Tag Archives: Clean
TUESDAY Dec. 25, 2012 — As you prepare your Christmas feast for your family, know that a new study finds that kitchen utensils such as knives and graters are potential sources of cross-contamination that can lead to foodborne illnesses.
Previous research has shown that meal preparation is a prime period for food contamination. It’s known that the transfer of viruses and bacteria among hands, food and food-contact surfaces occurs easily at this point, but there has been little research on the role of kitchen utensils in this type of cross-contamination.
In this study, researchers examined the transfer of the hepatitis A virus and the norovirus (the leading cause of foodborne illness in the United States) between different fruits and vegetables and different knives or flat steel coarse graters. Tests were conducted with uncontaminated utensils on contaminated produce as well as with contaminated utensils on uncontaminated produce.
The results showed that more than half of the uncontaminated utensils became contaminated when used to prepare contaminated produce. Using a contaminated utensil on uncontaminated produce often led to contamination of the produce.
After an uncontaminated utensil was used on contaminated produce, the utensil could cross-contaminate up to seven more pieces of produce, said the study, published in the December issue of Food and Environmental Virology.
The findings show how easy it is for germs to transfer between produce and utensils, according to study author Qing Wang and her colleagues from the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia.
“Great emphasis on utensils as virus vehicles should be placed, and it is important to provide knowledge and training for food workers and consumers to limit virus spread,” the researchers concluded in a journal news release.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service offers tips for safe food handling.
Posted: December 2012
If you’re anything like me, you like to have the best sound quality possible, whenever possible. This means doing simple things like tweaking the equalizer and getting better headphones to major undertakings like re-ripping your entire music library to Lossless encoding.
An often overlooked area in the pursuit for better sound quality is making sure all your player’s contacts and connectors are clean, especially since a pocket is sanctuary for dust, moisture, and other harmful debris. I have been asked why cleaning a headphone jack is important and I always give this example: if you have distortion (static, etc.) while playing music and have to either disconnect and then reconnect the headphones or turn the headphone jack to make it go away, then cleaning your headphone jack might help with this problem.
Luckily, cleaning a headphone jack is quick and easy. With a few simple steps you can be on your way to musical bliss.
Step 1: Have a nice clean work area with plenty of light, then gather the supplies you will need. In this case it will be some Q-tips, some rubbing alcohol (70% or higher works better), and a soft cloth towel. (Some other guides and tutorials recommend using pipe cleaners or dental brushes instead of Q-tips, but I do not recommend using those as they contain metal and can break a headphone jack.)
Step 2: Pull most of the cotton fuzz off the Q-tip until just a thin film is remaining. (Q-tips with all the cotton are too big to fit in a 3.5mm headphone jack.) You will want to make sure that all the remaining cotton is firmly attached as you don’t want any coming loose while cleaning.
Step 3: Get the Q-tip lightly damp with rubbing alcohol (be careful, as too much rubbing alcohol could damage the player), and proceed to gently stick the damp end of the Q-tip in the headphone jack of the MP3 player. (Be careful to not force the Q-tip in too far as that can also damage the player.) Once inserted, turn the Q-tip back and forth for a few revolutions and remove. If your MP3 player is anything like mine the Q-tip will come out dirty (which is a good thing).
Step 4: We will also want to clean the headphone connector on the headphones themselves. We can do this by getting the towel damp with the rubbing alcohol and gently cleaning the tip of the headphone jack.
Step 5: After all of the former steps are complete, we’ll let the the player and the headphones dry for a few minutes and try them out. If your music sounds better than before or you no longer have to twist and turn the headphones, then Success!
Since cleaning the headphone jack, my sound quality has gone back to how it was when the player was new, which makes me a happy camper! Just thought I would share this with everyone as I see it as a good practice to make sure your player is always performing at its best.
Let me know what your experiences/preferences are in the comments.
It’s the basic nature of young children to touch the very things in their environment that their parents find most disgusting. Just try to keep your 1-year-old from sticking the dog’s bone in her mouth!
Epidemic-scale flu seasons have health authorities imploring regular hand washing, and with talk of sanitizer gel like it was liquid gold, it’s tough not to worry about what your children are getting into and the ultimate impact it will have on their health.
Infectious diseases are a legitimate cause for concern, but some would argue that our society has gone overboard when it comes to protecting our kids from germs.
How clean an environment do our kids really need for good health? Here’s what experts told WebMD.
A mounting body of research suggests that exposing infants to germs may offer them greater protection from illnesses such as allergies and asthma later on in life.
This line of thinking, called the “hygiene hypothesis,” holds that when exposure to parasites, bacteria, and viruses is limited early in life, children face a greater chance of having allergies, asthma, and other autoimmune diseases during adulthood.
In fact, kids with older siblings, who grew up on a farm, or who attended day care early in life seem to show lower rates of allergies.
Just as a baby’s brain needs stimulation, input, and interaction to develop normally, the young immune system is strengthened by exposure to everyday germs so that it can learn, adapt, and regulate itself, notes Thom McDade, PhD, associate professor and director of the Laboratory for Human Biology Research at Northwestern University.
Exactly which germs seem to do the trick hasn’t yet been confirmed. But new research offers clues.
In a recent study, McDade’s team found that children who were exposed to more animal feces and had more cases of diarrhea before age 2 had less incidence of inflammation in the body as they grew into adulthood.
Inflammation has been linked to many chronic adulthood illnesses, such as heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s.
“We’re moving beyond this idea that the immune system is just involved in allergies, autoimmune diseases, and asthma to think about its role in inflammation and other degenerative diseases,” McDade says. “Microbial exposures early in life may be important… to keep inflammation in check in adulthood.”
Purging Germs: Health Booster or Bad Idea?
Most of the germs lurking about our environment and that live on our bodies are not only harmless; they’ve been with us for millennia, says Martin Blaser, MD, professor of internal medicine at New York University.
As human behavior has changed over the past half century, many microbes, such as some that live in the gut, are disappearing.
“These perform important physiological functions but because of modern life they are changing and some are disappearing,” Blaser says. “Those disappearances have consequences — some good, some bad.”
TUESDAY Dec. 20, 2011 — The surgeons’ scalpel may have new (and wriggling) competition in cleaning troublesome wounds: maggots.
To the uninitiated the treatment may seem strange. But new French research suggests that bagging up live, sterile fly larvae in tightly meshed dressing packs and applying them to open sores can be a quick, safe and effective way to clear away dead tissue.
Actually, “maggot debridement therapy” (MDT) has a long history in medicine. And the new investigation suggests that this approach — traditionally reserved for more severe wounds — can be a quick, first-line therapy for less severe lesions.
“Twenty years ago, maggot therapy was performed mostly as a ‘last resort’ prior to amputation,” for the treatment of non-healing wounds, explained Dr. Ronald A. Sherman, a “biotherapeutics” researcher at the University of California, Irvine, and the Los Angeles and Orange County health departments. He was not involved in the new study.
Sherman noted that past studies found that when used as a last resort (after antibiotics and surgery failed), maggot therapy eliminated the need for amputations in an estimated 40 to 60 percent of cases.
The treatment has gained ever-broader acceptance in recent years, with studies touting its safety record and effectiveness in less severe, non-emergency situations.
“(This) is one of those studies, and clearly supports those who include maggot therapy as part of their wound-care tool bag,” Sherman said, by suggesting “that there is no reason to delay maggot therapy until the wound and underlying diseases have progressed.”
The study, published online Dec. 19 in the Archives of Dermatology, was led by Dr. Kristina Opletalova, from the department of dermatology at the University of Caen Basse-Normandie at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Caen in Caen, France.
To gauge the potential of maggot therapy, between 2005 and 2008 the researchers focused on 105 patients treated at two hospitals in France.
All the patients had open wounds on their lower limbs that were about 16 inches square or smaller in area, and less than three-quarters of an inch deep. The wounds had not yet healed, and were characterized by a mass of dead tissue (“slough”) that had separated from living tissue.
About half the patients were randomly selected to receive MDT while the other half received conventional dressing treatment.
The team used Lucilia sericata maggots (larvae of the common green bottle fly), with each double-layered, spongy mesh cube filled with 80 sterile, live, maggots. The maggots were unable to move outside the confines of the dressing’s seal. However, the bag’s fiber housing allowed for air and fluid permeability, and the maggots were mobile inside the bags, allowing maggot excretions and secretions to reach the target wound.
Over a two-week period, patients had the maggot-filled bags applied to each wound four times. The control group received conventional treatment: wound scraping by means of a scalpel to remove dead tissue, followed by standard dressing of the exposed live tissue.
At the one-week treatment mark, the researchers found that MDT patients had significantly less dead tissue in their wounds than conventional treatment patients (roughly 55 percent versus 67 percent).
The benefits seemed to equalize by the two-week mark, however, with slough measurements between the two groups nearly the same.
The authors concluded that MDT can promote much faster removal of dead tissue during the first week of care for standard wounds. They said that this could be especially valuable when time is of the essence, as can be the case for patients awaiting skin grafts.
But the team also noted that though safe and painless, the benefits of maggot therapy do not exceed those of standard care over the longer term, nor does it shorten the overall time it takes to close up a wound. They therefore advised that physicians only turn to MDT during the first week of treatment.
Sherman, also director of the BioTherapeutics, Education & Research Foundation in Irvine, Calif., called the study “well-conceived” and “well-executed.”
It “demonstrated that maggot therapy is safe and at least equally effective to conventional surgical wound care,” he noted. “This is not a new finding, but their study is very important because it adds to our limited database on maggot therapy.”
But Sherman also noted that more aspects of maggot therapy remain to be explored, such as the potential for so-called “free-range maggot therapy” in which bag-less larvae are placed in direct contact with the wound.
“While this is a powerful testament to the potency of the maggots’ therapeutic secretions, we are still left wondering whether or not free-range maggots might have done any better,” he said. But this, he noted, awaits further study.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved maggot therapy in 2004 as a “device” used by prescription.
Learn more about maggot treatment at the Wound Care Information Network.
Posted: December 2011
Medical marijuana in California is an utter mess, a mockery of what most voters intended when they approved Proposition 215 in 1996.
It was supposed to be a nonprofit enterprise, but has spawned a $ 1.5 billion industry in which networks of storefront dispensaries and large growing operations are reaping millions of dollars. Cities and counties are trying to keep up with the explosion of pot shops by limiting where they can operate, but at the same time they’re also trying to wring revenue out of them.
The first-in-the-nation law was supposed to allow “compassionate use” to ease the pain and suffering of people with cancer or AIDS. Instead, it’s so easy to get a recommendation for “medical” marijuana that, according to the first statewide study, many patients are using pot to relieve headaches and anxiety, and to sleep and relax.
The law has been so corrupted that the feds are cracking down. On Friday, the four U.S. attorneys in California announced criminal charges against large-scale dispensaries, growers and financiers, declaring that medical marijuana “has been hijacked by profiteers.”
Some are accused of drug trafficking by shipping “medical” marijuana to other states for sale. Others are accused of irregular banking practices. And some are charged with marketing to underage customers with products like marijuana cotton candy. The prosecutors are also seizing the properties of landlords leasing space to dispensaries that are too close to schools or parks or not allowed at all.
This chaos calls out for clear and fair state regulation and oversight.
Complete Article: http://tinyurl.com/6y8m7ml
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