In Other Words

Here are a few things I learned this week.

Some people just can’t dance, and it turns out it may be in the genes.

Fad diets promise the world, but science tells us that they rarely deliver in the long run and they can potentially make you gain more weight.

In stark contrast to the aforementioned, crash diets apparently are not as bad for weight loss as once thought.

Have you been found wanting on the green? Professionals say listening to jazz music can improve your putting.

While perusing through the endless headlines of Google news last evening, I noticed an interesting trend. New Studies.

New studies suggest a lot of things, and they are everywhere, it seems – at the ready to make our collective lives better in one way or another. They are either ripe with useful information, contradict other like studies and/or provide some comic relief, however unintentional it may be.

While you may have hated Spanish or French classes in high school, a new study suggests that you should thank your foreign language teachers for the brain boost. Pennsylvania State University took a group of 39 people and asked half of them to learn new Chinese words. The result: Those who were most successful at the task had better-connected brain networks and “functional changes” in the brain as a result of the exercise.

In environmental study news, a new paper suggests that poor diet choices play a pivotal role in environmental sustainability and human health. According to David Tilman, a professor in the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, and Michael Clark, a graduate student at the University of Minnesota, rising incomes and urbanization around the world are driving a global dietary transition that is, in turn, diminishing the health of both people and the planet. The development of Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and other chronic non-communicable diseases are lowering global life expectancies, they claim.

I never would have thought my lunch choice would result in consequences greater than an increase in the size of my inseam.

But all seriousness aside, some of the more trivial studies I found came to some pointless, obvious or impossible conclusions, including:

Will I marry my boyfriend? A new study may be able to tell you.

Study claims regular pot smokers may have a lower I.Q.

Algae may make humans more stupid.

Fish are actually more intelligent than we thought.

On a more morbid note, turns out drinking milk can increase the risk of death. New Swedish research shows a link between milk and an increased risk of death and, surprisingly, bone fractures. But don’t pour that glass of white goodness down the drain just yet. The same study boasts the importance of the drink as an important source of calcium for the human body.

So the next time you pour some milk over your bowl of breakfast cereal, try not to panic about the health risk. Science is always working for our good – or at least contributing to our confusion.

Just try to steer clear of algae. I read somewhere it can make you stupid.

Email at dmagill@newswatchman.com; follow on Twitter @dustin_magill

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