Little Fire Ants

Small, but their bites are painful. Here is a recipe for ant sterilization, safe for vertebrates.

Tango Based Sticky Sprayable LFA Bait


• 3 cups warm water

• 2 cups corn oil or other vegetable oil

• 4 tablespoons Tango® (a brand of methoprene approved for edible plant use in Hawaii-- see here for information)

• 1 tablespoon xanthan gum

• 2 teaspoons smooth peanut butter

Equipment needed:

• Large mixing bowl (at least 1/2 gallon capacity)

• Cup measure

• Tablespoon measure

• A whisk or similar device for mixing. We do this with a kitchen whisk modified so it can be fitted into the drill chuck. A paint mixer also works well.


Combine the Tango® and water in alarge mixing bowl. Start mixing andvery slowly add the xanthan gum. It can be difficult to mix the xanthan so be patient and add it very slowly and run the mixer at the highest speed safely possible. The xanthan gum allows the water and the oil to be mixed without separating at a later time.

Continue to mix until everything is evenly combined. It should look like a thick sticky whitish goop (mixing stage 1).

Once completely mixed, pour the oil into the bowl and add the peanut butter. At this point, the oil will sit on top of the water/xanthan mixture(mixing stage 2).

Continue to mix until everything is combined. The bait should now have the same consistency as mayonnaise(mixing stage 3).

Aerobic fitness in midlife correlates with less brain atrophy in late life.

This study supports the generalization to humans of several prior animal studies showing that exercise promotes neurotrophic factor production, which in turn tends to inhibit net brain cell loss.

Midlife exercise blood pressure, heart rate, and fitness relate to brain volume 2 decades later

  1. Sudha Seshadri, MD
  1. Published online before print February 10, 2016


Objective: To determine whether poor cardiovascular (CV) fitness and exaggerated exercise blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR) were associated with worse brain morphology in later life.
Methods: Framingham Offspring participants (n = 1,094, 53.9% female) free from dementia and CV disease (CVD) underwent an exercise treadmill test at a mean age of 40 ± 9 years. A second treadmill test and MRI scans of the brain were administered 2 decades later at mean age of 58 ± 8 years.
Results: Poor CV fitness and greater diastolic BP and HR response to exercise at baseline were associated with a smaller total cerebral brain volume (TCBV) almost 2 decades later (all p < 0.05) in multivariable adjusted models; the effect of 1 SD lower fitness was equivalent to approximately 1 additional year of brain aging in individuals free of CVD. In participants with prehypertension or hypertension at baseline, exercise systolic BP was also associated with smaller TCBV (p < 0.05).
Conclusion: Our results suggest that lower CV fitness and exaggerated exercise BP and HR responses in middle-aged adults are associated with smaller brain volume nearly 2 decades later. Promotion of midlife CV fitness may be an important step towards ensuring healthy brain aging.

New study: Recreational marijuana use increases risk of stroke by 17%.

Smoking, whether tobacco or marijuana, seems to be bad for vascular health, but perhaps for individually different pharmacological reasons.



Recreational marijuana Use and acute ischemic stroke: A population-based analysis of hospitalized patients in the United States

Rumalla, Kavelin et al.

Journal of the Neurological Sciences , in press, 2016.

Recreational marijuana Use and acute ischemic stroke: A population-based analysis of hospitalized patients in the United States

Kavelin Rumalla, Adithi Y. Reddy, Manoj K. Mittal

Article has an altmetric score of 4



•Marijuana use is most common in young, male, African American and Medicaid patients.

•The incidence of AIS is higher in marijuana users compared to non-marijuana users.

•Risk of marijuana-associated AIS increases with concurrent use of tobacco ± cocaine.

•Marijuana use increases the likelihood of AIS, adjusting for stroke risk factors.

•Marijuana use predicts symptomatic cerebral vasospasm, a proposed mechanism of AIS.


Recreational marijuana use is considered to have few adverse effects. However, recent evidence has suggested that it precipitates cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events. Here, we investigated the relationship between marijuana use and hospitalization for acute ischemic stroke (AIS).


The Nationwide Inpatient Sample was queried from 2004 to 2011 for all patients (age 15–54) with a primary diagnosis of AIS. The incidence of AIS hospitalization in marijuana users and non-marijuana users was determined. We utilized multivariable logistic regression analyses to study the independent association between marijuana use and AIS.


Overall, the incidence of AIS was significantly greater among marijuana users compared to non-users (Relative Risk [RR]: 1.13, 95% CI: 1.11–1.15, P < 0.0001) and had the greatest difference in the 25–34 age group (RR: 2.26, 95% CI: 2.13–2.38, P < 0.0001). Marijuana use was more prevalent among younger patients, males, African Americans, and Medicaid enrollees (P < 0.0001). Marijuana users were more likely to use other illicit substances but had less overall medical comorbidity. Marijuana (Odds Ratio[OR]: 1.17, 95% CI: 1.15–1.20), tobacco (OR: 1.76, 95% CI: 1.74–1.77), cocaine (OR: 1.32, 95% CI: 1.30–1.34), and amphetamine (OR: 2.21, 95% CI: 2.12–2.30) usage were found to increase the likelihood of AIS (all P < 0.0001).


Among younger adults, recreational marijuana use is independently associated with 17% increased likelihood of AIS hospitalization.

On the Vagueness of Species, part 3: On Human Nature

In the reboot movie series of Planet of the Apes, Dawn of Planet of the Apes, superchimp Koba has already unfeelingly killed other superchimps in his quest for power, and when he fails to also kill hero superchimp Caesar, Caesar kills him after declaring him to be a nonchimp and so outside of their society's protection. It's that kind of declaration-- about what we say is human and deserving of human rights--that worries molecular biologist Dwayne Holmes here.

Of course, the movie is using the superchimps-as-apes-as-human-as-we-are trope to examine, among other things, the ethics of what it is to be human within a warring and tribalistic society. I think that the above movie's ethical questions and answers adoitly fit Holmes' concerns that many may tend to define human nature to exclude our fellowman because he fails to fit a standard for what we consider human. For example, see this article, where the humanity of the psychopath is questioned.

I see this exclusionary definition of human nature as misguided. The psychopath may have a deficit in limbic structure and function, but this fails to exclude them from the rough set that is the human species. To exclude the psychopath we would need even more to exclude the person with Down syndrome as well--after all, they have deficits of the brain and a clear genetic change as cause. And that would be unethical, even to the minds of those who exclude the psychopath.

The human species, considered as a rough set, can include the psychopath in our vague boundary of persons who are definitely human but not human in every characteristic: they are humans who are not clearly within the positive region of the set of humans, but are certainly not excluded as being in the negative region either.

We don't have to accept Caesar's declaration that psychopathic Koba is not ape, and neither should we accept Holmes' declaration that there is no human nature to declare. Human nature is real, even if it's a vague thing to be human, sometimes. To love our neighbors as ourselves means, among other things, that we give ourselves the opportunity to see them as the fellow humans that they are.

Artificially Sweetened Soft Drinks May Increase the Risk of Stroke

This week JAMA published an epidemiological study of 451,743 Europeans from 10 countries which suggested there is an increased risk of m...