Thankful for cool science, October 13, 2014

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Oct 132014

Happy Thanksgiving, Canada!

Research shows us so many things we can be thankful for.

Our bodies are infinitely complex

The brain has several backups in case of accident, stroke, or other brain injury. Scientists recently found one such backup that creates new cells to replace those damaged or lost.

Speaking of the brain, it’s generally considered that humans became humans because their brains evolved larger through time. What is remarkable, though, is that as the neocortex grew, giving humans more intelligence, the cerebellum grew even faster so that we could coordinate all the new intelligence we were able to take in.

Cholesterol, though given a bad name by the effects of cholesterol-laden foods, is necessary to cell health. Scientists have now discovered a clue as to how our bodies synthesize this important substance.

As is the universe

Dark matter, which makes up a large percentage of the universe, cannot be seen by any means we have available. The only way to know it’s there is through calculations of gravitational forces. A new study shows that there may be less dark matter than originally thought.

A galaxy has been identified that might be able to shed light on the galaxies that shaped the universe.

People are living longer

This means that, yes, there is more chronic illness. The longer you live, the older you get, the more likely you are to develop a chronic disease and to have your body just wear out. A study was done comparing the number of years lost due to illness or premature death in 1990 and in 2010. The findings show a lot of progress has been made, but there are other places where work needs to be done.

For instance, certain ailments that were present in the list for 1990 – like measles and asthma – were not even on the chart in 2010, showing that these ailments were being better controlled. However, ailments that are on the list in 2010 that were not as common in 1990 – like AIDS, anxiety disorders and interpersonal violence – need to be looked at closer.

A baby’s first hour

Birth is a miracle, and the bond between mother and baby is especially miraculous. This is how mother and baby bond in the first hour after birth.

That our world even exists

The universe is a huge place, and our little blue planet isn’t even a dot in the sky. And yet here it is, full of life and knowledge. We truly are a remarkable people on a remarkable planet.

Image from NASA

Image from NASA