Charity D.'s blog

Scientific

On Stress and Belly Fat

Writer and runner Haruki Murakami has a great line in his book Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World: Walking behind a beautiful young fat woman, the narrator speculates, "There must be as many paths of human fat, as there are ways of human death."

Well, some Wake Forest researchers have found an exception to Murakami's rule: The searchers fed monkeys an "average American diet," and the monkeys got fat. Shocker! But here's the wrinkle: The researchers also found that if the monkeys ate American food and experienced prolonged stress, they got fat in a particular, common way. They developed belly fat. 

That's bad news because belly fat is linked to heart disease in monkeys and in humans.  People with larger waistlines -- over 40 inches in men, and over 35 inches in women -- are at significantly higher risk for all sorts of trouble: Diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, among others.

Yet another reason to manage your stress: Lose the belly, and nurture your own, natural, even literary, fat profile.

Pot Bellied Ape!

Scientific

Love And Scrabble Make It Hurt Less

You may recall the fascinating finding that popping acetaminophen can ease the pain of social rejection. So headache, take Tylenol. Party snub, take Tylenol. Well, here's a related finding for people who prefer a more natural approach. Turns out love can ease physical pain. In the study, researchers took people who were in love, placed hot probes in their hands, and then scanned their brains. The people who professed to be in love and were then shown a picture of their loved one while holding the hot probe showed a 40% reduction in moderate pain and a 10-15% reduction of severe pain. 

Ah jeez, another way people in love get to lord it over single people. Sheesh. But not so fast! Turns out distracting word games were just about as effective at dulling pain. Ta da! An equal-access solution! Who needs a boyfriend when you have Scrabble....

Love and Scrabble (via <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/luisar/4025646788/">luisar</a>)

Scientific

Screw Self-Tanner. Get A Tan Through Enzyme Therapy

Wild new bio-molecular breakthrough—scientists have figured out how to give you a tan by monkeying with your enzymes. Or at least they've figured out how to give a mouse a tan, and you're next. The researchers discovered that when they blocked the enzyme PDE-4D3, melanin production kicks in, which in turn darkens skin pigment. Not sure I'll be signing up for a bio-tan anytime soon, but bodybuilders nationwide and the entire cast of the Jersey Shore must be rejoicing at this news. 

Tan (via <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/evilerin/3792695572/">evilerin</a>)

Celebrity Fitness

Ryan Reynolds' Body Fat Percentage Is Probably Lower Than Yours

"For a romantic comedy, he needs to shrink down a bit. For Blade and Green Lantern, he was 200 pounds and 8% body fat. For rom coms, he’s about 180 and 11% body fat....I was with him in New Orleans [for the Green Lanterns shoot] for six months. We worked out seven days a week, 90 minutes a day, and never did the same workout twice."

Ryan Reynolds' trainer, Bobby Strom, explaining why muscles like Ryan Reynolds' may be a little out of reach for you...

Ryan Reynolds

touchapps01 said "

I know it may sound weird coming from me,
but I do love Ryan ..." More comments...

Superhero Sports

Batman Athlete Films His Wing-Suit Flight

You may recall the Hero Cam, aka the HD camera you can strap to your head or chest and then use to film yourself doing awesome stuff. Here's what it looks like if you attach that sort of camera to your head and jump out of a plane in a Batman suit. (The action picks up at :45) 

More...

Online & Video

Kid Fitness

How Many Kids Walk To School?

Interesting factoid of the day: In the late 1960s, 48% of kids walked or biked to school. Today, that number is 12%.

School (via <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/gallery/2010/10/11/GA2010101105204.html">Washington Post</a>)

jane9 said "

I wish my kids did!

" More comments...

Scientific

Women Have To Work Harder To Earn Their Sweat

Remember the study that showed that the better shape you're in the more you sweat? Researchers in Japan recently concluded a similar study, which confirmed the finding—if you've been training, you work up a sweat a lot faster. Good news for keeping you cool during hard workouts. But here's the bad news—women have to get hotter before they get their sweaty rewards. The order of sweatiness went like this (from most to least): In-shape men, in-shape women, out-of-shape men, out-of-shape women. It'd be nice if this just meant that ladies were just cooler. But nope. Just means we're at more of a risk for heat stroke. Boo.   

Yoga Sweat (via <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/23889619@N04/3207561673/in/photostream/">Ron Sombilon Gallery</a>)

Scientific

Meat Snacks Are Totally Unnecessary, Broccoli Fights Cancer, And Other Scientific Findings of Note

Today's science beat: A whole bunch of fascinating stuff about your body you may not have known until this very minute...

  • You can skip the snack packs. There are people who swear by lots of little meals throughout the day. Like Jackie Warner. One of the downsides of this approach, though, is that it pretty much necessitates carrying bags of food with you. It's one thing if it's baby carrots, but what if you want some protein? A bag of meat snacks in your pocket? That's got an awful lot of backfire potential... Luckily for you, a new study shows that for high-protein diets, three meals a day is actually more satiating than six meals a day. In tangentially-related news, there was a meat heist outside the Plaza Hotel yesterday. 
  • The transgender golf lowdown. Okay, not exactly science, but just in case you're considering gender reassignment surgery, keep in mind that the LPGA currently bars transgendered individuals from competing. But that might change soon!
Broccoli (via <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/stone-soup/4195079801/">jules:stone-soup</a>)
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So Wrong Thong

The Bike Seat With Built-In Underwear

Right after you finish running your commando half-marathon, hop on this bike... Introducing, the thong bike seat. Just in case you think we're seriously recommending undie-free biking, let me take this moment to remind you of the wonders of workout underpants. (via Jezebel)

Bike Thong

Scientific

Watch Out For Night Lights and 50-Somethings Without Condoms

Today in science:

  • An Evil Glow. That freaky nightlight in the photo is a demon that makes everyone who comes in contact with it fat. Or, to put it in scientific terms, mice who spent eight weeks with a dim light on at night gained 50% more weight than mice who slept in the dark. So what, they were tired so they ate more and moved less? Not so simple! In fact, their physical activity and their food were held constant. So the real explanation is that sleep disruption messed with their metabolism
  • Sex vs. Puking. Did you know German drug makers were working on a female viagra? It was called flibanserin, and the company just pulled the plug on it. Why?
Nightlight.jpg
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