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Karen Kaplan
Works at Los Angeles Times
Attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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Karen Kaplan

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THIS is why pot is bad for your diet. It turns out that marijuana can change a brain circuit from being one that tells the body it's full to one that tells the body to keep eating. Thank the stoned mice at Yale who helped neuroscience researchers figure this out.
Why does smoking marijuana give people the munchies? Yale University researchers got dozens of ;lab mice stoned ;in order to find out.
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When less is more: Weight loss advice. Researchers found that a simple diet with just one rule worked about as well as the effective -- but complicated -- diet from the American Heart Assn. What was the one rule? Eat 30 grams of fiber per day.
If you’re trying to lose weight, you could count your calories, keep track of precisely how much salt and sugar your eat, and make sure you hit certain targets for protein, carbohydrates, cholesterol and the various types of fat. Or you could set all of that aside and concentrate on just one thing: Eating at least 30 grams of fiber each day.
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Thanks Caroline!

Karen Kaplan
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If you think THIS drought is bad, you certainly don't want to read this forecast from NASA Goddard, the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Cornell. It concludes there's an 80% chance that the American Southwest and Great Plains will experience a mega-drought by the end of the century. It could last 35 years!
Global warming will bring the "unprecedented" risk of a decades-long ;mega-drought in the American Southwest and Great Plains during the second half of the century, researchers claim.
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Smoking increases the risk of dying from breast cancer, prostate cancer, high blood pressure, kidney disease and infections, among other things that aren't "officially" linked to cigarettes. This special report in the New England Journal of Medicine finds that about 17% of smokers' deaths are due to unofficial causes. That means the true death toll of smoking is higher than previously thought.
The U.S. surgeon general says about 480,000 Americans ; die each year as a result of smoking. But a new analysis suggests the true figure may be closer to 575,000.
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Thanks - excellent article.  Several people I know who have been heavy smokers for many years are now starting to suffer from various afflictions.  This is purely anecdotal on my part.

I am wondering about the long term effect of marijuana smoking?  Several states are passing laws allowing the recreational use of marijuana.  Forgetting for a moment the pro/con arguments of the long-term effects of THC, I'm wondering if legislators and the users themselves contemplated the negative impacts of just the smoking itself.
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The good news: The health benefits of drinking alcohol are real. The bad news: Only if you're a woman who is 65 years old or older. That's what the data show in this new study from BMJ Open.
The idea that alcohol consumption might be good for our health is not a new one, and a welter of studies comparing non-drinkers' health with that of drinkers has inspired hope among those who imbibe that it's true.
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Feeling hungry for some physics? Why not pop some popcorn! You'll get thermodynamics, biomechanics and acoustics, just to name a few of the scientific principles at work in making this delicious snack.
It’s one of the most dramatic transformations in science, and it happens in your microwave.
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Karen Kaplan

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Scientists fight HIV by passing the immune system. Instead, they use genetic engineering to get the body to make decoy molecules that fake out  HIV. In tests with 4 monkeys, none became infected with HIV. (Four other monkeys who didn't get the treatment became infected.) The treatment functions as an HIV vaccine.
An effective vaccine for HIV has eluded researchers for several decades, due to the pathogen's infamous shape-shifting abilities.
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Some heavy-hitting doctors are debunking the idea that diet and exercise can end the obesity crisis. Advice to "eat less and move more" is only part of the story, they argue.
A group of respected physicians has stepped forward to challenge the common ;assertion ;that obesity can be easily fixed by diet and exercise.
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Who is dumping plastic into the oceans? 8 of 10 biggest offenders are from Asia. The U.S. comes in at #20. Altogether, 4.8 million to 12.7 million metric tons of plastic wound up in the world's oceans in 2010, according to a new study in Science.
The first worldwide estimate of where the ocean's massive amounts of plastic garbage comes from points at China and developing economies in Asia.
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The Pollyanna hypothesis: Since humans are fundamentally happiest when socializing, human communication -- no matter where you find it -- will generally skew happy. A new "big data" study in PNAS shows this may be true.
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From the Annals of Unintended Consequences: Better federal oversight of organ transplants may have led surgeons to transplant fewer hearts. It's one of the theories to explain why doctors accepted 44% of available donor hearts in 1995 but only 29% of such hearts in 2006.
As the number of patients in need of heart transplants has grown, surgeons have gotten pickier about the organs they're willing to use, a new study finds.
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Attention parents: If you were worried that the HPV vaccine might inadvertently encourage your child to start having sex (especially unprotected sex), here's a big study that should help you breathe easy. The rate of STI infections did rise in girls after they were vaccinated, but the same was true of girls who weren't vaccinated. Getting older is a risk factor for STIs, but HPV vaccine isn't.
Girls who got vaccinated against HPV were more likely than their unvaccinated peers to become infected with a sexually transmitted disease , but the vaccine was definitely not to blame for their risky sexual behavior, according to a new study of more than 200,000 American teens.
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  • Los Angeles Times
    Editor for Science & Medicine, present
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Editor for Science & Medicine at the Los Angeles Times. Many of my posts appear on Booster Shots and Science Now.
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  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Economics
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Political Science
  • Columbia University
    Journalism
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Karen Kaplan's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
Welcome to Elephant Heart Jewelry - Beautiful Hand-Made Necklaces, Earri...
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Welcome to Elephant Heart Jewelry. Our newly enhanced website features over 120 beautiful, hand-made necklaces, earrings and bracelets.

A window to the brain? It's here, says UC Riverside team
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Engineers fashion a zirconium based window pane and use it to optically scan a mouse's brain.

Ostrich necks provide clues to how sauropod dinosaurs moved, ate
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How did sauropod dinosaurs move their heads? When they stood, were their super-long necks stretched up high to the treetops like a giraffe's

Ants make tough choices better when working in groups, study says
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Our society often touts teamwork, but when faced with an easy task, groups may actually perform worse than individuals – at least when the g

Addiction expert weighs in on Mayor Bob Filner's therapy plan
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San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, 70, announced Friday that he will enter a “behavioral counseling clinic” on Aug. 5 to deal with issues relating

Tall women have higher cancer risk; are smoking, drinking to blame?
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The taller a postmenopausal woman is, the greater risk she faces of developing cancer, according to a new study.

Ramadan fast survival guide will help you stay fit and healthy
www.latimes.com

We're about halfway through the Islamic holy month of Ramadan . This is the time of year when an estimated 1.6 million Muslims worldwide abs

You may be safer living in the city than the country, study finds
www.latimes.com

Want to keep your family safe? Then raise your kids in the city.

Are doctors passing the buck on healthcare costs?
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Physicians are concerned about skyrocketing healthcare costs -- but most don't think they have "major responsibility" for reducing those cos

Another way TV is harmful to kids: By falling on them
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The nation's pediatricians keep saying that television can be harmful for babies and toddlers, but this time, they mean it literally. A new

Teens inhaling blow-gun darts
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Don’t run with scissors, and don’t inhale homemade blow-gun darts.

Cassini takes inter-planetary portrait. What happens next?
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So you’ve waved at Saturn and had your picture taken by Cassini from nearly 900 million miles away. Now what?

It's time to 'Wave at Saturn' and smile for an interplanetary portrait
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It’s time to get ready for your not-so-close-up. NASA’s Cassini spacecraft on the far side of Saturn will snap a long-distance portrait of E

Why do cigarettes and booze go together? Stress may be the key
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Just in time for the summer cocktail season, there's a research finding that offers a new recipe for excessive alcohol consumption. Let's ca

Evolution not as unpredictable as thought, study says
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Say you could hop into a DeLorean and travel back to when life on Earth began. Would fish migrate from water to land? Would the dinosaurs go

Avoiding estrogen therapy proved deadly for nearly 50,000: study
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Hormone replacement therapy has plummeted among U.S. women since the Women’s Health Initiative cut short its Estrogen Plus Progestin Trial i

Attempt to steer McDonald's diners toward smaller meals backfires
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You might think that customers buying their lunch at McDonald’s would order meals with fewer calories if someone handed them a slip of paper

Dinosaurs had teeth to spare -- lots of them
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Dinosaurs almost bankrupted the tooth fairy. New research shows that the lumbering plant-eaters called sauropods produced new teeth as often

Scientists may have found the source of all the gold in the universe
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Astronomers panning the heavens for glints of gamma-ray bursts have struck gold. No, really. They found gold – so much of it, in fact, that

Florida man awakens in Palm Springs ER speaking only Swedish. Why?
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It's a story that is captivating people on both sides of the Atlantic.