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News about Noses, Hearts and Palms

Posted Sep 24 2008 11:34am

Lots of people have trouble sleeping. Me, I’m sensitive to light and noise at night so if there is a light on or a party going on next door I find it hard to sleep. I used to live in a house that had a skylight in the bedroom. It was pretty at night to look up at the stars. But when it rained it was like having a drummer in the room. The rain pounded against the skylight so loudly I often had to go sleep in another room.

I only mention this because one of the few things that doesn’t seem to bother me when I’m trying to sleep is my nose. But a new study may force me to rethink that. German researchers say a stinky bedroom could give you bad dreams!

The researchers wafted three different kinds of scent into a sleep lab where 15 healthy young women were trying to take a nap. One was a positive smell (roses), one was less pleasant (rotten eggs), and the last one was a neutral scent. The women were then asked to report the dreams they had.

The women reported more positive dreams when the rose scent was in the room, and more negative ones when the rotten eggs were around.

Researchers say this suggests having a pleasant smelling bedroom could help improve your dreams. So make sure your partner leaves their stinky shoes outside the room and washes their feet before they go to bed. Sweet smells, sweet dreams.

Can Your Palms Predict the Future

Reading your palm is a traditional way of telling the future. Now there’s some scientific validity to it. Sadly this new method won’t tell you if you’ll marry a handsome stranger or suddenly come into a lot of money, but it can tell you if you are at risk of cancer.

Researchers at London’s Royal Free Hospital (where my dad was treated for stomach ulcers many years ago) say a deepening of palm lines, where the palms begin to get much thicker, can be an indication of cancer.

The researchers cite the case of a 74 year old woman whose palms got noticeably thicker, a condition known as PFPAS. Because it’s known that PFPAS is linked to cancer they did a scan and found a mass in her pelvis that turned out to be ovarian cancer.

PFPAS has also been linked to cancers of the prostate, breast, lung, pancreas, and blood. It’s not known why this is the case but it’s possible that something called CTGF or connective tissue growth factor, could be to blame. CTGF causes tissue to get thicker and may also help cancers spread.

So, if your fingers start to curl upwards, I see an oncologist in your future!

If You Are Having a Heart Attack Get to Seattle Quickly

Here’s a less than comforting thought. Where you live could dramatically impact your odds of surviving a heart attack. And I do mean dramatically. For instance, if you live in Alabama you are five times more likely to die from it than if you live in Seattle.

The study, by folks at the University of Washington, found that geography is a critical factor in surviving a heart attack. They studied 20,520 people who had a heart attack in ten large urban areas in the U.S. and Canada.

In Seattle, EMT treatment prevents heart attack deaths 16.3 percent of the time. In Alabama that number is only 3 percent. Overall around the U.S. the numbers are not much better. A little more than half the patients who have a heart attack are treated by emergency responders, increasing the odds of survival to just over 8 percent.

The researchers say some 15,000 deaths would be prevented if every city in America responded to heart attacks in the same way that Seattle does.

Until then, if your chest feels tight, get the heck out of wherever you are and book the first available flight to Seattle.

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