Herpes Virus Found on Library Copy of “Fifty Shades of Grey”

Maybe the title should be Filthy Shades of Grey. Two professors who wanted to make a splash in their fields of bacteriology and toxicology came up with a novel idea: Analyze the gunk on the covers of the ten most borrowed library books in Antwerp, where they are based.

While all ten of the books came up positive for cocaine, the yuckiest discovery was the mommy-porn hit Fifty Shades of Grey (which I haven’t read, because really who need to put up with a widdle virgin being whipped into a love-filled frenzy while being ass-sarded and spanked by a guy with serious psychological damage who bases his neckwear collection on his last name?). The book has herpes. So not only should you wear condom while trying out the stunts in the book, you need latex protection just to read it.

Supposedly, according to the professors, the virus trace was so low as to not produce a public health risk. And frankly, by adulthood in the United States, 70% to 90% of people are seropositive, that is have antibodies, for herpes simplex virus 1 which causes mouth sores, meaning they have been exposed.  The study did not indicate whether the library virus was HSV1 or the genital version HSV2, for which 30% of the US population tests seropositive.  In Belgium, the numbers for HSV1, and lower for HSV2. But still, eeeuuuw.

All ten of the books tested positive for cocaine, though not enough to get you high, so forget about licking the covers for a rush (especially do not lick the cover of Fifty Shades of Grey!). Keep in mind that 90% of  US currency has traces of cocaine.

Regarding the gack found on the books, toxicologist Professor Jan Tytgat of the Catholic University of Leuven said

The levels found won’t have a pharmacological effect. Your consciousness or behaviour won’t change as a result of reading the tomes. Today’s testing methods are so sensitive that traces of the drug originating from a contaminated book will be found in your hair, blood and urine.

So checking out a popular book from a library in Antwerp could screw up your next drug test. And while the tin foilers may say

Oh this is a plot to keep us out of the libraries/make more money for books on tablet/keep us from reading

in reality it’s more of a cautionary tale suggesting we improve our minds with philosophy, social history and the classics which might be less germy.

And this also reminds us to wash our hands with good old fashioned soap and hot water! A study by Michigan State University found that 95% of Americans don’t wash their hands correctly after going to the bathroom, meaning long enough to kill bacteria, and one in ten don’t wash their hands at all, with men being the worst offenders.  And for bonus health, men should wash before and after urinating so they don’t hand off germs to their Johnson.  Two rounds of “Happy Birthday” or  one version of the alphabet rhyme using soap and water after using the toilet is recommended for food service workers – and the rest of us, too.

Fifty Shades of Grey is slated to be made into a movie, for release in 2015. Bring a disposable plastic seat cover for the theater.

Orgasms: Put Down the Crossword Puzzle and Come Here!

Dr Duran Duran and Barbarella experiment with the orgasmatron.

Orgasms are good for you. Very. Very. Good for you. Along with working out the body to get to one, once you’re there, your brain is getting more blood flow than a crossword puzzle or game of Sudoku provides. According to Rutgers University professor Barry Komisaruk, who has been researching orgasms for decades:

At orgasm we see a tremendous increase in the blood flow (to the brain). So my belief is it can’t be bad. It brings all the nutrients and oxygenation to the brain. Mental exercises (such as crosswords and Sudoku) increase brain activity but only in relatively localised regions. Orgasm activates the whole.

Komisaruk has conducted his research with female volunteer subjects in his brain scanning laboratory at the university’s Department of Psychology. The lucky ladies slip inside a functional magnetic resonance imaging machine and bring themselves to orgasm while their responses are measured. Fellow Rutgers researcher Nan Wise confesses that for her PhD studies she herself enjoyed sessions in the functional magnetic resonance imaging machine:

I have have been my own subject more times than I would like to say.

But it was all for science. Really. Learning how the pleasure center of the brain is activated can have far-reaching implications for those suffering from depression, chronic pain, and low Scrabble scores.

Ladies this is your brain at orgasm, courtesy of The Visual MD

Celebrities: Obamacare’s Proxy Recruits

President Obama is personally recruiting celebrities to help promote Obamacare before insurance exchanges launch October 1.  POTUS dropped into a meeting led by senior adviser Valerie Jarrett;  singer Jennifer Hudson, actress Amy Poehler, and execs from the Grammys and Funny Or Die, and one of Oprah’s reps got charm-bombed.

Per The Hill, a White House official told CNN:

The President stopped by the meeting to engage artists who expressed an interest in helping to educate the public about the benefits of the health law. The reach of these national stars spreads beyond the beltway to fans of their television shows, movies, and music – and the power of these artists to speak through social media is especially critical.

The White House needs 3 million uninsured people to sign up for insurance exchanges in order to enable cost-savings across the programs, and celebrities and athletes are seen as key for the outreach. Last month Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius revealed she had been

“very actively and enthusiastically engaged” with the National Football League.

I checked out my California insurance exchanges. I can pay $30 a month more for Obamacare and get the same coverage I have now, coverage I thankfully rarely use (I see a doctor maybe twice a year, get a flu shot at the drug store, and occasionally need a prescription), which has a  deductible higher than 3 months worth of my mortgage.  Under Obamacare, am I allowed to keep my current insurance? No one has explained this to me. Will Jennifer Hudson (net worth $15 million) and Amy Poehler (net worth $18 million) be able to explain why I should pay more for the same thing?  Will Amy Poehler and Jennifer Hudson go on Obamacare?

Gupta’s Not Looking So Healthy for America

artguptascrubscnn.thumbnail.jpgThere are people picking on Obama’s of choice of  Dr Sanjay Gupta for Surgeon General. And not because he’s like all cute and stuff, because when does being cute disqualify one from public office? And if his cute came with qualifications, everyone would be fine with paging Dr. Gupta.

Today Rep.John Conyers joined the voices, including Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman in  expressing dismay over the telegenic Lipitor shill  whose work for AccentHealth, as LaFiga mentioned yesterday, is kinda blurry.

In the letter to his Democratic colleagues, Conyers  writes:

there are highly experienced medical professionals who question whether Dr. Gupta has the necessary experience or even the medical background to be in charge of some 6,000 physicians or more who work in the United States Public Health Service… Clearly, it is not in the best interests of the nation to have someone like this who lacks the requisite experience needed to oversee the federal agency that provides crucial health care assistance to some of the poorest and most underserved communities in America.

The Surgeon General operationally heads the 6,000-member Commissioned Corps of the USPHS, a cadre of health professionals who are on call 24 hours a day, and can be dispatched by the Secretary of HHS or the Assistant Secretary for Health in the event of a public health emergency. Like oh say, an outbreak of samonella in 42 states?

A public health emergency…those are chilling words. And is the handsome neurosurgeon up for that? Howard Dean, himself a doctor thinks Gupta is good choice. Well, okay then…

Conyers quotes Gerard M. Farrel, Executive Director of the Commissioned Officers Association saying Gupta

does not have the "experience or qualifications to be the leader of the nation’s public health service."

It is vital to have a Surgeon General whose vision is more that "take two of Brand Names and watch me discuss it on the teevee."   Gupta is slick polished, he’s eloquent, and he’s media savvy.   It’s quite possible that his familiar face will be an asset to the president, who can make use of him to send out the presidential message of health and explain Obama’s health plan, which hopefully will be one of affordable, preventative care and swift affordable access to services for all.

Hopefully along with raising the the issues of experience and policy during the confirmation process, Congress will ask for a full disclosure of all speaker fees, corporate sponsors, payments, salaries and sources of income for Dr Gupta, thus laying all these matter to rest.

But will Gupta want to give his income streams–the televsion contracts, fer instance, for the gig? But again, it does come with a cool uniform.


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