How Fasting Could Help You Live Longer, Healthier

The world's religions have long preached that fasting is good for the soul, and now modern science, which generally locates the soul in the mind, says fasting guards against mental disease.

What's the Latest Development?


Intermittent fasting could boost your biological defenses while reducing caloric intake, resulting in a healthier and longer life, according to a wide-ranging series of experiments done on animals and humans. Mark Mattson, head of the National Institute on Aging's neuroscience laboratory, "thinks that intermittent fasting acts in part as a form of mild stress that continually revs up cellular defenses against molecular damage." Levels of molecules known as 'chaperon proteins,' for example, which are known to prevent the incorrect assembly of other cellular molecules, are known to increase as a result of fasting. 

What's the Big Idea?

The world's religions have long maintained that fasting is good for the soul, and modern science, which generally locates the soul in the mind, has found that the occasional deprivation of food effectively guards against mental disease. In one experiment Mattson performed on lab mice, he found that "fasting mice have higher levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that prevents stressed neurons from dying." Low levels of BDNF have been linked to everything from depression to Alzheimer's, although it is still unclear whether these findings reflect cause and effect.

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at Scientific American

 

Why practicing empathy matters, and how VR can help

VR's coolest feature? Boosting compassion and empathy.

Videos
  • Virtual reality fills us with awe and adrenaline — and the technology is only at a crude stage, explains VR filmmaker Danfung Dennis. It's capable of inspiring something much greater in us: empathy.
  • With coming technological advancements in pixel display, haptics, and sound tracking, VR users will finally be able to know what it's like to really take another person's perspective. Empathy is inherent in humans (and other animal species), but just as it can be squashed, it must be practiced in order to develop.
  • "This ability to improve ourselves to become a more empathetic and compassionate society is what I hope we will use this technology for," Dennis says.
Keep reading Show less

Why being busy is a modern sickness

We have to practice doing nothing more often.

Photo: Shutterstock
Personal Growth
  • Constantly being busy is neurologically taxing and emotionally draining.
  • In his new book, Jon Kabat-Zinn writes that you're doing a disservice to others by always being busy.
  • Busyness is often an excuse for the discomfort of being alone with your own thoughts.
Keep reading Show less

Study: 50% of people pursuing science careers in academia will drop out after 5 years

That's a sharp increase from the 1960s when it took the same share of scientists an average of 35 years to drop out of academia.

Pixabay
Surprising Science
  • The study tracked the careers of more than 100,000 scientists over 50 years.
  • The results showed career lifespans are shrinking, and fewer scientists are getting credited as the lead author on scientific papers.
  • Scientists are still pursuing careers in the private sector, however there are key differences between research conducted in academia and industry.
Keep reading Show less