Media Mash: Smile surgery, pandas on Mars & alligator acupuncture


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HellaWella’s Media Mash is a weekly feature listing the latest and most interesting health-and-wellness stories we’ve read in the past week, pulled from the Web and linked for your convenience.




  • Tests performed on animals suggest that cocaine can not only change our brains but also do so rapidly — soon after first taking the drug — giving insight on the nature of addiction. [BBC]


  • How diverse is your gut bacteria? Turns out scientists have found compelling evidence showing that the more diverse microbes in our digestive systems are, the likelier we are to have trim waists and good health. [NPR]

  • As if you needed another reason to volunteer, a new review found that helping others can actually help you live longer. [Time Healthland]

  • If you're having trouble while sitting on your porcelain throne, turns out you may be doing it wrong. [Medical Diagonosis]

  • Loneliness not only makes us sad — it can also actually be fatal. [Slate]

  • The latest in ridiculous cosmetic procedures: smile surgery. [Jezebel]

  • Scientists have managed to grow a brain in a petri dish using stem cells. [PopSci]

  • A team of Japanese scientists is freeze-drying endangered animals' sperm in the hopes that we can one day bring them to other planets with us. Because what good is living on Mars if you don't have pandas? [Gizmodo

  • Researchers say doctors shouldn't rely on a patient's body mass index, or BMI, to measure their health. You can indeed be thin and at risk of disease or overweight and fit. [Los Angeles Times]

  • Bino the albino alligator may be receiving better health care than us. He is getting routine acupuncture so that he can regain the use of his hind legs and tail at the Sao Paulo Aquarium in Brazil. [BBC]


  • The people in Colcord, Okla., have been told not to drink their tap water because of a — gulp — blood worm infestation in the water supply. We hope Poland Spring ships out to you guys ASAP. [CNN]