Good Stuff To Know January, 2015

Vitamin supplement successfully prevents noise-induced hearing loss *** Vitamin D deficiency, depression linked in international study *** Drugs in the environment affect plant growth *** New study strengthens evidence of connection between statin use and cataracts *** How red wine prevents cancer ***  How long can Ebola live? No one really knows *** Cocaine consumption quadruples the risk of sudden death in people between 19 and 49 *** Training elderly in social media improves well-being, combats isolation *** Study supports the theory that men are idiots *** People trust typical-looking faces most

 

Vitamin supplement successfully prevents noise-induced hearing loss

A way to prevent noise-induced hearing loss has been found in a mouse using a simple chemical compound that is a precursor to vitamin B3. This discovery has important implications not only for preventing hearing loss, but also potentially for treating some aging-related conditions that are linked to the same protein.

Vitamin D deficiency, depression linked in international study

Vitamin D deficiency is not just harmful to physical health — it also might impact mental health, according to a team of researchers that has found a link between seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, and a lack of sunlight.

Drugs in the environment affect plant growth

By assessing the impacts of a range of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, research has shown that the growth of edible crops can be affected by these chemicals — even at the very low concentrations found in the environment. The research focused its analysis on lettuce and radish plants and tested the effects of several commonly prescribed drugs, including diclofenac and ibuprofen. These drugs are among the most common and widely used group of pharmaceuticals, with more than 30 million prescribed across the world every day.

Did the Institute of Medicine miscalculate the RDA for vitamin D?

The RDA for vitamin D is based on a miscalculation and should actually be higher than the tolerable upper level for the nutrient, say academics.

New study strengthens evidence of connection between statin use and cataracts; any risks should be weighed against benefits

Few classes of drugs have had such a transformative effect on the prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) as have statins, prescribed to reduce total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. However, some clinicians have ongoing concerns regarding the potential for lens opacities (cataracts) as a result of statin use. In an article, researchers report increased risk for cataracts in patients treated with statins. An accompanying editorial discusses the history of statins and positions this new study in the context of conflicting results from previous analyses of purported adverse effects due to statin use.

How red wine prevents cancer

‘Alcohol damages cells and resveratrol kills damaged cells,’ says a scientist who studied red wine and its relationship to preventing cancer. “Alcohol bombards your genes. Your body has ways to repair this damage, but with enough alcohol eventually some damage isn’t fixed. That’s why excessive alcohol use is a factor in head and neck cancer. Now, resveratrol challenges these cells — the ones with unrepaired DNA damage are killed, so they can’t go on to cause cancer. Alcohol damages cells and resveratrol kills damaged cells,” he says.

Religion or spirituality has positive impact on romantic/marital relationships, child development, research shows

Adolescents who attend religious services with one or both of their parents are more likely to feel greater well-being while romantic partners who pray for their “significant others” experience greater relationship commitment, according to research.

How long can Ebola live? No one really knows

The Ebola virus travels from person to person through direct contact with infected body fluids. But how long can the virus survive on glass surfaces or countertops? How long can it live in wastewater when liquid wastes from a patient end up in the sewage system? A new article reviews the latest research to find answers to these questions.

Cocaine consumption quadruples the risk of sudden death in people between 19 and 49

The increase in sudden cardiovascular death with the recent consumption of cocaine has been, for the first time, documented by researchers. In people in the 19-49 age bracket this risk is quadrupled. In fact, cocaine consumption doubles the risk of death of cardiovascular origin that can be attributed to smoking, and becomes the main risk factor among subjects under 50.

Training elderly in social media improves well-being, combats isolation

Training older people in the use of social media improves cognitive capacity, increases a sense of self-competence and could have a beneficial overall impact on mental health and well-being, according to a landmark study carried out in the UK.

Study supports the theory that men are idiots

The theory that men are idiots and often do stupid things is backed up by new evidence. The findings are actually based on an analyses of sex differences in idiotic behavior. Worthy candidates of idiocy include a man stealing a ride home by hitching a shopping trolley to the back of a train, only to be dragged two miles to his death before the train was able to stop; and the terrorist who posted a letter bomb with insufficient postage stamps and who, on its return, unthinkingly opened his own letter.

Journal Reference:

  • A. D. Lendrem, D. W. Lendrem, A. Gray, J. D. Isaacs. The Darwin Awards: sex differences in idiotic behaviour. BMJ, 2014; 349 (dec10 20): g7094 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.g7094

People trust typical-looking faces most

Being ‘average’ is often considered a bad thing, but new research suggests that averageness wins when people assess the trustworthiness of a face. The research indicates that, while typical-looking faces aren’t seen as the most attractive, they are considered to be the most trustworthy.

Graying, but still golden

Getting old doesn’t spell doom when it comes to making important financial decisions, a team of researchers reports. Using credit scores and cognitive ability tests, the researchers found evidence that “crystallized intelligence,” which is gained through experience and accumulated knowledge, is more important that “fluid intelligence,” the ability to think logically and process new information. Past research has clearly shown that fluid intelligence decreases with old age, a phenomenon known as “cognitive decline.”

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