The use of mud or clay as a topical skin treatment is a common practice in some cultures, and the concept of using mud as medicine goes back to earliest times. Now researchers from the Mayo Clinic and Arizona State University have found that at least one type of clay—a blue clay found in Oregon—may help fight disease-causing bacteria in wounds, including some treatment-resistant bacteria. The findings appear in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents.
In lab tests, researchers found the clay is effective against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus, including resistant strains. The lab tests are a first step in simulating the complex environment found in actual wounds. The researchers caution that not all types of clay are beneficial—some may help bacteria grow. More research is needed to identify the antibacterial properties of different clays.
Sea of Troubles
According to information compiled by ReUseThisBag.com, 2.41 million metric tons of plastic end up in oceans each year, and some 80 percent of marine debris is due to improperly disposed waste. The result? The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is a collection of plastic in the middle of the Pacific Ocean that is roughly 3 times the size of France and equal to the weight of 500 jumbo jets. The devastating effects of this island of refuse are only beginning to be understood, but there are steps we can all take to lessen our contribution. So far, 13 countries and 3 U.S. states (Hawaii, Washington, and California) have banned plastic bags outright. Additionally, ReUseThisBag recommends that consumers:
- Use reusable shopping bags
- Invest in a reusable bottle, rather than buying bottled water
- Take a travel mug to the coffee shop, or order coffee without a lid
- Refuse disposable straws in restaurants
- Buy in bulk to reduce packaging waste
Vitamins Help Seniors Stay Vital
According to a Spanish study published in Age and Ageing, a low intake of vitamins is associated with frailty in older adults. Scientists from the Universidad de La Frontera in Chile and the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid-IdiPaz in Madrid followed 1,643 people from Spain, aged 65 and older, for four years.
Participants’ levels of 10 vitamins—vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamins B, B, C, D, E, and folate—were assessed at the beginning of the study, and researchers found that lower intake of vitamins B, C, E, and folate was associated with a higher risk of frailty over the course of the study. Frailty was defined as meeting at least three of the following five criteria: unintentional weight loss, exhaustion, weakness, slow walking speed, and low physical activity.
The researchers also noted that failure to meet the RDAs for all vitamins was strongly associated with frailty.