June 29, 2018

Weekend reads: These mousetronauts are headed to space—for science

Daily Briefing

    Ben Palmer's reads

    When was the last time you cleaned your phone? If you use your smartphone daily, you should probably be cleaning it more frequently, because it's covered in bacteria. Fortunately, though, most of the germs aren't harmful, Markham Heid reports for Time. That said, if you're using your phone while you're sick or after you've been around potentially dangerous bacteria—such as the meat section at the grocery story, Heid notes—you should probably clean your phone. According to Philip Tierno, a clinical professor of microbiology and pathology at New York University's Langone School of Medicine, if that bacteria hops onto your phone, it can easily end up entering your body. Heid writes that if you use your phone all the time, wiping it with a disinfectant wipe once a day "is a good idea."

    2 tricks for conquering your chocolate craving. If you find yourself wanting chocolate, there are two effective methods to drive off those cravings. The first method, recommended by Julia Hormes—an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Albany—is to recognize that these cravings are just thoughts, and that thoughts eventually go away. "Thoughts come and go," she said. "You don't have to linger on them. You certainly don't have to act on them." Hormes in a study she co-authored found the mindfulness approach led participants to report lower levels of food cravings. Participants who used this approach were also less likely to eat because of internal or external triggers. The second approach entails distracting yourself from cravings to suppress them. A separate study found that this approach did lessen the intensity of the participants' cravings. However, it didn't reduce how much chocolate participants ate when it was placed in front of them after the study.

    Rachel Schulze's reads

    Moustonauts, launch! Scientists on Friday sent a mission of mice into space to gather data on how certain genes could affect how the body responds in zero gravity. Specifically, the scientists are interested in learning about how zero gravity could impact circadian rhythms and the microorganisms that comprise the gut's microbiome. The scientists will compare the mice that've been sent to space with a control group of mice on the ground. Scientists will use the findings to build on existing research on how long-term space missions affect astronaut health.

    Green juice looks healthy, but is it? While vegetable-based green juices look like a health-conscious offering, they don't all live up to the hype, according to Consumer Reports. Some of the drinks can be high in sugar. For instance, Naked Juice's Green Machine's label says it has "zero added sugar," yet a 15-ounce bottle contains 53 grams of sugars—more than 15 ounces of Coke, which has 49 grams. In addition, the pressing process used to extract the juice from the vegetables typically leaves out the fiber, according to Consumer Reports.

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