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Wed, 20 Jun 2018
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Bisphenol A (BPA) May Affect Testosterone Levels

British and other researchers have identified changes in testosterone levels in men exposed to bisphenol A, a chemical used in food and drink containers.

Researchers at the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry and the University of Exeter, both in England, and colleagues linked higher BPA exposure with small increases in levels of testosterone in the blood.

The large population study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, found the average BPA daily of more 5 micrograms per day exposure in the European study population was slightly higher than recent comparable estimates for the U.S. population.

"This is the first big study of BPA from a European country and confirms that 'routine' exposures in the population are not negligible," David Melzer of Peninsula Medical School said in a statement. "This finding is consistent with the evidence from laboratory experiments. However, this is just the first step in proving that at 'ordinary' exposure levels, BPA might be active in the human body. This new evidence does justify proper human safety studies to clarify the effects of BPA in people."

Comment: To read more on BPA, see the following articles carried on SOTT:

Bisphenol A Has Not Gone Away

New Study Confirms Bisphenol A Found in Plastic is Linked to Heart Disease

Bisphenol A (BPA) Found In Many Plastics May Cause Heart Disease In Women, Research Shows

Bisphenol A Exposure Dangerous for Human Heart and Reproduction

Bisphenol A, Chemical Used to Make Plastic, Lingers in Body

Bisphenol A Linked to Metabolic Syndrome in Humans


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Yawning: Why is it Contagious?

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© Getty Images
Although all vertebrates yawn, contagious yawning only exists only humans, chimpanzees and possibly dogs.
Yawning when others yawn is a sign of empathy and a form of social bonding.

Watch someone yawn, and try not to yawn yourself. It can be impossible to resist. Even reading about yawning can make you do it.

Now, a new study offers insight into why contagious yawning is such a powerful force.

Yawning when others yawn, the study suggests, is a sign of empathy and a form of social bonding. Kids don't develop this deeply rooted behavior until around age four, the study found. Kids with autism are half as likely to catch yawns. In the most severe cases, they never do.

Yawning might eventually help doctors diagnose developmental disorders. The work could also lead to a better understanding of the subtle ways that people communicate and connect.

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The World Seen Differently By Children And Adults

Unlike adults, children are able to keep information from their senses separate and may therefore perceive the visual world differently, according to research just published.

Scientists at UCL (University College London) and Birkbeck, University of London have found that children younger than 12 do not combine different sensory information to make sense of the world as adults do. This does not only apply to combining different senses, such as vision and sound, but also to the different information the brain receives when looking at a scene with one eye compared to both eyes.

The results, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, imply that children's experience of the visual world is very different to that of adults.

Dr Marko Nardini, UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, and lead author said, "To make sense of the world we rely on many different kinds of information. A benefit of combining information across different senses is that we can determine what is out there more accurately than by using any single sense."

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Aerobic Exercise Relieves Insomnia

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© Getty Images
The millions of middle-aged and older adults who suffer from insomnia have a new drug-free prescription for a more restful night's sleep. Regular aerobic exercise improves the quality of sleep, mood and vitality, according to a small but significant new study from Northwestern Medicine.

The study is the first to examine the effect of aerobic exercise on middle-aged and older adults with a diagnosis of insomnia. About 50 percent of people in these age groups complain of chronic insomnia symptoms.

The aerobic exercise trial resulted in the most dramatic improvement in patients' reported quality of sleep, including sleep duration, compared to any other non-pharmacological intervention.

"This is relevant to a huge portion of the population," said Phyllis Zee, M.D., director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Northwestern Medicine and senior author of a paper to be published in the October issue of Sleep Medicine. The lead author is Kathryn Reid, research assistant professor at Feinberg.

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How Our Brains Get Tripped Up When We're Anxious

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© Marie Banich
Competing neurons in this part of the brain help us make decisions, such as choosing words.
A new University of Colorado at Boulder study sheds light on the brain mechanisms that allow us to make choices and ultimately could be helpful in improving treatments for the millions of people who suffer from the effects of anxiety disorders.

In the study, CU-Boulder psychology Professor Yuko Munakata and her research colleagues found that "neural inhibition," a process that occurs when one nerve cell suppresses activity in another, is a critical aspect in our ability to make choices.

"The breakthrough here is that this helps us clarify the question of what is happening in the brain when we make choices, like when we choose our words," Munakata said. "Understanding more about how we make choices, how the brain is doing this and what the mechanisms are, could allow scientists to develop new treatments for things such as anxiety disorders."

Researchers have long struggled to determine why people with anxiety can be paralyzed when it comes to decision-making involving many potential options. Munakata believes the reason is that people with anxiety have decreased neural inhibition in their brain, which leads to difficulty making choices.

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False Memories of Self-Performance Result from Watching Others' Actions

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© Claire Steinbeck/faculty.mercer.edu
Did I turn off the stove, or did I just imagine it? Memory isn't always reliable. Psychological scientists have discovered all sorts of ways that false memories get created, and now there's another one for the list: watching someone else do an action can make you think you did it yourself.

The team of psychological scientists who found the new way to create false memories weren't setting out to make a big discovery. They were trying to learn more about imagination, another way that false memories get created. But then in an experiment, they found that people who had watched a video of someone else doing a simple action -- shaking a bottle or shuffling a deck of cards, for example -- often remembered doing the action themselves two weeks later.

"We were stunned," says Gerald Echterhoff, of Jacobs University Bremen. He cowrote the study, published in the journal Psychological Science, with Isabel Lindner of the University of Cologne, Patrick S.R. Davidson of the University of Ottawa, and Matthias Brand of the University of Duisburg-Essen. They changed course to examine this phenomenon more closely with a series of experiments.

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Perception of Emotion is Culture-Specific

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© Getty Images
Dutch people pay attention to the facial expression more than Japanese people do, says study.
Want to know how a Japanese person is feeling? Pay attention to the tone of his voice, not his face. That's what other Japanese people would do, anyway. A new study examines how Dutch and Japanese people assess others' emotions and finds that Dutch people pay attention to the facial expression more than Japanese people do.

"As humans are social animals, it's important for humans to understand the emotional state of other people to maintain good relationships," says Akihiro Tanaka of Waseda Institute for Advanced Study in Japan. "When a man is smiling, probably he is happy, and when he is crying, probably he's sad." Most of the research on understanding the emotional state of others has been done on facial expression; Tanaka and his colleagues in Japan and the Netherlands wanted to know how vocal tone and facial expressions work together to give you a sense of someone else's emotion.

For the study, Tanaka and colleagues made a video of actors saying a phrase with a neutral meaning - "Is that so?" - two ways: angrily and happily. This was done in both Japanese and Dutch. Then they edited the videos so that they also had recordings of someone saying the phrase angrily but with a happy face, and happily with an angry face. Volunteers watched the videos in their native language and in the other language and were asked whether the person was happy or angry. They found that Japanese participants paid attention to the voice more than Dutch people did - even when they were instructed to judge the emotion by the faces and to ignore the voice.

The results are published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

People

Autism's First Child

As new cases of autism have exploded in recent years - some form of the condition affects about one in 110 children today - efforts have multiplied to understand and accommodate the condition in childhood. But children with autism will become adults with autism, some 500,000 of them in this decade alone. What then? Meet Donald Gray Triplett, 77, of Forest, Mississippi. He was the first person ever diagnosed with autism. And his long, happy, surprising life may hold some answers.

In 1951, A Hungarian-born psychologist, mind reader, and hypnotist named Franz Polgar was booked for a single night's performance in a town called Forest, Mississippi, at the time a community of some 3,000 people and no hotel accommodations. Perhaps because of his social position - he went by Dr. Polgar, had appeared in Life magazine, and claimed (falsely) to have been Sigmund Freud's "medical hypnotist" - Polgar was lodged at the home of one of Forest's wealthiest and best-educated couples, who treated the esteemed mentalist as their personal guest.

Polgar's all-knowing, all-seeing act had been mesmerizing audiences in American towns large and small for several years. But that night it was his turn to be dazzled, when he met the couple's older son, Donald, who was then 18. Oddly distant, uninterested in conversation, and awkward in his movements, Donald nevertheless possessed a few advanced faculties of his own, including a flawless ability to name musical notes as they were played on a piano and a genius for multiplying numbers in his head. Polgar tossed out "87 times 23," and Donald, with his eyes closed and not a hint of hesitation, correctly answered "2,001."

Indeed, Donald was something of a local legend. Even people in neighboring towns had heard of the Forest teenager who'd calculated the number of bricks in the facade of the high school - the very building in which Polgar would be performing - merely by glancing at it.

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Corn Syrup May Get a New Name...Nice Try

corn syrup logo
© Hannah Donovan
The health effects of corn syrup have been debated, and many Americans now generally believe that corn syrup may not be the best sweetening choice for their health. So what does the Corn Refiners Association do? Well, change the name of course.

The Corn Refiners Association has asked the FDA to rename 'corn syrup' as 'corn sugar'. The renaming may take years to be officially allowed on food labels, but the CRA is already using it in advertising. Here's a link to their BS PR for 'corn sugar'. And wait, here's another. And another (this is a must watch video).
The Corn Refiners Association decided to 'show' high-fructose corn syrup was as safe as sugar. It's no different than the Tobacco industry telling us nicotine isn't addictive.

What they didn't tell you is it's banned in places like Canada and Europe. You can even buy sodas in Mexico without it in since they don't have American lobbyists writing their laws.

If you can't see that they are using the same tactics as the Tobacco Industry used in the past you are completely blind.

Evil Rays

High-Fructose Corn Syrup is Evil: 7 Key Findings

high fructose corn syrup product
© Unknown
If you look at the ingredients of the food you buy, you've probably seen high-fructose corn syrup on the list more times than you can count. Following up on a great new corn syrup post by Jeannie, "Corn Syrup May Get a New Name...Nice Try," and finally catching up on a few articles I've been meaning to write on for awhile, I've create a list of 7 clear reasons to avoid (or even ditch altogether) high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

High-Fructose Corn Syrup = Evil

Ok, maybe not "evil," since that would require having abilities of discrimination and such. But high-fructose corn syrup is definitely bad for you. If you don't believe me, take a look at this information.