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Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
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MIT study: 24-hour fasting regenerates stem cells, doubles metabolism

This gives credence to the 5–2 diet, which has recently gained in popularity thanks to a large celebrity following.

Pexels, user @Deena

Chances are you're probably thinking about food right now in some capacity. Maybe it's close to dinner and you're wondering what you are going to eat. Maybe you had a really good lunch and are fondly reminiscing about your BLT, or whatnot. Or maybe, just maybe, you're thinking about not eating food for a while.


If you're thinking about the latter, researchers at MIT have discovered that fasting for 24 hours flips a metabolic switch in mice, causing their guts to enhance their intestinal stem cells. Intestinal stem cells are what powers the intestine, and as people age this powerhouse starts to slow down. Ever wonder why you put on more weight as you get older? Thank your gut flora, including these cells.

The researchers found that fasting for just one day caused intestinal cell regeneration to double. While the trial has yet to be performed on humans, the biology behind these stem cells isn't wildly different to ours at all.

So, even though a 24 hour fast might make you hangry (hungry + angry, duh), it looks like it will undoubtedly speed up your metabolism. These cells regenerate on their own roughly every 4 days, so while it isn't our place at all to tell you how to diet much less tell you that fasting will work for everybody, the science is in. And celebrities like Jimmy Kimmel and Benedict Cumberbatch have kept the pounds off over the years thanks to intermittent short fasts. One of the most popular of these diets is the 5–2 diet, which allows 5 days of eating normally and 2 days of severe caloric restrictions of 600 calories or less on the fasting days.

Those with diabetes or metabolic diseases should definitely consult a doctor before jumping in the deep and attempting a somewhat extreme diet. It's not for everyone, but the results achieved by the fasting appear to mimic cell autophagy, or "cellular cleaning" of damaged cells.

Not bad for just withholding, eh?

The “new normal” paradox: What COVID-19 has revealed about higher education

Higher education faces challenges that are unlike any other industry. What path will ASU, and universities like ASU, take in a post-COVID world?

Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Everywhere you turn, the idea that coronavirus has brought on a "new normal" is present and true. But for higher education, COVID-19 exposes a long list of pernicious old problems more than it presents new problems.
  • It was widely known, yet ignored, that digital instruction must be embraced. When combined with traditional, in-person teaching, it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale.
  • COVID-19 has forced institutions to understand that far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student's family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted.
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Masturbation boosts your immune system, helping you fight off infection and illness

Can an orgasm a day really keep the doctor away?

Sexual arousal and orgasm increase the number of white blood cells in the body, making it easier to fight infection and illness.

Image by Yurchanka Siarhei on Shutterstock
Sex & Relationships
  • Achieving orgasm through masturbation provides a rush of feel-good hormones (such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin) and can re-balance our levels of cortisol (a stress-inducing hormone). This helps our immune system function at a higher level.
  • The surge in "feel-good" hormones also promotes a more relaxed and calm state of being, making it easier to achieve restful sleep, which is a critical part in maintaining a high-functioning immune system.
  • Just as bad habits can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system which can prevent you from becoming sick.
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The biology of aliens: How much do we know?

Hollywood has created an idea of aliens that doesn't match the science.

The biology of aliens: How much do we know? | Michio Kaku, ...
Videos
  • Ask someone what they think aliens look like and you'll probably get a description heavily informed by films and pop culture. The existence of life beyond our planet has yet to be confirmed, but there are clues as to the biology of extraterrestrials in science.
  • "Don't give them claws," says biologist E.O. Wilson. "Claws are for carnivores and you've got to be an omnivore to be an E.T. There just isn't enough energy available in the next trophic level down to maintain big populations and stable populations that can evolve civilization."
  • In this compilation, Wilson, theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, Bill Nye, and evolutionary biologist Jonathan B. Losos explain why aliens don't look like us and why Hollywood depictions are mostly inaccurate.
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Live on Tuesday | Personal finance in the COVID-19 era

Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.

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