These mushrooms might magnify memory

From HBO’s The Last of Us to traditional Chinese medicine, lion’s mane mushrooms (Hericium erinaceus) have been used for centuries for their potential anti-inflammatory properties and cauterizing wounds. Now, a team of researchers from Australia and South Korea have discovered an active compound from the edible lion’s mane mushroom that can enhance memory and stimulate nerve growth. This could potentially be used to protect against neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Read full article here

How Travel Can Improve Our Mental Health

Travel has been found to have numerous lasting benefits on our mental and physical health. In fact, Canada’s national parks service now even allows doctors to prescribe travel to national parks with a free annual pass! Research has revealed that 97% of people feel happier simply planning future travel, and studies have also concluded that higher vacation frequency can reduce the odds of metabolic syndrome, as well as help reduce stress and anxiety. Traveling can also help form closer connections with new people and open our minds to fresh ideas, which can be applied to our work and home life. Read full article here

New Study Links Coffee and Tea to Longer Life

Coffee and tea – the ‘magical’ substances that could help you live longer (or sleep less…). A recent study suggests that drinking moderate amounts of both beverages together may reduce overall mortality and disease risk. People who drank 2 to 4 cups of tea and up to 2 cups of coffee a day had a 22% lower risk of all-cause mortality and a 58% lower risk of death from digestive diseases. So, why not perk up your life with a bit of coffee and tea? Read full article here

FDA needs to build in more flexibility for rare disease trials

Meet Wheeler, a toddler battling a rare condition called Juvenile Batten disease that’s gradually stealing his childhood. The clock’s ticking, but there’s a glimmer of hope: a drug called miglustat that could delay his disease’s progression. Problem is, it’s not FDA-approved for Wheeler’s condition, and a clinical trial is still a year away. As Wheeler’s life hangs in the balance, it’s time for the FDA to rethink its approach to rare diseases, remove obstacles, and help save lives by harnessing the same urgency and innovation seen in Operation Warp Speed. Time’s running out, but hope never does. Read full article here

Brain ‘zips and unzips’ information to perform skilled tasks

The human brain is capable of amazing feats, such as pre-programming complex sequences of movements for tasks like playing the piano or dancing. A new study conducted by researchers from the University of Birmingham and Bangor University reveals that the brain does this by ‘zipping and unzipping’ information about the timing and order of movements ahead of action. Fascinatingly, the order and timing of movements are stored separately in different areas of the brain, before being activated in response to a trigger such as a musical cue. Read full article here

COVID-19 workforce impacts in the US

This article reveals an often overlooked consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic: the staggering amount of productive workdays lost to the illness. In 2022 alone, US workers lost 315 million to 1.05 billion days of work due to COVID-19, equivalent to the removal of 1.3 to 4.3 million workers from the workforce for the full year. This hidden loss could help explain the persistent US worker shortage, with industries unable to work remotely bearing a greater burden. The economic impact of this loss is expected to continue into 2023 if new waves of disease arise. Read full article here

Living with invisible illness

Are you familiar with struggles of people living with so-called ‘invisible’ illnesses? This piece looks at how these conditions often go unseen and unrecognised, even though the owner of the illness may still be experiencing pain and suffering. The article also touches upon the difficulty of determining when chronic illness becomes disability, and the shame associated with being labelled as disabled. It highlights how society understands sickness as something that can easily be defined by time and physical markers, when in reality, long-term illness can be much more complex. Read full article here

Cancer Vaccine to Simultaneously Kill and Prevent Brain Cancer Developed

This revolutionary new cell therapy developed by Khalid Shah and his team at Brigham and Women’s Hospital could be a game-changer for the treatment of deadly brain cancer. Instead of using inactivated tumor cells, the team repurposed living tumor cells by using the gene editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 to engineer them to release tumor cell killing agents and immunomodulatory agents to both destroy primary tumors and stimulate the immune system. The approach was successful in mice models and has the potential to translate clinically in the future. Read full article here

Your Response to Stress Improves as You Grow Older

Stress levels may actually decrease with age, according to David Almeida, a developmental psychologist at Pennsylvania State University. After two decades of research, Almeida and his team found that people in their 20s experience the highest levels of stress, with those in their 70s experiencing the lowest. The age advantage in dealing with stress may be due to the social roles people inhabit, the realization that life is short, and the experience of coping with stressors over time. Surprisingly, during the 2008 recession, it was midlife adults in their 40s to 60s who reported the highest levels of distress. Read full article here

Papyrus by Irene Vallejo

In her sprawling work, Papyrus, Spanish historian and philologist Irene Vallejo takes us on a journey of how books have shaped the ancient world and ours. She engages with the physicality of books, as well as the imaginative and intellectual journey a reader embarks on when they open up a volume. She starts with the great library of Alexandria, a vanity project dreamed up by Alexander the Great, and then moves on to Constantin Cavafy, a bureaucrat of Greek origin in the early 20th century, and Lawrence Durrell in the Alexandria Quartet. Read full article here


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