Archive | April 2014

Good news, apparently domestic violence can be solved with sugar

I’m not going to joke about domestic violence. It is a serious issue and it is not a laughing matter. Which is why I found the following study to be a bit too much. A study at Ohio State University tested the association between low glucose (sugar) levels and spousal aggression. I’m not going to lie, I think this was a really weird study to begin with. Over 21 days they had 107 couples measure their evening glucose levels. They also gave the participants voodoo dolls that represented their spouse along with 51 pins. Throughout the day they got to stick as many pins in the doll as they wanted, and had to right down how many pins they stabbed their spouse doll with each day. Then after 21 days they went back to the lab and played a competitive computer game with what they thought was their spouse but was actually a computer. When they won, they got to play a loud obnoxious sound for up to 5 seconds in their spouses ears. This was another way to measure aggression. With them so far?

Long story short, they found that lower glucose levels meant higher levels of aggression in the participants, meaning more pins in the doll, longer annoying sounds in the ears. It has been shown in other studies that we only have a certain level of self-control, which is what they credited for the increase of aggression with less blood sugar. Basically, if your spending your whole day using all your self-control trying to keep yourself from eating that extra cookie, then you don’t have any left to control your aggression.

I have no problem with this conclusion. It fits in with the conclusions in earlier studies. But then they take it even further and say that these results can apply to solving domestic violence. Good news everyone! We have finally found the key to solving domestic violence, and it includes cupcakes! There really is a kind and just god. Domestic violence is the result of one person being so selfish and self-centered that they feel they are the only person that matters in the world, and their spouse is nothing more than a punching bag meant for their personal use. This isn’t about a lack of self-control, it’s about narcissists who think that the suffering of others does not matter. I’ll buy that maybe eating dessert will stop a couple from bickering before bedtime, but you can’t say that a man beats his wife just because he was a little cranky he didn’t get a cookie. That is marginalizing the suffering and experience that battered wives (or husbands) go through. I’m all for using science to find solutions for big problems, but let’s not over reach ourselves just to get a good headline. Let’s call a spade a spade, or in this case, a felon.

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Squid ink fights tooth decay

Antibiotic resistant bacteria has become a huge problem in the medical world. The overuse of antibiotics to treat infections that aren’t caused by bacteria (since antibiotics can only kill bacteria, they are helpless against illness caused by viruses like the cold) has resulted in the weeding out of all the bacteria that can be killed by antibiotics. This leaves only the resistant “super bugs” which make people sick but can’t be treated with traditional antibiotics. This means scientists are being forced to look for more creative and new options for treating these diseases.

Enter, my friend the squid! Fear not humans, my faithful companion is rising from the depths to save you from tooth decay. A recent study found that an ingredient in squid ink can be used to kill the bacteria that causes dental caries. Maybe some of you read that and thought, “Dude, just brush your teeth.” Tooth brushing, or as the paper calls it ‘mechanical removal,’ combined with professional dental care is by far the best method for preventing tooth decay. Unfortunately, those in less developed countries don’t always have these options. Dental care is extremely expensive (as anyone who’s ever had a tooth extracted knows all too well), and the use of antibiotics can help those without the more urban options.

And squid ink doesn’t just clean your teeth. It has also been used as a preservative, it is an anti-oxidant, and apparently even has anti-retroviral activity (some retroviruses can cause cancer, and perhaps the most famous retrovirus is HIV*). So next time you order calamari, make sure to ask for the ink sac to use as a post-meal mouth wash (but not really though).

Soon to be the number 1 ingredient in Scope mouthwash

Soon to be the number 1 ingredient in Scope mouthwash

*Note, I am NOT saying the squid ink can cure cancer or HIV. At least not yet…