Discovered: Tanzania might profit from global warming; massive stars suck their partners dry; it's hard to remember things on ecstasy; researching the benefits of barefoot running.
Ecstasy makes you forget. With rave rampaging across America once again, all you kandi kids might want to take note of new research that links the drug ecstasy with memory impairment. Scientists studied people who took about three ecstasy tablets per month for a year. Their memory skills deteriorated in subsequent lab tests. "It's been very, very difficult to convince people that there's a causative effect of the drug," says Vanderbilt University Medical Center neuroscientist Ronald Cowan. "This adds strong evidence to that." [Science News]
Massive stars are selfish partners. Two-thirds of massive stars orbit a partner star, but the relationship is often rocky, an international team of astronomers has discovered. Massive stars "suck material from their companions much like a vampire does," and sometimes they "melt together to become even more massive," according to a press release from Germany's University of Bonn. "The new insight into the lives of massive stars has a direct impact on the understanding of the final stages most massive stars experience," says Professor Norbert Langer. [University of Bonn]
Climate change: a blessing in disguise for Tanzania? It's not too often that we get positive news about climate change. According to a study from researchers at Stanford University, the World Bank and Purdue University, the economy of developing African nation Tanzania stands to benefit from global warming. The droughts that will wreak havoc on the United States' agricultural output could be a boon for Tanzania, which stands to benefit from the higher commodity prices of corn, one of their exports. "This study highlights how government policies can influence the impact that we experience from the climate system," says Noah Diffenbaugh, assistant professor at Stanford's School of Earth Sciences. [Science Daily]
Has barefoot running led to fewer injuries, or more? The University of Central Florida unpacks the legacy of Abebe Bikila, the man who earned a gold medal in the 1960 Olympics by being the first modern Olympian to ditch shoes and run barefoot. Many runners have followed his example, believing that barefoot running helps avoid running-related injuries. Carey Rothschild, a UCF instructor and physical therapist, reviewed an extensive body of research into barefoot running and even conducted a survey to determine whether the practice actually does decrease injuries. She was unable to prove barefoot running's purported health benefits. "The bottom line is that when a runner goes from shoes to no shoes, their body may not automatically change its gait," she said.