Why Dark Chocolate Is So Damn Good For You

From improving heart health to alleviating the effects of depression, dark chocolate is renowned for its remarkable health benefits. A recent study now points to one of the reasons why — and it has to do with dark chocolate's unique chemistry, plus the microbes in our stomach who find it equally delicious. » 3/18/14 12:20pm 3/18/14 12:20pm

Are gut bacteria the reason people who live in cold regions get fat?

Numerous animals, humans included, have adapted to living in cold climates by increasing their body size. And now, researchers have found that people living in colder regions have more obesity-related gut microbes than their warm-region counterparts. Are bacteria the reason why it's harder to lose weight in the snow? » 2/11/14 4:01pm 2/11/14 4:01pm

Is it really worth having your gut bacteria tested?

How much can you learn about your health from a dab of poop or a swab from your skin or mouth? With various scientific researchers offering to test your microbiome for a fee, it's natural to be curious about the trillions of microbes living in your body. But is it worthwhile to get tested yourself, and what can current … » 1/23/14 11:00am 1/23/14 11:00am

What if you got blackout drunk every time you binged on carbs?

Yes, it's possible. It's called auto-brewery syndrome, and it happens when your stomach gets infected with Saccharomyces cerevisiae – the go-to yeast for brewers of beer. » 9/20/13 11:20am 9/20/13 11:20am

Could the microbes in your gut actually help you lose weight?

Over the last decade, we've discovered that the microbes that live in your guts can affect your body weight. Researchers can even make mice fatter or thinner by implanting them with gut microbes from obese or lean humans. Could this lead to microbe-based therapies for obesity? » 9/05/13 2:53pm 9/05/13 2:53pm

A weird new insight into how new species evolve

When two populations of a species are separated for many generations, their genomes start to drift apart as they adapt to their different environments. Eventually they can become two distinct species. But new research now suggests it's not always incompatible DNA that halts interbreeding — sometimes it's incompatible… » 7/22/13 3:40pm 7/22/13 3:40pm

What can the DNA in your poop teach us about ethics?

A scientist has posted the results of DNA analysis of his poop online. It's literally the shittiest dataset ever released to the public domain! But it's also a wellspring for serious discussion about new areas of biological research — and the weird new ethical considerations that go along with them. » 5/28/13 1:00pm 5/28/13 1:00pm

Rise in allergies has nothing to do with exposure to disease

Back in the late 1980s, scientists suggested that the sudden spike in allergy sufferers was the result of living in sterile homes and overzealous hygiene practices. Our immune systems, went the thinking, weren't being exposed to potentially important infections. A recent report, however, indicates that this "Hygiene… » 10/03/12 9:40am 10/03/12 9:40am

When people explode during colonoscopies

Few people, if any, look forward to colonoscopies. They're annoying to prepare for. (Liquid diet? No thank you.) They're invasive. (It's a camera. In your butt.) They're scary. (Even if it's just a routine screening, there's always a chance your doctor will find something up there that requires medical attention.) They … » 9/24/12 11:13am 9/24/12 11:13am

Our bodies are a global marketplace where bacteria trade genes

There is a vast, unseen marketplace that connects us all. The traders are the trillions of bacteria that live on or within our bodies; the commodities they exchange are genes. This flow of genes around our bodies allows bacteria to rapidly evolve new skills, including the abilities to resist antibiotics, cause… » 11/16/11 4:38pm 11/16/11 4:38pm