Saturday, 12 November 2011

IMFW: Pituitary Newsflash

I have to make a confession. I've been writing my Interesting Medical Fact of the Week posts in advance and lining them up to post automatically every week. Which is fine, until I read something new and exciting and physically cannot wait to post it, for fear of literally exploding with excitement.

And no-one wants to have to clean that up.

So as I was browsing for news of new medical marvels, I came across this article. For those of you incapable of clicking the link, I'll break it down for you: scientists in Japan have taken stem cells from mice embryos and successfully grown working pituitary tissue, which, when transplanted into mice with pituitary defects, began to produce some of the hormones that these mice were lacking.

EXCITING. Obviously a long long way from any kind of human treatment, but I'm sure there are plenty of folk out there who jumped for joy in the middle of their growth hormone injections at the vaguest prospect of such a thing.

Also an entertaining read is the comments section at the bottom of the article. One user rails against any money being spent on researching pituitary problems when more people die from malaria and AIDS and advises a Benthamite strategy for prioritising areas of medical research.* I also particularly like a comment by "Terence Hale" which states that:

"There are many endocrine glands in the body with the main ones being the pituitary gland, thyroid, thymus, adrenal glands, and the pancreas, but one often forget the Hypothalamus which links the nervous system to the endocrine system via the pituitary gland is “the captain of the ship”, a clock work. Putting things in between such as hormones or gland implants is “rocking the boat”. Hormone therapy has help many but has it's costs. The implant in such a clock work could present problems."

I think we all feel enlightened after that. I'm assuming that Terence's trouble expressing himself is down to Google Translate,** because a little bit of further research throws up another comment of his, giving a recipe suggestion in which he suggests taking a worm chicken embryo and placing it in an Irish Gnome Bowl before chopping it up with a Saudi Arabian execution sward.***

*Of course, we could save even more money by just killing all the sick people. And thus prevent the spread of communicable diseases, too. Why has no-one thought of this before?

**When will those bastards get it right?

***Full recipe, because it is quite funny: "20 g of freshly cut wheat corns are socked in dulcolax juice and given to nearby chicken who has less than 5,000 fly hours. This produces a shelled embryo. The embryo is then take while worm and placed in saucepan. After exactly 3 min. the shelled embryo is taken from the saucepan with a teaspoon, coffee spoons are not suitable and placed in an Irish Gnome bowl. The embryo is prepared for eating by using a horizontal guillotine placed of the right side of the embryo and moved to the left side with the embryo in the middle. A Saudi Arabian execution sward may also be used."

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