Mental Health

The psychology of Facebook profiles

Given the online forum of Facebook to create whatever public persona you’d like, it would seem logical that people might portray an idealized version of themselves—putting up their most attractive photos, editing down their thoughts to the most clever and pithy before posting them in a status update, carefully choosing favorite books

U.S. Life Expectancy: Impact of Smoking and Obesity

If current obesity trends continue, life expectancy gains due to decreases in smoking could potentially be canceled out in the future, according to research published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine. By analyzing data from several national health surveys including tens of thousands of respondents, researchers Susan

Beauty queen dies after plastic surgery


Former Miss Argentina Solange Magnano died Sunday from complications arising during a gluteoplasty—or bum lift. A friend of the former beauty queen told the Associated Press that liquid injected during the procedure had somehow traveled to her lungs and brain. After three days in critical care in a Buenos Aires hospital, …

Bo-tax: a levy on nips and tucks?

The health care bill currently being debated in the Senate includes a provision that would levy a 5% tax on elective cosmetic surgeries. The proposed Bo-tax is being presented by supporters as a simple economic tool to help offset health care costs, yet detractors—including some 7,000 doctors in the American Academy of Plastic

Medical students don’t always report needle injuries

In the course of their training, many medical students accidentally stick themselves with needles, yet too often fail to report the incidents, according to new research published in the December issue of the journal Academic Medicine. In a survey of 699 medical residents at 17 different hospitals and medical centers, nearly two thirds

How to keep off the holiday pounds

For many Americans, overindulging at Thanksgiving is all part of the tradition. According to studies on the subject, the average American gains about a pound each holiday season. (That may not seem like much, but researchers say that those holiday pounds have a tendency to stick around: 10 years later, you’re 10 pounds heavier.) For …

Have a cup of mint tea and call me in the morning?

A centuries-old folk remedy for aches and pains just earned a nod of recognition from modern medicine: researchers from the U.K.’s Newcastle University determined that Hypnis crenata, or Brazilian mint, is an effective pain reliever. Researchers first traveled to Brazil to observe traditional preparation of the remedy to determine

The politics of perceiving skin color

Whether or not you agree with Barack Obama’s politics may influence how dark- or light-skinned you think he is, according to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study, which set out to determine whether political views can skew skin color perception, included three experiments. In all three,

Early exposure to smoke, lead increase ADHD risk

Prenatal exposure to tobacco, coupled with lead exposure in infancy and early childhood can dramatically increase the risk for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children, according to research published online today in the journal Pediatrics. Together these environmental factors can increase a child’s risk for ADHD by

Viagra for women?

Some of the best inventions come about by accident—take corn flakes, for example, silly putty, or, of course, Viagra, which was originally designed as a heart medication. And now, in the tradition of accidental innovation, a team of U.S. researchers are hopeful that while their attempt to create a successful antidepressant for women

Walking in traffic: the dangers of cell phone distraction

“Look both ways before you cross the street.” Along with, “Stop, drop and roll,” it’s a safety lesson that is drilled into children from a very young age. Yet for all of our practice, according to research from psychologists at the University of Illinois, pedestrians have a tendency to skimp on safety when distracted by talking on a cell

The contagion effect of bad decisions

Finding comfort within a group may be helpful when it comes to therapy, but when it comes to justifying bad ideas, taking cues from others can steer you the wrong direction, according to new research from Northwestern University. As the Los Angeles Times reports, the notion that “everyone else is doing it” can be detrimental—and even

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