Livin' on the MDedge

Your bathroom towel rack has a dirty little secret


Bacteria get the rack ... the towel rack

Obviously, bathrooms have germs. Some people are cleaner about their bathrooms than others, but in general most people just try not to think about the microscopic critters crawling about.

Now you would probably think that the toilet is the dirtiest part of the bathroom because that’s where ... you know, most of the business takes place. Or maybe you’d guess the floor. Truth be told, though, the dirtiest part of the bathroom is where the towels are hung.

Reflection of towel rack is seen in a bathroom mirror pxfuel

According to research conducted by electric heating company Rointe in the United Kingdom, bathroom radiators and towel racks/bars are the most germy and dirty parts of the bathroom.

Company investigators examined five bathrooms using swabs that changed color on contact with bacteria and found that 60% of towel racks and radiators were “really dirty,” compared with 50% of sink drains and just 10% of toilets.

Most people probably pay more attention to the sink, floors, and toilets while cleaning, the company suggested, and dampness is a factor in bacteria growth, so it’s no surprise that towels that stay wet on a rack are prime spots for dust, mildew, and mold.

The toilet may be busier, but you don’t put your face in it.

Anti-vaxxers would like to be called ‘purebloods’

COVID-19 anti-vaxxers are an interesting bunch, to be kind. And TikTok is a wacky place. So you can just imagine that anti-vaxxer TikTok is a very strange place. The citizens of anti-vax TikTok have decided that the real reason so many people dislike them is branding. They consider anti-vaccination to be a negative word (duh), so they now want to be referred to as “purebloods.”

Close-up of bottles of COVID-19 vaccine peterschreiber_media/iStock/Getty Images

Harry Potter doesn’t quite occupy the zeitgeist as it once did, so let’s give you a reminder: In the books, purebloods came from old wizarding families and claimed not to have any Muggle, or nonmagic, blood. While having pure wizard blood was no guarantee of being a villain, most of them were. In addition, it is made quite clear throughout the novels that having supposedly pure blood had no relevance on one’s wizarding ability. Pureblood was a meaningless title, and only the characters with small, cruel minds concerned themselves over it.

Perhaps the anti-vaxxers have decided that they want to be called the same thing. Maybe they just like the name. It does sound impressive and vaguely regal: Pureblood. Like something the nobles of medieval Europe might have used.

Critical-thinking skills may be in short supply here, or maybe the anti-vaxxers know exactly what they’re doing.

Hated broccoli? Blame your DNA

Were you that kid who would rather sit at the table for hours than eat your broccoli? Well, as much as your parents might have pushed you, new research suggests that it might be their fault you didn’t like it to begin with.

Broccoli and cauliflower Hans Braxmeier/Pixabay

Investigators at Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, recently reported that distaste for Brassica vegetables – broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower – can be traced to the oral microbiome.

These vegetables have a compound called S-methyl-L-cysteine sulfoxide that gives off sulfurous odors ... mmm, sulfurous ... when mixed with an enzyme in the plant, and that enzyme is also produced by bacteria in some people’s oral microbiomes. So why do adults tolerate these Brassica veggies more than children? It’s all about levels.

The researchers tested the idea by asking 98 child/parent pairs to rate the odors and by using gas chromatography-olfactometry-mass spectrometry to identify the odor-active compounds in both raw and steamed cauliflower and broccoli. The children whose saliva produced high levels of sulfur volatiles disliked Brassica vegetables the most, they reported, and the children with high levels of sulfur volatiles usually had parents who produced high levels.

Despite that connection, however, the distaste for raw Brassica seen in children wasn’t seen in adults.

Maybe it’s not that taste buds change as we age, maybe we just learn to tolerate the sulfurousness.

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