Discovered: Couples that match each other's drinking get divorced less; why diet soda is a better mixer; first human stem cells made with 3D printer; and a 62-year-old Albatross has a baby.
Couples who keep pace with each other's drinking are less likely to get divorced. Codependency is an ill familiar to anyone who's attended an AA meeting, and new research backs up the claim that binge drinking together isn't healthy for any relationship. A survey of 19,997 married couples in Norway found a 17.2 percent divorce rate amongst partners who both drank heavily. But researchers found that the divorce rate amongst "incompatible" drinkers — couples in which one person drinks much more than the other — is even higher. When women drink much more than their husbands, the divorce rate jumps to 26.8 percent. Couples who drink moderately or not at all, and at the same pace, had the lowest divorce rate. Commenting on the study, Norwegian Institute of Public Health director Ellinor F. Major says, "Couples who intend to marry should be aware of the drinking pattern of their partner, since it may become a problem in the future." [Los Angeles Times]
Speaking of alcohol... Diet soda makes a better mixer, if you're of the mind that drinking is about getting drunk as efficiently as possible. Researchers at Northern Kentucky University set up a trial involving vodka mixed with Squirt and Diet Squirt, finding that drinkers who imbibed the artificially sweetened drinks blew 18 percent higher on breathalyzer tests than those who used the sugary non-diet beverages. The researchers hypothesize that more caloric beverages may slow the absorption of alcohol down like food. However, the drinkers reported the same perceived level of intoxication, raising concerns about their self-reported ability to operate a vehicle. [The Atlantic]
It's possible to 3D-print human stem cells. We know that 3D printers can spit out food and guns, and now there's... human flesh! This isn't a 21st century Frankenstein story just yet, but a team of UK scientists has successfully printed human stem cells by feeding bio-inks into a "valve-based cell printer." As much as 95 percent of the cells survived more than three days. Many appeared to be growing into cells found in human skin, tissue, or organ material. These findings are in very nascent stages, but the hope here is to be able to some day print the kinds of organs so many people currently wait so long to receive from donors. The scientists float the hypothetical possibility of "direct in-vivo cell printing for tissue regeneration" in their paper. [VentureBeat]
An ancient albatross is still having babies. The oldest living wild bird is still having babies. Wisdom, the 62-year-old albatross, hatched a healthy chick over the weekend according to U.S. Geological Survey scientists who've tracked her life in the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. Birds of her feather tend to die under the age of 30. "It blows us away that this is a 62-year-old bird and she keeps laying eggs and raising chicks," says the USGS chief of Bird Banding Laboratory Bruce Peterjohn. "We know that birds will eventually stop reproducing, when they’re too old to breed anymore. The assumption about albatross is it will happen to them, too. But we don’t know where that line is. That in and of itself is pretty amazing." [The Washington Post]