Athletes who perform at the elite level aren’t like the rest of us. Their feats of strength, accuracy, and endurance often appear superhuman — which probably explains why we enjoy watching them so much. And the suggestion that many of these athletes are somehow performing outside of “normal” human bounds is not an exaggeration. Professional sports, it would seem, are being increasingly dominated by the mutants among us.
Humanity is a pretty diverse bunch. We come in all shapes and sizes, and with varying gifts. And it just so happens that some of these variations can lend themselves to specific sports. Some people benefit from happy accidents — physical “mutations” that can help an athlete adapt to a particular sport. It’s Darwinian selection on the playing field, with athletes working to attain Dawkinsian fitness peaks (quite literally).
The result of this selectional process is that the last man and woman standing are often way outside the human norm.
Almost any disease will spend some time in your body before making you ill, summoning its forces or just lying in wait. But some maladies are even more patient than that.
Some ailments can spend decades lurking in your body, dormant and unknown, until they suddenly spring to life. Let’s take a look at some of the most patient diseases that you could already have, without knowing.
The most famous, and the most dreaded, virus that stays dormant in the body for years is HIV — which introduced many people for the first time to the notion that you could look perfectly healthy but still have a communicable virus. But there have always been illnesses that had incubation periods of anywhere from years to decades. And these diseases have spurred many legends about how they were spread, and why they stayed hidden — but today we’ll look at the facts.
As humans, it’s only natural for us to search for explanations in the face of senseless violence. So it’s no surprise that people have floated many weird and offensive theories to explain the tragic shootings late last week at a movie theatre in Colorado, that left 12 people dead and dozens more injured.
But you don’t need to look too far for a “reason” to explain this type of violence. Clearly, anyone who lashes out in such a heinously disproportionate way must have a deeper, underlying psychological problem — one that’s already been defined in the scientific literature. And James Holmes is absolutely no exception.
While it’s still early in the investigation, and with so few clues for us to consider, it’s difficult to know exactly what’s wrong with Holmes from a neurological perspective. His recent court appearance, with his dazed look and shock of dyed red hair, did little to dispel any notions that this man isn’t completely right in his head. And the accounts that he was denied membership at a gun club and that he may have been playing the part of some twisted Batman fantasy don’t do anything to dispel that notion.
So based on so little, aside for his penchant for dishing out an unspeakable amount of suffering, what can we say about Holmes, and any neurological problem that may have driven him to kill?
There are three potential explanations, and possibly a combination of these: James Holmes is either a psychopath, a schizophrenic, or he’s currently experiencing brain damage (either from an injury or a brain tumor). Let’s consider each of these.
Back in 2010, a team of German doctors announced that they’d recorded the world’s first MRI of a woman giving birth. Back then, only still images were available — but now the researchers have released the video, and it’s spellbinding.
The video captures the active second stage of labour as the mother expels the fetus. The technique, called cinematic MRI, takes repeated images of the same slice of the body before joining them up to create an ultra-detailed video.
Ever kicked your partner as you sleep? By studying rats, University of Toronto scientists have discovered what exactly it is that makes our eyes move and our bodies paralyzed while we slumber, and why some people can’t stay still. And it could help them find ways to overcome REM sleep disorders, tooth grinding, narcolepsy, and other snooze-related ailments.
Remember how in sci-fi tomorrowland we were promised that doctors would be followed around by robots who knew your medical history by rote and could make sure that nothing gets missed? Well, we’ve woken up in the future because shit just got real.
Meet the RP-VITA, or Remote Presence Virtual + Independent Telemedicine Assistant, a collaboration between iRobot and InTouch Health. iRobot got bored of cleaning your floors and keeping our Navy EOD units safe, so they’ve decided to focus on making your hospital visit a hopefully less horrible one. The robots will be capable of autonomously navigating the hospital hallways, avoiding obstacles and people (once the FDA approves this functionality). They will be cloud-connected and linked to your full medical record, and they will have ports for directly connecting to medical diagnostic devices. All this and it’s controlled by an iPad. The RP-VITA is designed to get the doctor to where he or she is needed and to make sure they know everything they need to know. Plus, look, apparently, it’s got some guy’s face. He has a goatee. So there’s that.
People who exercise are certainly healthier than those who don’t, but do they actually live longer? A review published in the latest issue of the Journal of Aging Research says they do, by an average of around four years. But the review also suggests that the type of exercise could be just as important.
Everybody knows what you mean when you say you’re happy or sad. But what about all those emotional states you don’t have words for? Here are ten feelings you may have had, but never knew how to explain.
Patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) may be able to avoid developing dementia by drinking several cups of coffee a day, the results of a new study suggest.
The study showed that patients with MCI who have a plasma caffeine level of 1200 ng/mL avoided progression to dementia over the following 2 to 4 years.
These patients exhibited a plasma cytokine profile that was exactly the same as that of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) transgenic mice that were given caffeinated coffee and didn’t progress to dementia. It’s therefore very likely that it’s caffeine from coffee, and not from other sources, that affords the cognitive protection, said study senior author Gary W. Arendash, PhD, research scientist, Bay Pines Veterans Affairs Hospital, St. Petersburg, Florida. The research also suggests that certain cytokine patterns could signal for impending conversion to dementia among those with MCI, said Dr. Arendash.
The study is published in the June issue of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Major medical and consumer groups are coming together to question the carte blanche use of many commonly ordered tests and procedures, including MRI for low back pain and exercise EKG tests in people with no symptoms and low risk for heart disease.
Sometimes these tests can be lifesavers. Other times they are unlikely to do anything except increase costs and anxiety and expose people to unnecessary risks.