Monday, January 12, 2015
  Grandma was right #543789574895743897

"Local" news is busy covering the latest Lusitania fraud in Paris, and (more justifiably) a mass shooting in nearby Moscow by a Korean guy. [Sidenote: Koreans are becoming experts at mass shootings, aren't they? Three in the last few years. Way overrepresented.]

"Local" news completely missed a HUGE science story right here in downtown Spokane. I caught the story in UK Telegraph, then found a better write-up in the Eurekalert science feed:

WSU Spokane scientists have found a brain protein that boosts the healing power of sleep and speeds an animal's recovery from the flu.

Research by WSU Regents Professor James M. Krueger has determined that a brain-specific protein is uniquely involved in sleep responses triggered by the influenza virus in mice. Without the protein, animals develop more severe symptoms of infection and die at higher rates than regular or control mice.

Krueger said the discovery could lead to alternative treatments for influenza and other infectious diseases, possibly by using intranasal sprays to stimulate the production of the brain protein, called AcPb.
Major point isn't the possibility of a nasal spray, though a patent on such a medication would be a fine profit center for WSU. The big science point is that the flu virus alters our behavior by acting directly on the brain. It forces victims to stay awake longer, worsening the infection and increasing the time when you're out and about sneezing and coughing and spreading the virus.

Knowing what the virus wants, you can fight it effectively by getting more sleep through any means necessary. Just like Grandma said.

Makes a nice connection with another recent Grandma-vindicator: The finding that cold air does make you more vulnerable to viruses.
 


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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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