Discovered: Sitting all day will kill you, should we be eating placenta?, a coral-reef herpes outbreak, and chemo-resistant breast cancer.

  • For the umpteenth time, sitting will kill you.  Another depressing confirmation that our desk jobs suck. For what feels like the millionth time, we get a study explaining just how bad sitting all day is for our health. (As someone who sits all day, every day: UGH.) "Prolonged sitting is a risk factor for all-cause mortality, independent of physical activity," wrote the study's authors, finding that sitting accounted for 6.9 percent of the deaths of the 222,497 participants. (Again, as someone who sits all day, every day: UGH.) Even though we've heard this before -- the New York Times once asked "Is Sitting a Lethal Activity?" (answer: yes) -- we have yet to change our sitting habits. Why? Because we can't. Depressing all around. [The Washington Post]
  • Should we be eating placenta? One study has suggested this gross-sounding premise is something humans might want to consider. "Why don't humans engage in placentophagia as a biological imperative as so many other mammals apparently do?" asks researcher Mark 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," he continues. (January Jones probably agrees.) The advantage, we think, is that eating it sounds like an unpleasant activity after hours of excruciating child-birth. But, hey, we're not the scientists. [University at Buffalo]
  • Herpes is possibly killing the world's coral reef. Researchers don't quite know why the coral reef population has declined so much over the years, but they're thinking that the feared STD might be the culprit. "Coral abundance in the Caribbean Sea has gone down about 80 percent in the past 30-40 years, and about one-third of the corals around the world are threatened with extinction," explains researcher  Rebecca Vega-Thurbe. The study has identified 22 disease that have caused this deterioration and a lot of them have something interesting in common. "We were shocked to find that so many coral viruses were in the herpes family," she continues. We think this news has a silver lining, though. If we can get the coral reef to use protection, we can stop the spread of coral herpes, right? [Oregon State University]
  • Some breast cancers can resist chemo. As someone with anatomical interest in this disease, I like the idea that breast cancer treatment has gotten pretty effective. This type of research is therefore quite scary. Tumors with a certain type of gene didn't respond to a common chemo treatment. "These tumours didn't shrink and were resistant to a common chemotherapy treatment," explains researcher ng Swie Goping. The tumor makeup led researchers to believe the opposite would happen. "This discovery was a bit of a surprise," he continues. [University of Alberta]

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