There may be a genetic reason why some people get colds more often. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh have identified a biological marker in the immune system that may predict our ability to fight off the common cold. The study found that the length of telomeres - protective cap-like protein complexes at the ends of chromosomes – may predict susceptibility to an upper respiratory infection. However, this predictor appears to work best between age 22 and midlife, as telomeres naturally shrink with age.
Liberal or conservative? Doctors from the University of Exeter (UK) say they have found a way to use a brain scan to predict which way you may be leaning politically. By introducing a series of risks in a gambling game, the scientists were able to see how the brain processed risks. While there was no difference in the amount of risk taken by study participants of different political persuasions, their brains responded differently. Republicans showed activity in the parts of the brain that handle risk-reward and fear, while Democrats showed activity in the brain areas devoted to emotion and internal body cues.
People who eat the most balanced diet often have the healthiest sleep patterns. according to research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The study found that people who get seven to eight hours of sleep--considered the ideal amount--had the most diverse diets. Those who slept shorter amounts--under five hours--or longer--more than nine--were more likely to eat a diet with little variety in foods.
INFOGRAPHIC OF THE WEEK
Not to wish to recover is a mortal symptom.
Research from the Norwegian Institute for Public Health has fingered a common dietary staple that may cause low birth weight in babies: caffeine. The study warned that caffeine passes from the mother to the child as oxygen or other nutrients would, yet the developing child cannot properly process it, leading to potential complications. Caffeine during pregnancy can also lengthen the duration of pregnancy. The World Health Organization recommends that pregnant women consume no more than 300 mg of caffeine a day, which is roughly equivalent to two medium cups of coffee.
It is estimated that children spend four hours a day watching television, an alarming rate given the effects of excessive TV viewing, including childhood obesity. However, a new report in Pediatrics says that parents should focus less on reducing the number of hours of television, and instead shift toward making sure that the programming promotes a positive message. The researchers found that preschool children often imitate what they see onscreen – both pro-social and aggressive behavior. "Dora the Explorer" and "Sesame Street" were cited as good examples of pro-social programming that could positively influence a child's behavior.
- SLICE OF HISTORY
Miles Laboratories, a company based in Elkhart, Indiana, unveils a product that will become one of the most successful over-the-counter medications of all time. It's called Alka-Seltzer, an effervescent tablet that promises "quick relief" for everything associated with the flu--pain, headaches, upset stomach and fever. A few years earlier, during a severe flu outbreak, the president of Miles, a man named Hub Beardsley, had heard from a local newspaper editor that he had kept his staff from getting sick by giving them a combination of aspirin and baking soda. Beardsley asked his chief chemist to come up with a similar concoction. The result is a tablet that combines aspirin, sodium bicarbonate and citric acid and bubbles away in a glass of water.
To get the word out about its new wonder med, Miles gears up a national advertising campaign. Within a year, it's sponsoring the "The Alka-Seltzer Comedy Star of Hollywood" radio show. And in the early 1950s, when most Americans start buying their first TVs, Alka-Seltzer catches the wave, winning over a new generation with a cute character named "Speedy" and some of the more iconic TV ads of the next 30 years.