Opioids not much better than placebos at treating pain, study says

Alternative treatments are often better for noncancer pain, the study found.

  • The study examined more than 26,000 people experiencing chronic pain.
  • Opioids were only marginally better than placebos at treating pain and improving physical functioning.
  • It's estimated that at least 2 million Americans have opioid use problems.
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A new study proves parachutes are useless

A new study flies in the face of anecdotal evidence and raises questions about how we read data.

  • Scientists working at medical schools across the United States discovered that parachutes don't lower the death rate of people jumping out of airplanes.
  • The study flies in the face of decades of anecdotal evidence.
  • The findings should be carefully applied, due to "minor caveats" with the experimental structure.
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New software could save 745 species in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest without hurting agribusiness

"This is a great example of a forest restoration plan which is both good for the people and good for nature," one researcher said.

  • Brazil's Atlantic Forest is one of the world's most biodiverse regions, but relentless deforestation threatens hundreds of species of plants and animals.
  • Recently, a team of researchers created a computer program designed to optimize how forest land can best be used.
  • The approach could be used by governments and organizations in other parts of the world to maximize biodiversity gains while minimizing economic losses.
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‘Deepfake’ technology can now create completely real-looking human faces

A new study from Nvidia researchers show just how far artificial image-generation technology has come in recent years.

Karros et al.
Surprising Science
  • In 2014, researchers introduced a novel approach to generating artificial images through something called a generative adversarial network.
  • Nvidia researchers combined that approach with something called style transfer to create AI-generated images of human faces.
  • This year, the Department of Defense said it had been developing tools designed to detect so-called 'deepfake' videos.
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Fossils show ancient flying reptiles called pterosaurs likely had feathers

The discovery could potentially bush pack the evolution of feathers on vertebrates by 70 million years.

Yuan Zhang
Surprising Science
  • The specimens are of two small, flying reptiles discovered recently in China.
  • In recent decades, multiple discoveries have led scientists to believe virtually all dinosaurs were covered in feathers.
  • This recent discovery suggests that feathers were an adaptation that evolved before the dinosaurs, from a common ancestor.
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Psychological gym experiment proves the power of mind over matter

It isn't mind over matter as much as mind properly working with matter.

DENVER, CO - MAY 16: Brian and Monica Folts workout on treadmills at Colorado Athletic Club Tabor Center on May 16, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. The couple runs marathons and compete in Ironman triathlons and train on on treadmills. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Mind & Brain
  • A new Stanford study finds believing you have genetic predispositions for obesity and low exercise endurance changes your physiology.
  • Participants told they had a protective obesity gene had a better response than those told they did not, even if they did not actually have the gene.
  • Runners performed poorly after learning they did not have the gene for endurance, even if they actually have the gene.
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