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3 Out of 5 Doctors – Leaves 2

Every once in awhile it’s good to be reminded that yesterday’s nutritional advice can be wrong.  We need to beware of simplistic approaches to health.  For instance, the cliches “If a little is good, more is better” or “it worked for me” can be deadly.  TV commercials are filled with glowing promises for this or […]

Music Out of Range of Darwin’s Instrument

In Science this week,1 Michael Balter reported on a Montreal meeting of the Brain, Music and Sound Research Center (BRAMS).  The center is gaining attention for its renewed interest in the biology of music, and why human beings are so good at this skill with its dubious survival value.  The topic came up about how […]

The Space Race: Just Staying Alive

“Ad astra!” the sci-fi slogan announces with eternal optimism: “To the stars!”  Medical doctors and astrobiologists are not sure you would want to stay there long, though.  Some recent findings give a dismal picture of the prospects for life – human or bacterial – at least in our solar system, if that can be assumed […]

Muscles Use Gears, Automatic Transmission

Analogies may not be perfect representations of reality, but it must pique the interest of all of us the way Elisabeth Pennisi in Science1 compared muscle to cars and bicycles: One look at a ballerina as she pirouettes and poses drives home the remarkable ability of our muscles to adapt to diverse biomechanical demands.  Manny […]

Your Body Knows Its Allies at Gut Level

How come your body doesn’t fight its good bacteria?  It sounds like a question only a scientist or a kid would ask, but think about it.  Your body jumps to arms to fight off pathogens, but lets millions of bacteria live in the intestines.  These bacteria help you digest your food, but are not “you.”  […]

Human Endurance: Is It Evolutionary?

Some people are gluttons for punishment.  Many a couch potato is probably content to watch an Ironman or Ultramarathon on HDTV from a recliner, but the ones who take part in the grueling endurance contests gaining popularity illustrate some human capabilities scientists are only beginning to understand.  Nature1 described one called the Primal Quest adventure […]

How Your Brain Conducts Itself at Attention

The conductor taps the stand.  All the musicians, who had been warming up or conversing with neighbors, suddenly hush and rivet their attention on the conductor.  The downbeat comes, and a marvel of coordination comes to life, each skilled player contributing to a unified yet diverse exhibition of harmonious sound.     Something like that […]

How Your Joints Auto-Lubricate Themselves

Motion sets up an automated process that produces more lubricant for the joints, scientists at UC San Diego found.  EurekAlert explains how shear forces on cartilage stimulated it to produce proteoglycan 4, which secretes joint fluid where it coats and lubricates cartilage surfaces.  This way, the fluid is produced according to the need of the […]

Male Nipples: Two Views

Is there a beachgoer who has not wondered why men have nipples?  Since Live Science brought it up, let’s use this as a case study on how evolutionists and creationists explain things. The Evolutionist View:  Live Science claims we all start out as females in the womb, and only after about 60 days the testosterone […]

It’s Hard to Break a Bone

People wearing a cast right now may not feel comfortable, but should be thankful it’s hard to break a bone.  Scientists at Max Planck Institute discovered “a novel construction principle at the nanoscale which prevents bones from breaking at excessive force,” making them “nearly unbreakable.”  Because of the way the rigid components of bone tissue […]

Brain Compensates for Eye Movements

Your eyes are continually jumping in little movements called saccades, yet your brain interprets the view as a steady image.  How can that be?  Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh are on the track of finding out “why our shifty eyes don’t drive us crazy.”  They’ve discovered that the signal that sends a command to […]

Intestinal Efficiency Praised

Leave it to a science website to answer those questions one would never ask out loud, or might not really care to know, like “why are feces brown?”  One line jumps out of an explanation at Live Science that is no joke: “Feces are fascinating.  Flush down your initial grade-school scatological silliness and you’ll discover […]

Science Potpourri

Interesting articles from recent issues of Science have piled up in the queue.  These might have made separate entries in CEH if time and space were unlimited. Deep Impact:  The team of the Deep Impact mission to a comet published spectral results in the July 13 issue.  “Emission signatures due to amorphous and crystalline silicates, […]

Japanese Man Sets Memory Record

Item: a Japanese man, Akira Haraguchi (age 60), quoted pi to 100,000 decimal places, reported Live Science.  It took 16 hours to say the digits from memory.  This broke his personal best of 83,431 set in 1995, and the Guinness record of 42,195, also set in 1995. Incredible feats like this hint at the innate […]

Mars Radiation Would Fry Astronaut Brains

Imagine the first Martian astronauts coming home confused, impaired and demented.  This is the risk from solar radiation on Mars, say a group of NASA medical researchers (see RxPG News).  Among the gravest risks of a manned flight to Mars ranks the possibility that massive amounts of solar and cosmic radiation will decimate the brains […]
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