Q- E, why do I get bitten by moquitoes but my partner doesn’t?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hah, Ok so first I have to confess that I am a bit off a mozzy (mosquitoe) geek as I have a soft spot for this area of research, for two reasons;

1-My first ever real research project that I designed myself as a undergraduate was on Malaria and mozzy’s

2-Sudan is full of them and has both the species that carry malaria in abundance and they like to bite me, lots, whenever I go home ggggrrrrhhh!

Side note/Trivia: Did you know that mosques (Islamic house of prayer) are called mosques in England instead of Masjid (which is the correct word) because when the English landed in countries which contained Masjid’s and they heard the call to prayer, the soldiers described the sound as the buzzing of mosquitoes, hence the term mosque instead of Masjid.

Anyhoo, back to the topic at hand, due to the above reasons, I am still a member of a number of web journals all about mozzys’ and malaria and it just so happens that only yesterday I read this paper.

Click here if you feel up-to the hard-core science (I hope some of you do 🙂 otherwise play this live ensemble by Seun Kuti feat Manu Dibango whilst I try and break it down.

I always used to say to my dad ” it really is not fair, how come you never get bitten and I always get bitten” and he used to come at me with an African proverb that translates to “My old skin/blood is dry and your young skin/blood is sweet my dear”.LOL

So I looked it up and it turns out he was kinda right. Firstly, I thought a mozzy was just looking for blood, so what does it matter who’s blood it has for dinner, right? I was wrong.

Actually, the mosquito that carries malaria aka Anopheles gambiae, tracks its victims with an acute sense of smell.

Now when I say acute, I really mean it, as the smells they are attracted to come from the billions of tiny bacteria that live on our skin. Skin bacteria gives us all our own “scent” if you will, and we need them as they help convert chemicals on our skin into those that can easily rise into the air.

So here is the answer to your question. We all have different types of bacteria on our skin or different concentrations of a particular type. Therefore, our scent will be different, your scent must be far more attractive than your partners.

Recently, Neils Verhulst et al (2011) discovered that the bacteria on our skin does affect the odds of being bitten by a malarial mosquito and they have even managed to identify which of the different types of skin bacteria are more attractive.This has exciting implications for malaria research.

What can you do?

There are a few things that you can do to make yourself less “attractive” to mozzys

1-We know from past experiments that human sweat becomes more enticing to A.gambiae, therefore a shower before sundown might help.

2-Your diet matters, for example we know that drinking bear can give a attractive odour

3-Cover up as much as possible during the evenings when the mozzy’s come out to play

Hope that helps.

Ex

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A Doctors Rant

I thought it would be insightful to share with you some of the things my Doctor friends complain about. They have to put up with some ridiculously funny interactions but jokes aside, it is really helpful to know what not to do. Enjoy the read and share the knowledge geeks.

 

1-    I AM NOT A MIND READER;

If you come in to see me and I ask you what is wrong and how I can help? A long silence or a exuberant sigh is not going to get us anywhere. They didn’t teach me to read minds in medical school, sorry about that.

2-    PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT;

Now that we have gone past the awkward silence or sigh, and you finally find the words to describe what it is you came in for, it would help me, to help you, if you used words and/or descriptions that made sense. It is a weird feeling in my belly just wont do! Really, no diagnosis is going be made on “a weird feeling” what is that?!?!?!?!? Practice at home what you want to say to me before you come in to see me. PLEASE.

3-    PAIN;

Most people will ignore something until it becomes painful or too painful to ignore. That’s a given (please don’t) but when I ask you what kind of pain is it and where? You should have given it enough thought to come up with a decent answer. I need words like, SHARP, DULL, ACHING, CONSISTANT, INCREASINGLY PAINFUL, HOW OFTEN etc Please don’t make me play the guessing game, most Dr’s are not very good at it.

4-    I AM NOT A THERAPIST;

Ladies (and sometimes Gentleman!)  if you are feeling premenstrual or menopausal (“empathetic man period”), why cant you wait until it blows over to come in about that thing you have been ignoring for ages anyway, it’s only a week or so. It’s not my job to have you cry on my shoulder or pat your back, in-fact I am not allowed. That is all.

5-    WIKIPEADIA DR’s;

OK, it’s really great that you did some research but actually I am the trained DR, not wikipeadia. Do you even know what wikipeadia is? Please at the very least look it up with the medical council!

That’s all for now. For obvious reason’s the identity of the Dr will remain anonymous but I will be interviewing more and posting new rants in the near future. Watch this space.

Let me know what you think and share any funny/helpful encounters on your visits to the Doctors.

Ex

Electroboutique Pop-up

Electroboutique pop-up at the Science Museum

http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/smap/collection_index/alexei_shulgin_aristarkh_chernyshev_electroboutique.aspx

Alexei Shulgin and Aristarkh Chernyshev – Electroboutique

  • pop-up at the Science Museum
  • Artworks created 2011
  • On display 23 Nov 2011 – 14 Feb 2012
  • Location: The Bridge, ground floor mezzanine

This is pretty cool peeps. Encouraging participation through what they call ‘Creative Consumption’, the artists generate a dialogue with their audiences through works which respond, reflect and re-version viewers in real time. The artworks use languages of pop culture, media and art histories, framed by a tongue-in-cheek appropriation of the language of corporate marketing speak. What does that mean? have a peak at the pictures below to give you a better idea..

Not only does this look like mad fun, the experience and interaction with the pieces allows you to ponder more serious questions around art production, design aspiration, technological progress, consumerism, media control and corporate social responsibility. Who was it that said learning can’t be fun? PAH

Warning: This exhibition contains flashing and flickering images and contains a high level of visual and sound stimulation. Visualise Janelle Monae’s neon valley street in metropolis or just play the song below and enjoy :-). Find out more here


Neuromarketing- A Christmas and Boxing Day Shopping Special

A few years back I noticed that my shopping experience started to change, I would walk into a regular high street store and the music would be fast and loud, personally, causing me to want to walk right back out. Then I noticed, calming music being played at particular underground stations during rush hour traffic..hmmmmmm.

A little research pointed me in the direction of a new “trend” in the capitalistic states we live in defined as “neuromarketing”.

It boils down to this, Scientist advise stores to waft spicy “jingle smells” such as cinnamon and brandy through their stores to loosen their customers’ wallets. They recommend fast-paced seasonal music to impart some urgency to the spending spree, and to deck the halls with psychologically arousing colours such as red.

Now if you think that is interesting, you aint seen nothing yet :-/

Taking it a step further, companies are paying scientist to figure out how to “get inside” the heads of Christmas shoppers using “neuromarketing” – the use of a machine to read your mind as you weigh up your gift options. A Californian company, NeuroFocus, has unveiled a headset that can measure the brain’s electrochemical activity as a shopper wanders around a mall, allowing a computer to collect all that cerebral data remotely. This can provide “critical knowledge and insights into how consumers perceive their brands, products, packaging, in-store marketing, and advertising at the deep subconscious level in real time”, according to Dr A K Pradeep, its chief executive.

I managed to find a video of the man himself, explaining his view on the topic. Very interesting choice of words…

Digging a little bit more I came across a google tech talk on the topic

Some of you may be on your way out to do some lastmin.com Christmas shopping (apparently the shops are open until midnight this eve!), and some of you may be getting ready to hit the sales on boxing day. It would be interesting to know what you came up across in terms of neuromarketing? Leave me a feedback comment on your return.

Happy Shopping Geeks

Ex

Emeli Sandé Geek Out, Neuroscience, Medicine and BRIT’s Critics Choice Award

A few months back I came across an article about Emeli in a magazine and I remember walking into my friends studio and calmly saying to him (holding down my geekdom, as you do sometimes)

“have you heard of this girl? she is gonna be really big in the music industry soon and she is studying medicine”

Inside this was happening:

” OMG look, look, this girl is really dope and she is cool and she is gonna be a Dr and famous, and she is a geek, a good role model for young girls and she is telling the whole world- Insert mini-me in my head doing the E shuffle”

Sandé studied medicine at the University of Glasgow, with an intercalated degree in neuroscience.  She said that education was one of the most important things to her, stating that if her music career failed, she has education to fall back on. Sandé said that her manager, Adrian Sykes, waited patiently since she was 16, saying “Adrian really respects that I want to get an education behind me. He also knows my parents are keen that I finish university.”

Although, she has not finished her degree, I am not mad at her. For one, she has been vocal about how hard of a decision that was, she was also being REAL, this is her time to fulfill one of her dreams and she should be proud of herself for realising it. And she is pretty good at it, winning the BRIT’s Critics Choice Award. Check her out here

here is her new single

Q E, I want to know if red wine is good for the heart or not, once and for all please?

The good ol’ red wine and heart Question! aaah yes, I do get asked this frequently and actually it’s my area of “expertise” as I worked in the cardiovascular arena for 5 years.

So here it goes, I hope you’re all ready for this? I promise to try and keep it simple 🙂 but just in-case click play for some background music

Yes, red wine (or white) is good for the heart, IF you drink it moderately and you are generally “healthy”! That means if you are unhealthy or “at Risk” don’t be fooled into thinking that wine is your savior, it will do you more harm than good if you go over moderate!

Right, now that’s out of the way, I’ll explain why?

1- The reason red wine is quoted more than white is because the types of grapes that red wine is made from contain a higher concentration of Flavonoids. Flavonoids are polyphenolic antioxidants found in many plants and vegetables but are especially abundant in red grapes.

2- Now here is the Science bit; Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) the “bad” cholesterol/fat that you hear about on TV is the stuff that undergoes oxidation and initiates the process of atherogenesis (fat deposits in your arteries/heart), which can lead to heart disease.

3- Put 1 and 2 together and you can see why red wine is good as the higher concentration of flavonoids following wine consumption act as an ANTI-oxidant, hindering that process.

4-Wine also contains alcohol, and prospective epidemiological studies have suggested that alcohol, in all of its forms, increases plasma High Density Lipoprotein and it’s major apolipoprotein, Apo A1. HDL is the good protein, which protects against heart disease and a increase in HDL concentration is inversely related to a 50% reduction in atherosclerosis.

HOWEVER

5-Studies DO NOT show these benefits to be highly-significant especially as the fitness, diet and honesty of cohorts varies so much in studies. But studies DO show absolutely that alcohol, especially in excess, does have detrimental effects, in most groups and outweigh its benefits. Other interventions, including dietary modification, are far more effective at reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Hence the confusion!

To Conclude:

regular light-to-moderate alcohol intake, especially in those at risk, whose diet is steadfastly Western will, at the very least, do no harm and almost certainly lead to benefit. For those who have a healthy diet and lifestyle, you can probably push it a little more? I’m just saying tho, disclaimer!!

Now you gotta decide what light-to-moderate is in relation to your personal level of fitness and make an educated guess LOL

Click here for one of the best reviews I have read for further details, history and info

Hope that helps, if you have any more questions leave me a comment and I will do my best to reply.

Happy light-to-moderate drinking

Peace.

Ex

Q- E, my son insists that music helps him learn better? Is this true?

Even Books Need A Little Music: LOVE

oh yes, I remember telling my mother and farther the same thing while I was studying for exams. They complained a lot, I ignored them a lot and eventually they stopped telling me, a lot.

The simple answer, is yes and no lol

Yes, it is true when it comes to memory recall. It has been proven that if you associate a concept to a song and/or the word within a song or the melody of a song it helps you recall the concept from memory much easier. This is good for subjects like history, humanities, geography, Biology, Psychology etc

No, it is not true when it comes to learning figures or facts. So subjects like maths, physics, charts, tables etc. However, converting equations into song-form has been proven to increase grades in students.

What is important to understand is that music has lots of benefits, including making you feel better and surely a happy student will do better than a less happy student without his music. You can then advise him on how to use his music to help him study better by suggesting he links some of it to his subjects or pay careful attention and see if you can make the links for him? then suggest them in that way that only a parent can do 🙂

Have a read of this link and see for yourself how music affects the Brain and how you can use it to your advantage.

Hope that helps

Ex

Mind Over Matter

Hello Geeks,

I am a believer, so I think all illnesses are  a combination of Health (Science/Mind), Life (Soul/Faith) and Love (Heart/body). I firmly believe that disease can be overcome by focusing on all three of these things. One will not do.

I came across this short animation. It is a beautiful story about a little girl from Sudan who was born with Polio and has achieved much despite the odds, very inspiring.

Press Play:

Do you Agree or Disagree? post a comment/tweet me

Share and Like please

Peace and Love

Ex

Robots At War

Last week, I went to the Science Museum to visit the RobotVille exhibition. Very exciting stuff. the Robotics field is advancing very fast, probably much faster then we are allowed to know!

The latest bunch of Robots on show had a range of skills. Some could follow your emotions and mimic you (e.g if you smiled it would smile back at you). Some could respond to orders and questions, others can shake your hand, grab a ball from you and even hand it back. Amazing.

Robots create a whole bunch of questions in my mind. Exactly what are they going to be used for when they have reached the levels of Will Smith’s i-robot?

Robots are already being used successfully in the medical and technology fields. They have huge educational benefits and are an exciting way off attracting young people into the fields such as mechanics, engineering and technology.

But, a part of me really fears what comes next? War? Medical Morals? Domestic Aids?

I managed to sneak in some photos and videos on my phone to share with you all;

Chillin’ like a Villain

Catch me if you can

 

Do the Robot Dance

The Audios attached to the videos are from the EP When Robots Go To War- featuring Ty and Motet  produced (an original composition)  by Gus  ‘Steve Austin’ Modeste  (Catch me if you can) and remixed by Daz I Q (Do the Robot Dance) who are members of  Uprock Recordings. If you do not know about these music geeks already, DO YOURSELF A FAVOUR click on the links and check them out.

You can also support them by buying the EP from itunes

And if you enjoyed reading the post and videos please support me by sharing the blog via FB and/or twitter and leave me a comment.

Peace and all that good stuff.

Ex

Musicology

Music is a Scientific Art. A great musician is also a great artist and great artists usually have a learned and/or innate understanding of the science and technology behind the process, how music is made and heard.

So when I came across this Ted video I just had to share.  An inspiring rendition on how one Dr believes that science should not ignore the importance of music for deaf people. Currently, Scientist can restore hearing of language and speech but perfecting the hearing of music is still very much on the backburner.

Check out the Video and let me know what you think?

It is no secret that I am a big music fan. I know I would find it very difficult to get through most days without my daily dose of musical pleasure. I would most definitely choose the sense of sound over sight.

Q-If you had to choose between sight and sound, which would it be?

Etta said it; I would rather go blind

Peace and Love

Ex