Biology and Biotech

Following TV broadcasts seen throughout the world, it's now known that some Olympians are engaging in a recuperative practice that produces large purple welts on their bodies. Swimmers and gymnasts are in on the act, and they're saying that it's all about relieving pain in their sore muscles, brought on from rigorous training and competition.

Cupping Therapy, via Shutterstock Cupping Therapy, via Shutterstock

The procedure is known as "cupping therapy," where hot glasses or cups are placed over sore areas of the body. And while there is no scientific study proving its...

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Being an astronaut is not easy. Not only must you be in top physical and mental shape, but your body undergoes a constant assault from the effects of microgravity. According to Scientific American, prolonged space flight results in muscle atrophy, cardiovascular problems, neurological and...

As Kramer from Seinfeld demonstrated, sponging off of other people can be a successful life strategy. The same is true for many members of the Animal Kingdom. In a new study published in Biology Letters, researchers Sara Weinstein and Armand Kuris from the University of California-Santa Barbara show that parasitism independently evolved many more times than originally thought.

To conduct their analysis, Weinstein and Kuris examined how often parasitism evolved from non-parasitic ancestors. They concluded that it evolved at least 223 times, far more than the previous estimate of 60. As shown below, parasitism arose...

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One of the hallmarks of aging — even in healthy individuals — is a decrease in the body's ability to regulate hydration.If the body doesn't have enough water - dehydrated - then the ions and proteins in the blood and tissues will be too concentrated to work properly. Conversely, too much water dilutes the blood and can be problematic too. The body monitors the level of hydration — too much water and the excess is excreted in the urine. If there's too little, the kidneys decrease the water they...

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By now most folks are aware that the class of drugs called statins can lower levels of blood cholesterol by their action on the liver and thus help prevent heart attacks. But they may be able to do more than that. In addition to their effectiveness lowering cholesterol, statins have anti-inflammatory effects. And a small, new, study demonstrated the efficacy of one statin in preventing the negative consequences of antiphospholipid syndrome (APS...

Last year, a team of researchers led by Ellen Foxman and Akiko Iwasaki of Yale University provided supporting evidence for the popular notion that being in cold weather makes a person more susceptible to catching cold. They showed that mouse cells do not respond well to rhinovirus, a cause of the common cold, when incubated at temperatures lower than normal body temperature. In particular, mouse cells secreted less and were less responsive to interferon-β, a type of antiviral defense molecule. Thus, their research demonstrated a plausible molecular mechanism to explain the phenomenon.

Now, the researchers are back with yet more evidence. This time, they...

NRDC members going to work? Photo credit: hightimes.com

The Natural Resources Defense Council never shuts up about common trace chemicals that it claims will disrupt your endocrine system. But, it is strangely silent when it comes to a REAL disruptor — marijuana.

Are people there just too stoned to notice?

Go to the NRDC website. Search "endocrine disruptors." You will find 103 articles that rant about all the chemicals that they say are screwing with our hormones.

Here are some of the usual suspects: BPA (surprise), a bunch...

I'm a big fan of birds. If you watch them for long enough, you will see more than their colors, sizes and shapes. They also have distinct personalities.

Some of them are also "tricky." They fool you into thinking that they are a beautiful blue color, but this is just an illusion. (More on that later.)

Black-capped chickadees are fearless. They will eat out of your hand if you stand still. Catbirds don't scare easily either, and they are rather inquisitive. If you leave your door open, it is not impossible that you will find a catbird sitting on your kitchen counter. I found this out the hard way. (Getting it out of there was rather challenging.)

Northern Cardinals are both timid and polite. It does not take much more than the sound of a cotton ball falling on a...

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You never think it can happen to you, until it does. I just spent the greater part of this morning being gently ridiculed by my colleagues here at the American Council on Science and Health. Why? One word: Zika.

I was in Jamaica last week to attend the wedding of a dear friend. I’d previously lived there for five years while I was pursuing my medical degree. Since I once lived there, I still consider myself a local when I visit, and like some local people do, my comfort level overruled my judgment. And now I have Zika.

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Life is about navigating the familiar and the unfamiliar. We take comfort in driving home the same way each day while we go on vacation to new places. These are habitual versus goal-oriented behaviors.

For people with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, the unfamiliar can be paralyzing and they need more ritual and routine to offset the chaos of the outside world. A new study examined how endocannabinoids -- natural messengers in the body that are chemically similar to the active compound in marijuana and known to...