Honest Blog

What’s The Weirdest Thing You Learned This Week?!?!   -Trainer Jared

Welcome to my weekly sampling of the weirdest/coolest things the interweb had to offer–read through and astound your friends and family as you litter your conversations with these tantalizing tidbits.  It’s science for the win! 

  • The Virus with Spider DNA
    • It sounds like a low-budget horror flick, but it’s even more convoluted than it sounds.  This virus doesn’t actually “infect” spiders–it is called a bacteriophage and its host is actually a bacterial species (Wolbachia) that infects the cells of insects and arachnids.  Yup–this virus lives in bacteria that live in creepy crawlies, but somehow managed to jump ship and steel the genetic blueprints from its host’s host, giving it the ability to produce some of the proteins found in…BLACK WIDOW VENOM!  (link:  http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-37632616)
  • Naked and Feeling NO Pain
    • The Naked Mole Rat (just consider the mental image that name conjures for a minute, it’s ok, I’ll wait) is remarkable for a number of reasons This is a mammal that lives in a colony reminiscent of ants and termites and, like these insect analogs, is ruled by a queen.  Scientists have discovered that the Naked Mole Rat has effectively one third the pain receptors found in other rodents.  Additionally, for types of pain known as “thermal hyperplasia” (it describes that special pain one feels when getting into a hot tub after falling asleep in the sun), it takes 10 TIMES the stimulation to activate a pain response in Naked Mole Rats.  These guys would have no trouble feasting on Ghost Peppers while the rest of us were chugging milk and regretting our life choices.  (Link: http://phys.org/news/2016-10-naked-mole-rat-inflammatory-pain.html)
  •  Stress, Fat, and Inflammation (AKA Black Friday at My House)
    • Remember that time you sat in traffic for an extra forty minutes on the way home from that awful meeting in which your boss told you to scrap all the work he asked you to put into that project you never wanted to work on in the first place? Rather than reaching for a greasy burger bomb with fries, you made an awesome meal loaded with veggies and decided to be healthfully decadent with a fresh avocado, lightly salted and drizzled in olive oil–a much better choice, right??  A recent study suggests that, when under stress, our bodies react to those healthy fats in the same way they would respond to the saturated fats in that grease bomb–by flooding the system with pro-inflammatory compounds!  BUT, all hope is not lost.  Taking time to develop mindfulness strategies to reduce the psychological impact of stress appears to prevent the body from making this switch.  Exercise, yoga, meditation, and even a long walk in the park, serve to help curb the negative effects of stress with regards to diet.  If you’re curious about additional ideas, check out the upcoming Honest Yoga and Tea Talk.  Mindfulness to the rescue!  (Link:  http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/09/27/494922257/chill-out-stress-can-override-benefits-of-healthy-eating)
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