If cold symptoms are the body’s immune response to fight a cold virus, do cold remedies that reduce symptoms hinder the body’s ability to fight off the virus and actually increase the cold’s duration?

Answered by Alan Jensen, Registered Pharmacist Many medications can be used to treat the symptoms of a cold or flu. I am going to restrict my comments to the five categories of medications found in most over the counter cold and flu remedies. They are pain and fever reducers, nasal decongestants, antihistamines, cough suppressants and…

How do things like butter and chocolate melt?

Question answered by Catherine Riddle, PhD, Radiochemist, Idaho National Laboratory Both chocolate and butter contain fat (triglycerides) which is why they melt differently than ice.  Most chocolates (especially milk-chocolate) tend to melt into this sticky (albeit delicious) mess at slightly above room temperature as does butter.  So why does this happen?  Since chocolate and butter…

Do insects sleep?

Answered by Jessica Fultz, Entomologist, Idaho State University Nearly all insects go through cycles of activity and inactivity the most common being the 24 daily cycle; the circadian (around a day) cycle.  The circadian cycle is like an internal clock that is set by periods of dark and light.  When active, insects are looking for…

I noticed this week (October 8th), that though the water of the South Fork in the Ririe area is clear, there are huge clumps of algae in the water and covering the rocks. I’ve never noticed this much algae before. Is there a reason?

Question answered by Gregg Losinski, Environmental Science Educator This is a great question based on an interesting observation. Like many great questions, the answer may not be a simple one. Without knowing what exactly was being observed it is hard to give a definitive answer, but the potential answers are all possible. The most important…

If pronghorn winter diet is close to 100% sagebrush, how do they process the terpenoid oils in the plant when other browsers can’t?

Question answered by Dr. Jericho Whiting, Biology Professor, BYU-Idaho Sagebrush provides a ready source of winter nutrition for pronghorn, because of its nutritional quality and relative availability on sagebrush-dominated winter range used by these ungulates. Three adaptations by pronghorn allow them to eat sagebrush in winter. First, pronghorn are opportunistic herbivores. As such these animals are able to…