Suzana Herculano-Houzel

Life 101: Larger bodies are made of more cells, not larger cells

If life is self-organizing work at the expense of metabolism, then the cell is the membrane-bound unit of life: it is the building block that contains all the enzymes that promote the chains of reactions that transfer energy and matter that constitute metabolism. Bodies are made of cells that stick together to one another and…...

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The pitfalls of self-service food

I know a Frenchman who, when he arrived in Brazil a few years ago, turned up his nose at the eating habits of those who frequent self-service restaurants. Mixing rice, potatoes, pasta and farofa on the same plate could only be the work of barbarians with no gastronomic education: in France, after all, the main […]

Life 101: Exercise is the way to waste (not burn!) all that extra energy

Luckily, the human ingenuity that invented agriculture and division of labor and supply chains and fridges that made is sooo easy to ingest more calories than we need to keep ourselves alive also invented a way to waste calories – or, should I say, “burn” calories: exercise. Calories are energy, and energy only gets transferred,…...

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Life 101: Regular sauna exposure does promote weight loss

Being the smart creature that you are, and having learned that losing weight is akin to losing your money in the bank when you use it faster than you get, you are already doing the math: so… can you waste more energy without putting in the effort by chilling in a sauna? Theoretically, it’s not…...

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The reality of psychosomatic stress

How annoying it is to hear from others that a problem you feel on your skin is “just in your head”. It’s good that science has freed us from other people’s beliefs, including this one: health problems that are “just psychosomatic”. Well, they’re so real that even rats suffer the effects of stress. What kind […]

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