Dr Irengbam Mohendra Singh
I’ve been through emotional wringer in my last week’s column. Now it’s countdown to hot water.
Science keeps changing things that we are comfortable with. Many things once we thought right have become false or vice versa, such as the germ-killing evidence of hot water. Biologist Jonathan Wells argues in Zombie Science that DNA does not contain the genetic programme, and DNA is far from being secrets of life. Continued faith in it is rooted in materialism. Social sciences are discovering drastic changes in the matrimonial relationship.
Scientists can have weakness. Christian Bernard who did the first heart transplant as man interface between God and humans, became semi-divine. He was accorded a private audience with the Pope as half-God. He became a much propitiated man for many smart women. After he had one night stand with Gina Lollobrigida, the hottest Italian export to Hollywood, he left his old rusting wife and married at the age of 63 to a young 22 year old beautiful model girl. He said: “I love the divine talent and vigour [Viagra-filled] and lust for life that there is youth.”
In 2016, science had discovered many things, such as ‘brain training’ using virtual reality (a three-dimensional computer generated environment) to help paraplegics to walk). It had discovered that fish ‘chat’ to each other and may have regional accents.
In 2017, Star signs of horoscopes that have long been ridiculed by science have become truism. A scientific study in the University of Alacante in Spain by Prof Jose Antonio Quesada and others has mapped birth months to 27 chronic diseases (journal of Medicina Clinic) and discovered evidence of a significant association between the month of birth and the occurrence of various chronic diseases and long term health problems.
The study involved 29,000 people that precludes blips from too small a sample. However, I don’t think planetary influence can be responsible for vulnerability to diseases. Rather it is due to exposure of the fetus to variations in the seasons, such as viruses, allergies etc. September is a good month for babies born in Spain.
The study found babies born in January have more thyroid problems; those in June depression; women born in July more likely to have hypertension and risk of incontinence; male babies born in August more susceptible to asthma; those born in November to more varicose veins and; Pisces with more cataracts
Research by the Office for National Statistics in the UK also found that a child born in December is more likely to become a dentist; if in January, will tend to be a debt collector. A February birth for being an artist, while March babies for more pilots.
NASA’s Kepler Telescope has detected 1,284 exoplanets. NASA has now announced that they will be launching a mission to orbit the Sun though it will be four million miles from the Sun’s surface. Even there the temperature will be 1,377 degrees Celsius.
Science in the UK, has recently discovered food poisoning from eating uneaten cooked rice. Scientists say raw rice can contain spores of a bacterium called Bacillus cereus. The spores can survive when rice is cooked. If you are not going to eat the rice straight away after you have cooked the spores can grow into bacteria that will multiply and may produce toxins, which cause food poisoning. Symptoms are mild, such as vomiting and diarrhoea. I now realise why my wife always throws cooked and refrigerated rice into the dustbin after three days.
It’s because refrigeration does not kill the bacteria but it slows down its growth. So, the uneaten rice that has been kept in a refrigerator for 3 days should be thrown away. You shouldn’t eat the reheated rice as you can get food poisoning. It’s not that reheating that causes the problem, but the way rice has been stored before it is reheated.
Social Science has found out why Christian marriages are doing away with God. Boredom. There are less and less widowhood as couples tend to separate because of the pressure of living together too long. Sarah Harper, professor of gerontology, a married mother of three, told the audience at the Hay Literary Festival in Wales (May 2017) that “Marriage vows may need to be re-written to omit “till death do us part” because people are living so long that couples may not want to be together for life.
Current general life expectancy is rising two and half years a decade, or 15 minutes an hour. Every day the average person in Britain adds six hours to their lifespan. These huge increase in longevity would bring challenges for marriage when they are hitched for a century.”
The historian Michael Anderson has pointed out that “in Britain as widowhood started to the decline [divorced women do not become widows] as the main cause of the breakup of marriages, so, divorce started to increase and in fact they mirror each other. Since we have pushed back death considerably, we have to relook at the institution of marriage.”
Nobody is taking seriously the institutional aspect marriage. Marriage is a legitimate intercourse between a man and a woman, conventionalised by society, legalised by the state, and Churches for Christians. Every marriage needs a specific readjustment. But the tension of modern marriage with economic functions, and in some cases with sexual maladjustments, are driving wedges in the partnership. The test of marriage is the measure of happiness. When it is not done many couples feel obliged to discontinue the union. The disintegration is made easier by the extensive legal rights of women.
‘Falsifiability’ of a scientific hypothesis is considered important (Karl Popper. The Logic of Scientific Discovery). Recent research by Rutgers University in New Jersey, US (Journal of Food Protection, June 1 2017), found hot water is no more effective than cold at getting rid of bacteria. They followed 21 volunteers over six months who had their hands exposed to a range of harmless bacteria. They washed their hands in water for 10 seconds at a time and using varying amount of soap at various temperatures of 15.5, 26, and 38 degrees Celsius.
These researchers claim that washing in cool water removes just as many germs as hot water. Furthermore, antibacterial soaps are no better than normal soaps. The finding suggests that savings could be made on energy bills by boiling water.
This study shows that the temperature of the water used doesn’t matter, and that just a short rub of the hands makes a major difference. Even washing for 10 seconds significantly remove bacteria from the hands. The researchers say neither the temperature nor the amount of soap used make any difference to the amount of bacteria removed simply by washing for just 10 seconds. It’s more important to ensure people wash their hands at all before preparing food and after using the lavatory than it is to insist on water is hot.
British scientists are not however convinced. They say that hotter water allow detergents to work properly. Warm water helps the soap to lather more and it’s the action of washing soap off which helps to get hands clean. But the actual water temperature won’t kill bacteria as it can’t be too hot or it will burn your hands.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the UK, also recommends the following hand washing techniques: run hands under tepid running water, apply liquid soap and rub hands together vigorously for a minimum of 10-15 seconds, paying particular attention to the tips of the fingers, the palms, back of the hands and the back of the fingers. Rinse thoroughly before drying using clean and regularly laundered towel.
Further, in January 2017, NICE issued further guidelines stating that liquid soap is preferred because it’s more effective than the old bar alternatives, which contradicts findings from this new research. Prof Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive of NICE, has thus explained why liquid soap is preferable. He says: “There are two reasons why. Partly it’s that all of the evidence we have is about the role of liquid soap. But also it’s because intuitively when you see a bar of soap collecting dirt, you don’t need a microscope to know that it’s not the most hygienic approach.”
The Health and Safety Executive recommends that hot water should be stored at 60 degree centigrade or higher in order to protect against Legionnaire’s disease. It is a type of severe pneumonia caused by a bacterium known as Legionella pneumophilia, which is now responsible for 90% of infections – a disease from man-made system of storing water.
In developing countries, 3.4 million people die every year because of drinking contaminated dirty water. Water carries many diarrheal diseases, including Cholera (I have seen people in Imphal killed by Cholera in a few hours due to severe dehydration), Typhoid, Dysentery and others. one in ten people fall ill every year from food poisoning.
I don’t think the Rutgers researchers are pouring cold water on the theory that only hot bath and showers gets you clean. I have living experience to advance that Meiteis for centuries were having cold bath, as they could not afford hot water, and the British ethnographers had always commented how clean Meiteis were. Hot water is comfortable.
(The writer is based in the UK. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: WWW.drimsingh.co.uk)
Dr Irengbam Mohendra Singh