Yes, anything for science! That is my brain scanned!

Here is what I am reading today:

“Your best side may be your left cheek, according to a new study by Kelsey Blackburn and James Schirillo from Wake Forest University in the US. Their work shows that images of the left side of the face are perceived and rated as more pleasant than pictures of the right side of the face, possibly due to the fact that we present a greater intensity of emotion on the left side of our face.”

“‘Brain freeze’ is a nearly universal experience — almost everyone has felt the near-instantaneous headache brought on by a bite of ice cream or slurp of ice-cold soda on the upper palate. However, scientists are still at a loss to explain this phenomenon. Since migraine sufferers are more likely to experience brain freeze than people who don’t have this often-debilitating condition, brain freeze may share a common mechanism with other types of headaches, including those brought on by the trauma of blast-related combat injuries in soldiers. One possible link between brain freeze and other headache types is local changes in brain blood flow.”

“Researchers from Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute and Harvard University have found that greater consumption of sugar-sweetened and low-calorie sodas is associated with a higher risk of stroke. Conversely, consumption of caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee was associated with a lower risk.”

“Gestures made during interviews can influence or even misinform eyewitnesses. In addition eyewitnesses are unlikely to recall the influential gestures being shown to them, new research suggests. These findings are presented April 20 at the British Psychological Society Annual Conference held in London, England (18-20 April).”



Amir Tadros · April 24, 2012 at 2:54 pm

It seems that there’s a correlation between drinking soda and a higher risk of stroke. I wonder, however, if it’s because drinking soda can lead to obesity which increases the chances of suffering a stroke, or if it’s because of a chemical reaction caused by the soda itself.
I’m curious as to how drinking coffee affects the heart rate and blood pressure of individuals compared to how soda affects it.

LizRichter · April 25, 2012 at 9:43 am

I actually read this story yesterday about a 30 year woman in New Zealand who died of a heart attack and they say it is linked to coke. She drank 8-10 liters of coke everyday, smoked, and had poor eating habits. I guess she had hypokalemia which would cause abnormal heart rhythms. Scary! Here is an article on it!

Laura Freberg · April 25, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Love the critical thinking! It’s not like we’re assigning people to soda and no soda groups.

I’m having trouble picturing what 2 gallons of soda would look like, but I passed an ad the other day at a Mexican food restaurant that advertised a 60 ounce margarita…..Speechless.

Thanks for sharing the link!

montalban · April 26, 2012 at 7:54 am

“Your Left Side is Your Best side: Our left cheek shows more Emotion, which observers find more Aesthetically Pleasing”
These findings make sense when the article refers to the brain. Many of our emotions and such are controlled by the right hemisphere of our brain and that controls the left side of our body; so it makes sense that our emotions displayed on the left side of our face are more expressive. However, parts of this study would concern me. For instance, I would question whether or not the individual being photographed was aware that researchers believed that the left side showed more emotion than the right side. If the individual being photographed knew this information, they could alter their facial expressiveness subconsciously or consciously. In turn, this would create a bias in the study leading those viewing the pictures to see the obvious difference of left versus right-sided portrait pictures. I would suggest carrying out a double blind experiment in which both the researchers and the participants in the photographs were unaware of which side was being photographed when. And then continue the blinding in having the researchers read the pupil sizes and rating the participants’ pleasantness in viewing the picture blindly. Also, the study does not address the issue of age. Is it possible that older individuals see things differently because of how their brain is wired at that age when compared to teenagers’ brains? I feel like there may be some variation in what younger individuals finding aesthetically pleasing and what older individuals do. In addition, I would want the researchers to look for another study in which pupil size increased with viewing aesthetically pleasing pictures because there were some variables that I felt were not addressed. For example, if the grayscale pictures had more white than black in left-sided portraits, maybe individuals picked up on this and that is the reason they found those portraits more pleasing. The difference in grayscale colors then would be the reason they found the left-sided portraits more pleasing, not necessarily the fact that the portraits were one side or the other but the difference in color was more physically eye-catching.

montalban · April 26, 2012 at 7:54 am

“Soda Consumption Increases Overall Stroke Risk”
I tend to shy away from believing articles such as these because a lot of things are said in science that aren’t necessarily true but believed by the majority of the population. For instance, instead of apparently everything in the universe causing cancer maybe it has something more to do with lifestyle choices and/or one’s genetic makeup which can be triggered by environmental causes. Although, this study has a quite extensive sample of the population but may be biased in that all the individuals were those who participated in a Health Professionals Follow-Up Study or a Nurses’ Health Study. Not quite sure what this means I am unsure whether this large sample of individuals are average persons or those that willingly made an effort to participate and be included in the study. In addition, the article lists that those that drink soda frequently are also more likely to eat red meat and whole-fat dairy products. This is concerning because it may be the combination of these dietary preferences that cause a higher risk of stroke in these individuals and not specifically the soda itself. All in all, articles like these I tend not to believe very much because there are so many other factors that were not regulated or just ignored.

madisonwalter · May 3, 2012 at 3:19 pm

I have read various articles about soda being bad for you, but nothing with shocking results linking it to strokes like this! Being a Diet Coke drinker, I am curious to find out if it was mainly the sugar content in the regular sodas linking consumption to strokes and if diet sodas have similar results. I will definitely have to increase my coffee intake to make up for less soda drinking—need to get the caffeine from somewhere!

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