Science Times synthesis

As we contemplate the things we are thankful for as part of our annual holiday celebration, you may find it interesting to know that researchers believe gratitude has real health benefits. Learn more about how being thankful can improve your health and relationships, and enjoy your day!

Week of November 15

Chimps’ days in lab might be dwindling

The NIH has commissioned a report on the usefulness of chimps in research, and the federal  Fish and Wildlife Service is considering a petition to declare chimps an endangered species. How will this impact biomedical research? Read on to find out.

Cloaks of invisibility, switched in a flash
Research shows that some species of cephalopods have developed the ability to switch between two “disguises” designed to ward off predators. Learn more about the study, authored by Duke University ecologist Sarah Zylinski.

The claim: Exercise can ward off migraines
A recent study shows that exercising 40 minutes three times a week may decrease migraines, as can use of topiramate (a drug that helps prevent migraines) and regular relaxation exercises.

Scientists decode the protective element sickle cell anemia offers against malaria
Scientists have figured out how the genetic mutation that causes sickle cell anemia also protects against fatal malaria. Learn more about the new study published in Science.

Solvent linked to higher Parkinson’s risk
A new study of twins finds that trichloroethylene (TCE) is associated with a higher risk of Parkinson’s disease. Find out more about this solvent, widely used in refrigerants and as a metal degreaser.

A watch-and-wait prostate treatment
Jane Brody reports on one doctor’s proposal that the least invasive approach should be taken for most men with early-stage cancer that is not particularly aggressive.

Week of November 22

A serving of gratitude may save the day
A new series of studies shows that gratitude is linked to better health, sounder sleep, lower rates of aggression, and less anxiety. Read on to learn how being thankful can positively impact your health.

In body’s shield against cancer, a culprit in aging may lurk

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic have reported that in a body purged of its senescent cells, tissues remain youthful. Learn more about senescent cells and how they work.

The case of the birds that knew too much
In the age of information overload, a new study of the European starling suggests that less information may result in better choices. Read about the study here, or review the findings in the journal Science.

Chewing gum can prevent ear infections
Researchers at the University of Toronto take on the claim that chewing gum can prevent ear infections, finding that children who chewed xylitol gum were 25% less likely to develop acute ear infections.

Getting a handle on why 4 equals green
Neuroscientists in England are trying to determine why the brains of those who suffer with grapheme-color synesthesia see colors when thinking about letters, numbers, or words. A new study appearing in the journal Current Biology suggests that those who suffer from this condition experience heightened activity in the region of the brain that controls vision.