Discovered: A magical flu vaccine, there's no such thing as a healthy video game, a quantum microphone, nicotine mouth spray, your boyfriend may think you're fatter than you are.
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- Universal flu vaccines might actually work. The flu shot these days is all about faith. Maybe you'll get the flu, maybe even from the shot. Or maybe you won't, and it may be because you got the shot, or maybe because the flu just didn't bite you this year. It's quite precarious. Flu vaccines of the future, however, will do so much more, new research finds. "Flu control has been dogged by this problem that the virus just keeps evolving. It stays one step ahead of the traditional means of controlling it. So, with strain-specific vaccines, you're always chasing last year's virus," James Lloyd-Smith explains. "With the cross-protective [or universal] vaccines, we may be able to finally throw a blanket on the transmission of all flu strains over the long term in a way that can impact the virus' evolution," he continues. Sounds like a shot worth taking. [Princeton]
- Even healthy video games aren't healthy enough. File this under obviously too good to be true. Those active video games that keep kids occupied and healthy aren't good enough, at least according to a recent study of 78 kids. Researchers found their sample of children playing so-called healthy games didn't exercise more than other children. "We expected that playing the video games would in fact lead to a substantial increase in physical activity in the children," Tom Baranowski told Reuters Health. "Frankly we were shocked by the complete lack of difference." [Reuters]
- A quantum microphone. It's very bitty -- just one electron. And it doesn't pick up much sound -- 3 micrometers. But, it works! It's not just cool because it's small and small things impress us, it's also useful for science. Here's why: "The experiment is done on classical acoustic waves, but it shows that we have everything in place to begin studies of proper quantum-acoustics, and nobody has attempted that before," explains Martin Gustafsson. [Chalmers University]
- Nicotine mouth spray. This sounds like a most unpleasant way to quit smoking, but scientists say it works. Spraying the minty drugs directly onto one's tongue provides a quicker fix, helping smokers quit their habits twice as fast as those using placebo sprays. Researchers guess the spray works best because it provides a quickly absorbed dose of drugs and can be administered at will, unlike patches, which deliver dosages over time. We think it has something to do with eating mint-flavored cigarette spray. [Reuters]
- Ladies: Your boyfriend thinks you're fatter than you are. How messed up is that! Asking a group of 1,000 men to put women in weight categories, Danish researchers found that many men called women overweight, even when they weren't. "On average, it only took a BMI score of 22.59 for the men to start assessing their partner as overweight, even though it takes a BMI score of 25 or more to be considered overweight," explains the report. Oh, and it gets worse: "When men start to perceive women as overweight even before they are, it goes against the general idea that men like women with shapely figures," explains sociologist Vibeke Tornhøj Christensen. [Science Nordic]
Image via Shutterstock by Sean D.