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10 Mind-Blowing Discoveries This Week

Pot medically engineered to help with weight loss and park benches made from old diapers are just the start this week.

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But why pull a post-mortem mummy mash-up? Researcher Mike Parker-Pearson of the University of Sheffield said it could have to do with land-ownership which was communal in about 1500 BCE and depended on ancestry. Having the actual ancestor hanging around might have been “their prehistoric equivalent of a legal document.” 

Choi’s full story is 100% worth reading, and Steven Spielberg better get in on it because I’m ready to see the movie version of all these amazing events this weekend. 

3. Ovary a certain age

Moving from mummies to mommies, when I saw the Telegraph headline " Women Could Delay Menopause Indefinitely With Ovary Transplant," by Stephen Adams all I could think was “Why would anyone want to do that? No more fear of pregnancy? Are you kidding? Bring on the chin hair !” 

Because I’m a little tocophobic I forget that some women actually want to get pregnant -- moreover some want to avoid doing it until they’re on solid professional, financial and emotional ground which can mean waiting until a little later in life. Soon more women may have the chance to do just that.

At the European Society for Human Reproduction for Embryology in Istanbul, details were presented about the procedures through which 20 babies have been born to women who had either a) their ovaries removed prior to medical treatments that would have left them infertile and then having them put back; or b) had ovarian tissue transplanted from a twin. Most of the babies were conceived without the use of IVF drugs.

“All the women who have undergone the procedure have had cancer, but doctors said it was now time to extend the procedure to others,” Adams writes. Should the procedure catch on, women wouldn’t really have to watch their body clocks and could become pregnant as long as they could physically withstand a pregnancy and give birth.

Because I’m 47 and can’t stand up without groaning like Marley’s ghost, such physical stress isn’t my cup of amniotic fluid. But the ability of more women to consciously choose and be well-prepared for motherhood is a tough goal to argue with.  

4. Darwin's frogs: Dig ‘em

Since we’re discussing reproductions you have to check out the freaky, dream-like  National Geographic video of the Darwin’s frog method of Xeroxing itself. The mother lays up to seven eggs. Some become tadpoles. The father keeps these safe from predators by catching them his mouth and storing them in his vocal sac until they mature into frogs whereupon he yaks them out. The cute frog you see in the beginning of the video is actually storing five other frogs in his face. Nature gets pretty David Lynch from time to time, but this is the Lynchiest. Pleasant dreams. 

5. Toothiness

Have you ever stood next to someone whose breath was so bad that they might well have a mouthful of frogs? Someone with halitosis so horrifying that you remember it for years afterward? I certainly have. I remember thinking that this person’s teeth must have been decaying even as we spoke, and I figured what I was smelling was “rot” and tried not to faint.

Well, one day trapped conversationalists might not have to worry about such things. Researchers have discovered a molecule that stops bacterial attacks on tooth enamel  -- meaning the decay that accompanies it may one day be a thing of the past. Christine Hsu of Medical Daily reports that Keep 32 (named after the 32 teeth in the human mouth) takes 60 seconds to kill Strepptococcus Mutans , the bacteria that turns sugar into lactic acid and wrecks the tooth enamel causing decay. It works for hours and can be put into toothpaste and mouthwash as well as gum and candy. Researchers José Córdoba from Yale University and Erich Astudillo from the University of Chile hope to bring their discovery to market 14-18 months from now after passing U.S. human safety trials.

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