The Science Behind Disgust

Highlighting a few articles from the leading journal, Science:

Science | AAAS (sciencemag.org)

  1. Disgusted by spoiled food? You may be protecting yourself from disease | Science | AAAS (sciencemag.org)

What sorts of food disgusts you?  For me, it tends to be things like raw chicken and pork and organ meats.  Zombies are more than welcome to the brains.  I’ll pass, thank you very much.

Scientists from the University of Oregon asked the above question of the Shuar, indigenous people who hunt, gather, and grow crops in the rainforests of Ecuador.  The scientists found that the Shuar who were the most disgusted by raw or rotten food, were less likely to be fighting an infection.  In other words, the tribe members who tend to pass on the rancid looking meat or poorly prepared stew tend to be healthier than their less picky neighbors and have fewer viral or bacterial infections.

One theory is that disgust evolved to protect us from the bacteria and other pathogens lurking in the raw or spoiled food.  So… if your nose wrinkles at that pink in the middle chicken or that potato salad that’s been left out all afternoon, maybe you should listen to your instincts!

 

  1. Should you mix and match COVID-19 vaccines? Scientists are seeking answers | Science | AAAS (sciencemag.org)

 

As absolutely mind-boggling as it may seem, there are now nine vaccines (nine!) worldwide that have been shown to prevent severe illness from COVID-19.  But with billions of people still needing to be vaccinated, scientists are considering one of the questions of the moment:

Should people mix and match vaccines that require two shots – especially given the short supply of these vaccines?  The idea is that mixing vaccines will give vaccine providers a little more flexibility.

In a truly international effort, one mixed vaccine trial has already started.  In this study, patients are receiving a dose of the Sputnik V vaccine made by Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology and then getting a later booster dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which uses similar technology to the Sputnik vaccine.  The theory is that because the vaccines are similar, they will be compatible.

Another trial is just starting up and will examine a combination of the AstraZeneca vaccine and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.  These vaccines are completely different, so it’s an interesting question.

 

Happy Tuesday and stay healthy, friends!

1 Comment

  1. Jean De Muzio

    I know I’m not volunteering for the mix and match vaccine shots.
    About revolting food: my mother used to say about food when in doubt throw it out. I also let my nose and eyes tell me what is okay to eat. Good we have these built-in warning systems in us.

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