19 comments on “This Week in Science (June 19 – 12)

  • This is awesome too

    “The meta-analysis of 11 prospective observational studies demonstrates that each 1% increment of omega-3s in total fatty acids in blood may be associated with a 20% decrease in risk of all-cause mortality. This is an important finding for the potential contribution of adequate omega-3 intake to public health.”



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  • Thanks for pointing that out, Phil. I’ve been taking 4-6 grams of fish oil for a few years now with an associated positive trend in my bloodwork (in the absence of any drugs of course) showing an increase in my HDL and a decrease in my LDL, triglycerides and total cholesterol. I also take niacin which could be responsible for the cholesterol control as well.



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  • Steve,

    I’ve been eating a lot of avocados and cucumbers and drinking water with lemon. I heard that that (along with exercise) is a good way to lose weight.



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  • Dan! I believe our first real acquaintance here was via some supplement/nutrition article. You were a newbie then but you’re a seasoned vet now, posting far more than me, brava!

    Your diet as mentioned (clearly part of a much larger diet in terms of variety, or one would hope) sounds fine. Avocado’s are sources of healthy fat (fat itself is underrated as a macronutrient; the real villain was fat with an associated insulin spike from copious sugar/refined flour intake).

    Cucumbers are just fine, though unremarkable from a health standpoint. Water with lemon is good. Citric acid (in the lemon) is a natural kidney stone repellent. Of course exercise is paramount as well.



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  • Hi, Steve,

    Sorry to hear your luke-warm review of cucumbers. Someone (not a pro like you) said it “eats away at belly fat.” I got excited – not that I am obese. (6′ 11 and 183) I’d like to get below 180.

    I love your comments, my witty and expressive and knowledgable old friend.

    Troubling times, wouldn’t you say?



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  • Dan, you are certainly not obese – in fact at 6’11” and 183 you are utterly rail thin bordering on anorexic! But I’m guessing you pecked at “1” one too many times. That said, 6’1″ 183 is not bad at all. I’m 6’2″ 240, but a good portion of that is legacy weightlifting weight (i.e., lean tissue).

    Thanks for the kind words. I read all of yours as well and I’m always happy to see them along with some of the other regulars. I envy you (and Phil and others) your philosophy interest as that’s never been my cup of tea.

    They certainly do seem like troubling times but I’m trying to think of a time when we collectively said it wasn’t. I think every generation thinks they have it the worst. Of course climate change skews that equation somewhat these days. But when I think of the gaudy casualties of WWII or even Vietnam in comparison with some of our more recent ill advised forays into conflict, I can’t help but think we’ve got some kind of historic amnesia when it comes to evaluating our own troubled times. That said, I can’t think of another time when one of the major political parties was in such disarray. When that party is putting forth such a clown candidate, truly an embarrassing joke of a candidate in pretty much every conceivable way, it is indeed a sign of trouble.



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  • And by the way, moving forward, whenever you see these words “eats away at belly fat!” – you are sure to be in the midst of a room full of bullshit laden Dr. Oz acolytes. Or even just one.

    The likelihood that cucumbers (or celery, or raspberries, or tree bark of some kind) have some newly discovered “fat burning” compound that few but your friend (or Dr. Oz) have heard of is exceedingly unlikely. As a skeptic the next words out of your mouth should be “show me the studies”. And the studies should of course be peer reviewed and available on some respected resource such as PubMed (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed).



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  • I think this item should be added to this week’s notable discoveries.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-36651471

    Two wings from birds that lived alongside the dinosaurs have been found preserved in amber.

    The “spectacular” finds from Myanmar are from baby birds that got trapped in the sticky sap of a tropical forest 99 million years ago.

    Exquisite detail has been preserved in the feathers, including traces of colour in spots and stripes.

    The wings had sharp little claws, allowing the juvenile birds to clamber about in the trees.

    The tiny fossils, which are between two and three centimetres long, could shed further light on the evolution of birds from their dinosaur ancestors.



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  • Steven,

    6′ 11″! I am exactly 5′ 11″. Why did I write 6?

    Yes, we do tend to think that our own Age is the worst. But the Republican party – it has been argued – is now a radical insurgency. They are no longer a political party. And climate is a game changer, as you said. So is nuclear war.

    I am 5′ 11.

    (Glad it was the cat.)



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  • I don’t know where else to post this.

    Quick story: I just rescued female boxer turtle (and it could be between 200 and 300 years old). I was walking down a country road a few hours ago and noticed something about twenty yards in front of me. Could it be a turtle? Yes. But it had been run over. The shell was in pieces; it looked bad. I got the number of a vet in the area, made a call and the vet got on the phone and told me to bring it over. I called my mother and told her to hurry back. (I don’t drive.)

    The turtle was alive. I tried to comfort it, put a soft towel on it. My mother got back and we drove to the vet. The vet, a real pro (who looks like Dan Dennett), examined it, X-rayed it (her, that is) and said that there was no internal injury! He then used some special type of adhesive and glued the shell back together! He was concerned about her eyes and some “fluid”. But he said he had seen worse and that she definitely has a good shot. He is going to keep it there over-night, give it an antibiotic, and said that if she makes it through the night, and it is not blind or debilitated in some other way, we can take it to a special rehabilitation center for turtles.

    I am so glad I did what I did, feel like a million bucks. The vet said to call tomorrow. I’ll let you know what happens.

    People should be more careful when they drive. And if you ever see a turtle crossing the road, carry it to the other side, and always to the side that it is heading toward.



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  • Well done Dan. Reminds me a little of the starfish story from way back: I paraphrase:

    Young person walking on beach after a storm, finds lots of starfish washed up above the tide-line, for miles along that beach, takes to picking them up one by one and throwing them back into the waves. Another beach walker observes that there’s a vast number of them, and that throwing some back can’t make any difference. Young person picks up one more, and throws it, saying “it made a difference to that one”.

    Well, Dan, it seems you made a difference to that one. Once again, well done.



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  • Bravo, Dan! That’s a nice story. Good luck to your ‘adopted’ pet.

    And in reference to your post script on the 30th, I do/take both. I like fish (salmon primarily) and eat it several times a week. I also take supplemental fish oil capsules. It’s hard to get the ideal amount of omega 3’s from fish alone. The amount I generally take (1.5 grams per day) is, as I mentioned, difficult to obtain from food alone. Remember, one average fish oil tablet (1 gram = 1,000 mgs) only provides ~ 300 mgs of omega 3’s per tablet. Hence it would take 5 tablets to get ~ 1,500 mgs. Flax tablets also supply omega 3’s but the source (ALA) has to be synthesized to the useable EPA/DHA form, which is not very efficient.



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