an unusual research study

Earlier today I was switching channels on the TV and heard something unexpected.  Apparently some research group is looking for people to participate in an induced constipation study.  I just saw the end of the commercial, so I didn’t hear what the compensation was (if it was mentioned), but it would have to be a lot.  Actually, I’m not sure you can put a price on being regular.

I don’t know what it feels like to be constipated, but I figure it would be quite bad after a while.  And using experimental drugs to get there just seems like a really bad idea.  I don’t even want to know what the potential side-effects of that are…  Besides, shouldn’t the drugs be fixing constipation, not causing it?

That whole scenario just sounds wrong.  I hope it’s not some scheme of the Important Evil Genius trying to rule the tri-state area with constipation… it sounds like some lame plan he’d make up.

studying gas from cows

In an effort to reduce global warming, scientists are now studying flatulence produced by cows.  This is from an actual news article:

Argentine scientists are taking a novel approach to studying global warming — strapping plastic tanks to the backs of cows to collect their burps and farts. … Scientists at the National Institute of Agricultural Technology in Castelar, Argentina, will analyze the gas collected from cows. Scientists around the world are studying the amount of methane in gas expelled by cows and Argentine researchers have come up with a unique way to collect and analyze it. …

“When we got the first results, we were surprised. Thirty percent of Argentina’s (total greenhouse) emissions could be generated by cows,” said Guillermo Berra, a researcher at the National Institute of Agricultural Technology. Berra said the researchers “never thought” a cow weighing 550 kg (1,210 lb) could produce 800 to 1,000 litres (28 to 35 cubic feet) of emissions each day.

Notice that these scientists are studying and analyzing gas from cows.  How would you like that job?  I bet it stinks to have to do that every day!  (Pun very much intended.)

But maybe these scientists are onto something.  If a cow is producing more than its fair share of methane, then that’s not fair to the rest of us.  Likewise, I know some people who produce more methane than a normal human should.  Perhaps the government should require them to add Beano to their food…

Exercise Is Bad For You, New Study Shows

CHICAGO, IL – Scientists at Loyola University have proved what many of us have suspected all along – exercise is bad for your health.

Dr. Harold Crampe of Loyola University and his colleagues spent six months studying the effects of exercise, comparing a group of men aged 20 to 50 who walked or ran at least 3 times a week with a control group of men in the same age range who spent the same time on the couch, watching TV.

Dr. Crampe says they were surprised by their findings. "You have a 4000% higher risk of being hit by a car or other motor vehicle, if you're out running," he says, "and some of the other risks are even higher."

Runners and walkers were nearly 3 times more likely to be attacked by dogs, 5 times more likely to sprain or break a limb, and nearly 50 times more likely to be struck by lightning.

"You're even 12 times as likely to be mugged," says Dr. Crampe. "Normally, when we study things like this, we find small effects at most – a few percentage points difference between the groups. In this case, we're seeing double or even triple digits or more!"

Asked if the couch-bound control group had any problems not seen by the exercise group, Dr. Crampe said "Well, we had a couple of guys who got a crick in their neck, but after we showed them how to slouch more naturally, that cleared right up."

eating bacon to live longer

bacon - sea of baconI just heard about a 105-year-old woman in Texas who says her secret is that she eats bacon every day.  I don’t know if that will stand up to medical scrutiny, but it’s worth something.

The article reveals her bacon “secret”, which should be enough for the whole article.  But then it talks about her birthday party, which featured over 200 guests, which is okay, I guess.  But then it goes into explaining why bacon has gotten a bad rap lately.  It’s somewhat ironic, given the subject of the article.  Apparently some research study linked processed meat to a premature death.  But check out their results — they claim that eating less than 20g per day (which is 0.7 ounces) could prevent an estimated 3% of premature deaths each year.  So if you eat only a bite or two of meat per day, you have a 3% chance of living longer.  For people who follow that advice, I wonder what the odds are on premature death due to not enjoying life as much…  (To each their own, but that advice wouldn’t work for me.)

The article then references another study saying that even a single serving of processed red meat increased the risk of participants dying by 20%.  I may not be a statistician, but I figure the risk of dying is 100%.  🙂  You can eat all the plants you want, but it is appointed for everyone to meet their Maker at some point.

Obviously bacon is somewhat unhealthy — not completely, but in some ways.  However, if a single serving of bacon (or any red meat) increases your risk of dying by 20%, and this woman has eaten bacon every day for 105 years so far (which could be up to 38,000 times), what would her risk of dying be?  I’d like to see one of those researchers calculate it and go tell her.  Maybe she’s like one of those cartoon characters who is invulnerable to the laws of physics because they don’t understand it.  🙂  Either way, whatever she’s doing has worked for her.

This breakfast platter from Tony's I-75 restaurant in Birch Run, MI, has 1 pound of bacon.
This breakfast platter from Tony’s I-75 restaurant in Birch Run, MI, has 1 pound of bacon.

I’m not claiming that all this research is bogus, but I think there’s a LOT more to it than just saying eating meat will kill you early.  I’ve known quite a few people — including my grandparents — who ate big country meals all the time (which included lots of butter, gravy, and fried foods), yet lived to be 90+ and still had above-average health.  I know that’s a small sample, but when you consider how Americans used to eat versus what we now “know” about nutrition, it’s amazing any of them lived past 25.  I’m not saying fattening foods are healthy, but I do wonder if natural / organic fattening foods might be healthier than much of the modern stuff with preservatives and additives and chemicals.  I can’t prove it, and I’m not convinced either way yet, but I do think there’s a lot more to nutrition and healthiness than we currently know.

Regardless of whether bacon is good for me or not, I’m now hungry for bacon…