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January 3, 2014 | By Hector Tobar
We all know that reading a novel can transport you, delight you and intrigue you while you're reading it. Now, thanks research by scientists at Emory University, we know that immersing yourself in a novel causes measurable physical changes in the brain that can be detected up to five days after the reader closes the book. The Emory researchers, in a paper for the journal Brain Connectivity, compared the effect to “muscle memory.” "The neural changes that we found associated with physical sensation and movement systems suggest that reading a novel can transport you into the body of the protagonist," neuroscientist Gregory Berns said, according to a report in the journal Science Codex . "We already knew that good stories can put you in someone else's shoes in a figurative sense.
June 1, 2012 | By Mary MacVean
  Most efforts to combat childhood obesity focus on children and adolescents - but perhaps those efforts should start much earlier, even before conception, researchers say. With 10% of U.S. preschoolers obese and another 10% overweight, obesity clearly begins early - in fact, before pregnancy, the researchers say in the June issue of Childhood Obesity. Markers for later heart disease appear in 3-year-olds, they say. A multidisciplinary approach to break the cycle of obesity moving from generation to generation is needed, say the researchers, six experts from institutions across the country who conducted a review of more than 1,000 studies and discussions about efforts underway.
February 27, 2012 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
The rich really are different from the rest of us, scientists have found — they are more apt to commit unethical acts because they are more motivated by greed. People driving expensive cars were more likely than other motorists to cut off drivers and pedestrians at a four-way-stop intersection in the San Francisco Bay Area, UC Berkeley researchers observed. Those findings led to a series of experiments that revealed that people of higher socioeconomic status were also more likely to cheat to win a prize, take candy from children and say they would pocket extra change handed to them in error rather than give it back.
March 6, 2013 | By Mary MacVean
Dieters may want to forget episodes of falling off the wagon, but researchers say an attentive memory for what is eaten could help people eat less at their next meals. So sitting at a movie with a bucket of popcorn holding perhaps a day's worth of calories might be a bad idea for the present and the future, the research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests. In an analysis of 24 studies , the researchers found that while distractions can lead to increased eating, that distraction is even more influential on later eating.
December 25, 2012 | By Mary MacVean
Obesity may be declining slightly among preschoolers in low-income families, researchers looking at federal data said. Obesity and extreme obesity in childhood have been associated with other risk factors for heart disease and with premature death . And the condition is likely to continue into adulthood, Dr. Liping Pan of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wrote. The authors analyzed data from the Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System, which includes almost half of the children eligible for federal maternal and child health and nutrition programs.
February 13, 2013 | By Mary MacVean
Parents who want to raise children who are good at solving problems - and who doesn't? - should watch how they hand out praise to their toddlers, researchers said Tuesday. Praising little ones for their efforts -- rather than for being who they are -- helped make them problem-solvers who think success results from hard work five years later, researchers at the University of Chicago and Stanford University said in the journal Child Development. That means a parent might say, “You worked really hard,” rather than saying, “You are such a smart girl.” The messages, the researchers said, have different effects -- and they influence the way children view the potential for change when they grow older.
June 13, 2013 | By Geoffrey Mohan
The U.S. Supreme Court decision that Myriad Genetics cannot patent two genes linked to ovarian and breast cancer came as welcome relief to researchers whose work on BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes had been thwarted by legal challenges from the company. But while researchers and clinicians no longer will receive cease-and-desist orders from Myriad, they will have to labor for years to catch up with the data and analysis the Utah-based company has been able to accumulate during the 17 years it held a U.S. monopoly on analyzing the genes, said Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute in La Jolla.
September 10, 2010
What makes a corporate merger go bad? Is it a dramatic change in stock price? A revelation about an unprofitable business unit? Resistance from federal regulators? Researchers from the University of British Columbia propose another explanation – too much testosterone . Maurice Levi, Kai Li and Feng Zhang of the university’s Sauder School of Business came up with their theory based on prior research showing that the male sex hormone affects the way men play the ultimatum game . In one version of this game, Player A was asked to divide up $40 between himself and Player B – he could choose either a $35-$5 split, or a $15-$25 split.
January 8, 2011 | By Karen Kaplan
Organic produce is more expensive than the conventional variety, and there are many reasons why consumers fork over that extra money. But if one of those reasons is a belief that organic fruits and veggies are healthier, Danish researchers have some bad news. A detailed scientific assessment of carrots, potatoes and onions – some grown conventionally and some grown organically – found that all of the veggies had essentially the same levels of flavonoids and phenolic acids, two types of nutrients that are thought to be helpful in preventing ailments such as heart disease, cancer and dementia.
February 24, 2012 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
A mental illness that strikes young children suddenly may be caused by a range of factors, including infections, according to a new report. The paper, published in the journal Pediatrics & Therapeutics, reflects a consensus statement on a condition called Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal infections -- or PANDAS. PANDAS causes the abrupt onset of obsessive-compulsive symptoms in young children. In many cases, children fell ill after having a simple, childhood streptococcal infection, such as strep throat.
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