I've been trying (and so far succeeding) in spending less time on activities that don't really matter in the grand scheme of things, like reading the New York Times. Hence, these interesting articles postings will be much briefer in the future (as long as my resolve holds).
Plain water was most effective, removing 96 percent of Norwalk virus. Antibacterial soap was close behind, reducing viral counts by 88 percent. The alcohol-based hand gels reduced the virus by only about half.
-from Hand gels falter (Science News)
Although one supplement degraded all the oxalate [a mineral most kidney stones are composed of], the others degraded negligible amounts.
-from Can supplements nix kidney stones? (Science News)
In short, some products with purported health benefits do effectively nothing.
The study suggests that the calories that people and other animals take from foods could be directly related to which microbes have colonized their guts.
If the scientists' reasoning is correct, then manipulating intestinal flora might eventually be used to treat obesity, notes microbiologist Jeremy Nicholson of Imperial College London.
More details on the study that inspired this claim are available in the Science News article or in the source article: A humanized gnotobiotic mouse model of host-archaeal-bacterial mutualism (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences).