Food sharing: Hunter-gatherer "health insurance"

Kim Hill By pure chance (involving a failed attempt to go hiking and a speeding ticket), I found myself at a talk given by anthropologist Kim Hill, speaking on the “Emergence of Human Uniqueness: Characteristics Underlying Behavioral Modernity.” I previously wrote an article for Scientific American on an Arizona State University workshop that Hill headedContinue reading “Food sharing: Hunter-gatherer "health insurance"”

Chemicals in Store Register Receipts and Fast Food Wrappers

Before the next time you ask a cashier for a receipt, think twice! It might be tainted with bisphenol A, aka BPA. A recent study in Environmental Health Perspectives showed that cashiers had highest BPA exposure because of its use in thermal paper for register receipts in a monomer form that is readily absorbed throughContinue reading “Chemicals in Store Register Receipts and Fast Food Wrappers”

How our senses help us decide what we eat

Senses help us select our food. So, this is a blog post about the importance of sensory criteria for selecting food, which was inspired by a day of cooking up goods for the holidays. What makes people choose the foods that they do? This question may seem obvious to yourself–after all, you know what youContinue reading “How our senses help us decide what we eat”

What happens on a high omega-6 diet

A while back I wrote a review of Queen of Fats: Why Omega-3s Were Removed from the Western Diet and What We Can Do about Them. Susan Allport’s book goes into the history of how omega-3s were discovered and what they’ll mean for us in the future. A controversial topic of the book is how omega-6 (king)Continue reading “What happens on a high omega-6 diet”

Resveratrol influences belly fat behavior

Fat can not only be unsightly, but if it’s sitting on your belly, may also contribute to overproduction of signaling hormones called adipokines, which are linked to metabolic changes that can worsen health. New research from Aarhus University has found that abdominal adipose tissue extracted from overweight adults, and then exposed to resveratrol, exhibited reducedContinue reading “Resveratrol influences belly fat behavior”

Middle-aged Mice fed BCAAs live longer

Scientists are actively seeking aging-intervention strategies to help people maintain their youth in anticipation of a sharp rise in the elderly population – due to the “baby boomer” generation – and an unprecedented number of elderly in North America and throughout the developed world. Now, a new study in the October issue of Cell MetabolismContinue reading “Middle-aged Mice fed BCAAs live longer”

My tour of Yale biotech facilities

I had the good fortune of touring Yale University’s biotech facilities today, including the 2007-built Yale Stem Cell Center, with its director as our guide: cell biology professor Haifan Lin, PhD. Walking through a high-tech stem cell facility with Lin was nothing like I expected. Lin was incredibly personable, and he and his staff tookContinue reading “My tour of Yale biotech facilities”

New Paradigms and the Future of Medicine

What is the future of medicine and how will we get there? On Monday morning, as part of New Horizons of Science at Yale, Director of Institutes of Systems Biology Lee Hood discussed the advent of 21st-century medicine: p4 medicine. What are paradigm changes in biology leading to p4, or proactive medicine? There are severalContinue reading “New Paradigms and the Future of Medicine”

Why do we make bad decisions? It’s evolution, stupid.

In the afternoon session of New Horizons in Science at Yale, psychology professor Laurie Santos delivered a compelling talk on the origins of human irrationality. Santos studies comparative cognition in primates including humans, chimps, various monkeys, and (my favorite animal) lemurs! There isn’t too much about rationality that we don’t share with the rest ofContinue reading “Why do we make bad decisions? It’s evolution, stupid.”

What microbes in our soil (not dirt!) mean to us

Most people have no idea just how large the role of microbes play as a part in our world, in our soil, in our bodies. That was the introduction we received on the subject from Yale professor Jo Handelsman at New Horizons in Science (as part of #sciwri10). As a molecular, cellular and developmental biologist,Continue reading “What microbes in our soil (not dirt!) mean to us”