Showing posts from March, 2015

Have a Purpose in Life, Live Longer

We've always heard that it's good to have a purpose in life.  Becoming a mother.  Giving blood.  Making a million dollars.

How many of us have given it just lip service, though?  A new study is saying we should think again.

Study Highlights
• People who have a strong sense of purpose in life are less likely to develop brain infarcts as they age.
• Having a “purpose in life” may also protect against dementia, movement problems, and death.
• Purpose in life differs for everyone and can include things such as volunteering, learning new things, or being part of your community.

Having a strong sense that your life has meaning and direction may make you less likely to develop areas of brain damage caused by blockages in blood flow as you age. This research is reported in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke.

When a blockage interrupts blood flow in a vessel within the brain, a stroke can result or brain tissue can be damaged. This damaged tissue, called infarcts, may…

Are Emoticons The New Pick-Up Lines?

Who'd have guessed? 

Men are more jealous when a member of their own sex uses an emoticon in a text to their significant other than women.

According to new research,“Men were more jealous when emoticons—specifically winking ones—were included in messages to their significant other,” says Dr. Denise Friedman, associate professor and chair of psychology at Roanoke College, and author of the study. She adds that women were more jealous when there were no emoticons.

Say what?  

Now I'm lucky because my husband hates computers and only uses one when he absolutely has to.  A few years ago his office moved to electronic medical records and he was forced, kicking and screaming, to enter the digital age.  He wouldn't know an emoticon from a leprechaun.

Men and women also reacted in different ways, depending on how the study questions were asked, according to Women reported more Facebook jealousy in general, especially when surveyed, but men reported equally or mo…

"Sharenting?" Yes, I'm Guilty

I admit I do it, too.  In fact, I just did it last week, when my son gave a brief talk at Princeton (yes, University) at age 13.  The reality is that Princeton was just the location of the talk, but he did give it to an audience of IEEE members.

That's The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (to people like me who can't even pronounce double-precision floating point format), and yes, we were very proud.

So, of course, the minute we got home, I put it up on Facebook, and went on to get over 30 likes (hey, I know, not much, but it's the most I've ever gotten!).

And now researchers are saying this isn't such a good idea.  

“By the time children are old enough to use social media themselves many already have a digital identity created for them by their parents,” says Sarah J. Clark, M.P.H., associate director of the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health and associate research scientist in the U-M Departm…

Do You Want to Know What Serious Illness Lies in Your Future?

Would you want to know if you had cancer in your future?  Thanks to all the milestones researchers are making in genes and genetic makeup, you probably can.

According to, using a small amount of blood or saliva, a technology called whole genome sequencing makes that possible – and more than half of parents surveyed  said they’d not only be interested in the technology for themselves but for their children too, a new nationally-representative University of Michigan study shows.

For obvious reasons, mothers as a group in the study and parents whose youngest children had more than two health conditions had significantly more interest in predictive genetic testing for themselves and their youngest children while those with conservative political ideologies had considerably less interest. More than three- fourths of parents also showed the same interest in genome sequencing for themselves as they did for their kids.

As a cancer survivor, would I have wanted to know it w…

Do You Have to Be Narcissistic to be a Leader?

This should probably come as no surprise.  But men are more narcissistic than women.

I suspect this is true because women who think highly of themselves are often thought of as vain and self-centered while men who do, aren't. When was the last time someone called George Clooney in love with himself?

With three decades of data from more than 475,000 participants, a new study from the University at Buffalo School of Management reveals that men, on average, are more narcissistic than women, according to 

“Narcissism is associated with various interpersonal dysfunctions, including an inability to maintain healthy long-term relationships, unethical behavior and aggression,” says lead author Emily Grijalva, PhD, assistant professor of organization and human resources in the UB School of Management.

But at the same time, narcissism is also shown to boost self-esteem, emotional stability and the tendency to emerge as a leader.

Think of the people you knew in high sc…

In Sickness and in Health? Maybe Not, for Men

Why does this not surprise me?  Apparently six percent of marriages end in divorce when the wife gets sick.

We're not talking tonsillitis or the flu, but major, serious  illness, like heart attack or cancer.

I should know.  I was diagnosed with breast cancer 11 years ago, and though my husband went with me to the appointment where we discussed treatment, all I remember is him saying, "This is nothing," as we walked through the parking lot to Tully.

Of course, as the surgeon talked on, telling us that though my cancer was non-invasive, it was the highest grade, which meant they weren't totally sure it hadn't spread outside the milk duct, he kept looking at me.  (Thankfully, it turned out not to.)  Walking out of the office, Larry said, "You were right.  It's something."

I don't remember much about that time.  We had a three-year-old and I was more concerned about taking care of him (and making sure he didn't notice anything was wrong) than dw…

Our Brains Would Let Us Walk Around While We Sleep

Great.  Our brains don't shut off even when we sleep.

True, they're used when we're dreaming and also those awful times when we're just drifting off to sleep and jerk awake.  (That's called a hypnic jerk.  See?  You learned something today.)

But I for one always thought that my brain rested at night so it could get ready for rousing my kid out of bed (actually, fighting is more like it), slicing fruit and pouring Cheerios for his breakfast, showering, making sure he's getting dressed, signing on to the computer to see what's going on at work, making sure he's getting dressed, making his lunch (easy -- he eats only Goldfish, go figure), warming up the car, making sure he's getting dressed, and finally, getting him in and driving to school, then to the grocery store, and on to work.

It's amazing I have any brain left at all.

And that doesn't count making sure my husband stops exercising long enough to take the garbage out.

Ah, it's great,…