Health & Medicine, News

Blowing vapor: cigarette use plummets among youth in schools, but e-cigs take their place

e-cigarette youth

Electronic cigarettes have soared in use among high school and middle school kids, tripling relative in 2014, while cigarettes have reached an all time low. The report was issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which found 4.6 million middle and high school students were current users of any tobacco product, which includes e-cigs despite the fact that it doesn’t burn or contain any tobacco – just the nicotine.

Anatomy, Anthropology, Biology, Did you know?, News

Why in the world do we have chins? Maybe, because we evolved from being just brutes

Man with prominent chin and missing teeth. Etching by Wenceslas Hollar.

Ever wondered what chins are good for? Upon a quick reflection, you might think it actually has some practical value, supporting your jaw against the massive chewing forces. But that’s nonsense. It doesn’t do any of that, as a recent research concludes. In fact, the chin – the last facial feature to stop growing – actually makes the jaw less resistant to the bending stress of chewing as we age. Though still a mystery, scientists believe the chin is actually a side effect of the rest of the face having become smaller. Much smaller than that of early ancestors or cousin Neanderthals, at least.

Health & Medicine, Inventions, Nanotechnology, News

Nanotech toothbrush means you never need toothpaste again


It’s common sense – in order to brush your teeth, you need water, a toothbrush, and toothpaste. Well, a company from Japan wants to change all that: they’ve developed a nanotechnology toothbrush that basically eliminates the need for toothpaste.

Biology, Genetics, News

Why the Dutch are the tallest on the planet: sexual selection

tall men

European males are on average 11 centimeters taller now than they were in the 1870s, which is quite a lot by all means. Everybody makes fun of Napoleon for being short, but as a matter of fact he was actually standing above average height! Thank better nutrition and medicine for that. Even so, what in the world are the Dutch eating that makes them this tall? The average Dutchman now stands over six feet tall, and while the rest of the world seems to have stopped, they’re still riding a growing trendline. The answer by actually be evolutionary – the tall Dutchmen have more babies.

Health & Medicine

The neurological condition that makes Hodor keep Hodoring


“Hodor. Hodor, hodor; hodor hodor… hodor” said Hodor.

Genetics, News, Psychology

Kid doesn’t like going to school? Your ‘bad’ genes might have a say in all this

school kids

Some kids seem to enjoy school activities more than others, but while efforts seem to be concentrated on improving teaching, a new research suggests that genes play a major role as well – sometimes they’re more important than the environment, as far as motivation and doing well in school are concerned. The findings were reported by a team led Yulia Kovas of Goldsmiths, University of London that aggregated a swath of studies which included 13,000 twins aged nine to 16 from six countries, including the UK, Canada, Japan, Germany, Russia and the US.

Health & Medicine, News, Nutrition

Shorter people are more likely to get heart disease – every inch counts

tall and short people

The same genes that are responsible for height have been linked to heart disease as well, according to British researchers who found shorter people are at a greater risk. For every 2.5 inch difference in height, the chance of contracting a heart disease increases by 13.5 percent. In other words, a 5-foot-tall person has an average 32 percent higher risk of heart disease than a person who’s 5-foot 6-inches tall, according to the researchers.

Alternative Medicine, Mind & Brain, News

Psychedelic tea might help with depression


Hallucinogenic tea brewed from South American plants might treat depression, according to a new study – but don’t start your homebrewing just yet; it’s a small study, and there are still unclear aspects about it.

Biology, Mind & Brain, News

Arachnophobia may be embedded in your DNA


Arachnophobia, the fear of spiders, is one of the most common phobias humans have. But out of all the spiders that live today, really very few are dangerous – so why is it that we fear them so much then? Researchers from Columbia University believe they might have found the answer to that – and it’s strictly related to human evolution.

Biology, Health & Medicine, News

Presenting the first brain-gene interface: thought-controlled protein production

brain computer interface

You’ve heard all about controlling robotic arms or prosthesis with thoughts, but what about genes? In a deceptively simple experiment, bioengineers in Switzerland combined a classical brain-computer interface with a biological implant, which effectively allowed a genetic switch to be operated by brain activity. Imagine wearing a “funny” cap fitted with electrodes and a tiny implant, then controlling your mood by thinking the perfect “pure” thoughts that would cause a cascade of feel good chemicals. The same could be made for painkillers, so you can deliver just the right amount. Really, there’s a lot of potential floating around this thing.