Tag Archives: health

The brain connectivity of LSD and “ego dissolution”

When individuals take the psychedelic drug Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), they may feel as though the limits that isolate them from everything have disintegrated, as though they are connected with the rest of the world. A study has discovered a neural mechanism behind this occurrence, called “ego dissolution.”

According to the researchers, the study’s results, published April 13 in the journal Current Biology, suggest that further research on LSD and other psychedelic drugs could provide important insight into how the human brain works.

Ego dissolution is not a universally positive or negative experience, said Enzo Tagliazucchi. Tagliazucchi is  a neuroscientist at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in Amsterdam and co-author of the story. According to Tagliazucchi, depending on the experience of the trip and ego dissolution, it can be too overwhelming and lead to anxiety, panic and what is normally dubbed a “bad trip”.

Ego dissolution is at the core of the treatment of anxiety related to the fear of death in such patients. According to Tagliazucchi, for terminal-stage cancer patients, ego dissolution “can be a positive and transformative experience, leading to peace, acceptance, a new perspective on things.”

According to Tagliazucchi, the findings additionally propose that taking LSD may cause an improved sharing of data among various brain regions that reinforces a more powerful connection between an individual’s sense of self and their sense of everything else.

This is your brain on LSD. Graphic from Imperial College London.

In the study, the researchers examined the brains, through scanning, of 15 healthy individuals twice — once after they took a placebo, and once after the individuals took LSD.

The researchers discovered that, when the individuals were high on LSD, different regions of their brains had a stronger link to each other, when compared with the placebo’s effect on the individuals. The more connected these brain regions were in these individuals, the higher their sense of ego dissolution was.

According to the researchers, the results of the study suggest that individuals on LSD can experience ego dissolution because these brain regions become heavily interconnected.

According to Tagliazucchi, ego dissolution does not automatically occur every time someone takes LSD. The experience of this phenomenon may depend on the dose of the drug they take. When ego dissolution happens, it doesn’t last longer than the other effects of LSD, which typically last about 10 hours.

According to Tagliazucchi, he is planning to investigate how other psychedelic drugs modify consciousness by using neuroimaging and other methods.

Gucci model judged ’unhealthily thin’

According to NDTV, the United Kingdom has banned the Italian fashion brand Gucci from using their advertisement containing what the ASA, Advertising Standards Authority, claims to be a “unhealthily thin” model. The ASA created the rule when the fashion house’s new “The Cruise 2016” campaign appeared in Britain in December of 2015.

Gucci model in ad. Photo from bragmybag.com

The ASA claimed that the model in the ad, Avery Blanchard, who is seen in one scene from the video leaning against a wall in a long-sleeve printed dress, her torso is visibly thin, which according to the New York Times, is “way too think in the way it was presented.” In now way should the model be blamed for this, however. She was simply doing what she was told, dressing and looking how the modeling industry wants her to, in order to live her dream and work as a model.

The fashion house continues to defend the video says it was created for an older, sophisticated audience and the debate of whether or not Blanchard is too thin was an interpretation meant for the individual reader.

Gucci continued to try and defend themselves by saying that nowhere in the ad were any of the model’s bones showing and that “their makeup was natural rather than heavy.” They added that the lightening use in the ad was “warm to ensure there were no hollows caused by shadows and their clothes were not revealing.”

However, like most viewers confused as to how those points have anything to do with the unhealthily thin model, the ASA was not convinced. They viewed the model’s middle section and arms says they were “quite slender and appeared to be out of proportion with her head and lower body.” The ASA decided that because of those reasons, they can’t agree or allow the ad to play in the UK, saying that the ad is “irresponsible.”

Many advertising agencies over the years have stated that models who are way too skinny to be healthy are giving young girls a bad idea of what it means to pretty, in turn, lowering their confidence and encouraging an unrealistic expectation of what a girl’s body should look like.

The broken heart syndrome phenomenon

According to Time magazine, an immense amount of research has shown that a death or the loss of a person close to you can not only break your heart metaphorically, but it can also cause physical damage that can lead to serious heart problems.

A new study published by Dr. Simon Graff finds that people who experience a partner dying are a much higher risk for atrial fibrillation, or irregular heartbeat, and the effects are life-long.

Having a broken heart is more than just a metaphor. Graphic from Pinterest
Having a broken heart is more than just a metaphor. Graphic from Pinterest

For many years, researchers have studied the phenomena of the broken heart syndrome, or stress cardiomyopathy. This occurs when a highly stressful event, such as the death of a spouse, results in a person feeling like they’re having a heart attack. The symptoms include the same ones that occur when having a heart attack: shortness of breath and chest pain.

When an emotional event happens, researches suspect a surge of stress hormones are released which cause this feeling of having a heart attack.

Researchers looked at citizens in Denmark who were diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. Out of the 88, 600 people, 41 percent of them who lost a partner were more likely to develop atrial fibrillation within the first month of their partner’s death compared to those who hadn’t lost anyone. The researchers also discovered that the risk is higher in younger people, especially when a partner as died suddenly or unexpectedly.

A cardiologist at New York University Langone Medical Center, Harmony Reynolds, states that “We can’t stop stressful situations from coming up in our lives but there may be ways to change the way stress affects our bodies.” She says regular exercise, things like yoga, meditation, and even deep breathing can increase the parasympathetic nervous system which increase our body’s ability to handle stress. However, these activities won’t be able to reduce the risk completely.

This study, as large and somewhat thorough as it is, can’t completely confirm that the feelings of grief or loss are directly related to atrial fibrillation. “Right now our work can only point to an association, but we hope to help make a shift in society’s mindset—that a time of grief is not only a mental state but maybe also physical,” says Graff, the author of the study.

Nothing’s strange about wearing earplugs to a concert?

According to Everyday Hearing, “the most common cause of hearing loss is noise-induced hearing loss.” A common misconception about noise-induced hearing loss is that it takes a lifetime of going to concerts to cause any damage, but that’s incorrect. You can damage your hearing with just one concert or one event. In fact, 26 million Americans have noise-induced hearing loss that could have been prevented.

Normal, everyday conversations reach up to 65 decibels loud. Concert music, however, can extend up to 100 to 120 decibels loud. Hearing loss can begin at a level of 110 decibels and would only take two minutes to set in.

Concerts can be very loud. It's good to prepare. Graphic from Alf Img
Concerts can be very loud. It’s good to be prepared. Graphic from Alf Img

Like anything damaging, the longer you’re exposed to it, the more damaging it will be. If you plan on attending a two hour concert, your risk of hearing loss is significant. Now imagine going to an all-day festival. Your hearing could potentially be gone all together. Extremely loud music at concerts can cause serious permanent hearing loss or tinnitus, which is is ringing or buzzing in the ears.

Not only can loud music cause hearing loss, but the hearing loss itself can cause a major decline in your overall quality of life. Hearing loss can lead to lower cognitive function, depression, high blood pressure, and an increased risk of falling.

With all of these terrible side effects considered, you should most definitely wear earplugs to concerts in order to protect your hearing. However, in order for the earplugs to correctly protect your hearing, you need to find the right ones.

If you’re going to a concert, it obviously important that you find earplugs that allow you to hear the music with good quality, and don’t sacrifice the clear quality of the music you’re there to enjoy in the first place. Choosing the generic foam earplugs will lower the music quality, making it softer and muffled. Leave the drug store earplugs for sleeping.

If you’re attending a concert, you’re best option is to choose high fidelity earplugs. These allow you to hear the music clearly while also lower the sound making it safer to listen to. You can also get some custom made if you’d like but, naturally, they would be more expensive.

Musicians today are even wearing earplugs around their own music because they understand the effects loud music can have on their ears. If the musicians are wearing the earplugs, the fans should too.

Are public restrooms dangerous?

At the Infectious Diseases Society of America’s annual meeting, a study was presented by scientists who had taken samples from a variety of public restrooms. They discovered that the amount of illness-causing bacteria located in the public restrooms was too large to even measure.

According to the website Sani-Seat, a company that makes the plastic or paper toilet covers, 60 percent of Americans say they refuse to sit down on a toilet seat in a public restroom. However, experts say that the fear of sitting on the average toilet seat is exaggerated.

Dr. Philip Tierno, director of clinical microbiology and diagnostic immunology at New York University Medical Center and Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City says that a huge portion of the bacteria that inhabit toilet seats are “fecal-borne bacteria,” which includes E. coli, a bacteria that can cause bloody diarrhea or abdominal cramps, streptococcus, a the bacteria that causes strep throat, and S. aureus, a bacteria linked to serious skin problem and pneumonia.

bathroom
“The amount of illness-causing bacteria located in the public restrooms was too large to even measure.”

However, even though these bacteria exist on the toilet seat, it doesn’t mean they’ll automatically make you sick. Your skin acts as an extremely effective barrier which keeps all those nasty germs out, unless you have an open wound on your butt.
Dr. Tierno says “If the toilet seat is dirty, don’t use it. Use common sense. In general, however, you’re unlikely to pick up anything from a toilet set.”


Germs are found in more places than just on top of a toilet seat. Lots of organisms are found on the underside of the toilet seat because it doesn’t get cleaned as often as well as the fact that when you flush you bring up the contents of the toilet. It’s not just your germs, it’s germs from other people,” says Tierno.  
According to an ABC News investigation, the places in public bathrooms with the most germs have about 2 million bacteria per square inch. They says “if you carry a purse or shoulder bag, avoid putting it down on the floor while you’re in the bathroom — hang it on the back of the door if possible.”


Dr. Tierno states that the most dangerous part of public bathrooms is picking up the germs and carrying them around with you. In order to avoid that, wash your hands with tons of soap and water after using the bathroom.

Tattoos are a sign that you’re healthy

According to the American Journal of Human Biology, a new study suggests people with more than one tattoo have better immune system responses to new tattoos than those who are getting tattooed for the first time.

The research states that the act of getting a tattoo activates the immune system in a way that can be compared to getting a vaccination, making one less susceptible to future illnesses. Although the study is small and needs some development, it does enlighten us to how the body can be trained to react to stress over time.

covered in tattoos
“The research states that the act of getting a tattoo activates the immune system.”

The study included researchers from the University of Alabama, who retrieved saliva samples from 29 different volunteers before the received tattoos and after they were given. Nine of the 29 volunteers were first-time tattoo recipients. The researchers analyzed the saliva samples for “immunoglobulin A, which is an antibody that lines the gastrointestinal and respiratory systems, and cortisol,” a stress hormone known to lower immune response.

After analyzing the data, the researchers discovered that the volunteers who had never received a tattoo had a much lower immunoglobulin A level than those who have had tattoos before. This could suggest that people who have had more experience with tattoos have an immune system that is more prepared for stress of that caliber.

“They don’t just hurt while you get the tattoo, but they can exhaust you,” Lynn, one of the lead researchers, said in the release. “It’s easier to get sick. You can catch a cold because your defenses are lowered from the stress of getting a tattoo.”

Lynn says that someone getting a tattoo for the first time is like an out-of-shape person exercising at the gym. One’s muscles are sore at first, but the pain reduces after one exercises enough.

Although there are some problems with this study, the fact that some people could simply have better immune systems than others or the fact that getting a tattoo can be dangerous if one goes to a tattoo shop which is careless with their instruments,causing infection, Lynn hopes the study can reduce the stigma that surrounds getting tattoos and hopes others won’t judge so harshly when viewing a person with tattoos.

A look into a tarantula’s sex life

Tarantulas, according to a 2013 review in the journal Arachnology, are the largest and longest living spiders in the world. Nelson Ferretti, a tarantula expert with the the National Scientific and Technical Research Council in Argentina and lead author of the review says there are nearly a thousand species alive today, and most mate in the spring and summer; although some species are known to mate only in the winter.

According to the study co-author Fernando Pérez-Miles, an entomologist at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, after male spiders are born and travel into the adult stage of their lives, they insert their two pedipalps or the small appendages near the front of their head with sperm. Although the insertion of the sperm is time and energy consuming, males can usually mate with multiple females with just one insertion..

During the mating season, “charged” males, or males who have gone through the insertion process, will leave the nest, so to speak, in order to find approachable females.  The male tarantulas will focus on the female’s pheromones, or chemical scents, though “it’s unclear if only receptive females produce male-attracting pheromones.” When a male discovers a “connection” or a female that has the appropriate pheromones, the male and female with mate.

Tarantula_Pair5
“Depending on the species, males may engage in a range of different moves, the most widespread being papal drumming and body vibrations.”

According to Ferretti, “depending on the species, males may engage in a range of different moves, the most widespread being papal drumming and body vibrations.”
If the female enjoys the feeling, she will respond by tapping her front legs, letting him know that she wants him, and to direct him toward her burrow. However, in other species, the female will move towards the male instead, leaving her burrow behind. When the time has come, the pair will come face-to-face, showing and elevating their bodies and front legs to each other.

In other species, the tradition is different. The male will initiate spasmodic beats on the female with his second pair of legs, which is thought to put the female at ease and relax her fangs. In most species, the males have specialized spurs that can clasp onto the female’s fangs which elevate them into the correct immobilizing positions and to prevent bites.

Once the pair are ready, the male will place his charged pedipalps into the female’s genital opening, one to five time. When he is finished, he will leave to find other mates, that is, if he’s “lucky enough to avoid getting eaten, which is common,” Ferretti says. However, this only occurs if the male attempts to mate with a female without courting her first, that is, entering her burrow too soon or doesn’t leave fast enough after mating. Although, luckily enough for the males, mating leaves the female immobile for a small amount of time, allowing the male to get away if necessary.

New nicotine vaccine could help smokers quit

According to data collected by the American Cancer Society, 70 percent of smokers want to quit altogether, 7 percent actually succeed at quitting smoking their first time, and 3.5 percent quit smoking cold turkey. These statistics are already extremely unsettling. Even though 40 percent of smokers tried to quit in 2015, half of smokers will relapse into smoking while intoxicated with alcohol.

Graphic from http://rcnky.com/
50 percent of smokers will not succeed in quitting on their first try. Graphic from http://rcnky.com/

These statistics even come into play with individuals who are underage. According to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control, 80 percent of smokers began smoking before the age of 18, while 90 percent began smoking before the age of 21. 3,900 teens begin smoking each day, totaling 600,000 teens each year. What’s disturbing is that 11 percent of middle school students reported having smoked. That means 11 percent of pre-teens between the ages of 11 and 14.

A successful vaccine to assist individuals in quitting smoking for good has been difficult to discover. According to a report in ACS’s Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, a new vaccine for quitting smoking has been designed.

Over half of smokers who want to quit will not succeed in quitting their first time. There are several ways to quit smoking available. Smokers can quit cold turkey, use behavioral therapy, nicotine replacement therapy (nicotine gum, patches, inhalers, spray, and lozenges), and medicine like Zyban and Chantix. These tools are readily available, but aren’t always effective, and may even have undesirable side effects.

This new vaccine design would target the nicotine molecule directly. Two individuals participated in a clinical study of the vaccine which ultimately failed. However, the clinical study provided worthwhile pieces of information, that scientists could improve upon.

The trials indicated that the individuals who produced the most elevated amounts of anti-nicotine antibodies were more likely to refrain from smoking for more than six months. Kim D. Janda, Ph.D., and fellow researchers from The Scripps Research Institute wanted to expand on this discovery.

The team designed a new vaccine that could raise the amount of antibodies that could attach to nicotine molecules.

While testing in mice, they discovered that the vaccine deferred the effects of nicotine after injection within the initial 10 minute period. Additionally, they discovered that the mice treated with the vaccine had lower concentrations of nicotine in their brains, which is where nicotine has its effects. The team expressed that their future endeavors will concentrate on further perfecting the formula of the vaccine to prepare it for potential clinical studies.

How to make it through allergy season

Spring allergy season is upon us and with so many irritants that make day-to-day life miserable, it’s necessary to prepare yourself now before it gets worse. This list should provide some help with this itchy, sneezy, and sniffly allergy season.

1. Go to your local grocery or drugstore

Over-the-counter decongestants help in relieving your stuffy nose; antihistamines help in reducing sniffles, runny nose and itching. If your allergies are severe, visit an allergist who will be able to prescribe you medications that are long-lasting. You can even consider immunotherapy shots for long-term relief.

2. Get relief from drowsiness from allergy pills

If you don’t like the way your allergy medicine makes you feel drowsy and tired, try a saline nasal rinse — through a spray neti pot — to clear away pollen from your nasal membranes and minimize symptoms. You can even gargle with salt water to aid in soothing your itchy or sore throat.

Take your allergy medicine (look into a 24-hour allergy pill) before you go to sleep. Since many take one to two hours to kick in, it’ll start working while you sleep and when you wake up you won’t feel the drowsy side effects of the pill.

3. Stay indoors as much as possible

sneezing
“This list should provide some help with this itchy, sneezy, and sniffly allergy season.”

Check the pollen count online at weather sites, watch morning news, or download pollen count apps on your phone. You can also check pollen counts at aaaai.org, the site of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. It’s best to stay inside if the pollen count is high.

Pollen counts in the morning are generally the highest, so you should exercise in the afternoon. Check them before you head out on a walk, run, or an errand. If pollen counts are high, you should try to stay inside and do at-home workouts, or head to the gym. Don’t wait too late, however, because pollen counts are also higher in later hours.

4. Keep allergens out of your home

Take off your shoes and work clothes right when you go home. Take a shower right when you get home, or before you get into bed — to wash off any lingering pollen on your hair or body.

If you have an outdoor dog or cat, wipe their paws and fur off when they come into the house. Keep them off of your bed, just in case, to keep any lingering pollen from getting into a place where you spend most of your time at home.

Close your windows and keep them closed. Run your air conditioner to keep the air circulating throughout your house. It’s a good idea to change your filters often to remove any pollen, dust, and mold. If your allergies are more severe, try getting an air purifier with a HEPA filter to clear any allergens in your home.

5. Take your allergy symptoms seriously.

Allergy symptoms can lead to several detrimental effects on your health. Drink lots of water and rest whenever you can. Overdoing it when you feel miserable will only make you feel worse and will take a toll on your well-being.

A new study definitively finds binge-drinking leads to a longer life

Here’s some news that you can drink to. An extra cheers to the weekend that ends on Sunday and starts back up again on Tuesday here at Radford University, and several colleges across the nation. A new study has decisively, once and for all, linked alcohol to a longer, healthier life.

Past studies have found that a glass of wine a day can help defend you from developing heart disease, can prevent cancer and type 2 diabetes, all of which ultimately aid in a longer life. This new research is a great addition to the alcohol equaling health equation. Let’s all toast to our health and long lives!

From http://www.3quarksdaily.com
From http://www.3quarksdaily.com

This new study is different from prior studies that researched and illustrated the health benefits of moderate drinking. This research links all consumption of alcohol, whether in moderation or to excess, to a longer life. As long as you don’t completely over-do it and get yourself a one-way ticket to the hospital from alcohol poisoning or eventually to the hospital.

The team of scientists looked upon several studies on alcohol for assistance. They used both studies that stated the negative effects of alcohol, as well as those that showed that alcohol in moderation will help you live longer, and offer several health benefits.

The researchers then designed their own study. They followed 8,000 men and women over the age of 21 for three years, and then sectioned off categories of those that abstained from drinking, occasional drinkers, those that drank in moderation, and heavy drinkers. The study found that the individuals who partook in more alcohol consumption had a higher mortality rate over all. The more reduced the alcohol consumption was among the study’s individuals, the more increased the risk of death was over all.

Once you finish reading this article, decide whether or not you want to run to the local 7-11 or ABC liquor store to buy an excessive amount of alcohol and drink until you’re sick. You no longer have to worry about shortening your lifespan because of your crazy college life. Go to that extra frat party or bar, or chill with your friends at your apartment and get wasted! Need a reason to drink? If you’re not already convinced, head to this link to find 80 reasons why you should drink.

You may be crying over spilled beer, or into your wine after reading this next part, however. Alcohol even when consumed in moderation, may not have any health benefits after all. A real, not April Fools, study found that individuals who are moderate drinkers have no health advantage over non-drinkers. Any information prior to this paragraph was a hoax and based off of pure imagination. Sorry!

The cause of junk food cravings

A new study suggests that if you crave junk food after a manic day, it might be because you’re lacking sleep. The study found that sleep deprivation may lead to increased appetite and a love of unhealthy foods.

More than a third of adults in the United States don’t get enough sleep (7 or more hours per day) regularly and approximately the same amount are obese (having a BMI of more than 30.0), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Erin Hanlon, a University of Chicago research associate and study author, intended to link these two widespread issues.

Sleep deprivation increases hunger, which can be dangerous because of the fragile stability separating the expenses in energy of remaining awake and the nourishment ingested — these normally do not change if you’ve had or haven’t had enough sleep.

Hanlon’s study which was published in the journal Sleep, measured data between 14 generally healthy young adults with four normal nights of sleep (8.5 hours) against data of those who had four restricted nights of sleep (4.5 hours). Every day, the two groups of participants were given healthy meals. On the last day, study subjects were provided with a carefully prepared meal, accompanied by unrestricted freedom at a snack bar that contained plenty of junk food. The young adults who had four nights of restricted sleep gravitated to snacks with almost double the fat and protein and added carbohydrates.

chips
“Sleep deprivation increases hunger.’

Previous research by the University of Chicago team indicated that sleep deprivation influenced endocannabinoid levels, chemicals in the brain that are associated with managing and regulating appetite.

The researchers calculated the concentration of 2AG, a particular endocannabinoid, in the young adults’ blood. The team then correlated the young adults’ 2AG concentration levels with their hunger and food intake.

The young adults who had four nights of normal sleep, had a 2AG concentration that progressively rose in their blood throughout the day. The concentration of 2AG peaked in the early afternoon that was accompanied by the emergence of a craving for food.

Hanlon’s team recorded a higher concentration of 2AG that continued later on into the evening in the participants who slept less. Subjects were also more hungry and had a higher probability of eating junk food.

According to Hanlon, the study is a single step in comprehending how sustaining sufficient sleep can boost our health.

Daylight Saving Time-related health risks

“Daylight Saving Time is the practice of setting the clocks forward one hour from standard time during the summer months, and back again in the fall, in order to make better use of natural daylight.”

The concept of Daylight Saving Time originated in 1784 from Benjamin Franklin, and it was first used in 1908 in Thunder Bay, Canada. Although the time change isn’t very popular, with online petitions trying to end it, it hasn’t gained any influence with politicians. It has been extended, repealed and reinstated over the years, but has been used essentially since 1908 in Canada.

A recent study discovered that the risk for stroke was at an 8 percent increase in the two days following Daylight Saving Time. Individuals older than 65 were 20 percent more likely to have a stroke during this time, while one in four individuals inflicted with cancer were more likely to have a stroke.

What are the affects of daylight savings? Graphic from Cattaraugas County
What are the effects of daylight savings? Graphic from Cattaraugas County

The team of researchers measured the risk of stroke in over 3,000 individuals hospitalized the week after Daylight Saving Time against the risk of stroke in over 11,000 individuals hospitalized two weeks before or after Daylight Saving Time.

According to Dr. Jori Ruuskanen, study author from the University of Turku, Daylight Saving Time may be a small adjustment, but it impacts entire countries twice every year.

Ruuskanen and his team will present their discoveries in April during the yearly gathering of the American Academy of Neurology in Vancouver, British Columbia.

These discoveries made by Ruuskanen and his fellow researchers aren’t the first that have warned of the possible dangerous results of Daylight Saving Time.

According to a study from 2012 at the University of Alabama Birmingham, the two days directly after Daylight Savings Time have additionally been correlated with a 10 percent increase in the rate of heart attacks.

Christopher Barnes, an associate professor of management at the University of Washington, studies the effect of lack of sleep, primarily in the workplace. Barnes is the author of a paper on public health policy recommendations, in which cited studies illustrate how Daylight Saving Time has been linked to multiple studies, which show its dangerous impacts on cognitive ability, health, and the workplace.

The paper co-written by Barnes and Christopher Drake, from the Sleep Disorders and Research Center at Henry Ford Hospital. The paper was published in the Perspective on Psychological Science.

The co-authors propose the elimination of Daylight Saving Time, arguing that based on how Daylight Saving Time has been connected to more auto accidents, workplace injuries, and can even inhibit moral decision making, removing it from our calendar would place an emphasis sleep health.

Are gays undermining the institution of marriage?

According to a study published online on Feb 26 in the journal Psychological Science, many individuals think that gay men and women are much more sexually promiscuous than heterosexual people, making those heterosexual people afraid that gay people may threaten their marriages and lifestyle.

David Pinsof and Martie Haselton, a graduate student and professor at UCLA were the authors and researchers on this study.

They discovered that those who felt threatened by gays, or more specifically, sexual promiscuity, were people who are conservatives, those who believe in strong traditional gender roles.

Pinsof and Haselton surveyed 523 men and 562 women, a percentage of which oppose same-sex marriage.

For the first half of the experiment, the volunteers underwent a testing activity, specifically designed to expose whether or not the subjects associated gay couples with words or phrases such as “promiscuous” or “one-night stand.”

The people being surveyed were also given pictures of heterosexual couples along with words like “faithful” and “loving” and they were told to match the words to the pictures they felt fit best with each word. They were instructed to press a button when they saw a gay couple or a word associated with “promiscuous”, and the same situation when it came to a gay couple or a word linked with “monogamous.” Pinsof and Haselton then measured how quickly the participants reacted to each picture or word.

As one can predict, the results found that many people tend to associate the concepts “gay” and “promiscuous” together, or having the same meaning.

Homosexuals are obviously possessed by demons, ruining your heterosexual marriages and way of life. Photo from queerty.com
Homosexuals are obviously possessed by demons, ruining your heterosexual marriages and way of life. Photo from queerty.com

 

During the second half of the experiment, participants were asked if they agreed or disagreed to statements like:

“Marriage is between a man and a woman.”

“Same-sex marriage undermines the meaning of the traditional family.”

“I oppose the legalization of same-sex marriage.”

“I support a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.”

“Same-sex couples should have the same legal rights to get married as heterosexual couples.”

The researchers discovered that agreement to certain statements like “I’m okay with having sex without love,” or “ I’ve had a one-night stand,” showed that they support same-sex marriage and have no problem with gay people.

According to Pinsof, “Those who oppose same-sex marriage do so because they are trying to protect their own marriage as well as those marriages in their community. They’re fearful that altering the definition of marriage is threatening their way of life because they view gay people as promiscuous, they view the idea of same sex marriage as undermining the institution of marriage.”

How you react to stress is vital for your health

The fact that stress and negative emotions can raise the risk of heart disease is evident, but the reasons why this occurs are not explicitly known. One possible rationale that connects stress to heart disease is an impairment of the autonomic nervous system — an instance of an individual’s typically self-regulated nervous system being led astray.

Nancy L. Sin, a postdoctoral researcher in the department of biobehavioral health and in the Center for Healthy Aging at Penn State, and colleagues desired to discover if everyday stress and heart rate variability are connected. Heart rate variability is the change in intervals between sequenced heartbeats, and a measure of autonomic regulation of the heart.

Depression and major stressful occurrences are indisputably dangerous for health, but less consideration has been taken to the health consequences of frustrations and hassles in everyday life. Before this study, not very many studies had explored the relationship between heart rate variability and everyday stressful occurrences.

Nani_screaming_into_a_pillow
“Depression and major stressful occurrences are dangerous for health.”

The researchers examined information gathered from 909 participants, involving day-to-day phone interviews during eight consecutive days as well as the results from an electrocardiogram — a test that checks for problems with the electrical activity of your heart. The participants were between the ages of 35 and 85 and were drawn from a national study. The study’s discoveries were reported online in Psychosomatic Medicine.

Throughout the day-to-day telephone interviews, participants were requested to describe the stressful occurrences they had encountered that day, ranking how stressful each occasion was by picking “not at all,” “not very,” “somewhat” or “very.”

Additionally, participants were questioned about their negative feelings that day, if they were feeling either angry, sad or nervous. Participants reported, on average, experiencing no less than one stressful event on 42 percent of the interview days, and these events were, in most cases, rated as “somewhat” stressful.

Sin and colleagues discovered that the individuals who reported numerous stressful occurrences in their daily lives were not automatically those who had lower heart rate variability. No matter how many or how few stressful occurrences participants faced, it was those who rated the occurrences as more stressful or who encountered an increase in negative emotions that had lower heart rate variability. What this means is that these people might have an increased risk for heart disease.

Marijuana sent me to the ER

Selling and recreational use of marijuana was legalized in the state of Colorado in 2014. According to the report, which was published on Feb 24 in The New England Journal of Medicine, the quantity of emergency-room visits likely related to marijuana since its legalization has grew among out-of-staters, contrasted with residents of Colorado.

According to Dr. Howard Kim, an emergency medicine physician at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago, and an author of the report, the data is consistent with emergency room reports.

The researchers examined the rates of emergency-room visits in Colorado as a whole. According to the report the rate of marijuana-related visits to the emergency room for out-of-state residents increased from 112 per 10,000 visits in 2013 to 163 per 100,000 visits in 2014.

Snoop Dogg is high all the time and he seems fine. What's up with all these amateurs? Photo from personalhealthmedication.com
Snoop Dogg is high all the time and he seems fine. What’s up with all these amateurs? Photo from personalhealthmedication.com

The researchers did not investigate specifically how individuals were using marijuana; however, it’s possible that edible marijuana may have been a culprit behind the rise in ER visits.

According to Kim, individuals often underestimate the effects of edible marijuana because it has a delayed onset — instead of waiting to feel the effects, a person may eat more, thinking it hasn’t worked.

According to Kim, while Colorado has begun general public health initiatives to inform individuals of the potential side effects of marijuana, these messages may not reach individuals in other states.

The researchers focused on the significance of “point-of-sale” education — meaning when an individual buys marijuana in Colorado, the person or dispensary selling it should precisely clarify any health risks to the buyer.

The majority of individuals don’t have to worry about taking a trip to the emergency room due to marijuana use, according to Kim, but should still be aware of the side effects, and exercise moderation.

If you’re traveling to any of the states that recreational use of marijuana is legal — Alaska, Oregon, Colorado, and Washington — be informed about the side effects and don’t smoke in excess. Make sure you don’t spend your spring break, or other vacation, in the emergency room.

Rates of depression and anxiety normal in supported transgender children

According to a new study published on February 26 in Pediatrics, transgender children who are given the opportunity to socially transition, to change their hair, clothing, and use their preferred pronouns as well as preferred names, had the same rate of depression and anxiety as two control groups of cisgender children.

Image from healthywomen.org
A mother who fully supports her transgender child. Image from healthywomen.org

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These discoveries question the “long-held assumptions” that mental health issues in transgender youth are unavoidable, and some go as far as considering being transgender as a type of mental disorder.

The researcher, UW assistant professor of psychology and lead author Kristina Olson, noticed that in her experiment, 73 children, ages 3 to 12, had levels of depression and anxiety no higher than two control groups, which consisted of the transgender children’s siblings and other cisgender children of the same age. “Their rates of depression and anxiety were significantly lower than those of gender-nonconforming children in previous studies,” says Olson.

The research not only involved the children, but also the parents, having them fill out two short surveys asking the frequency of their children experiencing depression or anxiety in the last week.

The research said that the levels of depression regarding transgender children was an average of 50.1, essentially the same as the national norm, while their anxiety rates were 54.2, only a bit higher than the national average.

Researchers understand that “positive mental health among study participants might be explained by factors other than parental support.”

They know that the possibility of a parent making their child seem happier than they are is great, but they plan on creating future studies to investigate those possibilities.

This study was a part of the TransYouth project that Olsen founded. It’s the first large study of transgender youth in the U.S. It contains more than 150 transgender children and families from about 25 states, and Olson is still recruiting more participants.

Murderous cows

Between the years 1993 and 2015, cattle murdered 13 individuals who were out for strolls in the UK. Many more individuals had their bones broken or acquired different injuries from cattle.

According to veterinarian Angharad Fraser-Williams and other researchers at the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom, murderous cattle are an understudied occurrence. The team searched through scientific writing and news articles to find out about cattle attacks over the past 20 years.

Beware the cows! Graphic from Good Reads
Beware the cows! Graphic from Good Reads

To discover how regularly experiences of herds of grazing cattle turning dangerous occured, the team of researchers scoured through scientific literature for papers including the terms “bovine” or “cow” plus the terms “injury” or “attack.” After the team narrowed down the results to papers about attacks on only humans, they were left with only eight occurrences.

Slaughterhouse workers, vets and dairy and beef farmers are exposed to the most injuries caused by cattle. Nearly all the occurring damages are broken bones from being kicked, but additional deaths occurred from being trampled or just accidentally walked on by the large cattle. A study in America researched attacks by bulls, instead of cows. Over 28 years, the authors discovered 149 fatal incidents.

Among strollers on farmland in Britain, the University of Liverpool researchers discovered reports of 54 cattle attacks over 20 years. Of these cattle attacks, 13 had fatal outcomes. 2009 was the most lethal year, which had 4 deaths and 13 attacks that took place.

The research through the scientific writings and news articles revealed some reasons cattle might attack. One reason is maternal behavior. Heifers (mother cows) see humans as a danger to their offspring, and they may attack to protect their offspring if an individual gets too close.

Cattle are especially careful when dogs are close-by. About 66 percent of the cattle attacks involved dogs. In at least two cases, individuals were murdered while trying to protect their dogs, which had scared the cattle.

The authors claim that more research would assist in uncovering the reasons behind these fatal attacks, including their rate of occurrence. Additionally, it would be useful to have a single database in which individuals could report cattle attacks.

Ecstasy users may be unintentionally using “bath salts”

An American group of specialists is the first to examine whether ecstasy users are unknowingly or unintentionally taking either or both “bath salts” and other mind altering drugs

Ecstasy — also known as MDMA, is one of the most prevalent party drugs; it is approximated to be taken by at least 10 percent of young adults in the US.

The demand of ecstasy has surged in recent years ever since ecstasy became known as “Molly,” which is promoted as “pure” MDMA powder. Be that as it may, the ecstasy consumed is often far from unaltered or “pure”: it is frequently degraded with different substances, including synthetic cathinones, commonly known as “bath salts.”

According to Joseph J. Palamar, PhD, MPH, an associate of the Center for Drug Use and HIV Research (CDUHR), due to the rise in overdoses and poisonings related to ecstasy use, research needed to be made to see if users have been unintentionally or unknowingly using “bath salts”.

drugs
“Ecstasy — also known as MDMA, is one of the most prevalent party drugs.”

The specialists surveyed young adults outside of nightclubs and dance festivals about their use of ecstasy and other substances. The survey evaluated if participants had ever intentionally taken ecstasy, MDMA or “Molly.”

According to Dr. Palamar, the study asked the individuals involved in the study if they’d cut some of their hair, in order to test for substances like “bath salts”.

The specialists concentrated on the samples of hair taken from 48 participants who stated that they had used ecstasy. While 50 percent of the samples tested positive for MDMA, the other 50 percent tested positive for either or both “bath salts” and different substances that affect the brain.

“Ecstasy wasn’t always such a dangerous drug, but it is becoming increasingly risky because it has become so adulterated with new substances that users and the scientific community alike know very little about,” said Dr. Palamar.

According to Dr. Palamar, it’s safest to avoid using MDMA, however, test kits are available online to ensure that they what they will be taking is real, “pure” MDMA.

The study was published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.