When Broccoli Becomes 'Super'; Dodgeball Science

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Discovered: the Michael Jordan's of living longer, one good thing about yogurt, the composition of super broccoli, how common binge-eating is, and bit of unwitting dodgeball..

  • Nutrient-pumped broccoli gets time in the spotlight. By which we mean that the Associated Press has a widely circulated profile of "super broccoli," and the scientists who have newly unveiled a version of the vegetable in Britain. What makes the broccoli "super" is that it is pumped full of "glucoraphanin, a nutrient believed to help ward off heart disease," the article informs, noting that it's been sold as Beneforte in select U.S. markets and that it has not been submitted to the European Safety Agency to discern it's health benefits. So, maybe not technically super yet. And the taste wasn't special: "An AP reporter who tasted the new broccoli found it was the same as the regular broccoli. Scientists, however, said it should taste slightly sweeter because it contains less sulphur." [Associated Press]
  • The theory that microorganisms in yogurt 'are good for you' is debatable. We didn't know that. But, a new yogurt study that did investigate the health benefits of the snack in mice and humans did find another thing that it was maybe, possibly good for (the researchers appeared hesitant to draw conclusions): "yogurt may indeed be helpful, perhaps by helping microbes found naturally in the digestive system process carbohydrates," wrote The Washington Post. A different account of the study in Nature, notes that the yogurts tested "have only subtle effects on the bacteria already in the gut and do not replace them." [Nature, The Washington Post]
  • $10 million is on the table if you can sequence the genome of 100 centenarians.  The idea of the prize for scientists, as the Associated Press described, is that once we get an accurate picture of the healthy 100 year-old genome, it'll help spur advances in preventative medicine for the rest of us who hope to live that long. It's being sponsored by geneticist Craig Ventor and a few corporations, including the X Prize foundation that offered a prize for private spaceflight. In an interview with Scientific American, Ventor described these 100 year olds as the "Michael Jordan's of longevity" before explaining: "They've already won that contest. We wanted to do see if there's something unique they have in common with them [each other]—wellness genes that would protect you from cancer if you were genetically predisposed to getting it." [Associated PressScientific American]
  • A 'dodgeball' study that looks like either fun or slightly uncomfortable to participate in. A Swedish study testing hand-eye cordination among its participants seems to have gone a bit like dodgeball. "Responses of unwitting participants to balls unexpectedly thrown by an experimenter (n=10) or propelled by a hidden ball cannon (n=22) were recorded by motion capture," the abstract says. Did you catch that? As both io9 and Discover noticed, that's an experiment that includes "unwitting participant" and balls "propelled by a hidden ball cannon," which--without further context--conjures up the idea of a hectic research environment. [io9, Discover]
  • Binge-eating: common but not as widely reported in men. A new study authored by a Wesleyan University researcher, Dr Ruth R. Striegel, touts that it notably includes men in the sample along with women and finds that men are seemingly hesitant to seek treatment. "[M]ost of the evidence about the impact of binge eating is based on female samples, as the majority of studies into eating disorders recruit women," Striegel said in a release. Her study, which used samples of 20,000+ men and women, found that 7.5 percent of men and 11 percent of women currently struggle with binge-eating, ABC News relayed. [EurekalertABC News]

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