When Henry Molaison (now widely known as H.M.) cracked his skull in an accident, he began blacking out and having seizures. In an attempt to cure him, daredevil surgeon, Dr. William Skoville, removed H.M.'s hippocampus. Luckily, the seizures did go away — but so did his long-term memory! Sam Kean walks us through this astonishing medical case, detailing everything H.M. taught us about the brain and memory.
This bird might look like a holiday ornament, but it is actually a rare half-female, half-male northern cardinal, with female plumage on the left and male on the right. A new study suggests being half-and-half carries consequences: The cardinal didn’t have a mate, and observers never heard it sing.
I've been advocating this for years. Just because you're a doctor and you're on TV, doesn't make you a know-it-all. Researchers from the University of Alberta have found that half the advice on Dr. Oz is wrong or has no evidence to back it up. In fact, on average, the shows give their viewers around 12 different recommendations per episode. But only half of them are supported by research. Just comes to show that people will believe anything they see on TV. When there is money to be made and an agenda to be pushed, lies will follow. [ ... ]
Whenever anyone mentions the word possum, I immediately recall the Simpsons episode where Homer conducts the monorail.
However, unlike the possums found in Homer's closet, the animal you see right above is a western pygmy possum, native to Australia. It might look absolutely tiny, but it's actually one of the largest species of pygmy possum in the world. Another interesting fact is that like all pygmy possums, the western pygmy possum is great at entering mini hibernating periods called torpor.
If you find yourself looking around the table over the holiday and thinking, “I can’t believe I’m related to these people,” just be glad you’re not a mongoose. If you were, you might be thinking, “I can’t believe I’ve mated with all of these people.” Why? For mongooses, it's actually safer to have sex with a close relative than risk death by venturing out into the world to find a mate.
I know this is a science blog, but hear me out. I'm not sure what sort of stunt McDonald's is pulling here, but apparently they are removing the world famous Big Mac off their menu. Currently, the Big Mac has a whopping 550 calories and 29g of fat. It's probably the only reason I ever go to McDonald's, so I guess from now on it's going to be the Whopper instead.
Good news for pain-pill poppers: Ibuprofen (found in Advil) may help you live longer. A new study shows that it increases life span in lab organisms, raising the possibility it does the same thing in people.
To put ibuprofen through its paces, biochemist Michael Polymenis of Texas A&M University, College Station, and colleagues gave yeast, nematode worms, and fruit flies doses of the drug that are comparable to what humans would take. The life spans of all three types of organisms increased if they received ibuprofen, the researchers report today in PLOS Genetics. In yeast, for instance, ibuprofen stretched life span by 17%, half of what researchers can produce by cutting the cells’ food supply (another approach to increasing longevity). [ ... ]