Tag Archives: illness

Mysterious Peruvian meteor illness solved

Photograph by Miguel Carrasco/La Razon/Reuters

Exactly one week ago I wrote a post about the meteor strike in Peru that made the local residents near the impact crater sick. Being the science fiction fan that I am, I immediately began coming up with worst case scenarios: galactic plague; interstellar biological first strike; zombie inducing spores; etc. Well, it turns out that there is a perfectly benign explanation:

The illness was the result of inhaling arsenic fumes, according to Luisa Macedo, a researcher for Peru’s Mining, Metallurgy, and Geology Institute (INGEMMET), who visited the crash site. The meteorite created the gases when the object’s hot surface met an underground water supply tainted with arsenic, the scientists said. Numerous arsenic deposits have been found in the subsoils of southern Peru, explained Modesto Montoya, a nuclear physicist who collaborated with the team.

Often ill? Maybe you’re not seeing the light.

Sunlight - man's best friend?

{Photo taken by StewartJames on Flickr Creative Commons}

A very interesting article in the Independent yesterday talked about a new study on the effects of vitamin D on health. The study by the Institute of Oncology in Milan and Lyon’s International Agency for Research on Cancer was the biggest ever to be done on the nutrient and found that it had a much bigger impact of health than previously thought.

90% of the vitamin D we receive is not from food but from absorbing sunlight on open skin. A solid dose of sunlight a few times a week was found to reduce mortality by 7%. Even taking pills filled with the vitamin can reduce the risk of cancer, MS and heart disease by as much as a half. Even Autism and Diabetes have links to Vitamin D deficiency. So perhaps the best thing you can do to save your life is to take that walk in the park on a sunny day.

Interestingly, the amount of sunlight needed is quite strong so winters in the UK, for example, are barely strong enough to give a good dose – the cause of countless flu seasons and the infamous Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) . Aside from supplements, light therapy with very bright lights is thought to help.

[via the independent]