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The National Toxicology Program, a part of the National Institutes of Health, has issued its latest list of materials known, or strongly suspected, to be carcinogenic (capable of causing cancer).  Included on the new list of 246 substances are compounds known as heterocyclic amines. These compounds are known to form in meat that has been cooked too long at too high a temperature. 

The possible link between over-cooked meat and cancer has been noted before.  In a previous study conducted by the National Cancer Institute which compared the diets of 176 patients with stomach cancer to 503 people who were cancer-free, it was found that those who ate meat that was medium-well to well-done had three times the risk of developing stomach cancer as those who ate their beef rare or medium rare. 

The same study also showed that those who ate beef four or more times per week had more that twice the risk of developing stomach cancer when compared to those who ate beef less often.  The method of cooking meat has an influence on the degree to which these harmful compounds form.  Frying, broiling, and open-fire grilling produce the largest amounts of these chemicals, because of the high temperatures involved.  Methods such as oven roasting, boiling, or poaching produce lower amounts;  however, gravies prepared from meat drippings tend to contain substantial amounts of the substances.  Microwaving meat before cooking has been shown to remove the precursors that lead to the formation of the harmful chemicals, and so reduces the amount of the harmful chemicals by as much as 90%.
They say that venting your spleen (releasing, or expressing, your anger) is good for you.  Maybe so - but having your spleen removed may turn out to be a bad idea.  Recent research has shown that the spleen is an important repository of immune cells, called monocytes , a type of white blood cell that plays a key role in the bodies immune system. 

Because the spleen has good communication with the blood stream, immune cells from the spleen are often the first to arrive at the site of a traumatic injury, or when an infection hits.  In studies using mice, a team from Harvard determined that when mice suffered heart attacks, many of the monocytes that arrived at the damaged heart tissue originated from the spleen. 

Further studies involving servicemen who had their spleens removed during World War II showed that they suffered higher rates of death from diseases in general, and particularly from heart disease and pneumonia, when compared to men with similar backgrounds who had not undergone a splenectomy.  It is also known that removal of the spleen can reduce the body's response to some vaccines.
At some point in the future, your Doctor's prescription may just be that you need a hole in your head, at least that's the direction that some medical studies are now pointing. 

The drilling of holes in the skull, called trepanation, has a surprisingly long history, going back to the time of the stone age (the Neolithic era).  As remarkable as it may seem, it appears - from the evidence of healing around holes that were drilled into skulls from those periods - that at least some of the patients survived the procedure.  The operation was performed for a variety of reasons, ranging from treatment of injuries to the release of evil spirits. 

Today's Doctors, however, have moved beyond those beliefs.  The renewed interest in the procedure is being generated by studies that seem to show that creating a hole in the skull may help to slow, or even reverse, the decline in mental function caused by dementia resulting from Alzheimer's disease. 

The idea, although it may seem strange, has a fairly straightforward logic:  there is evidence that one factor that contributes to dementia is a decrease in blood flow to the brain.  By creating a hole in the skull, the pressure inside the brain is reduced, which in turn leads to an increase in the rate at which blood can circulate within it.  Not surprisingly, there is debate about the theory - some contend that the improvements seen in patients is due to other factors, such as the draining of cerebrospinal fluid which might remove some toxins in the fluid.  The final answer is not in yet, but the entire matter is the subject of ongoing studies.