Dichroa febrifuga, a medicinal herb that has been historically used to treat fever, is named for its active ingredient, febrifugine. By Keith Edkins (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons Biology Chemistry 

Malaria Drugs: Herb Garden to Medicine Cabinet

By Bill Sullivan, PhD @wjsullivan We live on a lush planet filled with over 290,000 species of plants. Herbs are a particular type of plant that lack a wooden stem, and humans have often sampled them in hopes of finding a new food or flavoring. Sometimes ingestion of an herb produces unwanted effects, such as death. But other herbs have medicinal qualities, such as the alleviation of fever.  An Old and New Malaria Drug Dichroa febrifuga is one of the most important herbs in traditional Chinese medicine, used for millennia…

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Cant Sleep, Lying Awake Biology Health 

Sleepless, Lying Awake in Your Hotel? This Might Be Why

A study released today shows that the left brain hemisphere is more wakeful than normal when sleeping in a new place for the first time, leaving exhausted travelers lying awake in hotels rooms around the world. The fact that many people sleep poorly during the first night in a new environment – such as a hotel room – is a well-known phenomenon. Now, results from a new study in Current Biology by Brown University researchers could point to why this is the case. We talked to the study’s lead author,Masako…

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Does air pollution raise your risk of obesity? Environment Health 

Does Air Pollution Raise Your Risk of Obesity?

By Kate Stone @GotScienceOrg It is generally understood that breathing polluted air can damage our lungs. However, a new study recently found that lab rats that breathed Beijing’s highly polluted air for eight weeks not only developed breathing problems, but also gained weight. The researchers warn that air pollution exposure can contribute to metabolic dysfunction and obesity.  About the Study: Air Pollution and Obesity In a study led by Duke University, with the support of the Chinese government, scientists tested the health impact of Beijing’s polluted air. They placed pregnant rats…

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exercise, weight loss, health Health 

More Exercise Doesn’t Always Burn More Calories

By Neha Jain @lifesciexplore Are you hoping to shed some weight this year? You may need to plan your exercise regime carefully to ensure that you are not wasting your energy by overworking yourself without results. Although the commonly held notion is that more intensive workouts mean more calories burned, a new study has found that this view is not necessarily correct. The study reports that above a moderate level of physical activity, the total amount of energy consumed in one day by the body tends to level off—that means…

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Paleo Diet Dangerous? Health 

Paleo Diet is Dangerous, Expert Warns

Although some people swear by the Paleo (short for “Paleolithic”) diet, a new study suggests that eating a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet can lead to rapid weight gain and health complications in as little as eight weeks. What’s going on? OK, we’ve all seen plenty of fad diets come and go, but the Paleo diet has an earthy, back-to-basics vibe. Perhaps that’s why the new research findings have surprised many people. And yet, the findings are so striking that the University of Melbourne research team has gone so far as to…

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A woman in the village of Karech, in rural India, prepares a meal on a traditional three-stone hearth. Courtesy of H.S. Udaykumar and University of Iowa Environment Health 

Small Metal Stove Grate Makes Big Impact

By Kate Stone The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 2.7 billion people worldwide still rely on wood fires to cook their food, and more than 4 million die each year from illnesses connected to household air pollution caused by that method of cooking. An inexpensive metal insert for primitive cookstoves, created by a University of Iowa research team, may decrease global warming and potentially save many lives. The insert decreases wood consumption by about 60 percent, and further testing  conducted in a national lab in India found that the…

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Antibiotic resistance: Tinker Creek is a pristine black water stream on the Savannah River Site. The bacteria in this stream are susceptible to antibiotics. Photo credit: Linda Lee/University of Georgia Biology Environment Health 

Environmental Contaminants Add to Antibiotic Resistance

By Neha Jain @lifesciexplore Environmental Contaminants and Antibiotic Resistance Are you concerned about the overuse and misuse of antibiotics causing antibiotic-resistant bacteria? Now, scientists have reported another indirect trigger for antibiotic resistance: heavy metals present in environmental contaminants such as industrial waste. “Bacteria in contaminated streams have higher levels of antibiotic resistance than bacteria found in more pristine streams,” says J Vaun McArthur, the lead researcher of the study, from the University of Georgia. McArthur has been studying the role of industrial pollution in antibiotic resistance in waterborne bacteria for…

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antibioticsStaphylococcus aureus (Public Domain photo by Janice Haney Carr, Matthew J. Arduino, DRPH, USCDCP) Biology Health 

Searching for Alternatives to Antibiotics

By Steven Spence Biological Arms Race Modern, effective antibiotics were only discovered and widely used in the 20th century. The most famous antibiotic discovery was penicillin (Fleming, et al 1928), which only began to be used from 1942 onwards by the Allied Forces during World War II. It had a huge impact on the treatment of infections due to bacteria, but bacteria rapidly developed resistance to penicillin. Scientists and medical researchers identified more antibiotics, but over time bacteria became resistant to them, too. Today it is common to see news…

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Cat Videos: Bloomington, Indiana's own Lil Bub is one of the more popular felines on the Internet. (Photo by Mike Bridavsky/www.lilbub.com) Animals Citizen Science Health 

Cat Videos Boost Energy, Good Feelings

Do you get a warm, fuzzy feeling after watching cat videos online? If so, that emotional effect may be more profound than you realize. The Internet phenomenon of watching cat videos, from Lil Bub to Grumpy Cat, apparently does more than simply entertain. It boosts viewers’ energy and positive emotions while decreasing negative feelings, according to a new study from Indiana University Media School. Can a Cat Video a Day Keep the Doctor Away? The study, by assistant professor Jessica Gall Myrick, surveyed almost 7,000 people about their viewing of…

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An employee working at a treadmill desk. (Jaren Wilkey/BYU) Featured Health 

How to Ask Your Boss for a Treadmill Desk

The adverse effects of sedentary office work have given adjustable desks, standing desks, and treadmill desks new attention, but treadmill desks are not everyone’s cup of tea. Now, the latest research from Brigham Young University reveals the impact that treadmill desks can have on job performance. So You Want a Treadmill Desk If you are interested in using a treadmill desk at the office, your greatest challenge may be convincing your boss that it will not have a negative impact on your job performance. Some employers worry that standing or…

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