breaking news

To give people a break from all my football-related blogging, I thought I’d write about other stuff. Maybe you still won’t be particularly interested, but some people say that "a change is as good as a holiday", so, in the spirit of this brief reprieve from uni which barely qualifies as a "holiday", I’m making a change. No, it’s not really a big change, but I’ve written out that sentence now, and it’d be such a shame to delete it all.

Hmm… maybe all this time I’m spending trying to write up my respiratory pharmacology report is affecting my ability to make sense to normal people…

Sundays are when I receive my ‘Science Daily’ e-newsletters, which are basically lists of all the headlines they’ve had in the past week. If I’m pretty busy with other stuff, I won’t even bother skimming through it, but I like having a browse through the headlines and seeing what’s new in the world of science. There have been some great stories in this week’s newsletter.

One of the headlines at the top of the list was "Can’t focus? Maybe it’s the wrong time of the month, finds estrogen study on attention and learning". This is basically saying that high oestrogen levels can affect one’s ability to concentrate. Can’t really say anything about personal experience here, but it’s nice to have an excuse like that in reserve.

Here’s one headline that maybe more people can relate to: "Teenagers are more sedentary on weekends". I’m not sure about you, but I’m technically still a teenager and, having stayed within the confines of my home for this entire weekend, I think I fit the bill very well here. But, of course, I didn’t need a research study to tell me this. Life is busy from Monday to Friday, so of course I’m going to take advantage of a weekend without work to just take it easy.

Another story I found quite interesting and thought I’d share was one that "found that just as thinking burns energy, stopping a thought burns energy — like stopping a truck on a downhill slope". The perfect example is when you’re trying to get a really annoying song/tune out of your head. I, for one, know that it can seem like one of the hardest things to do, so it makes sense that it burns through so much energy.

And now for the story about a miracle class of drugs that, if I remember correctly, one lecturer said "should be in the water". Of course, I’m talking about statins. They lower bad cholesterol, increase good cholesterol, stabilise atherosclerotic plaque, decrease general cardiovascular risk, and the list goes on. Now they’re being investigated for another purpose: treating prostate cancer. The researchers basically found that some statins have anti-angiogenic effects – they stop blood vessels from growing to and feeding tumours.

Knowledge is bliss, isn’t it? Sometimes science just truly amazes me.

For those eager scientists out there, here’s something you can try at home. It’s called the "thermal grill illusion" and I only just found out about it from reading another ‘Science Daily’ article about how the natural instinct to touch an area of one’s body that’s in pain does actually help reduce the pain (for acute pain, anyway).

Now, I haven’t actually tried this myself, but they say that if you put the index and ring fingers in warm water, and you put the middle finger in cold water, it "generates a paradoxical feeling that the middle finger is painfully hot". Seems plausible, but it’d be interesting to see how "painfully hot" it really is. Let me know if you actually try it~!

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