Discovered: a longevity gene caveat, coffee as workout enhancer, the golden age of bed bug research, and a few reminders from science.

  • The potential downside of that longevity gene.  They've been called the "Michael Jordan's of living longer" and have been hailed in a New York magazine cover story that had researchers trying to figure out their secrets to longevity. But, as Scientific American reports, one of the genes that the near 100 year-olds in the New York-covered study was also just linked to cognitive decline and Alzheimer's. "The same version of the same gene: in one study it slows dementia, in the other it promotes cognitive decline," which is the "exact opposite conclusion." But these things are common in DNA gene studies, the news outlet explains, "Unless the link between a gene and a disease or phenotype is a very strong one, researchers who try to follow up on initial studies often get different results the second or third time around." [Scientific American]
  • Sure, drink coffee before lifting weights too.  Might as well not break up the week day routine when you occasionally go to the gym to lift weights, right? As The New York Times explains today from a new study that looked at coffee as a weight-lifting enhancer, it seems that a cup has the exact same effect on someone at the gym as it does the office: “Essentially, we found that with the caffeinated drink, the person felt more able to invest effort,” said lead author of the study to The Times. “They would put more work into the training session, and when the session was finished, in the presence of the caffeinated drink, they were more psychologically ready to go again.” [The New York Times]
  • It's the golden age of bed bug research. It should be telling us something when we get a near-daily science reminders of how insufferable these apparently inbred pests really are. Recently we learned that our ancient ancestors solved their infestation problem by just burning all their bedding routinely. And, now, the BBC News relays new research about another probable reason for why prehistoric people were more likely to avoid the bugs: "Hairier skin may be the key to avoiding being bitten by bed bugs." Which apparently holds true today: "Other scientists have suggested that swapping thicker fur for clothes was a way of making insect bites and parasitic infestations less likely."  [BBC News]
  • And, today's deluge of obvious studies.  Things we probably already know, but if not: Drinking alcohol encourages unsafe sex. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator may save time and give your sedentary self a bit of a workout. People who quit smoking report a more satisfying lifestyle. Kids sometimes want an incentive to eat their vegetables.