Health

Why Some Like It Hot: Spices Are Nature’s Meds, Scientist Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 11, 2005   View Article

People who live in warm climates are attracted to spicy foods because the red-hot seasonings keep people healthy, according to a scientist who takes a Darwinian approach to medicine.

“The Darwinian approach asks the question, Why are certain things the way they are, which is a complement to the approach of asking, How do things work?” said Paul Sherman, a professor of neurobiology and behavior at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

Cleaning Big Cities’ Air “Not Rocket Science,” Expert Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 27, 2005   View Article

Hemmed in by mountains on three sides, the basin that houses Mexico City, Mexico, has some the dirtiest air in the world.

Pollutants spewed by power plants and tailpipes have nowhere to go. They stay within the city and compromise the health of thousands of people.

But it doesn’t have to be this way, according to Mario Molina, a Nobel laureate in chemistry who is affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge and the University of California, San Diego.

Eyes of Two Mummies Restored in California Lab

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 24, 2005   View Article

A team of scientists in California has restored the eyes of two Chilean mummies and plans to use them to investigate ancient diseases.

One eye came from the mummified remains of a two-year-old boy who died a thousand years ago. The other eye belongs to a 23-year-old woman who died about 750 years ago. Both bodies were naturally preserved in Chile’s arid Atacama Desert.

Your DNA Is a Song: Scientists Use Music to Code Proteins

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 21, 2005   View Article

What are proteins? How are they structured? What’s the difference between a protein in a human and the same protein in a lizard? Ask Mary Anne Clark these questions and she is likely to respond with an earful of music.

Clark is a biologist at Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth, and she’s part of a growing field of science educators who use so-called protein music to help illustrate the basic structure of the building blocks of life.

All living things are made up of proteins. Each protein is a string of amino acids. There are 20 different amino acids, and each protein can consist of dozens to thousands of them.

Babies Use Rhythms to Adapt to Their Culture, Study Finds

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: September 21, 2005   View Article

By the time babies celebrate their first birthday, their ears are already tuned to the rhythms and sounds of their culture, researchers say.

The finding suggests that one-year-olds in North America, for example, notice subtle changes in waltz-like rhythms but not in the complex dance rhythms unique to other continents.

Cadaver Exhibition Draws Crowds, Controversy in Florida

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 29, 2005   View Article

An exhibition starring real, skinned human corpses arranged in poses—a soccer player in mid-kick, for example—is drawing record- breaking crowds and controversy to a Florida museum.

Fetuses and a cigarette smoker’s tarred lungs are among the 20 corpses and 260 body parts on display.

“Bodies: The Exhibition” opened August 18 at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa. The bodies in question are unclaimed or unidentified individuals from China. As such, neither the deceased nor their families consented to the use of the corpses in the exhibit.

Stem Cell Breakthrough: No More Need to Destroy Embryos?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 23, 2005   View Article

Scientists have turned an ordinary skin cell into what appears to be an embryonic stem cell. The process may eventually eliminate the controversial step of destroying human embryos for stem cell research.

The new technique involves fusing a skin cell with an existing, laboratory-grown embryonic stem cell. The fused, or hybrid, cell is “reprogrammed” to its embryonic state, Harvard University scientists report in the journal Science.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach