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Million For a Morgue


Publshed at: http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/

 Wednesday, December 14th, 2011 by Sam Khan-Mcintyre


BESTSELLING crime writer Peter James is offering a `dead good’ dinner to one lucky donor to the University of Dundee’s`Million For A Morgue’ campaign.

A further £1 million is needed to build the morgue which will allow researchers to adopt the Thiel method of embalming, and through it, contribute to scientific research. The university has already contributed one million.

Everyone who registers a vote in ’Million For a Morgue’ before the end of December will go into a draw for the prize. There are ten prizes over the next ten months and each vote costs £1.

The morgue will be built at Dundee’s world-renowned Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification, (CAHID) headed by Professor Sue Black.

The new building will allow Professor Black and her team at CAHID to adopt the Thiel method of embalming. This gives surgeons, dentists, students and medical researchers a more realistic method of testing techniques, practising procedures and developing new equipment and approaches.

Professor Black said: “We will be the first University in the UK to exclusively use Thiel embalming and it is an area where, working together with other colleagues in the University, we can make real breakthroughs and change the face of scientific, medical and dental research and training,” said Professor Black.

Some examples of the CAHID’s work include: The team having developed groundbreaking techniques in areas such as hand identification, which has directly led to the successful prosecution of a number of paedophiles identified from images of their hands found in obscene photographs and films.

The Centre also runs a major training programme in Disaster Victim Identification, which has trained police offers in practical techniques in human identification, enabling them to be deployed to help identify victims of mass fatalities anywhere in the world.

Professor Black and other members of the CAHID team featured in the major BBC2 series `History Cold Case’.

Peter, author of the Roy Grace novels, is one of ten authors supporting the campaign. The author with the most votes will have the new morgue named after them.

Peter has also donated a signed hardback copy of his latest novel `Perfect People’ to give away to another lucky voter. Each month the winner will receive a special prize and a signed book from each of the authors taking part.

He said: “I can promise a dead good dinner, to be eaten in a considerably more salubrious environment than a mortuary and with a full-bodied wine that has come from a fine vine and not a human vein,”

Anyone who wants to donate and vote in the campaign can do so by visiting the website at www.millionforamorgue.com.

Winter is close, so what can we do to prevent or treat a cold?

Sam Khan-Mcintyre

There are 15 million cases of colds and flu in the UK each year. There are no cures for the actual virus, but there are numerous treatments designed to alleviate the symptoms. The latest research shows zinc is helpful in megadoses for a short period before and during the cold, as it helps to boost the immune system.

Dr John Beattie is an expert in zinc nutrition. He is currently researching biomass markers of zinc status at the University of Aberdeen Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health, and says, “zinc has a major effect on the immune system, and is one of the factors affecting a cold.” Foods high in zinc are red meat, chicken, fish, milk, cheese and eggs.

He explains that, “there are two types of responses by a body, the innate and adaptive responses. The body’s first reaction to a cold will be symptoms such as a sore throat, which is the innate system response.”

“Cells of the immune system will tell body of infection. Zinc will have an impact on production of chemicals to show the problem is going on.”

‘’[The] next stage is defence, the adaptive immune system realises the innate system is activated. Zinc helps facilitate the immune system, allowing chemicals to activate it, then this adaptive immune system produces antibodies.’’

Dr Beattie continues by adding that ‘’megadoses of zinc will have a significant impact‘’ on a cold, with ‘’between 75 and 100g […] suggested to be effective. However it should only be taken for a few days.”

‘’The daily recommended dose is between 12 mg and 15 mg, depending on whether you’re male or female.” Dr Beattie states that a person would normally get this from their diet.

A more enjoyable treatment could be regular sex, as it appears that this can also help ward off colds and flu. Psychologists in Pennsylvania found those who have sex between one and three times a week have a higher production of immunoglobin A (igA), which strengthens the immune system.

For other possible treatments, we spoke a pharmacist and a health food shop for their views on the subject. David of Boots in Haddington said ‘’there’s many commercial medications, but Paracetamol and a hot drink [should help] because medications only treat the symptoms of a cold’’.

Raj from the Health Food Shop, also in Haddington, had a different view, recommending alternative therapies. He said ‘’there are different types of homeopathic remedies. Echinacea is a really good one. It’s quite popular […] it’s a natural remedy that fights bacteria and bugs’’.

Other factors affecting a cold would be low levels of vitamin D. Vitamin D is mostly obtained from sunlight and is able to boost the immune system. The best way of keeping levels of vitamin D high in winter would be to eat oily fish and eggs, or by taking supplements.

Other remedies include chicken soup and relaxation, as stress plays havoc with the immune system. Plenty of fluids help to fight colds, and help mucous production, which traps the cold virus.

The Language of Faces

 November 17, 2011 By Sam Khan-Mcintyre

What appears to be a single face, however it is a mix of multiple different people.

Psychologists at the University of Edinburgh have found that levels of facial symmetry
can show mental decline in men between the ages of 79 and 83.

Researchers have discovered that those with less symmetry in their faces are more likely to have an increased slowdown of brainpower.

Subjects’ results in reasoning and reaction time tests at the university were used alongside the Scottish Mental Health Survey from 1932.

Dr Lars Penke, who led the work, said: “This kind of research is not meant to lead to new treatments, though facial symmetry could become a diagnostic indicator in the long run.”

He added: “Facial symmetry is only an indirect indicator of insults to developmental stability that accumulated over the lifespan, so there’s no expectation that treating symmetry could ever help against mental decline.”

Developmental stability is the ability of an organism to undergo stable development of the observable characteristics (or phenotype) under given environmental conditions.

Disease (such as diabetes or high blood pressure); toxins; alcohol and illicit drugs; lack of activity (mental or physical); stress; malnutrition; or genetic mutations during development, all contribute to developmental stability and therefore mental decline.

Robin Morton, a scientist at Edinburgh University added that stresses on a mother could affect the baby while in the womb and affect symmetry. He also explained that fingerprints can also become asymmetrical in this way.

He said: “Those with higher mental ability tend to age better due to higher thinking ability. Therefore they will have less of a decline. This could help inform a patient’s clinician.”

Comparable results have not yet been found in females, but research is on-going. Dr Penke said: “We still do some work on this topic, but there are no new results worth reporting yet.”