How Your Body Adapts to Extreme Cold

Metabolic details matter to predict health in the modern world, Ocobock says. The same genetic programming that arose to protect someone in the Arctic—like high BMI and faster metabolism—could become liabilities. Many of Ocobock’s study subjects have been overweight and obese with normal cholesterol and blood sugar. Being “fat but fit,” which has been beneficial … Read more

Biophysicists Uncover Powerful Symmetries in Living Tissue

“It was pretty amazing how well the experimental data and numerical simulation matched,” Eckert said. In fact, it matched so closely that Carenza’s first response was that it must be wrong. The team jokingly worried that a peer reviewer might think they’d cheated. “It really was that beautiful,” Carenza said. The observations answer a “long-standing … Read more

This Pill Tracks Your Vitals From the Inside

Digital health company Celero Systems is developing an electronic pill that can measure heart rate, breathing rate, and core temperature—from inside the human stomach. As a first step, the company envisions people with ongoing conditions using the digital capsule to monitor their vital signs at home. But in the future, they hope to use it … Read more

Still alive! Golden mole not seen for 80 years and presumed extinct is found again in South Africa

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — Researchers in South Africa say they have rediscovered a species of mole with an iridescent golden coat and the ability to almost “swim” through sand dunes after it hadn’t been seen for more than 80 years and was thought to be extinct. The De Winton’s golden mole — a small, … Read more

As Mexico marks conservation day, advocates say it takes too long to list vulnerable species

MEXICO CITY — Residents of Mexico’s Caribbean reef island of Banco Chinchorro near Belize have hunted the meat and salmon-pink shells of queen conch for generations. As populations have shrunk in recent decades, Mexico has enforced limits and bans on catching the shellfish. The species has continued to decline despite these measures, which included a … Read more

How Many Microbes Does It Take to Make You Sick?

The original version of this story appeared in Quanta Magazine. For a pathogen to make us sick, it must overcome a lot. First it has to enter the body, bypassing natural barriers such as skin, mucus, cilia, and stomach acid. Then it needs to reproduce; some bacteria and parasites can do this virtually anywhere in … Read more

Scientists Have Been Freezing Corals for Decades. Now They’re Learning How to Wake Them Up

This story originally appeared in Hakai and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration. Arah Narida leans over a microscope to gaze into a plastic petri dish containing a hood coral. The animal—a pebbled blue-white disk roughly half the size of a pencil eraser—is a marvel. Just three weeks ago, the coral was smaller than … Read more

The Day of the Dead in Mexico is a celebration for the 5 senses

MEXICO CITY — The Day of the Dead in Mexico smells like cempasuchil flowers and copal incense. It has a sweet taste. Sounds and colors abound. There are photos, candles and music all over. The hands of artisans prepare the altars to honor their ancestors. Although it is an intangible tradition, borne down from pre-Hispanic … Read more

Everyone Was Wrong About Why Cats Purr

Feline researchers have long believed that purring is produced by voluntary muscle contractions, but a new report indicates that this vibration in the larynx of cats may be explained by the myoelastic aerodynamic theory of phonation. Studies on the complex action that produces a unique vibration in the larynx of cats—known as purring to most … Read more

Why Antidepressants Take So Long to Work

Clinical depression is considered one of the most treatable mood disorders, but neither the condition nor the drugs used against it are fully understood. First-line SSRI treatments (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) likely free up more of the neurotransmitter serotonin to improve communication between neurons. But the question of how SSRIs enduringly change a person’s mood … Read more