Archive for category Health and wellness

Universal flu vaccine one step closer – health – 21 October 2010 – New Scientist

The following is an interesting development of flu vaccines.

Universal flu vaccine one step closer – health – 21 October 2010 – New Scientist.

I’d like to say “Isn’t is wonderful what medical science can do today!”, but I cannot.

The discovery of a protein on all flu strains which can be targeted as a universal site for a flu immune response is really a wonderful step forward. The potential to defeat the flu’s annual mutations is a wonderful step forward.

This discovery is more about the developments in the following areas:

  • The gene sequencing technology of today. This is, curtosey of the human genome project. The human genome project has made the cost of sequencing a genome far cheaper. The human genome project speed the development of techniques and technology which allowed the project to be completed.
  • The power of modern computers. The development of more powerful computers, at affordable prices, has meant that the analysis of the flu structure could be conducted. Hence, the identification of the prospective protein site on the flu virus.

All one can add to conclude is:”Let us all hope they get this figured out before a pandemic mutant of the flu virus evolves”.

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Ancient Tattoos

acupuncture points
Image by run dorkas run via Flickr

I was intrigued to read the following article in New ScientistAncient tattoos linked to healing ritual”.

This article was about analysis which had been done on the tattoos preserved on a Peruvian mummy. This Peruvian mummy has been dated as about 1000-year-old, and is of a forty-something Peruvian woman. This contained two interesting medical discoveries. These were that:

  • the woman had suffered from tuberculosis. The diagnosis of TB in the “New World”, prior to the arrival of Europeans, lets the European discoverers “off the hook” for one  disease which could have devastated the populations of the New World.
  • the woman had, what appears to be two different types of tattoos. Some of the tattoos appeared to be medicinal, and others could have been for ritual purposes. The medicinal tattoos appear to be close to Chinese Acupuncture Points.

This correlation between the  tattoos and Chinese Acupuncture points, reminded me of the frozen man from the Swiss Alps and his tattoos (World’s oldest tattoos were made of soot ).  Again, here analysis of the tattoos location indicated that there could be for medicinal purposes, and that tattoos appeared to align with Chinese Acupuncture points.

These two sets of discoveries leave me wondering about a number of things. Which include:

  • How common were  tattoos in ancient cultures?
  • Do Egyptian mummies have tattoos? If they do what forms do they take?
  • Did any of the ancient bodies found in peat bogs in the UK, and Ireland, have tattoos?
  • When did Chinese acupuncture begin? I’m sure there is a long history in Chinese recorded history, but was the just the codification of something which has had a much longer history.

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My Back – Done it Again


I managed to tweak my back a couple of weeks ago. Not enough to slow too much down, but enough to irritate the structure muscle and nerve of my lower back. But, that was only the start of the troubles.

We have at work on of those “deckchairs on the Titanic” exercise happening this week. A shuffle of the workgroups on level 1 is happening and my workgroup is being moved. Not so bad,  “par for the course” in any building, moving sections around a sections grow and other things shrink.

Well, this was bad news for my back. Although, I tried to plan boxing the boxing up activity so that I was not doing things which would aggravate my back. The process of packing up all of my reference library into boxes for the move, has raised the level of irritation for my back muscles.


I found this little “electric blanket” in the shops yesterday Breville Digital Heat Pad. The only thing which is digital on this is the display, but I guess that the marketing man thought the calling it a “digital” would sell better. Really, it is just a small electric blanket.


Does it Work?

For me the answer is a definite and resounding YES.  It is very effective at “pouring heat” into the irritated muscles of my back. The heat has both muscle relaxing and restorative properties.

The medical, and physiotherapy, professions would say that the heat is stimulating the blood flow to the area. This increased blood flow simulates the healing process.


I have been using one of of these Elastoplast Hot/Cold Pack. Another product which works, but the constant cycle of soaking it in more hot water, is a bit of a problem.


  1. Breville Digital Heat Pad highly recommended.
  2. Elastoplast Hot/Cold Pack works well for a short term problem.
  3. Moving a section is a pain in the back! And I am only half way through the process. Wednesday, bring the unpacking in the new location.

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