Showing posts from September, 2014

Forgot Where You Put Your Keys Again? Hmm....Just Might Be Alzheimer's, After All

First I didn't have to worry about it.  Now it seems I do.

If you keep forgetting where your keys and glasses are, you just might, after all, have the beginnings of Alzheimer's.

At least, that's what a new study is saying.

According to, new research by scientists at the University of Kentucky's Sanders-Brown Center on Aging suggests that people who notice their memory is slipping may be on to something.

 The study appears to confirm that self-reported memory complaints are strong predictors of clinical memory impairment later in life.

Researchers asked 531 people with an average age of 73 and free of dementia if they had noticed any changes in their memory in the prior year. The participants were also given annual memory and thinking tests for an average of 10 years. After death, participants' brains were examined for evidence of Alzheimer's disease.

During the study, 56 percent of the participants reported changes in their memory, at an av…

Treat Your Partner Nicely. He May Be Why You Get -- or Don't -- a Raise or Promotion

How's this for a shock?

A new study has found that your spouse's personality -- not yours -- influences your career success.

Now, I love my husband but he is absent-minded (maybe only with me) and sometimes helpless (he'll kill me when he reads this) and forget about details.  He once asked me how to turn on the oven (you press a button).

I realize that a lot of this is just men stuff -- you know, pretend you don't know how to do it so she'll do it, and I know we, at least I, am not very good at reinforcing when he does it right.  I can't stand the way he unloads the dishes from the dishwasher (usually in the wrong cabinet so I can never find them), or vacuum the family room (how can he keep missing that corner)?  And, I admit, I pick on him for it, so why should he want to help out?   At least he does his own laundry!

But the study found that as people spend more and more time in the workplace (and these days it feels like we live there), it’s natural for co-…

Should Women Be Heard, Not Just Seen?

It's a  compelling question.  Must women be seen to be heard?

A new study has found that consumers respond differently to male voices selling things than female voices.  That's probably why 80% of all voice-overs are done by men.

Another interesting fact: any female voice-overs are predominantly embodied by an attractive woman, whereas male voices are often disembodied or represented by both ugly and attractive men.

Think of some recent commercials.  The new one for Samsung phones comes to mind, a beautiful blonde woman who's pregnant (another stereotype) who cries over seeing a cat and dog cuddle, or sits by the pool with a drink (hopefully, non-alcoholic) watching someone doing Pilates on TV.  When her husband comments, she says, "Eyes are muscles, too."

There have been some very interesting commercials on lately, where more and more of the actors are overweight.  Have you seen the one for some pizza chain with an overweight man listening to music while he wa…

Get Disappointed Too Much? Your Neurotransmitters May Be Out of Whack

Dimmer switches.  You know, those great things you can turn down to make the room more romantic.  Or bring up so your far-sighted old eyes can read the newspaper.

Well, our brains have one, too, it turns out.  According to a new study, scientists have discovered a "dimmer switch" for mood disorders.

Researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have identified a control mechanism for an area of the brain that processes sensory and emotive information that humans experience as “disappointment," newswise com. reports.

This discovery may effectively mean there's a neurochemical antidote for feeling let-down.

“The idea that some people see the world as a glass half-empty has a chemical basis in the brain,” newswise quotes senior author Roberto Malinow, MD, PhD, professor in the Department of Neurosciences and neurobiology section of the Division of Biological Sciences. “What we have found is a process that may dampen the brain’s sensitivity…

Don't Argue in Front of the Kids -- If You Want Them to Be Able to Handle Their Emotions, That Is

Yet one more thing to feel guilty about.

Fighting parents hurt children's ability to recognize and regulate their emotions, according to a new study as reported by

Exposure to verbal and physical aggression between parents may hurt a child’s ability to identify and control emotions, according to a longitudinal study led by NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. 

The findings also suggest that household chaos and prolonged periods of poverty during early childhood may take a substantial toll on the emotional adjustment of young children.

“Our study points to ways in which aggression between parents may powerfully shape children’s emotional adjustment,” says C. Cybele Raver, professor of applied psychology at NYU Steinhardt and the study’s lead author, at “Arguing and fighting is psychologically stressful for the adults caught in conflict; this study demonstrates the costs of that conflict for children in the household…

Bad Memories From Your Childhood? Stay in the Moment, And You'll Be Fine

It probably shouldn't come as a surprise but people who were abused as children find they're happier if they stay in the present moment, rather than reliving their past or looking off into the future.

It's called mindfulness and it works for everyone.

According to, adults who were abused or neglected as children are known to have poorer health, but adults who tend to focus on and accept their reactions to the present moment—or are mindful—report having better health, regardless of their childhood adversity.

Mindfulness is all the rage today.  It's what you learn in yoga.  It's what courses are trying to teach doctors to do, or maybe, I should say be.  It's all about living in the moment, right now.  Because it's the only time you have.

I remember when I was first diagnosed with cancer thinking far, far ahead to the treatments I'd have to have.  First, surgery.  Then, radiation.  Then, surgery again.  But I had to get through each one before goi…

Conservatives in Liberal Countries Happiest of All

How's this for a fact?

If you're a liberal, you tend to be more satisfied.  But if you're a conservative, you're happier.

Hmm.  Which is better?

The study that found this out was actually talking about countries that are liberal and conservative but I'm sure it applies to people, too.

I decided to do my own survey.  I'm a liberal, and I guess I'm satisfied.  But my husband has become a conservative, sadly, and he's not one of the happier people I know!  He's a great guy but he tends toward the pessimistic.

As for my friends, most are liberal.  And most are satisfied.  But would you call Rush Limbaugh happy?  

Here's how it breaks down in the study:  Liberal policies make people happy, while personal beliefs make conservatives happier.

I guess that makes sense.  

People living in more liberal countries are happier on average than those in less liberal countries, but individually, conservatives are happier than liberals no matter where they live, accord…

Could Your Body Become a CVS?

Did you know your body can make its own drugs?

Well, not really, but scientists are finding that our microbes are a rich source of molecules that act like drugs, reports.  

Bacteria that normally live in and upon us have genetic blueprints that enable them to make thousands of molecules that act like drugs, and some of these molecules might serve as the basis for new human therapeutics, according to UC San Francisco researchers.

A bacteria found in the vagina might actually be used as an antibiotic, researchers found.  The antibiotic, lactocillin, is closely related to others already being tested clinically by pharmaceutical companies. Lactocillin kills several vaginal bacterial pathogens, but spares species known to harmlessly dwell in the vagina.

This example suggests that there may be an important role for many naturally occurring drugs – made by our own microbes -- in maintaining human health, according to the senior author of the study, Michael Fischbach, PhD, an assista…

Say Thank You And See What Happens

For a long time I stopped holding doors for people because I got so mad when they didn't say "thank you."  In fact, this morning I held the door for an elderly man in a white pharmacist's jacket and he didn't say a word.

Forgive me, but I said, "You're welcome!" as I slammed the door behind me and rampaged into Dunkin' Donuts.

But a new study says that saying thank you is more than just good etiquette.  It's actually essential to the social good.

According to, new research offers the first evidence that expressions of gratitude go beyond mere etiquette and provide real social benefit.

Researchers in Australia found the first known evidence that "gratitude leads to perceptions of interpersonal warmth, creating fertile ground for relationships to bloom."

Now, I've been onto "gratitude" since Oprah suggested keeping a journal to write down five things you're grateful, for every day.  I only kept it up for abo…

Birth Season of Babies Influences First Walk

It sure was true for us.  Babies born in the winter learn to crawl sooner than summer time babies, according to a new study.

Our son, born in June, didn't learn to crawl until he was a year old, and didn't walk till he was almost 17 months.  I panicked about the walking.  People said, "Enjoy it," but I just wanted him to be like the other babies -- now running and jumping and climbing, while our son just tried to slide along the dirty floors in restaurants and anywhere we put him down.

Then, one night (I was sleeping), my husband was reading the paper and looked up and thought, oh, there's Phillip, walking across the floor to me.  Say what???

Like most kids who start walking at a later age, there was no falling down or bumping into things for him.  Once he walked, he walked.

The season of a baby’s birth influences its motor development during its first year of life, a new study by University of Haifa researcher's shows, according to Babies born in t…

No, Exercise Can Not Give You A.L.S.!

Believe it or not, some people think exercise can harm you.

Maybe that's because many of the people we know who have or have had this dreaded disease were in sports, like Lou Gehrig, who died in his early 30's of it and hence, became its namesake.

But according to Gretchen Reynolds at The New York Times, exercise can not cause A.L.S., though there's long been "a scientific debate about whether participating in contact sports or even vigorous exercise might somehow contribute to the development of the fatal neurodegenerative disease, an issue that two important new studies attempt to answer."

The answer, right up top, is no, though there might be reasons to think so.  In the past decade, several widely publicized studies indicated that professional Italian soccer players were disproportionately prone to A.L.S., with about a sixfold higher incidence than would have been expected numerically. Players were often diagnosed while in their 30s; the normal onset is after 60…

Why Offering A Job To Someone Not Looking Can Be Depressing (for Them!)

How could offering someone a job hurt them?

Well, a new study says it can if they're already employed in a job they like.

According to, unsolicited job leads can increase symptoms of depression in some people.

Not surprisingly, unsolicited job leads tended to relieve depression symptoms in people who were not employed full time or were unhappy with their financial situation. But researchers were surprised to see that similar offers increased feelings of depression in people who had full-time jobs or were satisfied with their financial situation.

The strength of the effect depended on how long a person had been in his current situation. Researchers say that unsolicited job leads were the most beneficial to people who lacked full-time jobs for five or more years and needed them most, and the most distressing to those who were employed full time and needed them least.  Duh.  (So that's why they get paid so much money!)

Here's why:  The offer could be per…

Sex and Skipping School -- Is There A Connection for Teen Girls?

A new study has found that teenage girls who skip school are probably doing much more than that. And none of it's good.
Failing tests and engaging in risky sexual behavior have a lot in common with skipping school, researchers found, after flipping through 18,000 reports written daily by 14- to 17-year-old girls, according to

The findings are based on a 10-year study of the development of 387 teenage girls' romantic/sexual relationships and sexual behavior, the Web site notes. During the study, the teens entered their daily activities and mood into a log. "This study demonstrates that young women’s weekday reports of skipping school and failing a test were significantly linked to more frequent vaginal sex, less frequent condom use and different sexual emotions, on that same day," said lead author Devon J. Hensel, Ph.D. Prior studies have shown that academic success is linked to lower sexual risk, but researchers have relied on retrospective information, she…

What Do YOU Do When the Bottom Drops Out?

Isn't it cool when something you really need falls into your lap? That's what happened to me today when I came across a new study about setbacks and whether you bounce back, or give up.
I was recently interviewed for a job, met all the executives and was pretty much hired on the spot, except for some paperwork that had to be drawn up. I went home, told my husband, who was overjoyed (now maybe he'd get some help paying bills!), and the week ahead looked bright and exciting.
Good thing we didn't celebrate.
I didn't get the job.
I don't know where it went wrong but when the three or four emails a day dwindled down to one, then none, I began to get it.
I'm pretty good at bouncing back from disappointment and bad news, but this one hit hard. Maybe because I really believed we'd hit it off – there seemed to be such chemistry. We clicked. I was asked how soon I could start, and we talked money. Emails were exchanged. A phone call. Then, nothing.
The s…

Have Trouble Getting Started With Deadlines? Stay in the Present, Experts Say

Maybe it's because I'm a Type A kind of gal, but I've never had problems with deadlines.  It could come from the fact that my first job was as a newspaper reporter and you didn't get a second chance to miss one.

I don't like things hanging over my head (unlike my husband, who wait two minutes before we're ready to go somewhere to put on -- or find -- a clean shirt and pants, and my son, who, even with a month to do a project for school, always, always does the night before!).  So I don't really have a problem with procrastination.

But many do.  And a new study now says that may be because they see time differently than me.

What about those nagging tasks we keep putting off? What’s the difference between those jobs that get completed and those that do not?

According to, if you have trouble starting a task, your perception of the deadline may be what's at fault.

 “The key step in getting things done is getting started. If you never get sta…

How Does Your Brain Chop Through The Clutter?

How does our brain cut past all the clutter thrown at us every day to get to what it wants?  Tweets and texts, iPods and iPads, smart phones and smarter tablets.  Is it any wonder we're having a harder and harder time focusing on just about anything?

That's where the beauty of our brain comes in.  According to, a new study finds it's not tough at all.  It involves a special area of neurons.

 “Most of the objects in any given visual scene are not that important, so how does the brain select or attend to important ones?”the Web site quotes study senior author David Freedman, PhD, associate professor of neurobiology at the University of Chicago. “It does this in a very flexible way, changing moment by moment depending on what is being looked for.”

The visual cortex of the brain possesses multiple, interconnected regions that are responsible for processing different aspects of the raw visual signal gathered by the eyes, newswise notes. "Basic informatio…

Cellphones May Compromise Academic Achievement

Great.  Our kids' addiction to cell phones has not only turned them into automatons who only respond when the house is on fire, have helped them lose all social graces and can now break up in a text.  But a new study says their addiction may now lead to academic failure, as well.

According to, women college students spend an average of 10 hours a day on their cellphones and men college students spend nearly eight, with excessive use posing potential risks for academic performance.

A new study notes that approximately 60 percent of college students admit they may be addicted to their cell phone, and some indicated they get agitated when it is not in sight, according to researcher James Roberts, Ph.D., The Ben H. Williams Professor of Marketing in Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business.

The study — based on an online survey of 164 college students — examined 24 cellphone activities and found that time spent on 11 of those activities differed significantly across th…

Watching TV Can Make You Fat

I knew I shouldn't have binged on those Real Housewife shows.  All that drama and name-calling and bitchiness.   Not to mention the ones who hated each other.

But now there's a reason it's a good idea to turn off these shows.  A new study says they can make you gain weight.

According to, the study finds that fast-paced television programs might lead people to eat twice as much food.

“More stimulating programs that are fast paced and include many camera cuts, really draw you in and distract you from what you’re eating,” said lead author Aner Tal, post-doctoral researcher at the Cornell Food and Brand Lab at “They can make you eat more because you’re paying less attention to how much you are putting in your mouth.”

An increasing amount of research shows an association between TV viewing and higher food consumption and a more sedentary lifestyle.  

I have to admit the housewives make me depressed -- all that money and leisure time and cocktai…

Like to Tell a Lie? A Part of Your Brain May Make You Do It

Tell the truth.  How honest are you really?

Do you tell the cashier when she undercharges you by $1?  Do you remind your carpool buddy that it's really your turn to drive?  Or do you just let these kinds of things slide, thinking, it's not hurting anyone, anyway.

 Well, a new study says that everyone has a tipping point and at some point, we’ll lie if the benefit is great enough. Now, scientists have confirmed the area of the brain in which we make that decision, according to

 “We prefer to be honest, even if lying is beneficial,” said Lusha Zhu, the study’s lead author and a postdoctoral associate at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, where she works with Brooks King-Casas and Pearl Chiu, who are assistant professors at the institute and with Virginia Tech’s Department of Psychology. “How does the brain make the choice to be honest, even when there is a significant cost to being honest?”

Previous studies have shown that brain areas behind the …

Do You Have Sleep Drunkenness?

We all know when we've had a little too much to drink.  Maybe you feel slightly high, or very happy.  Some people cry.  But there's a new way to be drunk, and, believe it or not, it happens when you're asleep and you suddenly wake up. 

It's called sleep drunkenness and is characterized by confusion, or inappropriate behavior during or after arousal from sleep.  Most people experience no symptoms.

It affects 15% of the general American population -- that's one in seven people -- with half the people studied saying it happened more than once.  Almost 90% had a sleep disorder or a mental health disorder or were taking psychotropic drugs, according to  

“The high prevalence is surprising,” said Dr. Stuart Quan, a professor of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School and physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, who wasn’t involved in a different study, reports.

This state of “confusional arousal” usually occurs when y…