Livin' on the MDedge

Dark-roast dementia, cocktail dermatitis, and violent good guys


Dark roast has the most

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The most … best chance … dark-roast coffee may protect your brain against Parkinson’s disease, okay? Rhyming can be hard. A Canadian study recently found that the compounds in brewed coffee, called phenylindanes, may have neuroprotective effects by inhibiting amyloid-beta, tau, or alpha-synuclein. Researchers examined light roast, dark roast, and decaf dark roast and concluded that the dark roast contains stronger inhibitors. We always figured those ridiculous light-roast coffees were for the weak, but now we have proof.

Researchers also looked at the effect of caffeine. Sweet, sweet caffeine. While a potent psychoactive component, pure caffeine appeared to have no effect on amyloid-beta, tau, or alpha-synuclein aggregation. Does this mean coffee is the cure for Parkinson’s disease? Not quite yet, but keep on chuggin’. And while you’re at it, have some pomegranate, too.

Cocktail dermatitis

Dermatologist Vincent DeLeo, MD, isn’t a psychic or a seer. But he plays one in the examination room. Every now and then, a patient walks in with noninflammatory blisters or hyperpigmentation, often on their hands. Dr. DeLeo takes a look and asks if the patient was enjoying some gin and tonics the previous weekend. “They think you’re God because of course they were,” he told an audience at the recent Coastal Dermatology Symposium.

The culprit? An allergy to the dark green skin of limes, a.k.a. “margarita photodermatitis.” Dr. DeLeo says it may take a few days for the blisters to appear. And he advised colleagues to not photo test the patient because it could make things worse. As for treatment, steroids can help. So can switching to Scotch and soda.

The animals are getting high

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Australian animals are getting a contact high, according to a research team that studied stream invertebrates around Melbourne. When we consume pharmaceuticals, our bodies do not totally absorb them. Now, evidence shows that the residual drugs that leave our system are ending up in waterways. What does that mean? It means animals are getting free drugs, and that’s just not fair.

The water-dwelling invertebrates are also passing on these residual compounds to other animals, like spiders who eat invertebrate larvae. Researchers also predicted that platypuses in particular might soon be exposed to high levels of antidepressants. At least the platypuses will be happy.

Health care goes to the movies

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Science, as many of those involved in the time-honored but often misunderstood pursuit of truthiness would agree, is a strange, wonderful, yet fickle mistress. One day, she’ll have you comparing the quantity and quality of infant stools or shoving whooping cough bacteria up people’s noses. And the next day, she’ll invite you to join her at the local mega-movie multiplex for the latest Hollywood blockbuster.

Just ask Robert Olympia, MD, of Penn State University, Hershey, and his associates, who watched 10 superhero-based films from 2015 and 2016 and counted the violent acts committed by “good guys” and “bad guys.” Their analysis, presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics in Orlando, shows that good guys committed 23 violent acts per hour, compared with 18 per hour for the bad guys. Young people who watch these movies “may be influenced by their portrayal of risk-taking behaviors and acts of violence. … Pediatric health care providers should educate families about the violence depicted in this genre of film and the potential dangers that may occur when children attempt to emulate these perceived heroes,” said Dr. Olympia.

Of course, his own superhero-ready name suggests that he may be battling – in a nonviolent way, we’re sure – Bleeding Ulcer, The Bowel Movement, Anal Fissure, Migraineur, and/or The Endoscopist in the next Avengers movie.

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