Pancakes May Help Glaucoma Researchers Figure Out A Cure, So Get Cooking
While it may be common knowledge that delicious, syrup-drenched breakfast foods are good for your mind, heart and spirit, new research is showing that they can actually help your body, too. (Well, sort of!) A study conducted at the University College London shows that pancakes can help cure glaucoma — but if you were hoping that this would be just the excuse you need to have breakfast for dinner one more time this week, it's not quite what you're expecting!
For those of you not Ophthalmologically-inclined, Glaucoma is the leading cause of permanent blindness worldwide. As of now, there's no cure. Essentially, it creates a build up of fluids and that can lead to permanent eye damage; when too much pressure is placed on the optic nerve, loss of vision is the result. However, scientists are now arguing that finding a way for the fluid to be "drained" could save people's vision. What does that mean in regard to the pancakes? Well, it's all in the recipe.
Essentially, studying the way that pancakes are cooked can help scientists understand how water vapors can escape and dissolve. Researchers in the study tested 14 different pancake recipes to observe how the water was released from the batter when under heat or pressure. The recipes varied in thickness and consistency, which is key for the researchers to be able to understand the physics of, uh, pancakes. The study, which was published in Mathematics Today , was able to determine how varying factors contributed to water dissolution, and ultimately concluded that thicker pancakes were better at trapping water vapor as it escaped upwards, while creating craters on the bottom. Batter that was thinner left tiny brown spots and a dark ring around the perimeter where it was thinnest. The mid-size pancake allowed water to escape smoothly, while browning the edges evenly.
What does any of this have to do with eyes? Well, the goal of the study was to show how the pancakes surfaces (like the eye's retina) would interact with fluids and vapors like those caused by Glaucoma. Knowing this would help create more efficient surgical treatments and preventative care, which, ideally, would lead to less loss of vision.
So lo and behold: even the simplest things in our lives can be science experiments, if you're creative enough. It's kind of amazing that even with all of the technological advances in the world, sometimes the answers we're looking for are right in our backyards (or, ehm, our kitchens?) Even though eating the pancakes won't help your eyesight, this is cause for celebration, so have guilt-free breakfast for dinner tonight (and um, every night you want from here on out, forevermore). Just try not to think of eye diseases every time you go to cook a stack.
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