguing. The reported effects, especially of intravenous vitamin C, were astounding. It was difficult to find any reason to explain the lack of scientific follow-up. By analogy, it was as if many independent physicians were each independently discovering antibiotics and no-one was interested. We had friends and relatives that were sick or dying from diseases that high dose vitamin C was claimed to cure. Eventually we felt we had no choice but to write the book.

DY NEWS: What are your past and current occupations or university appointments?

HICKEY: I have a PhD in Medical Biophysics from the University of Manchester. I spent about ten years in research at the Manchester Medical School and associated hospitals. Initially, I had trained as a biologist specializing in pharmacology. Later I switched to biomechanics and medical physics. My PhD was on the function of the spine, specifically the aging, development and mechanical function of the annulus fibrosus of the intervertebral disk. I was awarded the Volvo Award for back pain research for the first year of my PhD (jointly with Dr David Hukins) and later won the Annual Award and Medal of the Back Pain Society for MR imaging of the spine. Following my work on the spine, I worked with Professor John Brocklehurst on the biomechanics of the urethra and developed a range of conformable catheters. Then I worked on methods for ultra high resolution CT scanning and led the physics group of the first clinical MR scanner in Europe. Currently, I am Head of Technology for a company in Manchester Science Park and a member of the Biology Department of Manchester Metropolitan University.

Hilary Roberts' first degree was in Physiology and Psychology, she has a Masters in Computer Science and her PhD was on the effects of early life malnutrition, at the Department of Child Health in the University of Manchester. She spent ten years in research and teaching at the university. Currently, she is a freelance researcher and consultant. She is also working on a second nutrition book.

DY NEWS: How did you happen to meet each other?

HICKEY: We met at Manchester Medical School, during our PhD studies.

DY NEWS: Advocating megadoses of vitamin C as actual cure for serious disease has been a fount of frustration for many an academic (Linus Pauling coming instantly to mind), practicing physician or grant-seeking research scientist. What heat have you personally been taking from your book?

HICKEY: None whatsoever - so far. We have been actively trying to provoke a response from the NIH, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and associated scientists. I suppose they are trying to ignore us, but they can't hide forever. I think it is clear that the current ideas of plasma saturation are simply wrong and cannot be defended.

One or two scientists have tried to support the use of white blood cells to estimate body requirements. This is more central to the IOM's justification of the RDA than the plasma studies, but equally silly. Dr Mark Levine told us he used white blood cells because they were easy to sample, not because they were representative of normal body cells. The RDA committee, using Levine's papers as their basis, claimed that these cells were the best model. In giving their reasons, the IOM used a single reference to justify the choice of cell, but that paper did not support the idea that white blood cells are similar to other body tissues. White blood cells have special needs for vitamin C. They absorb it actively and have levels from 25- 60 times the surrounding plasma. Biologically, it is difficult to think of cells with more specialized requirements and uptake mechanisms for ascorbate.

Many of the people whose work we have respected for years have welcomed the book, which is encouraging. Those on the opposite side have tended to ignore it, which is disappointing, but unsurprising. We have taken time and effort to seek out and email the establishment scientists that support the low-dose ideas, but none have chosen to defend these ideas.

DY NEWS: Your book carefully examines the Moertel-Pauling vitamin C/cancer controversy. I understand Moertel died the same year Pauling did, but was nearly thirty years younger. Does that hit a nerve of the ascorbate researcher?

HICKEY: We are obviously delighted that Pauling lived such a long life and was productive until his death, aged 93. Everyone benefited from his work. Charles Moertel died in his sixties and they both died of cancer. Ironically, recent results suggest that if Dr. Moertel had performed his vitamin C and cancer experiments with more of an open mind, the results might have saved his life.

DY NEWS: In spite of so much modern research confirming that he was right, Pauling is still vilified by some. Why do you think this is? What is it about this little molecule, C6H8O6, that so ticks off the medical professions?

HICKEY: Pauling was one of the greatest scientists who have ever lived. Anyone has the right to criticize his science if it is incorrect. However, the criticism directed at him in connection with vitamin C has often been personal and this is not acceptable. Pauling's achievements are greater than are those of his detractors: it sounds like sour grapes to attack him on a personal level.

The medical establishment's response to vitamin C seems bizarre. They have denigrated its use in high doses but have not responded to reports of efficacy by independent physicians. The reasons for this are not scientific. Pharmaceutical companies have a great financial interest in ensuring that high dose vitamin C continues to be seen as ineffective. The existence of the tobacco companies demonstrates that some companies value profits more highly than health. If the claimed benefits of high-dose vitamin C can be demonstrated, its use would greatly reduce the profitability of the medical industries. Furthermore, if vitamin C were shown to have these properties, we might expect people to start asking whether other antioxidant supplements could have similar effects.

The medical establishment gives the appearance of avoiding high-dose vitamin C experimentation. They seem to confuse nutritional doses, between 200 mg to 10 grams, with necessarily much higher pharmacological doses. For example, they might perform a clinical trial using a dose of less than 400 mg for heart disease and, finding no response, suggest that vitamin C is useless. A nutritional dose of 400 mg of vitamin C is not likely to reverse heart disease, but this experiment has no bearing on whether or not higher doses might be more effective.

Pharmacological doses start at a minimum of 10 grams for treating disease. Dr Robert Cathcart ( and others have given daily doses of several hundred grams for serious illnesses. Cathcart classifies the severity of viral disease in relation to the vitamin C bowel tolerance level, so he might describe a "40-gram cold" or a more severe "120-gram cold." The medical establishment has been negligent in failing to investigate such doses.

DY NEWS: I noticed that your book properly zeroes in on intravenous administration of vitamin C. Many of my readers are vexed that their local hospitals and doctors will not provide this. Your comments?

HICKEY: It is possible that many physicians are worried about litigation when giving therapies that are not in the accepted mainstream. Dr Tom Levy trained in law as well as medicine and his book, "Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases and Toxins," ( was written in part to help with this situation. Patients might consider getting a copy of his book for their physician. (Editor's note: A sample chapter is posted at

DY NEWS: Ascorbate: The Science of Vitamin C, even with its 575 references, might be described as just slightly controversial. What parts of your book are your critics attacking you over, specifically?

HICKEY: This is quite strange. One critic suggested that we were too harsh in describing cold fusion as an example of pseudoscience. A professor did not like one of the chemical diagrams. That is it, as far as criticism goes. The medical establishment have been unable or unwilling to respond to the important points made in the book.

DY NEWS: As you cite them, can you please tell us about your experiences, discussions or contacts with Dr. Bob Cathcart, Dr. Abram Hoffer, and Dr. Tom Levy?

HICKEY: They were an inspiration. Robert Cathcart read the whole book in early draft form and provided us with feedback and helpful suggestions. Abram Hoffer read sections of the manuscript and was most encouraging, as was Tom Levy, who told us about his plans for future research. The book owes a great debt to the work of Cathcart, Hoffer, Levy and other physicians, who have risked their reputations and careers in the hope of getting orthomolecular therapy considered.

DY NEWS: To that, I can only say, Hear, hear! How much attention is Ascorbate: The Science of Vitamin C receiving in your country, a nation under the imminent threat of CODEX and the EU supplements directive?

HICKEY: I think the Codex and EU legislation has European nutrition professionals and supplement takers in a panic. Stopping the Codex will be difficult and the current emphasis is on a legal challenge in the European Court of Human Rights. I will be assisting Patrick Holford in a presentation to the UK House of Commons in October.

DY NEWS: How are what I understand to be your strong efforts to increase the US RDA and other government nutrient intake standards progressing?

HICKEY: I must mention the sterling work that Bill Sardi, Medical Journalist, has been undertaking in this area. If we are successful in getting the RDA increased, it will certainly owe a lot to his persistent efforts. I have received no credible scientific response to the challenge, from either the NIH or the IOM. There appears to be no defense to the plasma "saturation" claims. However, the IOM have just claimed that they actually based the RDA on levels in white blood cells, rather than plasma saturation. This was probably their best attempt at a reply. As we pointed out in "Ascorbate," the evidence for the use of white blood cells is at least as silly as that for the use of plasma levels. White blood cells are not a suitable model for the whole body: they are unusual and specialized in their use of ascorbate.

DY NEWS: To date, where has you book been reviewed?

HICKEY: I don't have a full list, but there are readers' reviews on, and the Vitamin C Foundation website . Dr Richard Passwater reviewed the book for WholeFoods Magazine (Sept. 2004). The latest reviewer is Dr Sandra Goodman, author of "Vitamin C the Master Nutrient," for Positive Health magazine. The reviews we have seen have been positive. We had expected a lot of negative feedback and disinformation from the establishment but, so far, this has not materialized.

DY NEWS: How do both of you get along with your personal physicians?

HICKEY: Very well; our physicians are helpful and open. They have some coverage of alternative medicine and include acupuncture as a therapy. Neither of us has needed to visit since the Ascorbate book was published.

DY NEWS: Because of how much vitamin C you take, perhaps? How much vitamin C do you take daily? How about your families; children?

HICKEY: It varies - several grams a day at least, more if we feel under the weather. We take it at intervals throughout the day. My (grown-up) children take similar amounts. Hilary's father, a skeptical, retired surgeon, has also been on vitamin C for about 20 years, since having a heart bypass operation. I think he started it as a placebo, as supplementing was easier than dealing with the repeated suggestions that he needed it! However, from a recent scan, his arteries are clear and, now he has read the book, he is starting to think there might be something in it after all.

The Doctor Yourself Newsletter thanks Dr. Hickey for this interview, and wishes him and Dr. Roberts all success with their very valuable and timely book.


Here in England this week there has been much furor about a study published in the Lancet (mentioned previously: Bjelakovic G et al. Antioxidant supplements for prevention of gastrointestinal cancers: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet 2004; 364: 1219-28) claiming to show that antioxidant supplementation may exacerbate gastrointestinal cancer. UK nutritionist Patrick Holford responded by describing the report as "one of the most biased and unsubstantiated reports on antioxidants I've ever read." (

The front cover of the Lancet contains a quote from the article suggesting that "The prospect that vitamin pills may not only do no good but also kill their consumers is a scary speculation given the vast quantities that are used in certain communities." The motivation for this scary speculation becomes clearer on turning the journal over to the BACK cover. The Lancet's entire back cover is filled with an image of an empty pill bottle, labeled: "Last year millions died from a drug problem. They couldn't get any." Pharmaceutical companies are clearly bringing out the heavy artillery in order to spin the anti-vitamin myth, and put doubts in minds.

Yet, however much we deride the antiquated "drug for a bug" tactics of the medical profession, they wouldn't be so much a cause for concern, and the clear bias shown against nutritional medicine not nearly so incredulous, if the patients receiving treatment from our National Health Service were being well educated on their own health needs. This is emphatically not the case. The following link is to an advice booklet given to cancer patients at my local hospital: ( _Patient.pdf)

Its recommendations are astonishing (and, unfortunately, not atypical). The booklet begins with the sound advice that "it is important to eat as well as you can," but goes on to suggest "nourishing drinks" such as "After Eight" chocolates with 2 tablespoons of cream and 60 g of ice cream (page 23) and a "Tipsy Special" (p 3) containing honey with whiskey or brandy. Recommended snacks include ice cream, chocolate mousse and shortbread, chocolate biscuits (cookies) (p 5) and glasses of sherry before meals to increase appetite (p 5).

The following would be a feasible day's menu for a cancer patient, adhering closely to the advice provided in the booklet:

Breakfast: Cereals (e.g. Rice Crispies, p 21) with added honey, sugar and/or jam (p 10).

Lunch: Corned beef (p 11) white bread sandwich (p 21) with cake (p 12).

Supper: Sherry (p 5) Hotdog sausages with instant mash potato (p 11) and stewed vegetables (p 5).

Followed, of course, by a Tipsy Special.

The title of the booklet "Nutrition for the Cancer Patient" is clearly a misnomer because, hard as one may try, it is very difficult to find any nutrition in such a menu. It could be argued that the advice is aimed at the nauseous, post- chemotherapy cancer patient looking for easy, palatable, convenience food. Yet, surely that is the very reason itself that good, simple nutritional advice needs to be offered. If the unfortunate individual is so weakened by the disease, why are they being told to eat chocolate mousse? No one would deny a suffering man (woman, or child) going through the distress of radiation therapy a comforting bowl of ice cream IF they were being otherwise properly nourished.

The fact, however, cannot be ignored that the same medical profession, standing up against the use of antioxidants and other nutrients that indisputably help to prevent illness, is singularly failing to educate its cancer patients beyond eating tinned soup and drinking cocoa (p 12). All this, while simultaneously offering reassurance that people eating such balanced diets "should have no need for vitamin and mineral supplements" (p 4).

Comments about the booklet, or suggested responses are welcomed to If enough are received, I will look at offering the collective response to the hospital.


"The educational, 28 minute VHS video entitled "Eat, Exercise, Excel" is now available free of charge at our website: It provides a great nutrition-based alternative to the standard approach of police in schools at high cost."

"Sincerely, "Hugh D. Riordan, M.D." (3100 North Hillside Avenue, Wichita, KS 67219 U.S.A.)

SEARCHING AT DOCTORYOURSELF.COM? Atomz, our free search engine, now contains advertising. It is not my idea, but keeping my 1.5 million word website easily searchable, and free, is.

DOCTOR YOURSELF DANISH WEBSITE OF THE MONTH contains an outstanding English-language orthomolecular bibliography of 150 important nutritional research studies. Much of the rest of the site is also available in English as well. is definitely worth a click.


Yes, Here Are the Entries Received for the Doctor Yourself News' MEDLINE COMEDY CONTEST!

CAUTION: This portion of the Doctor Yourself Newsletter is rated PG-13 for Strong Suggestive Scientific Content. Parental Guidance is Recommended.

Thanks to all for filling this wonderful grab bag. OK, OK! No more! The contest is now officially over, and the winning Medline citation will be announced . . . in our NEXT issue.

I really did learn a lot from Ed Sullivan.

Rules Reminder: In a case when more than one reader sent in the same entry, the one received first gets consideration. And remember: Our decision is final, secret, and arbitrary.

Just like MEDLINE.

And yes, these papers are all indexed by your taxpayer-supported National Library of Medicine.

Heated socks maintain toe temperature but not always skin blood flow as mean skin temperature falls. Aviat Space Environ Med. 2003 Aug;74(8):891-3.)

Treatment techniques for the recycling of bottle washing water in the soft drinks industry. Water Sci Technol. 2004;50(2):107-12. Ramirez Camperos E, Mijaylova Nacheva P, Diaz Tapia E.

Bite mark or bottle top? J Forensic Sci. 2004 Jan;49(1):119-21. James H, Cirillo GN. Forensic Odontology Unit, University of Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia.

"An alleged assault was reported by a 42-year-old female, with initial medical examination revealing an apparent bite mark on the right buttock. Odontological examination, including visual assessment, full history and photographs showed that the injury did not meet the class characteristics of a human bite. Subsequent digital overlay production showed that the injury pattern was consistent with a corrugated bottle top. This case highlights the need for careful assessment of injuries alleged to be caused by human teeth."

Animal waste: the smell of success or the stench of trouble? Herrick JB. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1995 Jan 15;206(2):162-3.

The eyebrow frown: a salient social signal. Tipples J, Atkinson AP, Young AW. Emotion. 2002 Sep;2(3):288-96.

"Seven experiments investigated the finding that threatening schematic faces are detected more quickly than nonthreatening faces. Threatening faces with v-shaped eyebrows (angry and scheming expressions) were detected more quickly than nonthreatening faces with inverted v-shaped eyebrows (happy and sad expressions). In contrast to the hypothesis that these effects were due to perceptual features unrelated to the face, no advantage was found for v-shaped eyebrows presented in a nonfacelike object. Furthermore, the addition of internal facial features (the eyes, or the nose and mouth) was necessary to produce the detection advantage for faces with v-shaped eyebrows. Overall, the results are interpreted as showing that the v-shaped eyebrow configuration affords easy detection, but only when other internal facial features are present."

J Vector Ecol. 1998 Dec;23(2):186-94. Olfactory responses and field attraction of mosquitoes to volatiles from Limburger cheese and human foot odor. Kline DL.

A study of diurnal variation in wrinkles on the human face. Arch Dermatol Res. 2004 Aug 20. Tsukahara K, Moriwaki S, Hotta M, Fujimura T, Kitahara T.

"We recently evaluated diurnal variations in facial skin elasticity and thickness and reported a decrease in skin thickness and an increase in skin elasticity in the afternoon compared with the morning. This phenomenon may be associated with the effect of gravity on dermal fluids. There have been no reports on the diurnal variation in wrinkles on the face, and we now describe such a study. . . The results of skin thickness and skin elasticity were in agreement with those of our last study. Swelling tended to occur in the morning due to the effects of gravity during sleep. Therefore, wrinkles may be swollen in the morning. Furthermore, repeated movements of the face due to changes of facial expression may gradually increase wrinkle formation and depth from the morning to the afternoon."

Patterson S. Windy babies. Med J Aust. 1966 Mar 19;1(12):506-8.

Jones FA. Burbulence. A fresh look at flatulent dyspepsia. Practitioner. 1967 Mar;198(185):367-70.

Wigs, laughter, and subversion: Charles Busch and strategies of drag performance. J Homosex. 2004;46(3-4):35-53. Niles R.

"This paper examines the strategies of drag performer/ playwright Charles Busch. His performance aesthetic is explored and shown to be subversive even though its initial impulse is to entertain. Basing my arguments on the work of Judith Butler, Elin Diamond, and others, I argue that drag queens like Busch can not only entertain but also make audiences question and criticize through drag's power to create a Brechtian alienation effect and historicize the subject . . . By examining the performance of Busch and his fellow actors, I demonstrate how a contemporary relevancy is achieved by having the roles played by a female impersonator whose acting choices are filtered through a gay sensibility. The ongoing dialectic between spectator and performer creates a historicized moment in performance that underscores the gender dynamics in unexpected and stimulating ways."

Respiration. 2004 Jan-Feb;71(1):104. Chin stimulation: a trigger point for provoking acute hiccups. Todisco T, Todisco C, Bruni L, Donato R.

Psychophysiology. 2004 Mar;41(2):281-7. Staring at one side of the face increases blood flow on that side of the face. Drummond PD, Mirco N.

"To investigate the effect of observation on blushing, an experimenter sat next to 28 participants and looked closely at one cheek while the participant sang (embarrassing) or read aloud (not embarrassing). Increases in cheek temperature were greater on the observed than the unobserved side during both tasks. Changes in cheek temperature were symmetrical when the experimenter sat next to another 23 participants and looked straight ahead, as well as when the experimenter stared at one side of the participant's face through a glass window while the participant sang. However, increases in cutaneous blood flow were greater on the observed than the unobserved side of the forehead during singing. These findings suggest that staring at one side of the face triggers an ipsilateral increase in facial blood flow."

Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2001 Apr;25(4):590-2. Thinness and body shape of Playboy centerfolds from 1978 to 1998. Katzmarzyk PT, Davis C.

Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2004 Sep;30(9):1186-97. Playboy Playmate curves: changes in facial and body feature preferences across social and economic conditions. Pettijohn TF 2nd, Jungeberg BJ.

"Past research has investigated ideals of beauty and how these ideals have changed across time. In the current study, facial and body characteristics of Playboy Playmates of the Year from 1960-2000 were identified and investigated to explore their relationships with U.S. social and economic factors. Playmate of the Year age, body feature measures, and facial feature measurements were correlated with a general measure of social and economic hard times. Consistent with Environmental Security Hypothesis predictions, when social and economic conditions were difficult, older, heavier, taller Playboy Playmates of the Year with larger waists, smaller eyes, larger waist-to-hip ratios, smaller bust-to-waist ratios, and smaller body mass index values were selected. These results suggest that environmental security may influence perceptions and preferences for women with certain body and facial features."

J Clin Psychiatry. 1995 Feb;56(2):56-9. Rhinotillexomania: psychiatric disorder or habit? Jefferson JW, Thompson TD.

"BACKGROUND: Conditions once considered bad habits are now recognized as psychiatric disorders (trichotillomania, onychopagia). We hypothesized that nose picking is another such "habit," a common benign practice in most adults but a time-consuming, socially compromising, or physically harmful condition (rhinotillexomania) in some. METHODS: We developed the Rhinotillexomania Questionnaire, mailed it to 1000 randomly selected adult residents of Dane County, Wisconsin, and requested anonymous responses. The returned questionnaires were analyzed according to age, sex, marital status, living arrangement, and educational level. Nose picking was characterized according to time involved, level of distress, location, attitudes toward self and others regarding the practice, technique, methods of disposal, reasons, complications, and associated habits and psychiatric disorders. RESULTS: Two hundred fifty-four subjects responded. Ninety-one percent were current nose pickers although only 75% felt "almost everyone does it"; 1.2% picked at least every hour. For 2 subjects (0.8%), nose picking caused moderate to marked interferences with daily functioning. Two subjects spent between 15 and 30 minutes and 1 over 2 hours a day picking their nose. For 2 others, perforation of the nasal septum was a complication. Associated "habits" included picking cuticles (25%), picking at skin (20%), biting fingernails (18%), and pulling out hair (6%). CONCLUSION: This first population survey of nose picking suggests that it is an almost universal practice in adults but one that should not be considered pathologic for most. For some, however, the condition may meet criteria for a disorder-rhinotillexomania."

Sud Med Ekspert. 2004 Jul-Aug;47(4):38-40. [The role of carrier-object in investigations of cigar-butts] [Article in Russian] [No authors listed]

"A comprehensive series of experiments was undertaken to find the reasons why the cigar-butt stuff, removed from accident places for investigation at forensic- biological laboratories, affects different sera. A number of such reasons were established. Methods are suggested to eliminate the cigar-butt impact with the aim of ensuring the most accurate results while determining the group adherence of saliva on the cigar-butts."

Psychophysiological responding during script-driven imagery in people reporting abduction by space aliens. Psychol Sci. 2004 Jul;15(7):493-7. McNally RJ, Lasko NB, Clancy SA, Macklin ML, Pitman RK, Orr SP.

[No authors listed] Coca-Cola Space Can undergoes successful test by cosmonauts onboard Soviet space station Mir. AIAA Stud J. 1992 Winter;29(4):14-5.

Hong CY, Shieh CC, Wu P, Chiang BN. The spermicidal potency of Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola. Hum Toxicol. 1987 Sep;6(5):395-6.

Spina MB. "...Nothing beats stamp collecting..." (Dr. Alan Drinnan). TIC. 1979 Aug;38(8):12-5.

Total infarction of the penis caused by entrapment in a plastic bottle. Urologe A. 2004 Jul;43(7):843-4. [Article in German] Maruschke M, Seiter H.

An objective evaluation of the waterproofing qualities, ease of insertion and comfort of commonly available earplugs. Clin Otolaryngol. 2004 Apr;29(2):128- 32. Chisholm EJ, Kuchai R, McPartlin D.

"Earplugs are commonly recommended to protect the middle ear from water in patients with exposed middle ears. This study assessed the waterproofing qualities, ease of insertion and comfort of six commonly available earplugs. Ten subjects (20 ears) were assessed by placing a pre-weighed neurosurgical pattie in their cleaned ear canal under microscope guidance. The subjects underwent a standardized head wetting regime. The outer ear was dried, earplug and pattie removed and pattie reweighed. The difference in weight was calculated. The subjects were also asked to score the difficulty of insertion and comfort of the earplugs on a visual analogue scale. The results show a significant difference in the waterproofing qualities of the various types of earplugs. Cotton wool with petroleum jelly was the most effective (P < 0.001). It was also the easiest to insert and the most comfortable for the subject (P < 0.001)."

Tickle. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2004 Jan;50(1):93-7. Selden ST.

"Tickle is a familiar sensation that may have two components: a light or feather- type noxious sensation termed by Hall and Allin as knismesis, and a heavy or laughter-associated sensation termed gargalesis. Studies on the sensation of tickle have generally been on one sensation or the other, but not on both. . . It is unclear why some skin sites are more ticklish than other sites. . . "

The four 'Vs' for foot care. Vaseline, vegetable shortening, vinegar and Vicks VapoRub. Adv Nurse Pract. 2004 Jun;12(6):67-70, 84. Kelechi TJ, Stroud S.

Using current on-line carcass evaluation parameters to estimate boneless and bone-in pork carcass yield as influenced by trim level. Berg EP, Grams DW, Miller RK, Wise JW, Forrest JC, Savell JW.

"The objective of this study was to develop prediction equations for estimating proportional carcass yield to a variety of external trim levels and bone-in and boneless pork primal cuts. Two hundred pork carcasses were selected from six U.S. pork processing plants and represented USDA carcass grades (25% USDA #1, 36% USDA #2, 25% USDA #3, and 14% USDA #4). Carcasses were measured (prerigor and after a 24 h chill) for fat and muscle depth at the last rib (LR) and between the third and fourth from last rib (TH) with a Hennessy optical grading probe (OGP). Carcasses were shipped to Texas A&M University, where one was randomly assigned for fabrication. . . Total dissected carcass lean was used to calculate the percentage of total carcass lean (PLEAN). Lean tissue subsamples were collected for chemical fat-free analysis and percentage carcass fat-free lean (FFLEAN) was determined. Longissimus muscle area and fat depth also were collected at the 10th and 11th rib interface during fabrication. Regression equations were developed from linear carcass and OGP measurements predicting FLC of each fabrication point. Loin muscle and fat depths from the OPG obtained on warm, prerigor carcasses at the TH interface were more accurate predictors of fabrication end points than warm carcass probe depth obtained at the last rib or either of the chilled carcass probe sites (probed at TH or LR). Fat and loin muscle depth obtained via OGP explained 46.7, 52.6, and 57.1% (residual mean square error [RMSE] = 3.30, 3.19, and 3.04%) of the variation in the percentage of BI-FLC trimmed to .64, .32, and 0 cm of s.c. fat, respectively, and 49.0, 53.9, and 60.7% (RMSE = 2.91, 2.81, and 2.69%) of the variation in the percentage of BL-FLC trimmed to .64, .32, and 0 cm of s.c. fat, respectively. Fat and loin muscle depth from warm carcass OGP probes at the TH interface accounted for 62.4 and 63.5% (RMSE = 3.38 and 3.27%) of the variation in PLEAN and FFLEAN, respectively. These equations provide an opportunity to estimate pork carcass yield for a variety of procurement end point equations using existing on-line techniques."

Kool-Aid colitis. N Engl J Med. 1990 Apr 5;322(14):1012. Sack J.

Effect on tipping of barman drawing a sun on the bottom of customers' checks. Psychol Rep. 2000 Aug;87(1):223-6. Gueguen N, Legoherel P. Laboratoire GRESICO, IUT de Vannes-Departement TC, Universite de Bretagne-Sud, France.

"Previous research has demonstrated that a pleasant drawing (a smiling face) on a restaurant bill increased the number of tips left by clients. A similar experiment was carried out using a drawing of the sun since it is known that tips increase on sunny days. The experiment was carried out in local bars and involved clients who have ordered an espresso coffee. Analysis showed that the drawing of the sun led clients to leave a tip more frequently than when this drawing is not present. The size of the tip left was also higher. The hypothesis of the creation of a positive frame of mind by this stimulus is discussed." (Publication Types: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial)

Health Foodserv Mag. 2000 Winter;10(1):12. Espresso kiosks can be profitable addition to hospital foodservice. Myers M.

Espresso maker's wrist. Shusterman D. West J Med. 1990 Jun;152(6):721-2. Comment in: West J Med. 1990 Dec;153(6):664-5.

Characterization of particles in cream cheese. J Dairy Sci. 2004 Sep;87(9):2854- 63. Sainani MR, Vyas HK, Tong PS.

"Cream cheese is used as a spread and as an ingredient in many food applications. A gritty or grainy mouthfeel is an undesirable textural defect that occurs in cream cheese. However, the factors that cause the textural defect are not well understood. The objectives of this study were to isolate and characterize particles from cream cheese and to study the effect of particles on cheese texture. Particles were isolated by washing cream cheese with water first at 25 degrees C and then at 50 degrees C repeatedly 4 to 5 times. The size of these particles was determined using a particle size analyzer. . . Smooth cream cheese with only 5% (wt/wt) added particles was perceived as significantly grittier than the control sample. This experiment also revealed that the perceived grittiness increased with increase in amount and size of particles."

Tooth-brushing epilepsy with ictal orgasms. Seizure. 2004 Apr;13(3):179-82. Chuang YC, Lin TK, Lui CC, Chen SD, Chang CS.

"We report a 41-year-old woman with complex reflex epilepsy in which seizures were induced exclusively by the act of tooth brushing. All the attacks occurred with a specific sensation of sexual arousal and orgasm-like euphoria that were followed by a period of impairment of consciousness. Ictal EEG demonstrated two events of epileptic seizure that were provoked after tooth brushing for 38 and 14 seconds, respectively. . . Brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed right hippocampal atrophy. We suggest that tooth-brushing epilepsy, especially with sexual ictal manifestations, may provide insight into the cerebral pathophysiology at the right temporolimbic structure."

How about that.

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