linkfest – 07/17/11

The Brain on Trial“Many of us like to believe that all adults possess the same capacity to make sound choices. It’s a charitable idea, but demonstrably wrong. People’s brains are vastly different.”

So how often does medical consensus turn out to be wrong?

Urge to binge on fatty food ‘dates back to the Ice Age’“British scientists have discovered a DNA switch in the brain that they believe makes Europeans far more likely to binge on fatty food than those living in the East.” – thnx, ice age.

Diver Snaps First Photo of Fish Using Tools – cool!

18 Attributes of Highly Effective Liars“[M]ost characteristics we mentioned are inherent, and related to personality.”

Chinese doctor sets out to ‘cure’ bad driving“When compared to safe drivers, accident prone ones score worse on tests of their night vision, depth perception and ability to estimate speed. Personality tests show they tend to be more extroverted and enjoy taking risks. By testing the DNA samples of about 350 Chinese bus drivers from Hangzhou, [Dr. Jin Huiqing] found that three genes show potential links to accident prone driving.”

Genes Linked to Restless Legs Syndrome Identified

Princeton release: High social rank comes at a price, researchers find“[I]n wild baboon populations, the highest-ranking, or alpha, males have higher stress-hormone levels than the highly ranked males below them, known as beta males — even during periods of stability.”

Baby Parrots Learn Their Names From Their Parents – cool! wait. parrots have names??

sea anemones have personality – personality goes a long way.

Setting the record straight almost impossible“The effect of misinformation on memory and reasoning cannot be completely eliminated, even after it has been corrected numerous times, say Australian psychologists.”

bonus: A new Great Game is evolving in Afghanistan

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eat salt!

eat salt already! from scientific american:

“It’s Time to End the War on Salt”
“The zealous drive by politicians to limit our salt intake has little basis in science

This week a meta-analysis of seven studies involving a total of 6,250 subjects in the American Journal of Hypertension found no strong evidence that cutting salt intake reduces the risk for heart attacks, strokes or death in people with normal or high blood pressure. In May European researchers publishing in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that the less sodium that study subjects excreted in their urine — an excellent measure of prior consumption — the greater their risk was of dying from heart disease. These findings call into question the common wisdom that excess salt is bad for you, but the evidence linking salt to heart disease has always been tenuous….

“Rather than create drastic salt policies based on conflicting data, Alderman and his colleague Hillel Cohen propose that the government sponsor a large, controlled clinical trial to see what happens to people who follow low-salt diets over time. Appel responds that such a trial ‘cannot and will not be done,’ in part because it would be so expensive. But unless we have clear data, evangelical antisalt campaigns are not just based on shaky science; they are ultimately unfair. ‘A great number of promises are being made to the public with regard to this enormous benefit and lives saved,’ Cohen says. But it is ‘based on wild extrapolations.‘”

previously: wtf medical establishm’t?

(note: comments do not require an email. why, yes, i’ll have salt with that.)

got milk?

Dairy consumption does not elevate heart attack risk, study suggests

“They split the study population between two equal groups: 1,815 ‘cases’ who had non-fatal heart attacks and 1,815 comparable ‘controls’ who did not. The researchers looked not only at the subjects’ self-reported dairy intake, but also at measurements of dairy fat biomarkers, namely 15:0 and 17:0, in their bodies.

“What they found is that the dairy intake of people who had heart attacks was not statistically different than the intake of people who did not. After breaking people into quintiles, based on their dairy consumption amount, there was no significant linear relationship between consumption and heart risk, even among the most voracious consumers. The highest consumption quintile consumed an average of 593 grams of dairy foods a day.

“When the researchers controlled for such risk factors as smoking, waist-to-hip ratio, alcohol intake, and physical activity, the lack of a statistically significant association between dairy intake and heart attack risk remained. They also tracked and adjusted the data for levels of CLA and calcium and found they may have a protective effect. Protective effects lessened in the highest quintile, however.”

i drink milk and eat a fair amount of cheese. i’ve always figured that i come from a looooooooong line of lactose tolerant people so milk is prolly ok for me. and, goshd*rnit, i LUV milk! everything in moderation, tho (except for dark chocolate).

previously: wtf medical establishm’t?

(note: comments do not require an email.)

wtf medical establishm’t?

i’m gonna join the ranks of the one and dennis mangan in questioning wtf is with all the screwy dietary advice from the medical establishment?? eat lots of grains? hmmmmm. don’t eat too much animal fat? yeah, right. cholesterol is bad for you and causes vascular disease? pull the other one!

and now, starting to be de-bunked(?), don’t eat too much salt…

Fatal and Nonfatal Outcomes, Incidence of Hypertension, and Blood Pressure Changes in Relation to Urinary Sodium Excretion

“Conclusions – In this population-based cohort, systolic blood pressure, but not diastolic pressure, changes over time aligned with change in sodium excretion, but this association did not translate into a higher risk of hypertension or CVD complications. Lower sodium excretion was associated with higher CVD mortality.

yeah. you read that right. people who ate (or, at least, excreted) the LEAST amount of salt had a (slightly) higher death rate from heart disease. above-average salt intake did NOT increase blood pressure in this study.

i haven’t read the full article yet (will have to wait ’til after the weekend, i’m afraid), but wtf medical establishment? i’m sure working out all these dietary things is d*mn complicated, but quit giving advice without being as sure as you can be, already!

note that the study was done in denmark the flemish part of belgium, so maybe this applies only to danish flemish|germanic people. -?-

see also: Salt is GOOD for you: Eating more could even lower the chances of heart disease

(heh. now i’m glad i never followed the no-salt recommendation. i like salt, gosh-d*rnit! and i eat it! in moderation, like everything else. except for dark chocolate, of course.)

(note: comments do not require an email.)