Blog | Monday, March 16, 2009

Medical news of the obvious

--Powerful people think they can control more than they really do. (Hear that, Mr. Madoff?) Stanford researchers had students write about situations in which they had control over others, write about situations where they felt out of control, or write nothing. The students were then given the choice to roll dice for themselves or have someone else do it. Those randomized to remember situations of being in control usually chose to roll themselves, while those in the other two groups were more likely to have someone else do it.

--Worried about the harmful effects of smog as you walk or bike through city streets? Here's a high-tech solution: Wear a face mask. Reporting in the journal Particle and Fibre Toxicology, researchers helpfully explain that covering your mouth and nose can reduce "exposure to airborne pollution particles." (Cyclists might also want to avoid tailgating buses.)

--Having arthritis makes people disinclined to exercise, according to the MMWR Weekly. The study looked at the intersection of arthritis, heart disease and exercise, and found--surprise!--that people with both conditions were least likely to exercise, followed by people with one condition, followed by people with neither condition. (In all seriousness, the researchers make an important point that the ill folks should be encouraged to exercise, as it will help decrease pain.)

...And on the psychology front, researchers came to the stunning conclusion that people like to bond with one another socially by quoting popular movies, according to CNN. (Hmm, CNN... owned by Ted Turner... owner of Turner Classic Movies....). Furthermore, they like to quote from comedies more than children's films. And here I thought my Jar Jar Binks impersonation was the keystone of my cocktail party repartee.