Health Studies: People With Depression (Genetic) Reduce Depressive Episodes With Exercise

From a MD Magazine online release:

Benefits of ExerciseThe investigators discovered that patients with a higher genetic risk for depression were more likely to be diagnosed with depression over the next 2 years. However, more physically active patients at baseline were less likely to depression, even after they accounted for genetic risks.

Increasing physical activity could pay dividends for people with a high risk of developing depression.

A team from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) recently discovered that several hours of weekly exercise result in a decreased chance to be diagnosed with a new episode of depression, even in patients with a higher genetic risk of developing Major Depressive Disorder (MDD).

The team examined the genomic and electronic health record (EHR) data of approximately 8000 patients in the Partners Healthcare Biobank, which represents the first study to show how physical activity influences depression despite genetic risk.

To read more:

Literary Milestones: A Letter To Sylvia Beach, Founder, “Shakespeare And Company” In Paris (100 Years Old This Month)

From a Shakespeare and Company email:

Dear Sylvia Beach,

Sylvia Beach Shakespeare and Company 1919-1941One hundred years ago this month, you opened the shutters of a small bookshop on rue Dupuytren. Its name was Shakespeare and Company. I often wonder if, on that first morning, you could ever have imagined how important your story would be.

You were only 32 but had already lived quite a life. Soulful and fearless, witty and energetic, you’d been active in the women’s suffrage movement, studied French poetry in Paris, and served with the Red Cross in Serbia during the First World War. You had also met Adrienne Monnier, one of the first women in France to found her own bookshop. Adrienne would be your companion for decades to come.

Your bookshop—first on rue Dupuytren, then around the corner on rue de l’Odéon—became a sanctuary for Anglophone and Francophone writers. T.S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, Djuna Barnes, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, as well as André Gide, Paul Valéry, and Louis Aragon, among many others, all bought and borrowed books from you, and attended readings and parties at Shakespeare and Company. As André Chamson wrote about you: “Sylvia Beach carried pollen like a bee. She cross-fertilised these writers. She did more to link England, the United States, Ireland, and France than four great ambassadors combined.” I think of this whenever I ponder the role booksellers and bookshops can play during this age of political and ecological turbulence. When James Joyce couldn’t find anyone to publish Ulysses—his modernist masterpiece that had been condemned for obscenity—you stepped up. Even when you closed your bookshop in 1941, it was not an act of defeat but of defiance—you would rather see your life’s work shuttered forever than sell Finnegans Wake to a high-ranking Nazi officer.

Sylvia Whitman Shakespeare and Company Paris
Sylvia Whitman

When my father, George Whitman, opened this bookshop in 1951, you were not just a regular visitor but an inspiration. You had shown how a true bookseller must also be prepared to be a librarian, a publisher, a PO box, a banker, a hotelier, and—most importantly—a friend to writers and readers. For your belief that a love of reading is more important than the quest for profit, you have been called the patron saint of independent bookstores. We’re sure that your extraordinary memoir and your beautiful letters continue to embolden booksellers the world over, just as they embolden us. Particularly during hard times, your story stands like a beacon when we need direction, comfort, or inspiration.

Thank you, Sylvia, for everything you did and everything you stood for.

In loving homage,

Sylvia Whitman
Shakespeare And Company

Shakespeare And Company Parisjpg


New Collector Books: “Salvador Dalí Tarot Card” Book Set (Taschen)

Dalí’s Tarot Book and Card Set TaschenDalí poses as the Magician, his wife Gala becomes the Empress, and the death of Julius Caesar is reinterpreted as the Ten of Swords in the artist’s  extraordinary custom tarot deck. First published in a 1984 limited edition that has since long sold out, this lush box set brings back all 78 cards, each dazzling in color, along with a companion book on the making-of and practical instructions.

To read more:

Science & Art: Jackson Pollock’s Drip Painting Style (And Genius) Avoided “Coiling Instability”

From PLOS One Journal online release:

Jackson Pollock Full Fathom Five 1947We conclude that Pollock avoided the appearance of the hydrodynamic instabilities, contrary to what was argued by previous studies. Pollock selected the physical properties of the paint to prevent filament fragmentation before deposition, and applied it while moving his hand sufficiently fast and at certain heights to avoid fluid filaments from coiling into themselves. An understanding of the physical conditions at which these patterns were created is important to further art research and it can be used as a tool in the authentication of paintings.

Jackson Pollock Painting TechniqueConsidered one of the most prominent American painters of the 20th century, the life and work of Jackson Pollock have been the subject of books, movies, and documentaries [13]. His paintings can be broadly categorized as being abstract-expressionist. Although his painting style evolved during his sometimes tormented life, the so-called ‘dripping’ technique is certainly the most widely recognized both by experts and the general public.

Jackson Pollock described the technique himself [4]. In summary, Pollock would lay a canvas horizontally and pour paint on top of it, in a controlled manner. To regulate the flow of paint, he either used an instrument (a stick, knife or a brush), poured it directly from a can and in some instances he also used a syringe. Viscous fluid filaments were produced and laid over the canvas while ‘rhythmically moving’ around it. It is believed that Pollock developed this technique strongly influenced by an experimental painting workshop, organized in New York by Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros in 1936 [5]. Interestingly, Siqueiros himself also developed the ‘accidental painting’ technique during this workshop, which was recently analyzed by Zetina et al. [6].

To read more:

Health Care System: Life-Saving Drug Shortages At U.S. Hospitals Reach “Unfathomable” Levels

From a Becker’s Hospital Review online release:

Massachusetts General Hospital“This is the fourth time in the last two years we’ve had to activate our hospital’s emergency operations plan for a major drug shortage,” Dr. Biddinger told NBC News. “It’s almost unfathomable in modern medicine. I never thought we would get to a point in the U.S. healthcare system where we wouldn’t have essential medicines to be able to treat patients.”

Drug shortages are increasing and lasting longer, according to an FDA report published Oct. 29. Of 163 drugs running low in 2013-17, over 62 percent were due to manufacturing or product quality problems.

Hospitals nationwide are facing shortages of crucial, lifesaving drugs, with 116 drugs currently running low, according to the FDA and cited by NBC News.

Boston-based Massachusetts General Hospital is a prime example, getting as close as two weeks away from canceling a lifesaving cardiac surgery due to a lack of herapin, a blood-thinner, according to Paul Biddinger, MD, chief of the division of emergency preparedness at Massachusetts General Hospital.

To read more:

Automobile Nostalgia: 1950’s “Alfa Romeo B.A.T.” Concept Cars Exhibited In London Nov 20-23

From a Classic Driver online article:

Titled Trinity: B.A.T. 5-7-9 and poised to take place at Phillips Berkeley Square on 20–23 November 2019, the exhibition will highlight B.A.T. 5, 7 and 9s’ visionary aesthetics in addition to their significance in the wider context of 20th-century art, architecture and design. 

Berlinetta Aerodinamica Tecnica concept cars

Designed for Bertone by the supremely talented Franco Scaglione in the 1950s, the Alfa Romeo-based Berlinetta Aerodinamica Tecnica concept cars are seminal objects of 20th-century design. Widely known as the B.A.T. cars, the trio of audacious, ultra-aerodynamic and fully functional prototypes pushed the boundaries of automotive design like nothing that had come before and truly embodied avant-garde creativity.

To read more:

Top History Podcasts: “Dynamite!” Explores Artistic & Polical Uses (Smithsonian Sidedoor)

Sidedoor from SmithonianIn its heyday, dynamite was a transformative tool; it could blast rock quarries, excavate tunnels, and demolish buildings with power and reliability never before seen. But it also proved to be useful in some surprising ways. In this special episode of Sidedoor, we team up with the history podcast Backstory to explore two less-typical applications of the explosive: the artistic blasting at Mount Rushmore, and how anarchists used dynamite to advance their political agenda in 1886.

Medical Research: Single Gene Therapy Treatment For Multiple Age-Related Diseases Seen (Harvard)

From a Harvard news online release:

Harvard Medical School“The results we saw were stunning and suggest that holistically addressing aging via gene therapy could be more effective than the piecemeal approach that currently exists,” said first author Noah Davidsohn, a former research scientist at the Wyss Institute and HMS who is now chief technology officer of Rejuvenate Bio. “Everyone wants to stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible, and this study is a first step toward reducing the suffering caused by debilitating diseases.”

New research from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and Harvard Medical School (HMS) suggests that it may be possible someday to tend to multiple ailments with one treatment.

The study was conducted in the lab of Wyss core faculty member George Church as part of Davidsohn’s postdoctoral research into the genetics of aging. Davidsohn, Church, and their co-authors homed in on three genes that had been shown to confer increased health and lifespan benefits in mice that were genetically engineered to overexpress them: FGF21, sTGFβR2, and αKlotho. They hypothesized that providing extra copies of those genes to nonengineered mice via gene therapy would similarly combat age-related diseases and bring health benefits.

To read more: