8 Things You Need To Know Today (November 9)

Photo by Twenty20/@marishkakuroedova

1. Should your baby actually sleep in your room?

The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a new suggestion that babies sleep in the same room as their parents for six months, or ideally, up to a year. Apparently, this adjustment can reduce the risk of a child dying in their sleep by up to 50 percent. On the other hand, having children sleep in their room will inevitably rob parents of much-needed sleep. Sleep-deprivation is said to cause deficits in parents similar to those of being drunk. It seems like this is just a decision every parent has to make for themselves. (NYT)

2. In our brains, all languages are created equal.

Recent research on sign language suggests that language isn't just about speaking and listening. When we communicate, the actual type of language (visual or auditory) isn't all that important to our brains. Sign language and spoken language are extremely similar, and even if we know nothing about signing, we can apply what we know about spoken language to make sense of the structure. (Science Daily)

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3. Energy drinks are in the doghouse.

After doctors linked a 50-year-old man's acute hepatitis to his daily consumption of four to five energy drinks, the reputation of the sugary, caffeine-laden drinks has tanked. While we always knew energy drinks were more soda than health beverage, new information about the damaging effects of their high niacin levels give us new reason to steer clear. (My Domaine)

4. This theory about extraterrestrial life is pretty out of this world.

Astronomy magazine recently posed a question about what will happen when an astronaut dies in space. A pool of experts seems to agree that a corpse's bacteria could carry new life to other planets. "We've pulled microbes out of permafrost, and there we're talking about organisms surviving around one million years in suspended animation. Especially if the trip is somewhere close, like to Mars, bacterial spores in the human body will survive for sure." (Astronomy Magazine)

5. Eating a really early dinner could promote weight loss.

Like really early. A study found that participants burned more fat when they ate their meals within an 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. time frame, as opposed to a more typical 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. window. The 18-hour fast period was also found to keep appetite levels more even throughout the day, suggesting that timing of meals and intermittent fasting could have a big impact on metabolism function. (Science of Us)

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6. Finally, we have an answer to why Soylent is making people sick.

Not only is Soylent a sad way to consume calories (it's billed as a "replacement meal" that meets all nutritional requirements), but it's making people sick. And now, the company may have found an answer as to why that is: an algae-based flour. Yep, you should probably stick to eating good old-fashioned food. (Grub Street)

7. The bizarre connection between human cells and neutron stars.

Apparently we're more like neutron stars—celestial bodies made from collapsed star cores—than we ever imagined. Researchers have found that the "crust" (or outer layers) of a neutron star has the same shape as our cellular membranes. This could mean that, despite being fundamentally different, both humans and neutron stars are constrained by the same geometry. We're suddenly feeling connected to the cosmos! (Science Daily)

8. Women in labor are laughing their way through birth, kind of.

Laughing gas is being used as an alternative for women who want to manage their pain without an epidural. "It gives you this euphoria that helps you sort of forget about the pain for a little bit," said a midwife working with a new mom who tried a treatment. Advocates of the treatment say that overall, it's supporting the movement to give women more control over the process of giving birth. While research on nitrous oxide during birth is decades old and needs updating, there is a subset of obstetricians who deem it to be perfectly safe. (NPR)

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