We’re a little obsessed with moving fat around. And no, we’re not talking about stealing bags of liposuction leftovers to make soap.
If cells were personified, each fat cell would be an overbearing grandparent who hoards. They’re constantly trying to make you eat another serving of potatoes, and have cabinets stacked with vitamins they never take.
It’s a tale as old as fear-mongering World War II posters about the dreaded VD (that’s venereal disease, not Victory Day). Americans, on the whole, are really bad at talking about sex, and even worse at talking about sexually transmitted infections and diseases.
It’s difficult to agree on one definition of consciousness, so it’s confusing to read reports that someone who was in a coma for 15 years suddenly regained it. What does it mean to be aware of yourself and the world around you? If you pass out and then “regain consciousness,” it’s clear that you woke up with many of the same abilities you had when you shut your eyes. But that’s not what happened to this patient. What did he regain?
The Hazda is a small group of hunter-gatherers living in the central Rift Valley of Tanzania, one of the few remaining groups of people left in the world who still collect the majority of their diet through foraged foods. Modernity has still managed to touch their lives, of course, but far less than it has for those of us in the post-industrialized West. For this reason, scientists have long been interested in studying their biology, in hopes of gleaning something about humanity’s evolutionary path.
“Dry, lifeless hair can take the fun out of your life,” intones an announcer in a 1950s ad for the haircare product Brylcreem, “but you can put it back with Brylcreem—with Brylcream, a little dab will do you.” The ad might seem a little rough by 2017 sensibilities, but some 60 years later we’re still attracted to the shine promised by cosmetics and personal care products. Toothpaste companies pledge that they’ll give us blindingly white smiles, while deodorant manufacturers dangle the hope of a life without stink. The advertisements that we see and the products we buy help determine and reinforce what we view as normal.
It’s no secret that exercise makes your heart bigger in a healthy way, helping it to pump blood more efficiently and lessening the potential for heart failure. Figuring out a way to mimic the way exercise manages to do this could be an extremely beneficial way to treat certain types of heart conditions. A study out this week shows how a protein called cardiotrophin 1 might in fact do this: have the same positive effects on the heart, minus the actual exersise part.