Uh-oh! Our frankincense is tingling!

We’ve got bad news for you Christmas traditionalists out there. (You know, those of you that drink wassail as three ships go sailing by for 12 days.) If you were planning on going the nostalgic route and giving Jesus his original baby presents, then you’re out of luck with frankincense. By the end of the last century, it appears that fire, disease and cattle farming depleted Boswellia trees, which is where frankincense — a resin — comes from.

Of course … you could always embrace the commercialized Christmas and give the Big Guy gold, myrrh and a box of General Mills’ Frankenberry.

We don’t want what New Zealand’s got

This just in: 95 percent of you are disgusting, and a full quarter of you are walking public health saboteurs.

Well, we can’t say that’s true for the entire population. The research was conducted exclusively in New Zealand, so really it’s the Kiwis that are trying to infect us all.

A fix for Alzheimer’s? What’s that? A fix for Alzheimer’s? What’s that?

Researchers have long believed that amyloid plaques either cause Alzheimer’s or are a key factor, and a lot of money has gone into researching drugs that reduce the prevalence of these plaques. So it’s a great cause for celebration that bapineuzumab, a drug now being developed by Elan Corp. and now owned by Johnson & Johnson, showed an ability to reduce amyloid plaques in 28 patients. At the end of the 18-month study period, the patients had 25 percent less amyloid plaques than a control group. And the bapineuzumab patients actually had less plaques than they had at the start of testing.

But like most all good things, there’s a bit of a catch. Actually, there are two catches here. The first is that bapineuzumab can have dangerous side effects — high doses can have ill effects, as earlier tests found, and two patients in the current study had cerebral edemas caused by water on the brain. But it sounds like the side-effects are manageable, and it may be just a matter of finding the right dosage.

The bigger catch is, we still don’t know if amyloid plaques are a cause or merely a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. A large and growing number of researchers believe the true cause of Alzheimer’s is the tangles of tau proteins that also accumulate in the brains of Alzheimer’s sufferers.

In any case, whether bapineuzumab turns out to be a wonder drug, or a dead end, the real breakthrough here is the development of a method of assessing a patient’s number of amyloid plaques, something we could only do after death, via autopsy, until now. Now, we can only hope that we don’t need to repeat the same research multiple times over.

Today in filthy bathrooms

Apparently a lot of people are worried about the cleanliness of public toilets, some even worried about sitting on the seat. They’re even rating dumpsheds online like they’re pissing in college professors. (That’s another web site.)

This is just a friendly SG Reminder: what do you think you’re leaving in there? Bathrooms are tile enclosures for depositing human waste. Your poo-poo. Your pee-pee.

You know why bathrooms are disgusting? Because you use them. And us. But we’re a different story.

So, next time you’re in a public toilet, how about just getting the job done? Believe us, the rest of the bar more than makes up for that place where you crap in a chair.