Winning the Poo Researchers at the University of Melbourne recently announced that they had sequenced the genome of Toxocara canis, which may not seem like significant news — scientists seem to be sequencing a lot of genomes these days — but this …Read more. New Yuck Back in 2013, the New York City Department of City Planning estimated that as of July of that year, the urban rat population stood at 8,405,837 — an oddly precise estimate that also happened to work out to one rat per New Yorker. A subsequent …Read more. News Flash: Menopause Is Bad for the Hips Women who experience moderate to severe hot flashes and night sweats during menopause tend to have higher rates of hip fracture, according to researchers at the University at Buffalo. They also tend to have lower bone mineral density than peers …Read more. Reefer Gladness For advocates and partakers of marijuana (medicinal or otherwise), the Twitterverse is apparently smoking-hot. Researchers at Washington University analyzed every pot-related tweet sent during a one-month period in early 2014. Of the more than 7.6 …Read more.more articles
A Placenta at the Table
In a paper certain to rile up some debate (and maybe a few stomachs), neuroscientists at the University of Buffalo and Buffalo State College ponder the potential health benefits of human mothers consuming components of their afterbirth — maybe non-mothers and males, too.
They're not talking about the entire placenta, but possibly encapsulated portions of it. They note that elsewhere in nature, the practice of placentophagia is widespread and significant, increasing the effects of pregnancy-mediated analgesia, triggering caretaking behaviors, and suppressing postpartum pseudopregnancy.
According to Mark Kristal, a neuroscientist at the University of Buffalo who has studied placentophagia for more than 40 years, the biggest question isn't what would happen, but rather why humans don't already mimic other animals in this practice.
"Why don't humans engage in placentophagia as a biological imperative as so many other mammals apparently do?" asked Kristal. "We clearly do not do this as a matter of course today and apparently, never have. Perhaps for humans, there is a greater adaptive advantage to not eating the placenta."
Kristal and colleagues urge further investigation. Even if scientists never learn why humans don't practice placentophagia, they might be able to extrapolate medicinal or behavioral benefits.
The paper is published in the journal Ecology of Food and Nutrition.
BODY OF KNOWLEDGE
One in 12 men is colorblind. (Explains some guys' clothing choices.)
GET ME THAT.
The country with the highest percentage of daily smokers is Austria (36.3 percent); followed by Greece (35 percent); Hungary (33.8 percent); Luxembourg (33 percent); and Turkey (32.1 percent), according the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
A grilled Cheese-a-Roo sandwich from the Outback Steakhouse contains 394 calories, 227 from fat. It has 25.2 grams of total fat or 39 percent of the recommended total fat intake for a 2,000-calorie daily diet.
It also contains 66 milligrams of cholesterol (22 percent); 1,133 mg of sodium (47 percent); 29.3 grams of total carbohydrates (10 percent); 1.5 grams of dietary fiber (6 percent) and 12.9 grams of protein.
Perfed appy — When an infected appendix bursts (perforates) and spills into the gut.
PHOBIA OF THE WEEK
Cremnophobia — fear of precipices.
NEVER SAY DIET
The Major League Eating speed-eating record for chocolate candy bars is two pounds in six minutes, held by Eric Booker.
Patient: "Doctor, I swallowed a bone!"
Doctor: "Are you choking?"
Patient: "No, I really did."
"If fitness came in a bottle, everybody would have a great body."
— American actress and singer Cher (1946-)
"I haven't had champagne for a long time."
— Russian playwright Anton Chekhov (1860-1904). His doctor gave him champagne after all attempts to ease his tuberculosis symptoms had failed.
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