Our brains rapidly and automatically process opinions we agree with as if they are facts

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“Now a team led by Michael Gilead at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev report in Social Psychological and Personality Science that they have found evidence of rapid and involuntarily mental processes that kick-in whenever we encounter opinions we agree with, […]”

“The key finding was that participants were quicker to identify statements as grammatically correct when they agreed with the opinion expressed in the statement, compared with when they disagreed (there was no difference for time taken to identify ungrammatical statements as ungrammatical). This was the case even though their agreement with the opinion expressed in the statements was irrelevant to the grammatical task at hand. “The results demonstrate that agreement with a stated opinion can have a rapid and involuntary effect on its cognitive processing,” the researchers said, which is similar to the epistemic Stroop Effect observed for facts.”

thanks Christian J. — (picture: from the original article)

see/read more here

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Posted in Uncategorized

Too many men

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“In China and India, men outnumber women by 70 million. Both nations are belatedly trying to come to grips with the policies that created this male-heavy generation”

***
“Demographic changes are slow, in human terms, and this off-kilter M:F ratio will shape gender roles and economic opportunities for decades to come.

It’s also a beautiful piece of web production, one of the better uses of the medium I’ve seen.” (“all said” – thanks Jamais C. for this very short and concise summary)

The original article in The Washington Post

 

 

 

Posted in future, society | Tagged , , ,

10 Amazing Things You Can Learn From Your Poop

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“We now have more information than ever before about what your microbiome is doing, and it’s going to help you and the rest of the world do a whole lot better. The new insights emerging from microbiome research are changing our perception of what keeps us healthy and what makes us sick. This new understanding of the microbiome activities may put an end to conflicting food advice and make fad diets a thing of the past.

What are these new insights showing us? The information is nothing short of mind-blowing. The value of your poop just got an upgrade.

Here are some of the amazing things we’ve learned from our work at Viome.”

see the 10 Amazing Things here

Posted in Body, Medicine

Old people can produce as many new brain cells as teenagers

neurons jp

“Old age may have its downsides, but losing the ability to grow new brain cells isn’t one: healthy people in their seventies seem to produce just as many new neurons as teenagers.

The discovery overturns a decades-old theory about how our brains age and could provide clues as to how we can keep our minds sharper for longer.”

www.newscientist.com/article/

Posted in Neurobiology, Neuroscience

“Did Drinking Give Me Breast Cancer?”

“The science on the link is clear, but the alcohol industry has worked hard to downplay it. […]

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The research linking alcohol to breast cancer is deadly solid. There’s no controversy here. Alcohol, regardless of whether it’s in Everclear or a vintage Bordeaux, is carcinogenic. More than 100 studies over several decades have reaffirmed the link with consistent results. The National Cancer Institute says alcohol raises breast cancer risk even at low levels.
[…]
Researchers estimate that alcohol accounts for 15 percent of US breast cancer cases and deaths—about 35,000 and 6,600 a year, respectively. That’s about three times more than the number of breast cancer cases caused by a mutation of the BRCA genes, which prompted Angelina Jolie, who carries one of the abnormal genes, to have both her healthy breasts removed in 2013. The breast cancer risk from alcohol isn’t nearly as high as the lung cancer risk from smoking. But alcohol-related breast cancer kills more than twice as many American women as drunk drivers do. And alcohol is one of the few breast cancer risk factors women can control. Others, like starting menstrual periods before the age of 12 and entering menopause after 55, are baked in.
[…]
Scientists have long known that heavy drinking causes high blood pressure, strokes, and heart attacks. That’s why early studies investigating drinking and heart disease started with the logical supposition that people who abstain from alcohol should have low rates of heart disease compared with moderate or heavy drinkers. As it turned out, they didn’t. When plotted on a curve, drinkers fell into a J-shaped pattern: Abstainers in the studies had rates of cardiovascular disease similar to those of heavy drinkers.

But this J-curve is deceptive. Not all the nondrinkers in these studies were teetotalers like the ones I grew up with in Utah. The British epidemiologist A. Gerald Shaper began a wide-ranging men’s heart health study in the late 1970s, and when he examined the data, he found that 71 percent of nondrinkers in the study were actually former drinkers who had quit. Some of these ex-drinking men were as likely to smoke as heavy drinkers. They had the highest rate of heart disease of any group and elevated rates of high blood pressure, peptic ulcers, diabetes, gallbladder disease, and even bronchitis. Shaper concluded that ex-drinkers were often sicker than heavy drinkers who hadn’t quit, making them a poor control group.

Yet for decades, researchers continued to include them and consequently found an implausible number of health benefits to moderate drinking, including lower rates of deafness and liver cirrhosis. The industry has helped promote these studies to doctors.

That’s one reason why, until recently, alcohol’s heart health benefits have been treated as incontrovertible science. But in the mid-2000s, Kaye Middleton Fillmore, a researcher at the University of California-San Francisco, decided to study Shaper’s ex-drinkers. When no one in the United States would fund her work, she persuaded Tim Stockwell, then the director of Australia’s National Drug Research Institute, to help her secure Australian government funding.

Stockwell and Fillmore analyzed decades’ worth of studies on alcohol and heart disease. Once they excluded studies with ex-drinkers—which was most of them—the heart benefits of alcohol largely disappeared. Since then, a host of other studies have found that drinking does not provide any heart benefits. (Some studies have found that drinking small amounts of alcohol—sometimes less than one drink per day—can be beneficial for certain people at risk of heart disease.) Robert Brewer, who runs an alcohol program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says, “Studies do not support that there are benefits of moderate drinking.” The Agriculture Department removed language suggesting that alcohol may lower the risk of heart disease in the most recent US Dietary Guidelines.”

original article

Posted in Medicine | Tagged , ,

Study Finds Night Owls Are More At Risk Of Early Death: Other Problems Linked To Evening Persons

Link article Tech Times

Posted in Medicine

New Study: Your Face Tells If You Own A Fleet Of Luxurious Cars

“When researchers asked subjects to determine the socio-economic class of people their faces, subjects were correct 68 percent of times. This figure is considerably higher than predictions made randomly.”
[…]
“Though subjects were not aware of how they were determining it correctly, researchers wanted to know. So, they zoomed in to the images to extract facial features. They discovered that subjects were able to guess correctly by noticing eyes and mouth. Mouth gave a clue in better way than others. However, the isolated parts did not guide them to arrive at the decision. Researchers found that this effect could take place due to emotion patterns getting etched into faces over time. The chronic contraction of few muscles could lead to changes in facial structure. These changes can be picked up by others.”
[…]
“Rule told the University of Toronto, “Over time, your face comes to permanently reflect and reveal your experiences. Even when we think we’re not expressing something, relics of those emotions are still there.””

read original article 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Dancing Could Counteract Age-Related Decline

“A study published in Frontiers in Neuroscience investigated the effects of an 18-month dancing intervention and traditional health fitness training on volumes of hippocampal subfields and balance abilities.

The research finds that dancing seems a promising intervention for both improving balance and brain structure in the elderly. It combines aerobic fitness, sensorimotor skills and cognitive demands while at the same time the risk of injuries is low.”

*
Name of the study: “Dancing or Fitness Sport? The Effects of Two Training Programs on Hippocampal Plasticity and Balance Abilities in Healthy Seniors”

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnhum.2017.00305/full?utm_source=S-SFB&utm_medium=SNET&utm_campaign=ECO_FNHUM_20180221

Posted in Medicine, Neuroscience

Google’s new AI algorithm predicts heart disease by looking at your eyes

“The rear interior wall of the eye (the fundus) is chock-full of blood vessels that reflect the body’s overall health. By studying their appearance with camera and microscope, doctors can infer things like an individual’s blood pressure, age, and whether or not they smoke, which are all important predictors of cardiovascular health.” —–
“When presented with retinal images of two patients, one of whom suffered a cardiovascular event in the following five years, and one of whom did not, Google’s algorithm was able to tell which was which 70 percent of the time. ”

https://www.theverge.com/2018/2/19/17027902/google-verily-ai-algorithm-eye-scan-heart-disease-cardiovascular-risk

Posted in Medicine

How Hidden Social Contexts Influence Your Genetics

“From the interview’s introduction:
A 2017 study explored this question, albeit with mice. Researchers paired mice together, punching holes in their ears, and tracked the rate of recovery. They found that the genome of a cagemate affected how fast their ears healed.
Benjamin Domingue, an assistant professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Education who studies sociogenomics, was fascinated by what the researchers called an “indirect” or “social” genetic effect. He wanted to see if similar things were going on in humans. Through the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, a sample of 15,000 Americans who were between 7th and 12th grade in 1994-95, and which is now on its fifth wave of data collection, Domingue and his colleagues were able to test for the influence of social genetic effects on educational attainment and relationships like friendship. Previous studies, for instance, have demonstrated that friends are more similar genetically than randomly paired individuals.”

http://nautil.us/blog/how-hidden-social-contexts-influence-your-genetics

Posted in Sociogenomics