The human body: An inspiring biological work of art? Or a meaty sack of germs and fluids? Either way, there’s still a lot we don’t know about what goes on in there — and scientists are constantly attempting to find out more. Here are the most interesting things we discovered about our bodies in the last seven days:
If You Drink Water, You’re Ingesting A Ton of Plastic
You like water, right? You drink eight glasses a day, no? Well, after learning about the amount of plastic leeching into our water supply, you might want to switch to liquid hot magma. A new study of tap water from around the world found that microplastics — nanometer-sized plastic particles created by things like tire dust and synthetic fibers in our clothes and paint — have been found in 94 percent of the country’s water supply. And if the concept of drinking microscopic toxins isn’t bad enough, microplastics are also known carcinogens. So yeah, they’re probably contributing to our impending doom as well. Yay!
Go Super-Sized, or Go Home
If you’re one of the 70-ish percent of Americans who are overweight or obese, blame advertising. Or if self-responsibility is your thing, blame yourself for being so susceptible to advertising. A study by the U.K.’s Royal Society for Public Health found that the tactic known as “upselling,” where businesses promote the value of ordering larger portions, has added 17,000 calories annually to Brits’ diets. In other words, we’re super-sizing ourselves as much as our value meals.
Mommy and Daddy Are Fighting Because They Stayed Up Too Late Watching TV
At this point, maybe we shouldn’t ever get out of bed. Ohio State University recently released a study on why people in relationships fight, and how it affects their health. As it turns out, couples whose arguments turn hostile often get less than seven hours of sleep a night. On the other hand, couples getting more than seven hours of sleep reported that their fights tended to have more constructive outcomes. So maybe DVR Colbert this week, and see if your relationship improves.
Vampires Are People, Too
A new paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on a recently discovered genetic mutation seems to explain in part where the vampire myth comes from. Doctors from the Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center found that the mutation triggers Erythropoietic protoporphyria, a condition that causes people’s skin to become very sensitive to light, so much so that even an overcast day can cause painful blisters. No word yet if it also makes them afraid of silver and garlic as well.
A Cup of Coffee A Day Keeps the Diabetes Away
Actually, four cups of coffee, according to researchers from Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark. The study, submitted to the Journal of Natural Products, found that a compound in coffee called cafestol lowered blood sugar and increased insulin production in mice when given high doses. They also couldn’t get any work done before they’d had their first cup.
Emotions Now Come in 27 Flavors
Up until now, psychologists have been happy to know that there are six human emotions: Sadness, anger, surprise, fear, disgust, and yes, happiness. But color them surprised when researchers at the University of California at Berkeley submitted a paper suggesting that there are in fact 21 more — anxiety, fear, horror, disgust, sexual desire, romance, confusion, awkwardness, nostalgia, entrancement, calmness, awe, aesthetic appreciation, craving, admiration, joy, adoration, amusement among them.
If all of this has you feeling anxious, don’t worry, you’re no more sensitive now than before this news was announced.