Showing posts from November, 2014

Does Having Authority Really Depress Women?

Now I'm really depressed.

A new study finds that job authority increases depression in women, and decreases them in men.

Can't we ever catch a break?!

“Women with job authority — the ability to hire, fire, and influence pay — have significantly more symptoms of depression than women without this power,” said Tetyana Pudrovska, an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin and the lead author of the study, at “In contrast, men with job authority have fewer symptoms of depression than men without such power.”

I guess I could see why.  Women -- or at least I -- agonize over difficult decisions like having to tell someone they're not performing, or firing them.  I won't say men do it without even thinking about it, but I bet it's quite different for them.

Maybe it's because we tend to have the empathic skills (or are too sensitive?).

According to Pudrovska, women without job authority exhibit s…

New Infectious Disease. Depression?

How about this?

A new study has found that depression may actually be a form of an infectious disease.

Major depressive disorder (MDD) should be re-conceptualized as an infectious disease, according to Turhan Canli, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology and Radiology at Stony Brook University.

Dr.Canli suggests that major depression may result from parasitic, bacterial, or viral infection and has done experiments that illustrate possible pathways by which these microorganisms could contribute to the etiology of MDD..

MDD remains highly prevalent disease with some 15 to 20 percent of the population experiencing MDD at some point. Recurrence is common, and pharmacological treatments have not changed. Because the causal aspects of the disease are not clearly defined, research to find causes remains paramount to help improve treatments, according to

Here's why he thinks so: first, he points out that patients with MDD exhibit illness behavior such as loss of energ…

Exercise a Lot? Expect to Gain Weight

It was one of the worst days of my life.

Last week I learned that exercise may make you gain weight.  That's right.  I said, gain.  Not lose.

I had been wondering about that for a while, as, last summer, when I ramped up my exercise routine - running, swimming, doing the elliptical, all in the same day -- I began putting on the pounds.

I couldn't believe it.  Someone suggested I wasn't eating enough (yeah, right).  But I didn't start losing weight until I scaled back my exercise in the fall.

Now a new study is saying it wasn't all in my head.  (Or the scale.)  I was right.  Gretchen Reynolds writes at The New York Times that this provocative new study shows that a substantial number of people who take up an exercise regimen wind up heavier afterward than they were at the start, with the weight gain due mostly to extra fat, not muscle.

Say what?

A recent review of studies related to exercise and weight control found that in most of the studies, people lost bare…

Do Men Know Directions Better Than Women?

The more things change, the more things, well, change.

A new study has found that men evolved better navigation ability than women because men with better spatial skills – the ability to mentally manipulate objects – can roam farther and have children with more mates.

Welcome to the 21st century.

The study was done on two African tribes so I don't know how much of that really relates to this part of the world, judging from my husband -- and most of the men I know -- navigation ability?  Better suggest they can make dinner while helping with homework and writing a dissertation, all at the same time. 

My husband can't turn on the oven and put dinner in, at the same time.  But anyway. 

By testing and interviewing dozens of members of the Twe and Tjimba tribes in northwest Namibia,  men who did better on a spatial task not only traveled farther than other men but also had children with more women, according to the study.

And the real deal is, they're supposedly better t…

Dream You Can't Find Your Car? Now Not Thought a Sign of Impending Alzheimer's

I had it again last night.

The dream where I park my car, then go back to find it and it's gone.  I wander around and around but never find it again.

Now a new study has me thinking I'm developing Alzheimer's.

Well, not really.  But researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have induced this all-too-common human experience – or a close version of it – permanently in rats and from what is observed, hope they can perhaps derive clues about why strokes and Alzheimer's disease can destroy a person’s sense of direction, according to

Scientists have developed a micro-surgical procedure that makes it possible to remove the area of the rat’s brain that contains grid cells and show what happens to this hard-wired navigational system when these grid cells are wiped out. One effect, not surprisingly, is that the rats become very poor at tasks requiring internal map-making skills, such as remembering the location of a resting plat…

Wealth? It Comes Not Just from the Job

Do genetic factors or environmental factors influence employee proactivity?

A scientist recently studied identical twins to find out, according to And he found that it's a little of both.

I've always been a very hard worker, frequently if not always getting writing assignments done before deadline.  However, in my haste I often make small mistakes.  I go looking for work when I'm not busy (and managed to really tee off a boss who thought it made him look bad, at a top Fortune 500 companies, who proceeded to make my life miserable for a year, until I got away from him).

But that's another story -- though it didn't help my self confidence any, which I'd always had a problem with, at work, never feeling quite good enough.  Actually, that very impression permeated my life, and maybe that's another reason I've always been desperate to seek, and do, work. 

"It's more like nature and nurture rather than nature versus nurture," say…

Can Love Ever Be Mean? Yes, Sort of

This is a little spooky.  A new study has found that love can sometimes make us mean.

Say what?

The study found that, under certain circumstances, feelings of warmth, tenderness and sympathy can in fact predict aggressive behaviors, according to a recent study by two University at Buffalo researchers.  Love and compassion go hand-in-hand, or do they?  The study attempted to find out.

It turns out it’s not about anger or feeling personally threatened, says study author Michael J. Poulin.

 Apparently, it's all about hormones that lead to increased "approach behaviors," says Poulin, a professor of psychology, according to  “People are motivated by social approach or getting closer to others.”

But Poulin adds that people approach one another for many reasons, including aggression, so it stands to reason that if compassion is linked to the action of these hormones and these hormones are linked to social approach behaviors, they might help account for the…

Election Day is the Saddest Day of the Year

You win some, you lose some.  But did you know that Dannel Malloy may not feel that elated that he was re-elected as governor of Connecticut?

That's because a new study has found that winning elections barely improves the happiness of those from the winning political party, and that losing, not surprisingly, reduces self-reported happiness and increases sadness substantially, according to

I'm sure that's how Tom Foley feels this morning, after conceding defeat to his hated rival.

The researchers used thousands of daily online survey responses from CivicScience, a market research and data intelligence company, to compare the happiness and sadness reported by those who identify with political parties in the days surrounding the 2012 presidential election.

The sadness effect lasted for about a week, but eventually partisan losers recovered.

“One of our main findings is that the pain of losing the 2012 presidential election dominated the joy of winning it…

Craving M&Ms? Tap Your Forehead


Thinking how many pounds that 12-oz bag of M&Ms is going to pad onto you may cause you to  reconsider.

That's what new research is saying, according to  Turns out the idea that the brain can control eating behavior, and considering the long-term consequences of your food choices may help control food cravings. Two research studies have showed the way you think about food can have an impact on appetite, and many others on the relationship between the brain and eating behavior.

Scientists at Brown University used functional MRI scans to watch participants' brains as they reviewed pictures of enticing foods, like pizza, French fries and ice cream. Through the scans researchers were able to evaluate different strategies to reduce the desire to eat. They found that thinking about the long-term negative impact of eating these foods may be an effective way to reduce appetite.

"We found that simply thinking in a different way affects how the brain…

Can You Make Your Kid Smarter?

My husband and I argue all the time about trying to do things to make our kid smarter.  He thinks anything less than an "A" is, well, a disgrace.  (Of course, he still remembers the SAT scores of his high school friends -- and we're talking bell bottoms and platform shoes the first time around, here).   I, on the other hand, always an average student, don't think grades matter all that much.

Hey, you're talking to someone who got 380 on her math SAT -- and I'm not living under a bridge somewhere!

Larry's on our son all the time about his homework, and what he learned in school today and is desperate to help Phillip bring his "B" in honors algebra up to an "A" (never mind that it's a high school course and 8th graders are taking it), and for a short time made him take a course of study through Johns Hopkins in math for gifted students.  And -- here I'm going to brag -- he has turned out pretty smart.

But it had nothing to do wi…

Are Your Fantasies 'Normal' When It Comes to Sex?

Does your partner like to be spanked?  Do you?  Hope for sex with two women (or men)?  Like to dress up as a maid for your man?

If you do, you're, well, perfectly normal, according to a new study, reports.

In a sampling of over 1,500 Quebec adults (usually college students are used!), results showed that people had all kinds of sexual fantasies.  But most of them were normal.

What weren't?  "Clinically, we know what pathological sexual fantasies are: they involve non-consenting partners, they induce pain, or they are absolutely necessary in deriving satisfaction. But apart from that, what exactly are abnormal or atypical fantasies? To find out, we asked people in the general population, as simple as that," the Web site quotes Christian Joyal, lead author of the study. "And as we suspected, there are a lot more common fantasies than atypical fantasies."

The study found that the nature of sexual fantasies are varied among the general popul…