Weekly Summaries

Here are some of the interesting things I read last week.

Nutrition Related

A new study finds that nursing home residents with advanced dementia are much more likely to have a feeding tube inserted if the hospital is for-profit, larger, and has a greater ICU use.  Quoted in the NYTimes, one of the authors suggests that more needs to be in place to respect patient choice.

We know that certain bacteria influence obesity in rodent studies, now we are finally moving to human investigation.

Ditch your bread maker and make Artisan bread, as suggested by Yoni Freedhoff.  I will be getting this book and experimenting!

“Beer may be good for your bones” describing a highly publicized study last week, which only measured silicon content in many beers (which is one component to bone health).  Relevant studies are only observational at this point; be wary of dramatic headlines.

Many people argue against meat consumption because animals supposedly use too much land and don’t supply much energy relative to that usage.   But switching to certain vegetarian foods may be even worse for the environment.

Another prospective study finds that coffee reduces diabetes risk, but also looked at timing of consumption.  They found that the association was apparent with black (caffeinated or decaffeinated) coffee at lunch only, where no association was found with tea or chicory.  Coffee with milk did not decrease risk, however.  See the paper for possible mechanisms and limitations.


Sweatscience covers a study that found that stretching before running slowed them down.  This is the first evidence that stretching before an event negatively effects endurance exercise, and complements the ample evidence for nixing it prior to power, jumping, and sprinting events.

Sweatscience also on a study that found cooling of palms between weight lifting sets allowed a greater lifting of weight.  This adds to the central governor hypothesis.

It turns out that serotonin released from the gut is involved in bone homeostasis, and blocking it increases bone mass in a mouse model of osteoporosis.  A cool video about the study here.

Our universe may be a holographic projection of 2D processes elsewhere, suggest some astrophysicists.  Mind-blowing to say the least.

An excellent post about how electromagnetic radiation (from cell phones) doesn’t seem to increase cancer risk, and may actually prevent Alzheimer’s disease in a rodent model.  It may be useful for brain injury as well, or possibly even as a nootropic as noted by an author.

Two new social platforms launched: Google Buzz, which is integrated into gmail, and Sciencefeed.com, which is as of now very identical to friendfeed but targeted at scientists.