Can’t stick to that diet? Blame your gut bacteria

Editorial: Which came first, the chicken or egg?  In case you don’t know, it was the chicken. The article below sheds some light on our addictions/ bad habits with food and beverages especially. Our ‘individual’ and poor choices create little monsters in tummy (and whole intestinal tract). What kind and how many have you created? Even drinking (any) liquid with meals creates more monsters (which live on undigested, putrefying food particles).

Your willpower may not be entirely to blame for your eating habits — your gut bacteria may be responsible, too.  The gut microbiome, the collection of all the microbes in our digestive tracts, may influence our food choices and behavior, suggests a new study that recently appeared in the journal BioEssays.  Different bacteria have different nutritional needs based on the niches they’ve come to occupy in our guts, say researchers from University of California San Francisco, Arizona State University and the University of New Mexico.

Shocking video reveals what the sun really does to your skin

A video posted on YouTube sheds new light on the effects of not wearing sunscreen, reported.  With over 10 million views, “How the Sun Sees You” shows people stepping in front of a special ultraviolet light camera that reveals hidden sun damage.  Many of those who approach the camera appear to have healthy skin, and are shocked to see the amount of freckles, wrinkles and dark spots on their faces.

Salt injection ‘kills cancer cells’

RESEARCHERS from the University of Southampton are part of an international team that has helped to create a molecule that can cause cancer cells to die by carrying sodium and chloride ions into the cells.  “This work shows how chloride transporters can work with sodium channels in cell membranes to cause an influx of salt into a cell. We found we can trigger cell death with salt,” said study co-author Professor Philip Gale, of the University of Southampton.

Gold particles show promise in killing brain tumors

Scientists coated the nanospheres in layers of a common chemotherapy drug called cisplatin and found that when applied to the tumor, the cancer cells stopped reproducing and many of them died.  They then tested the golden nanospheres on brain tumor samples given a dose of radiation similar to what a cancer patient would receive. Electrons within the golden core of the nanospheres became “excited,” according to the study, which triggered the breakdown of genetic material, or DNA, within the cancer cells. The process also allowed the chemotherapy to attack the weakened tumor.

Coffee may hydrate athletes just like water

Caffeine does not have a diuretic effect on regular coffee drinkers and is safe to use, says sports nutrition researcher and consultant in elite sport.  “Perhaps we don’t have to worry too much about athletes drinking coffee if they are regular coffee drinkers, as the chances of it having a detrimental effect on their fluid balance is actually very small,” said Sophie Killer, a doctoral researcher at Loughborough University.

Caffeine taken during training may boost sports performance

Already one of the most widely-used stimulants in sport, recent research suggests there may be greater scope for caffeine to be used in a wider range of sports as well as during exercise, says sports nutrition researcher and consultant in elite sport.  In endurance exercise it was shown that caffeine improved the ability to exercise for a prolonged period of time. In high intensity sports such as swimming or rowing, lasting between 1-60 minutes, performance also improved with the use of caffeine.  Although team sports were harder to test, caffeine was believed to help when fatigue was a limiting factor. Even the strength-based sports could benefit from caffeine use, but only if there was an endurance component.

Ebola virus: Why isn’t there a cure?

So why aren’t there more specific treatments for Ebola?  Part of the reason is that Ebola is caused by a virus, rather than bacteria, and researchers in general have had a harder time developing treatments for viral diseases, compared with bacterial diseases, said Derek Gatherer, a bioinformatics researcher at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom who studies virus genetics and evolution.  “Antiviral therapy has lagged behind antibacterial therapy for decades,” Gatherer said.

Cheerleading is more dangerous than you think

Modern day cheerleading has progressed beyond pretty girls waving pom-poms on the sidelines. It’s now an ultra-competitive sport filled with physically demanding tricks and dangerous acrobatics. While thrilling, the evolution of cheerleading has resulted in significantly more brain injuries and even partial paralysis among participants.  Interestingly, these types of injuries occur more frequently during practice than in competition. Why? Most believe it’s due to cheerleading not being (consistently) recognized as an official school sport, making proper practice space and safety equipment scarce.

Is there a happiness gene?

One secret to happiness may lie in genes, a new study suggests.  Denmark and other Scandinavian countries regularly top world happiness rankings, and while many factors influence happiness, genetics may play a larger role than previously thought, according to the study authors.  The new research examined the average genetic makeup of people in more than 100 countries, and compared how similar their genes were to people living in Denmark a measurement called genetic distance. They found that the greater a nation’s genetic distance from Denmark, the lower the reported well-being of that nation.