Why Neurotic People Should Stop Worrying And Just Do It

April 23, 2014 7:32 am 0 comments

imagesWant to know the secrets of highly ineffective people? Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania think the have found at least one: neurotic people don’t like action as much as non-neurotic people. A U Penn news release reports that when researchers surveyed nearly 4,000 college students in 19 countries, asking them if action is positive, favorable, good, they learned that the more neurotic (as defined by suffering from sadness, anxiety, irritability, and self-consciousness) a person was, the less likely he or she was to think about action in a positive way. Thank you doctor. But what can neurotic people do about it?  Here is what the authors of the study have to say: “People who are interested in reducing the harmful consequences of neuroticism in their own lives should think about how their attitudes toward action might be affecting their behavior. By learning to value action, they may be able to change many of the negative behaviors associated with neuroticism and anxiety – such as freezing when they should act, or withdrawing from stress instead of dealing proactively with it. Specifically, increasing exposure to action may be sufficient to combat tendencies to avoid proactive behavior.” In other words, “Stop worrying and just do it.”

Massage Works: Improves Blood Flow, Eases Soreness

April 22, 2014 7:49 am 2 comments

images-1Massage may be another pleasure of the pampered class, but unlike some other pleasures, it does some serious good. How do we know? Because researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago asked 36 healthy young adults to use a leg press machine until their legs became sore, then gave half the group a Swedish leg massage, and had all of the participants rate their muscle soreness on a scale from one to 10. A third comparison group didn’t exercise, but got a massage. HealthDay reports that while both exercise groups were sore right after their workout, the people who got the massage had no soreness 90 minutes later. Those in the group that didn’t receive a massage on the other hand said they were sore 24 hours after they exercised. When the researchers measured the participants’ “brachial artery flow mediated dilation” in their arms, they found that those who got a massage after they exercised had improved blood flow at every testing interval and the benefits of the massage didn’t dissipate until after 72 hours had passed. Those who did not receive a massage after exercise had reduced blood flow after 90 minutes and returned to normal levels at 72 hours.

Another Thing That Exercise Tightens: Your Skin

April 18, 2014 7:55 am 0 comments

It sounds liimageske something you’d read in one of those pop up ads that don’t go away: “Exercise not only appears to keep skin younger, it may also even reverse skin aging in people who start exercising late in life.” In fact, the words come from New York Times’ health columnist Gretchen Reynolds, who points us to some interesting research conducted at McMaster University. Scientists at the school worked with 29 men and women, from 20 to 84 years old. About half were active, meaning they did at least three hours of moderate or vigorous physical activity a week, and the others did less than one hour a week. Seeking skin that hadn’t been exposed to sun, the researchers ended up examining skin from the participants’ buttocks, where they found a big difference in the skin of those who exercised and those who didn’t. Reynold reports that “after age 40, the men and women who exercised frequently had markedly thinner, healthier stratum corneums and thicker dermis layers in their skin. Their skin was much closer in composition to that of the 20- and 30-year-olds than to that of others of their age, even if they were past age 65.” Wait there’s more: the researchers next asked some of the non-exercisers over the age of 65 to start jogging or cycling twice a week at a moderately strenuous pace, equivalent to at least 65 percent of their maximum aerobic capacity for 30 minutes. After three months, the researchers found, their skin looked very similar to those of 20- to 40-year-olds. Read more in the New York Times.

Warning: A Hungry Spouse Is An Angry Spouse

April 16, 2014 8:11 am 0 comments

Anger cheese-classic-lmanagement training? How about a cheese sandwich? That, according to researchers at Ohio State University, may be all it takes to chill out an angry spouse. HealthDay reports that researchers at the school monitored the glucose levels of 107 middle-aged, married couples, who were also asked measure their anger levels by sticking pins in a voodoo doll representing their partner. The greater one’s anger, the more pins they were asked to use, stopping at 51. The same couples later faced off in a video game, where their hostility was expressed in the amount of violence they brought to the game. Yes, you are correct: when the researchers looked for a correlation between glucose readings and anger, they found it. People with lower blood glucose readings — those that fell under 98 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) — tended to be more aggressive toward their partners than those with evening readings over 121 mg/dL. The correlation hel even after researchers took into account how satisfied people said they were in their relationships, overall, and the sex of the partner who was being aggressive. Wait, there’s more: women tended to have higher daily pin-stick counts than men.

Get Used To It: Decline Begins At 24

April 15, 2014 7:55 am 0 comments

By noStarCraft_II_-_Box_Artw, if researchers at Simon Fraser University are correct, most SportsGeezer readers have been getting a little slower and a little less sharp for decades. Yes, decades. In fact, based on an analysis of digital performance records of 3,305 StarCraft 2 players aged 16 to 44, researchers have concluded that our cognitive performance starts going downhill at age 24. The good news for those who are well past 24? “Older players, though slower, seem to compensate by employing simpler strategies and using the game’s interface more efficiently than younger players, enabling them to retain their skill, despite cognitive motor-speed loss.” Read more in Science Daily.

Overeating Sends “Good” Brown Fat Into “Death Spiral”

April 14, 2014 7:59 am 1 comment

Turns out that overeating Highest-Calorie-Foodshigh calorie foods is doubly troublesome: not only does it increase the production of “bad” white fat, it also leads to dysfunction in “good” brown fat cells, cells that, when functioning normally, actually burn calories. Futurity reports that the revelation comes from researchers at Boston University, who used experimental models to demonstrate that “over-nutrition” leads to a cellular signaling dysfunction that causes brown fat cells to lose neighboring blood vessels, depriving the cells of oxygen. This, in turn, causes the brown fat cells to lose their mitochondria, which leads to their inability to burn fatty acids and produce heat. Sounds bad, and it is: This collapse, the researchers report, can have far-reaching effects on the development of metabolic conditions, such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease. Or, as one researcher put it: “In addition to the expansion of white fat cells, our study shows that overeating causes brown fat cells to get locked into a death spiral.”

“Faking It” Fails. Yes, In Bed

April 11, 2014 7:40 am 1 comment

That’s rigstop-faking-it-story-500x280ht, the researchers at Waterloo University who studied the “sexual communication” of 84 couples are talking about “faking it” in the sack. Their conclusion? It’s a nice gesture, so to speak, but “on average, both men and women have fairly accurate and unbiased perceptions of their partners’ sexual satisfaction.” Lead author Erin Fallis said the researchers also found that “having good communication about sexual issues helped participants to understand their partners’ sexual satisfaction. However, even if sexual communication was lacking, a person could still be fairly accurate in gauging his or her partner’s sexual satisfaction if he or she was able to read emotions well.” Read more from the University of Waterloo.

Green Tomatoes Help Put On Muscle, May Help Lose Fat

April 10, 2014 11:07 am 0 comments

Yet another good thing about the color green. Green tomatoes, according to researchers at the University of Iowa, are loaded with a compound (tomatidine) that has a surprising ability to build muscle an6a01156faa621f970c0134856cfc3a970c-320wid protect against muscle atrophy. A university news release reports that researchers used a systems biology tool called the Connectivity Map to identify a small molecule compound that might be used to treat muscle atrophy. After zeroing in on tomatidine, they found that the compound generates changes in gene expression that are opposite to the changes that occur when people are affected by muscle atrophy. The researchers then tested tomatidine’s effects on skeletal muscle, and found that it stimulates growth of cultured muscle cells from humans. Next, the researchers added tomatidine to the diet of mice, and found that healthy mice supplemented with tomatidine grew bigger muscles, became stronger and could exercise longer.  Perhaps most importantly, they found that tomatidine prevented and treated muscle atrophy. Wait, there’s more: although mice fed tomatidine had larger muscles, their overall body weight didn’t change, because of a corresponding loss of fat. Get the picture?

Cut Yourself Some Slack. It’s Good For Your Health

April 9, 2014 7:57 am 1 comment

It’s possible that Relaxeverything that goes wrong is not your fault, but even if it is your fault, you might think about forgiving yourself. Why? Because self-compassion, otherwise known as cutting yourself some slack, has been found to be associated with lower levels of stress-induced inflammation. A Brandeis University news release reports that researchers at the school asked 41 people to rank their levels of self-compassion according to their agreement to statements such as, “I try to be understanding and patient toward aspects of my personality I do not like” and “I’m disapproving and judgmental about my own flaws and inadequacies.” The participants then took one stress test a day for two days and their levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), an inflammatory agent linked to stress, were recorded before and after each test. After the first stress test, participants with higher self-compassion had significantly lower levels of IL-6. On the second day, the researchers found something unexpected. Those with low self-compassion had higher base levels of IL-6 before the test, suggesting that they may have been carrying the stress they experienced the day before. The bottom line: people with low self-compassion appear to be especially vulnerable to the adverse effects of stress.

Got Knee Arthritis? Drink Milk.

April 8, 2014 8:16 am 0 comments

Strange but true, or at least suggested by a recent study: milk may slow the progression of knee arthritis in women. HealthDaymilk reports that researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston have found that the more low-fat or fat-free milk women drank, the slower the progression of osteoarthritis of the knee. The same benefit was not true for yogurt and cheese, and there was no correlation between milk and arthritis found for men. The research, published in Arthritis Care & Research, involved 1,260 women and almost 900 men with knee arthritis. Scientists tracked the subjects diets and assessed the condition of their knees at the start of the study and again 12, 24, 36 and 48 months later. No, the researchers aren’t sure why milk slows arthritis. As they say, “more research is needed.”

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