Weekly News Roundup 6/29 – 7/6


Marijuana-derived treatments focus on pets

In light of the Fourth of July, some pet owners considered cannabidiol (CBD) treatments for their pets to stave off fear of fireworks. CBD is an extract from marijuana that doesn’t have the THC component that causes a high. While some people swear by these treatments to help soothe dogs’ nerves, there are complications surrounding the products. Marijuana is still illegal at the federal level and none are approved by the FDA or have been fully tested in a scientific setting.

More research to be done on benefits of therapy animals

Therapy animals are wildly popular, but the studies are not yet in place that prove they are effective. A short article published in the Journal of Applied Developmental Science in February 2017 looked at thematic studies on the topic and gave suggestions for future studies, noting, “the field of AAI (animal-assisted intervention) currently lacks a unified, widely accepted or empirically supported theoretical framework for explaining how and why AAI is potentially therapeutic.” A literature study published in July’s issue of the Journal of Clinical Psychology concluded the research “needs to address methodological limitations and expand the focus beyond treatment outcome studies.” These studies show that more work is to be done when testing the benefits of therapy animals.

How a cat helped turn milk into a popular plastic

Casein, a plastic derived from milk, rose to popularity in the 1920s and 30s in the form of buttons, buckles, knitting needles, and more. The use of non-edible casein dates back to the Egyptians, but its use as a solid plastic started at the end of the nineteenth century. Bavarian chemist Adolf Spitteler was experimenting with formaldehyde to turn milk into a solid material. Why? One night, the story goes, his cat knocked over a bottle of formaldehyde. That formaldehyde dripped into the cat’s milk bowl, and, in the morning, Spitteler discovered the milk had curdled into a solid, horn-like material.

Photo credit: © iStock/carenas1

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