Skip to content

6 Things You Need To Know Today (May 2)

Emma Loewe
May 2, 2017
Emma Loewe
mbg Sustainability + Health Director
By Emma Loewe
mbg Sustainability + Health Director
Emma Loewe is the Senior Sustainability Editor at mindbodygreen and the author of "Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us."
Photo by Getty
May 2, 2017

1. California's landscape is incredibly beautiful right now.

The California governor has officially lifted the drought emergency for most of the state, as spring rains continue to give the landscape some much-needed water. After years of dry conditions, wildflowers in the Golden State are celebrating by blooming in an especially dramatic fashion. The bright-yellow hues of California's Central Valley can even be seen from space right now! (Treehugger)

2. This company is helping doctors understand their patients on a whole new level.

Designers at a medical consulting firm (called Klick Labs) developed a new device that allows doctors to experience Parkinson's disease tremors for themselves—in real time. The firm aims to study empathy levels and how they change once doctors and caregivers are able to directly feel the symptoms for themselves. The goal is to improve medical care, as studies have shown that an empathetic doctor means a healthier patient. (Quartz)

3. Is fasting the best course for weight loss? Maybe not.

A recent study created two groups: one in which participants ate 75 percent of their usual caloric intake, and the other where participants consumed only 25 percent of it on "fasting" days and 125 percent on "feasting" days. Did one group lose more than the other? Yes, but not by much. Those in the fasting group lost 6 percent of their weight whereas the calorie-restricted group lost 5.3 percent. Plus, participants had a harder time sticking to alternating fasting than calorie restriction. (NY Mag)

4. Nearly 1 billion people are vitamin D deficient, and sunscreen might not be helping.

A clinical review published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association has found widespread vitamin D deficiency among adults. One researcher on the study explained, "People are spending less time outside and, when they do go out, they're typically wearing sunscreen, which essentially nullifies the body's ability to produce vitamin D." (ScienceDaily)

5. A machine that smells when you're sick? Coming up in the not-so-distant future!

Researchers have been trying to figure out how to build an inexpensive odor sensor for quick, reliable, and noninvasive diagnoses for decades. And now, in a Willy Wonka-esque turn, they finally seem to be on the cusp of succeeding. "You’re seeing a convergence of technology now, so we can actually run large-scale clinical studies to get the data to prove odor analysis has real utility," said Billy Boyle, co-founder and president of operations at Owlstone, a manufacturer of chemical sensors in Cambridge, England. (NYT)

6. Are you taking too long to poop?

According to a new study, the average mammal takes just 12 seconds to poop. According to the study's authors, taking longer could expose the pooper to dangerous natural elements. While you likely don't have any predators lurking in your bathroom (hopefully!), if pooping is taking you a good while, it might be worth visiting a doctor. (Science of Us)

Emma Loewe author page.
Emma Loewe
mbg Sustainability + Health Director

Emma Loewe is the Sustainability and Health Director at mindbodygreen and the author of Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us. She is also the co-author of The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care, which she wrote alongside Lindsay Kellner.

Emma received her B.A. in Environmental Science & Policy with a specialty in environmental communications from Duke University. In addition to penning over 1,000 mbg articles on topics from the water crisis in California to the rise of urban beekeeping, her work has appeared on Grist, Bloomberg News, Bustle, and Forbes. She's spoken about the intersection of self-care and sustainability on podcasts and live events alongside environmental thought leaders like Marci Zaroff, Gay Browne, and Summer Rayne Oakes.