Craving Fatty Foods Has Genetic Link
Individuals with certain forms of the CD36 gene are more likely to prefer high-fat foods, say researchers. The new obesity data could help those who consistently struggle with weight gain.
What's the New Development?
There is a genetic link to the preference some individuals express for foods high in fat, say researchers at Penn State. In a recent study, people with a certain form of a gene known as CD36 also preferred salad dressings rich in fat and oil, even describing them differently than individuals with another form of gene CD36. "People with certain forms of the CD36 gene may find fat creamier and more enjoyable than others," said Kathleen Keller, a Penn State nutritional scientist. "This may increase their risk for obesity and other health problems."
What's the Big Idea?
Future experiments will examine children's attraction to fatty foods, taking advantage of novel fMRI machines to give a more complete understanding of the biology behind high-fat cravings. Scientists already know that, for evolutionary reasons, the brain's pleasure centers fire when fat is ingested. By further imaging the brain under the influence of unhealthy food, scientists may one day develop low-fat, healthy foods which give the brain the same sense of satisfaction as when high-fat food in consumed.
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Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.
- There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
- CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
- Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
- Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.
Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
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