Gluten-free. Low carbs. Vitamin supplements. While some of these habits have demonstrable benefits, some seem a little…weird. For instance, what would you say if I told you eating fifty-one bananas a day was the key to healthy living? Many people swear by obscure diets and practices without researching what they actually do. Let’s examine a common one: vitamin C’s ability to cure the common cold.
In 1970 famed chemist Linus Pauling published Vitamin C and the Common Cold, the culmination of his studies on vitamin C. Pauling advocated high intake of the vitamin to prevent the common cold, and in the following years championed oral and intravenous doses to increase the longevity of terminally ill cancer patients. According to his trials, vitamin C intake extended the patients’ survival as much as four times.
Pauling’s claims have been widely rebuked by the medical community.
Posted in Misconceptions, Nature & Biology
- Tagged Alternative, Cold, culture, Cures, Diet, Flu, health, Medicine, Misconceptions, Myths, Perspective, Science, Sickness
I know how you feel. You have a burning, insatiable desire. Nothing can satisfy it except for the one thing you want—no, desperately need. You can’t hold it in anymore, you just have to know: is sex addiction real?
Addiction, while often thrown around colloquially, is a real medical condition. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, “Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.” That’s their short-definition—you can read their long definition here. (Also: how the word “spiritual” can appear in any medical definition is beyond me, but that’s for another post.). So what does this actually mean?
Hide yo kids and hide yo wife. It’s a movie. About sex. But is sex addiction a real thing?
Posted in Nature & Biology, Psychology
- Tagged Addiction, Brain, Dependence, Drugs, health, Mysteries, Nature, Neurology, Nymphomaniac, Psychology, Science, Sex
A massive study released last week found that brain games and training can help slow the cognitive decline that comes with aging. The study, funded by the National Institute of Health and published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, is the first to find long-term benefits associated with brain games.
Researchers placed subjects in groups receiving speed-based tasks, memory exercises, reasoning games, or nothing at all. Sessions lasted about an hour and took place over six weeks. Testers evaluated subjects immediately following the trials and at intervals throughout ten years. At the end of the study, 71 percent of participants who received speed training performed at or above their level from the start of the study compared with 48 percent in the control group. Those who participated in reasoning games showed improvement as well, with 74 percent performing at or above their initial marks compared with only 62 percent of the control group. The memory games had no effect on performance. Continue reading
Posted in News & Commentary, Psychology
- Tagged Aging, Brain, Cognitive Science, exercise, health, Neuroscience, News, Perspective, Psychology, Research, Science, Thinking
If you took part in the soft drink industry pre-1977, you probably remember pull-tabs, awesome Coke ads, and that beautiful, sugar flavor. You see, back in the good old days soft-drink manufacturers sweetened their beverages with pure beet and cane sugar. Coke and Pepsi may have contained their share of additives, but as far as sweetness was concerned they were all natural.
In 1977, however, a string of sugar tariffs and quotas drove US prices to new highs. Soft drink giants Coca-Cola and Pepsi Co. saw profits slide as the cost of sugar ate into their margins. Naturally, the companies turned their attention toward cheaper alternatives, which they found in the form of high-fructose corn syrup. The sweetener, a simple alteration to regular corn syrup, provides almost identical taste for a fraction of the cost. The rest of the food industry soon caught on, and high-fructose corn syrup has become a staple on supermarket shelves.
Believe it or not, high-fructose corn syrup sweetens an overwhelming proportion of American foods.
Posted in Misconceptions, Nature & Biology
- Tagged Biology, corn syrup, Diabetes, Fitness, Food, health, HFCS, High-Fructose Corn Syrup, Nutrition, Obesity, Science, Sugar
Picture a sizzling, mouth-watering hamburger. That gorgeous, delicious patty sitting on the plate, fresh off the char-grilled… petri dish? This was the case in last Monday in London, where the world’s first lab-grown hamburger was cooked and served in front of an invitation audience.
The burger, developed by physiologist Mark Post of the Netherlands’ Maastricht University, is one-hundred-percent real meat. Post and his team grew the meat from cow stem cells, first differentiating the sample into muscle cells then placing them in a nutrient-rich solution. As the cells formed strands of flesh, the team exercised them with light tension, making them bigger and stronger (note to A-Rod—this was done without the use of performance-enhancing drugs). The final hamburger consisted of approximately 20,000 strands and took about three months to grow. As a last step, the team colored the meat with a mixture of beet juice and saffron—without blood vessels, the muscle is an unappetizing gray.
The meat of the future?
Posted in News & Commentary, Science
- Tagged Burger, Current Events, health, Hunger, Lab, Meat, Nature, News, Science, Test tube, Vegan, Vegetarianism