Category Archives: Science And Society

Save The Skeletons

John McCain is at it again. I’m frankly mystified at why he’s in such a rush to close off scientific inquiry. Unless perhaps he’s on the take from Indian casino money…

Maybe next year he’ll sponsor a new law making it illegal to criticize sanctimonious Senators. Given their track record with his other anti-speech legislation, the Supreme Court would probably have no problem with it.

[Update at 12:20 PM EDT]

For those who, like the commenter, are wondering what this is all about, here’s a good article describing the situation. And yes, a Google on “NAGPRA McCain” would provide many helpful links.

Good News For Bill Clinton

They may have finally found a cure for herpes–licorice (sorry, subscription required). You can’t just eat it, though–you have to mainline it:

Researchers at New York University ran lab tests on white blood cells, some of which were infected with the herpes virus. Exposing the infected cells to the licorice ingredient, glycyrrhizic acid, shuts down LANA. That starts a chain reaction of biochemical changes in the white blood cells, leading to their suicide and the virus’ death. The uninfected cells showed no detrimental effects from glycyrrhizic acid, the researchers report in the March Journal of Clinical Investigation.


Encouraging Diet News

At least for me.

It’s long been known that caloric restriction is one means of extending lifespan in lower mammals (e.g., lab rats) and presumably humans as well. It’s a tough diet to maintain, though, since most who try it are perpetually hungry. Now there’s evidence that most of the benefits can be attained by periodic fasting (alternate days), allowing a normal dietary intake, but at more irregular intervals.

It makes sense that, like many features of civilized (in the literal sense, meaning cities and civilization) lifestyles, regular meals are unhealthy for us, since our ancestors were probably more in a “go hungry until you can chase down the next mastodon, then feast” mode, and evolutionarily adapted to it. So we need to consider not just what we eat (more paleolithic foods, like meat, nuts, fruits and berries and less or no grain) but when we eat it as well, if we want to do what our bodies (are still) evolved to do.

This is good news for me because I’ll often go long periods without eating, just because I get busy, and have no need for regularity to my meals. Unfortunately, many (particularly hypoglycemic types) start to feel bad if they go more than a few hours without food. Of course, it’s possible that if they change their diets and habit, that they could get used to it as well.