High-fat diet prompts immune cells to start eating connections between neurons

When a high-fat diet causes us to become obese, it also appears to prompt normally bustling immune cells in our brain to become sedentary and start consuming the connections between our neurons, according to Dr. Alexis M. Stranahan, neuroscientist in the Department of Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia. CREDIT GRU Senior Photographer, Phil Jones.

When a high-fat diet causes us to become obese, it also appears to prompt normally bustling immune cells in our brain to become sedentary and start consuming the connections between our neurons, according to Dr. Alexis M. Stranahan, neuroscientist in the Department of Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia.
CREDIT: GRU Senior Photographer, Phil Jones.

When a high-fat diet causes us to become obese, it also appears to prompt normally bustling immune cells in our brain to become sedentary and start consuming the connections between our neurons, scientists say.

The good news is going back on a low-fat diet for just two months, at least in mice, reverses this trend of shrinking cognitive ability as weight begins to normalize, said Dr. Alexis M. Stranahan, neuroscientist in the Department of Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia.

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Mindfulness meditation trumps placebo in pain reduction

painScientists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have found new evidence that mindfulness meditation reduces pain more effectively than placebo.

This is significant because placebo-controlled trials are the recognized standard for demonstrating the efficacy of clinical and pharmacological treatments.

The research, published in the Nov. 18 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, showed that study participants who practiced mindfulness meditation reported greater pain relief than placebo. Significantly, brain scans showed that mindfulness meditation produced very different patterns of activity than those produced by placebo to reduce pain.

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Wide-faced men negotiate nearly $2,200 larger signing bonus

Michael Haselhuhn and Elaine Wong are both assistant professors of management. CREDIT: UC Riverside

Michael Haselhuhn and Elaine Wong are both assistant professors of management.
CREDIT: UC Riverside

Having a wider face helps men when they negotiate for themselves but hurts them when they are negotiating in a situation that requires compromise. Additionally, men who are more attractive are better collaborators compared to less attractive men.

Those are among the findings outlined in a just published paper co-authored by Michael P. Haselhuhn and Elaine M. Wong, assistant professors of management at the University of California, Riverside’s School of Business Administration. The paper describes four negotiation simulations set up by the authors of the paper.

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Pump up the music — especially the bass — to make you feel powerful

photodune-5005929-headphones-xsIt’s the day of the big game – before heading out to the field, you put on your headphones and blast some music to pump you up. The music seemingly empowers you to do great things. This effect is not all in your head – according to new research, music truly does make us feel powerful. But not all songs have the same effect, researchers found, and the levels of bass are a key factor in their effectiveness.

“When watching major sports events, my coauthors and I frequently noticed athletes with their earphones on while entering the stadium and in the locker room,” says Dennis Hsu of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. “The ways these athletes immerse themselves in the music – some with their eyes steely shut and some gently nodded along the beats – seem as if the music is mentally preparing and toughening them up for the competition about to occur.”

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Let your head do the talking

Intellectual Business Woman Wearing Glasses Head TiltedHead movements play an important role in conveying emotions through speech and music

When people talk or sing, they often nod, tilt or bow their heads to reinforce verbal messages. But how effective are these head gestures at conveying emotions?

Very effective, according to researchers from McGill University in Montreal. Steven R. Livingstone and Caroline Palmer, from McGill’s Department of Psychology, found that people were highly accurate at judging emotions based on head movements alone, even in the absence of sound or facial expressions.

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Children’s self-esteem already established by age 5, new study finds

Excited boyBy age 5 children have a sense of self-esteem comparable in strength to that of adults, according to a new study by University of Washington researchers.

Because self-esteem tends to remain relatively stable across one’s lifespan, the study suggests that this important personality trait is already in place before children begin kindergarten.

“Our work provides the earliest glimpse to date of how preschoolers sense their selves,” said lead author Dario Cvencek, a research scientist at the UW’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS).

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What’s in a name? More than you think…

Video Gamer on Couch

What’s in a name? In the case of the usernames of video gamers, a remarkable amount of information about their real world personalities, according to research by psychologists at the University of York.

Analysis of anonymised data from one of the world’s most popular computer games by scientists in the Department of Psychology at York also revealed information about their ages.

Professor Alex Wade and PhD student Athanasios Kokkinakis, a PhD student on the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council-funded Intelligent Games and Game Intelligence (IGGI) project, analysed data from League of Legends, a game played by around 70 million people worldwide..

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Scarcity, not abundance, enhances consumer creativity, study says

Even in an age of affluence and abundance in which round-the-clock consumerism and overspending are the norm, limits and constraints can still serve a purpose. According to new research co-written by a University of Illinois expert in new product development and marketing,

Resource scarcity translates into enhanced consumer creativity, according to new research co-written by University of Illinois business professor Ravi Mehta. CREDIT Photo by University of Illinois College of Business

Resource scarcity translates into enhanced consumer creativity, according to new research co-written by University of Illinois business professor Ravi Mehta.
CREDIT
Photo by University of Illinois College of Business

A general sense of scarcity activates a constraint mindset that manifests itself through increased novelty in subsequent product-usage contexts – that is, limits force consumers to think beyond the traditional functionality of a given product, thus enhancing product-use creativity, says published research from Ravi Mehta, a professor of business administration at Illinois.

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Sleep interruptions worse for mood than overall reduced amount of sleep, study finds

a man is awake when his wife is sleeping

As they report in the November 1 issue of the journal Sleep, researchers studied 62 healthy men and women randomly subjected to three sleep experimental conditions in an inpatient clinical research suite: three consecutive nights of either forced awakenings, delayed bedtimes or uninterrupted sleep.

Participants subjected to eight forced awakenings and those with delayed bedtimes showed similar low positive mood and high negative mood after the first night, as measured by a standard mood assessment questionnaire administered before bedtimes. Participants were asked to rate how strongly they felt a variety of positive and negative emotions, such as cheerfulness or anger.

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How do young women view the relationship in Fifty Shades of Grey?

Fifty shades of misteryExamining women’s perceptions of the relationship between Christian and Anastasia in the popular movie Fifty Shades of Grey is a safe and valuable way to discuss healthy and unhealthy relationship dynamics, including the warning signs of intimate partner violence.

Young women expressed mixed views, describing parts of the movie relationship as exciting and romantic and other aspects as controlling, manipulative, and emotionally abusive in a new study published in Journal of Women’s Health, a peer-reviewed publication fromMary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available to download free on theJournal of Women’s Health website.

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