Discovered: A better way to make drugs, a "significant" heart risk with low-carb diets, our ancestors ate funny, and a possible medicine maker inside our bodies.
- A better way to make drug compounds. There's a very practical discovery from science today. Researchers have discovered a way to add compounds to hard-to-reach spots on chemicals, making it easier to build new drugs. "This is a basic tool for making novel chemical compounds, and it should have a wide range of applications," said researcher Jin-Quan Yu. So far the method has been used to modify some existent drug compounds, but researchers see it going beyond that. "The new method will certainly be adopted by pharmaceutical chemists, but I expect that polymer chemists, materials chemists, and others will find it useful too," Yu continued. [Scripps Research Institute]
- Of course low-carb diets aren't healthy. Sorry all you faux-celiacs and carb-hating dieters, science has found your starvation tactics to have serious health risks. In research that analyzed women over a 15-year period, researchers found a 28-percent increase in heart disease cases in women who ate large amounts of meat and small amounts of bread. "[The benefits of Atkins-type diets] seem irrelevant in the face of increasing evidence of higher morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular diseases in the long term," explain researchers Anna Floegel and Tobias Pischon. We don't know about you, but we're going to take this as a doctor's order to eat more pizza, more often. [British Medical Journal]
- Our ancestors ate funny. Most of our ancestors ate grass, which is funny enough. Science has now discovered one hominid that chowed on something different. "The phytolith data suggest the A. sediba individuals were avoiding the grasses growing in open grasslands that were abundant in the region at the time," explains researcher Paul Sandberg. Rather than stick to soft foods, the Australopithecus sediba ate harder objects, like bark. "It is an important finding, because diet is one of the fundamental aspects of an animal, one that drives its behavior and ecological niche. As environments change over time because of shifting climates, animals are generally forced to either move or to adapt to their new surroundings," he adds. [University of Colorado at Boulder]
- A medicine maker inside our bodies? Science has gotten one step closer to creating a pill that doesn't contain medicine itself, but contains the special machinery for making a drug when we need it. "These production units could be turned on when needed, producing medicines that cannot be taken orally or are toxic and would harm other parts of the body," according to the research report. This had only been tested on bacteria, but researchers recently inserted their version into mice. By just shining a laser on the mice, the medicine was activated, producing proteins. Can't wait for the final version, guys. [American Chemical Society]
Image via Shutterstock by Jakub Pavlinec