Showing posts from July, 2015

Words Can Make You Fat

Now how's this?  Reading about Donald Trump today can make you fat tomorrow.

Well, that's not quite true but it could be.  According to new research, bad news today can influence a country's weight.

What’s in the newspaper today can predict how skinny or fat a country’s population will be tomorrow, says new research published in BMC Public Health by Brian Wansink, Professor and Director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, and Brennan Davis, Associate Professor of Marketing from California State University at San Luis Obispo at

According to the study, food words trending today will predict a country’s obesity level by 2018 ¬– just three years from now!

If you're like me and look forward to Wednesdays and the food section in The New York Times, be very scared.  The study analyzed all the food words mentioned in The Times and The Times of London over the past 50 years and statistically correlated them with each country’s annual Body Mass Index, or …

Rudeness More Contagious Than Sneezes

Measles are contagious.  Sneezes are contagious.  But did you know rudeness is, too?

New research has shown that encountering rude behavior at work makes people more likely to perceive rudeness in later interactions, a University of Florida study shows. It simply makes us more likely to be impolite in return, spreading rudeness like a virus.

Who hasn't had a boss who called them out in a meeting for failing to do something?  Or praised someone else for something you worked on, too? 

Years ago I had a boss who was so hateful I broke out in a rash on vacation when I was away from him, probably the only time my body felt safe enough to express it.  He'd make me do things like pick up donuts for my peers or make copies of their work to be handed out at meetings.  He did everything he could to make me feel small and worthless.  And it worked.

It also made me want to do churlish things back.  Though I was a little too afraid to be rude right back to him, what I said behind his ba…

Can't Stand on One Leg and Tell Your Partner You Love Him? Watch Out

Stand on one leg while telling your partner why you love him.


Your relationship may be in trouble.

According to Gretchen Reynolds of The New York Times, your stance may test your marriage.

Say what?

A new study has shown that how much stability you have on your feet may tell oodles about where your relationship is going. 

Balancing on one leg may test the stability not just of your body but also of your marriage or other intimate relationships, according to a remarkable new study of how bodily posture may affect emotional thinking.
I took an aerobics class a while ago that had one movement where you pulled one leg up behind your back and held it with the other arm.  For weeks I couldn't do it, and then, one day, I could.  I remember the feeling of being shocked that I couldn't do it.  And come to think of it, my marriage wasn't in such great shape in those days.
 I'm not sure I totally buy it but supposedly how much balance you have while standing on one …

Depression? It's All in the Eyes -- the Pupil -- For a Kid

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could pick out the kids who are going to be depressed later in life before they do something everyone regrets? 

In California alone, 12 children between the ages of 5 and 14 committed suicide in 2012.  Even one is too many.

But now scientists have found that we might be able to predict this deadly outcome just by looking in our children's eyes.

Really?  Yes.  But maybe not in the way you would think,

I'm lucky.  My teenager seems pretty happy-to-lucky.  While he's pretty intense (a teacher once called him "cerebral) and lives a lot in his head, he's still grounded enough to be on a local championship soccer team (and to smash the ball around on our front lawn with numerous friends).  But I know that can change in a flash.

What researchers have found is that how much a child’s pupil dilates in response to seeing an emotional image can predict his or her risk of depression over the next two years, according to new research from B…

Think You Need Guilt to Exercise? Try Cues

So you really don't want to slip on your running shoes, or pack your bag for the gym. But did you know there's an even bigger way than guilt to get yourself going?

According to new research, cues are what often motivate us to get out on the road. Whether you exercise after work or first thing in the morning, right before lunch or going out for a few drinks with friends, the circumstances around when you exercise are what make it a habit, if you do it on a steady basis.

 I'm an early morning runner (used to go out around 5, often when it was still dark) and if it's morning, and I've just woken up, I know it's time to put on the sneakers.

The trick, you see, is to make exercise a habit.  Habits are harder to break. According to a new Iowa State University study, that may be easier to accomplish by focusing on cues that make going for a run or to the gym automatic, reports.

“From a health perspective, we want people to engage in physical activity freq…

Are You Blue-Eyed and Like to Drink? Uh Oh

Hey, blue eyes.  Do you like to drink?  A new study says it's more likely you'll be an alcoholic.

People with blue eyes might have a greater chance of becoming alcoholics, according to a unique new study by genetic researchers at the University of Vermont.

The work, led by Arvis Sulovari, a doctoral student in cellular, molecular and biological sciences, and Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Dawei Li, Ph.D., is the first to make a direct connection between a person’s eye color and alcohol dependence.

The authors found that primarily European Americans with light-colored eyes – including green, grey and brown in the center – had a higher incidence of alcohol dependency than those with dark brown eyes, with the strongest tendency among blue-eyed individuals, reports.

The study outlines the genetic components that determine eye color and shows that they line up along the same chromosome as the genes related to excessive alcohol use.

But, Li s…

How Close Is That Object? Depending on What You See Determines Your Emotional Closeness to Others

How far away an object seems to you may also tell how close you are to the people you love.


A new study says that the brain region that helps people tell whether an object is near or far may also guide how emotionally close they feel to others and how they rank them socially, according to a study conducted at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, as reported at

The study focused on evidence for the existence of a “social map” in the hippocampus, the part of the brain that remembers locations in physical space and the order in which events occur. While previous studies had suggested that the hippocampus records a 3-dimensional representation of our surroundings when a key set of nerve cells fires, how the hippocampus contributes to social behavior had not been previously described.

“By quantifying the response patterns of people making decisions based on social interactions, we found that the hippocampus tracks relationships, intimacy and hierarchy within a ki…

Shopaholic? Take a Nap

Feel like shopping for shoes?  Take a nap.

That's what experts are now saying to do when we want to overcome impulses (that's me) and frustration.

I can't enter a store without heading straight to the shoe department and, most likely, buying a pair of shoes. But that doesn't mean I don't also stop at the sportswear and designer departments, too.

Now all I have to do is take a nap?  That might be a little hard at Lord & Taylor's but I guess it makes sense.  As you're starting to feel the urge, go lie down.  Of course, that's assuming we're near a bed, which, just about 24/7, I'm not.

But a new study has shown that taking a nap may be an effective strategy to counteract impulsive behavior and to boost tolerance for frustration, according to

"Our results suggest that napping may be a beneficial intervention for individuals who may be required to remain awake for long periods of time by enhancing the ability to persevere thr…

Men Big Babies When it Comes to Pain? Here's Why

We all know men are babies when it comes to pain (sorry, guys!).  But there may be a reason for it.

A new study has revealed that the pain "circuitry" of men and women is different.  According to, new research released today reveals for the first time that pain is processed in male and female mice using different cells.

"Research has demonstrated that men and women have different sensitivity to pain and that more women suffer from chronic pain than men, but the assumption has always been that the wiring of how pain is processed is the same in both sexes,” says co-senior author Jeffrey Mogil, Ph.D., E.P. Taylor professor of pain studies at McGill University and director of the Alan Edwards Centre for Research on Pain.

I've been through major cancer surgery, many surgical biopsies, a c-section, eight stitches from falling and cutting my eye while running, and now am dealing with a kidney stone.  My husband, who had laser knee surgery years ago (and w…