Livin' on the MDedge

Empty words, Captain Bacteria, and the perils of vampire facials


And now, 37 words from our sponsor

If you’re looking for gluten-free news of the health and medical sciences that’s low in sugar, we here at LOTME Farms promise to use no artificial colors or flavors to tell you about a study of the health claims on cereal boxes.

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Researchers identified 37 such claims that appeared on the boxes of 460 different breakfast cereals and grouped them into four categories: adding positives (high fiber, probiotics), not adding negatives (GMO free, no high-fructose corn syrup), removing negatives (low cholesterol, no trans fat), and not removing positives (made with whole grains, fresh).

What they found is that words matter: None of the 37 claims explicitly said that the product inside would make people healthier or help them lose weight, but that was how respondents interpreted them. There is, of course, a reason none of the products claimed to improve health. “The correlation between the type of ‘healthy’ claim made and the actual nutritional quality of the breakfast cereal was almost zero,” investigator Pierre Chandon said.

This is, perhaps, not such a surprise. But we here at the pure, all-natural LOTME deal with facts, which are low in calories and contain no artificial growth hormones, and we would never insult (NEW LOTME LIGHT! NO ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS!) our wholesome, low-fat readers by resorting (TRY FRESH LOTME ORGANIC!) to hyperbole or doublespeak. Not a chance (MMM … HOMEMADE LOTME).

Now, who’s up for a bowl of Froot Loops?

Captain Bacteria: Civil War

In the never-ending struggle of bacteria versus the world, Clostridium difficile has become a particularly stubborn foe. It is far more likely to be resistant to antibiotics, and the antibiotics that can do the job are either incredibly expensive or destroy the patient’s entire microbiota. However, we may have a new ally in the fight against C. diff: other bacteria.

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Specifically, we’re talking about fecal transplants. According to an article published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, the wide variety of bacteria that get transferred into the body along with the poop can block C. diff’s ability to germinate and produce the toxins that affect the human body. The treatment is especially beneficial for patients with C. diff whose microbiotas have been compromised by some other treatment, like chemotherapy, antibiotics, or proton pump inhibitors.

We here at LOTME would like to take a moment to salute the brave bacteria in our guts, fighting the good fight against those who would do us harm, and to the fecal transplants that let our own bacteria join the battle. Poop, you never let us down!

Dracula side effects

The Kim Kardashian effect is having dire ramifications. Back in 2013, the social media influencer posted a photo of herself getting a “vampire facial” – a dermatologic procedure in which a person’s own blood is injected into their face as a way to freshen and rejuvenate their skin. At least they aren’t drinking it.

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*not Kim Kardashian

Vampire facials have skyrocketed in popularity since, despite the ick factor. Unfortunately, it seems to be as dangerous as an encounter with a real vampire: Recently, two people in New Mexico were diagnosed with HIV after getting vampire facials.

The New Mexico Department of Health noted that both cases have been traced to the same spa, which was shut down in 2018 after at least three government agencies noted its lack of attention to hygiene and cleanliness. Warning to all: Just because a Kardashian does it doesn’t mean you should, too.


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