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Eating Peanuts During Pregnancy Lowers Allergy Risk in Kids

For years, pregnant women were advised to avoid eating peanuts and tree nuts because these foods can be highly allergenic. The theory was that early exposure to such allergens could increase a child’s risk of developing a nut allergy. This theory was so widely believed that back in 2000 the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) … Continue reading »

Abominable Snowman!

It’s a time of year when many fantastical creatures comes to mind: flying reindeer, singing and dancing snowmen, elves, green furry Grinches, and jolly old men with long white beards who squeeze through millions of chimneys in a single night. Another famous figure that comes to mind is the Abominable Snowman, or “Yeti.” The Yeti … Continue reading »

A Chemical Way to Reverse Aging?

Is there a way to reverse aging? It’s the stuff that legends and myths are made of – the ever-elusive Fountain of Youth. But a paper published a few days ago in the prestigious journal Cell might make reversible aging closer to a reality (but it is still probably a long ways off). Specifically, by … Continue reading »

Mistletoe: A Parasitic, Poisonous Plant

Have you ever wondered why it’s a tradition to hang up some mistletoe around this time of year and kiss under it? Or what about the mistletoe plant itself – where does it normally live when it’s not hanging above our doorways? While we now often associate this tradition with Christmastime, like many “Christmas traditions,” … Continue reading »

It’s That Time Again – the Flu Season’s Here

It’s long been hard for people to accept that they can be hurt, or even killed, by something they cannot see. But this is exactly what viruses do; they evade our body’s immune system, hijack our cells to create more viruses, and have consequently caused epidemics throughout human history. Influenza (also known as the flu) … Continue reading »

Many Animals Don’t “Age”

Why do we have to visibly age as we get older? It might sound like a silly question – the terms “aging” and “growing old” are virtually synonymous – but for many organisms on the planet, this question actually does not need to be asked. Earlier this week, a paper was published in the journal … Continue reading »

Underground Giants: The Gippsland Earthworm

Have you ever been digging around in some rich, damp soil and come across an earthworm? When we think of earthworms, we usually think of small, wriggly critters that can just barely fit in the palm of our hand. But there are many gigantic types of earthworms around the world that can grow to astonishing … Continue reading »

The Importance of “The Little Guys:” Our Gut Microbiome

It’s easy to take for granted the many beneficial microbes that live on, or inside of, our bodies. We don’t usually think about them unless something goes wrong, and, honestly, we don’t know a whole lot about them. But we’re learning. And as our understanding improves, we’re increasingly finding that these bacteria, yeast, and other … Continue reading »

Camouflage Experts: Walkingsticks

Have you ever looked at part of a plant only to discover it’s actually an insect? Walkingsticks, also known as stick-bugs, are insects that have mastered the art of camouflage. With long, skinny bodies that are usually green or brown in color (or even able to change color!), these bugs easily blend in with the … Continue reading »