Are you sick of being dumber as an adult than you were as a child? Have faith in science! Researchers at SUNY are hard at work developing a medication that will make your brain work like it did before you hit puberty and and every significant thought you had got drowned out in a sea of worrying about paying the bills and thinking about sex pretty much constantly.

The potential is there to develop a pill that could ease the effect of stress on certain receptors in the brain, increase the ease with which adults and adolescents alike can learn languages and retain information. More importantly, it could improve spatial cognition skills and, thus, video game playing abilities. There is no way that you will be as impressive as the dude playing Contra in this video, though. That’s some straight up Wizard shit.

It happens to all guys, sure, but not being able to perform in bed has left many men feeling like they could die of shame. But it turns out, that sensation is not actually shame – it is probably just a heart attack! Okay, it’s a heart attack with a side of shame.

In a totally uncalled for addition of grave injury to demeaning insult, a recent study by German researchers indicates that erectile dysfunction may be more than just an embarrassing problem in the bedroom. Men who suffer from ED are twice as likely as their more virile counterparts to die of heart attacks or cardiovascular disease. They also have a slightly increased risk of stroke, just for good measure. All of which just seems kind of shitty and unfair to dudes who have enough problems already, but there you have it.

Research firm Netbase wants to reinvent the way people search with their fancy new brand of semantic search.

Their website makes some heady claims, including this one:

Our Content Intelligence platform is able to read every sentence inside documents, linguistically understand the content and enable breakthrough search experiences.

Sounds pretty impressive, right? You would think, then, that their newly launched health care research tool, Healthbase, which is meant to be a showcase for their technology, would be reasonably intelligent, capable of parsing words in a variety of different contexts and retrieving meaningful, relevant data.

And, like Leena Rao of TechCrunch, you would be pretty surprised when Healthbase informed you that one of the leading causes of AIDS is “Jew.”

It’s a pretty serious gaffe, and just one of many you can read about in the comments on Rao’s piece, which basically turned into a blooper reel for the young search engine. But if HealthBase has a problem with ‘Jew,’ no worries. It can probably be treated with one of the standard remedies for Jew provided by the site. Like wine, course (sic) salt or Dr. Pepper.

That said, the site isn’t entirely unwise. When queried about treatments for “old age,” it provided some astonishingly frank advice about the condition, recommending medications like marijuana and cocaine.

Works for me.

Scientists have known for some time that the appendix isn’t just a relic of evolution that’s stuck around too long, mucking up the works of the modern human body. Researchers at Duke University Medical Center showed years ago that the oft maligned organ acts as a place of refuge for the good bacteria that keep the human digestive system ticking away like a fine Swiss clock.

But a recent study by the same researchers shows that ill understood bacterial sac may be more important and interesting than anyone ever knew. The study, recently published in The Journal of Evolutionary Biology, shows that, at 80 million years old, the appendix has been quietly plugging away at it’s inglorious work for longer than most researchers suspected. It also turns out that appendices are more common than once thought – not only do many species have them, but appendices developed independently in marsupials and mammals, suggesting that their purpose may be as important as it is poorly understood.

But all due credit to the John Paxson of the gastrointestinal tract – the thing is still a patently unpleasant bag of bacteria that’s remarkably prone to infection, and people who lose theirs seem to live happily and healthily afterwards. So if it does get infected, you need to remove the appendix. Let me repeat that for the cheap seats – you need to remove the appendix – not just say you’ve removed it and leave it inside a person like a ticking time bomb of bacteria and pus. That’s just fucked up.

Today’s good news from the world of pathology – no one has to be worried about swine flu anymore!

The bad news? It’s because drug resistant TB is going to kill us all before we even have the chance to develop a case of pig induced sniffles.

Though rates of tuberculosis are falling across the world (that’s good!), longer lasting, more persistent strains of the disease are continuing to crop up at an alarming rate due to inconsistent or incorrect antibiotic treatments (that’s bad!). Though transmission rates in these drug resistant strains remain low for now (that’s good!), it would only take one  nasty, drug resistant strain like the ones currently common in Cuba and Estonia becoming widespread to cause serious loss of life around the world.

That’s bad.

In a staggering display of timeliness, researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have taken the first steps toward the development of a new way of treating influenza. Current flu treatments battle the virus by hobbling the neuriminidase, the N in the H1N1 flu virus, impairing it’s ability to leave infected cells and further replicate itself.

But they don’t do much about the H – that’s hemmaglutinnin, the protein that allows flu viruses to bind to cells in the nose, throat and lungs, enter them and infect them. If Robert Linhardt and his team continue having success in their research, that might not be true much longer. Using techniques from the young science of “click chemistry” the team has created anti-viral agents that look similar to the sialic acid that hemmaglutinin binds to on cell surfaces. The idea is that the virus will be fooled into attaching to the anti-viral agent rather than actual cells, rendering it impotent and unable to effectively reproduce and continuing infecting further cells. 

The study is in it’s inception for now, and likely won’t hit markets for some time. But this research marks a fascinating step forward in treating influenza, and a piece of recently rare good news about the flu.

And it wasn’t the only positive development this week, which also demonstrated that surgical masks may actually be an effective countermeasure to spreading influenza, as well as THE fashion statement of the early 21st century. 

And if that’s not enough good new for you, here’s a video of a guy catching ducklings as they follow their mother off the ledge they’ve been nested on. IOf you can’t enjoy that, I don’t know what to tell you.