Thinking ‘obesity is a disease’ makes you more likely to eat high-calorie foods

A study has concluded that if obesity is thought of as a disease instead as a problem related to diet/lack of exercise, people will continue to eat high calorie foods. On June 18, 2013, the American Medical Association officially recognized obesity as a disease. This was met with mixed opinions, but the largest US medical association believed that would help

Vitamin B may have come from space – what does this mean for origin of life?

After analyzing samples from eight different carbon-rich meteorites, researchers at Pennsylvania State Universities found these contained niacin, also known as vitamin B3 and the more pristine the meteorite, the higher the concentration. What this means is that the ancient Earth had a steady supply of vitamin B3 during its early years when it was frequently bombarded by cosmic objects, possibly

Distant Black Hole Spins at Half the Speed of Light

About half of the Universe’s lifetime ago, it was feasting time for supermassive black holes – they were eating galaxies left and right, a new study might suggest. Taking advantage of a galaxy which acts like a natural zoom lens in space, astronomers have analyzed a black hole powering a quasar about 6 billion light years from Earth. “The ‘lens’ galaxy

Excitons observed in action for the first time

A technique developed by MIT researchers reveals the motion of energy-carrying quasiparticles (excitons) in solid material. Let’s work that out in common English. Quasiparticles aren’t technically particles, but they act like they are. It’s hard to give a definition without going into more complicated physics here, but a quasiparticle is a disturbance, in a medium, that behaves as a particle and that may

MIT and Harvard researchers develop 100% internal cochlear implant

A cochlear implant that can be wirelessly recharged using the natural microphone of the middle ear rather than a skull-mounted sensor was developed by a joint team from MIT and Harvard. The cochlea is the auditory part of the inner ear –  t’s where the hearing takes place. Cochlear implants are not really a new thing – but generally they use a

Internet reduces retirees’ depression

According to a new study, spending time online can make drastically reduce depression rates in retirees, especially the ones who live alone.  In the article, authors describe that Internet use reduced the probability of a depressed state by 33 percent for retirees. Late life depression is a major problem, affecting some 10 million people in the US alone (the study was conducted

China just admitted 20% of its farmland is polluted

The Chinese government sort of took everyone by surprise after it made a most unaccustomed  statement; it admitted the country isn’t fairing that well. Oh, no, don’t worry. They still got plenty of money and loads to collect still. What’s beginning to be revealed is the cost of China’s new found prosperity and accelerated industrialization: of course, it’s pollution. Apparently,

Sleep aids and anxiety pills can kill

There’s no secret prescriptions drugs have taken off in the past few decades, amounting to a multi-billion dollar industry. Millions are hooked on them, despite this why are so many policymakers or key people of interest shutting an eye on the potential perils these drugs pose? In the quest to treat symptoms, not diseases, physicians prescribe psychotropic drugs to those

Facebook activism rarely goes deeper than a single click

While there’s nothing wrong in getting involved in Facebook campaigns… there’s nothing inherently good either. According to a new study, viral causes/pledges/petitions that spread via social media rarely go deeper than a single click on the “Like” button. Apparently, social media’s ability to mobilize the masses into action has been overrated – at least when it comes to Facebook. At one

Artists have unique brain structure

A common brain myth is that creative people, like artists, use their right part of the brain more, while the left part of the brain is more active in rational people. This has been debunked many times, and a few searchers on Google will satisfy your curiosity, if you think otherwise. It’s true, however, that artists and creative people, in

Toyota confirms confirms fuel cell launch for 2015; zero local emissions and 500-mile range

Toyota has officially announced that it will launch a hydrogen fuel cell-powered car in 2015, but said sales volumes would be limited. The company announced they will use a high-density fuel stack which will have the potential to cover 500 miles on a single fuel tank. The technology will take a while to be implemented and accepted by the public, says European president,

Ancient throwing: archaeologists find a contract to “fix” a wrestling match in Ancient Greece

Prostitution may or may not be the oldest job in the world, but rigging goes a long way too. Researchers have recently deciphered a Greek document that shows an ancient wrestling match was fixed.  The document, which was dated from the year 267, is a contract between two teenagers who had reached the final of a very prestigious tournament in Egypt. This

Two children have a gene mutation which protects them from many viruses, including influenza, hepatitis C and HIV

A new study on which a swarm of scientists worked on showed that two children (an 11 year old boy and a 6 year old girl)  have a mutation which greatly reduces viral replication in HIV, dengue fever, herpes simplex virus type 2 infection, and hepatitis C – effectively protecting them from the viruses. The two children are siblings, and their

Shy children often grow to be anxious adults

A team of development psychologists who have been following children’s temperament since they were babies until early adulthood found evidence that suggests shy or behaviorally inhibited (the official term) babies are more likely to become anxious adults. From here on a chicken and egg story unfolds: are these children overly shy because their brains are wired differently (see amygdala) or

The ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria in your gut are subjective to lifestyle, hunter-gatherer study shows

You could be sitting alone and still be completely outnumbered for your body is home to trillions upon trillions of tiny passengers – bacteria. In fact, there as ten times more bacteria living inside you then cells in the body. Don’t get scared, though. The vast majority of these co-redident organisms are our friends. They help us digest food, provide

Lemurs match the scents and voices of friends

Humans are great social beings because we have an extraordinary ability to distinguish between our fellow bretheren. If you don’t suffer from prosopagnosia, also known as “face blidness”, chances are you’ll be able to easily recognize a friend’s face or voice out of a myrriad of other humans. This kind of mental ability is extraordinary and most often taken for

NASA to host conference to announce a (big?) discovery made by Kepler

NASA will host a news teleconference at 11 a.m. PDT (2 p.m. EDT) Thursday, April 17, to announce a new discovery made by its planet-hunting mission, the Kepler Space Telescope. NASA hosts conferences all the time, what makes this one so special? Well, two reasons: first of all, there’s a big paper published in the journal Science, which will not

The world’s most evolutionary distinct birds

We’re currently experiencing the worst spate of species die-offs since the loss of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Although extinction is a natural phenomenon, it occurs at a natural “background” rate of about one to five species per year. Scientists estimate we’re now losing species at 1,000 to 10,000 times the background rate, with literally dozens going extinct every

Genetic variant explains why women are more prone to Alzheimer’s

Like a sticking nail, Alzheimer’s has been irritating neuroscientists for decades. After so many years and billions worth of research, the underlying causes and mechanics that cause the gruesome neurodegenerative disease have yet to be identified, though hints suggest genetics have a major role to play – never mind a cure! Clearly, Alzhaimer’s is formidable and while we’ve yet to

Asian pollution drives storms in the Pacific

While pollution is most felt locally, where its produced, some of it eventually winds up in remote locations proving to be a global hazard even places in the world where there isn’t any kind of fossil industry. For instance, a while ago I reported how 29% of San Francisco’s pollution comes from China – be you didn’t know that. Air