Discovered: The deal with drinking and health, the cost of sperm, mom's love makes you smarter, tomatoes cure cancer, a sloshing galaxy.
- The deal with drinking's health benefits. We're always jonesing to hear about the health benefits of red wine and other boozy concoctions. But, deep down in the back of our brains, we sort of knew science wouldn't advocate the type of drinking we do. And now a meta-analysis of all the studies ever done on these things confirms that drinking is no good. "If someone binge drinks even once a month, any health benefits from light to moderate drinking disappear," explains Dr. Juergen Rehm. Even once a month! We're not the only ones sad about this development. One in six adults binge drinks at least four times a month, found recent research. And look at that New York Times map (below) showing how many adults across America engage in alcohol-related fun. For those with more responsible drinking habits, science still hasn't decided your fate: "It's complicated. Even one drink a day increases risk of breast cancer, for example," says Dr. Rehm. "However, with as little as one drink a day, the net effect on mortality is still beneficial. After this, the net risk increases with every drink." [Addiction]
- The cost of sperm. Dudes think they have this endless well of baby-makers down there, but it turns out that making sperm has physical costs for men. That is if humans operate anything like the Australian cricket, which researchers found "invested" in sperm production (meaning their bodies take extensive energy to create it). "Males that invested heavily in their sperm [were] more likely to succumb to a bacterial infection," explained researcher Dr. Damian Dowling. "And we are not talking about STDs here -- we are talking about how increased investment into the quality of the ejaculate corresponds with general reductions in immune function." Nevermind that sonicating sperm jazz, having sex could cause illness! We bet that will get some hypochondriacs into abstinence. [Monash University]
- Mom's love makes you smarter. Ugh, as if moms weren't overbearing enough, new research finds that all that smothers has health benefits. Looking at the brain scabs of children whose mothers had "nurtured" them -- scientists considered their definition of "nurture" objective -- researchers at the Washington University in St. Louis "found a very strong relationship between maternal nurturing and the size of the hippocampus in the healthy children," said study author Joan L. Luby. "This study validates something that seems to be intuitive, which is just how important nurturing parents are to creating adaptive human beings," Mom, this does not give you permission to touch us in public. [Wash U.]
- Tomatoes cure cancer. Pizza for dinner! (Or Caprese salad for our bourgy readers.) Lycopene, the nutrient that gives tomatoes their red color, intercepts cancer cells in their warpath against healthy blood cells. Unfortunately, like lots of our favorite discoveries, this one hasn't made it past the test-tube phase. "I stress that our tests were done in test tubes in a laboratory and more testing needs to be carried out to confirm our findings," said Dr. Mridula Chopra. "But the laboratory evidence we have found is clear -- it is possible to intercept the simple mechanism some cancer cells use to grow at concentrations that can be achieved by eating sufficient cooked tomatoes.'' [The Telegraph]
- A "sloshing" galaxy. Abell 2052, the gas cloud cluster below, doesn't move like the others. It's a slosher."The X-ray images were amazing. We were able to see gas sloshing like liquid in a glass," explains Dr. Tracy Clarke. "Of course this would be one enormous glass since we see the gas sloshing over a region of nearly a million light years across!" Dare to be different, Abell. [US Naval Research Lab]
Image via Shutterstock by vgstudio.