Eyes say if it’s love or lust
A person’s eye patterns may provide clues as to whether he or she is experiencing feelings of love or lust, according to a new study.
Scientists from the University of Geneva in Switzerland recruited male and female university students, who were shown two series of black-and-white photos of strangers. The first set of photos showed young, adult heterosexual couples interacting with each other, and the second set showed photos of attractive people of the opposite sex making direct eye contact with the camera. The participants sat at a computer while being shown the photos and were asked to quickly decide whether the people in the photos made them feel sexual desire or romantic love.
The results of the study, published in the journal Psychological Science, showed that both male and female participants’ eye movements shifted when they reported feeling sexual desire, while participants’ eyes tended to fixate on the photographed people’s eyes when they reported feeling romantic love. Researchers said that their findings could have implications in a clinical setting, particularly in couples therapy when trying to differentiate between emotions of lust or love.
Adding alcohol to energy drinks boosts urge to drink
A new study has found that consuming a combination of alcohol and energy drinks may increase a person’s desire to continue drinking—more so than when just drinking alcohol alone.
For the study, scientists at The Australian National University in Canberra recruited 75 adults between ages 18 and 30, all of whom were asked to fill out a questionnaire about their use of alcohol, caffeine and drugs. The participants were then split into two groups, the first of which was given a cocktail made of 2 ounces of vodka, lime-flavored energy drink and fruit drink, while the second group was given a cocktail made of 2 ounces of vodka, fruit drink and soda water. After sipping on their drinks for ten minutes, the participants rated the drink’s taste and its effects of them and took a breathalyzer test to measure their blood alcohol concentrations (BAC).
The researchers found that the people who drank the cocktail containing the energy drink liked the taste better, had lower BACs and had a stronger desire to continue drinking than did the adults who had the cocktail with no energy drink.
The study’s findings, published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, suggest that an increased desire to drink may be specifically be caused by the combination of caffeine and sugar. Researchers explained that sugar may improve a drink’s taste, while caffeine may strengthen alcohol’s stimulant effects. The study did not answer, however, to what extent the combination of energy drinks and alcohol may increase how much alcohol a person subsequently consumes.
Heart patients make medication mistakes after hospital discharge
New research has found that a majority of patients either misunderstand medication instructions or take them incorrectly after being discharged from the hospital.
A team of researchers from the VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System in Nashville recruited 471 men and women with an average age of 59 who were hospitalized for heart failure, heart attacks and related heart conditions, after which they were discharged. All participants were asked to take a health literacy test—which tested knowledge of basic health information and the ability to interpret and act on such information. Two to three days after the patients were discharged they were contacted by the researchers regarding how they were taking their medications.
The researchers then recorded how many errors—defined in the study as taking a medication not on the list of what the doctor prescribed, forgetting to mention one that was on the list, failing to refill a prescription, discontinuing use of a medication or not being aware of a medication—and how many misunderstandings—defined as a patient not knowing the purpose, dose or frequency of a medication—occurred.
The researchers found that more than 50 percent of the patients had a misunderstanding when it came to the purpose, dose or frequency of their medications, and more than half had at least one discrepancy between the medications they reported taking and the ones that their doctors had prescribed. They also found that the participants who scored highest on the health literacy test were about 16 percent less likely to make an error when compared to those who scored the lowest.
The study suggests that a better understanding is needed when it comes to discharging patients from the hospital, along with the associated risks of the discharge, researchers said. They added that administering a brief health literacy test might help identify patients who might have the most trouble following instructions regarding medications.
Researchers map how life affects DNA
Scientists from the Babraham Institute and Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in the U.K. have developed a new technique for mapping how DNA is affected by environmental factors.
The researchers focused on “epigenetic marks,” or the marks that life leaves on DNA which can alter gene behavior. For example, epigenetic marks caused by something like changes in diet can add instructions to DNA that result in silencing certain genes or switching other genes on and off. Such marks are left in a cell’s epigenetic map, which acts as a kind of “cellular memory.”
The scientists aimed to develop a more effective tool than current options—such as tissue analysis and animal studies—by which they might be able to conduct epigenetics research in order to better understand health and disease and how they’re affected by changes in DNA. While current techniques examine epigenetic marks in groups of cells, the new technique follows a single-cell approach, in which researchers are able to examine epigenetic marks in one cell at a time. The researchers tested the single-cell epigenetics technique while the embryo was in a critical time in its early development.
In the findings, published in Nature Methods, the researchers explained that studying the collective epigenetic marks from individual cells may allow them to more fully understand early embryonic development. It also could provide a clearer picture of how cancer progresses and how to develop new stem cell therapies.