Sleep? What Sleep?, Go to the Beach! and Dogs Know Best

science

Dogs Know Best

Dog owners already knew their dogs could tell good people from bad. Now science tells us it’s true. According to Japanese researchers, dogs can sense when someone isn’t kind even when that person isn’t unkind to them specifically. As part of the study, dogs went through a scenario in which a volunteer was asked to help someone struggling with a task. In one group, the volunteer helped; in another group, the volunteer refused to help. Then, when the same volunteers offered the dogs a treat, the dogs were more receptive to the helpful volunteer, even completely refusing a treat from the other.

2

The number of artificially sweetened drinks that, if consumed daily, causes an increased risk of clot-based strokes, heart attacks and early death in women over 50, according to the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association.

26.4%

The percentage of shoe soles found carrying Clostridium difficile (C.diff), according to research done at the University of Houston. The nasty bacteria, which can cause serious infections, is just one of the bacteria tracked around by walking — so leave your shoes at the door.

Sleep? What Sleep?

It’s no secret that sleep takes a backseat once a new baby arrives. But research shows that it’s not unusual for parents’ sleeping habits to be affected even six years later. A study published by Oxford University Press found that sleep satisfaction and duration sharply declined in the three months after childbirth — no surprise there — but still hadn’t recovered by the time the child started school. Six years after birth, moms still had 20 fewer minutes of sleep a night while dads slept 15 minutes less.

Go to the Beach

As if the idea needed to be studied, researchers say visits to the beach can help reduce stress, according to a study done at North Carolina State University. Based on a survey of over 1,000 California beachgoers, the study concluded that people with more stress in daily life found the beach the most psychologically restorative. “Beaches and waterfront parks offer more restorative benefits to people than gyms, entertainment venues and the built urban environment,” says J. Aaron Hipp, a professor of community health. “Blue spaces” — such as riversides and the seashore — allow people to recover from stress and recharge enough to face the demands of everyday life.

3

The number of years younger women may look by doing facial exercises. Dermatologists at Northwestern University found that a popular facial-exercise program followed for 20 weeks reduced signs of aging.

Reach Out to the Lonely

Loneliness and social isolation represent a growing public health hazard, according to the American Psychological Association. About 42.6 million adults over age 45 in the United States are believed to suffer from chronic loneliness, according to a Loneliness Study done by the AARP. Plus, the most recent census data shows that more than a quarter of the population lives alone while more than half of the population is unmarried. “Many nations around the world now suggest we are facing a ‘loneliness epidemic,’” says Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a professor of psychology at Brigham Young University. “The challenge we face now is what can be done about it.”

Health JournalSubscribe to our Thursday “Healthy Reads!”