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Red, Red Wine

Red, red wine you make me feel so fine

You keep me rocking all of the time

Red, red wine you make me feel so grand

I feel a million dollars when you’re just in my hand

So begins the chorus of UB40’s now-famous reggae remix of Neil Diamond’s 1967 folk ballad, “Red Red Wine,” extolling the virtues of the fruit of the vine as solace for a broken heart. Well, it turns out that this heartbreak remedy may have actual health benefits for inflammatory lung diseases such as asthma and COPD.

An article in RT Magazine, citing a study by researchers at Georgia State University and published in the online journal Scientific Reports, indicates that a “component of red wine and grapes can help control inflammation induced by a bacterial pathogen that is linked to upper respiratory tract inflammatory diseases such as asthma, COPD and middle ear infection (otitis media).” The component is resveratrol. According to RT Magazine, the research identifies a “novel mechanism that resveratrol, a compound found naturally in some plant foods such as grapes, uses to alleviate inflammation in airway disease. The results suggest this compound could offer health benefits and be used to develop new, effective anti-inflammatory therapeutic agents.”

Even though much is left to discover, Dr. Jian-Dong Li, one of the study’s senior authors, lauded resveratrol’s benefits: “It has been shown that resveratrol can suppress inflammation, but how it regulates inflammation still remains largely unknown. We found that resveratrol suppresses a major bacterial pathogen causing otitis media and COPD by upregulating or increasing the production of a negative regulator called MyD88 short.” Dr. Li added that the findings “help us to shed light on developing new therapeutic strategies by targeting or pharmacologically upregulating MyD88 short production. We could use resveratrol to suppress inflammation or develop resveratrol derivatives that could be pharmacological agents to suppress inflammation using the same strategy.”

While the inebriating aspects of wine should certainly be tempered—and I want to state emphatically that I in no way condone public drunkenness—perhaps the good doctor is on to something.



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What’s in Your Wallet?

In the competition for the James Dyson Award 2016, one of the 20 finalists vying to be named the International Winner is a gadget known as the Bloom Inhaler. It is the size of a credit card, fits in your wallet, and will deliver up to six doses of any inhaled medication. And it is refillable. Great for those with asthma or COPD on the go.

Bloom’s creator, James Cazzoli, is a mechanical engineering student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. In his product description for the competition, Cazzoli indicated that his inspiration came from his experience growing up with friends and family with severe asthma. He reasoned that a slimmer inhaler could be more easily carried at all times, helping those with chronic asthma to feel less dependent on their medication.

“I want to give some independence back to asthmatics, by redesigning the inhaler to completely defer to the user,” he wrote. According to the Bloom website, the product is currently in the process of FDA approval and will be available for around $40.

Innovative, portable, and affordable. That’s really awesome of course—until someone picks your pocket.

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