Let's talk about lab water
Let's talk about lab water
That’s right! It’s that time again: more amazing research into the fascinating world of water.
Well, when it comes to water purity, it’s unlikely you look twice at the holy water in a hospital chapel. However, a 2012 paper published in the German journal Hygiene & Medizin: Infection Control and Healthcare may make you reconsider a dip in this holy vessel. It describes a clinical investigation that suggests holy water in chapels may be a potential reservoir facilitating the contamination of patients! Hmmm, if holy water goes through a water purifier is it more, or less, holy? I’ll leave that to the theologians.
While we are on the topic, I also felt compelled to bring this additional pair of studies to your attention. Infection combined with holy water seems to be a common theme: Sharon L. Reed et al in The New England Journal of Medicine have warned pilgrims not to drink holy water at the shrine of Tlacote, Mexico.
It’s not all infections though: Sandra Lennington in Psychological Reports set out to disprove earlier claims that holy water has an effect on the growth of radish plants. She reported success in her experiments, just in case you were wondering.
(Image by M. Gardiner, http://bit.ly/1jxIHQd)
Drugs are bad for you. But water? That’s fine, right? Well, it seems that drinking too much water can actually have harmful effects. As M.A. Tilley reports in Military Medicine, pilots under pressure to pass urine sample tests can be driven to consume huge amounts of water before testing. As an example, the paper reports the experience of a 37-year-old Air Force officer who developed acute water intoxication during a routine urine screen (which can even cause death in the most extreme of cases). Essentially, he drank considerably more than his kidneys were capable of dealing with. It might just be worth remembering this next time you’re out hitting the water: it’s always best to drink in moderation!
After an extensive test in France involving 389 study participants, a collaboration between two scientific institutes, the French National Centre for Scientific Research and the National Institute of Agronomic Research, along with Lyonnaise des Eaux (a company that manages many public water supplies), it has been deduced that water… tastes like water. Study members were unable to tell the difference between bottled and tap water.
(Image from http://bbc.in/1hxJn9G)
Have you ever wondered about the neural mechanisms underpinning your reaction to becoming dehydrated i.e. the urge to drink water? Well, a research team working with monkeys can’t actually explain this fully, but they have concluded that there is very likely to be a link between levels of hydration and the desire to drink water. While the neural mechanisms behind the motivation to engage in a behavior remain unclear, the research team have shown that monkeys with blood high osmolality levels (i.e. that are poorly hydrated) are more prone to spontaneously drink of water, and thus that hydration levels may very well be one of the main internal factors driving our motivation to drink water!
Whenever we’re conducting research in the lab, we rarely give much consideration to where our data might end up. It’s usually a surprise – pleasant or otherwise – when an image or a video you’ve produced ends up in a journal article or on a website blog for example. However, I don’t think you would ever expect your highly scientific video of a water flea (Daphnia sp. to be exact) to be ‘adapted’ for other purposes, ending up with your favourite specimen playing ‘The Water Flea Waltz” on piano. It’s probably worth keeping that in mind the next time you’re generating cool visual data in the lab!