Saturday News Dump

Another Weekend begins (the last before Spring)  and as usual I have some news that did not make the front pages in the past week so as usual the old Professor is here to right that wrong.

My better half suffers from crippling migraines she has found that the Botox injections help a lot…..but not e everyone has that option so is there any anyone working on a help in dealing with these problems?

A new nasal spray from Pfizer has just been OKed by the Food and Drug Administration, and the company hopes it will be a game changer for the nearly 40 million migraine sufferers in the US. Reuters reports on the FDA’s Friday approval of zavegepant, sold under the brand name Zavzpret, for migraines with and without aura after a late-stage study showed the drug performed very well compared with a placebo. One of its apparent benefits: how fast it takes effect, with the study showing pain relief as soon as 15 to 30 minutes after using the spray, and a return to normal activities shortly thereafter. Of the 1,400-plus subjects who took part in the study between October 2020 and August 2021, nearly a quarter of those who used Zavzpret reported being symptom-free after two hours, compared with 15% of placebo takers.

The drug also showed more efficacy than a placebo at treating symptoms of a migraine—defined as at least five bouts of headache lasting four to 72 hours, according to the National Headache Foundation—up to 48 hours later. Zavegepant falls under a class of drugs called calcitonin gene-related peptide inhibitors, and treatments are already available from such companies as AbbVie, Eli Lilly, Teva Pharmaceuticals, and Amgen. Pfizer is hoping its entry will beat the rest on speed. “Fifteen minutes is very quick, even for other nasal sprays,” Dr. Kate Mullin of the New England Institute for Neurology & Headache, who also served as the lead investigator during the zavegepant trial, tells USA Today.

Angela Hwang, Pfizer’s chief commercial officer and president of its global pharma business, calls zavegepant a “significant breakthrough for people with migraine who need freedom from pain and prefer alternative options to oral medications,” per a release. Mullin notes that those alternatives come in especially handy when migraine sufferers can’t take meds orally due to migraine-induced nausea and vomiting. The release notes zavegepant “was well tolerated” during its clinical trials, with common side effects after using the nasal spray including a bad taste, nasal discomfort, and nausea. Some patients with a hypersensitivity to the drug reported hives and facial swelling. Zavzpret’s price, “expected to be comparable in price to other FDA-approved migraine medicines,” according to Pfizer, will be announced at the drug’s launch in July, reports Reuters.

I try to include a little FYI in the weekend posts….

“Charlie, what happened to pubic hair?” (a line from two and half men)

Pubic hair grooming behaviors can differ by gender, nationality, religion, relationship status, and more. Additionally, trends in public hair grooming, like many other forms of aesthetics and hygiene, can change significantly over time. A study published in Anzjog explores the reasons members of both sexes utilize pubic hair grooming.

Pubic hair grooming is a very personal choice that can influenced by many factors, such as trends, sex, age, time period, and more. Additionally, pubic hair can affect a person’s self-esteem, with previous suggesting that engaging in this grooming is related to higher genitalia satisfaction for women.

Another relevant factor is that removal of pubic hair can have health implications, such as removing hair to avoid pubic lice or skin irritation associated with waxing or shaving. Most research about pubic hair grooming habits have focused on women, and this study seeks to expand the body of literature by also including men.

For their study, Rebecca Deans and colleagues utilized 1,560 young adult participants to serve as their sample. All participants were aged 18 to 25 years old. Data was collected for two similarly aged cohorts, occurring in 2014 and again in 2021. Participants were recruited through the university and social media platforms.

New research explores attitudes and habits related to pubic hair grooming among young adults

A little something for the men….

Hate those pesky swimsuit tan lines you get while sunbathing? If you’re planning an upcoming vacation in Berlin, you won’t have to worry about that, if you’re not too modest. That’s because authorities in the German capital announced Thursday that they support the concept of “Freikoerperkultur,” or “free body culture”—meaning anyone is free to go topless in the city’s public swimming pools, reports the BBC. Previously, women who showed their breasts while visiting Berlin’s public pools were sometimes asked to cover up or leave, and some were barred from ever coming back, per the AP.

One of those women decided to file a complaint after being booted. The legalities around this seem murky, but topless swimming or sunbathing by women appears to have not been outright unlawful in the city’s public pools, per the Washington Post. In a statement, the Berlin state government noted that while pools do have requirements for “all bathers” to wear “standard swimwear,” such as swim trunks, swimming shorts, bikinis, and, burkinis, the rules don’t specify what gender has to wear what.

Which is why Berlin’s public pools operator says it’s now going to make sure to apply those rules across the board. This will “[establish] equal rights for all Berliners, whether male, female, or nonbinary,” as well as “[create legal certainty for [pool] staff,” says the head of Berlin’s ombudsperson’s office for equality and anti-discrimination, per the Post. In other parts of Germany, the issue doesn’t seem to be as closely regulated: The BBC notes that “foreign visitors to Germany are often surprised—and sometimes downright disconcerted—by the sight of naked Germans frolicking in its lakes, snoring in its parks, or sweating in its saunas.”

That news ought to bring the social media addicts spring into action….or maybe tourism will pick up.

Next is an environmental portion….there are some ‘forever chemicals’ that leach into our ecosystems that could do a lot of damage….ever hear of PFAS?

You may not realize it, but various everyday products like adhesives, food packaging, and cookware contain certain chemicals called per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to make them resistant to heat, oil, grease, or water. More than 9,000 PFAS have been identified so far, which are used in a wide range of industrial and commercial applications. 

Despite their important function in various consumer products, they have a serious downside. PFAS don’t break down easily in the environment due to their chemical structure that resists biodegradation. This explains why they’re often called “forever chemicals.”

“Their unique structure allows them to also move through surface and groundwaters and persist in soils and sediments,” says Allen Burton, a professor of environment and sustainability at the University of Michigan whose research deals with environmental toxicology. “They bioaccumulate in humans and wildlife and are so common their ingestion cannot be easily avoided.”

PFAS can leach into soil, air, and water, and they’re already found in humans’ blood and urine. Studies also report that PFAS are ubiquitous in municipal wastewater—not only in those with direct sources like textile mills or papermaking operations, but also in non-industrial wastewater like septic tanks and office buildings. Some suspect it comes from the microfibers in water-resistant clothing during laundry or from human excrement. However, new research reveals another potential source: toilet paper.

Toilet paper may be a major source of ‘forever chemicals’ in wastewater

Some possible good news for us peasants that live in a hurricane region….

After three nasty years, the La Nina weather phenomenon that increases Atlantic hurricane activity and worsens western drought is gone, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday. That’s usually good news for the United States and other parts of the world, including drought-stricken northeast Africa, scientists said. The globe is now in what’s considered a “neutral” condition and probably trending to an El Nino in late summer or fall, said climate scientist Michelle L’Heureux, head of NOAA’s El Nino/La Nina forecast office. “It’s over,” said research scientist Azhar Ehsan, who heads Columbia University’s El Nino/La Nina forecasting. “Mother Nature thought to get rid of this one because it’s enough.”

La Nina is a natural and temporary cooling of parts of the Pacific Ocean that changes weather worldwide. Studies have shown that in the United States, because La Nina is connected to more Atlantic storms and deeper droughts and wildfires in the West, La Ninas often are more damaging and expensive than their more famous flip side, El Nino, the AP reports. Generally, American agriculture is more damaged by La Nina than El Nino. If the globe jumps into El Nino it means more rain for the Midwestern corn belt and grains in general and could be beneficial, said Michael Ferrari, chief scientific officer of Climate Alpha, a firm that advises investors on financial decisions based on climate.

This particular La Nina, which started in September 2020 but is considered three years old because it affected three different winters, was unusual and one of the longest on record. It took a brief break in 2021 but came roaring back with record intensity. “I’m sick of this La Nina,” Ehsan said. L’Heureux agreed, saying she’s ready to talk about something else. The few other times that there’s been a triple-dip La Nina have come after strong El Ninos and there’s clear physics on why that happens. But that’s not what happened with this La Nina, L’Heureux said. This one didn’t have a strong El Nino before it.

Enjoy your Saturday and be well and safe….

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”