We’ve all been there, you’re desperate for the loo, and frantically hunting for a toilet, only to find when you get there, that the seat is covered with “droplets” from the previous user.
When I give talks, I am often approached by people who are worried about their memory. Maybe they are studying for an exam and don’t feel that they learn as well as their peers. Maybe they keep forgetting to close the window when they leave the house. Or maybe they struggle to remember an event that happened a few weeks ago but which everyone else can describe in vivid detail.
Everyone has had the unpleasant experience of a rash on the skin – pink, red or purple, flat or bumpy, itchy, scaly, pus-filled, or just plain unsightly. This variety isn’t surprising, because the skin is a complicated organ.
Insect repellents can be safe and effective but many people are reluctant to rub what they perceive to be smelly or sticky on their skin.
Everybody knows that to lose weight you should eat less and move more. But, of course, it’s not that simple; the combination of today’s environment and human biology can make it really, really hard to shed pounds. To reduce diseases caused by being overweight or obese, society needs to change, but those changes will be slow to come. We need effective weight-loss strategies now.
Asked what they know about attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, many people will likely tell you that it mostly affects children, and mostly boys. However, recent research has shown that neither of these perceptions is entirely true.
When you think of sugar, you probably think of the sweet, white, crystalline table sugar that you use to make cookies or sweeten your coffee. But did you know that within our body, simple sugar molecules can be connected together to create powerful structures that have recently been found to be linked to health problems, including cancer, aging and autoimmune diseases.
If you drink alcohol, it’s likely you’re familiar with some of the effects of a hangover. Headaches, nausea and fatigue are just some of the unpleasant but common experiences of the morning after the night before. But have you ever wondered how a hangover may influence your thoughts and behaviour?
Not everyone will readily admit to peeing in swimming pools, but it does happen. An anonymous survey from 2012 found that 19 percent of adults admitted they had peed in a pool at least once. But when you use a pool as a giant toilet, that yellow trail contains some nasty bacteria and parasites.
There are many ways to get around a city. You can drive a car or ride a motorcycle. In many cities you have the option of public transport. And of course if you live close enough to where you are heading you can get around in a more active way by riding a bicycle or walking.
Cycling may be dangerous in some ways, but it’s healthy too. But do the health benefits outweigh the risks of potential death? And what about public transport or driving? What is the risk of having an accident, and are there any health benefits at all? There are a number of variables to consider, so the answers to these questions may not be as straightforward as you think.
Surprisingly few of the more than 3,000 mosquito species actually specialise in biting humans. Instead, most are opportunistic feeders – feeding when they are able and from lots of different sources. But Aedes aegypti and Anopheles gambiae are well known for their preference for human blood and their role as vectors which transmit disease in humans. Ae. aegypti has been linked to zika and dengue, while An. gambiae carries the parasite which causes malaria.
If you live with a dog you just know when it’s happy or miserable, don’t you? Of course you do. Even the scientific community, now admits that dogs have emotions – even if scientists can’t directly measure what they are experiencing.
People have had a close bond with domesticated dogs for centuries. In his 1764 Dictionnaire philosophique, Voltaire observed: “It seems that nature has given the dog to man for his defence and for his pleasure. Of all the animals it is the most faithful: it is the best friend man can have.”
A new study involved nearly 600 patients with depression that taking four or more antidepressants, taken either separately or in combination could not be alleviate. Researchers evaluated vagus nerve stimulators, which send regular, mild pulses of electrical energy to the brain via the vagus nerve. The nerve originates in the brain, passes through the neck and travels down into the chest and abdomen.
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the lungs where the airways become so obstructed the sufferer struggles to breathe. It’s vastly more prevalent in Western societies, and usually develops in childhood. But what do we know about what causes it?
The energy-generating potential of solar panels – and a key limitation on their use – is a result of what they’re made of. Panels made of silicon are declining in price such that in some locations they can provide electricity that costs about the same as power from fossil fuels like coal and natural gas. But silicon solar panels are also bulky, rigid and brittle, so they can’t be used just anywhere.
“I felt a sense of dissolving, disappearing completely.” “My body and mind melted and merged with the universe.” “I ceased to exist.” These are excerpts of what I occasionally hear from the students who come to my yoga and meditation classes. For most, these “mind-expanding” experiences are very positive and this is precisely what my students are seeking. However, there are always a few who have a difficult time with “ceasing to exist.”
Picture two different families, each dealing with a diagnosis of dementia in one of its members. In one case, the patient is a retired executive, whose family tries as long as possible to keep the diagnosis secret, relying primarily on professional caregivers and eventually a nursing home. In another case, the patient is a grandmother. As soon as the diagnosis is suspected, her family pulls together, bringing her into their home and surrounding her with affection.
Eating a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and low in added sugar, sodium, and processed meats could help promote healthy cellular aging in women, according to a new study.
Our mental and physical well-being suffer from the sonic overload of modern life. Once upon a time, a person could seek out silence and find it. But nowadays, silence has become a rare and elusive thing. Without humans protecting it, quiet appears and disappears like an endangered species. That which used to dominate the earth for miles at a stretch and days on end is on the run.
It’s been a busy summer for food-based biotech. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration made headlines when it approved the plant-based “Impossible Burger,” which relies on an ingredient from genetically modified yeast for its meaty taste. The European Union sparked controversy by extending heavy restrictions on genetically modified organisms by classifying them as gene-edited crops.
Science is like Michelangelo. The young Michelangelo demonstrated his skill as a sculptor by carving the ravishing Pietà in the Vatican; the mature Michelangelo, having acquired and demonstrated his skill, broke free of the conventions and created his extraordinary later quasi-abstractions. Science has trod a similar path.
Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the world, affecting both low- and high-income countries. Although it is an easy problem to fix, it remains unfixed. Our bodies need iron to function. Too little leads to anaemia, limiting the body’s ability to carry and deliver oxygen. Well-known symptoms of iron deficiency include poor concentration, fatigue and mood changes.
One of the main problems with plastics is that although we may only need them fleetingly – seconds in the case of microbeads in personal care products, or minutes as in plastic grocery bags – they stick around for hundreds of years. Unfortunately, much of this plastic ends up as environmental pollution.
Despite its environmental benefits, using local seaweed for food can be a tough sell. Some think the Dutch have finally cracked the code. “Is seaweed a vegetable?” a wide-eyed child asks a tall man chopping kelp at a “Taste the Nature” market in the Zuiderpark city farm in The Hague. “Well, it has lots of vitamins and minerals,” the cook, Jethro van Luijk, replies.
It is now accepted that sport-related concussion can have a direct and significant effect on the functional status of the brain, but recent research from our laboratory has demonstrated that the heart is also significantly affected. We believe this change is transient and the heart will go back to “normal.”
Almost 40 percent of Americans can expect a cancer diagnosis in their lifetimes. As the number of new cancer cases per year is expected to rise to 23.6 million by 2030 worldwide, people are desperate for answers, turning to alternative therapies that fall outside the typical “slash, burn, poison” treatment model. A review of the documentary “The Food Cure,” which follows patients undergoing an intensive and controversial nutritional therapy.
Caffeine is our favourite drug. But if we miss out on our fix, it can be a real headache, in more ways than one. Caffeine is a stimulant. It quickly enters our brain and blocks the (adenosine) receptors that are responsible for dulling brain activity. By blocking the dulling of our brain, we feel a sense of invigoration, focus and subtle euphoria. These feelings can also enhance our performance of certain focused tasks, like driving or staying awake through the whole lecture.
Obesity levels in Australia and around the world are high and rising. This comes at an enormous economic cost for society and individuals, not only in terms of health care and productivity, but also in lost quality and duration of life. Both behavioural economics research and weight-loss trials show that relying solely on Australians to take personal responsibility is doomed to fail, unless governments step in to create environments that promote healthy food and physical activity.
Hospice and palliative care patients who listen to live music in their rooms as part of their treatment report feeling better both emotionally and physically, a new study reports. They also request fewer opioid-based medications, according to the study.
In the first of many pending lawsuits to go to trial, a jury in San Francisco concluded on Aug. 10 that the plaintiff had developed cancer from exposure to Roundup, Monsanto’s widely used herbicide, and ordered the company to pay US$289 million in damages. The plaintiff, Dewayne Johnson, had used Roundup in his job as groundskeeper in a California school district. He later developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The jury awarded Johnson $39 million in compensatory damages to cover pain, suffering and medical bills due to negligence by Monsanto, plus an additional $250 million in punitive damages.
Psychedelic science is making a comeback. Scientific publications, therapeutic breakthroughs and cultural endorsements suggest that the historical reputation of psychedelics — such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), mescaline (from the peyote cactus) and psilocybin (mushrooms) — as dangerous or inherently risky have unfairly overshadowed a more optimistic interpretation.
Wearing the wrong size bra is not only uncomfortable, it can cause a range of health problems. Research has shown that a lack of breast support often leads to breast pain, which is reported by 50% of women. An ill-fitting bra that doesn’t give the right support can also lead to breast skin damage – usually seen as stretch marks, caused by stretching the skin beyond its recovery point.
A newly discovered processor vulnerability could potentially put secure information at risk in any Intel-based PC manufactured since 2008. It could affect users who rely on a digital lockbox feature known as Intel Software Guard Extensions, or SGX, as well as those who use common cloud-based services.
A recent study in the Journal of the American Heart Association has led to headlines that will make you rethink your Saturday morning sleep in.Don’t set the alarm just yet. Yes, the researchers found a link between people who usually slept for longer than eight hours a night and their chances of having heart disease or dying prematurely.
Yet again this week, the Hayne Royal Commission has brought disturbing news of misconduct toward customers of our largest financial institutions. This time super accounts have been plundered for the benefit of shareholders. Recent research from economists at the United States Federal Reserve suggests this problem is not unique to Australia. If true, this supports the argument that larger financial institutions should be broken up or face more regulatory scrutiny.
We’re very careful about what our kids eat, but what about the air they breathe?During recent summers, children living on the West Coast of Canada have been breathing some of the most polluted air on record. This is due to seasonal wildfires, which have burned through vast zones of North America and affected even larger areas with their smoke.
Most people who diet will regain 50% of the lost weight in the first year after losing it. Much of the rest will regain it in the following three years. Most people inherently know that keeping a healthy weight boils down to three things: eating healthy, eating less, and being active. But actually doing that can be tough.
With the school year starting again, it’s time to start to think about the routine of packing school lunches. For many time-pressed parents, this is a formidable task. But it doesn’t need to be.
One of the first albums I owned was a tape of Madonna’s 1987 remix collection You Can Dance. I’m not sure where I got it from – and I’m not sure I even liked it – but the bright red cover and Madonna’s hard, direct stare are etched in my mind’s eye even now, 30 years later.
A recent Daily Mail article announced that: “Beer is officially good for you”. The article claimed that beer “reduces heart risk” and “improves brain health”. Even if “heart risk” sounds a bit vague, the news sounds good. But let’s take a closer look at the evidence.
If you like independent, art-house films or other specialised movies, you may have heard of the Romanian comedy-drama Sieranevada, which was released in 2016. The film was formally premiered as part of the main competition programme of the prestigious Cannes Film Festival and was subsequently shown at other international film festivals, including Toronto, New York and London.
It’s Friday and you’re clocking off, and after a few sleepless nights you want to tuck yourself up early and catch up on all the sleep you’ve lost. But does it really work that way? During sleep our memories from the day are solidified and our brain does a bit of a clean-up sorting through the things we need to hold onto and discard from the day.
Nose bleeds, or epistaxes, are often a mystery to the 60% of us who have had at least one in our lifetime. Suddenly, and without obvious cause, bright red blood starts streaming from one nostril. Usually they’re not something to worry about, but why we get them is not always clear.
I cannot imagine how overwhelming the experience must be for someone with fewer resources and less of an understanding about health care in America.
Women who have had a heart attack have a significantly higher survival rate when a female doctor treats them in the emergency room, a new study of nearly 582,000 cases shows.
People who develop abnormally frequent cases of a skin cancer known as basal cell carcinoma appear to be at significantly increased risk for the development of other cancers, including blood, breast, colon, and prostate cancers, according to a new, preliminary study. “Skin is the best organ to detect genetic problems that could lead to cancers.”
While we take physical workouts very seriously, there is much less said about the “workouts” that help us remain mentally agile and healthy. But just as with physical health, there are simple and practical ways that can help everyone to enjoy good mental health. Our research has led us to a method for promoting mental health and wellbeing within communities, which follows a simple model that can be adopted by anyone.
Today, nearly 40 percent of U.S. adults and 21 percent of youth are obese. This trend is on the upswing and the worldwide population is becoming more obese – which is increasing the risk of other conditions like Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease whose prevalence has doubled globally in the last 30 years. But you may be surprised to learn that it’s not just food that is making us fat.
Recognizing faces is essential for how we interact in complex societies, and is often thought to be an ability that requires the sophistication of the large human brain. But new evidence we published in Frontiers in Psychology shows that insects such as the honeybee (Apis mellifera) and the European wasp (Vespula vulgaris) use visual processing mechanisms that are similar to humans’, which enables reliable face recognition.
Genetic testing is available to people who want to know if they carry a variant of a gene that confers susceptibility for Alzheimer’s.
Humans have gone unshod for millions of years; it is only in the last few centuries that people have started wearing shoes. However, a recent survey shows that shoe wearing among young boys isn’t universal.
Your body has just performed an amazing feat. Be kind to it.
Agriculture is rated among the most dangerous industries by the International Labour Organization, and not just for adults.
After a night of heavy drinking, college students often get a case of the “drunchies”—drunk munchies—where only fatty, salty, unhealthy foods will do, a new study shows.
By facing pain, listening to it, and allowing it the room it was demanding anyway, my body began to relax a bit around the pain. I stopped clenching quite so much, I stopped saying no, no, no, and I began to accept. I learned that constantly saying no to pain locks things in place. Relaxing into acceptance allows the possibility for the body to regenerate.
Is it possible that people who are diagnosed with cancer die of a sophisticated form of voodoo? Does the victim's belief in the power of vicious cells, like belief in the power of a hex, lead to his death? 'Cancer' is a demon word -- the destructiveness of cancer begins as soon as the diagnosis is uttered. The word strikes terror to the heart...
Life doesn't have to be a process of ongoing damage control. There are many things we can do to keep stress from eroding our health and happiness. The fastest way to fix the problems in your life is to remove your stressors. But don't worry; there are alternatives to firing your boss, leaving your home, redesigning your spouse, or trading in your body.
The ability to reverse ageing is something many people would hope to see in their lifetime.
Diets are everywhere, but could eating “negative calorie” foods, such as celery and grapefruit, help to boost weight loss?
A new report out today from the Australian Health Policy Collaboration has found these four million Australians are at much greater risk of chronic physical disease and much greater risk of early death.
Illness can be the doorway to health. Whether the illness originates in the mind, body, spirit, or environment, we have the choice to allow illness to compel us either toward health and higher learning, or away from health and to eventual destruction.
A survey of adolescents carried out by researchers at Coventry University has shown that than less than half of e-cigarette users knew that vape products contain nicotine or that they are addictive, raising the possibility that they could be a gateway to smoking normal cigarettes.
Multiple pregnancies might make women’s cells age more quickly, a new study suggests. The findings could help explain why women with many children tend to show signs of accelerated aging.
There seems to be a lot of confusion regarding the value – or lack thereof – of muscle stretching to accelerate recovery after exercise. “Stretching clears out your lactic acid,” and other similar claims abound. Is any of this true?
A record number of tourists and business travelers visited a country other than their own in 2017, and this year is already on pace to exceed that tally.
In the sixth century, Pope Gregory I compiled an infamous list of seven deadly sins. Of these seven, sloth is the only sin that shares its name in English with an animal. But are these curious animals truly guilty of vice?
An increasing number of Canadians, especially those under 35, are cutting out meat from their diets – a trend that should be causing serious alarm for meat producers.
If you work in an office, the chances are there are some colleagues you would rather sit next to than others. But we’re not just talking personality likes or dislikes here – what can also be a factor is how clean they keep their desk.
People with depression have low blood levels of a substance called acetyl-L-carnitine, according to a new study.
“Just how old do you think my dog is in dog years?” is a question I hear on a regular basis.
Two things people often think about are money and their appearance. Past research has shown that there is a correlation between the two: People subjectively considered attractive earn more.
Alcohol is a depressant, a diuretic, and a disinfectant. These generally aren’t pleasant attributes, but people have been drinking alcohol for thousands of years...
Professional women have strong reasons to ignore recommendations that urge them to have a more visible presence at work, according to a new study. While research has shown that visibility in the workplace is critical for professional advancement, the reality is that for some women, it’s easier said than done.
Keeping your power in every decision is necessary for your growth and for making better, clearer choices. Trusting yourself when you’re stressed out can feel overwhelming and scary.
Veganism, the plant-based diet which shuns meat and dairy, is having its time in the sun. Since 2008, there has been a 350% increase in the number of self-described vegans in the UK alone. Where this motivation stems from is varied, but includes concerns about animal welfare, worries about the environment and religious reasons.
Sales of George Orwell’s utopian novel 1984 (1949) have spiked twice recently, both times in response to political events. In early 2017, the idea of ‘alternative facts’ called to mind Winston Smith, the book’s protagonist and, as a clerk in the Ministry of Truth, a professional alternator of facts.
A diet developed in the 1920s to treat children with epilepsy is suddenly all the rage. The ketogenic diet, or “keto diet”, has reportedly been endorsed by celebrities and even athletes are giving it a go.
Why do batteries die? And, why can they only be recharged so many times before they won’t hold a useful amount of charge? This same question has probably crossed the mind of every cellphone user trying to send one last text before the screen blinks off.
Few activities that bead our everyday lives have earned such dubious notoriety as commuting. That the words “hell” and “nightmare” are sometimes invoked to describe journeys to and from work indicates just how disparaged this part of our lives often is. Commuting has become such a routine part of our daily lives that we don’t stop to think about what it may offer us.
The duck-rabbit image above is one of the most iconic in philosophy – so iconic that a former undergraduate of mine had it tattooed on his leg. So what’s philosophically significant about this dot and wavy line?
Red meat is an excellent source of protein and essential nutrients such as iron, zinc, vitamin B12 and omega-3 fats, which are are linked to heart and brain health. But while a small quantity of lean meat may be good for us, too much red or processed meat can increase our risk of some cancers.
The level of sugar in an individual’s blood—especially in individuals who are considered healthy—fluctuates more than traditional means of monitoring, like the one-and-done finger-prick method, would have us believe, according to a new study.
Could the poop of some cancer patients hold the key to treating certain cancers in all people?
Research shows that you are more likely to die from a heart attack or stroke on Monday morning than any other time of the week. Of course, it's not Monday that kills us but the meaning we attach to this artificial walling off of the time of our life.
Our brains hold the magic that allows us to find our stories and to make and remake our meaning. When split-brain research began in the 1960s, the findings expanded horizons on how our storytelling minds work.
Studies indicate spending time in nature brings physical, mental and social benefits. These include stress reduction, improved mood, accelerated healing, attention restoration, productivity and heightened imagination and creativity.
Faulty or unflued gas heaters can leak carbon monoxide, which is potentially fatal in high concentrations
But it seems that 40% of dogs in Australia are not walked enough and that a similar percentage of dogs are overweight or obese.
New research identifies the neural link between depression and sleep problems.
Craft can be done solitary or with other people, and its up to you to decide.
Millions of people will have the opportunity to see a lunar eclipse – an event popularly known in the media as a “blood moon” – on Friday July 27.
There are a few tricks that architects use to make spaces appear bigger – and you can use them too.
Family and friends have an important role to play in detecting suicide risk and supporting the person.
Millions of Americans are sleep-deprived, but stressing over it won’t help.
Sugar improves memory in older adults—and makes them more motivated to perform difficult tasks at full capacity—according to new research.
Alarming stories about the diabetes epidemic that threatens millions of lives – and the NHS itself – have become commonplace, and with good reason.
Although ice-cold drinks and ice cream can cause sharp, shooting mouth pain and the occasional “brain freeze,” the two reactions are completely unrelated, says neurologist Roderick Spears.
From Lassie to Balto, pop culture loves stories of a dog coming to a person’s rescue.