How the keto diet could give Navy SEALs a tactical advantage

Could ketosis be the answer to preventing deadly seizures during deep-diving missions?



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  • The U.S. military has been funding research exploring how the keto diet might benefit soldiers during deep-diving missions.
  • The technology that Navy SEALs use to stay hidden underwater can lead to seizures. Studies suggest ketosis might prevent these seizures.
  • Still, ethical and legal questions remain, and researchers hope to continue learning more about how ketosis might yield advantages on the battlefield.
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Surprising Science

Colorado passes $1 billion in marijuana revenue since 2014

That's only counting revenues from taxes, fees, and licenses.


Photo credit: Carlos Osorio
/ Getty contributor
  • Colorado's Department of Revenue announced last week that the recreational marijuana industry has generated more than $1 billion in revenues from a total of $6.56 billion in sales.
  • Legalization remains a controversial issue in Colorado, where only 55% of residents voted to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012.
  • Ten U.S. states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana, with Illinois set to legalize it in 2020.
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Politics & Current Affairs

An organism found in dirt may lead to an anxiety vaccine, say scientists

Can dirt help us fight off stress? Groundbreaking new research shows how.

University of Colorado Boulder
  • New research identifies a bacterium that helps block anxiety.
  • Scientists say this can lead to drugs for first responders and soldiers, preventing PTSD and other mental issues.
  • The finding builds on the hygiene hypothesis, first proposed in 1989.
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Surprising Science

2020 Democratic presidential candidates want to end ban on gay blood donors

FDA guidelines say men can't donate blood if they've had sex with another man in the past 12 months.

Participants of WorldPride 2017 strut in costumes on the streets of Madrid. Photo credit: Cristina Arias / Cover / Getty Images
  • At least seven 2020 Democratic presidential campaigns have called for an end to the FDA's guidelines, as reported by The Independent.
  • It would be the first year that the issue has been a focus of presidential candidates.
  • The American Public Health Association said the FDA's ban isn't based on science.

In 1983, as the HIV and AIDS was ramping up in the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration banned blood donations from men who'd ever had sex with other men. The policy remains active, though in 2015 the FDA narrowed its ban to apply only to men who've had sex with another man in the past year.

Soon, the ban could be lifted altogether.

A growing number of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates are calling to end the long-standing policy, which gay-rights advocacy groups say promotes homophobia and is no longer necessary, thanks to modern disease-screening techniques. Most harmfully, the ban could be preventing healthy blood from reaching patients who need it, when blood shortages are already alarmingly common.

"The one-year deferral period for male blood donors who identify as gay and bisexual has nothing to do with science or medicine and everything to do with outdated stigmas against the LGBTQ community," a spokesperson for Beto O'Rourke's campaign told The Independent, which received similar responses from the campaigns of Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, John Delaney, and Marianne Williamson.

"Our blood screening policies must be based on 21st century medical evidence, not outdated biases about which populations carry more risk of HIV transmission. These policies serve no one and will only limit access to life-saving blood donations."

The ban hasn't been a key issue in past elections, said William McColl, director of health policy with the advocacy group AIDs United.

"I'm pleased to hear that they're talking about it. I think it shows that we've come a really long way in a short period of time," McColl told The Independent. "This discussion wasn't happening even 10 years ago, for sure."

House Democrats tried to lift the FDA's current policy in 2016, but the legislation never passed.

​Is the FDA's current policy based on science?

Not really, according to Georges C. Benjamin, the executive director of the American Public Health Association.

"[The FDA's 12-month policy on gay donors] continues to prevent low-risk individuals from contributing to our blood supply and maintains discriminatory practices based on outdated stereotypes," he wrote in comments submitted to the FDA in 2015. "Instead, we strongly urge FDA to issue guidance that is grounded in science to ensure a safe and robust blood supply."

Benjamin noted that current screening technology can identify HIV in blood donations within 11 days, and that the odds of an infected sample making it past screening is about 1 in 3.1 million. The Williams Institute, a think-tank at UCLA School of Law, estimates that eliminating the ban would add 615,300 pints to the national blood supply each year, an increase of about 4 percent.

Politics & Current Affairs

Drug makes tumors more susceptible to chemo

One compound could help combat drug resistance.

Chris Hondros/Getty Images

Many chemotherapy drugs kill cancer cells by severely damaging their DNA.

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