Last updated July 13, 2017 at 4:51 pm
The Check Up is a weekly feature highlighting some of the best, most fascinating, most important, or simply unmissable health, medical, and human stories from around the web.
Come for the bio-hacking, stay for the Mickey Mouse Band-Aid. This story is about a Sydney academic who cut out the chip in his Opal (i.e. public transport swipey) card, had it encased in bio-compatible plastic, and then implanted it into his hand. At first I thought it must look like he’s using The Force anytime he swipes on or off. But it turns out the device has a pretty limited range, and doesn’t exactly work first time every time. So it’s actually probably just awkward. While Mr Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow strongly discourages copycats, he also doesn’t see what he’s doing as radical. And I think he’s got a point – what’s weirder, a future where we’re still dependent on inanimate rectangles, or self-sufficiency?
I’ll admit it, there’s a big jar of coconut oil in my house. But turns out it was a good idea to start keeping it in the bathroom rather than the kitchen (thanks to Australia’s Science Channel’s own Ben Lewis for the tip on switching to rice-bran oil in my frying pan). The American Heart Association came out this week saying that coconut oil is not the magical elixir some claim – hardly a shock if you subscribe to the ‘if it seems too good to be true it probably is’ philosophy. But if you’ve grown to love this yummy oil don’t despair – you can still use it healthfully.
It will not surprise anyone that when it’s NASA vs Gwyneth Paltrow, space science wins. Apparently she is spruiking stickers on her website Goop that you stick directly onto your body, and because of Reasons they heal you. The company that makes the stickers claim they have the same conductive material on their sticky surface as there is on the inside of NASA space suits, and that this somehow makes them ‘rebalance’ your ‘energy frequency’. Except that sort of material isn’t in the space suits. And even if it was, sticking it to yourself like a toddler who was Very Good Today will not make you healthier.
Since we seem to be dealing with a fair bit of health related pseudo-science this week it’s good timing for this next story, about whether the worst type of fake news is fake health news. Even after reading this article, I wouldn’t be confident to say so conclusively. But there are certainly huge problems both in the way that health claims are sometimes completely made up, and in the way that legitimate health science is reported. Stay critical, thinkers.
And finally, this video from Wired takes a look at the not quite legitimate but very promising practice of using ketamine – otherwise known as the party drug Special K – to treat depression.
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