Monday, January 15, 2007

Random Post With Useful Map

I am about to talk about the outstanding spelling in my book on Radio 4's estimable chat fest Start the Week and I find myself unsure as to what constitutes the most bloggable item of the day. Here, therefore, is an indecisive tour d'horizon of the world as I find it. There is this curious piece about the way nothing gets repaired any more, toasters being a particular sore point. There is OJ not really confessing and there is the news that British property is now worth £3.8 trillion. For geeks there is this strangely engrossing map which draws the battle lines in the war between Microsoft and everybody else. The 'nobody saw that one coming' aspect of human affairs is covered by the Californian, usefully called Jennifer Strange, who took part in a radio contest - Hold Your Wee for a Wii - involving the new Nintendo game. Strange died of water intoxication. But perhaps the most appropriate tale in the light of my impending radio triumph is this one. It seems that statins - cholesterol lowering drugs - may cause Parkinson's Disease. I met some self-dosing, aspirant-immortal doctors while researching my book and they took very high levels of statins. (They also liked to keep their blood pressure at levels just above the point at which they would pass out.) They may now need to rethink their regime. So that's the way it is this morning. I'm off to Broadcasting House.


  1. Not bad, I think, though, as ever, it seemed like a blur, I was also distracted by the fact that Andrew Marr's shirt was exactly the same greey-blue as the studio walls.

  2. That was a very interesting program! Too short though you managed to get in a lot of interesting stuff. Good strategic spot - last speaker!

    Highly recommended - for those who have not heard it - and you should - BBC has downloadable podcast (for 1 week) under Start the Week.

  3. For those who go to work during the day, you can download this Radio 4 programme by first going to

    Then, ignore the fact that the page claims to be for the 1st January 2007, and click on one of the bits down the right-hand side under the description 'Current programme - Immortality, estates and the communist dream'. (If I were you, I'd click on 'Download now' to listen via Windows Media Player; clicking on 'Listen Now' invokes the odious and hugely unreliable BBC radio player.)

  4. Interesting article about statins and Parkinson's disease.

    Top tip when reading science articles in newspapers: skim-read the top of the article until you reach the crucial statement, close to the bottom, which invalidates or radically changes the significance of what is written above. Then re-read the top of the article. The technique works again reading this article. The key statement is this:

    "Dr Huang said the well-established link between Parkinson's and apoE2, a gene associated with lower LDL cholesterol, supported her theory that low LDL was the culprit in many cases of Parkinson's."

    The gene apoE2 could be the common cause of lower LDL cholesterol and a higher risk of Parkinson's. There needn't be a causal relationship, in either direction, between cholesterol and Parkinson's. If so, then any drug, such as a statin, which reduces cholesterol, won't itself increase the risk of Parkinson's, because the drug reduces cholesterol without changing your DNA.

    Perhaps Maxine could add something here.

  5. Gordon,

    thank you for the tip on reading. Will try it!

  6. Using the program, I was able to get 30 SIMVASTATIN 20MG for only $13.50. Simvastatin is a generic for Zocor, a cholesterol-lowering drug. What a great Drug Card. With this Prescription Plan I save on all prescriptions.