We live in exciting times, where science is taking leaps and bounds in explaining our behavior, life, and the universe. As a person who likes to educate himself, I try and read at least one interesting research or study every day, so when I came across these three fantastic pieces, I had to share them.
The Key to Longevity May Hide in Spicy Food
In a 9-year-long study recently published in the British Medical Journal, researchers from China, USA, and the UK followed the consumption levels of spicy foods in 487,000 people, aged 30-79. When excluding other risk factors, researchers found that people who consumed higher amounts of spicy foods had up to 14% less likelihood of mortality. The effects were considerably stronger when the subjects consumed fresh chili peppers, rather than dehydrated ones.
Hot peppers are known to contain certain anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic agents, which probably contributes a lot to these numbers. While the numbers would encourage you to eat spicy foods on a more regular basis, researchers warn about overindulging, as too much of the hot stuff can lead to stomach ulcers.
Furthermore, it is possible that the increased longevity is the result of other factors, and the research subjects just happen to eat spicy foods, but if that is not the case then we may have found a true miracle food. (Source)
How Physical Gestures Affect Our Mood
We all know that the brain controls the body and that every movement we make is the result of some cognitive process. But recent studies have shown that our body has the same level of influence on our minds, too. In particular, these five gestures and positions have proven to have the most effect:
Actions are remembered louder than words
In 2004, a psychological study of children had them read a few sentences about a farm. Later on, some kids reenacted what they read using toys while the others did not. It was found that the children who reenacted the scenes had better reading comprehension and remembered more details about what they read. Another research found that actors will remember their lines for much longer if they were spoken while they were moving, when compared to lines spoken while they were stationary.
You need to move to be creative
In 2014, Stanford University conducted a study of the effects of movement on thought, and discovered that people will be more creative during and after taking a stroll, even if they walked in a “boring” place, or even on a treadmill. This could explain while some people pace when they’re thinking.
Slouching actually makes you moody
Ohio University psychologists discovered that when told to slump their shoulders, people quickly became moodier and reported negative feelings. When sitting up straight, the same people displayed far less negative feelings and reported less work-related stress.
Turn that frown upside down
When researchers used Botox injections to partially paralyze the faces of people suffering from depression, they found that this also reduced their levels of unhappiness. When people are sad, they tend to furrow their brows, and the study found that the act of furrowing actually increases the level of unhappiness. When the Botox disabled the person’s ability to frown, it created a kind of short-circuit in their brain that prevented the negative feedback loop.
People prefer words that are easier to type
When running a test on common baby names, researchers discovered that parents seem to prefer names that can be easily typed with the right hand on a QWERTY (standard) keyboard.
5 Brand New Treatments for Inflammatory Disease
Inflammation is a protective response that involves immune cells, blood vessels, and molecular mediators. The purpose of inflammation is to eliminate the initial cause of cell injury, clear out necrotic cells and tissues damaged from the original insult and the inflammatory process, and to initiate tissue repair. (Source)
In recent years, many studies have found that acute inflammation can be the root cause of many diseases, including cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, joints breakdown, and more. In fact, some researchers think that depression may be an inflammatory condition. This has prompted researchers to delve into the field of treating and curing inflammation, with 5 notable new treatments developed very recently:
1. Treating Crohn’s disease with bone marrow
Most people associate bone marrow transplants with chemotherapy or radiation therapy, but at Fred Hutch’s Clinical Research Division, Dr. McDonald and Dr. Georges are pioneering the field by transplanting bone marrow in Crohn’s patients. Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory disease of the bowels, which is extremely painful and can lead to severe reactions and malnutrition. While the treatment is in its early stages, initial clinical tests seem promising.
2. Regulating the gut microbiome to improve mood and fatigue
A 2015 study found that mice with liver inflammation that exhibited fatigue and anti-social behaviors became more lively and social when treated with anti-inflammatory medication. The implication for humans is that by controlling the microbiome in the gut, we may be able to treat not only diseases but also mental health issues.
3. Alleviate depression with anti-inflammatories
Another research found that some forms of depression are less in the mind and more in the body and are caused by inflammation. The researchers tested children with depression and found that they had higher levels of cytokines and interleukin (molecules the body releases when it’s infected or sick) – meaning that using anti-inflammatory drugs may help relieve, and even cure, depression.
4. Using technology to stop inflammation
One of the main causes of acute inflammation is when the vagus nerve, which is in-charge of the inflammatory system, “malfunctions” and produces too much cytokines (that cause inflammation). By using a specialized device, the vagus nerve can be reset and the inflammation process can be stopped.
5. Marvel at the “Marvel Molecule.”
Developed by Pfizer in the 1990’s, MCC950, also known as the “Marvel Molecule” has come to light again thanks to the researchers at the Trinity College of Dublin’s Biomedical Science Institute. The molecule has shown to stop multiple sclerosis and sepsis in mice. It has also shown to be effective in samples taken from humans and is planned to move to clinical trial soon. The potential is great for treatment of diseases such as asthma, MS, gout, atherosclerosis, and more.