Assorted Links

  • New study shows that a Yakult probiotic drink helps people with lactose intolerance and the benefits persist 3 months after one month of drinking it.  Yakult is common in Chinese and Japanese supermarkets but rare in American ones. Until I read this article, I didn’t realize that people drink it because of lactose intolerance, which is much more common in Asia than America. Via Cooling Inflammation.
  • news from the Human  Microbiome Project. “To the scientists’ surprise, they also found genetic signatures of disease-causing bacteria lurking in everyone’s microbiome. But instead of making people ill, or even infectious, these disease-causing microbes simply live peacefully among their neighbors.” You may recall that a Nobel Prize was given for the discovery that ulcers are caused by a certain species of bacteria. However, almost everyone with the “disease-causing” bacteria does not get ulcers. Apparently the “surprise[d]” scientists studying the human microbiome did not know that. If it were better known that you don’t need to kill bacteria to make them harmless, antibiotic usage would be less attractive.
  • Air pollution epidemiologist fired from UCLA after his research contradicts claims about the danger of air pollution.
  • How to conduct a personal experiment: biphasic sleeping

Thanks to Melissa McEwen, Peter Spero, Tim Beneke, Dave Lull and Bryan Castañeda.

8 Replies to “Assorted Links”

  1. Yakult is widely available and widely advertised in Britain.

    Seth: Any idea why? For instance, who buys it? Why do they buy it? I haven’t seen it for sale anywhere in Berkeley, including Whole Foods, which has about 8 brands of kombucha. I have never seen it advertised. It is for sale in Asian markets near Berkeley

  2. P.S. That link shows that it’s stocked at ASDA, the British branch of Walmart.

    Maybe our supermarkets just stock a wider range of stuff than yours or, at least, a different range. I remember a few years ago an American blog speculating on the identity of an exotic fruit photographed at a store in Latin America somewhere. It was a lychee, which we wouldn’t consider unusual at all.

  3. Come to think of it I remember being in a till queue in Sainsbury’s a couple of years ago and an American behind me being astonished that I was buying goats milk. He seemed to think that v exotic, but our big supermarkets stock goats milk (full fat, skimmed, semi-skimmed) goats butter, yoghurt….

    Tesco is our biggest supermarket chain: you might care to google to see whether they stock stuff that interests you. Their delivery service is very good, though perhaps not to Beijing.

  4. Seth, a recent review ( has found that: “The available trials showed no benefit of omega-3 PUFA supplementation on cognitive function in cognitively healthy older people. Omega-3 PUFA supplementation is generally well tolerated with the most commonly reported side-effect being mild gastrointestinal problems.”

    Seth: Thanks for the link. I think time will eventually show that the cognitive tests used were insensitive.

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