Saturday, November 15, 2008

Alien Planets, Groundbreaking Genes and Another Reason To Say NO to a Mouth Piercing: Relevant Science Quickies

As promised, here's a quickie roll-up of all the science and health related news for the secret or not-so-secret science nerds out there:
  • Astronomer photography teams have captured the first photos of four "alien" planets, none of which are like Earth, but one of the leads on the project, astronomer Bruce Macintosh, says "It is a step on that road to understand if there are other planets like Earth and potentially life out there."
  • Last week, The New York Times, ran some great articles about gene research. New information has emerged about the genome that indicates that it isn't going to fit into one of our neat scientific boxes, yet. There are still many surprises it will challenge us with. And RNA, often left in the shadow of the super-star DNA, is proving a potentially powerful ability to fight and shut off disease at the source. And finally, an out-of-the-box approach to genetic research is revealing a potential gender connection in the genetics of autism and schizophrenia. All interesting reading when you can steal some time.
  • Umbilical cord blood is showing promise in treating heart defects.
  • Nursing is now being shown as having a connection to a new babies' respiratory development.
  • Another reason in your arsenal if your child fancies getting a mouth piercing: it contributes to gum disease, and gum disease leads to a whole host of nasty body health challenges.
  • Lycopene has benefits to help those with endimetriosis.
  • Not surprisingly, research is showing that kids growing up in "greener" neighborhoods are healthier.

A few notes about food:

  • The ParentHacks blog has a good little post with tips about curbing sugar overloads during the holidays.
  • Britain is considering banning certain food additives, that have already been banned in some other countries. Some are still allowed in the U.S., and have a look to take note for your own efforts to be aware of what is in the food you feed to your children.

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