Information You Can Use May 2014

Young motorists lack self control ** Insomnia may significantly increase stroke risk ** Smoking may dull obese women’s ability to taste fat, sugar ** Tiny power generator runs on spit ** Women entrepreneurs have limited chances to lead their new businesses ** Women do not apply to ‘male-sounding’ job postings ** Recovering from abdominal hernia repair often takes longer than patients expect, study finds ** Guns aren’t the only things killing cops ** Laboratory-grown vaginas implanted in patients **

Grandparents may worsen some moms’ baby blues Does living with grandparents ease or worsen a mother’s baby blues? The answer may depend on the mother’s marital status, a new study suggests. Married and single mothers suffer higher rates of depression when they live in multi-generational households in their baby’s first year of life. But for moms who live with, but aren’t married to, their partners, it’s just the opposite. Impact of long-term vitamin D insufficiency on fracture risk The results of a study suggest that long-term low levels of vitamin D intake are associated with higher 10-year fracture risk in elderly women. Vitamin D insufficiency in seniors has been shown to contribute to increased risk of osteoporotic fractures. Previous studies have used single vitamin D measurements to investigate effects on bone. However, in elderly women, relatively little is known about the effects of long-term vitamin D insufficiency on bone health. Young motorists lack self control So now we have it in black and white — the emotional center in young men’s brains overrides the area controlling their ability to make rational decisions. This leads to accidents among risk-seeking motorists. Last autumn thirty-four young people allowed their brains to be scanned while playing car race video games. The aim was to win. But the speeds were fixed and subjects only had the use of a start and stop button. A scanner recorded the activity in their young brains throughout. Off the shelf, on the skin: Stick-on electronic patches for health monitoring Wearing a fitness tracker on your wrist or clipped to your belt is so 2013. Engineers have demonstrated thin, soft stick-on patches that stretch and move with the skin and incorporate off-the-shelf electronics for sophisticated wireless health monitoring. The patches stick to the skin like a temporary tattoo and incorporate a unique microfluidic construction with wires folded like origami to allow the patch to bend and flex. Insomnia may significantly increase stroke risk Insomnia may significantly increase your risk of stroke and subsequent stroke hospitalizations. The risk was highest — up to eight times — among insomniacs 18-34 years old in a recent study. The risk also seems to be far greater when insomnia occurs as a young adult compared to those who are older, said researchers. Aging workforce requires new strategies for employee retention As more baby boomers working in state governments reach retirement age, state governments face the likelihood of higher workforce turnover. Such large numbers of retirees could threaten the continuity, membership and institutional histories of the state government workforce. Researchers concluded that states may need to restructure deferred retirement incentives to encourage more employees to remain on the job longer and minimize the disruption to government operations. Smoking may dull obese women’s ability to taste fat, sugar Cigarette smoking among obese women appears to interfere with their ability to taste fats and sweets, a new study shows. Despite craving high-fat, sugary foods, these women were less likely than others to perceive these tastes, which may drive them to consume more calories. “Obese people often crave high-fat foods,” she said. “Our findings suggest that having this intense craving but not perceiving fat and sweetness in food may lead these women to eat more. Since smoking and obesity are risk factors for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, the additional burden of craving more fats and sugars, while not fully tasting them, could be detrimental to health.” Tiny power generator runs on spit Saliva-powered micro-sized microbial fuel cells can produce minute amounts of energy sufficient to run on-chip applications, according to engineers. Biomedical devices using micro-sized microbial fuel cells would be portable and have their energy source available anywhere. Chowing down on watermelon could lower blood pressure, study suggests Watermelon could significantly reduce blood pressure in overweight individuals both at rest and while under stress. “The pressure on the aorta and on the heart decreased after consuming watermelon extract,” the small study concludes. Women entrepreneurs have limited chances to lead their new businesses Women who start new businesses with men have limited opportunities to move into leadership roles, according to sociologists. The research also found that when women co-found a business with their husbands, they have even fewer chances to be in charge. The study comes on the heels of a recent debate about businesses with all-male boards of directors and adds to a growing body of knowledge that documents women’s limited access to leadership roles in the business world. Women do not apply to ‘male-sounding’ job postings Even the wording of an employment ad can be a crucial factor whether the job goes to a woman or a man — as women tend not to apply in case of doubt. They feel less inclined to respond to ads containing frequently used words like ‘determined’ and ‘assertive’ because such words are linked with male stereotypes. Recovering from abdominal hernia repair often takes longer than patients expect, study finds Think having a hernia repaired is going to be a walk in the park — or that you’ll be ready to take a walk in the park within hours afterward? It may be time for a reality check, a study suggests. Researchers found that though patients tend to expect to return to normal activities swiftly after laparoscopic ventral hernia repair, many of those studied were still experiencing pain and fatigue several days later. People under 60 and women in particular seemed to have more prolonged recoveries. Guns aren’t the only things killing cops The public does not realize — in fact, police themselves may not realize — that the dangers police officers are exposed to on a daily basis are far worse than anything on “Law and Order.” What happens when we try to manipulate our voice to attract a mate? Her voice is hot, his is not Trying to sound sexier? Sorry, guys, it seems you just don’t have what it takes. New research suggests that men cannot intentionally make their voices sound more sexy or attractive, while women have little trouble. And true to the stereotype, women will lower their pitch and increase their hoarseness to dial up the allure. Facial selection technique for ads can increase buyers by 15 percent, study says Merely changing the face of a model in an ad increases the number of potential purchasers by as much as 15 percent (8 percent on average), according to a study. The study shows that a technique to screen faces when designing ads can transform the current subjective process into a scientifically automated one. Considering the extensive use of human faces in advertising (over 50% of print ads contain human faces), this technique may be quite profitable. Laboratory-grown vaginas implanted in patients Scientists reported the first human recipients of laboratory-grown vaginal organs. They have described long-term success in four teenage girls who received vaginal organs that were engineered with their own cells. Grandmas stay sharp when they care for grandkids once a week Taking care of grandkids one day a week helps keep grandmothers mentally sharp, finds a study. That’s good news for women after menopause, when women need to lower their risks of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive disorders. On the other hand, taking care of grandchildren five days a week or more had some negative effects on tests of mental sharpness. Copiers Better way to deal with bad memories suggested A simple and effective emotion-regulation strategy that has neurologically and behaviorally been proven to lessen the emotional impact of personal negative memories, researchers have shown. “Sometimes we dwell on how sad, embarrassed, or hurt we felt during an event, and that makes us feel worse and worse. But we found that instead of thinking about your emotions during a negative memory, looking away from the worst emotions and thinking about the context, like a friend who was there, what the weather was like, or anything else non-emotional that was part of the memory, will rather effortlessly take your mind away from the unwanted emotions associated with that memory,” the researchers suggest. Impact of childhood bullying still evident after 40 years The negative social, physical and mental health effects of childhood bullying are still evident nearly 40 years later, according to new research. The study is the first to look at the effects of bullying beyond early adulthood. Just over a quarter of children in the study (28%) had been bullied occasionally, and 15% bullied frequently — similar to rates in the UK today. Individuals who were bullied in childhood were more likely to have poorer physical and psychological health and cognitive functioning at age 50. Individuals who were frequently bullied in childhood were at an increased risk of depression, anxiety disorders, and suicidal thoughts. Sporting latest tech toy can make you seem more like a leader If you want to be perceived as a leader, new research suggests investing in the latest technological gadgets is the way to go. “Familiarity with and usage of new high-tech products appears to be a common manifestation of innovative behavior,” write the authors. “Those who are tech-savvy are also perceived as authoritative on other subjects and as leaders.” Radiation therapy for cervical cancer increases risk for colorectal cancer Young women treated with radiation for cervical cancer should begin colorectal cancer screening earlier than traditionally recommended, researchers are recommending for the first time. After finding a high incidence of secondary colorectal cancers among cervical cancer survivors treated with radiation, these researchers off new recommendations that the younger women in this group begin colorectal cancer screening about eight years after their initial cervical cancer diagnosis. At least one in 20 adult outpatients misdiagnosed in U.S. every year At least one in 20 adults is misdiagnosed in outpatient clinics in the U.S. every year, amounting to 12 million people nationwide, and posing a ‘substantial patient safety risk,’ finds research. Half of these errors could be potentially harmful, say the authors, who add that their findings should prompt renewed efforts to monitor and curb the numbers of misdiagnoses. In old age, lack of emotion, interest may signal brain is shrinking Older people who have apathy but not depression may have smaller brain volumes than those without apathy, according to a new study. Apathy is a lack of interest or emotion. Increasing consumption of coffee associated with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, study finds Increasing coffee consumption by on average one and half cups per day over a four-year period reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes by 11 percent, research shows. Coffee and tea consumption has been associated with a lower type 2 diabetes risk but little is known about how changes in coffee and tea consumption influence subsequent type 2 diabetes risk, until now. Marijuana use may increase heart complications in young, middle-aged adults Marijuana use may result in heart-related complications in young and middle-aged adults. Nearly 2 percent of the health complications from marijuana use reported were cardiovascular related. A quarter of these complications resulted in death, according to a study. Surveillance of marijuana-related reports of cardiovascular disorders should continue and more research needs to look at how marijuana use might trigger cardiovascular events, researchers say.


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