It's no secret that obesity is a growing problem for Americans. Our kids are growing larger, our rates of diabetes and heart disease show no signs of retreating, and our military is worried that the next generation of warfighters will be too big and sluggish to get the job done. But Boston-based Gelesis has engineered a complex obesity solution that works by a simple mechanism: take a pill, become full, eat less.
Sure, the maze gets boring every so often. And yeah, there's not much variety in the food. But compared to the kill or be killed world of the wild, being a lab rat is a pretty good life. So good, in fact, that researchers at the National Institute on Aging (NIA) believe many lab rats are so overfed they distort research results from experiments intended to help cure everything from cancer to Alzheimer's to, you guessed it, obesity.
Usually the enticing smell of food is associated with hunger pangs, but researchers in the Netherlands think that foods can be engineered to release satiating aromas during chewing. This would help combat obesity by stimulating areas of the brain that signal fullness.
It takes researchers years, sometimes decades, to pin down subtle, important findings about your health, but it takes bumbling journalists (or their editors) just a few seconds to screw it all up. Here, a selection of the most misleading headlines, and a few tips to help you spot the hype early.
Since lab mice have been kind enough to start making baby formula for us, it might be nice to pay them back. Luckily, two UCLA scientists have the perfect gift: a bacterial gene that, when inserted into the rat genome, adds a new metabolic pathway that makes it impossible to get fat, no matter the carb content of the mouse's diet.
Overeating makes you overweight. I'll pause for a moment to let this mind-blowing scientific finding sink in.
In the annals of Science Confirms the Obvious, there's rarely a zinger like this one. And it's no surprise that the media's had a field day, churning out Onion-esque headlines like, well, the one above.
Two "bananeros" -- people claiming to be banana farm workers -- who filed suit against Dole Food Co. claiming pesticides had made them sterile, had their case thrown out of court after a judge cited a "pervasive conspiracy" by the bananeros' attorneys and Nicaraguan judges. (Note: You will have "bananero!" -- sung to the tune of the Canyonero ad on the Simpsons -- stuck in your head all day.)
Also in today's links: how robots see, a look back at the 1976 swine flu outbreak and more.
Surgery dates back to Neolithic times, but some major advances have occurred in the last 20 years that have allowed for previously unthinkable procedures.
While many new techniques have been cool without being clinically relevant, PopSci spoke with with Jeffrey Matthews, the chairman of surgery at the University of Chicago Hospital, to look at some of the advances that have actually helped save lives. And as a bonus, we'll look back at some aspects of surgery that haven't changed over the decades.
We've all heard the news: We're getting fat. Americans are inactive, McDonald's-eating smokers with diabetes, right? That's certainly a generalization, but you know what they say. Where there's smoke, there's fire. Tons of research dollars have been poured into studying this historic obesity epidemic. While some may imagine that obesity begins once a child is tall enough to reach the top shelf where mom and dad keep the cookies, a new study points to an even earlier age that jump starts obesity: infancy.