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Dietribes: Milk It for All It's Worth

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"¢ Milk must do a body good since it's the first thing any of us drink! But let's learn more about this dairy delight by which we also get cream, butter, yogurt, kefir, ice cream, and most especially, cheese.

"¢ Milk's history mixes with alcohol on more than one occasion. Louis Pasteur was helping students attempt to ferment beetroot when he discovered the process that would become known as "pasteurizing," or sterilizing substances.

"¢ But why choose between milk and beer when you can have both as Bilk or in a White Russian, a la The Big Lebowski?

"¢Â Milk can also be used as a substitute for alcohol such as in celebration - just ask nay NASCAR fan! Winners of the Indy 500 have a tradition of drinking milk after their victory, a practice that has gone on since 1956.

Sports Illustrated even ranked milk #1 as the sports world coolest and healthiest prize.

"¢ Got Milk? The slogan started in 1993 and marketers began featuring celebrities in the print campaign. Boasting 90% awareness in the United States, the pithy trademark has been licensed out to dolls and toys and been the brunt of many a well-recognized parody.

"¢ When the price of glass went up, paper milk cartons were in high demand. John Van Wormer, a toy manufacturer, applied for a milk carton patent in 1915, but the familiar tetrahedral shape was developed in the 1940s. The idea was to use the least amount of packaging possible, and lead to the ubiquitous brick-shaped carton of today with the gabled tops.

"¢ I don't know about you guys, but at my grade school we had a lunch card and ... a milk card! Milk is certainly no stranger to the school cafeteria - President Truman signed the National School Lunch into law in 1946, which included a half pint of milk as a required staple.

"¢ In recent years, efforts have been made to replace the original whole milk requirements with 1% or skim. It wasn't until 1988 that low fat and skim milk exceeded the sales of whole milk.

Etan Patz was the first missing child featured on a milk carton, a practice which has since mostly been discontinued as such and updated to more tech-saavy modes of display.

"¢ Cow's milk, sheep's milk, goat milk yes, but rat milk? Dog milk? And even more extreme examples, no thank you!

"¢ Don't like milk, or suffering from lactose intolerance? Try (my favorite alternative) soy milk! Made from a stable emulsion of oil, water, and protein, it is produced by soaking dry soybeans and grinding them with water. Soy milk contains about the same proportion of protein as cow's milk and most include a calcium boost.

How do you Flossers take your milk? With a bit of chocolate or with your tea? What about as a substitute for other liquids?

Hungry for more? Venture into the Dietribes archive.

"˜Dietribes' appears every other Wednesday. Food photos taken by Johanna Beyenbach. You might remember that name from our post about her colorful diet.

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Here's How to Tell If You Damaged Your Eyes Watching the Eclipse
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Amid the total solar eclipse craze, experts repeatedly warned spectators not to watch the rare phenomenon on August 21 with their naked eyes. But if you caught a peek sans glasses, pinhole projector, or protective filter, you may be wondering if your peepers were damaged. (After the sky show, "my eyes hurt" spiked as a Google search, so you’re not alone.)

While the sun doesn’t technically harm your eyes any more than usual during a solar eclipse, it can be easier to gaze at the glowing orb when the moon covers it. And looking directly at the sun—even briefly—can damage a spot in the retina called the fovea, which ensures clear central vision. This leads to a condition called solar retinopathy.

You won’t initially feel any pain if your eyes were damaged, as our retinas don’t have  pain receptors. But according to Live Science, symptoms of solar retinopathy can arise within hours (typically around 12 hours after sun exposure), and can include blurred or distorted vision, light sensitivity, a blind spot in one or both eyes, or changes in the way you see color (a condition called chromatopsia).

These symptoms can improve over several months to a year, but some people may experience lingering problems, like a small blind spot in their field of vision. Others may suffer permanent damage.

That said, if you only looked at the sun for a moment, you’re probably fine. “If you look at it for a second or two, nothing will happen," Jacob Chung, chief of ophthalmology at New Jersey's Englewood Hospital, told USA TODAY. "Five seconds, I'm not sure, but 10 seconds is probably too long, and 20 seconds is definitely too long."

However, if you did gaze at the sun for too long and you believe you may have damaged your eyes, get a professional opinion, stat. “Seeing an optometrist is faster than getting to see an ophthalmologist,” Ralph Chou, a professor emeritus of optometry and vision science at the University of Waterloo, in Ontario, Canada, told NPR. “If there is damage, the optometrist would refer the individual to the ophthalmologist for further assessment and management in any case.”

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New Test Can Differentiate Between Tick-borne Illnesses
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Time is of the essence in diagnosing and treating Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses. Fortunately, one new test may be able to help. A report on the test was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Ticks and the diseases they carry are on the rise. One 2016 study found deer ticks—the species that carries Lyme disease—in more than half of the counties in the United States.

The two most common tick-borne illnesses in the U.S. are Lyme disease and southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI). Although their initial symptoms can be the same, they’re caused by different pathogens; Lyme disease comes from infection with the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. We don’t know what causes STARI.

"It is extremely important to be able to tell a patient they have Lyme disease as early as possible so they can be treated as quickly as possible," microbiologist and first author Claudia Molins of the CDC said in a statement. "Most Lyme disease infections are successfully treated with a two- to three-week course of oral antibiotics." Infections that aren't treated can lead to fevers, facial paralysis, heart palpitations, nerve pain, arthritis, short-term memory loss, and inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.

But to date, scientists have yet to create an accurate, consistent early test for Lyme disease, which means people must often wait until they’re very ill. And it’s hard to test for the STARI pathogen when we don’t know what it is.

One team of researchers led by experts at Colorado State University was determined to find a better way. They realized that, rather than looking for pathogens, they could look at the way a person’s body responded to the pathogens.

They analyzed blood samples from patients with both early-stage Lyme disease and STARI. Their results showed that while all patients’ immune systems had mounted a response, the nature of that response was different.

"We have found that all of these infections and diseases are associated with an inflammatory response, but the alteration of the immune response, and the metabolic profiles aren't all the same," senior author John Belisle of CSU said.

Two distinct profiles emerged. The team had found physical evidence, or biomarkers, for each illness: a way to tell one disease from another.

Belisle notes that there’s still plenty of work to do.

"The focus of our efforts is to develop a test that has a much greater sensitivity, and maintains that same level of specificity," Belisle said. "We don't want people to receive unnecessary treatment if they don't have Lyme disease, but we want to identify those who have the disease as quickly as possible."


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