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 we discovered about our bodies in the last seven days:
There May Be a Vaccine to Defend Against the Terrifying “Super Gonorrhea”
With a new, antibiotic-resistant strain of the hard-to-spell and even harder to get rid of STD making the rounds, doctors are worried that the disease may become completely untreatable. This is terrible news: Gonorrhea can cause a rash of problems (see what we did there?), ranging from pain and nasty discharges to outright sterility. However, a new study published in British medical journal The Lancet claims that, for the first time, a vaccine — originally developed to thwart meningitis B, strangely — has proven effective against it.
This is Important Because It’s Also Being Spread by Oral Sex
Everyone’s talking about Super Gonorrhea this week! As this story explains, one of the biggest concerns of this recent outbreak is that it’s being passed from partner to partner via oral sex, making condoms — generally your safest defense — pretty much useless. It’s this trend, in fact, that’s caused the bug to mutate into its super form in the first place: Hanging around in the back of your throat (I know, try not to gag), it has built up a tolerance to antibiotics due to its exposure to drugs used to treat sore throats. Maybe abstinence really is the best policy after all (haha no, that’s a terrible idea).
Getting the Wrong Kind of Sleep Might Lead to Alzheimer’s
According to research published by the journal Brain, disruption of the deep, restorative portion of your nightly sleep increases the amount of proteins (known as beta-amyloid and tau) thought to be responsible for the degenerative disease. Sounds like we should start going to bed at a more consistent time, you guys.
On the Other Hand, We Evolved to Become Insomniacs So We Wouldn’t Be Eaten by Lions, So There’s That
The Older Your Sperm, the Healthier Your Kids Will Be
Until now, little thought has been put into selecting which sperm to focus on during assisted fertilization procedures, with any viable tadpoles gratefully seized upon. But new research suggests that the older sperm from any particular batch of ejaculate (sperm can live in the male body for up to 74 days) is the best, with better chances of survival for the child and a healthier life as an adult. This could be very important news for couples trying to get pregnant through IVF, for obvious reasons. Everyone else, however, may as well stop worrying about it since you have absolutely no control over which sperm will actually do the impregnating in the end.
So-Called “Brain Training” is Total Bullshit
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have concluded that brain training programs — ranging from simple online games to more involved commercial courses — are all equally worthless. The subjects in the experiment were found to have no improvement in either decision-making or cognitive function after using such programs, which is just so surprising we can’t even believe it, no really, help us close our mouths with the shock of it. Gasp.