How sperm samples can predict autism in children


The Big Idea
The low-down on how certain food diets like the Raw Foods Diet may end up bringing more harm than good to your body.

Uncooked, unprocessed and au naturel

Everyone wants to shed some weight and be healthier. Other than exercising, people have turned to diets to help them lose an extra pound or try to reap the health benefits of eating cleaner. 

At some point in time, we’ve all tried something — keto, Mediterranean, Whole30, Atkins, low-carb — to get beach body ready.

A new fad that’s been picked up is the Raw Foods Diet. Turns out, it isn’t entirely new and has been around since the 19th century when the Presbyterian minister and dietary reformer, Sylvester Graham, promoted the idea that people would never become ill if they only consumed uncooked foods. Maybe salmonella wasn’t a thing, back then.

Goodbye artificial flavours

The basis behind the Raw Food diet is to take the natural approach to the extreme — eating only uncooked and unprocessed foods in their most natural state. No processing. No heating.

Understandably, this gets some health points cause you rid yourself of the artificial flavours you can’t even pronounce. Plus, your diet would be rich in fruits and vegetables, all the good stuff!

We, however, have effectively banned this diet from the office — because everyone got really cranky without their morning cuppa and bread.

Advocates of the Raw Foods diet claim that keeping foods below the temperature of 40-48oC ensures that enzymes in the food stay intact and aid in better digestion. It is also said to have helped in weight loss, as well as revitalise the body, making people look youthful and feel energetic.

Chicken with a side of salmonella

Unfortunately, nutritionists have warned that the Raw Foods diet could be more detrimental to our health than beneficial. 

As we’ve learnt from the family barbecues where everyone gets food poisoning: consuming foods raw can pose as a health risk as food-borne pathogens are not killed through the heat from cooking. 

Dieticians also warn that an entirely raw food diet is unsustainable in the long run and may cause malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies, especially in vitamin B12, vitamin D and iron category. Ladies: studies have also shown that long-term raw food diet may lead to amenorrhea, an abnormal absence of menstruation. 

So our stand is: focus on eating whole and healthy foods, not restrictive diets — and if you really want to preserve your nutrients, try cooking methods such as sauteing or pressure cooking!

Want to learn more about diet trends? Check out our article on fad diet tips by a clinical dietitian.


TIP’sy Thursday:

1️⃣ Bear-ry good: Bear crawls engage almost every muscle in your body and focuses specifically on your quads, legs, chests, shoulders and core.

2️⃣ Take a chill pill: Neuroscientists in the United Kingdom have shown that listening to “Weightless” by Marconi Union has been found to lower your anxiety up to 65%.

3️⃣ Stop the WFH laptop headaches: Balance the amount of light that you are receiving to prevent those pesky headaches. A helpful tip is to sit perpendicular to your window if you are working near a window.

4️⃣ Stress relief: Ayurvedic Techniques, such as deep breathing can help to calm yourself down when you’re feeling stressed!

5️⃣ Stop the negativity: Neuroscientists have found a way for us to stop obsessing over the negative things that happen to us by this 3 step tip: Notice, Shift, Rewire

And 5 facts to spice up your life:

1️⃣ Plastic Pollution: 1 in 100 camels die after eating plastic bags and trash due to its inability to differentiate food and waste, highlighting the issue of plastic pollution yet again.

2️⃣ Brain tumour and undercooked meat: Researchers have said that individuals who have had high exposure to T. gondii parasite (a foodborne pathogen usually found in undercooked meat) are more likely to develop a rare brain cancer called glioma.

3️⃣ Cancer Culture: A new study has suggested that all cancer cells may have the capacity to enter states of dormancy as a survival mechanism to avoid destruction from chemotherapy.

4️⃣ Some useful shit: Scientists in Copenhagen have developed an algorithm that uses artificial intelligence to help analyse poop and identify the type of bacteria we are dealing with.

5️⃣ Nature booster: A study has shown that contact with nature can help alleviate the aging immune system and is linked to reduced T-cell exhaustion and inflammation.


The Big Idea:
A recent study has shown that certain biomarkers in a man’s sperms may predict the chances of his children having autism.

Not just for baby-making

Recently, the number of children suffering from autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have been rising. Yet, scientists are still baffled as to what has led to this increase.

But a team of genetic and neuroscience experts may have the answer. Their studies have shown that certain biomarkers in men’s sperms that could predict the chances of his offspring having ASD — at an accuracy of up to 90%.

How sperms tell the story

During the small study, the researchers looked into sperm epigenetics, which was how there are changes in the way genes are expressed and processed in the body due to environmental factors.

Although the study only examined 26 fathers, the team identified 805 potential biomarkers during their analysis of DNA methylation regions and the blind test revealed that they were able to use their findings to predict whether or not the men had fathered autistic children.

A new hope for managing autism

In Singapore, 1 in every 150 children has autism, which is higher than WHO’s global figure of 1 in 160 children. So early intervention is critical and hopefully, the ability to predict this condition will allow parents and doctors to better manage it.

If you’d like to learn to consult a psychiatrist to learn more, check out our article on seeing a psychiatrist in Singapore!


Weird & Wonderful

  1. Massage is a well-intentioned beating.
  2. Your passwords are saved into your muscle memory.   
  3. When you go to bed, you become a night fetus in a recharge womb.
  4. A bicycle is the most easily moveable gym equipment.      
  5. All books are audiobooks if you consider your inner monologue a narrator.

Image by Mary L. Marazita, Center for Craniofacial and Dental Genetics, University of Pittsburgh
L: Whorl patterns on the person’s lips may show genetic linkage to cleft lips and other orofacial disorder
R: Straight vertical patterns on the lips of a person who does not have cleft lips

The Big Idea:
Pucker up — because your lip prints might just be able to predict your genetic disposition to orofacial disorders. 

If those lips could speak

No two people on Earth have the same fingerprints (yes, even identical twins)! Just like fingerprints, our lip prints are also unique to each individual and do not change over time. However, you do not have to worry as lip prints are not typically used as evidence in court! 

Before we knock it off as just a fun fact, lip prints can actually offer some insight into your health, such as your genetic predisposition to cleft lip or cleft palate, which are some of the most common birth defects. 

Lip prints typically fall into a few categories such as straight vertical lines, branches, crosshatches and circular whorls. What’s interesting is that scientists have found a link between circular whorls and the likelihood of carrying genes related to clefts and other orofacial disorders. 

That being said, research on lip patterns is still new and a realm yet to be explored. There are no firm connections made to confirm any orofacial disorders yet. With greater technological advancements, scientists are hopeful that the use of lip prints can help to diagnose orofacial disorders in utero, making management of the diseases much more effective.

We’re not quite sure how it works, but remember to stay hydrated and use lip balm for healthy, uncracked lips!


Cherlyn is an awkward turtle who sips tea and is an avid fan of football. She is basically born to travel the world and really loves the Big Ben.. Bong Bong Bong