Science Digest
Get the latest analysis of recent science straight to your inbox
Every two weeks, I send members my Science Digest—a curated collection of research summaries featuring the studies we found the most interesting, with notes, comments, and related links.
Hi, I'm Dr. Rhonda Patrick
Each of us comes with our own unique susceptibilities to age-related diseases. But I believe that each of us can take the genetic program we've got and use it just a little bit more optimally — and we owe it to ourselves to maximize that potential. In the Science Digest, we explore the science of how everyday choices like what we eat and what we do can help us live a little bit better. Each digest story is a breadcrumb ushering you through the maze of scientific discourse toward practical everyday health strategies.

By becoming a member of FoundMyFitness premium, you'll receive the Science Digest every-other-week covering the latest in my exploration of recent science and the emerging story of better living — through deeper understandings of biology.
Twice per month, I send members my Science Digest
A curated collection of research summaries featuring the studies we find most interesting, with notes, comments, and related links.
The latest issues sent to Premium Members discuss:

  • Ketogenic diet, by replacing glucose with ketones as an energy source, lessens alcohol cravings among people with alcohol use disorders.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease-related death by up to 23 percent, especially in people with high triglyceride levels.
  • Women see a 24 percent drop in premature death risk with just 140 minutes of weekly activity – half the time men need for similar benefits.
  • Aging undermines the brain's capacity for maintaining working memory, with subtle declines in neuron activity and connectivity in the prefrontal cortex.
Older adults who used psychedelics exhibited better cognitive function and fewer depressive symptoms than non-users.

Psychedelic drugs are hallucinogenic substances that alter cognition and perception, inducing visual and auditory changes and a “heightened state of consciousness.” They have a long history of traditional use in medicine and religion for their perceived ability to promote physical and mental health. A recent review found that older adults who have used psychedelic drugs tend to exhibit better cognitive functioning and fewer depressive symptoms than those who have not.

The study involved more than 2,500 adults between the ages of 42 and 92. Researchers assessed participants' executive function and episodic memory and enquired about their use of psychedelic drugs, including marijuana, LSD, or other hallucinogens (e.g., PCP, angel dust, peyote, ecstasy, mescaline, or Prozac), in the previous 12 months.

They found that participants who reported psychedelic use had better executive function but not episodic memory. They also tended to have fewer depressive symptoms.

Psychedelic drugs primarily act on serotonin receptors, particularly the 5-HT2A receptor, altering perception, mood, and cognition. These changes in brain activity and connectivity may promote neuroplasticity, potentially benefiting overall cognitive function and mental health. Learn more about psychedelic drugs in this episode featuring Dr. Roland Griffiths.

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Melamine cleaning sponges, known as "magic erasers," may contribute up to 4.9 trillion microplastic particles to aquatic environments globally, due to breakdown during use.

Melamine cleaning sponges are composed of hard, plastic strands assembled into a soft, lightweight foam. Commonly known as “magic erasers,” they are immensely popular due to their highly abrasive qualities. A recent study found that the global microplastic burden from melamine cleaning sponges may exceed 4.9 trillion particles, based on current sales.

Researchers assessed microplastic release from melamine cleaning sponges under different scrubbing conditions, focusing on the shape, makeup, and number of fibers created. Then they quantified annual accumulation based on typical melamine sponge sales from two popular online retailers.

They found that melamine sponges released straight and branched microplastic fibers made of poly(melamine-formaldehyde) polymer, ranging from 10 to 405 micrometers long. These fibers formed as the sponge’s structure broke down due to friction; consequently, the rougher the surface and denser the sponge, the more fibers produced. They estimated that sponge wear could release up to 6.5 million fibers per gram of sponge, potentially contributing up to 4.9 trillion fibers to aquatic environments globally.

These findings suggest that melamine cleaning sponges are major contributors to the global microplastic burden. Human exposure to microplastics occurs through ingestion, inhalation, and skin contact. Evidence indicates that these particles accumulate in various body fluids and tissues and may increase the risk for metabolic dysfunction, neurotoxicity, and some cancers.

Coming soon: A comprehensive overview article about microplastics and their putative effects on human health.

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Shorter-chain PFAS alternatives, found in common household products, readily penetrate human skin, potentially increasing the health risks associated with these "forever chemicals."

Perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, are synthetic compounds found in food packaging, household products, and plastic bottles. These “forever chemicals” persist in the body for indefinite periods, posing significant health risks such as cancer, liver damage, and immune system dysfunction. To address these concerns, chemical companies have introduced shorter-chain PFAS alternatives, which break down more quickly in the environment. However, a recent study found that these alternatives readily penetrate the skin, potentially increasing the health risks associated with PFAS exposure.

Researchers designed a three-dimensional model that mimicked the qualities of human skin. They applied various PFAS to the model skin, including perfluoroalkyl carboxylic acids (used on/in non-stick cookware, water and stain repellents, and food packaging) and perfluoroalkane sulfonic acids (used on/in carpets, clothing, paper products, and cleaning agents) and assessed whether the compounds were absorbed (consequently taken up into the bloodstream), unabsorbed, or retained within skin tissue.

The researchers found that the skin absorbed as much as 58.9% of short-chain PFAS, and the absorption rate decreased as the carbon chain length increased. Interestingly, they found that large quantities of longer-chain PFAS (as much as 68.3%) were retained in the skin instead of being absorbed.

These findings suggest that PFAS, especially shorter-chain forms, readily penetrate human skin and can gain access to the bloodstream. They also underscore the potential health risks of PFAS exposure and the need for further research and regulation.

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We mine the data, you reap the benefits...
Compelling study piques my interest
Our team looks for studies that offer new or surprising results or bolster earlier research. We aim to identify research that stands out because of its innovation or significant findings.
Team analysis
We examine the chosen study closely, checking its methods, findings, and relevance. This step ensures we fully understand the research and its contribution to the field.
Found merit-worthy
A study passes our process if it meets our criteria for quality and pertinence. This means the research is solid and valuable to you, our Premium Members.
Published in issue with thoughtful commentary
We summarize the selected studies in our biweekly Science Digest with comments explaining the findings. This helps our readers grasp the significance of the research and its implications.
Here’s what members have to say about our Science Digest
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Thomas Tomazin
Rhonda, you help me take control of my personal health. I do not have a healthcare provider that stays up to date on current research or latest treatments. Your Q&A and Science Digests help me to optimize my health and for that I am eternally grateful!
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Sharon Regina
I've been a premium member since 2019 and continue to find value in both the members' Q&A and the weekly Science Digest [...] The Science Digests include curated summaries of the latest information on healthspan/longevity science and, similar to the FMF podcasts, the FMF team distills everything into an understandable language for us non-scientists.
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Robin Judice
I look forward to your Science Digest updates. I follow science literature on health and aging fairly closely, but you always share research that was not on my radar. Your synopsis of the research offers succinct and clear overview. I often take these links and do further reading. Very helpful.
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Stephen Margison
I look forward to the Science Digest email to keep me abreast of latest health news that I can implement. It is an excellent read.
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Arturo Castelo
I look forward every month to your Q&A and Science Digest. I have learned so much and the fact that we can ask you questions is so cool for me.
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Anker Bell
The Science Digest has become the best way for me to discover the latest insights into improving health.
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Noreen Thompson
I am a Holistic RN, and Rhonda Patrick’s FoundMyFitness Science Digest consistently provides accurate information with searchable references on interesting topics. I highly recommend premium membership to access all the content!
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Jackie Hutchings
Invaluable, indepth information which has changed they way I live. Investing in your health is probably the most important thing you can do to live a full and happy life. Cannot recommend highly enough.
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Mike Nelson
The Science Digest is one of the very few e-mails I actually look forward to receiving. I love hearing about the latest health and fitness research and trust Rhonda to filter through the info that will be of most benefit to me.
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