Study says intelligent people "more likely to trust others"
The ability of people to trust others may be directly related to intelligence levels, concludes a new study from the University of Oxford in the U.K.
Scientists from the university’s Department of Sociology used data from the General Social Survey (GSS), a public opinion survey in the U.S., which has been used for previous research on trust and intelligence. The new study is the first, however, to analyze the relationship between the two. The survey includes questions about socioeconomic characteristics, behaviors and social attitudes, as well as an intelligence section with a vocabulary test and assessment on the participants’ understanding of the survey questions.
Following examination of the survey data, the researchers found that the participants who had higher intelligence scores reported being more likely to trust others than the participants who had lower intelligence scores. The credibility of the findings was strengthened by the researchers accounting for the participants’ socioeconomic behaviors and characteristics.
Although further research is needed to conclude the exact reasons for the findings, experts laid out potential reasons for the findings, published in the journal PLOS ONE. Lead researcher Noah Carl explained that, as human intelligence has evolved through natural selection, the ability to judge other’s character has also evolved; more intelligent individuals, who have become better judges of character are better able to develop relationships that minimize risk of betrayal. Researchers said that future studies will help provide a better understanding of the association between intelligence and trust, as well as how the ability to trust may affect health and happiness.
Average bride gains four pounds after wedding
Newlywed women may be prone to gaining weight in the few months following their wedding, according to a new study from Australia.
Researchers from Flinders University in Adelaide conducted a survey of approximately 350 Australian engaged women in the year prior to their wedding. In the initial survey, the women revealed their ideal wedding weight, which was an average of 20 pounds less than their current weight. One month before their wedding, the women weighed in and showed neither significant weight gain nor weight loss.
Study participants were then given a follow-up survey six months after their wedding. The results showed that, during the six-month period, the women had gained an average of 4.4 pounds. The study, planned to be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Body Image, is one of the few to determine the amount of weight typically gained by a woman in a specific amount of time following her wedding.
The research team said that their findings could be a result of more lax dietary and physical activity habits and decreased motivation when there is no specific event for which to prepare. In order for the findings to be confirmed, however, the study would need to be conducted in other countries and be representative of a wider range of brides.
Living or working near fast food may raise obesity risk
People who live or work close to fast food restaurants may be more at risk for obesity, according to new research from the U.K.
Scientists from the University of Cambridge investigated the implications of reports showing that consumption of food outside the home has increased in the U.K. by nearly 30 percent over the last decade. Using data from a population-based cohort study that involved almost 5,500 people between ages 29 and 62, the researchers looked at the participants’ fast food consumption, fast food exposure, body mass index (BMI) and risk of being overweight or obese. The participants also wore heart rate sensors, which provided researchers with data about physical activity levels.
The results of the study showed that the people with the highest levels of exposure to fast food restaurants consumed an average of 5.7 more grams of fast food per day and were twice as likely to be obese, when compared with the participants who were least exposed to fast food restaurants. Researchers also found that the study participants were exposed to almost 50 percent more fast food restaurants at work than they were at home.
The study did not discuss whether the research team controlled certain environmental factors associated with obesity, such as smoking status, household income or sex. The study also did not take into consideration the availability of fast food, such as pizza, burgers or fries, at cafeterias or other types of shops.
Because multiple factors could have contributed to the study’s findings, published on bmj.com, researchers noted that the link between obesity and environmental factors cannot yet be confirmed. They explained that the significance of the research lies in its implications for food policy, which they said may do well to limit fast food availability, particularly when it comes to workplace vicinity.
Most people with flu have no symptoms
Less than 25 percent of the population infected with seasonal and pandemic flu—or approximately 1 in 5 people—demonstrate any symptoms, according to a new study.
Scientists from University College London in the U.K. began conducting what is called the Flu Watch study in 2006, comparing the severity of seasonal flu and the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic in England over five years. They analyzed data on flu infection incidence, the percentage of people who were infected and showed symptoms and the percentage of people who showed symptoms that led to medical attention. In order to identify incidences of infection, researchers took blood samples from participants before and after each flu season in addition to contacting participants on a weekly basis to identify cases of cough, cold, sore throat and any “flu-like illness.” Participants who reported any symptoms were then tested for viruses.
The results of the study, published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine journal, showed that 18 percent of the community participants were infected with influenza each winter season. Twenty-three percent of those infected showed no symptoms, and 17 percent of those who tested positive for influenza sought medical attention.
Researchers said that the study’s findings are significant in that they highlight the prevalence of infection and illness in the community and how much it can be underestimated. They expressed concern that people carrying even minor forms of infections may contribute to the transmission of disease. Researchers said that their findings show that more preparation for both mild and severe pandemics is needed, as well as the need for additional community studies to help inform effective responses to influenza outbreaks.
High levels of omega-3s linked to better sleep
Consuming omega-3 fatty acids may improve quality of sleep and reduce risk of sleep disturbances, according to research from the University of Oxford in the U.K.
The study follows up on previous research that found that many of the same behavioral, cognitive and health problems found in children with sleep problems are also linked to both omega-3 deficiencies. The new research involved 43 children, whose parents reported that they experienced clinical sleep problems, including anxiety about sleep, waking up in the middle of the night and resistance to going to sleep. The participants were either given a daily placebo or a daily omega-3 supplement over the course of five days. Wrist sensors were used to collect sleep data, and blood samples were taken to record omega-3 fatty acid levels.
The study’s findings, published in the Journal of Sleep Research, showed that the children who were given a daily omega-3 supplement had about one more hour of sleep per night and fewer sleep disturbances than the placebo group. The findings suggest that omega-3s—whose sources can include either supplements or fatty fish, such as tuna or salmon—may play a key role in sleep regulation.
Due to the small number of participants involved in the study, the results cannot yet be generalized for the greater population. In order to confirm whether children’s sleep can be improved by increasing levels of omega-3s, further studies involving objective sleep measures and a wider range of demographic factors would be needed.