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Though It Burns Your Mouth

Capsaicin, that spicy component of red peppers, might be useful in treating obesity. Korean researchers report in the Journal of Proteome Research how they fed one group of rats regular food along with saline, another received a high-fat diet and saline, while a third group of rats ate a high-fat diet with capsaicin diluted in saline to study the effect of capsaicin on weight gain. The rats who received capsaicin weighed about 8 percent less than the rats in the high-fat group that received only saline. Through proteomic analysis, the researchers show that capsaicin affects the regulation of about 20 proteins, many of which are involved in lipid metabolism and redox regulation. "Capsaicin," the researchers write, "may be a useful phytochemical for attenuation of obesity."

The Scan

Tens of Millions Saved

The Associated Press writes that vaccines against COVID-19 saved an estimated 20 million lives in their first year.

Supersized Bacterium

NPR reports that researchers have found and characterized a bacterium that is visible to the naked eye.

Also Subvariants

Moderna says its bivalent SARS-CoV-2 vaccine leads to a strong immune response against Omicron subvariants, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Science Papers Present Gene-Edited Mouse Models of Liver Cancer, Hürthle Cell Carcinoma Analysis

In Science this week: a collection of mouse models of primary liver cancer, and more.