MAGNIFYING GLASSI was trawling through the newspapers recently trying to catch up on all the happenings here and abroad.  Given my profession, health stories always grab my interest.

I honed in on stories relating to research and medical trials that are being funded and carried out around the world to help cure our ails or give hope where previously there has been none.

In Japan, they are about to begin the world’s first clinical trial, aimed at treating age-related macular degeneration (AMD), using stem cells harvested from a patients’ body. The trial will try to create retinal cells that can be transplanted into the eyes of patients suffering from AMD, replacing the damaged part of the eye.

Migraine sufferers hopes have been boosted following the largest study ever (more than 100,000 genetic samples) identified five more sections of our DNA associated with their onset.  Scientists say the research offers a fresh understanding of what triggers migraines. There’s hope of new treatments being made available in the next few years.

I went on to read of more studies, one on research that backs the mood-stabilising drug Lithium as an important drug in the treatment of depression; another from New Zealand giving hope for predicting which children with asthma will grow out of the condition through genetic testing; and an Australian study of young children that found most did not have the core strength, flexibility or co-ordination to achieve exercises considered the “basic foundations” of movement.

All worthwhile, understandably funded projects………and then I found these:

Chickens may be cleverer than toddlers – ahem.  Studies show that chickens can master skills including numeracy and self control, something it takes children until the age of four to accomplish.   Christine Nicol of Bristol University, professor of animal welfare, reviewed TWENTY YEARS of research on the topic.  OMG, seriously,  twenty years of research carried out on this subject!!!

British researchers have found that a male wearing a short sleeved, white t-shirt with the letter ‘T’ emblazoned on the front of it will give the impression of being 12 percent lighter (in weight).  Hate to tell you guys that T-shirt will come off at some stage!

A study by Oxford University academics came up with this revelation that “subtly changing eating implements and tableware can affect how pleasurable or filling food appears”. And here I thought the quality of the food and a good glass of wine would seal the deal, but apparently not.  It seemed cheese when eaten from a fork or toothpick was saltier, whilst yogurt appeared denser and more expensive when served from a plastic spoon (!?*)

What a delightfully, intriguing world we live in……….



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