FRESH WATER AT SEA
Army and Navy fliers forced down in tropical waters will now be able to use a small solar still to obtain fresh water at sea. The still converts salt water into fresh at the rate of more than a pint in eight hours. It is the invention of Richard Delano, Locust Valley, N. Y. A vinyl plastic envelope folded into a pocket-size package is blown up so that it floats. A black cellophane sponge, stretched through the middle of the envelope, soaks up water and absorbs heat from the sun. Through evaporation and distillation the salt is taken out of sea water.-New York Times.
Why is plasma, the liquid part of blood deprived of its red and white cells, so effective in shock on the battlefield? Because its protein molecules are of the right size and shape, so that they do not slip through the minute pores of the capillaries and the tissues of the kidneys. When that happens the volume and pressure of the bloodstream fall and a wounded man is in danger of dying. Hence the search for something which is not plasma but which will serve the same purpose. Recently we heard of dextran, which came out of the University of Upsala, Sweden. It seems to be adequate according to the reports received. Now comes the Biochemical Research Foundation of Swarthmore, Pa., with another substitute of promise.
This new substitute is called BRF, an abbreviation of Biochemical Research Foundation. The con, stituents are gelatin, cysteine, phenol red, common salt, potassium chloride, calcium chloride, magnesium chloride, sodium di-hydrogen phosphate and distilled water. The mixture is sterilized and then a solution of glucose and distilled water is added.
The value of BRY has been demonstrated in animals after 60 per cent of the blood volume had been removed. BRF was also used successfully in the treatment of burns to counteract the concentration of red cells (hemo,concentration) and the coincident loss of fluid. No unfavorable result developed-W. K. in New York Times.
SHARKS SCARE SHARKS
Live sharks avoid water where dead, decomposing sharks are found. Armed with this clue, Naval researchers found the dead sharks gave off an odor which caused hungry sharks to turn tail and swim away. Chemists proceeded to smell up the countryside as they experimented with some 7000 pounds of rotting shark meat. Finally they isolated the essential element and proceeded to reproduce it chemically. The American Cyanamid's CALCO division then prepared the shark-repellent for military use and manufactured thousands of small units which are used in 5 ounce chemical briquets fastened to life jackets. The chemicals are released in the water by a ripcord attachment. One dose from the potent briquet scares off any shark.-New York Times.
The Health Front
Today's Terrors are Tomorrows History
Cancer American Cancer Society, now conducting $5,000,000 fund drive, announces its aim: to cut cancer death rate of 165,000 a year in half. About one third of fund will be spent in research. Society will work along five lines: research, education, treatment, prevention clinics, care of advanced cancer patients. Cancer research specialists will be organized into committees, each to frame a program of research in its special field.
Penicillin Studies Since penicillin is so rapidly excreted when injected, and antibacterial action destroyed by stomach juices when taken through the mouth, the problem has been to keep it in the body long enough to perform its work. Now the drug can be suspended in cottonseed oil and sealed in a gelatin capsule which does not dissolve until it reaches intestines where the drug is absorbed directly into bloodstream.
Local applications: In England it has been used in creams; also in gelatin base lozenges for infections of mouth and throat; also combined with lactose in drops for infections of eye.
Substitutes: Scientists, are at work on several derivatives based on penicillin principle. One of these-hypholin-may make same benefits available on a wider, less expensive basis.
T. B. Weapon A new weapon in the medical battle of germ against germ is being developed in Streptomycin, still at experimental stage. In guinea pigs it exerts a "striking suppressive effect" on T. B.
Sleeping Sickness More than 200 patients in early stages of African sleeping sickness have responded favorably in less than two weeks to a new drug (gamma-butyric acid) whereas other drug treatments require twelve to fifteen weeks.
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