6 Things You Need To Know Today (December 8, 2017)

Photo: Thais Ramos Varela

1. The public spoke, and now Australia is legalizing gay marriage.

After a nationwide vote showed that the majority of Australians support gay marriage, the Aussie government is now making it legal. Australia will be the 25th country to recognize same-sex marriage. (The Guardian)

2. Finally, a less wasteful pregnancy test!

Startup Lia Diagnostics just released the first FDA-approved flushable, biodegradable pregnancy test, made of paper and a proprietary coating. Traditional tests add up to 2 million pounds of plastic waste to landfills a year, so this could be a major improvement. (Philly Mag)

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3. Get a haircut, save your life.

Melanoma is the type of skin cancer that is the most dangerous, and it's especially difficult to spot on the scalp. One promising, simple solution researchers at University of Southern California and University of Colorado Denver are exploring? Training hairdressers to spot lesions or changes that could indicate cancer. Your hairdresser could save your life. (NPR)

4. Are health care studies the future of the Apple watch?

The Apple watch hasn't gained the same fame as the iPhone and iPad, but that may change as more and more studies are using wearable technology to collect data on participants. It can also make participating in clinical studies more convenient for volunteers, so we'll likely be seeing a lot more of this in the future. (WSJ)

5. Exercise could make your fat healthier, which is great news for your metabolism.

According to a new study, exercising just once could change the molecular makeup of your fat tissue. While having healthy fat tissue may not seem like much to get excited over, it could actually help to keep your metabolism stay strong and speedy. This is especially beneficial during the holiday season when we may be indulging more than usual, so keep those workouts strong and frequent! (NYT)

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6. Keeping your mitochondria healthy can help prevent Alzheimer's.

A new study links healthy mitochondria, organelles associated with cellular production of energy, to a smaller risk for Alzheimer's. "So far, Alzheimer's disease has been considered to be mostly the consequence of the accumulation of amyloid plaques in the brain," one of the study's authors says. "We have shown that restoring mitochondrial health reduces plaque formation—but, above all, it also improves brain function, which is the ultimate objective of all Alzheimer's researchers and patients." (Science Daily)

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