Is the US harbouring alien technology and extraterrestrials? | New Scientist Weekly podcast 200 | Summary and Q&A

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June 15, 2023
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New Scientist weekly podcast
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Is the US harbouring alien technology and extraterrestrials? | New Scientist Weekly podcast 200

TL;DR

Gut bacteria can directly influence intelligence, and octopuses have the ability to edit their own genetic code.

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Key Insights

  • 🖐️ Gut bacteria play a crucial role in human health and can directly influence intelligence.
  • 👻 The genetic editing ability of octopuses allows them to adapt to changes in their environment, primarily temperature.
  • 🦧 The study on gut bacteria and intelligence provides evidence of a cause-and-effect relationship, rather than just a correlation between education levels and microbiome composition.
  • 🥡 Taking smart drugs, such as stimulants, may not enhance cognitive performance in individuals without attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Questions & Answers

Q: Can gut bacteria directly influence intelligence?

Yes, a recent study suggests that certain bacterial species in the gut are associated with lower or higher test scores, indicating a direct influence on intelligence.

Q: How do octopuses edit their own genetic code?

Octopuses change the RNA in their cells, altering the proteins that are produced. This genetic editing mechanism allows them to adapt to changes in their environment, primarily temperature.

Q: Do higher levels of certain gut bacteria make people smarter?

The study found that people genetically predisposed to having more of certain gut bacteria species had higher test scores, suggesting a potential link between these bacteria and intelligence.

Q: Can taking supplements to alter the gut microbiome improve intelligence?

The research does not yet support taking supplements to change the gut microbiome and enhance intelligence. More studies are needed to fully understand the impact of gut bacteria on intelligence.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Gut bacteria have a significant impact on various aspects of human health, including metabolism, nutrition, immune function, and mood.

  • A recent study suggests that gut bacteria can directly influence intelligence, with certain bacterial species associated with lower test scores while others are linked to higher scores.

  • Octopuses have the remarkable ability to edit their own genetic code by altering the RNA in their cells, resulting in changes to the proteins that are produced.

  • Octopuses predominantly use this genetic editing mechanism to adapt to changes in temperature in their environment.

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