January 2010

January 15th

Scientists at Oregon State University are hunting for substitute chemicals for a toxic dioxin to fight diseases that are triggered by haywire immune systems attacking the body. The dioxin, known as TCDD, has been shown to suppress the immune system in animals and prevent type 1 diabetes in mice. OSU researchers hypothesize that it could do the same in people. But they aren't considering it as a treatment because it has produced bad side effects in animals and can cause chloracne, a disfiguring skin disease in humans. Instead, they're looking for safer alternatives that would function like TCDD. If successful, the chemicals might able to prevent and treat autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis and type 1 diabetes. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 has provided $1.8 million in funding.

January 1st

Salt, smoke and heat are the essentials of making delicious hot-smoked fish at home, but unless you consider one more factor—safety— food-borne illness can be a major problem and even lethal. Explicit directions on how to avoid harmful bacteria can be found in "Smoking Fish at Home—Safely," (PNW238)