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Comment Re:Gut flora and artificial sweeteners (Score 1) 5

This is probably the most recent, well-cited article on the topic. The authors looked at the effects of saccharin in mice, and were able to determine that there was a significant elevation in blood-glucose level for the mice that were fed saccharin instead of actual glucose over the course of nine weeks. This suggests a mechanism for previous findings that suggest artificial sweeteners cause insulin insensitivity, weight gain, type II diabetes, et cetera. The difference between the two diets went away when both groups were raised with antibiotics, strongly suggesting the underlying cause was gut microbiota. They also found evidence that the saccharin diet led to changes in gut microbiome composition:

In agreement with the experiments with antibiotics, next generation sequencing of the microbiome indicated that mice drinking saccharin had distinct compositions from controls. This distinct microbiome was characterized by enrichment of taxa belonging to the Bacteroides genus or the Clostridiales order, with under-representation of Lactobacilli and other members of the Clostridiales. Several of the bacterial taxa that changed following saccharin consumption were previously associated with type 2 diabetes in humans.

Keep in mind that everyone has different gut flora, so in general these impacts will vary from person to person, which is why the effect is inconsistent, as with obesity and type II diabetes in general. I can't say for certain that these results would directly transfer into humans, but since the bacteria are the same, it's unreasonable to assume they wouldn't. Less clear is whether this effect transfers to other sweeteners; the paper includes a table showing a number of studies pertaining to a diversity of chemicals, some of which found an effect, and some of which didn't.

Non-professionally, my advice would be to avoid artificial sweeteners, and ideally all liquid candy. Some people find that drinking normal, sugary soda produces a state of lethargy, and I'm pretty sure this is a result of the long-term exposure to sucralose. It's sort of a trap!

Comment Re:Which type of graft is best? (Score 1) 5

That's fairly straightforward; as this summary article explains, a synthetic allograph (or xenograph; the terms overlap) that maintains bone mineral density is ideal, as it means no harvesting from elsewhere on your body (eek), no risk of rejection, and good bone density. I'd say start a conversation with your dentist about hydrogel-hydroxyapatite composites and mention you're concerned about sustaining bone density long-term.
User Journal

Journal Journal: Biology Help Desk: Volume 3^3 5

As requested by the world's greatest masked mystery person, Anonymous Coward, it may or may not be time for yet another biology help desk thread, after a surprisingly long hiatus of about four years. Feel free to contribute both questions and answers.

Comment Re: In Other News (Score 1) 478

It was a quaint archaism over a century ago. British English used it in the 18th century, and it arrived in India alongside the British. Many quirks of Indian English have similarly ancient roots, although some are innovations and most are the product of people learning the language (e.g. Hindi speakers conflate "softly" and "slowly" as Sanskrit had only one word for both.)

Comment And the amazing consequences... (Score 5, Funny) 606

Two words: Wikipedia vandalism.

According to Wikipedia, the Whopper is a bugger consisting of a flame-grilled patty made with 100% medium-sized child with no preservatives or fillers, topped with sliced tomatoes, onions, lettuce, cyanide, pickles, ketchup, and mayonnaise, served on a sesame seed bun.

Comment Re: oh no (Score 5, Funny) 423

All. Almost all. Slashdot is the unpleasant-smelling uncle at the Thanksgiving dinner table who was laid off during the dot-com bubble, decided to retire early, and spends the rest of his days complaining about how new-fangled touch-screen smartphones don't support vi keybindings the way God and Ken Thompson intended, how systemd would never have happened under a Libertarian president, and that global warming is a feminist conspiracy.

The rest of us come here because it's mildly more entertaining than going to an actual zoo.

Comment Re:Why is Holocaust Denial Such a Huge Deal? (Score 1) 429

Aspiration cannot be freely rewarded in an economy unless it is growth-oriented; if the amount of money in the economy never changes (which I presume is what was intended by 'sustainable'), then rewarding wealth production merely results in a slower and less predictable form of deflation and is not stable. Off the top of my head, a sensible compromise might be awarding bonuses for exemplary work, on top of a fixed UBI, that must be spent within a certain timespan, but personally I'm of the opinion that any economy that isn't totally post-money is flawed at best.

Comment Re:Why is Holocaust Denial Such a Huge Deal? (Score 1) 429

I agree with you wholeheartedly; my reservations—how the hell did we get onto this subject?—are entirely about ensuring that all the members of the economy are able to continue participating. Without that, social instability will inevitably destabilize any attempt at an adiabatic balance.

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