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Dvortygirl via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

Canadian Scientists Find Medicinal Properties in Maple Syrup Compound

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Dvortygirl via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

Scientists say they have found potential medicinal properties in a maple syrup molecule.

Quebecol, a chemical compound with the most Canadian name ever, was first discovered in 2011. Quebecol is only found in maple syrup, not sap, which suggests that the compound is a product of the extraction or processing stages.

Other researchers began testing the molecule to find out what it could do, and some of the resulting studies suggested that quebecol might have potential as an anti-cancer drug. One study noted that it displays some similarity to tamoxifen, an antiestrogen drug often used to treat breast cancer.

To find out more, scientists at Quebec City’s Université Laval created a petri dish model of inflammation in the body. "We take blood cells called macrophages and put them with bacterial toxins," researcher Daniel Grenier said in a press release. "Macrophages usually react by triggering an inflammatory response. But if the culture medium contains an anti-inflammatory molecule, this response is blocked."

The researchers found that adding quebecol to the petri dish stopped inflammation before it even started. The same was true for synthetic quebecol-like chemicals. The research team published its findings in Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters. As quoted in the press release, chemist and co-author Normand Voyer said, "This paves the way for a whole new class of anti-inflammatory agents, inspired by quebecol, that could compensate for the low efficacy of certain treatments while reducing the risk of side effects.”

Not too shabby, eh?

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Courtesy Maxie B's
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Food
25 Cupcake Bakeries You've Got to Try
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Courtesy Maxie B's

While it's difficult to improve upon perfection, bakers are constantly putting new twists on cupcakes. These bakeries showcase the latest trends and the classic style we all know and love.

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Something Something Soup Something
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language
This Game About Soup Highlights How Tricky Language Is
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Something Something Soup Something

Soup, defined by Merriam-Webster as "a liquid food especially with a meat, fish, or vegetable stock as a base and often containing pieces of solid food," is the ultimate simple comfort food. But if you look closer at the definition, you'll notice it's surprisingly vague. Is ramen soup? What about gumbo? Is a soy vanilla latte actually a type of three-bean soup? The subjectivity of language makes this simple food category a lot more complicated than it seems.

That’s the inspiration behind Something Something Soup Something, a new video game that has players label dishes as either soup or not soup. According to Waypoint, Italian philosopher, architect, and game designer Stefano Gualeni created the game after traveling the world asking people what constitutes soup. After interviewing candidates of 23 different nationalities, he concluded that the definition of soup "depends on the region, historical period, and the person with whom you're speaking."

Gualeni took this real-life confusion and applied it to a sci-fi setting. In Something Something Soup Something, you play as a low-wage extra-terrestrial worker in the year 2078 preparing meals for human clientele. Your job is to determine which dishes pass as "soup" and can be served to the hungry guests while avoiding any items that may end up poisoning them. Options might include "rocks with celery and batteries in a cup served with chopsticks" or a "foamy liquid with a candy cane and a cooked egg served in a bowl with a fork."

The five-minute game is meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but Gualeni also hopes to get people thinking about real philosophical questions. According to its description page, the game is meant to reveal "that even a familiar, ordinary concept like 'soup' is vague, shifting, and impossible to define exhaustively."

You can try out Something Something Soup Something for free on your browser.

[h/t Waypoint]

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