Earth

Here's another reason why dieters should avoid all-you-can-eat buffets: When faced with a large variety of items, consumers tend to underestimate how much of each item is present, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Authors Joseph P. Redden (University of Minnesota) and Stephen J. Hoch (University of Pennsylvania) investigated consumers' perceptions of quantity in a set of experiments that may help us understand how quantity perceptions influence portion sizes.

Why do some consumers prefer local products and others gravitate toward global brands? A new study in the Journal of Consumer Research examines why some people might choose a local brand instead of a recognizable global brand like Coke or Pepsi.

Here's another reason to hate leftovers. A research study appearing in the April 2009 issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology (http://www.jleukbio.org) sheds light on one cause of arthritis: bacteria. In the study, scientists from the United States and The Netherlands show that a specific gene called NOD2 triggers arthritis or makes it worse when leftover remnants of bacteria cell walls, called muramyl dipeptide or MDP, are present.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Just as no two humans are the same, a Purdue University scientist has shown treating mice more as individuals in laboratory testing cuts down on erroneous results and could significantly reduce the cost of drug development.

Mice have long been used as test subjects for treatments and drugs before those products are approved for human testing. But new research shows that the customary practice of standardizing mice by trying to limit environmental variation in laboratories actually increases the chance of getting an incorrect result.

INDIANAPOLIS – A study published in the April 2009 issue of the medical journal Acta Pædiatrica is the first to report that birth defect rates in the United States were highest for women conceiving in the spring and summer. The researchers also found that this period of increase risk correlated with increased levels of pesticides in surface water across the United States.