Reflecting on better times can help the downtrodden take steps to escape their poverty. In an experiment conducted in a New Jersey soup kitchen, 150 participants were asked to recount a proud moment or memorable achievement prior to taking a series of problem-solving tests. A control group took the tests without a positive affirmation beforehand. The affirmation group performed dramatically better than the control group with a difference in scores representing roughly a 10-point increase in IQ. Participants in the affirmation group were also more likely to seek out help from local government or charity programs that are used by only a fraction of those eligible.
Psychological Science, December 2013
A recent study shows there is an abnormal amount of an inflammatory protein called PAR2 in the abdominal fat tissue of overweight and obese people. Previous research has shown that PAR2 is also increased on the surface of human immune cells by the excessive consumption of fats and sugars. This finding links obesity and fattening diets with changes in immune cells and inflammation levels within the body.
The FASEB Journal, December 2013
“Appearance exposure” on the Internet has been linked to body image disturbances among adolescent girls. A recent study found an association between time spent on Facebook and poor body image among adolescent girls who internalize a thin ideal physique, which may lead to eating disorders.
Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, December 2013
An analysis of 56 studies involving over 4,000 cancer patients discovered that aerobic exercise, such as walking or cycling, reduces fatigue in those undergoing treatment. Fatigue is a common and problematic side-effect of cancer and cancer treatment. This exhaustion may last for months or years and make a patient less inclined to continue any further treatment. Previously, doctors recommended rest to treat cancer-related fatigue; as it turns out, the proper course may be physical activity.
The Cochrane Library, November, 2012
Over half of older adults in the United States have experienced bothersome pain in the previous month, impairing their physical function and underscoring the need for proper health care. Three-quarters of older adults with pain reported having pain in multiple locations, such as in the back, hips, and knees. Additionally, pain was strongly associated with decreased physical capacity.
PAIN, December 2013
People who live in well-heated homes above 73.4 degrees Fahrenheit (23 degrees Celsius) are less likely to be obese, or have a high body mass index, compared with individuals who keep their dwellings cooler. People may eat less and burn more energy when residing in a warmer indoor environment. At temperatures above 73.4 degrees Fahrenheit, heat must be lost to maintain a constant body temperature and this process (such as sweating) requires energy. Coupled with decreased appetite and food intake, the additional energy expenditure could lead to weight loss.
Obesity, November 2013