Mastiha

Mastiha is a natural product mysteriously found only on an eastern Mediterranean volcanic island of Chios 3000 years ago. Known since antiquity for its healing effects, Mastiha has been used as an excellent digestive & multifunctional medicament. Harvesting is a very delicate procedure undertaken by experienced workers carriers of a long tradition from father to son. The name of the resin, whence the name of the drink, is derived from the Greek “to chew, to gnash the teeth”.

This explanation was rather hazy in specificity, so I did a bit of research on my own. Mastiha (the h is pronounced as a k) is the resin of a specific kind of evergreen bush found only on one side of the island of Chios. In its powdered form, it is used as a light spice and flavoring in traditional desserts, and is also found in local toothpastes, soaps, liqueurs, cosmetics, and other various common commodities. When found in edibles, it is typically mixed with either salt or fine sugar to keep the sticky resin from reforming into clumps. As mentioned above, it also has been used as a medicine for quite a while, specifically for ulcers and upper intestinal issues. At one time, it was considered to be such a delicacy that the word “masticate,” to chew, is derived from the resin.

 

(picture and original explanation via)

Photo of the Day

Antibiotics like tetracycline can cause staining on your teeth. This usually occurs when this antibiotic is used by kids under eight or pregnant women, but there are also some reports of teeth staining in adults as well. Antibiotics cause staining called intrinsic staining. Intrinsic staining is the darkening of the inner structure of the teeth and is harder to remove.

(via)

New Insights into Parkinson’s and MS

Scientists may have found a possible cause of Parkinson’s Disease – through varying levels and varieties of gut bacteria. Whether this is a cause or a symptom is still up for debate, but there is definite correlation and could at least impact what vitamins Parkinsons patients take.

This lady says she can smell the disease, even before symptoms begin. If true, it might back up the case that bacteria is involved.

This has a lot more proof: an Italian doctor, in an attempt to cure his wife suffering from the disease, looked into some early documents first recording Multiple Sclerosis. One of the doctors noted that patients with MS had a high level of iron in their brain, and listed it as a possible cause. Going on this, the Italian doctor ran some tests, and has succeeded in curing not only his wife who hasn’t had a single symptom since having undergone a remarkably simple procedure, but so has 73% of his other test patients.

 

 

Severing the Corpus Collosum and How It Affects Behavior

 

The corpus collosum is a thick segment in the middle of the brain that connects the two halves of the brain together, allowing them to communicate with each other. In some medical cases, usually to control extreme seizures, this connection, as well as a smaller segment closer to the anterior of the brain, is cut. Because the brain halves cannot communicate with each other, it is seen under specific experiments that the individual has two completely independent, fully functioning brains. It is a fascinating phenomenon, and one that allows scientists to better understand how the brain processes information.

What I think would be interesting to study is how these people react less with words and images, and more on music. This clip was presented in my brain and behavior class I took this past semester. For my paper, I did a bit of research into how music affects the brain and how our brains process music. When it all boiled down to it, I came away with the conclusion that we have no idea what’s really going on. However, scientists have noticed that certain aspects of music, such as pitch, rhythm, and lyrics are all processed in completely different areas of the brain, and in order to fully understand and listen to a piece of music, both halves in constant communication with each other are needed. How does this man and others with a severed corpus collosum react to music? What kind of aphasia would they experience, if any? I went through many books on music and the brain. None of them covered anything even remotely close to this subject.