The Check-Up: College Athlete Suing Coach for Making Him Drink Blood

Plus, social mice are skinny, and gene therapy seems promising for HIV treatment—today's health headlines

• Today’s top story comes from the judiciary branch, of all places. A former college track athlete from Central Connecticut State University is suing his coach, who he claims made him drink blood as part of his training. Yes, you read that right—blood. The athlete is Kenyan, see, and the coach apparently thought it’d be a good idea to have him drink blood because, you know, that’s what Kenyans do, apparently. The athlete, of course, thought the coach was joking but later learned he wasn’t. So when the coach turned up at practice one day with a cup of blood—may we ask where in the world he got it from?!—the athlete felt compelled to drink it, so he did. But that’s not all! The coach continued to show up at practice with cups of blood for the athlete to drink, claiming that the kid was “too thin, [and] needed calcium.” Because the blood would help, I guess? Court papers also allege that the coach repeatedly humilated the athlete and made jokes about him being poor. There was even one joke having to do with eating puppies because, you know, that’s also what people do in Kenya. Sounds like a stand-up guy, no?

• Researchers in Ohio conducted a study on lab mice which found that ones in more socially engaging environments—cages that contained a network of “wheels, mazes and greater opportunity for social interaction” with other mice, according to MSNBC—had less body fat in their midsections than ones in standard pens equipped with only wheels. According to the article, “After a few weeks, the mice kept in enriched environments were leaner, even when their bored counterparts put in two to three times as much work on their running wheels. And they were more resistant to becoming obese when fed high-fat diets.” Guess there’s something to be said for being a serious social butterfly.

• Here’s great news in the battle against AIDS: New research shows promise in using gene therapy to reduce levels of the virus in patients. In a trial, several patients saw measurable decreases in viral levels, while one patient, who was later found to have a naturally occuring gene mutation, saw the disease eliminated from his body all together. Get more details here.