Cheaters likely to feel upbeat, not guilty
People who cheat are more likely to feel upbeat than remorseful following their infidelity, according to new research.
Previous research has shown that people feel guilty after doing something wrong specifically to harm someone else.
The new study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, found that doing something unethical that doesn’t directly harm someone else might lead to positive emotions.
Researchers, from the University of Washington, Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania and London Business School, examined the effects of dishonest behavior on emotions in more than 1,000 participants, who were in their 20s and 30s.
Participants were divided into two groups for the experiment, and both groups were administered a computer-based math and logic test. One group had to work out their answers by hand. The other group was asked to also work out their own answers, but they also had an option to cheat and click on a button that would give them the correct answer. Both groups filled out questionnaires regarding their emotions before and after the test.
Results showed that almost 7 out of 10 participants cheated by using the answer button. Participants who cheated also expressed feelings of happiness rather than remorse.
One reason why people cheat, even when the payoff is small, might be due to the good feeling—or “cheater’s high”—that comes after the unethical behavior, researchers said.
Researchers said these findings show that it’s important to understand how our moral behavior and ethical choices can influence our emotions. Further research is needed to show whether “cheater’s high” can cause people to repeat their unethical behavior, they said.
Fish oil might help fight alcohol-induced brain damage
Omega-3 fish oil could help protect against alcohol-related brain damage, according to a new study by researchers at a Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.
Consuming high levels of alcohol leads to inflammation and death of cells in the brain. Researchers say fish oil can help protect against these symptoms.
Preponderance of evidence shows that moderate drinking—defined as two drinks per day for men and one per day for women—can reduce the risk of dementia. Scientists say that moderate drinking can help brain cells strengthen by essentially helping them learn how to deal with stresses that could cause dementia. Exceeding moderate drinking levels stresses brain cells in a harmful way and can eventually kill brain cells.
The new study, reported as a presentation at the 14th Congress of the European Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism in Warsaw, examined the effects of alcohol on adult rat brain cells. Two groups of rats were used. The first group of rat brain cells was exposed to high levels of alcohol. The second group was exposed to the same high levels of alcohol, in addition to the omega-3 compound found in fish oil.
Findings showed that in the latter group, there was approximately 90 percent less inflammation in the brain cells and fewer brain cell deaths than was found in the group of cells not exposed to fish oil.
These findings suggest that fish oil could help protect against dementia that is caused by alcohol consumption.
Researchers said that taking fish oil will not protect the brains of people continuing to abuse alcohol, and that additional studies are needed to confirm their preliminary finding that fish oil might protect against alcohol-related dementia.
Gut bacteria may determine weight
Gut bacteria may be able to “spread” obesity or thinness when transplanted in mice by changing the metabolism, according to a study published in the journal Science. For the study, gut bacteria from pairs of human twins, one lean and one obese, were transplanted to different sets of mice that lacked gut bacteria.
Researchers found that mice who received gut bacteria from an obese twin gained more weight and fat than those who received bacteria from a lean twin. In addition, the bacteria altered the metabolism of the mice. Those that received the gut bacteria from the obese twin showed an increased production of branched-chain amino acids, which have been linked with obesity in humans. The mice that received lean gut bacteria showed increased breakdown of carbohydrates, which is linked to weight loss. For the second part of the study, researchers housed the mice together to see if the gut bacteria would influence the other mice. After 10 days, they found that the mice with “obese” bacteria underwent metabolism changes that protect against obesity. This happened because the “lean” bacteria were being shared between the mice. But, when the mice were fed a diet high in fat and low in fiber, the obesity protection was not passed along.
Previous research has found that obese people have less diversity in their gut flora than lean people, and now research suggests that gut bacteria may protect against obesity, but it also depends on diet. Results of the study may offer new potential for probiotics that fight obesity.
Teens ignore cigarette health warnings
Graphic pictures and health warnings on the back of cigarette packs in the UK are meant to deter people from the habit, but new research suggests that this has little effect on teen smokers. Though US cigarette packs have warnings in the form of text only, in the UK, the image covers more than 75 percent of the main surface area of the cigarette pack.
For the study, researchers looked at two waves of Youth Tobacco Policy surveys of teens 11 to 16 years old. The first survey of 1,401 teens was completed by 2008 and the second survey of 1,373 teens was completed by 2011. Each survey presented the same text warnings on the front and back of the cigarette pack, and the second survey had the image warning on the pack too. The teens were asked to share their thoughts which were scored on a sliding scale of one to five.
The surveys showed that 68 to 75 percent of teens had never smoked, 17 to 22 percent had experimented with cigarettes, and one in 10 were considered regular smokers. Results also showed that only one in 10 teens said they thought about the warnings when the cigarette pack was not in sight, though 85 percent of them thought the warnings were credible. Though the proportion of teens who thought the warning could deter them from smoking increased between 2008 to 2011, it was only seen in those who had never smoked or experimental smokers, but not regular smokers. In addition, teens were more likely to recall pictorial warnings rather than text warnings, but had less impact when the image was only on the back of the pack.
Researchers say their findings suggest that warning design should be evaluated for deterrent effect for experimental smokers and never smokers.
No sunscreen? Try using broccoli
A compound found in broccoli might be able to help prevent skin cancer, according to cancer researchers.
In 2005, Sally Dickinson, research assistant professor in the Pharmacology Department at the University of Arizona Cancer Center, began researching the cancer-fighting properties of broccoli. Dickinson has found that broccoli can help inhibit cancer-causing pathways.
Now, Dickinson has teamed up with researchers from John Hopkins University to find out how this cancer-fighting compound in broccoli could help prevent skin cancer, which is the most common cancer in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society.
In an upcoming study, the research team is planning on applying a “topical broccoli sprout solution” directly onto the skin of a group of patients to find out its effects when the skin is exposed to light.
The compound under study, called sulforaphane, is safe for both topical and oral administration, researchers said.
Evidence has shown that sulforaphane is effective in blocking sunburns. Researchers said even though there is a lot of awareness about the importance of sunscreen, there are still too many cases of skin cancer every year. Researchers said they hope this study can confirm that broccoli can also be proven to help prevent skin cancer.