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JET LAG MAKES YOU STUPID

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Study: Jet lag may mean brain lag


BERKELEY, Calif. (UPI) — Jet lag might make you more than just groggy and dazed, U.S. researchers say — it might even make you stupid.

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, said hamsters suffering extreme, chronic jet lag had about half the normal rate of new neuron birth in one part of the brain and showed deficits in learning and memory, ScienceNews.org reported Tuesday.

The scientists subjected hamsters to simulated jet lag by advancing their day and night schedule by 6 hours every three days for nearly a month, “like a flight from New York to Paris every three days,” study coauthor Erin Gibson said.

Jet lag decreases the numbers of new neurons being created in the hippocampus by about 50 percent, the team found, as mental function suffered.

Even after 28 days of a back-to-normal schedule, the formerly jet-lagged hamsters still showed learning and memory problems, Gibson said.

The mismatch between the internal body clock and the external environment “is having a long-term effect on learning and memory,” Gibson said.

While it’s not certain exactly how these cognitive problems are induced by jet lag, the sleep hormone melatonin, stress and increased cell death are all possible culprits that need to be explored, she said.

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

LOVE IS GOOD FOR YOU IN MANY WAYS

Monday, June 7th, 2010

BETTER PERFORMANCE WHEN YOU FEEL LOVED

MADISON, Wis. (UPI) — U.S. researchers confirm calling mom reduces stress.

Biological anthropologist Leslie Seltzer and psychology professor Seth Pollak, both of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, tested the stress levels of a group of girls ages 7-12 by requiring them to deliver an impromptu speech and do a series of math problems in front of strangers.

“Facing a challenge like that, being evaluated, raises stress levels for a lot of people,” Pollak said in a statement.

Once stressed, one-third of the girls were comforted with a hug by their mothers, one-third watched an emotion-neutral 75-minute video and one-third were handed a telephone with their mother on the line.

“The children who got to interact with their mothers had virtually the same hormonal response, whether they interacted in person or over the phone,” Seltzer says.

The levels of oxytocin — the “love hormone” strongly associated with emotional bonding — rose significantly and the stress-marking cortisol disappeared, the study found.

The findings, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, might explain why many college students call their mothers as soon as they hand in an exam.

“I used to think, ‘How could those over-attentive, helicopter parents encourage that?’ Maybe it’s a quick and dirty way to feel better. It’s not pop psychology or psychobabble,” Pollak said.

Received and published by Henry Sapiecha 7th June 2010

SPEAK UP OR DIE

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

How Silence Can Be Bad For Your Health


No doubt that loud noises are bad for you, wrecking your hearing and even driving up your blood pressure. But silence can hurt you, too — at least when it’s what you don’t say to your doctor. Don’t fall into these clam-up traps:

1. You think something “isn’t worth bothering anyone about.” We know a 50-something guy who kept hoping that the shortness of breath he had while walking up the hill to work was just going to go away. Fortunately, he got himself to the hospital … where he survived his heart attack. We know you don’t want to hear that something’s amiss, but it’s better to hear it when you’re standing than for others to hear it when you’re about to go 6 feet down.

2. You think your appointment is over when you leave. You don’t get to ask your doc questions only after you’ve forked over your co-pay. Too many people leave their appointment and then say, “I wish I’d asked … whether I can have wine/when can I have sex,” and other essentials. Don’t rely on Dr. Google! Smart patients call or e-mail and ask!

3. You think that if the doctor didn’t bring it up, it’s not important. We can do lots of things, but mind reading isn’t one of them. We don’t know that you’ve been having erectile dysfunction, chest pains or an overwhelming desire to speak in Klingon unless you tell us. We don’t know what that last one means, either, but if it’s bothering you, mention it. Speaking up may be the healthiest move you’ve made.

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 1st May 2010