Archive for January, 2009

Masturbation can be good for the over-50s

Posted in Science with tags , , , , , , on January 30, 2009 by neandergal

A recent UK Independent article Masturbation can be good for the over-50s, reported on a study published in the British Journal of Urology International that showed a link between masturbation and increased risk of prostate cancer. The study examined the sexual habits of men diagnosed with prostate cancer under the age of 60 against a control group. Younger men engaging in sexual activity (sex and masturbation) at least 20 times a month appear to be at an increase risk of prostate cancer. Interestingly, the risk decreased in men over 50 who engaged in sexual activity at least 10 times a month.

The researchers have no explanation as to why masturbation, as opposed to sexual intercourse, is a marker for increased risk of prostate cancer. Seems like men of any age should just relax and enjoy themselves…by themselves or otherwise.

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Broke? Never Fear, Saint Matthew is Here!

Posted in Politics with tags , , , on January 29, 2009 by neandergal

Worried about your job? No worries! Just pray to Saint Matthew, the Patron Saint of Bankers! If only this really was a joke. Alas it isn’t. A report in today’s edition of the UK Daily Telegraph, Workers worried in recession should pray to patron saint of bankers, says Catholic church, describes how a website, Life4seekers advises people to “turn to Saint Matthew for help” during the economic crisis rather than blaming those in the financial sector who got us into this unholy mess in the first place.

The Roman Catholic Group, Catholic Enquiry Office runs the website. The website targets a young audience who may serve as prime fodder for conversion during these tough economic times. When all else fails, look for divine intervention to solve problems rather than look towards accountability and sound public policy.

“That’s very nice, but don’t let it go to his head.”

Posted in Science with tags , , , , , , , on January 28, 2009 by neandergal

This was the response of Peter Agre’s mother upon learning of her son’s 2003 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Peter Agre in a conversation with Claudia Dreifus of the New York Times, tells the story of his mother’s response to the news of his prize and his discovery of Aquaporins in the article, Using a Leadership Role to Put a Human Face on Science published in today’s edition of the New York Times. Aquaporins are proteins in cell membranes that allow the flow of water into and out of cells.

In February, Peter Agre will be the 163rd President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. What will his mother say about that?

“They tell me to burn in hell and good riddance”

Posted in Science with tags , , , , , on January 27, 2009 by neandergal

Says Sir David Attenborough in the article, I get hate mail telling me to burn in hell for not crediting God published in the January 26th edition of the UK Newspaper, Daily Telegraph. When asked why he does not credit a creator, he replies, “I always reply by saying that I think of a little child in East Africa with a worm burrowing through his eyeball. The worm cannot live in any other way, except by burrowing through eyeballs. I find that hard to reconcile with the notion of a divine and benevolent creator.”

Other people of science such as Richard Dawkins get the same hate-felt correspondence from believers. Richard Dawkins reads out hate mail in his recent award winning documentary, The Genius of Charles Darwin.

It’s interesting how people devoted to understanding the natural world can end up being the object of hate among people who claim to preach love and understanding.

Alcohol stops men being a flop in bed

Posted in Science with tags , , , , , on January 26, 2009 by neandergal

Now before you get excited, the article, Alcohol stops men being a flop in bed, published today in New Scientist points out that it is only one or two drinks that may help prevent erectile dysfunction. A couple of drinks a day may keep erectile dysfunction away, but any more than that and you may end up with a teeny Martini weenie.

Trying Anything and Everything for Autism

Posted in Science with tags , , on January 25, 2009 by neandergal

The article, Trying Anything and Everything for Autism by Jane E. Brody, published in the New York Times Personal Health section (January 20, 2009) is another account of how people seek alternative therapies in favor of conventional scientifically based therapies. The article focuses on the parents of a child diagnosed with autism. The parents desperately seek out and try different forms of alternative therapy for their son’s autism.

Fortunately, the article quotes and references Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick, author of Defeating Autism: A Damaging Delusion who rescues the age of reason when he likens the alternative therapies to “medicine’s dark ages.” Dr Michael Fitzpatrick says, “When parents have invested money, time, energy and, above all, hope into a particular treatment, it is natural to seek to attribute any improvement to that treatment.”

Alternative therapies do not undergo the rigorous testing demanded of clinical trials. The “evidence” is usually anecdotal. Unfortunately, this leads to delusion, wasted money and potentially dangerous therapies such as chelation therapy or special diets.

Warning! Please do not bend!

Posted in Science with tags , , , , on January 24, 2009 by neandergal

The article, Ouch! Can You Really Break Your Penis? published in Scientific American warns that men who engage in bedroom acrobatics can seriously damage their tunica albuginea. Aiming for your target under momentum such as in a run and jump can result in penile fracture if you miss. This is indeed what happened to “this patient who suffered penile fracture after running across the room and trying to penetrate his wife with a flying leap.”

The tunica albuginea is a layer of connective tissue that surrounds each of the two tubes of corpora cavernosa and testis. The corpora cavernosa is the spongy tissue that engorges with blood causing an erection. Bending the penis suddenly under pressure can break the tunica albuginea causing bruising and needless to say, loss of erection.