An aspirin a day keeps the heart attack away? Not so much.

It's been de rigueur for at least 50 years that a daily, small dose of aspirin helps prevent heart attacks. However ...

  • The study involved 20,000 people, over 5 years
  • Results were just published in the New England Journal of Medicine
  • Risks, including bleeding and cancer, are raised in those taking the aspirin, and benefits don't outweigh the risks for mostly-healthy adults; your mileage may vary
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  • A new essay argues that quarantines are often needed, but require strict guidelines on when they can be used.
  • Pandemics are inevitable, and actions that can save lives must be planned now.
  • The arguments in this essay will undoubtedly be of use during the next outbreak.

The use of isolation and quarantine has a history of success going back to the black plague. The practice of isolating sick people form healthy ones intuitively strikes many of us as useful, and many of us do it on our own accord when we fall ill. It seems like a simple step up from that to the idea of quarantining people who are sick or have been exposed to deadly diseases to stop them from spreading.

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How swimming in cold water could treat depression

The surprisingly simple treatment could prove promising for doctors and patients seeking to treat depression without medication.

  • A new report shows how cold-water swimming was an effective treatment for a 24-year-old mother.
  • The treatment is based on cross-adaptation, a phenomenon where individuals become less sensitive to a stimulus after being exposed to another.
  • Getting used to the shock of cold-water swimming could blunt your body's sensitivity to other stressors.
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What is the 'Pure Carnivore Diet' and will it hurt you?

All the rage right now after the Paleo and keto diet sensations took the world by storm, it's ... interesting.

—It's being promoted a lot by people with right-wing political biases

—Until the science is studied and proven, caution is the best approach

—Balance, balance, balance. Have I mentioned balance?

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Eating your kids may improve your sex life? Sounds fishy.

Maybe try counseling first before you try this, married folks.

  • This is a story about fish, not humans.
  • Don't try this at home. Seriously, don't. Human beings deserve love and respect.
  • The study cited here will give you something to think about if you're looking to manage an ecosystem.

If you are a male fish who doesn't understand why your reproductive impulse has dimmed and you haven't yet read Jonathan Swift's Modest Proposal, what, with the mysteries of human communication to conquer and all, then science wants to let you know: you might want to consider eating your kids.

The typical hypothesis regarding animals eating their young usually stems from the observation that parents will sometimes lack so much access to food that eating their offspring becomes a realistic option, but Y. Matsumoto of Nagasaki University and his colleagues recently published a study in Current Biology that notes that the barred-chin blenny fish find cannibalism an "endocrinological necessity to restart courtship behavior for subsequent mating." In other words: if they wanted to take a shortcut to reactivating their reproductive cycle, this was the path they took. They eat the eggs in the name of future courting and guarding.

Photo: M. Kraus, CC BY-SA 2.0 de, Wikimedia

A Discus (Symphysodon spp.) guarding its eggs.

But, why? Why does the male blenny not simply wait out the birth of the offspring before returning to reproduction? If we're to use a study looking a little bit more broadly at cannibalism in fish as a point of reference, there's more than one answer here — sometimes the answer depends on when a batch of eggs are laid; sometimes it depends on the availability of mates; sometimes it's because the eggs that are being raised aren't their own; sometimes it depends on whether or not an egg predator is nearby — but one answer appears to be something of a zero sum game: if it doesn't look like the brood is going to be a 'productive' brood — if it's a small batch of eggs and the process of raising these kids will leave them at something of a competitive disadvantage (i.e., they're putting too much energy into raising small, weak fish) — then the eggs are eaten and the parents begin again, as eating the kids "acts to rapidly modulate androgen levels and therefore courtship."

"Selection plainly favors females that lay large clutches," Gil G. Rosenthal writes in a summary of the study. "Selection also should favor females that can anticipate the probability of clutch destruction."

So if you're a male worried about your testosterone dropping over time, maybe you should pay a visit to The Island Of Dr. Moreau and have a go at trying to turn yourself into a fish. If you accomplish that goal, then you know you have a path in front of you to help ensure that certain things stay competitive.