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Medicine

Lithium In Water "Curbs Suicide" 458

SpuriousLogic writes "Drinking water which contains lithium may reduce the risk of suicide, a Japanese study suggests. Researchers compared levels of lithium in drinking water to suicide rates in the prefecture of Oita, which has a population of more than one million. The suicide rate was significantly lower in those areas with the highest levels of lithium, they wrote in the British Journal of Psychiatry. And I was only worried about fluoridation affecting my precious bodily fluids before ..."
Medicine

Diet of Fast Food and Candy May Cause Alzheimer's 224

lurking_giant sends along a Reuters report on research out of Sweden indicating that a diet rich in fat, sugar, and cholesterol could increase the risk of Alzheimer's, at least in mice. "'On examining the brains of these mice, we found a chemical change not unlike that found in the Alzheimer brain,' [said] Susanne Akterin, a researcher at the Karolinska Institutet's Alzheimer's Disease Research Center... 'We now suspect that a high intake of fat and cholesterol in combination with genetic factors... can adversely affect several brain substances, which can be a contributory factor in the development of Alzheimer's.' ... These mice showed chemical changes in their brains, indicating an abnormal build-up of the protein tau as well as signs that cholesterol in food reduced levels of another protein called Arc involved in memory storage."
Television

Unhappy People Watch More TV 193

Hugh Pickens writes "A new study by sociologists at the University of Maryland concludes that unhappy people watch more TV, while people who describe themselves as 'very happy' spend more time reading and socializing. 'TV doesn't really seem to satisfy people over the long haul the way that social involvement or reading a newspaper does,' says researcher John P. Robinson. 'It's more passive and may provide escape — especially when the news is as depressing as the economy itself. The data suggest to us that the TV habit may offer short-run pleasure at the expense of long-term malaise.' Unhappy people also liked their TV more: 'What viewers seem to be saying is that while TV in general is a waste of time and not particularly enjoyable, "the shows I saw tonight were pretty good."' The researchers analyzed two sets of data spanning nearly 30 years (PDF), gathered from nearly 30,000 adults, and found that unhappy people watch an estimated 20 percent more television than very happy people, after taking into account their education, income, age, and marital status — as well as other demographic predictors of both viewing and happiness. 'TV can become a kind of opiate in a way. It's habitual, and tuning in can be an easy way of tuning out.'"

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