NEWS FLASH! 5 Crazy Science Stories… One Involves Chocolate!

In Just Science by Cheryl WooodmanLeave a Comment

Round-up, round-up. News flash! I stumble over lots of science studies every day and I thought these 5 you would love.

As I am a science geek and therefore not forgetting my technical training, all references are below the texts, so if you fancy reading more, you can find them. But do be warned, it is pretty hard going to read the actual papers if you are not used to that kind of thing.
5 Crazy Science Stories -

1. CHOCOHOLICS I CALL YOU. More proof that dark chocolate is good for you, if you have been following along the ‘Beaucience’ journey, you will have already read some of the reasons why in my post, No guilt chocolate’. Well, this study showed amazing memory benefits when people were asked to consume a chemical found in cocoa bean products – flavonols. It’s also in red wine, which I take great solace in.
The memory tests showed 10+ year improvement, effectively winding back the age of our brains. Just amazing.
Study published in, ‘Nature neuroscience’.
2. HOW TO PERSUADE YOUR MAN. Men were shown a picture of a man more or less attractive than them and then asked to play poker. If the man truly believed the guy in the photo was ‘more attractive’, they would be much more likely to bet big, gamble more and generally take much more risk.
The study put this down to the classic cave man drive of competing to be seen as the best mating partner. To be richer would be to also be seen as a more attractive mate. So, if your wanting a particularly lovely present from your boyfriend, it might be worth to do it when watching James Bond (ah Mr. Daniel Craig!!).
Study published in, ‘Evolution and Human behavior’.
DOI: 10.1016/J.EVOLHUMBEHAV.2015.03.005
3. YOUR FACE TELLS YOUR REAL AGE. Most of us think about age as a number of years, but here’s an interesting question, what is your biological age and how can you tell?
Researchers profiled facial changes associated with aging. Applying this to a group of volunteers they analysed their age based on these attributes only, not the years they had lived. The study showed what they are calling ‘3d face mapping’ was averagely +/- 6 years from someone’s chronological age.
However, more interestingly, taking blood samples to look for key age related markers (like cholesterol) showed facial age was more accurate in measuring biological age. The paper mentioned how this technology could eventually be turned into an app for our phones – one to look out for, although, do I really want to know?
Study published in, ‘Cell research’.
DOI: 1038/cr.2015.36
4. TWINS SEPERATED BY SPACE, literally space, the great abyss out there, not the ‘I need my distance kind’. In March this year Scott Kelly a NASA astronaut has begun a year long stay in space.
His twin brother also an astronaut is staying on the ground. The aim is to study the effect space has on aging and stress of the body. Theoretically Scott Kelly should return ‘younger’ than his twin brother who has stayed on Earth, well that’s what Einstein’s theories tell us.
5. ARE YOU A LEARNING OWL? Got exams coming up? Here’s one for you. During my study days, I worked 100 times better at about 7-11pm, I always put it down to the pressure of having a deadline – sleep.
A study has shown older adults tend to be morning learners, and young adults, afternoon learners. At the other times your brain is simply not ‘switched on’ to absorb. Next time your studying for an exam, it could be better not to force it, but to go with your natural learning window.
Study published in, ‘Psychology and aging’.
Did you enjoy these? I am wondering about making a bi-monthly roundup but only if you find them interesting!