Health

Hunger-blocking injection lets fat monkeys quickly lose weight

Need some help with your hunger?Erik Jonsson/EyeEm/Getty By Alice Klein A protein injection that decreases appetite helps obese monkeys to slim down fast and cuts their risk of diabetes. Excitement is growing about a protein called GDF15, which naturally regulates body weight in humans and animals. When extra amounts are injected into mice, they eat less, lose weight and have fewer signs of diabet...

Four brain genes help explain obsessive compulsive disorder

People with OCD are driven to repeat ritualsJeffrey Hamilton/Getty By Alice Klein Four genes have been identified that are linked to obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). The genes all play a role in the same brain circuit, and may help explain why people are more likely to have OCD if they have a relative with the condition. People with OCD have intrusive thoughts and feel driven to repeat rituals...

Sperm age calculator tells men how decrepit their sperm are

Sometimes age does matterJuergen Berger/SPL By Jessica Hamzelou A sperm age calculator can tell men how “old” their sperm are, using clues from DNA analysis, and has revealed some of the effects of smoking on sperm. While a woman’s age has long been known to affect the health of her offspring, we have only recently begun to understand how a father’s age can have similar effects. Older fathers are ...

Magic mushroom extract changes brains of people with depression

Self-medication isn’t recommendedPhotofusion/REX/Shutterstock By New Scientist staff and Press Association Psilocybin, a hallucinogenic compound found in magic mushrooms, may help re-set the activity of neural circuits in the brain that are involved in depression. Magic mushroom enthusiasts have long believed that the drug’s ability to induce profound-feeling experiences could be therapeutically u...

Top tips to get a better night’s sleep and improve your health

Most of us could do with more shut-eyeMitja Kobal/Getty By Matthew Walker It is becoming increasingly clear that getting enough sleep is vital for our physical and mental well-being. Now, sleep scientist Matthew Walker and others have shown how getting enough sleep is also one of the most important things you can do to protect your brain from Alzheimer’s disease. Here’s his advice on how to sleep ...

Sex addiction isn’t an illness, treating it as one is a bad idea

Harvey Weinstein is seeking treatment for sex addictionPatrick McMullan/Getty I’m not bad – I’m ill. In essence, that is the defence of disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, with his decision to seek treatment for sex addiction after the recent string of allegations about his appalling behaviour towards women. Weinstein isn’t the first to go down this route. The idea of sex addiction has bee...

Skin-tight exoskeleton is worn like Spanx and lets you turn left

Packs some new skillsKenta Murakami/Panasonic By Sandrine Ceurstemont A body-hugging robotic suit lets the wearer turn as they walk – a first for this technology. It’s an important step toward finally letting people take home supportive exosuits after injuries, rather than having to stay in hospital. Robotic exoskeletons are often used for rehabilitation: they do your walking for you. Typically, t...

Wake-up call: How a lack of sleep can cause Alzheimer’s

By Matthew Walker I DON’T mean to pry, but how much sleep did you get last night? What about over the past week? I ask because the answer could have serious consequences for your future mental health. More than 44 million people worldwide currently have Alzheimer’s disease, including members of my own family. The health, economic and personal impact is staggering. There has been a marked accelerat...

Illuminating India: The genius of making a little go a long way

India does more with lessChila Burman By Simon Ings One can taste the boosterism in the air at London’s Science Museum as it introduces its two-gallery exhibition, Illuminating India. There is a cafe serving excellent Indian street food. Someone next to me used the word “Commonwealth” without irony. Would there have been such a spirit without Brexit? Probably not: this is a show about the genius o...

Kuwait’s plans for mandatory DNA database have been cancelled

Personal liberty at stakeYASSER AL-ZAYYAT/AFP/Getty Images By Andy Coghlan Kuwait has revoked the world’s first law requiring all citizens and visitors to submit samples of their DNA. Passed in 2015, the law was challenged last year by lawyers in Kuwait. Last week, the country’s Constitutional Court ruled that the law violates the constitution’s guarantee of personal liberty. “We have prevailed,” ...

Your ‘risk intelligence’ decides how much of a daredevil you are

Smokers may be more likely to take other risksBlakeLittle/Getty By Jessica Bond If your new boyfriend smokes, will he risk your relationship for the thrill of a one-night stand? What if your accountant likes to go base jumping at the weekend – might she be more likely to take risks with your money than someone who relaxes by playing golf instead? The answer to both seems to be yes. The most compre...

Different meditation types train distinct parts of your brain

Better done in companyTom Merton/Getty By Caroline Williams We are used to hearing that meditation is good for the brain, but now it seems that not just any kind of meditation will do. Just like physical exercise, the kind of improvements you get depends on exactly how you train – and most of us are doing it all wrong. That the brain changes physically when we learn a new skill, like juggling or p...

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