Saturday, 31 December 2016

Hatching cat - 1910: Trent, the Famous Airship Cat That Wowed the New York Crowd at Gimbels

Posted: November 4, 2016 in Cat Mascots, Cat Stories
Tags: Airship America, Gimbel Brothers, Gimbels Department Store, Melvin Vaniman, New York History, Trent, W.G. McAdoo, Walt Wellman

Handsome tabby Trent and Melvin Vaniman, the chief engineer of America, shortly after being rescued by the crew of the RMS Trent in October 1910.
The story of Trent, the large tabby cat made famous by an unsuccessful flight across the Atlantic in the airship America, has been told many times. My version of the story has a New York City history twist that you will not find in any other tale about Trent.  

On October 22, 1910, a month after the new Gimbel Brothers Department Store opened at Greeley Square in New York City, Walter Wellman’s 27-foot lifeboat and the large tabby cat that was rescued from his hydrogen dirigible, America, were on exhibition on the fourth floor of the new department store.
Trent, lying atop comfy pillows in a gilded cage, attracted crowds of sightseers — especially women and children — who couldn’t wait to meet the famous cat that attempted a trans-Atlantic crossing in an airship. As a continuous line of people tried to pet and woo him, Trent ignored their attention and declined to be sociable.
I’m going out on a limb here, but maybe the poor cat was trying to ignore everyone because he had just gone through a very dramatic experience that I know for a fact would have traumatized most cats for all the rest of their nine lives.
From Atlantic City Stray to Airship Mascot
americahangarThe America was a 165-long, non-rigid airship built by Mutin Godard in France in 1906 for the journalist Walter Wellman‘s attempt to reach the North Pole by air. The airship took off from Atlantic City, New Jersey, on October 15, 1910. 
In October 1910, journalist and pioneer airman Walter Wellman and five companions prepared to cross the Atlantic Ocean in the airship America. Trent was just a stray cat living with his twin brother in the airship’s hangar in Atlantic City when the airship’s navigator, Murray Simon, decided it would be good luck to have a cat on board the historic flight.
Trent — then called Kiddo — was tossed into the lifeboat, which was attached just under the airship. Here, radio man Jack Irwin had his post (America was the first aircraft to carry radio equipment).
Melvin Vaniman and Trent look like the best of friends in their publicity portrait. 
No surprise, Kiddo was not too fond of his predicament, and he put on a great display of anger and terror by meowing and running around the small space in hysterics.
Chief Engineer Melvin Vaniman was reportedly so annoyed by the antics of Kiddo that he made the first-ever in-flight radio transmission to a secretary back on land. “Roy, come and get this goddamn cat!” he yelled.
Kiddo was renamed Trent following the rescue. 
The plan was then to lower the cat in a canvas bag to a motorboat that was running beneath the airship. Unfortunately, the seas were too rough for the boat to catch the bag, so Kiddo was forced to continue the journey.
Eventually, Kiddo settled down and took his job as feline co-pilot quite seriously. (One of his duties was to try to keep the napping men awake by lounging on their faces.)
Navigator Murray Simon, who had told the press that one must never cross the Atlantic in an airship without a cat, wrote that Kiddo was “more useful than any barometer.”
Although the airship set several new records by staying aloft for almost 72 hours and traveling over 1000 miles, weather and other problems forced the crew to ditch the airship and join Kiddo in the lifeboat. Somewhere west of Bermuda, they sighted the Royal Mail Steamship Trent. After using  Morse code to attract the ship’s attention, Jack Irwin made the first aerial distress call by radio.
As the airship drifted out of sight — never to be seen again — the crew of the RMS Trent rescued all the men and their cat Kiddo and returned them to New York. Murray Simon reminded the crew that it had been a good idea to bring Kiddo on the journey, because cats have nine lives.
The airship America, as seen from the deck of the RMS Trent en route to New York City. 
Trent Goes to Gimbels
Following the airship’s rescue, Melvin Vaniman and Kiddo — now called Trent — were invited to help the Gimbel brothers celebrate the opening of their New York store on Broadway and 32nd Street. As this blog explores the history of New York City through animal stories, a pictorial look at the history of Gimbels is in store.
Although Gimbel Brothers New York officially opened on September 29, 1010, the history of this particular store at Greeley Square goes back to 1874, when the Hudson Tunnel Railroad Company initiated plans to construct a railroad that would connect New Jersey and New York City via a tunnel under the mile-wide Hudson River (today we call this the PATH train).
Construction began in 1874, but litigation and lack of funding caused numerous delays over the years. Finally in February 1902, the New York and Jersey Railroad Company took over all of the railroad company’s tunnels and lines of railway, including 4,000 feet of tunnel that had already been constructed.
Under the direction of William Gibbs McAdoo, the president of the New York and Jersey Railroad Company, the McAdoo Tunnel or Hudson Tubes, as it was called, accommodated electrified surface rail cars. The cars operated from a terminal in Jersey City (Journal Square) to a terminal in Manhattan at Christopher, Tenth, Greenwich, and Hudson streets. 
In 1904, the newly formed Hudson and Manhattan Railroad Company (H&M) filed an application to extend the McAdoo Tunnel to a larger underground terminal on Sixth Avenue at 33rd Street. The proposed site was occupied by several landmarks, including Trainor’s hotel and restaurant and the Manhattan Theatre (formerly the Standard Theatre) on Sixth Avenue, all of which were condemned and demolished in 1905.
The old Standard Theatre on Sixth Avenue and 33rd Street (later called the Manhattan Theatre), was being managed by James M. Hill when this photo was taken in 1895. The theater was one of many buildings demolished to make way for the 33rd Street terminal and, later, the Gimbel Brothers department store. New York Public Library digital collections. 
Many smaller old buildings on West 32nd and West 33rd streets were also condemned, including a house of prostitution called the House of Nations and six other properties owned by Albert J. Adams. Incidentally, Al Adams, as he was called, also had grand plans for the same site: In 1905 he had proposed to build a 42-story hotel on the site that was to be the tallest building in the world — more than 125 taller than The Times building and the Park Row Building, which were then the world’s tallest buildings.
Greeeley Square between Broadway and Sixth Avenue, looking southwest from about 34th Street. When this photo was taken, the Manhattan Theatre and Trainor’s restaurant were still standing across from the Sixth Avenue elevated train station. It was here that the Gimbel Brothers department store would be built in 1909.  NYPL digital collections.
The Broadway side of Greeley Square, as seen in 1807. NYPD digital collections.
On April 23, 1909, five years after the site was cleared to make way for the McAdoo system concourse at 33rd Street, the Gimbel brothers — Jacob, Isaac, Charles, Daniel, Ellis, and Louis — signed a 21-year lease with the Greeley Square Realty Company for the land atop the proposed terminal (the 33rd Street station did not open until November 1910).  Daniel Burnham (of Flatiron Building fame) was hired to design the new building.
Following five months of excavation work, construction on the new department store started in October 1909. NYPL digital collections
On January 30, 1909, The New York Times announced that the “massive store” would “be the terminal of the McAdoo tunnel system, or Manhattan tunnels, which, by the time the store building is completed, will connect with the Pennsylvania Railroad, Central Railroad of New Jersey, the Erie system, and the Lackawanna & Western Railroad, handling, it is estimated, 1,000,000 persons daily.”
On December 8, 1909, a copper box containing a history of the Gimbels and other data was placed in the cornerstone. The $12 million building was completed ahead of schedule on  June 11, 1910.
Here is Gimbels in 1920, three years before the department store merged with Saks (directly across 33rd Street), and five years before the Gimbels purchased the 18-story Cuyler Building (directly across 32nd Street) . NYPL digital collections 
Here’s a look under and above Greeley Square at Sixth Avenue and 32nd Street in the early 1900s. At the bottom, 50 feet below the street, is the new Pennsylvania Tunnel leading out of Penn Station. Above that is the Rapid Transit subway and then the tracks of the old McAdoo system (today’s PATH). Back then, there was also a surface railroad and an elevated train with a foot bridge that served Gimbels shoppers. 
In October 1925, Gimbel Brothers announced the purchase of the Cuyler Building on the south side of 32nd Street. To connect the Gimbels store with the Cuyler Building, a three-story, copper-clad sky bridge was constructed. This bridge still stands today, albeit, it is no longer functional (check out these amazing photos taken inside the sky bridge in 2014.)
The three-story sky bridge as it looks today. Photo by P. Gavan
On June 6, 1986, the Associated Press reported that Gimbels was going out of business. Today, the building that once paid tribute to a hero cat named Trent houses a JCPenney and the Manhattan Mall.
As for Trent, he lived out the rest of his eight remaining lives on land with Edith Wellman, the daughter of Walter Wellman, in Washington, D.C.
The Manhattan Mall and JCPenney now occupy the old Gimbel Brothers building, and Greeley Square is occupied by an open-air food market called Broadway Bites. Photo by P. Gavan

From Dificio di ricette to Bâtiment des recettes: The Afterlife of Italian Secrets in France

By Julia Martins
Title page of the 1574 edition of the Opera nuova intitolata dificio di ricett. Image from 
In 1525 a book called Opera nuova intitolata dificio di ricette was published in Venice. The book promised to reveal all kinds of secrets to the reader, from cosmetic to medical recipes. This anonymous Italian best seller (which we may call in English ‘Palace of Recipes’) was a collection of 187 short and straightforward recipes, most of them only 5 or 10 lines long. The printer combined utilitarian and pragmatic secrets (including treatment of everyday ailments) with playful elements. Indeed, a taste for the wonderful and a desire to entertain guests were a vital component of this book. After all, the printer included instructions to perform magic tricks such as ‘how to make a candle burn under water’. The work was a commercial success in Italy, and was reprinted 28 times in the forty years after its publication.
The Dificio di ricette also circulated across Europe in many different languages, giving it a truly Pan-European flavour. The work was translated into French in 1539 and in 1545, also translated into Dutch via the French translation. This kind of indirect translation was common in the secrets genre. As William Eamon has shown, Alessio’s Secrets were also translated in English through the French translation. It is notable that in both cases, the French translation served as a cultural and linguistic mediator and it was in France that the Palace of Recipes reigned supreme.
Title page of the Bâtiment des Recettes, printed in Paris by Jean Ruelle in 1560
Title page of the Bâtiment des Recettes, printed in Paris by Jean Ruelle in 1560
Titled the Bâtiment des recettes, the French edition of the work found even greater success than the Italian one. Between its first French publication in 1539 and the final edition in 1830, the book was published 60 times. The main reason for this enduring success is probably the fact that, in 1631, the Bâtiment des recettes was added to the series of books printed in Troyes and commonly known as the ‘Bibliothèque Bleue’, since all the editions had blue covers. This collection of cheaply printed booklets included many books of secrets, and the Bâtiment des recettes continued to be sold in France until well into the 19th century.
What makes the Bâtiment des recettes so interesting is that it is not simply a translation of the Dificio di ricette. Rather it is a collection of different texts, themselves anonymous compilations of recipes. These include a collection of 26 ‘Secrets Specially Proposed for Women’ added by the printer Jean III Du Pré in 1539 and the ‘Pleasant Garden’ (Plaisant jardin) added in 1551. A translation from Italian, the ‘Pleasant Garden’ consisted of 202 varied medical recipes ‘developed by doctors very experts in physic’. Therefore, this 1560 edition contained more than double the number of recipes in the original Italian Palace.
Of the many editions of the Dificio, the 1560 French edition proved particularly popular and was most reprinted. Recently, Geneviève Debloc published an annotated critical edition of the 1560 edition of the Bâtiment des recettes. This is a very useful tool for historians, tracing the several different additions and suppressions in the Bâtiment des recettes throughout its four centuries of history, as well as providing us with tables that offer a systematic account of the ingredients used in the recipes (see my review here).
Thanks to digitisation and new critical editions, a growing number of early modern sources are becoming more easily accessible to scholars. We can compare and contrast complex texts, as in the case of the Dificio. Through a bibliographical approach, we are given the opportunity to read an important primary source in the history of knowledge in a new way – at the crossroads of the history of the book and the history of technologies in tracing the evolution in the composition of the text (including paratextual materials and changes in vocabulary), it is possible to understand how multiple agents were involved in the production of the book, from translators to printers. The Bâtiment des recettes can therefore be understood as both process and final product of these interventions. Through its fragmentary and polymorphic constitution, this re-edited recipe book gives us compelling insight into early modern life in France and Italy and its medical practices.
Julia Martins is a PhD student at the Warburg Institute in London. Her research focuses on recipes about female fertility in Italian books of secrets (as well as their translations) from 1555 to 1700. Her aim is to show how knowledge about “women’s secrets” circulated in early modern print, drawing a comparison between Italian and French books of secrets and English midwifery manuals.

Boundary Bay's secret oasis via @DeltaOptimist

Happy New Year - pomegranate

Pomegranate New Year

Friday, 30 December 2016

The US Virgin Islands Will Give You Money to Visit in 2017 via @Esquire

Local Ecological Knowledge about Endangered Primates in a Rural Community in Paraíba, Brazil.

2016;87(4):262-277. Epub 2016 Nov 19.

Author information

  • 1Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ecologia e Monitoramento Ambiental, Universidade Federal da Paraíba, Rio Tinto, Brazil.


The study of local ecological knowledge (LEK) fosters a better understanding of the relationship between humans and the environment. We assessed respondents' ecological knowledge of primates in a rural community located near the Atlantic Forest remnants in the state of Paraíba, Brazil. Populations of Alouatta belzebul (red-handed howler monkeys), Sapajus flavius (blonde capuchins), and Callithrix jacchus (the common marmoset) inhabit the region. We conducted 200 semi-structured interviews and applied thematic content analysis, with weighting, to the responses to quantify the LEK. Respondents showed a low LEK, despite the community's proximity to forest remnants. However, the LEK was significantly higher among men, as well as among those who had a greater degree of contact with the primates. Age did not influence LEK. The studied community apparently does not intensively exploit the forest resources nor does it economically depend on primates, which may explain these individuals' low levels of knowledge about these animals. Such data may support future studies, as well as environmental education and action plans, especially for A. belzebul and S. flavius, both of which are endangered species and targets of the National Action Plan for the Conservation of the Primates of the Northeast.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Laserpitium zernyi Hayek Flower and Herb Extracts: Phenolic Compounds, and Anti-edematous, Antioxidant and Antimicrobial Activities

2016 Dec 16. doi: 10.1002/cbdv.201600432. [Epub ahead of print]

Popović VB1,2, Tomić MA3, Stepanović-Petrović RM3, Micov AM3, Milenković MT4, Petrović SD1, Ušjak LJ1, Niketić MS5.

Author information

  • 1University of Belgrade - Faculty of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacognosy, V. Stepe 450, 11221, Belgrade, Serbia.
  • 2Receptor Research Laboratories, Nuclear Receptor Lab, VIB Medical Biotechnology Center, VIB, Ghent University, Albert Baertsoenkaai 3, B-9000, Ghent, Belgium.
  • 3University of Belgrade - Faculty of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacology, V. Stepe 450, 11221, Belgrade, Serbia.
  • 4University of Belgrade - Faculty of Pharmacy, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, V. Stepe 450, 11221, Belgrade, Serbia.
  • 5Natural History Museum, Njegoševa 51, 11000, Belgrade, Serbia.


Phenolic compounds and different biological activities of the dry methanol extracts of the flowers and the herb (aerial parts without flowers) of Laserpitium zernyi Hayek (Apiaceae) were investigated. The total phenolic contents in the extracts were determined spectrophotometrically using Folin-Ciocalteu reagent. In both extracts, apigenin, luteolin, their 7-O-glucosides and chlorogenic acid were detected by HPLC. Identified phenolics were quantified in both extracts, except luteolin in L. zernyi herb extract. The extracts (p.o.) were tested for anti-edematous activity in a model of carrageenan ( induced rat paw edema. Antioxidant activity of the extracts was assessed by FRAP assay and DPPH and 'OH radicals scavenging tests. Antimicrobial activity was investigated using broth microdilution test against five Gram-positive and three Gram-negative bacteria, as well as against two strains of Candida albicans. The polyphenol-richer flower extract exerted higher anti-edematous and antioxidant activities. The herb extract exhibited better antimicrobial effect against Micrococcus luteus, Enterococcus faecalis, Bacillus subtilis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, while against other tested microorganisms the activity of both extracts was identical. Demonstrated biological activities of L. zernyi flower and herb extracts represent a good basis for their further investigation as potential new herbal medicinal raw materials. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.


Anti-edematous activity; Antimicrobial activity; Antioxidant activity; Laserpitium zernyi aerial parts; Polyphenols

Physicochemical Parameters and Antioxidant Activity of Bee Honey Enriched With Herbs

2016 Dec 20. doi: 10.1007/s11130-016-0593-y. [Epub ahead of print]

Physicochemical Parameters and Antioxidant Activity of Bee Honey Enriched With Herbs.

Author information

  • 1Department of Chemistry and Food Toxicology, Faculty of Biology and Agriculture, University of Rzeszów, Ćwiklińskiej 1a, 35-601, Rzeszów, Poland.
  • 2Department of Chemistry and Food Toxicology, Faculty of Biology and Agriculture, University of Rzeszów, Ćwiklińskiej 1a, 35-601, Rzeszów, Poland.
  • 3Department of Bioenergy Technology, Faculty of Biology and Agriculture, University of Rzeszów, Ćwiklińskiej 1a, 35-601, Rzeszów, Poland.


Three groups of products enriched with herbs were studied: (1) commercial herb honeys (n = 5) produced by bees fed a syrup with an herbal extract, (2) natural herbal honey (n = 3) produced by bees from the nectar of herbs, and (3) creamed multifloral honey with added dried herbs (n = 5). As a control, multifloral honey (n = 5) was used. The physicochemical parameters (i.e., sugar extract, water content, specific rotation, conductivity, hydroxymethylfurfural content, pH and acidity), sugar profiles (HPLC analysis), antioxidant activity and total phenolic compounds content of the studied samples were compared. Although great diversity in the basic properties of the studied products was observed, they were comparable to multifloral honey and complied with honey regulations. Significant differences in sugar composition were observed, and adversely positive rotation (excluding nettle herb honey) was detected in group 1, likely resulting from the change in bee feeding. The best antioxidant activity for creamed honeys with dried herbs (group 2) was investigated, whereas herb honeys (group 1) exhibited similar antioxidant properties as multifloral honey. The use of controlled feeding of bees appears to be an effective method of enriching honey with desirable plant bioactive components to create innovative bee products.

Randomized double-blind controlled clinical trials with herbal preparations of Serenoa repens fruits in treatment of lower urinary tract symptoms : An overview.

2016 Nov 29. [Epub ahead of print]

Author information

  • 1Working group "Efficacy and Safety" of the Kooperation Phytopharmaka GbR, Plittersdorfer Str. 218, 53173, Bonn-Bad Godesberg, Germany.
  • 2Praxis für Diabetologie und Naturwissenschaftliche Medizin, Karl-Helfferich-Str. 9A, 67433, Neustadt an der Weinstraße, Germany.
  • 3Sachverständigenbüro für Klinische Pharmakologie und Toxikologie, Kurpfalzstr. 68, 67435, Neustadt an der Weinstraße, Germany.
  • 4Working group "Efficacy and Safety" of the Kooperation Phytopharmaka GbR, Plittersdorfer Str. 218, 53173, Bonn-Bad Godesberg, Germany.
  • 5Consulting Herbal Medicinal Products, Brückstr.11, 69469, Weinheim, Germany.
  • 6Scientific Department, Steigerwald Arzneimittelwerk GmbH, Havelstr. 5, 64295, Darmstadt, Germany.
  • 7Finzelberg GmbH & Co KG, Koblenzer Str. 48-56, 56626, Andernach, Germany.
  • 8Institut für Pharmazie und Molekulare Biotechnologie, Universität Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 364, 69120, Heidelberg, Germany.


In this review, results of randomized double-blind controlled clinical trials (RCTs) with extracts of Serenoa repens fruits at a dose of 320 mg/d for the treatment of lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) are assessed. Of the RTCs conducted for up to 6 months, a benefit was seen in three of three RTCs with ethanolic, in eight of nine RTCs with hexane, and in one of two RTCs with CO2 extracts. Of the RTCs conducted for more than 6 months, a benefit was seen in two RTCs with hexane and in one RTC with CO2 extracts, whereas one RTC with an ethanolic, two RTCs with hexane, and one RTC with CO2 extracts did not show positive results. As LUTS are dynamic conditions with strong spontaneous fluctuation over time, the majority of patients might expect improvement of single symptoms and thus of quality of life, particularly as the extracts are well tolerated even in long-term treatment.


Ethanolic extract; Hexane extract; Long-term treatment; Saw palmetto fruits; Systematic review

Hypothesis on Serenoa repens (Bartram) small extract inhibition of prostatic 5α-reductase through an in silico approach on 5β-reductase x-ray structure.

2016 Nov 22;4:e2698. eCollection 2016.

Author information

  • 1Department of Physical Sciences, Earth and Environment, University of Siena, Siena, Italy; Department of Chemistry, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • 2Department of Physical Sciences, Earth and Environment, University of Siena , Siena , Italy.
  • 3Department of Biotechnology, Chemistry and Pharmacy, University of Siena , Siena , Italy.
  • 4Department of Chemistry, University of Copenhagen , Copenhagen , Denmark.


Benign prostatic hyperplasia is a common disease in men aged over 50 years old, with an incidence increasing to more than 80% over the age of 70, that is increasingly going to attract pharmaceutical interest. Within conventional therapies, such as α-adrenoreceptor antagonists and 5α-reductase inhibitor, there is a large requirement for treatments with less adverse events on, e.g., blood pressure and sexual function: phytotherapy may be the right way to fill this need. Serenoa repens standardized extract has been widely studied and its ability to reduce lower urinary tract symptoms related to benign prostatic hyperplasia is comprehensively described in literature. An innovative investigation on the mechanism of inhibition of 5α-reductase by Serenoa repens extract active principles is proposed in this work through computational methods, performing molecular docking simulations on the crystal structure of human liver 5β-reductase. The results confirm that both sterols and fatty acids can play a role in the inhibition of the enzyme, thus, suggesting a competitive mechanism of inhibition. This work proposes a further confirmation for the rational use of herbal products in the management of benign prostatic hyperplasia, and suggests computational methods as an innovative, low cost, and non-invasive process for the study of phytocomplex activity toward proteic targets.


5α-reductase; AutoDock; Benign prostatic hyperplasia; Molecular docking; PyRosetta; Serenoa repens (Bartram) Small
[PubMed - in process]
Free PMC Article

Differentiation between two "fang ji" herbal medicines, Stephania tetrandra and the nephrotoxic Aristolochia fangchi, using hyperspectral imaging

2016 Feb;122:213-22. doi: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2015.11.008. Epub 2015 Nov 26.

Author information

  • 1Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Faculty of Science, Tshwane University of Technology, Private Bag X680, Pretoria 0001, South Africa.
  • 2Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Faculty of Science, Tshwane University of Technology, Private Bag X680, Pretoria 0001, South Africa; SAMRC Herbal Drugs Research Unit, Faculty of Science, Tshwane University of Technology, Private Bag X680, Pretoria 0001, South Africa. Electronic address:
  • 3Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Faculty of Science, Tshwane University of Technology, Private Bag X680, Pretoria 0001, South Africa; SAMRC Herbal Drugs Research Unit, Faculty of Science, Tshwane University of Technology, Private Bag X680, Pretoria 0001, South Africa.


Stephania tetrandra ("hang fang ji") and Aristolochia fangchi ("guang fang ji") are two different plant species used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Both are commonly referred to as "fang ji" and S. tetrandra is mistakenly substituted and adulterated with the nephrotoxic A. fangchi as they have several morphological similarities. A. fangchi contains aristolochic acid, a carcinogen that causes urothelial carcinoma as well as aristolochic acid nephropathy (AAN). In Belgium, 128 cases of AAN was reported while in China, a further 116 cases with end-stage renal disease were noted. Toxicity issues associated with species substitution and adulteration necessitate the development of reliable methods for the quality assessment of herbal medicines. Hyperspectral imaging in combination with partial least squares discriminant analysis (PLS-DA) is suggested as an effective method to distinguish between S. tetrandra and A. fangchi root powder. Hyperspectral images were obtained in the wavelength region of 920-2514nm. Reduction of the dimensionality of the data was done by selecting the discrimination information range (964-1774nm). A discrimination model with a coefficient of determination (R(2)) of 0.9 and a root mean square error of prediction (RMSEP) of 0.23 was created. The constructed model successfully identified A. fangchi and S. tetrandra samples inserted into the model as an external validation set. In addition, adulteration detection was investigated by preparing incremental adulteration mixtures of S. tetrandra with A. fangchi (10-90%). Hyperspectral imaging showed the ability to accurately predict adulteration as low as 10%. It is evident that hyperspectral imaging has tremendous potential in the development of visual quality control methods which may prevent cases of aristolochic acid nephropathy in the future.


Aristolochia fangchi; Aristolochiaceae; Chemometrics; Hyperspectral imaging; Menispermaceae; Partial least squares discriminant analysis; Quality control; Stephania tetrandra; Toxicity

Panax ginseng and Salvia miltiorrhiza supplementation during eccentric resistance training in middle-aged and older adults: A double-blind randomized control trial

2016 Dec;29:158-163. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2016.10.003. Epub 2016 Oct 11.

Author information

  • 1Department of Athletics, National Taiwan University, No. 1, Sec. 4, Roosevelt Rd., Taipei 10617, Taiwan; Department of Kinesiology and Health Education, The University of Texas at Austin, 2109 San Jacinto Blvd., D3700, Austin, TX 78712, USA.
  • 2Physical Education Office, National Taipei University of Technology, No. 1, Sec 3, Zhongxiao E. Rd., Taipei 10608, Taiwan.
  • 3Department of Athletics, National Taiwan University, No. 1, Sec. 4, Roosevelt Rd., Taipei 10617, Taiwan.
  • 4Department of Kinesiology and Health Education, The University of Texas at Austin, 2109 San Jacinto Blvd., D3700, Austin, TX 78712, USA. Electronic address:



Muscle damage induced by an acute bout of eccentric exercise results in transient arterial stiffening. In this study, we sought to determine the effects of progressive eccentric resistance exercise training on vascular functions, and whether herb supplementation would enhance training adaptation by ameliorating the arterial stiffening effects.


By using a double-blinded randomized placebo-controlled design, older adults were randomly assigned to either the Panax ginseng and Salvia miltiorrhiza supplementation group (N=12) or the placebo group (N=11). After pre-training testing, all subjects underwent 12 weeks of unilateral eccentric-only exercise training on knee extensor.


Maximal leg strength and muscle quality increased in both groups (P<0.05). Relative increases in muscle mass were significantly greater in the placebo group than in the herb supplement group. Eccentric exercise training did not elicit any significant changes in muscle damage, oxidative and inflammatory biomarkers. There were no significant changes in blood pressure or endothelium-dependent vasodilation. None of the measures of arterial stiffness changed significantly with eccentric resistance training in both groups.


These results suggest that Chinese herb supplementation does not appear to modulate vascular, and inflammatory adaptations to eccentric exercise training in middle-aged and older adults. However, Chinese herb supplementation abolished the increase in muscle mass induced by eccentric resistance training. (Trial registration: NCT02007304. Registered Dec. 5, 2013).


Arterial stiffness; Exercise; Herbal medicine; Muscle hypertrophy

Pocahontas Goes to the Clinic: Popular Culture as Lingua Franca in a Cultural Borderland.

2008 Apr 18;108(3):494-501.

Author information

  • 1Departments of Anthropology and Occupational Science and Therapy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0032.


Urban hospitals constitute an example of what is arguably the most visible site in anthropology these days-the border zone. Negotiating health care requires trafficking in tricky spaces where patients and their families must pay vigilant attention about when to submit, when to resist, and how to collaborate. Drawing from ethnographic research carried out over the past nine years among African American families who have children with severe illnesses and disabilities, I examine how children's popular culture operates in the fraught borderland that constitutes the urban clinic. Global icons like a Disneyfied Pocahantas can function as a lingua franca, offering a language of publicly available symbols on which families, health professionals, and children can draw to create a shared imaginative space across race and class divides and across the sometimes even more radical divide between sufferer and healer.

Functional diversity within the Penicillium roqueforti species

2017 Jan 16;241:141-150. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2016.10.001. Epub 2016 Oct 4.

Author information

  • 1Université de Brest, EA 3882 Laboratoire Universitaire de Biodiversité et Ecologie Microbienne, IBSAM ESIAB, Technopôle Brest-Iroise, 29280 Plouzané, France.
  • 2STLO, UMR1253, INRA, Agrocampus Ouest, 65 rue de Saint Brieuc, 35000 Rennes, France.
  • 3Université de Brest, EA 3882 Laboratoire Universitaire de Biodiversité et Ecologie Microbienne, IBSAM ESIAB, Technopôle Brest-Iroise, 29280 Plouzané, France. Electronic address:


Penicillium roqueforti is used as a ripening culture for blue cheeses and largely contributes to their organoleptic quality and typical characteristics. Different types of blue cheeses are manufactured and consumed worldwide and have distinct aspects, textures, flavors and colors. These features are well accepted to be due to the different manufacturing methods but also to the specific P. roqueforti strains used. Indeed, inoculated P. roqueforti strains, via their proteolytic and lipolytic activities, have an effect on both blue cheese texture and flavor. In particular, P. roqueforti produces a wide range of flavor compounds and variations in their proportions influence the flavor profiles of this type of cheese. Moreover, P. roqueforti is also characterized by substantial morphological and genetic diversity thus raising the question about the functional diversity of this species. In this context, 55 representative strains were screened for key metabolic properties including proteolytic activity (by determining free NH2 amino groups) and secondary metabolite production (aroma compounds using HS-Trap GC-MS and mycotoxins via LC-MS/Q-TOF). Mini model cheeses were used for aroma production and proteolysis analyses, whereas Yeast Extract Sucrose (YES) agar medium was used for mycotoxin production. Overall, this study highlighted high functional diversity among isolates. Noteworthy, when only P. roqueforti strains isolated from Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) or Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) blue cheeses were considered, a clear relationship between genetic diversity, population structure and the assessed functional traits was shown.


Cheese; Mycotoxins; Penicillium roqueforti; Proteolysis; Secondary metabolites; Volatilome
[PubMed - in process] 

Alternative to decrease cholesterol in sheep milk cheeses.

2015 Dec 1;188:325-7. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2015.05.012. Epub 2015 May 5.

Author information

  • 1Instituto de Investigación en Ciencias de la Alimentación (CSIC-UAM), Nicolás Cabrera, 9, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, 28049 Madrid, Spain.
  • 2Physiology Weihenstephan, ZIEL, Research Center for Nutrition and Food Sciences, Technische Universitaet Muenchen, 85354 Freising, Germany.
  • 3Instituto de Investigación en Ciencias de la Alimentación (CSIC-UAM), Nicolás Cabrera, 9, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, 28049 Madrid, Spain. Electronic address:


The presence of cholesterol in foods is of nutritional interest because high levels of this molecule in human plasma are associated with an increasing risk of cardiovascular disease and nowadays consumers are demanding healthier products. The goal of this experiment was to diminish the cholesterol content of Manchego, the most popular Spanish cheese manufactured from ewes milk. For this purpose three bulk milks coming from dairy ewe fed with 0 (Control), 3 and 6% of linseed supplement on their diet were used. Nine cheeses (3 per bulk milk) were manufactured and ripened for 3 months. Cholesterol of ewes milk cheese from 6% to 12% linseed supplemented diets decreased by 9.6% and 16.1% respectively, therefore supplying a healthier profile. In a second experiment, different sources of unsaturated fatty acids (rich in oleic, linoleic and α-linolenic acids) were supplemented to dairy ewes and no significant differences were found on cheese cholesterol levels.


Cheese; Cholesterol; Dairy; Ewe; Milk

Outbreak of diarrhea among preweaning alpacas (Vicugna pacos) in the southern Peruvian highland.

2016 Mar 31;10(3):269-74. doi: 10.3855/jidc.7398.

Author information

  • 1Instituto de Microbiologia Paulo de Góes, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.



Infections, particularly diarrheal infections, are a major cause of neonatal death in South American camelids. The aim of this study was to identify the pathogens that could have caused the recent diarrhea outbreak among the alpacas in Silli, Cusco, located in the southern Peruvian highland.


Spleen, kidney, and intestine tissue along with fecal and intestinal lavage samples were obtained from 50 one- to five-week-old alpacas and analyzed for the presence of parasites, bacteria, and viruses.


Laboratory testing of the 50 crias included in this study revealed that 80% were infected with Eimeria spp., 40% with coronavirus, 34% with E. coli, 32% with rotavirus, 22% with Clostridium spp., and 20% with Cryptosporidium spp. Of these 50 alpaca crias, 20 presented with a single infection (19 positive for Eimeria spp. and 1 positive for rotavirus). Co-infections with up to four pathogens occurred in 60% of the samples. The significance of such infections is not clear, but it is noteworthy that the animals suffering from necrotic and/or hemorrhagic enteritis presented with quadruple infections. It is likely that co-infections increase the severity of the disease.


These data show that multiple pathogens circulate among young alpaca crias and could be associated with diarrheal disease in these animals. The findings from this study warrant the provision of subsidies for future assessment of the potential economic impact of these infections on the productivity of the Peruvian alpaca industry.
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Sheep’s Milk Cheeses in U.S. Earn Ribbons but Little Profit

A Review Study on the Effect of Iranian Herbal Medicines on Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome.

2015 Oct;20(4):302-9. doi: 10.1177/2156587215577896. Epub 2015 Mar 26.

Author information

  • 1Shahrekord University of Medical Sciences, Shahrekord, Islamic Republic of Iran.
  • 2Food and Beverages Safety Research Center, Urmia University of Medical Sciences, Urmia, Iran.
  • 3Shahrekord University of Medical Sciences, Shahrekord, Islamic Republic of Iran
  • 4Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran.


Addiction is a chronic and recurring disease that recurrence phenomenon is the most important challenge in treatment of this disease. Recent experiences have shown that synthetic drugs have undesirable side effects. Recent studies on medicinal plants have shown that they might be effective in treatment of different stages of addiction with lower side effects and costs. The aim of this study was to review the effects of medicinal plants in the treatment of morphine addiction in experimental animals. In this review article, by using keywords of morphine, withdrawal, and plants or herbal medicine in databases of indexing cites, desired articles were obtained since 1994. Inclusion criteria for selecting articles were the articles related to application of medicinal plants in decreasing symptoms resulting from morphine withdrawal were selected. Results of this study on experimental studies have shown that medicinal plants such as Trachyspermum copticum L and Melissa officinalis decrease the symptoms of withdrawal syndrome in a dose-dependent. Also, medicinal plants like Avena sativa, Hypericum perforatu, Passiflora incarnate, Valeriana officinalis, Satureja hortensis L, and Mentha piperita can have effects on behavior, emotions, and other problems of addicts, decreasing withdrawal symptoms. Results of this study showed that medicinal plants can be effective in controlling deprivation, decreasing dependency creation, and possibly DETOXIFICATION: of opioid addicts.


addiction; medicinal plants; morphine; opioid

Breathing Easier with Fish Oil — A New Approach to Preventing Asthma?

This article has no abstract; the first 100 words appear below.
Asthma and lower respiratory infections are leading causes of morbidity and mortality in pediatric populations. Thus, having low-cost, effective, safe options for prevention could have important implications for both clinical practice and public health. In this issue of the Journal, Bisgaard and et al.1 report that high-dose supplementation of the n−3 polyunsaturated fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) derived from fish oil in the third trimester of pregnancy significantly decreased the risk of persistent wheeze and asthma (the primary outcome) during the first 5 years of a child’s life. The intervention also decreased the rate of lower . . .
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From the Lipid Mediators, Inflammation, and Pain Unit, Laboratory of Clinical Investigation, National Institute on Aging, in Baltimore, and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, in Bethesda, MD.