Marijuana may make you overeat, but it could be an effective diabetes treatment. Lighting up a bit of weed is often blamed for people going on uninhibited eating binges. So it’s a bit of a surprise to find a study saying that regular marijuana use is associated with a slimmer waistline. Perhaps even more striking, however, is the affect it had on metabolism, where it drops resting blood glucose levels. These results are consistent with past indications that marijuana users have a lower incidence of diabetes. The one unusual thing here is that the new study found no indication of a dose response.
An early pregnancy test probably ended up killing lots of North American amphibians. We recently ran a story that suggested that international trade helped take a fungus that infects amphibians and turn it into a global killer. Now we have some idea of exactly what was being traded: raw materials for human pregnancy tests. The raw materials in question? Frogs. Xenopus laevis is commonly used in biology research because it’s a prodigious producer of eggs that can then be used to study embryonic development. But, before we knew how to directly detect the proteins in human urine that signaled pregnancy, someone figured out a way to do so indirectly: they made the frogs ovulate.
So, we dragged in a bunch of frogs from Africa to use for pregnancy tests and, one way or another, they established themselves in the wilds of California. Now, a study of samples from frogs found decades ago in California and Africa show that these Xenopus are asymptomatic carriers of the fungus that’s now killing other frog species around the globe. There’s a very good chance that these hopping pregnancy tests managed to bring it to North America.
by John Timmer