Monthly Archive: December 2014

Secrets of the naked mole rat

 

In addition to their other talents, naked mole rats can survive under very low oxygen, and may offer clues that could help humans survive damage from strokes. (Photo credit: Roman Klementschitz, via WikiMedia Commons)

In addition to their other talents, naked mole rats can survive under very low oxygen, and may offer clues that could help humans survive damage from strokes. (Photo credit: Roman Klementschitz, via WikiMedia Commons)

Naked mole rats — is there anything they can’t do? These wrinkly little critters live up to 30 years, more than ten times as long as other rodents their size. They are essentially immune to cancer (a fact which makes them of great interest to the medical community) and also apparently insensitive to some kinds of pain. Last, but certainly not least, they are able to survive at levels of oxygen so low that they would be fatal to other animals. This week, researchers at the University of British Columbia showed that naked mole rats do this in a way that is completely unique among mammals. The insight may one day lead to new ways to prevent or treat human conditions like stroke.

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Check email less, reduce your stress?

 

Are you an e-mail addict?

I know I am. Every time I pick up my phone the blinking envelope in the corner reminds me that there’s something new to deal with. And while hope springs eternal that it’s a note from an editor assigning me a juicy new story, as often as not it’s just a poorly-spelled forward from an elderly relative, making bad jokes about how life was so much better before all this gosh-darned technology. Was it really? If I stop checking my email so often, will I regain the peace and comfort of that bygone era? According to the results of an experiment published this week by researchers from the University of British Columbia, the answer might well be yes.

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