Category Archives: Science

Diet: “Skeptical” NY Times Health Writer Endorses Numerous Health Benefits Of 16+ Hour Fasting

From a New York Times article by Jane E. Brody (Feb 17, 2020):

“It takes 10 to 12 hours to use up the calories in the liver before a metabolic shift occurs to using stored fat,” Dr. Mattson told me. After meals, glucose is used for energy and fat is stored in fat tissue, but during fasts, once glucose is depleted, fat is broken down and used for energy.

The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting Jane E Brody New York Times February 17 2020I was skeptical, but it turns out there is something to be said for practicing a rather prolonged diurnal fast, preferably one lasting at least 16 hours. Mark P. Mattson, neuroscientist at the National Institute on Aging and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, explained that the liver stores glucose, which the body uses preferentially for energy before it turns to burning body fat.

For example, human studies of intermittent fasting found that it improved such disease indicators as insulin resistance, blood fat abnormalities, high blood pressure and inflammation, even independently of weight loss. In patients with multiple sclerosis, intermittent fasting reduced symptoms in just two months, a research team in Baltimore reported in 2018.

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Top New Science Podcasts: NIH Grant Diversity, Post-Traumatic Stress Memory Suppression (ScienceMag)

scimag_pc_logo_120_120 (2)On this week’s show, senior correspondent Jeffrey Mervis joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss a new National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant program that aims to encourage diversity at the level of university faculty with the long-range goal of increasing the diversity of NIH grant recipients.

Sarah also talks with Pierre Gagnepain, a cognitive neuroscientist at INSERM, the French biomedical research agency, about the role of memory suppression in post-traumatic stress disorder. Could people that are better at suppressing memories be more resilient to the aftermath of trauma?

Profiles: 71-Year Old Physicist And Author Alan Lightman’s “Creative Life”

From a New York Times online article (February 13, 2020):

“I love physics, but what was even more important to me was leading a creative life,” Dr. Lightman said. “And I knew that writers could continue doing their best work later in life.”

Alan Lightman Books

Lightman is best known in literary circles for his 1992 novel, “Einstein’s Dreams,” which is all about the vicissitudes – romantic, physical and otherwise – of time. It recounts the nightly visions of a young patent clerk in Bern, Switzerland, as he struggles to finish his theory of relativity.

But before that, Dr. Lightman was an astrophysicist, a card-carrying wizard of space and time, with a Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology and subsequent posts at Cornell and Harvard In 1989, at the peak of his prowess as a physicist, he began to walk away from the world of black holes to enter the world of black ink and the uncertain, lonely life of the writer.

Recently he was in New York for the opening of “Einstein’s Dreams,” an off-Broadway play based on his book. There have been dozens of such stage adaptations over the last 30 years.

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Science Podcast: Prussian Blue Structures, Extinct Rodents And Quantum Entanglement (Nature)

Nature PodcastsHear the latest from the world of science, brought to you by Nick Howe and Shamini Bundell. This week, uncovering the structure of materials with useful properties, and quantum entanglement over long distances.

In this episode:

00:45 Analysing Prussian blues

Analogues of the paint pigment Prussian blue are used in a variety of chemical processes. Now, researchers have uncovered their atomic structure. Research Article: Simonov et al.News and Views: Ordered absences observed in porous framework materials

08:17 Research Highlights

Teenagers’ natural sleep cycles impact on academic performance, and an extinct, giant rodent with a surprisingly tiny brain. Research Highlight: A teenager’s body clock can ring in school successResearch Highlight: Giant extinct rodent was all brawn and little brain

10:49 Distant entanglement

Researchers have demonstrated quantum entanglement between two points separated by 50 km of fibre optic cables. Research Article: Yu et al.

17:17 News Chat

The latest on the coronavirus outbreak, and gene editing gets an upgrade. News: Coronavirus: latest news on spreading infectionNews: Super-precise CRISPR tool enhanced by enzyme engineering

Science Podcasts: CRISPR & Immunotherapy, Ice Age Cave Art Dated With Wasp Nests (ScienceMag)

scimag_pc_logo_120_120 (2)On this week’s show, Staff Writer Jennifer Couzin-Frankel joins host Sarah Crespi to talk about Science paper that combines two hot areas of research—CRISPR gene editing and immunotherapy for cancer—and tests it in patients.

Sarah also talks with Damien Finch, a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne, about the Kimberly region of Australia and dating its ice age cave paintings using charcoal from nearby wasp nests.

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