This category contains 20 posts

The Science of ALS and the Irony of the Ice Bucket Challenge

With the ALS ice bucket challenge going viral, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) has been getting a lot of attention. But what exactly is ALS? It is essentially a poorly understood neurodegenerative disease that kills relatively quickly — with people usually dying within 3–5 years after onset of the first symptoms — and is responsible for … Continue reading »

Salt, Cardiovascular Disease, and Death: Controversial Correlations

Just last Thursday, three papers were published in The New England Journal of Medicine that came to very different conclusions about how much table salt (sodium chloride) we should have in our diets if we want to avoid cardiovascular disease and a related death. While two of the studies suggested that most people could safely … Continue reading »

Alzheimer’s Updates: Why It’s Important to Eat Healthy and Other Findings

In the past six months, several interesting and promising studies have been published on Alzheimer’s disease. They’ve ranged from how what we eat might affect our odds of developing it, to discovering the underlying mechanisms. Taken together, researchers are definitely making progress in developing treatments — and preventative measures — for Alzheimer’s. For those of … Continue reading »

Making Plastic from Food

As we become more aware of the resources that we’re quickly using up, we increasingly look for ways to recycle and reuse what we’ve got. For example, some people have been figuring out how to “reuse” food waste by turning it into plastic. And not just any type of plastic — it’s actually biodegradable plastic, … Continue reading »

Drinking Green Tea May Repair Your DNA

How our diet affects our health is a very complicated topic. For example, while drinking tea is thought to possibly help reduce the risk of a number of diseases and health conditions, many studies have had inconsistent results, and the chemical mechanisms that go on in our bodies are not well understood. However, a recently … Continue reading »

What is a “Healthy” Gut Microbiome?

Which types of microbes are good to have in our guts — belonging to our gut microbiome — and which microbes shouldn’t be there for us to be healthy? It turns out that this is a very complicated question. Over the past couple of years, the gut microbiome has been found to be related to … Continue reading »

Vegetarian Diet is Less Healthy than a Diet with Meat

If you’ve adopted a vegetarian diet solely for health reasons, you may want to reconsider the decision. In a recently published controversial study, vegetarians were found to be overall less healthy than people who have at least some meat in their diet. Specifically, even though the vegetarians had the average lowest BMI and drank less … Continue reading »

Chocolate: It Does a Microbe Good

It’s always nice to find out that a food we enjoy eating — something we might even consider to be a treat — is actually healthy and beneficial for us to eat. For example, if you like dark chocolate, then there’s some good news for you. Earlier this week it was reported that eating dark … Continue reading »

Caffeine Stimulates Memory

Caffeine is a beloved stimulant, which people enjoy consuming in coffee, tea, soda, or other forms. It helps wake us up, making us feel mentally alert. But while we feel mentally active when we use caffeine, studies have not shown conclusive links between consuming caffeine and memory… until very recently, that is. Earlier this week, … Continue reading »

Sleep on the Brain

People have long wondered why we need to sleep. Why can’t we just stay awake all of the time? What purpose does sleep serve? These might seem like silly questions because sleep obviously makes us less tired (or should, when we get enough of it!), but there’s clearly more to it – we regularly need … Continue reading »