Abstracts: Milky Way, Medicine, and More


• China and India are vying for formal recognition from UNESCO of their cultural ties to ancient Tibetan medicine. Receiving UNESCO recognition could stimulate the Tibetan medicinal industry’s growth in either country, but some experts are concerned that the practices would become watered down if produced on a massive scale. (New York Times)

Simulations suggest that nearly half of the matter in the Milky Way galaxy came from the gas of other galaxies. Visual: NurPhoto / Getty

• Those who can afford to outsource tasks they dislike probably should if they want to feel happier, according to a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study found that many people of a variety of income levels stress about not having enough time, but are reluctant to pay others to do chores and tasks for them, which the researchers report decreases well-being. (BBC)

• The sperm counts in men from North America, Europe, and Australia have dropped by more than 50 percent over the course of 40 years, according to a new meta-analysis. Because low sperm count can sometimes signify other health concerns, some experts are alarmed by the finding. (Washington Post)

• A group of infectious disease experts in the U.K. are making the case against “completing the course” of prescribed antibiotics as a way to prevent antibiotic resistance in bacteria. The group’s controversial stance, which also calls on physicians to stop sending the “complete the course” message to patients, is receiving some pushback within the medical establishment. (Scientific American)

• Using the genome-editing technique CRISPR-Cas9, biologists in Oregon have successfully edited the DNA of viable human embryos, targeting a gene connected to a major disease. Though this type of DNA editing could be used to prevent parents from passing on deadly genetic mutations to their offspring, it faces regulatory obstacles in the United States, and the embryos were not permitted to develop past an early stage. (STAT)

• Scientists have discovered that Japanese tits communicate using specific sequences of sounds to alert one another of predators. But the birds only understand the sounds if they are delivered in the proper order — sort of like humans only understand sentences if the words are in the right places. (Science)

• Almost half of the matter present in the Milky Way might have originated in other galaxies. New simulations have found that high-speed galactic winds could have pushed atoms in gaseous forms away from their home galaxies and into other galaxies such as ours. (Science News)

• The ancient Canaanites, who the Bible says were annihilated by the Israelites and who left no textual records, seemed to have survived after all. A new genetic study found that present-day Lebanese people share enough DNA with Canaanite-related populations to be considered their descendants. (Independent)