We just learned something about the Moon that’s pretty hard to believe

The effect that the Moon has on humans has long been debated, but new research suggests that it definitely affects our sleep. A new study published in Science Advances suggests that the phase of the Moon has a real, measurable effect on the amount of sleep we get, and when we feel tired. Participants in the study wore sleep trackers and their habits were tracked for as long as two months. By Mike Wehner It’s often been said that a full moon makes people act differently than they might on any other night during a different phase of the Moon. Ancient … Continue reading We just learned something about the Moon that’s pretty hard to believe

How Can We Know So Little About Clitorises?

by SARAH GRAHAM The clitoris. Half the world’s population has one but it’s hard to think of any other part of our anatomy that’s quite so shrouded in mystery.Although the detailed anatomy of the clitoris was first depicted in 1844 by German anatomist Georg Ludwig Kobelt, it wasn’t until 2005 that much of this knowledge was made more widely known because of the work of Australian urologist Helen O’Connell. And so what we now know is that the clitoris is much bigger than the pea-sized nub you can see on the surface, with the majority of it hidden internally. Sometimes described as the female pleasure centre, the … Continue reading How Can We Know So Little About Clitorises?

Want to Get Out Alive? Follow the Ants

Ants show that emergency exits can work better when they’re obstructed. BY CONOR MYHRVOLD On an evening in January A.D. 532, pandemonium broke out in the Constantinople Hippodrome, a U-shaped chariot racetrack surrounded by stadium stands. Two factions, the Greens and Blues—the predecessors of today’s soccer hooligans—broke into a fight. When the rest of the spectators dashed to escape, many became trapped by the rushing crowd, couldn’t reach the exits, and were trampled and killed. That incident was the start of the Nika riots that almost ended the rule of Eastern Roman emperor Justinian the Great. Fifteen hundred years later, … Continue reading Want to Get Out Alive? Follow the Ants

What makes a woman’s body

A pang of hunger, a stab of pain, a sense of dread – these experiences emerge on the shore where biology and culture meet Mallory Feldman is a doctoral student in the Carolina Affective Science Lab at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She lives in Durham, North Carolina. Kristen Lindquist is associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and the director of the Carolina Affective Science Lab. Edited by Sally Davies I know no woman – virgin, mother, lesbian, married, celibate – whether she earns her keep as a housewife, a … Continue reading What makes a woman’s body

Why do dogs eat grass (and poop)?

Don’t pretend like your pup hasn’t done it. By Thomas Ling Dogs. Love them all you want, but it won’t stop them wolfing down all manner of mud, slugs, stones, non-existent homework – and yes – poop. But have you ever wondered why they eat some of the things they do? For instance, exactly why do dogs eat grass? Glad you asked: this canine conundrum has several intriguing answers. Well, theories at least. Although the neuroscience of dogs is a growing field of study, scientists still can’t tell the exact motivation behind this puzzling behaviour. “The little research that has looked into this … Continue reading Why do dogs eat grass (and poop)?

“People are not okay”: The mental health impact of the Trump era

His presidency is over, but the trauma isn’t. By Anna North  Four years ago, Americans were gathering at airports to protest then-President Donald Trump’s newly enacted Muslim ban. A year ago, they were watching his trial in the Senate after he was impeached on charges of obstruction and abuse of power. Three months ago, some were gathering emergency kits and making safety plans with their neighbors to prepare for potential election violence by his supporters. And three weeks ago, they were watching those supporters storm the US Capitol in an attempt to overturn the results of a democratic election and keep Trump in power. Now, Trump has finally left … Continue reading “People are not okay”: The mental health impact of the Trump era

How ecstasy and psilocybin are shaking up psychiatry

Regulators will soon grapple with how to safely administer powerful psychedelics for treating depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. by Paul Tullis On a sunny day in London in 2015, Kirk Rutter rode the Tube to Hammersmith Hospital in hopes of finally putting an end to his depression. Rutter had lived with the condition off and on for years, but the burden had grown since the death of his mother in 2011, followed by a relationship break-up and a car accident the year after. It felt as if his brain was stuck on what he describes as “an automatic circuit”, repeating … Continue reading How ecstasy and psilocybin are shaking up psychiatry

Are We Screening Too Much for Skin Cancer? It’s Complicated.

A new paper calls for a halt to skin cancer screenings in the general population. Some physicians vehemently disagree. BY TERESA CARR ABOUT A DECADE AGO, when he was a first-year dermatology resident, Adewole Adamson learned that “exploding” rates of melanoma were a pressing problem. That was — and still is — the official position of the American Academy of Dermatology. Since the mid-1970s, the incidence rate of melanoma, a potentially deadly cancer, has skyrocketed sixfold; once relatively rare, melanoma is now one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society. A few years later … Continue reading Are We Screening Too Much for Skin Cancer? It’s Complicated.

CAN LSD HELP STRUGGLING PEOPLE MAKE FRIENDS? WHY A NEW STUDY IS SO PROMISING

by SARAH SLOAT EMBRACED THEN VILIFIED, the drug lysergic acid diethylamide is on a path toward redemption. While LSD remains a legally restricted psychoactive substance, scientists are pursuing its therapeutic potential — continuing a conversation that began in the 1950s. LSD’s prosocial effects hint at its potential for helping with conditions from anxiety to alcoholism. Happiness, trust, and empathy are all effects of the psychedelic. Scientists haven’t been able to identify the exact neurobiological mechanisms underlying these feel-good experiences, though. And that has stalled efforts to create treatments that use LSD. A new study might have the answer. The research identifies three features of the … Continue reading CAN LSD HELP STRUGGLING PEOPLE MAKE FRIENDS? WHY A NEW STUDY IS SO PROMISING

How China Is Transforming Its Economy Through Lifelong Learning

by Enrique Dans I highly recommend reading the McKinsey Global Institute’s new report, “Reskilling China: Transforming The World’s Largest Workforce Into Lifelong Learners”, which focuses on the country’s biggest employment challenge, re-training its workforce and the adoption of practices such as lifelong learning to address the growing digital transformation of its productive fabric. How to transform the country that has become the factory of the world, where manual assembly was the cheapest due to its low labor costs, into an artificial intelligence giant, with the largest public blockchain infrastructure in the world, a digital currency in an advanced stage of development that will see an end … Continue reading How China Is Transforming Its Economy Through Lifelong Learning