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 they’ve discovered about our bodies in the last seven days:
Eating Boogers Can Help Prevent HIV, According to Actual Scientific Report That We Struggled to Even Read
No no no no no no no no. Or yes, apparently. A study from the American Society of Microbiology claims that your snot contains useful stuff that helps form barriers against certain types of problematic bacteria. And because of this, according to another study cited by Men’s Fitness, eating your magic nose goblins can strengthen your immune system to the point where it could even help defend against HIV. Excuse us while we go vomit-scream into a tiled corner.
The Amount We’re All Drinking is Now a “Public Health Crisis”
According to a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association: Psychiatry, drinking is up. A lot. After studying 40,000 subjects in 2001–2002, then again a decade later, in 2012–2013, they found that alcohol use in the U.S. was up 11 percent, and Alcohol Use Disorder — defined as “a chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over alcohol intake and a negative emotional state when not using” — was up 49 percent. The figures were disproportionately higher among women, black Americans and those aged over 65.
The researchers claimed that the dire financial state of most Americans since the economic crash in 2008 was likely a contributing factor to this increase, and that depression rates have also risen over the same period. We are, essentially, all drinking ourselves to death as a coping mechanism. Spoiler alert: This will probably not end well for anyone.
There May Finally Be a Cure for Peanut Allergies
Children given a daily probiotic containing peanut protein, over an 18-month period, showed an ability to eat peanuts with no side effects only a month later, and in 70 percent of cases, it was still effective up to four years later. This is a big deal: Peanut allergies affect 1.4 percent of the population and are one of the most common causes of food-related death. Confusingly, they aren’t the same as regular nut allergies, because peanuts aren’t even nuts, but we stick with it because it’s easier to pronounce than “legume allergy.”
Playing First-Person Shooters is Melting Your Brain
While some video games have been shown to do useful stuff, like improve your hand-eye coordination, there’s one genre of game that may be rotting your brain from the inside: First-person shooters. Now, it should be noted that media hysteria around these games has been present since armchair psychologists first made the dubious connection between Doom and the Columbine school shooting, but outside of worried PTA meetings, the connection between video-game violence and real-world violence has largely been debunked.
A new study from the Université de Montréal, however, claims that playing first-person shooters is chipping away at the brain’s hippocampal matter, something that increases the risk of “developing post-traumatic stress disorder and depression when they’re younger, and even Alzheimer’s disease when they’re older.” It’s thought that the very specific way people interact with FPS games — memorizing and repeatedly running to the same locations (sniping spots, etc.) vital to winning a particular map — is responsible for this, with simple habit replacing the spatial learning your brain is supposed to rely on.
Long story short, if you want to save your brain, you may need to ditch the first-person shooter games and find some other arena in which to tell T0pD0g21 that you screwed his mom.
Binge-Watching Is Messing With Your Sleep, Says Least Surprising Study Ever
You mean staying up till 3 a.m. to fully immerse myself in the tension, drama and intrigue of The Great British Baking Show doesn’t help me get a full night’s rest? Zoinks.