The best espresso, CRISPR therapy for cancer, social media vs. food habits, and other top research news of the week
Impact Insider – Weekly Round Up of Trending Research
Volume 1 | Issue 8
It appears, from a new study, that commercial coffee makers have not been getting the best advice, when it comes to the recipe for brewing the perfect espresso. Fret not, fellow coffee monsters: while the current most prevalent method of making espresso is not optimal, the espresso we’re getting is probably the best version of espresso there can be.
When scientists from several disciplines and several parts of the world teamed up to uncover the math, physics, and chemistry of how flavor seeps out of a coffee bean and into the water that we coffee monsters then devour, they found that using fewer beans and coarse grinding them produces espresso that is just as strong and good to taste as what we deem most supreme today.
These scientists may not have discovered the even more magical shot of espresso that we’ll forever be greedy for, but their findings sure reduce cost and decrease waste. Moreover, given the looming threat of an end to the abundant availability of coffee, owing to the effects of climate change in key coffee cultivation areas of the world, this new found method of making coffee could be the path to quenching our insatiable thirst for coffee for a little bit longer.”
Newly published data from the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania has confirmed that genetically edited immune cells can persist, thrive, and function months after a cancer patient receives them. The results show that the cells removed from patients and brought back into the lab-setting were able to eradicate cancer months after their original manufacturing and infusion. Further analysis of these cells marks this study as the first-ever sanctioned investigational use of multiple gene edits to the human genome. In the next few years, these data will allow us to take the new steps for investigating the later-stage oncological studies & will help extend this novel approach to a broader field beyond cancer.
The internet—more specifically, social media—has a massive influence in all spheres of our lives, but it does it influence our eating habits? A brand-new study published in Appetite suggests it might. In this study, scientists asked university students to gauge the amount of fruits, vegetables, junk food, and aerated drinks their peers on Facebook consumed. The scientists then compared this information with the students’ own eating habits: they found that students who felt that their social media friends ate more junk ate more junk themselves too—up to 1/3rd more than they would usually do. Conversely, those who thought that their social media peers ate more healthy food consumed up to 1/5th more fruits and vegetables. This study is an important step in future policies on health intervention, because it shows just how much of an influence online perceptions can have on our eating habits—something that is essential to good health.
Scientists have now found that “parentese” or the official exaggerated and simplified language that parents use, actually helps in the language development of babies. Parentese is not the same as “baby talk”, which is a mash-up of nonsensical words, but rather, “a fully grammatical speech that involves real words, elongated vowels and exaggerated tones of voice”. It turns out that the higher pitch and slower tempo of the baby talk is socially engaging for the babies, encouraging them to respond. Babies whose parents participated in parentese coaching sessions babbled more and produced more words by age 14 months than infants whose parents were not trained in the technique. For parents who want their children to be multilingual, this is probably the point to start.
Aside from aspiring for a “slimmer waist” or “toned arms,” have you ever heard of people dreaming of a “thinner tongue”? Patients with sleep apnea just might have to, based on a new study. Sleep apnea is a potentially dangerous disease, most commonly caused by an obstruction in the airway tract. If left untreated, it can cause serious complications, including heart diseases. Sleep apnea has been seen more often in obese people, but the reason wasn’t clear until now. Scientists have now discovered that excessive fat on the tongue is a major cause of airway tract obstruction, often leading to sleep apnea. Does this mean that we might see articles on “10 ways to lose tongue fat” or gyms advertising “Lose tongue fat in 3 days” soon? Only time will tell!
Rachana Bhattacharjee, Indrani Das, Sharang Kolwalkar, Anupama Prakash, Avantika Deo.
‘Shot of espresso coffee’ Credit: © monte_foto/Adobe Stock
‘CRISPR’ Credit: Penn Medicine
Social Media’ Credit: CC0 Public Domain
‘Mother talking to baby’ Credit: © Jacob/Adobe Stock
‘Woman showing tongue’ by Shutterstock