In Australia, an average baby boy born in 2016 could expect to live to 80, while a baby girl born at the same time could expect to live until closer to 85. A similar gap in life expectancy between men and women is seen around the world.
Outdoor air pollution has been widely studied and regulated for decades, but the quality of indoor air and its potential risks were little unrecognized until the early 2000s. Yet in temperate climates we can spend up to 90% of our time in closed environments (houses, schools, offices, transportation, etc.), where we may be exposed to numerous pollutants. The question of indoor air quality has therefore become a major public health concern across the globe.
We know we should eat less junk food, such as crisps, industrially made pizzas and sugar-sweetened drinks, because of their high calorie content. These “ultra-processed” foods, as they are now called by nutritionists, are high in sugar and fat, but is that the only reason they cause weight gain? An important new trial from the US National Institute of Health (NIH) shows there’s a lot more at work here than calories alone.
On the one hand, cheese is an excellent source of minerals like calcium and magnesium, vitamins A, B2 and B12, not to mention being a complete protein. On the other hand, cheese is also a significant source of saturated fat and sodium in our diets. To lower saturated fat intake, consuming reduced-fat cheese is sometimes recommended to lower cardiovascular disease risk.
Life pits the order and intricacy of biology against the ceaseless chaos of physics. The second law of thermodynamics, or the thermodynamic arrow of time, states that any natural system will always tend towards increasing disorder. Biological ageing is no different, making death inevitable. However, one of the least-addressed questions of ageing is the apparent paradox between the optimizing drive of evolution, and the inevitable deterioration of the body.
You can live without food for three weeks and without water for up to three days. But you can’t live without air for more than three short minutes. It’s not just the abundance of air that matters – the quality is essential, too. Unfortunately, air can be contaminated with dangerous germs known as airborne pathogens, such as bacteria and viruses.
Imagine a championship match between two rival basketball teams. The game is tied, seconds left on the shot clock, two players lunge forward, reaching for the ball. In a split second, their hands both collide with the ball, but neither player gains possession. Instead, the ball goes soaring out of bounds. Immediately an argument erupts as each player claims the other knocked the ball out. The referee desperately tries to break the two apart and make the correct call.