Study: Books Make Us As Happy As Life Itself

July 25, 2014 7:33 am 0 comments

imagesThere’s life, and there’s art that imitates life, and then there are studies about which of the two makes us happier. One such project comes out of the psychology department of San Francisco State University, where researchers asked consumers about a recent purchase and how happy that purchase made them. A San Francisco State University news release reports that the researchers fully expected to find that material items would provide the smallest happiness boost and life experiences the largest, with experiential products falling in the middle, but no, that wasn’t the case. Instead, they found that experiential products –things such as books, sporting goods, video games or musical instruments — provided the same level of happiness as experiences. Why? It’s complicated, but basically, experiential products provide a comforting sense of competence, and experience–doing things with others, makes us feel less lonely. Both good things, equally so, apparently.  Read more from San Francisco State University.

How To Buy Running Shoes: An Authoritative Guide

July 24, 2014 8:03 am 1 comment

imagesHow hard is it to buy running shoes? Slightly less hard than buying craft beer is these days, but only slightly. Fortunately, runners have the American College of Sports Medicine to turn to for advice, lots of advice. Look, here’s some now: The college recommends that a running shoe have “minimal heel-to-toe drop: This drop is the difference in the thickness of the heel cushion to the thickness in the forefoot cushion area. Shoes with no drop or a small drop 6mm or less are the best choice for allowing the foot to normally support loading during each gait cycle.” Here’s more: a running shoe should be “neutral, meaning the shoe does not contain motion control or stability components. These extra components interfere with normal foot motion during weight bearing.” And more: a running shoe should be “light in weight (10 ounces or less for a men’s size 9; 8 ounces or less for women’s size 8)”.  And more: “Avoid buying shoes based on advice given after someone in a store has watched you walk. Your gait and foot motion are very different when you walk and run.” More advice from the American College of Sports Medicine can be found here.

Probiotics May Lower Blood Pressure, But Just A Little

July 23, 2014 7:53 am 0 comments

Probiotics, — literally “for lifyoghurt-1e”– certainly sound like they should be good for you, and there’s a boatload of research that suggests they are. Now comes the latest, a study of other studies (nine to be exact) and that examined links between probiotics and blood pressure. The studies involved 543 adults with either normal or elevated blood pressure, and a much larger number of living bacteria. What was revealed? HealthDay reports that people who ate probiotics had an average reduction in systolic blood pressure of about 3.6 and an average reduction in diastolic blood pressure of about 2.4, compared to those who did not consume probiotics. No, those are not impressive numbers, but the researchers also found that probiotics had the greatest influence on the highest blood pressure, and wait, there’s more: probiotics with multiple types of bacteria lowered blood pressure more than those with a single type of bacteria.

Love Or Lust? It’s In The Eyes

July 22, 2014 8:17 am 1 comment

eyes_love_1170-770x460-1For that handful of people who need help determining if the person looking at them is interested in a meaningful relationship or in a few moments of pleasure, there is is: Researchers at the University of Chicago had male and female students look at a series of black-and-white photographs of people they had never met. In part one of the study, the students viewed photos of young, adult heterosexual couples who were looking at or interacting with each other. Next they viewed photographs of attractive people of the opposite sex who were looking directly at the viewer. For both experiments, the students sat at a computer and asked to decide as quickly as possible whether the people in the photograph were eliciting feelings of lust or romantic love. Yes, science is amazing. Those students who said an image elicited feelings of romance tended to fixate on the face, and those who went for sexual desire looked at the body. Read more from Futurity.

eye patterns concentrate on a stranger’s face if the viewer sees that person as a potential partner in romantic love, but the viewer gazes more at the other person’s body if he or she is feeling sexual desire. – See more at:
eye patterns concentrate on a stranger’s face if the viewer sees that person as a potential partner in romantic love, but the viewer gazes more at the other person’s body if he or she is feeling sexual desire. – See more at:
eye patterns concentrate on a stranger’s face if the viewer sees that person as a potential partner in romantic love, but the viewer gazes more at the other person’s body if he or she is feeling sexual desire. – See more at:

Cycling May Increase Prostate Cancer Risk. Or Not.

July 21, 2014 8:12 am 0 comments

That’s right. Cycling may increase tPhoto-by-cyclotouristFlickr-via-Creative-Commons-e1356885795795he risk of prostate cancer. Or, it may not. How helpful is that knowledge, which comes from a study at University College in London, where researchers took a hard look at the cycling habits and health of more than 5,000 male cyclists? The good news: the study appeared to disprove the suggestions of some research that cycling increases the risk of impotence and infertility. The possibly bad news: the men who biked the most, more than 8.5 hours a week, were much more likely to have prostate cancer than the other men. The confusing news: the study was far too small to prove a link between cycling and prostate cancer. The bottom line: researchers say the health benefits of cycling far outweigh concerns about a possible prostate cancer link. Just keep riding and don’t worry about it. Read more from HealthDay.

Exercise Makes The World A Less Scary Place

July 18, 2014 7:37 am 1 comment

imagesYet another comforting thing that exercise does: it makes the world a little less scary. No, it doesn’t change the world, but according to research conducted at Queen’s University, it changes our perception of the world. Science Daily reports that researchers at the school used point-light depictions of a human form that could be interpreted by the person seeing it as either approaching (threatening) or walking away (non-threatening). People who are socially anxious tend to see such ambiguously directed figures as facing towards them.  Yes, you guessed it: the researchers found that people who either walked or jogged on a treadmill for 10 minutes perceived these ambiguous figures as facing towards them less often than those who simply stood on the treadmill. And yes, it is possible that the exercisers also felt more confident that they could outrun the threat.

People Over 25 Are Twice As Distractible

July 17, 2014 8:07 am 0 comments

Focus now. This may be hard todistraction remember, especially if you are over 25 and there are random distractions in the room. Yes, it’s bad news: researchers at Rice University are convinced that “older people,” by which they mean people over 25, are nearly twice as likely as younger people, yes, younger than 25, to have their memory impaired by distractions such as irrelevant speech or written words. Where was I? Oh, yeah, a Rice University news release reports that researchers tested the memory and cognitive function of 102 people between the ages of 18 and 32 (average age of 21) and 60 people between the ages of 64 and 82 (average age of 71). When the participants were tested on remembering lists of words, the younguns remembered words on the list with an average accuracy of 81 percent while the “older people” came in at only 67 percent. Wait, it gets worse. When irrelevant words (that were supposed to be ignored) were introduced, the young test group’s accuracy dropped to 74 percent, but the accuracy of the old test group’s performance dropped to 46 percent. Got that?

Older people are nearly twice as likely as their younger counterparts to have their memory and cognitive processes impaired by environmental distraction – See more at:
Older people are nearly twice as likely as their younger counterparts to have their memory and cognitive processes impaired by environmental distraction – See more at:

Who Really Talks More: Men Or Women? The Envelope Please

July 16, 2014 8:03 am 0 comments

Who really talks more, men or women? Male psychologists have been talking about that question for decades, and they usually decide that women do more talking than men. article-2047625-0CFCD79F000005DC-960_224x423Now comes a study from Northeastern University, where researchers outfitted groups of men and women with “sociometers” — wearable devices that col­lect real-​​time data about the user’s social interactions–for a period of 12 hours. Science Daily reports that the two groups were asked to perform two tasks in two different settings: in one, master’s degree can­di­dates were asked to com­plete a project, and they were free to con­verse for the dura­tion of a 12-​​hour day. In the second set­ting, employees at a call-​​center in a major U.S. banking firm wore the sociome­ters during 12 one-​​hour lunch breaks with no des­ig­nated task. And? The researchers found that in the lunch break setting, women were slightly more likely to talk than the men were. In the collaborative academic setting, however, the women had much more to say than men did, and they were much more collaborative, at least when the groups were small. When the groups tested included more than six people, it was the men who did most of the talking. Next, who listens more?

Shin Splints. Funny Name, But Not Fun

July 15, 2014 8:11 am 0 comments

Shin splints soA00407F01und like the kind of thing that might be amusing, at least until you learn that their technical name is medial tibial stress syndrome. Ouch! That hurts, and shin splints can hurt for a long time, up to six months, according to this piece in the Los Angeles Times.  The Times tell us that the “stress” in “medial tibial stress syndrome” is exerted on the soft tissue surrounding the tibia, and that tissue becomes inflamed. What causes them? The Times suggests that changes in exercise routines, like adding sprints to a running workout, can do the damage. Dancing too can be the culprit. What to do? Not much. Take ibuprofen, chill, and stop exercising when it hurts. But you knew that. More, in fact, much more, in this video.

What Women See When They See Ladies In Red

July 14, 2014 8:58 am 0 comments

This time it’s not just men. ResExp_1_red_pazdaearchers at the University of Rochester are persuaded that women too, perceive women who are wearing red to be more sexually receptive than women wearing other colors. How do they know? A press release for the Society for Personality and Social Psychology reports that the researchers asked a group of women three questions. First, they showed women a picture of a woman in red and a woman in white, and asked which was more sexually receptive. Yep. The women in red. Next, they asked women about the likelihood that they would guard their mate from a woman in red and from women wearing white. Yep, red wins again. Finally, they changed the color of the dress on the other woman from white to green. Red again. Case closed.

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