Posts Tagged ‘research’

Sick of your surroundings?

Downtown San Francisco, CA

As a child, did you ever read Aesop’s fable of the city mouse and the country mouse? After a visit to his cousin showed him the sparseness of country living, the city mouse reciprocated the invitation, and the country mouse ventured to the city. The country mouse was impressed by the splendid feasts available in the city’s huge garbage dumps … but he didn’t appreciate having to dodge so many cats and other dangers trying to get at them. The moral of the story: “A modest life with peace and quiet is better than a rich one with danger and strife.”

Apparently the Greek writer, who’s believed to have lived sometime in the 3rd to 5th century B.C., was wise beyond his time. By using functional brain imaging, researchers from the University of Heidelberg have been able to demonstrate that the brains of city and country dwellers respond differently to social stress. And that probably explains why people reared in cities are more prone to developing mental disorders.

Yes, it’s long been established as a scientific reality: Living in the city can drive you nuts.

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Cold reduces productivity

Hands in Mittens Holding Cup of Hot Tea

Baby, it’s cold outside, and you need to save money on your heating bill. But hang on before you lower that thermostat too much.

A few years ago, researchers at Cornell University found that when employers lowered office temps from a toasty 77 degrees to a chilly 68 degrees, they also lowered worker productivity.

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Beating the common cold

Why Do We Sneeze

Eureka, that’s it! That’s it!

They’ve finally found the cure for the common cold!

Okay, well, not exactly. But researchers have figured out how you can get fewer than the two to four colds the average American adult catches each year, and how you can ensure those colds are less severe: exercise.

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The trouble with tweaking time

Golfer and Sunset with Dramatic Clouds

We’re about to go dark.

That means Daylight Savings Time is ending for most of the United States. And you must be thrilled with the money you saved this summer … after all, that’s what DST is all about: saving money. Did you save enough on your energy bills to pay for your holiday shopping? No? A week’s worth of groceries? A tank of gas? Lunch at McDonald’s?

A gumball?

What’s that? You didn’t save any money on your electric bills by having that extra hour of daylight? Well, at least you broke even and the kids had an extra hour to play outside …

Say again? You didn’t break even? Your power bill increased? No, that can’t be right!

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Has your doctor been honest?

Doctor Examining Patient with Stethoscope

All three of my cancer diagnoses involved multiple surgeries and treatments initiated in rapid succession. Because of previous health issues, I was used to asking doctors questions, taking notes, making sure to get a clear understanding of what to expect during and after procedures. But the information is only as good as the doctor doling it out. And while most of my doctors have been blessings, a couple were not.

One had the bedside manner of a slab of marble. He resented questions and answered in monosyllables … if he answered at all. He responded to my inquiry about a complicated surgery with a short video. The production, with its idealized cartoon renderings, failed to mention the potential circulatory complications, long-term back issues, and other serious risks common to the procedure. Those I discovered only after suffering major complications that took three years and several operations to correct. So I was surprised after leaving Dr. Marble to discover he’d noted in my medical records that he went over those complications with me in detail prior to surgery. Had that been true, I might have taken a different path.

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Protect your memory

Magnetic Resonance Imaging Head at Level of Orbits

A group of us were sitting around having a good laugh when three disembodied heads flew past the front window in quick succession.

“Did you see that?” I asked.

“The Segways,” someone replied. “They rent them downtown.”

Ohhhh, the Segways. Well, it was just a bit early for Halloween.

A Segway is a two-wheeled, self-balancing motorized vehicle that can transport a single rider in a standing position at speeds up to about 12 mph. Though I’ve never had the pleasure, they look like an absolute blast to ride. But as I watched the Segways roll by and considered the motorized carts supplied by most stores and the ubiquitous ads for motorized chairs, I couldn’t help wondering if humans are unlearning how to walk … and what consequences that might have.

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The limits of superstition

James Dean

Silver skin shining like moon glow, it would have seemed more in place skimming the fast curves of Monaco than crawling the streets of my small American town. The driver saw me staring and noticeably puffed up. We don’t get many Porsches around here, and he was enjoying what he perceived as my vehicle-envy.

I was thinking: DEATH CAR.

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Running shoes or no shoes?

A Man Runs Barefoot Across the Desert in Death Valley

If there’s one thing all children in the American South have in common, it’s the joy of running barefoot. I was 10 before we moved to a paved street. Until then, I ran free on dirt roads, prickly yards, and sandy lakefronts. In summers, we visited my grandparents in Alabama, and each year I’d wander into a clover patch, step on a bee, and suffer terribly until Daddy pulled out the stinger. But not even my annual bee encounters could persuade me to put on a pair of shoes.

Somehow Southern kids manage to walk, run, tumble, skip, jump rope, ride bikes, and even play baseball and football in our bare feet. But then we grow up, put on a few pounds, decide to get in shape, and suddenly it’s all about THE SHOE.

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Sleeping men beware!

Man Snoring to the Point That His Wife Cannot Even Sleep in the Same Bed Any More

Men … are you tired? Run down? Listless? Do you poop out at parties?

Well, the answer to your problems is not in Lucy Ricardo’s famous bottle of Vitameatavegamin. Oh noooo. The answer to your chronic fatigue may well be lying in bed next to you … masking her evil with an innocent expression.

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Avoid death by distraction

Buy at

Traffic on the four-lane was bumper-to-bumper, but still moving at a swift 50 mph with no stop lights ahead. Always in a hurry, I was in the left lane, the faster of the two heading west. A bumper sticker on the car to my right caught my eye:


This Is a Really Stupid Bumper Sticker

But You’re Still Squinting to Re …


HOLY COW!! I glanced up to see traffic had come to an unexpected stop. Standing on the brake, I whipped the steering wheel to the left, just missing the back corner of the car ahead as I steered into the narrow median. Caught off-guard by my sudden maneuver, the next two cars behind me also ended up in the grass.

Thankfully, I was maintaining a safe distance from the car ahead and had looked up in the nick of time. Otherwise there would have been a multicar pileup at rush hour … because of a “really stupid bumper sticker.”

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I'm Deborah, survivor of everything from multiple cancer battles to major business setbacks. Join my search for ways to move the mountains, big & small, that block your path to success.
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