TIME Addiction

Watching E-Cig Ads May Increase the Urge to Smoke, Study Says

TIME.com stock photos E-Cig Electronic Cigarette Smoke
Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

A new study shows possible consequences of vaping in commercials

Seeing commercials for electronic cigarettes can increase the urge to smoke traditional cigarettes, a new study suggests.

Researchers at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania discovered that watching advertisements that showing vaping can increase the desire of current and former smokers to pick up a conventional cigarette.

In the new study, published in the journal Health Communication, the researchers assessed the urge to smoke among 301 daily smokers, 272 intermittent smokers and 311 former smokers. They then had the participants watch three e-cigarette commercials. Some of the commercials showed vaping, and others did not.

After they viewed the advertisements, the men and women were once again asked about their urge to smoke. Their responses showed that the daily smokers who saw vaping ads had a greater desire to smoke a regular cigarette, and a higher likelihood of actually doing so during the experiment.

The former smokers who watched the advertisements with vaping were more likely to report decreased intention to abstain from smoking. Intermittent smokers showed no significant changes.

The researchers say the data suggests that watching the commercials with vaping could lead to actual smoking behaviors or interfere the ability of former smokers to refrain from picking up the habit again.

“The jury is still out on the efficacy of e-cigarettes to reduce tobacco use and tobacco smoking,” says study author and communication professor Joseph N. Cappella in a video about his study. “If it turns out to be the case that e-cigarettes are a good vehicle for reducing tobacco addiction, then we not want to stand in the way of advertising…but it doesn’t mean we couldn’t carry out that advertising without the vaping cues in order to not have these deleterious consequences.”

MORE: The Future of Smoking

TIME Infectious Disease

3 Kansas Patients Die From Tainted Ice Cream

A total of five people were infected

Three people in Kansas have died after eating contaminated Blue Bell Creameries brand ice cream products, health officials said.

A total of five people in the state were infected with life-threatening listeriosis, which is caused by exposure to the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes. Four of the ill individuals told health authorities they drank milkshakes made with a Blue Bell brand ice cream product called “Scoops” in the last month.

MORE: Here’s What Foods Are Most Likely To Have E. Coli or Salmonella

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says all of the individuals were being treated in the same hospital for unrelated conditions, suggesting they acquired the infections at the hospital.

The tainted products came from one Blue Bell production facility in Brenham, Texas, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said in a statement. The agency found three strains of the bacteria in Blue Bell Chocolate Chip Country Cookies, Great Divide Bars, Sour Pop Green Apple Bars, Cotton Candy Bars, Scoops, Vanilla Stick Slices, Almond Bars and No Sugar Added Moo Bars.

The CDC says Blue Bell has removed potentially contaminated products from the market, buy but that “contaminated ice cream products may still be in the freezers of consumers, institutions, and retailers.”

“One of our machines produced a limited amount of frozen snacks with a potential listeria problem,” Blue Bell said in a statement that noted it was the company’s first product recall in over a century. “When this was detected all products produced by this machine were withdrawn. Our Blue Bell team members recovered all involved products in stores and storage. This withdrawal in no way includes our half gallons, quarts, pints, cups, three gallon ice cream or the majority of take-home frozen snack novelties.”

TIME Mental Health/Psychology

17 Surprising Reasons You’re Stressed Out

woman-headache-stressed
Getty Images

Watch out for these hidden anxiety triggers

You’re probably all too aware of the major sources of stress in your life—money, your terrible commute, the construction workers who start jackhammering at 5 a.m. But stress and anxiety don’t have to just come from obvious or even negative sources. “There are plenty of chronic strains and low-grade challenges that don’t necessarily overwhelm you in the moment, but almost take more of a toll in the long run,” says Scott Schieman, PhD, professor of sociology at the University of Toronto. These are some of unexpected reasons why you might feel anxious or agitated. By recognizing them for what they are, says Schieman, you can better prepare to cope.

Your significant other

Even if you have a blissfully happy relationship with your live-in partner or spouse, you’re both bound to do things that get on each other’s nerves. “Early in the relationship, it’s usually about space and habits—like whether you squeeze the toothpaste from the middle or the bottom of the tube,” says Ken Yeager, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “Later on, you might clash over parenting style or financial issues, and finding a unified front to face these issues together.” So what’s the key to surviving and thriving in your life together? Finding balance, says Yeager: spending the right amount of time together (not too much and not too little), making compromises, keeping communication open and honest, and remembering to acknowledge what you love about each other on a daily basis.

Everyday annoyances

We’re told not to sweat the small stuff, but sometimes it’s the little things that have the biggest impact on our mood: the never-ending phone calls with your insurance company, the rude cashier at the grocery store, the 20 minutes you lose looking for a parking space. “We let these things bother us because they trigger unconscious fears,” says Yeager—fears of being seen as irresponsible, of being bullied or embarrassed, or of being late all the time, for example. “Sometimes you need to take a step back and realize that you’re doing the best you can given the circumstances.”

Read more: 12 Signs You May Have an Anxiety Disorder

Other people’s stress

Stress is contagious, according to a 2014 German study: In a series of experiments, most participants who simply observed others completing a stressful task experienced an increase themselves in production of the stress hormone cortisol—a phenomenon known as empathic stress. You can also experience stress when someone you know is affected by a traumatic event, like a car crash or a chronic illness. “You start to worry, ‘Oh my gosh, could that happen to me?’,” says Yeager. “We tend not to think about these things until they hit close to home.”

Social media

It may seem like Facebook is the only way you keep up with the friends you don’t see regularly—which, during particularly busy times, can be just about all of them. The social network also has a downside, according to a 2015 study from the Pew Research Center: It can make you aware of stressful situations in your friends’ lives, which in turn can add more stress to your life. The Pew report didn’t find that social media users, overall, had higher levels of stress, but previous studies have suggested that frequent social-media use can be associated with negative body image and prolonged breakup pain.

Distraction

A distraction can be a good thing then when it takes your mind off of a stressful situation or difficult decision, like when you take a break from work to meet a friend for lunch. But it works the other way, as well: When you’re so busy thinking about something else that you can’t enjoy what’s going on around you, that kind of distraction can be a recipe for stress. Practicing mindfulness gives you brain the refresh it needs, says Richard Lenox, director of the Student Counseling Center at Texas Tech University. Paying full attention to your surroundings when you’re walking and driving can help, he adds. “Stress and anxiety tend to melt away when our mind is focused on the present.”

Read more: 12 Worst Habits for Your Mental Health

Your childhood

Traumatic events that happened when you were a kid can continue to affect your stress levels and overall health into adulthood. A 2014 University of Wisconsin-Madison study found that these childhood experiences may actually change parts of the brain responsible for processing stress and emotion. The way you were raised can also have a lasting impact on your everyday angst, suggests a 2014 Johns Hopkins University study. Researchers found that children of parents with social anxiety disorders are more likely to develop “trickle-down anxiety”—not simply because of their genes, but because of their parents’ behaviors toward them such as a lack of warmth and emotion, or high levels of criticism and doubt.

Tea and chocolate

You probably know to take it easy on the coffee when you’re already feeling on edge. “Caffeine is always going to make stress worse,” says Yeager. But you may not think as much about drinking several cups of tea at once, or chowing down on a bar of dark chocolate—both of which can contain nearly as much caffeine as a cup of joe. “Chocolate is a huge caffeine source,” says Yeager. “I know people who don’t drink coffee but they’ll eat six little candy bars in a two-hour period because they want the same kind of jolt.” Too much caffeine, in any form, can cause problems with sleep, digestion, and irritability.

Read more: 25 Surprising Ways Stress Affects Your Health

Your expectations

When things don’t go the way you’ve planned, do you tend to get upset and act defensively, or do you roll with the punches and set off on a new plan? If it’s the former, you could be contributing to a mindset of pessimism and victimization that will slowly wear you down, even when things may not be as bad as they seem. “Your level of serenity is inversely proportionate to your expectations,” says Yeager. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set ambitious goals for yourself or settle for less than what you want, of course, but being realistic about what’s truly possible is important, as well.

Your reaction to stress

If you tend to deal with stressful situations by working long hours, skipping your workouts, and bingeing on junk food, we’ve got some bad news: You’re only making it worse. “We know that physical activity and healthy foods will help your body better deal with stress, and yet we often avoid them when we need them the most,” says Yeager. “People really need to think about this downward spiral we get into and work harder to counteract it.”

Multitasking

Think you’re being super efficient by tackling four tasks at once? Chances are you’re not —and it’s only decreasing your productivity while increasing your stress. A 2012 University of Irvine study, for example, found that people who responded to emails all day long while also trying to get their work done experienced more heart-rate variability (an indicator of mental stress) than those who waited to respond to all of their emails at one time. Focusing on one task at a time can ensure that you’re doing that job to the best of your abilities and getting the most out of it, so you won’t have to worry about or go back and fix it later, says Schieman. And don’t worry: You’ll have enough time to do it all. In fact, you may discover you have more time than you thought.

Your favorite sport

Watching a tight game of college hoops can stress you out—even if your alma mater wins. “The body doesn’t distinguish between ‘bad’ stress from life or work and ‘good’ stress caused by game-day excitement,” says Jody Gilchrist, a nurse practitioner at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Heart and Vascular Clinic. Watching sports can even trigger the body’s sympathetic nervous system, releasing adrenaline and reducing blood flow to the heart. Those temporary consequences aren’t usually anything to be concerned about, but over time, chronic stress can lead to high blood pressure and increased disease risk. And, of course, it doesn’t help if you’re adding alcohol and binge-eating to a situation that’s already stressful on your body. You may not be able to control the outcome of the game, says Gilchrist, but you can limit its effects on your own body.

Read more: 11 Things You Should Never Do When You’re Angry

Digital devices

Whether you’re using it for work or play, technology may play a large role in your mental health, says Yeager. Using computers or e-readers too close to bedtime could lead to sleep problems, he says, and spending too much time virtually socializing can make real-life interactions seem extra stressful. (Plus, texting doesn’t trigger the same feel-good hormones as face-to-face talk does.) Then there’s the dreaded “work creep,” says Schieman, when smartphones allow employees to be tethered to their jobs, even during off-hours. “People say they’re only going to check email for an hour while they’re on vacation, but the problem with email is that they’re filled with responsibilities, new tasks, and dilemmas that are going to be hard to compartmentalize and put out of your head once that hour is up.”

Your (good) health

While it may not be as stressful as having a chronic illness or getting bad news at the doctor’s office, even people in the best shape of their lives worry about their bodies, their diets, and their fitness levels. In fact, people who take healthy living to an extreme may experience some rather unhealthy side effects. People who follow low-carb diets, for example, are more likely to report being sad or stressed out, while those on any kind of restrictive meal plan may feel more tired than usual. And it’s not unheard of for someone to become obsessed with healthy eating (known as orthorexia) or working out (gymorexia). Like any form of perfectionism, these problems can be stressful at best, and extremely dangerous at worst.

Housework

Does folding laundry help you feel calm, or does it make your blood boil? If you’re in a living situation where you feel you’re responsible for an unfair share of work, even chores you once enjoyed may start to feel like torture. “Dividing up housework and parenting responsibilities can be tricky, especially if both partners work outside the home,” says Schieman. “And whether you define that division of labor as equal or unequal can really change your attitude toward it.”

Read more: 19 Natural Remedies for Anxiety

Uncertainty

Stress can be defined as any perceived or actual threat, says Yeager, so any type of doubt that’s looming over you can contribute to your anxiety levels on a daily basis. “When you know something could change at any minute, you always have your guard up and it’s hard to just relax and enjoy anything.” Financial uncertainty may be the most obvious stressor—not being sure if you’ll keep your job during a round of layoffs, or not knowing how you’ll pay your credit card bill. Insecurities in other areas of life, like your relationship or your housing status, can eat away at you too.

Your pet

No matter how much you love your furry friends, there’s no question that they add extra responsibility to your already full plate. Even healthy animals need to be fed, exercised, cleaned up after, and given plenty of attention on a regular basis—and unhealthy ones can be a whole other story. “Pets can be the most positive source of unconditional love, but at the same time they require an extreme amount of energy,” says Yeager. People also tend to underestimate the stress they’ll experience when they lose a pet. “I’ve had people in my office tell me they cried more when their dog died than when their parent died. It’s a very emotional connection.”

Your education

Having a college degree boosts your odds of landing a well-paying job, so although you’re less likely to suffer from money-related anxiety, your education can bring on other types of stress, according to a 2014 study by Schieman and his University of Toronto colleagues. His research found that highly educated people were more likely to be stressed out thanks to job pressures, being overworked, and conflicts between work and family. “Higher levels of authority come with a lot more interpersonal baggage, such as supervising people or deciding whether they get promotions,” says Schieman. “With that type of responsibility, you start to take things like incompetency and people not doing their jobs more personally, and it bothers you more.”

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

TIME Research

Liberals are More Honest Than Conservatives When They Smile

President Barack Obama speaks at Georgia Tech
David Goldman—AP

But conservatives report being happier

In the “who’s happier?” race, a whole body of research shows conservatives report being happier. Four new studies published in Science hint at a possible reason why. Most happiness research is based on subjective, self-reported data, as opposed to objective measures of happiness, which can be harder to study. The new research highlights a difference between the two.

The studies, led by Sean Wojcik, a doctoral student in psychology and social behavior at the University of California, Irvine, first confirmed what’s already known: In a survey of 1,433 people, political conservatives reported being more satisfied with life than liberals. But researchers found another pronounced trend else among conservatives: They were more likely to judge themselves and their circumstances in an overly positive way.

That may explain the happiness gap, the researchers thought. To test it, they embarked on a series of studies. In one, they analyzed transcripts from Congress to determine the kinds of emotionally charged language people used, and found that liberals used more positive words than conservatives. In another study, researchers assessed photos of Congress members and gauged the smiling intensity of the delegates, finding that liberals were more intense and genuine smilers. “We saw greater activation of the muscles around the eye,” says Wojcik. “That typically indicates more genuine feelings of happiness and enjoyment.” The same held true in non-politician liberals, according to an analysis of the profile photos of liberally and conservatively aligned LinkedIn users.

So when conservatives say they’re happier, but liberals actually display happier behavior, who is, in fact, happiest?

It’s impossible to call. “It really depends on how you measure and define happiness,” Wojcik says.

Wojcik says he plans to study the impact of the benefits of this kind of “self-enhancement” seen in conservatives but less in liberals. So far, research suggests it’s related to an increased ability to care for others, more creative and productive work and better mental health, Wojcik says.

“It’s not that conservatives are lying about their happiness,” Wojcik says. “They just have a more confident style of self-assessment where they evaluate themselves positively across a whole bunch of different kinds of traits, and happiness just appears to be one of them.”

TIME medicine

Here’s How 23andMe Hopes to Make Drugs From Your Spit Samples

The company is making a bold move to enter the drug-making business by using the genetic information donated by its clients

On March 12, 23andMe, the genetic testing company best known for analyzing your DNA from a sample of spit, announced the creation of a new therapeutics group. The group’s mission: to find and develop drugs from the world’s largest database of human genetic material.

That’s a huge shift for the company, which must now build a research and development arm from scratch. Richard Scheller, formerly of the biotechnology corporation Genentech, will lead the group and will also be 23andMe’s chief science officer.

Scheller admits that for now, he’s the therapeutics group’s only member. But soon after he starts on April 1, he anticipates that things will move quickly, as they do in the genetics world. That’s what attracted him to 23andMe after overseeing early drug development at Genentech for 14 years. “I’ve seen over the last couple of years how human genetics has impacted the way Genentech does drug discovery, and I thought it might be fun and interesting to work in an unrestricted way with the world’s largest human genetic database,” he says. “The questions we will ask are research based, but we could identify a drug target extremely quickly. I believe there is the real possibility to do really, really great things for people with unmet medical needs.”

MORE: Genetic Testing Company 23andMe Finds New Revenue With Big Pharma

More than 850,000 people have paid 23andMe to sequence their DNA since the company launched in 2006 until 2013, when the Food and Drug Administration requested that the company stop selling its medical genetic information services over concerns that their marketing claims weren’t supported by strong enough evidence about how the genetic information influenced human health. The company still retains that genetic information and continues to sell kits, but provides only non-medical information now while it continues to work with the FDA on further regulatory issues.

That experience “transformed” the company, as CEO Anne Wojcicki said to TIME earlier this year. Since then, the company has expanded its collaborations with pharmaceutical companies to access its database. The latest addition of drug development is a further evolution in the company’s identity.

Of those who have sent in samples, 80% have agreed to allow their genetic information to be used for research purposes. That’s the database that Scheller is eager to investigate. While at Genentech, he helped broker a collaboration between the biotech firm and 23andMe in which Genentech would have access just to the genetic testing company’s Parkinson’s disease patients, to search for any genetic clues to new therapies. Now, he says, “I plan on asking hundreds or maybe thousands of times more questions of the database than any pharmaceutical partner.”

MORE: 23andMe Finds Genes for Motion Sickness

He will be looking, for example, at whether patients who develop a certain disease tend to have specific hallmark genetic changes in their DNA, which could serve as potential launching points for new drugs. Or he might focus on the extreme outliers: people who have advanced cancer, for example, but somehow survive, or those who seem to succumb early. Mining their genomes might yield valuable information about what makes diseases more or less aggressive, and might become targets for drugs as well.

To do this, Scheller will have to create a drug development team from the ground up. The company is not divulging how much it intends to invest in this effort, but is soliciting another round of financing in the coming months. Initially, Scheller anticipates that even before the company has labs set up, he and his team will take advantage of labs-for-hire, or contract research organizations, to start doing experiments within weeks. Because his drug candidates will be more targeted and designed to address specific mutations or processes in the body, he anticipates that the cost of developing drugs that patients might eventually benefit from may be “substantially reduced” from the average $1 to $2 billion most pharmaceutical companies now spend.

MORE: Time Out: Behind the FDA’s Decision to Halt Direct to Consumer Genetic Testing

As for which disorders or medical issues he will tackle first, Scheller is being democratic. “We are going to be opportunistic,” he says. “That’s the nice thing about being part of 23andMe. We don’t really have a say. We can look generally at the database, and try and let it teach us what we should be working on.” In other words, anything is game.

TIME ebola

American Health Worker With Ebola in ‘Serious Condition’

The National Institute of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md.
National Institute of Health The National Institute of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md.

The volunteer arrived in Maryland for treatment on Friday

The American health care worker who was infected with Ebola while volunteering in Sierra Leone has arrived at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Md. for treatment.

“NIH physicians have evaluated the patient with Ebola virus disease and have determined that the patient’s condition is serious. No additional details about the patient are being shared at this time,” the NIH said in a statement.

MORE: American Health Worker With Ebola Heading to U.S. for Treatment

The patient, who has not been named, arrived at the Maryland facility’s special unit for serious infectious diseases at 4:44 a.m. Friday morning. The patient is the second to be treated for Ebola at the NIH. The first was Dallas nurse Nina Pham, who was infected after treating Thomas Eric Duncan, the first patient with Ebola to be diagnosed in the U.S.

The World Health Organization reports that there have been over 10,000 deaths in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea so far, and 24,509 total cases as of Friday.

TIME ebola

Lack of Ebola Cases Shifts Vaccine Trials Away From Liberia

A man walks past an ebola campaign banner with the new slogan "Ebola Must GO" in Monrovia, Liberia on Feb. 23, 2015.
Zoom Dosso—AFP/Getty Images A man walks past an ebola campaign banner with the new slogan "Ebola Must GO" in Monrovia, Liberia on Feb. 23, 2015.

Scientists are racing against the clock to create a vaccine before the outbreak is over

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) may relocate its clinical trials of Ebola vaccines to Guinea, since there are no longer enough Ebola cases in Liberia for a proper efficacy trial.

On Feb. 2, the NIH launched an initial safety trial for two vaccines to protect against Ebola in Liberia. The plan was to test 600 people for overall safety and then launch a second phase of the trial in 27,000 people to see whether or not the vaccine prevents infection with Ebola virus compared to a placebo.

The safety test was successfully completed the week of March 9—but around the same time, Liberia announced that it had released its last confirmed patient from its Ebola treatment centers. The West African country began the count to 42 days without new cases, at which point it can declare itself Ebola-free. That’s great news for ending the outbreak, but it poses a problem for Ebola vaccine trials.

Now that Ebola is not the risk it was to Liberia several months ago, the trial is unlikely to continue according to the original plan. “It doesn’t make sense to expand the study in Liberia when there are fortunately no new infections occurring,” says Dr. H. Clifford Lane, the deputy director for clinical research and special projects at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “We need to be sure we enroll a population that is still at risk for Ebola virus infection so we can show the protective effect of either or both of the vaccines.”

Lane says the NIH is now in discussions with other countries, predominantly Guinea, to move the second part of the trial.

When asked if there is any fear that the trial could be cancelled due to lack of cases, Lane said, “I hope not.”

MORE: American Health Worker With Ebola Heading to U.S. for Treatment

Lane says the reason the NIH is concentrating more on Guinea than Sierra Leone—the country hardest hit by the outbreak—is that there are already several large-scale vaccine trials unrolling in the country compared to Guinea. “I think the greater opportunity is [in Guinea] because there isn’t as much going on with vaccines,” he says.

“I hate to give a timeline, only because it never comes out that way, but we have to move quickly if we hope to get a result,” he says. “I actually hope the standard control measures will begin to show results in both of the countries that still have cases.”

One of vaccines being tested is developed by the NIH and pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), and the other vaccine comes from the pharmaceutical company Merck.

On Thursday, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that deaths from Ebola in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea have surpassed 10,000, and total cases number more than 24,500. The NIH also announced that an American healthcare worker who was volunteering in Sierra Leone tested positive for Ebola and arrived on Friday for treatment in the NIH’s specialized unit in Bethesda, Maryland.

TIME Diet/Nutrition

5 Peculiar Ways to Turn Your Beer Green

Dropping in green food coloring (with a dash of propylene glycol and parabens) won’t do your beer—or your health—any favors. But if you insist on drinking green beer this St. Patrick’s Day, consider these five natural—and truly peculiar—ways to enjoy a shamrock-shaded beer.

  • Spirulina

    Freetail Brewing Co. Spirulina Wit

    Pond scum stars in Spirulina Wit, a Belgian-style wheat beer by Freetail Brewing Company in San Antonio. They dreamt up the drink after a brewer started taking powdered spirulina—blue-green algae known for its high concentration of aquatic protein—as a dietary supplement. “There’s an almost radioactive-looking green hue to it,” says Scott Metzger, founder and CEO of Freetail Brewing Co.

    Customers loved Spirulina Wit for its semi-sweet, “vegetable-y type fruit” flavor, Metzger says. “People say all the time, ‘Oh, so this is healthy?’ We’re like, ‘Well, it’s still beer. It didn’t, like, turn into a protein shake by putting spirulina in it.'”

    It’s on tap at the brewery, starting on St. Patrick’s Day and through the summer.

    Other beers brewed with spirulina didn’t go over so well. Back in 2005, Dogfish Head unveiled the Verdi Verdi Good, which poured a clear emerald green—and fizzled. “We brewed this beer once,” the company writes on its site. “Turns out it wasn’t at the top of our list of successes!” The brew is now retired.

    “It was the only naturally green beer at that time,” says Sam Calagione, president and founder of Dogfish Head. But from the way he describes it, the flavor—”earthy and tasting like a pond”—didn’t land it a permanent spot on the tap rotation.

  • Squid ink

    Doctor's Orders Brewing

    Darren Robinson, inventor of beer styles at the Australian beer company Doctor’s Orders Brewing, wanted to create a funky-colored beer with an even funkier ingredient—squid ink, the green-black, iron-rich stuff the cephalopods squirt when they’re escaping. Cephalopod Black Berliner Weisse was born.

    Squid ink didn’t affect the taste, Robinson says, but it did make color uniformity nearly impossible. The batches ranged from “radioactive green” to “dirty paint-water grey,” he says. Apart from alienating a few vegan venues, it was a huge hit.

    Did he ever consider just adding a few drops of food coloring? “That goes against everything I’m doing with beer,” he says. “That would just be cheating…and it wouldn’t have been the success it was.”

  • Matcha green tea

    matcha green tea
    Getty Images

    Clover-green matcha—tea leaves finely ground into a powder, then whipped into hot water—has 137 times the famous catechin antioxidants found in regular green tea, one study shows. Add it to beer, and you’ve got a matcha made in heaven. Rocket News 24 swears by the stuff: “All it takes is about a half teaspoon of matcha powder dissolved in a half-glass of warm water,” they write. Fill the rest with beer, they explain, and “the matcha even fluffs up the beer foam for a beverage with a rich, velvety head that borders on physically impossible to stop drinking.”

  • Chlorophyll

    Desiree Winans Chlorophyll beer

    Desiree Winans, creator of the natural health blog Modern Hippie, felt out of place in the sea of green beers when in Chicago for St. Patrick’s Day a few years ago. “I sort of was resentful for not being able to partake in the green beers,” she says. “But I’m not going to drink it if I don’t know what’s in it.”

    So she brought along a vial of chlorophyll to organically jerry-rig a green beer. Five to ten drops will do it—and chlorophyll, she swears, doesn’t even have a flavor.

  • Wheatgrass

    wheatgrass
    Getty Images

    It’s packed with chlorophyll, sure, but will hops make freshly-mowed-lawn-tasting wheatgrass easier to swallow? Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales in Ann Arbor partnered with a local farm to make a Wheatgrass IPA. The results were, well, better than you’d think. “Very abrasive bitter finish that lingers, but you get used to it rather quickly,” writes one reviewer. You can make your own, says Organic Authority, by spiking a beer with a tablespoon of wheatgrass juice.

TIME medicine

First Successful Penis Transplant ‘Massive Breakthrough’, Doctors Say

The operation took 9 hours to perform

A 21-year-old man has received the world’s first successful penile transplant, surgeons say.

The man, whose name was not revealed for privacy reasons, had his organ amputated three years ago after a circumcision went wrong. Doctors at Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Hospital in South Africa operated for nine hours in December, and just a few months later they say he’s already regained full function in the transplanted organ —a much faster recovery than they had hoped for.

“It’s a massive breakthrough. We’ve proved that it can be done – we can give someone an organ that is just as good as the one that he had,” Prof Frank Graewe, head of the Division of Plastic Reconstructive Surgery at Stellenbosch University, said. “It was a privilege to be part of this first successful penis transplant in the world.”

While at least one other attempt has been made at penile transplant, the surgeons say this is the first such operation to succeed.

In their announcement, the doctors emphasized the psychological trauma of penile amputation, a problem they say is particularly acute in South Africa.

TIME Diet/Nutrition

Gas-Sensing Pills May Detect Underlying Stomach Problems

Overweight senior man touching stomach
Getty Images

Research is now looking at the gases made by gut bacteria compounds for clues to our health

We treat all gas pretty much the same way—with a held breath. Then we ignore it. But our bodies are brimming with all kinds of interesting gases, many of which have a lot to say about our health. They’re worth paying attention to, argues a new paper in the journal Trends in Biotechnology.

A multidisciplinary team in Australia say they’ve developed a noninvasive swallowable sensor, in the form of a pill, that can detect the gases brewing inside of you. Currently, experts rely on indirect measurements—like breath and fecal analysis—to gauge which gases are in the intestine. But a sensor could tell you straight from the source.

The gas capsules aren’t yet available for human use, and the paper is just a discussion of techniques. But here’s the idea: When bacteria ferment undigested food in your gut, they release gases like carbon dioxide, hydrogen and methane, the researchers write. The types of gases bacteria produce, and their concentrations, depend on your health—and in certain concentrations, some gases can indicate gastrointestinal disorders, says Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh, study co-author and professor of electrical and computer engineering at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia.

A gas-sensing pill could give you a real-time glimpse into what’s going on in your gut; as the gases permeate the sensor, the sensors produce signals and digitize the data, then send it to an app, he says. “If some organic compound like butyrate goes up, that means something is happening to the wall of the stomach,” he explains, “and the thing that is happening is generally not good, has to be detected and should be addressed very quickly.”

MORE: You Asked: Should I Take Probiotics?

Even for a person without stomach troubles, the sensor could be useful for figuring out exactly how foods affect the body, Kalantar-zadeh says. “Basically, this tells us if the food that we take transforms into energy efficiently in our body or not,” he explains. “That can actually have a very big impact on all the controversies about food.”

While food science is tormented by conflicting findings—are low-carb diets good or bad?—gas is more straightforward, Kalantar-zadeh says. “Information about the gases inside the stomach are not complicated information,” he says. “Automatically, we can have libraries that compare the charts for you, so basically it needs just an app to give you the information.”

Currently, researchers are digging into our gut bacteria to figure out exactly what they say about our health, unearthing links to all kinds of issues from food allergies to how the body responds to medication to red meat’s role in heart failure. “This at least adds an extra degree of certainty to those kind of associations,” says Kalantar-zadeh. “It can have such a potential impact on the health of human beings.”

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