Last updated November 17, 2017 at 11:17 am
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.
One time on a girly weekend, my friends and I hired a palm/tarot/aura reader to come and tell us our futures. Of course I think that is an inherently dumb thing to do, but in terms of entertainment value it was money well spent. He told me I had a bubbly champagne aura and that I probably felt my feelings and sensed my senses more strongly than the average person. Obviously saying something like that was designed to flatter me, and while it didn’t work per se, it did make me more curious about the idea of being a super-taster. Thanks to this article and my love of the hoppiest beers that ever did hop, my hunch that I am not one is confirmed. But you might be!
At this point, it’s like – what doesn’t the microbiome do? I’m not going to be surprised if I find out that increasing my fibre intake will get my microbiome to launder my towels for me. And now there is evidence pointing to a link between the health of the gut microbiome and cancer treatment. Basically, differences in the gut microbiome could have a massive impact on the effectiveness of certain treatments, and what works for one person and their gut might be toxic for someone else.
Staying on cancer, the link between the HPV vaccine and cervical cancer gets all the attention, with legitimate reason. But there are five other types of cancer HPV can cause – vaginal, vulvar, throat, anal and penile cancers, the last three of which also affect men (and obviously the very latter affects biological men exclusively). But the uptake of the HPV vaccine continues to be highly sub-optimal, with people skipping the shot because of the side effects. The author of this piece is suffering from throat cancer (more accurately referred to as oropharyngeal cancer), and plainly and clearly points out how much worse the side effects from cancer are.
At this time of year at about 11am every day the sunlight charges through the window and smashes my desk, and me, and I love it. Turns out I’m experiencing something called ‘embodied cognition’ – basically that our minds live in bodies and those bodies live in spaces, and therefore the built environment directly impacts our experience and thoughts. Not exactly a revolutionary idea, but certainly one that could be used more thoughtfully – according to some studies, school design can impact a student’s learning by up to 25 per cent, and having an outside view in a hospital room can increase surgical healing by 30 per cent.
And finally – are you as fascinated by twins as science is?