Livin' on the MDedge

Smartphone mind control, wasp gyn remedy, and seagull stare downs


Don’t put THAT THERE!

As a doctor, you’ve probably thought, “I can’t believe I have to tell them this” more than once. Warnings that you think are common sense – please don’t try that home remedy, please don’t put that there, please don’t eat that anymore.

Oak apples. thomasmales/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Well, here’s a new one for all doctors with female patients out there: Please don’t put a ground-up wasp’s nest into your vagina.

An intrepid ob.gyn. with a large Internet following found that someone has been selling oak galls online as vaginal medicine. Oak galls are little bumps that grow on a tree after the gall wasp lays its larvae. Fun insect-plant behavior! Very bad to put inside your body in any way!

One would think you don’t need to warn patients that tree/wasp paste is not the correct medicine to use on an episiotomy cut, as the Etsy seller suggested.

But with Gwyneth Paltrow out there trying to convince people that purposeful bee stings, healing stickers, and goat milk cleanses are all valid health tips, sometimes the obvious things just need to be spelled out.

Eye of the seagull

Rising up/Back on the beach/Did my time, made my sandwich
Went to the kitchen/Now I’m back on the street
Just a man and his will to surviiiiiiiiiive
It’s the eye of the seagull/It’s the thrill of the fight
Research shows you have to stare them down
When a seagull eyes your sandwich/Don’t let it have a bite
Don’t give in to the eye of the seagull.

A seagull looks directly at the camera Kativ/E+

That’s just a little ditty for you to sing this summer while enjoying your time on the sand, surrounded by those greedy flying sandwich thieves. Research out of the University of Exeter, England, suggests that staring down approaching seagulls can actually slow them down or even completely deter them from attempting to steal your snacks.

Perhaps the seagulls don’t like being watched while they commit their crimes? Maybe they can’t stand the shame of it all.

Whatever the reason, if you’re assaulted by a flock of seagulls this summer (the birds, not the band), try engaging in a staring contest to keep your food safe.

A gut microbe with a rye smile

Rye is not exactly a huge deal here in the good old U.S. of A., but rye bread happens to be the national food of Finland. So when the Finns say something about rye, it pays to listen.

Raija Törrönen

Investigators at the University of Eastern Finland used metabolomics – which, we discovered the hard way, is the “analysis of metabolites in a biological specimen” and not the Finnish word for a “financial system based on rye bread” – to examine the effects of rye sourdough on the gut microbes of mice and an in vitro gastrointestinal model that mimicked the function of the human gut.

Many compounds found in rye sourdough, such as branched-chain amino acids and amino acid–containing small peptides known to have an impact on insulin metabolism, are processed by gut bacteria before getting absorbed into the body.

The gut microbes of mice fed rye sourdough also produce derivatives of trimethylglycine known as betaine, and at least one of these derivatives reduces the need for oxygen in heart muscle cells, which may protect the heart from ischemia or possibly even enhance its performance, the investigators said.

“The major role played by gut microbes in human health has become more and more evident over the past decades, and this is why gut microbes should be taken very good care of. It’s a good idea to avoid unnecessary antibiotics and feed gut microbes with optimal food, such as rye,” researcher Ville M. Koistinen said in a written statement.

The bottom line? A rye-filled gut microbe is a happy gut microbe. And this comes from Finland, the nation that gave the world “pantsdrunk,” so it must be true. On behalf of the Finns, you’re welcome, world.

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