Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Monday, 26 November 2012

REPORT: US planned to blow up moon during Cold War... -

REPORT: US planned to blow up moon during Cold War... - 

Would Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin even had a moon to walk on if the United States had its way in the 1950s?

During the height of the Cold War, U.S. officials debated whether to detonate nuclear bomb on the moon in order to send a message to the Soviet Union, the Asian News International reports.

The secret project dubbed, “A Study of Lunar Research Flights” and nicknamed “Project A119,” was seriously being considered until it was scrapped because military officials were worried it would hurt the people on Earth.

The Daily Mail reports that astronomer Carl Sagan’s calculations were used regarding the dust and gas the blast would generate. The website also states that physicist Leonard Reiffel told the Associated Press in an interview in 2000 that a U.S. nuclear flash from Earth might have “intimidated” the Soviets.

The plan consisted of carrying a nuclear device some 238,000 miles to the moon on a missile that would have detonated on impact.


Smoking "rots" the brain by damaging memory, learning and reasoning -

Smoking "rots" the brain by damaging memory, learning and reasoning - 

Smoking "rots" the brain by damaging memory, learning and reasoning, according to researchers at King's College London.

A study of 8,800 people over 50 showed high blood pressure and being overweight also seemed to affect the brain, but to a lesser extent.

Scientists involved said people needed to be aware that lifestyles could damage the mind as well as the body.

Their study was published in the journal Age and Ageing.

Researchers at King's were investigating links between the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke and the state of the brain.

Data about the health and lifestyle of a group of over-50s was collected and brain tests, such as making participants learn new words or name as many animals as they could in a minute, were also performed.

They were all tested again after four and then eight years.

The results showed that the overall risk of a heart attack or stroke was "significantly associated with cognitive decline" with those at the highest risk showing the greatest decline.

It also said there was a "consistent association" between smoking and lower scores in the tests.

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote

These results underline the importance of looking after your cardiovascular health from mid-life”

Dr Simon Ridley
Alzheimer's Research UK
One of the researchers, Dr Alex Dregan, said: "Cognitive decline becomes more common with ageing and for an increasing number of people interferes with daily functioning and well-being.

"We have identified a number of risk factors which could be associated with accelerated cognitive decline, all of which, could be modifiable."

He added: "We need to make people aware of the need to do some lifestyle changes because of the risk of cognitive decline."

The researchers do not know how such a decline could affect people going about their daily life. They are also unsure whether the early drop in brain function could lead to conditions such as dementia.

Heart and brain
Dr Simon Ridley, from Alzheimer's Research UK, said: "Research has repeatedly linked smoking and high blood pressure to a greater risk of cognitive decline and dementia, and this study adds further weight to that evidence.

"Cognitive decline as we age can develop into dementia, and unravelling the factors that are linked to this decline could be crucial for finding ways to prevent the condition.

"These results underline the importance of looking after your cardiovascular health from mid-life."

The Alzheimer's Society said: "We all know smoking, a high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and a high BMI [Body Mass Index] is bad for our heart. This research adds to the huge amount of evidence that also suggests they can be bad for our head too.

"One in three people over 65 will develop dementia but there are things people can do to reduce their risk.

"Eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, getting your blood pressure and cholesterol checked and not smoking can all make a difference."


Grapefruit juice reacts with expanding list of drugs - including effects such as sudden death -

Grapefruit juice reacts with expanding list of drugs - including effects such as sudden death - 

More prescription drugs are coming on the market that can interact with grapefruit juice with potentially serious effects such as sudden death, Canadian doctors warn.

David Bailey, a clinical pharmacologist at the Lawson Health Research Institute in London, Ont., discovered the interaction between grapefruit and certain medications more than 20 years ago. Since then, he said the number of drugs with the potential to interact has jumped to more than 85.

The researchers advised people taking certain medications not to consume grapefruit. (Goh Chai Hin/AFP/Getty)
Grapefruit juice is known to interact with some types of medications, leading to an overdose hazard.

Bailey reviews new product monographs and prescribing information for the Canadian Pharmacists Association, and keeps a close eye on those with the potential to produce serious adverse reactions.

"What I've noticed over the last four years is really quite a disturbing trend and that is the increase in the number of drugs that can produce not only adverse reactions but extraordinarily serious adverse drug reactions," Bailey said. "Between 2008 and 2012, the number of drugs in the list has gone from 17 to now 44."

Many of the drugs are common, such as some cholesterol-lowering statins, antibiotics and calcium channel blockers used to treat high blood pressure. Others include agents used to fight cancer or suppress the immune system in people who've received an organ transplant.

People older than 45 buy the most grapefruit and take the most prescription drugs, making this group the most likely to face interactions, researchers said in an article published in Monday's issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, titled Grapefruit-medication interactions: forbidden fruit or avoidable consequences?

Older adults also tend to be less able to compensate when faced with excessive concentrations of drugs compared with young and middle-aged people — another reason that those over 45 seem to be particularly vulnerable, they added.

Of the 85 known drugs that interact with grapefruit, 43 can have serious side-effects, including sudden death, acute kidney failure, respiratory failure, gastrointestinal bleeding and bone marrow suppression in people with weakened immune systems.

The authors noted that all sources of grapefruit — the whole fruit or 200 mL of grapefruit juice — and other citrus fruit such as Seville oranges (often used in marmalade), limes and pomelos can lead to drug interactions.


Military dogs being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder -

Military dogs being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder - 

Experts say dogs, like humans, can suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Case in point: Cora, a 5-year-old Belgian Malinois, who spent months in Iraq sniffing out buried bombs. A ‘push-button’ dog, meaning she didn’t need much supervision, Cora would roam around detecting explosives and lie down when she found danger. In return, she would be rewarded with treats or play time.
However, Cora’s happy disposition didn’t last long after her work in Iraq – she didn’t want to leave her handler’s side, loud noises bothered her and she would pick fights with other military dogs.
Marine Staff Sgt. Thomas Gehring, a dog handler at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, works with Cora on a daily basis and said she has canine PTSD, most likely due to the many stressful situations, loud sounds and the sights and sounds of death.
Lackland trains dogs for all branches of the U.S. military. It has a $15 million animal hospital devoted to treating such dogs.
“Dogs experience combat just like humans,” Gehring said.
Lackland dog handlers and veterinarians say dogs need to be treated for the condition similarly to humans. This can include conditioning, retraining and anti-anxiety medicines. For Cora, she will be treated as an “honored combat veteran” and start living a life without stress.
There are no statistics on how many dogs return from war with PTSD, but Walter Burghardt Jr., chief of behavioral medicine and military working-dog studies at Lackland, said approximately 10 percent of dogs sent overseas develop the disorder.

Read more: - 

Couple, Teenage Son Swept To Sea and Die Trying To Save Dog... - then the dog swims back to shore -

Couple, Teenage Son Swept To Sea and Die Trying To Save Dog... - then the dog swims back to shore - 

A couple died and their 16-year-old son went missing after being swept into sea in Northern California while trying to save their dog, authorities said Sunday.
The family was at Big Lagoon, a beach north of Eureka, Saturday afternoon when the dog chased after a thrown stick and got pulled into the ocean by eight to ten foot waves, said Dana Jones, a state Parks and Recreation district superintendent.
Jones said the boy went after the dog, prompting his father to go after them. She said the teenager was able to get out, but when he didn't see his father, he and his mother went into the water looking for him.
"Both were dragged into the ocean," Jones said.
The Times-Standard reports (http://bit.ly/UmSP2P) the couple's daughter called police.
Jones said a park ranger had to run a half mile to get to the beach because his car wasn't made to handle the terrain. When he arrived, he wasn't able to get to them because of the high surf, she said.
Rescuers eventually retrieved the mother's body and the father's body washed up.
The Coast Guard deployed a helicopter and two motor life boats to search for the teenager, but the aerial search was suspended Saturday evening by thick coastal fog.
A call seeking the status of the Coast Guard's search on Sunday wasn't immediately returned.
The dog got out of the water on its own, Jones said.

Read more -