Lately, there have been loads of studies suggesting that exercise boosts brainpower in some form or another—it improves long-term memory; it increases the brain’s plasticity; it improves focus—but what these studies haven’t taken into account is the placebo effect. Could these post-exercise boosts in brainpower simply be the placebo effect at work? After all, we know that we’re exercising, and we’ve been told time and time again that exercising is good for our brains, so the placebo effect seems pretty plausible. Well, as The New York Times reports, a new study published in PLOS One took a look at just that and found that no, the improvement in post-exercise brain function is not all in our heads (well it is, but you know what I mean).
If you scroll through the music on my iPod, you will find a series of playlists titled Whatever, Who Cares?, Ughhhh, and so on, each one filled with enough sad John Mayer songs to make even the most emotionally stable human being shed a tear. The only reason I’m not horribly embarrassed to divulge this information to you is because these playlists were created over five years ago, after my first-ever breakup and, apparently, there’s a scientific excuse for their existence. A new study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, found that when you’re down, listening to sad songs truly does make you feel better, the Today Show reports.
Still no confirmation on whether the whole “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” saying holds true, but it does look like an apple a day might keep weight gain away: A recent study published in Food Chemistry found that apples are loaded with non-digestible compounds that up the number of good-for-you bacteria in your gut, which is associated with weight loss, Prevention reports. So, who’s up for an apple-picking party this weekend?
Here’s some shocking news for you: According to Google’s research on holiday shopping trends, 26 percent of shoppers will have already started their holiday shopping by Halloween this year. Yes, you read that right. As of today, about one-quarter of Americans have already started holiday shopping.
We stumbled upon this curious study on Fashionista and immediately hated these people. They’re sort of like those annoying people at college who finish writing papers weeks before they’re due. Isn’t procrastination half the fun, that frenzied jaunt to the mall seconds before it closes? Hell, I haven’t even bought Halloween candy, let alone Christmas presents.
But is it really so crazy?
Did you just yawn? And are you a little bit grumpy? Because if this new data is any indication, you probably didn’t get enough sleep last night: Jawbone, a company that makes fitness trackers that also track sleep patterns, analyzed thousands of their users’ sleep patterns throughout the country, and it turns out Philadelphians are not getting enough Zzzs.
I have some gardening cleanup to do this week, including clearing out a patch of wild mint. For once, I won’t mind the chore, because at least I’ll know I’m not going to die in the next five years. Mint, you see—specifically peppermint—was one of five odors a team of researchers recently tested to see if the loss of the sense of smell could predict death. And OMG, it totally did.
There were two pieces of good news this week, and—surprise!—they both had to do with sugar.
Here’s one more reason to load up your dinner plate up with heirloom tomatoes tonight: A new study published in the British Journal of Health Psychology found that folks who eat more fruits and vegetables report feeling more creative and curious, and also feel a greater sense of purpose and engagement than those who skimp on their bananas and broccoli. Who knew veggies could get so, well, deep?
Searching for the secret to happiness? Two new studies shed some interesting light.
In one of the most peculiar genetic studies we’ve ever come across, a group of economists from England’s University of Warwick have stuck a pin in the world map of happiness and declared Denmark its epicenter. Literally. Their research helps explain why a tiny Scandinavian nation whose greatest claim to fame is a dubious link to breakfast pastry consistently ranks at the top of studies of bliss.