Weekend Links: Rats Can’t Puke, Why Cats Always Land on Their Feet, People Who Can Actually Smell Parkinson’s and More

Welcome to Weekend Links, a collection of fascinating science stories from across the web, curated by your science-loving friends at the Mass General Research Institute.

Science Heroes

Massive Science staff writing for Massive Science

We love highlighting scientists you may not have heard of, often with a gorgeous illustration by cartoonist and neuroscientist Matteo Farinella. We even developed a deck of cards to celebrate great, under-appreciated figures from the annals of science.

Human Genomics Research Has a Diversity Problem

Jonathan Lambert writing for NPR

Studies that link genetic markers with disease focus largely on white European populations and neglect other races and ethnicities, according to an analysis published in the journal Cell on Thursday. The researchers argue this lack of diversity in genomic studies harms our scientific understanding of the genetic underpinnings of disease in all populations and exacerbates health care inequities.

Why a Cat Always Lands on Its Feet

Coleman Lowndes writing for Vox

Scientists in the late 19th century wanted to settle a curious physics problem: Why does a cat always lands on its feet? It should be impossible to reorient your body midair without pushing off of something first, but cats seem able to do it.

This Woman Can Smell Parkinson’s. It Might Help Lead to Earlier Treatment

Anna Groves writing for Discover

Parkinson’s disease stinks. Figuratively. But according to new research, it literally stinks too — to those who have a heightened sense of smell. Thanks to the help of one of these “super-smellers,” a team of scientists has identified subtle volatile compounds produced by Parkinson’s sufferers.

Rats Can’t Puke, Which is Bad News for Them and Great News for Us

Erin Blakemore writing for Popular Science

Consider, if you will, a repulsive case of food poisoning. You may try to hold it in, but at some point you’re gonna spew. But not every species is that lucky—and one day their inability to barf could help humans better tolerate life-saving treatments that make us nauseated, like chemotherapy.

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