Science Times synthesis

It seems a number of recent studies are taking issue with common myths about weight gain, the benefits or drinking eight glasses of water a day, and how coffee impacts sleep. Put your feet up, grab a cup o’ joe and read on to learn more about recent myth-busting studies.

Week of November 7

Decoding the brain’s cacophony
Read this profile of Dr. Michael Gazzaniga, professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and learn about the brain’s “split personality.”

Snakes’ feat may inspire heart drugs

Researchers say a better understanding of the process by which pythons digest their prey could help them develop new ways to treat various hereditary diseases in humans.

Midnight labs and martini time
Some observations by Michael Gazzaniga from a recent interview with Benedict Carey.

In some cases, even bad bacteria may be good

Read about a study that suggests the overuse of antibiotics may contribute to an increase in obesity, allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma, and acid reflux disease.

For a more restful nap, drink a cup of coffee beforehand
Sleep researchers in England find that drinking a cup of coffee and immediately taking a 15- minute nap is more effective than either coffee or napping for tired drivers.

Study suggests obesity hinders flu vaccine
A new study suggests that flu vaccine effectiveness has a direct relationship to a patient’s weight.

Week of November 14

Focus on home, not meals, led spiders to diversity
A new study by Dimitar Dimitrov, a biologist at the University of Copenhagen, suggests that spider web diversification started with a need to create specialized habitats.

Drink eight glasses of water a day to protect the kidneys
Enjoy a cool glass of water while you learn about research that suggests drinking extra water helps the kidneys to clear sodium, urea, and other toxins from the body.

Four-year test seeks better ways to treat a persistent disease spread by sand flies
Learn about kala azar, a widespread parasitic disease prevalent in India and Bangladesh, and the four-year study that hopes to find the most effective and practical treatment.

‘Freshman 15’
is a myth, a study suggests
College freshman will be happy to hear that a recent study at Ohio State University suggests the “freshman 15” is a myth, and that students typically gain between 2.5 and 3.5 pounds during their first year of school.

IVF brings a slightly higher cancer risk
Dutch researchers have concluded that women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) are at a slightly higher risk for borderline ovarian cancer, bringing the risk to .71 percent. According to the author of the study, this should not be a concern to women who choose to undergo IVF.