New Theory Sheds Light on Leonardo da Vinci’s Artistic Decline

SATURDAY, May 4, 2019 — A fainting-related fall that caused nerve damage in his right hand could explain why Leonardo da Vinci’s painting skills declined later in life, a new paper suggests.

The report, published as the world marks the 500th anniversary of the artist’s death, contradicts the common belief that da Vinci’s difficulties stemmed from a stroke.

To arrive at that conclusion, the report authors compared a drawing of an elderly da Vinci with an engraving of the artist and inventor when he was younger. They also studied a biography of da Vinci.

The drawing shows da Vinci’s right arm in folds of clothing as if in a bandage, with his right hand suspended in a stiff, contracted position, according to the paper published May 3 in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.

“Rather than depicting the typical clenched hand seen in post-stroke muscular spasticity, the picture suggests an alternative diagnosis such as ulnar palsy, commonly known as claw hand,” study co-author Dr. Davide Lazzeri said in a journal news release.

Lazzeri is a plastic surgeon at the Villa Salaria Clinic in Rome.

Based on the drawings, he said it’s likely that the ulnar palsy was caused by injury to the right limb when da Vinci fell after fainting. The ulnar nerve runs from the shoulder to little finger. It manages nearly all of the hand muscles used in fine movements.

Lazzeri noted that da Vinci’s hand impairment was not associated with mental decline or other impaired movement, suggesting a stroke was unlikely.

“This may explain why he left numerous paintings incomplete, including the Mona Lisa, during the last five years of his career as a painter while he continued teaching and drawing,” he said.

While the problem with his right hand affected da Vinci’s ability to hold palettes and brushes to paint, he was able to continue drawing with his left hand and teaching, Lazzeri explained.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more on ulnar nerve dysfunction.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: May 2019 – Daily MedNews

Padma Lakshmi Sheds Light on Endometriosis

By Kara Mayer Robinson

padma lakshmi barkha

As the Emmy-nominated host of Bravo TV’s Top Chef, the television series in which amateur chefs compete for the winning title, Padma Lakshmi samples an abundance of gourmet food, from goat cheese ravioli to five-layer wedding cake. Her co-stars and fellow judges, chef Tom Colicchio and culinary expert Gail Simmons, nibble too — but not nearly as much.

“Tom and Gail come in for the main challenge,” says Lakshmi, 48, who’s also a producer of the series, now in its 16th season. “But I eat double what they eat because I’m there every day for the quick-fire challenge.”

While this may seem like a major job perk, for Lakshmi — who’s also an author, entrepreneur, and former model — it’s a challenge. She has endometriosis, a painful gynecological disorder in which the tissue that lines the inside of the uterus grows outside of it, in places like the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and other organs.

“When you have endometriosis, you don’t want to eat heavily because everything is inflamed,” she explains.

About one in 10 American women have endometriosis, a common cause of infertility. During each menstrual cycle, tissue builds up, breaks down, and bleeds, leading to very painful menstrual cramps, chronic lower back and pelvic pain, painful sex, bleeding, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and nausea.

In the early days of Top Chef, before she had treatment, Lakshmi needed a toolbox of resources to get through the day. “We used to plug in my heating pad under the judges’ table. When I was standing, as the camera would pan away from me, I’d sit down — I had a little wooden box my assistant would drag on set with me. After the first few seasons, I got a dressing room so I could lie down on a couch,” Lakshmi says. “I don’t know if I could’ve continued to do Top Chef for 12 years if I didn’t get the help I needed.”

Unfortunately, help didn’t come quickly or easily.

Pervasive Pain

What started as cramps at age 13 got worse over time. “I was bedridden for several days a month with headaches, cramping, severe dysmenorrhea [painful periods], nausea, numbness, lower back pain, digestive issues, moodiness, swelling, and bloating — and when I say swelling, I mean a full cup size every month,” she says.


For years, she wondered why she couldn’t handle what other women seemed to take in stride. Maybe I’m exaggerating, she thought. Maybe I’m crazy. Maybe I’m being a sissy.

“I didn’t feel like having sex, so it affected my romantic relationships. I was embarrassed to call in sick, so I wouldn’t take modeling jobs when my period was due,” she says. “It locked me out of my own life.”

Endometriosis is more than just painful periods and potential infertility,” says Ken Sinervo, MD, medical director of the Center for Endometriosis Care in Atlanta. “It can significantly and negatively impact all aspects of an individual’s quality of life — from schooling to career to relationships.”

Lakshmi tried birth control to manage cramps, but it only helped a little. Her gynecologist prescribed painkillers, but they made her feel nauseated and triggered headaches. For 23 years, nobody, including a doctor who removed an ovarian cyst, referred her to a specialist to look for a medical condition that caused her problems.

This is surprisingly common. Even though an estimated 176 million women worldwide have endometriosis, doctors often normalize or dismiss symptoms, creating a long delay in diagnosis, says Sinervo.

On a particularly rough day in 2006, Lakshmi was doubled over in pain and rushed to the hospital. Doctors performed surgery to remove what they thought was scar tissue but was actually endometrial tissue blocking her small intestine. Though they told her she’d likely be fine, her symptoms returned a month later.

Finally, a doctor suggested seeing a specialist, and after decades of pain, Lakshmi learned she had endometriosis. “Dr. [Tamer] Seckin was the first one to really give it a name,” she says. “He didn’t think I was crazy — he listened to me.”

While endometriosis has no cure, treatment can ease symptoms and boost a woman’s chances of getting pregnant. Drug therapy can help with symptoms, but surgery to remove endometriosis patches is often more effective and may improve fertility.

Lakshmi had laparoscopic excision surgery in 2006, and her doctors found more than they expected. “Tissue was all over my fallopian tubes, my ovaries, everything,” she says. “I had stitches on major organs and 19 biopsies — 17 came back positive for endometriosis.”

She had a long recovery. “I was bedridden from Thanksgiving to the first week in February,” she says. Later, in 2007 and 2009, she had two more laparoscopic surgeries. “It wasn’t until a year after that I really healed enough to see what life was like for a normal woman,” she says.


Call to Action

As Lakshmi thought about how long she’d suffered, her relief morphed into anger. Why wasn’t she diagnosed sooner? Why didn’t her doctors know her pain wasn’t normal? Why wasn’t anyone speaking out about this disease?

She realized endometriosis was largely under the radar — and because of her visibility as a celebrity, she was in a unique position to do something. In 2009, she partnered with Seckin, her surgeon, to create the Endometriosis Foundation of America (EndoFound), which advocates for patients, raises awareness, and funds research.

As co-founder, she talks about endometriosis openly and extensively. She gives lectures at schools, private companies, and universities like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she’s now a visiting scholar and works with research scientists on understanding the interplay between diet, nutrition, and health.

“Padma remains a force of nature to motivate our team of scientists working on endometriosis,” says Linda Griffith, PhD, director of MIT’s Center for Gynepathology Research, adding that Lakshmi’s ongoing visits — she’s been doing them since 2009 — have inspired many MIT students.

She also encourages politicians to include endometriosis awareness in sex education programs at the state level and ensure medical schools teach all doctors, not just gynecologists, about the disease.

Her advocacy extends beyond EndoFound: She’s an ACLU ambassador, focusing on women’s reproductive health and immigration issues, and she believes women’s health issues will get the attention they deserve if we have more women in higher positions in government, universities, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies.

Life Goes On

In 2009, knowing about one in two women with endometriosis have fertility problems, Lakshmi decided to freeze her eggs. But soon after, she unexpectedly became pregnant. In 2010, she delivered a healthy baby girl, Krishna, who just turned 9. “She’s in third grade and just won the election for student council in her class,” Lakshmi says.

They live in New York City, where they like to cook, roller-skate, and hang out with Krishna’s father, Adam Dell, whom Lakshmi says she’s “dating again but not getting married or anything.” (The couple had been separated.)


Their days often begin around 6:30 a.m. and end relatively early. “I’m so busy with Krishna that it’s rare that I stay awake past 11 — and I used to have parties that started at 11,” she says with a laugh.

Her endometriosis symptoms still linger. “I get migraines, I have cramps, but it’s nowhere near as bad as it used to be,” she says. She does acupuncture and uses heat for lower back pain. “If you stop me in any airport and look in my bag, there’s an electric heating pad,” she says. When filming Top Chef, she sips tea to soothe cramps and stocks up on heat wraps, which she hides under clothes — inside jeans or under tights.

Lakshmi eats well, which comes naturally. “Obviously if you’ve seen the show ever, you know I have to be quite omnivorous,” she says, “but I grew up lacto-vegetarian.” She eats a lot of legumes and beans and avoids wheat, sugar, alcohol, and fried foods. When she’s home with Krishna, it’s 50% fruits and vegetables, 25% starches, and 25% lean protein.

Exercise depends on symptoms. When she doesn’t feel well, she avoids things like Pilates, which she says worsens her pain. On her worst days, working out is a tall order. “But I do spend a lot of time at the gym,” she says. “I think that has to do with my vanity and my occupational hazard of having to eat so much.”

When you see Lakshmi on Top Chef, critiquing a chef’s technique or a dish’s flavor profile, she may not strike you as someone who’s comfortable sharing personal details about her body. She’s just so cool and composed.

“It was not my wish to get up in front of a room and talk about my vagina,” she says, admitting it was hard at first. “But I had to step up. I just want young women to know they’re not alone. When you have endometriosis, you’re shut out. It’s like a prison. I feel like I’ve finally unlocked and kicked away the chain that’s been invisibly wrapped around my ankle for all these decades.”


Get the Facts

Like Padma Lakshmi, roughly 6.5 million women in the U.S. have endometriosis.

Some other facts:

Endometriosis is the leading cause of hysterectomies. About 40% of women with infertility have endometriosis. On average, a woman has symptoms for 10 years before getting an accurate diagnosis.

Scientists don’t know what causes endometriosis, but they think it may have something to do with menstrual flow problems, genetics, immune system issues, hormones, or surgery. Endometriosis may be linked to allergies, asthma, chemical sensitivities, autoimmune diseases, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and certain cancers, like breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

When you have endometriosis as a teen, it’s more likely to get worse over the years. If you have a close relative who has endometriosis, you’re five to seven times more likely to have it.

You’re also more likely to get endometriosis if:

  • You don’t have children.
  • Your periods last more than seven days.
  • Your menstrual cycle is typically less than 28 days.
  • You have a health problem that blocks the normal flow of blood when you have your period.

Many doctors recommend treating endometriosis with laparoscopic surgery, or LAPEX, because it’s effective and minimally invasive.

Find more articles, browse back issues, and read the current issue of WebMD Magazine.



Padma Lakshmi, Endometriosis Foundation of America.

Linda Griffith, Center for Gynepathology Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Ken Sinervo, MD, Center for Endometriosis Care.

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: “It’s Time We Talk About Endometriosis.”

Endometriosis Foundation of America: “Endometriosis A-Z.”

Mayo Clinic: “Endometriosis.”

Office on Women’s Health: “Endometriosis.”

© 2019 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

‘); } else { // If we match both our test Topic Ids and Buisness Ref we want to place the ad in the middle of page 1 if($ .inArray(window.s_topic, moveAdTopicIds) > -1 && $ .inArray(window.s_business_reference, moveAdBuisRef) > -1){ // The logic below reads count all nodes in page 1. Exclude the footer,ol,ul and table elements. Use the varible // moveAdAfter to know which node to place the Ad container after. window.placeAd = function(pn) { var nodeTags = [‘p’, ‘h3′,’aside’, ‘ul’], nodes, target; nodes = $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(‘ + pn + ‘)’).find(nodeTags.join()).not(‘p:empty’).not(‘footer *’).not(‘ol *, ul *, table *’); //target = nodes.eq(Math.floor(nodes.length / 2)); target = nodes.eq(moveAdAfter); $ (”).insertAfter(target); } // Currently passing in 1 to move the Ad in to page 1 window.placeAd(1); } else { // This is the default location on the bottom of page 1 $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(1)’).append(”); } } })(); $ (function(){ // Create a new conatiner where we will make our lazy load Ad call if the reach the footer section of the article $ (‘.main-container-3’).prepend(”); });


WebMD Health

It’s not a skins game, but Rose sheds his slacks anyway

(Reuters) – Justin Rose ignored the local alligator population and stripped down to his underwear to hit out of a water hazard at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans on Thursday.

When the Olympic champion’s tee shot at the par-three third hole finished partly submerged at TPC Louisiana, Rose decided the ball was playable, and bared some skin in an attempt to blast it onto the green.

With partner Henrik Stenson jokingly sticking a hand towards the lens of the nearby TV camera to block the view, Rose shed his slacks, shoes and socks before taking his stance with his right foot in the water, and his left on dry land.

His recovery shot succeeded in finding the green.

Rose perhaps was inspired by Stenson, who nine years ago showed even more skin in a similar attempt to play from a water hazard at a World Golf Championships event at Doral in Florida.

Unlike Rose, Stenson even removed his shirt, leaving himself in just a pair of white underpants before taking his shot.

“My partner showed me what you’ve got to do,” Rose joked. “Remember Doral? He’s not scared of taking his pants off, so he said get in there.”

Rose and Stenson combined to shoot seven-under 65 in the first round of the team event on Thursday.

Rose was more adventurous than American Talor Gooch, who found three alligators nearby after his ball found a bunker at the 18th hole.

Two of the reptiles responded to a nudge from a rake and returned to the adjacent pond, but the third would not budge, which led to a ruling.

Gooch was allowed a free drop in the bunker, but his ball plugged.

He considered that a reasonable outcome under the circumstances.

“I chose life over a good lie in that situation,” he told Golf Channel.

Reporting by Andrew Both; Editing by Ian Ransom

Reuters: Oddly Enough

Study Sheds Light on Safety of Driving With Epilepsy

SUNDAY, Dec. 4, 2016 — People with epilepsy who experienced longer seizures during a simulated driving test may face an increased risk for crashes while on the road, a new study suggests.

About 75 percent of people with epilepsy use medication to control their seizures and are able to drive. The remainder of patients typically keep a journal of seizures, noting how long they last, and doctors use that information to determine whether patients can drive safely, the study authors explained.

The new study included 16 people with epilepsy who used a driving simulator for between one to 10 hours, most for an average of three to four hours. In total, the patients had 20 seizures, seven of which resulted in “crashes.”

The longer the seizure, the greater the chance of a “crash.” Seizures lasted an average of 75 seconds among patients who crashed and 30 seconds among those who didn’t crash.

The study was to be presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Epilepsy Society, in Houston.

“Our goal is to identify if certain types of seizures — coming from a specific part of the brain or causing a particular brain wave pattern — are more likely to lead to a crash. That information could then be used by doctors to objectively determine who can safely drive and who should not,” said study author Dr. Hal Blumenfeld, director of the Yale Clinical Neuroscience Imaging Center, in New Haven, Conn.

Blumenthal, who is also a professor of neurology, neuroscience and neurosurgery at Yale, added that it isn’t clear why people who have longer seizures are more likely to crash.

“It’s going to take a lot more data to come up with a reliable way of predicting which people with epilepsy should drive and which should not,” Blumenfeld said in a news release from the epilepsy society.

“We want to unearth more detail, to learn if there are people with epilepsy who are driving who shouldn’t be, as well those who aren’t driving who can safely drive,” he said.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more on epilepsy.

Posted: December 2016

View comments – Daily MedNews

Research Sheds Light on Why People Who Lose Weight Gain It Back

(Oct. 14, 2016) — New research is shedding light on a question that has long confounded dieters and obesity researchers alike: Why do so many people regain weight after they’ve worked so hard to lose it?

The answer, according to a new study, is appetite. People who successfully lose weight get really hungry — more than anyone had ever expected that they might. The body prompts us to eat about 100 calories more than usual for every 2 pounds or so of weight lost, researchers found.

“That’s the very first time that number has been quantified. We never knew how big that number was before the study,” says researcher Kevin Hall, PhD, who studies how the body responds to weight loss at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD.

It’s this surge in appetite, even more than the drop in metabolism people have after weight loss, that drives weight regain, he says.

The effect of appetite is three times stronger than the slowing metabolism. The two together virtually assure that lost pounds will creep back on, Hall says.

Independent experts who reviewed the study, which will be published in the November issue of the journal Obesity and presented on November 2 at the ObesityWeek conference, say it will probably change how doctors treat patients who’ve lost weight.

“This is a landmark study,” says Ken Fujioka, MD, director of the nutrition and metabolic research center at the Scripps Clinic in Del Mar, CA. “It gives us very useful information that will actually help us develop new guidelines,” to prevent weight regain, he says.

“We get patients all the time that hit these plateaus, and we’re trying to figure out, what do we do?” Fujioka says. “It’s real clear to us that you really need to deal with the food intake side, the driven appetite, from this paper.”

Metabolism and Food Intake

By some estimates, 80% of people who successfully lose at least 10% of their body weight will gradually regain it to end up as large or even larger than they were before they went on a diet.


Obesity researchers have been working for decades to understand why it is so hard to maintain weight loss. The prevailing theory — proved dramatically in a study of contestants from “The Biggest Loser” reality TV show that Hall published earlier this year — is that the body’s ability to burn calories at rest, or its resting metabolism, slows down, making it easy to regain weight.

The other piece of the equation, food intake after weight loss, has been much harder to study.

That’s because people are notoriously bad at keeping track of how much they eat. One famous study found that people trying to lose weight only thought they were eating about half as much as they actually were. It’s also been hard to measure appetite experimentally with drugs. That’s because most weight loss medications work by decreasing appetite, which interferes with study results.

Hall’s team got at the question in a new way, by taking another look at data from a recent study of a new diabetes drug, Invokana. Invokana reduces blood sugar by causing the body to dump some sugar through the urine.

“Getting rid of those calories also leads to weight loss, but in a covert way,” says Scott Kahan, MD, director of the National Center for Weight and Wellness at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

“People don’t notice major changes in weight from the medication, but it’s enough that we can study what the change in weight and appetite would be,” Kahan says.

The study gave 242 people with type 2 diabetes either a daily dose of Invokana or a placebo pill. Over the course of a year, both groups lost some weight. The 89 people in the placebo group lost about 2 pounds. The 153 people who were taking Invokana lost about 7 pounds.

The puzzling thing to researchers was why the group taking the drug hadn’t lost more weight. Lab tests showed they were losing about 360 calories a day through their urine. Over time, even though the drug was subtracting a substantial number of calories each day, their weights plateaued.


Hall used an equation developed in his lab to figure out why. It estimates the number of calories a person would need to be eating to have weight changes over time.

He found that even though people in the study didn’t know how many calories the drug was cutting each day, their bodies were fighting against the weight loss, prompting them to eat more to make up the deficit.

Here’s how that might look in real life. If a person who normally eats about 2,700 calories a day loses about 9 pounds, their body will prompt them to eat about 400 more calories than they were before — a total of 3,100 calories a day.

‘This Gives Us Direction’

The implications for weight loss in the real world are profound, Kahan says.

“What I see in my patients, they have worked their butt off to lose weight and then keep it off. They can’t understand why they have all this success in other areas of their life, and they have such difficulty in this area of their life,” Kahan says.

“This is one of the pieces of that puzzle. This helps to explain that it’s not all your fault. Your body fights against the long-term maintenance of that weight. That’s very important,” he adds.

The study has some limitations. For one, researchers were studying people with type 2 diabetes. The results might not accurately represent appetite changes in healthy people, Hall says. It’s also not clear whether the kinds of appetite changes calculated for people in the study would apply to different amounts of weight loss. It could be that small weight changes don’t prompt the same big jumps in appetite as more substantial weight loss.

If further research supports these findings, Fujioka and Kahan say it points to a new way that doctors can help their patients.

Almost all prescription weight loss medications work by turning down a person’s appetite. It may be that people who lose weight can keep it off with the help of one of these drugs.

“This gives us direction,” Fujioka says. “I may also need to give my patients who’ve recently lost weight an appetite suppressant so they’re not so driven to eat.”



Kevin Hall, PhD, section chief, Integrative Physiology Section, Laboratory of Biological Modeling, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Bethesda, MD.

Ken Fujioka, MD, director, Nutrition and Metabolic Research Center, Scripps Clinic, in Del Mar, CA.

Scott Kahan, MD, director, National Center for Weight and Wellness, George Washington University, Washington D.C.

Polidori, Obesity, November 2016.

Lichtman, The New England Journal of Medicine, Dec. 31, 1992.

© 2016 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

WebMD Health

Weight-Loss Surgery Sheds Pounds Long Term

WEDNESDAY Aug. 31, 2016, 2016 — Weight-loss surgery helps people drop a significant amount of weight, and now a new study confirms that much of the weight appears to stay off for at least 10 years.

“This study suggests that patients interested in bariatric surgery, especially gastric bypass surgery, should be able to lose a significant amount of weight and keep that weight off for a very long time,” said study researcher Matt Maciejewski. He’s a professor of medicine at Duke University School of Medicine, in Durham, N.C.

While other research has found that weight-loss surgery is the most effective treatment for obese patients, there is less data on long-lasting effects. The new study is notable because of the decade-long follow-up, said Maciejewski, who is also a research career scientist at Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

In the two-part study, Maciejewski’s team first looked at the results of about 1,800 men and women who had gastric bypass surgery. The investigators compared weight changes in gastric bypass surgery patients to weight changes in more than 5,300 obese veterans who had no weight-loss surgery or formal weight-loss treatment.

Gastric bypass surgery involves making the stomach smaller, and attaching the lower part of the small intestine directly to the stomach, so much of the small intestine is bypassed. After surgery, people feel much fuller, faster. The surgery also appears to alter gut hormones, gut bacteria and metabolism, according to the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).

At the study’s one-year mark, those who had the bypass had lost 31 percent of their starting weight, but the non-surgical patients had lost just 1 percent.

At 10 years, the researchers had weight information on 564 of the nearly 1,800 patients who had the gastric bypass. Only 19 of them had regained so much weight that they were nearly back to their starting weight; the rest kept off the weight.

Compared to the non-surgical group, the bypass group weighed 21 percent less than at the start of the study.

Next, the researchers compared three types of weight-loss surgeries: gastric bypass; sleeve gastrectomy; and adjustable gastric banding. In gastric banding, a band is placed at the top of the stomach to create a small pouch that reduces the size of the stomach. In sleeve gastrectomy, most of the stomach is removed, leaving a banana-shaped sleeve. As with gastric bypass surgery, both of these procedures leave people feeling full faster, according to NIDDK.

After four years, those who had gastric bypass lost nearly 28 percent of their starting weight. People who had sleeve gastrectomy lost about 18 percent and those with gastric banding lost about 11 percent, the researchers found.

The average age of the men and women studied was about 52, and three-quarters were men. Most were white.

The study was published online Aug. 31 in JAMA Surgery.

The study helps address a knowledge gap about long-term outcomes of bariatric surgery, said Dr. Jon Gould, chief of general surgery at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

The study “shows that the gastric bypass procedure compared to sleeve gastrectomy or adjustable gastric banding produces more weight loss and it was sustained over the long term,” Gould said. He wrote a commentary to accompany the study in the same issue of the journal.

Based on the new study findings, Gould said, “I think a patient who is young and who has a long way to go may want to think about these results, and all other things being equal, might pick a gastric bypass for the long-term weight loss.”

The new finding, he added, validates his belief that the gastric bypass could be a “durable procedure.”

Maciejewski acknowledged that the study has limitations. For example, the study included mostly men, so the findings may not apply to women. In addition, women who undergo bariatric surgery are typically in their 30s through their 50s, he said. In this study, the average age of the men and women was 52.

“These results may not generalize to everyone,” he said.

Another possible limitation was the loss of patients during the follow-up, which could have affected the results, the researchers noted.

More information

See The Shape Of Things To Come – 8 Reasons Why Obesity Needs To Be Tackled Now for more information.

To learn more about bariatric surgery procedures, visit the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.

Posted: August 2016

View comments – Daily MedNews

Stressed Italian cows get air-conditioned sheds to combat heatwave

Italian farmers are installing showers and air conditioning in cowsheds and pigsties to allow the animals to freshen up in the baking summer heat, an agriculture group said on Thursday.

Farm animals in Italy — particularly in the muggy agricultural heartland around the Po river near Milan — are under stress as the mercury approaches 40 degrees Celsius (104°F) in the hottest July for more than a decade.

“The situation is worrying, particularly in the Po Valley which has the highest concentration of barns that have been kitted out with fans, small showers and air conditioners to cool down cows and pigs,” farming group Coldiretti said.

Italian cows produced 50 million litres less milk than usual in the first 15 days of the month and chickens laid between 5 and 10 percent fewer eggs, the group said in a statement.

Coldiretti said conditions were set to get worse with the arrival of an anticyclone weather phenomenon known as “Charon”, named after the ferryman of Greek mythology who steered the deceased across the river separating the worlds of the living and the dead.

Perspiring pigs are also suffering, Coldiretti said, adding that they lose their appetite in temperatures above 28 degrees and start eating up to 40 percent less than usual.

Anti-humidity measures have been taken and drinking trough systems are working overtime to give some of the thirsty beasts up to 140 litres of water a day, compared to the 70 they drink in cooler weather.

(Reporting by Isla Binnie; Editing by Ros Russell)

Reuters: Oddly Enough

Paul Wall Sheds 100 Pounds After Weight Loss Surgery

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