DEE: The Arch-conjuror of England. BRUNO: The arch-conjuror of Europe?

Who could resist a new book about the celebrated, notorious “arch-conjuror of England,” Dr. John Dee (1527-1609)? A contemporary of Queen Elizabeth I, Dee possessed what was probably the finest private library in the country. He lived near the Thames in a house with a name that any Gothic novelist would steal in a minute: Mortlake. As a young man, he was a pupil of Gerard Mercator (whose maps are still famous) and studied the works of all the most notable alchemists and natural philosophers of Europe, including Paracelsus, Raymond Lull, Johannes Trithemius and Henry Cornelius Agrippa. Dee might even have met Giordano Bruno, who, during a visit to England, joined the circle of their mutual friend, the occult-minded poet Sir Philip Sidney. (In 1600, Bruno was burned at the stake, ostensibly for his heretical beliefs about the nature of the universe.) In 1584, this English wizard even made a laborious journey to Rudolf II’s Prague, the center for astrological and hermetic research in the 16th century — in essence, the capital of magic.

Galileo was only placed under house arrest because of his “repentance,” but others such as Michael Servetus (1511-1553) and Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) were burnt at the stake.

Fly Agaric in Ireland and Muscarine as asthma treatment

Everyone is charmed when we chance upon our first Fly Agaric, the iconic red and white seat of many a storybook fairy or elf. Just then the sky darkens, the mother and father of all downpours leaving no shelter. Waterproofs are useless, we can only head back to the hotel?

Go to: Muscarinic receptors in the lung In the lungs, anticholinergic compounds block muscarinic receptors on airway smooth muscle, glands and nerves to prevent muscle contraction, gland secretion and enhance neurotransmitter release. There are five muscarinic receptor subtypes [designated M1 through M5 by the IUPHAR (Caulfield and Birdsall, 1998)] all belonging to the large family of seven transmembrane G-protein coupled receptors. In human lung (and in all animal species tested), acetylcholine induces bronchoconstriction by stimulating M3 (Figure 1) receptors on smooth muscle (Roffel et al., 1990). Although airway smooth muscle contraction is mediated by M3 receptors, the majority of muscarinic receptors on airway smooth muscle are actually M2 (Barnes, 1993). These M2 receptors contribute indirectly to airway smooth muscle contraction by limiting β-adrenoceptor-medicated relaxation through inhibition of adenylate cyclase (Fernandes et al., 1992). Glandular secretion is also mediated predominantly by M3 muscarinic receptors on submucosal cells (Marin et al., 1976; Borson et al., 1980; Phillips et al., 2002). Figure 1 Muscarinic receptors in lungs. Muscarinic receptors (MR) are present throughout the lungs and control smooth muscle contraction, gland secretion, acetylcholine (ACh) release from parasympathetic nerves and probably also inflammatory cells. Only receptors (more …) Muscarinic receptors are also present on parasympathetic nerves supplying the lungs (Fryer and Maclagan, 1984). M2 muscarinic receptors on postganglionic parasympathetic nerves (Faulkner et al., 1986; Fryer et al., 1996) limit acetylcholine release, thus providing a physiologically relevant, negative feedback control over acetylcholine release (Fryer and Maclagan, 1984; Baker et al., 1992). Blocking M2 receptors with mmuscarinic antagonists including atropine and ipratropium or using selective M2 receptor antagonists such as gallamine, significantly potentiates vagally induced bronchoconstriction (Fryer and Maclagan, 1984; 1987; Blaber et al., 1985; Faulkner et al., 1986). Neuronal M2 receptors are vulnerable, and thus their function is significantly decreased after respiratory viral infection, antigen challenge, or exposure to organophosphates or ozone (Empey et al., 1976; Aquilina et al., 1980; Fryer and Jacoby, 1991; Schultheis, 1992; Schultheis et al., 1994; Sorkness et al., 1994). They are also less functional in humans with asthma (Minette et al., 1989). Decreased function of the neuronal M2 receptors is mediated by various mechanisms including blockade by endogenous antagonists and down-regulation of receptor expression. The resulting increase in acetylcholine release is thought to be an important mechanism of airway hyperreactivity. Clinically, anticholinergic drugs are used as bronchodilators in combination with anti-inflammatory steroids in the treatment of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Asthma is characterized by variable airflow limitation that is partially reversible spontaneously or with treatment. Underlying this airflow limitation is chronic inflammation that increases airway hyperresponsiveness to various stimuli (EPR-3, 2007). COPD is characterized by chronic airflow limitation that is not fully reversible. Patients with COPD can experience acute worsening in symptoms. These exacerbations are characterized by increased sputum production and shortness of breath (Rabe et al., 2007). COPD and asthma symptoms overlap; however, the most distinguishing difference between conditions is airflow limitation reversibility. This review covers the history of clinically relevant anticholinergic drugs in asthma and COPD.

Joyce’s Voices by Bogus Magus (from Only Maybe blog)

Friday, June 01, 2012

Joyce’s Voices

For Bloomsday this year (16 June 2012) the BBC will be handing Radio 4 over to Ulysses. Throughout the day there will be readings of a special adaptation of the text, along with live broadcasts from Dublin (where fans re-enact moments from this complex book. Sadly, this may not prove accessible to all countries.

This will be an edited version, not the ‘complete’ text which was broadcast in 1982 (which took nearly 30 hours).

The details below are from the BBC Media Centre (without permission) which contains further information.

Here, at a glance, are the main Bloomsday broadcasts on Radio 4:

Part 1 09.00 – 10.30: Saturday Live From the Martello Tower to School
Sian and Richard present a special Bloomsday edition of the show, which will include the first three extracts from the drama as well as discussion and location reports, with input from Mark Lawson in Dublin.

Part 2 10.30 – 11.00 From Bloom’s House, through the Morning Streets, to a Funeral

Part 3 12.00 – 12.30 From the Beach, to a Newspaper Office, into Davy Byrne’s Pub

Part 4 14.30 – 15.30 The Library, Through the Lunchtime Streets, to the Ormond Hotel

Part 5 17.30 – 18.00 In Barney Kiernan’s Pub

Part 6 20.00 – 22.00 From Sandymount Beach at Evening, to the Maternity Hospital, and into Nighttown

22.15 – 23.00: Ulysses Today Mark Lawson chairs a discussion about the abiding popularity of Ulysses and its relevance today, with Declan Kiberd, author of Ulysses And Us – The Art Of Everyday Living; Professor Anne Fogarty, Director of the Dublin James Joyce Summer School; and others.

Part 7 23.00 – 00.00 From a Cab-man’s Shelter, to Eccles Street and Home

In the week before the Bloomsday broadcasts, Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra will be broadcasting a number of programmes on the theme of Ulysses:

James Joyce had a fine singing voice and sang professionally as a young man. In James Joyce’s Playlist, David Owen Norris and guests will listen to some of Joyce’s favourite songs in the Martello Tower in Dublin where he lived for a time. This will be broadcast on Saturday, June 9th.

On Thursday, June 14th In Our Time will discuss the background to Ulysses, considering its historical and literary context, its themes, contents and style, and the impact it has had since publication. Melvyn Bragg will be joined by Steven Connor, Professor of Modern Literature and Theory at Birkbeck College, London; Jeri Johnson, Fellow and Tutor in English at Exeter College, Oxford; and Richard Brown, Reader in Modern Literature at the University of Leeds.

4Extra: Blind Date With Bloomsday – another chance to join Peter White on his Bloomsday visit to Dublin, during which he meets some enthusiastic celebrants. Friday, June 15th.