Happiness improves health and lengthens life

A review of more than 160 studies of human and animal subjects has found clear and compelling evidence that – all else being equal – happy people tend to live longer and experience better health than their unhappy peers.

The influence of advertising on drug recommendations

A medical journal’s revenue source can affect drug recommendations, with free journals positively recommending specific drugs while journals funded solely by subscriptions usually recommending against the use of the drugs, states a study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Binge eaters’ dopamine levels spike at sight, smell of food

A brain imaging study at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory reveals a subtle difference between ordinary obese subjects and those who compulsively overeat, or binge: In binge eaters but not ordinary obese subjects, the mere sight or smell of favorite foods triggers a spike in dopamine — a brain chemical linked to reward and motivation. The findings — published online on February 24, 2011, in the journal Obesity — suggest that this dopamine spike may play a role in triggering compulsive overeating.

Immune molecule regulates brain connections

The number of connections between nerve cells in the brain can be regulated by an immune system molecule, according to a new study from UC Davis. The research, published Feb. 27 in the journal Nature Neuroscience, reveals a potential link between immunity, infectious disease and conditions such as schizophrenia or autism.

Listening to music is biological

Music is listened in all known cultures. Similarities between human and animal song have been detected: both contain a message, an intention that reflects innate emotional state that is interpreted correctly even among different species. In fact, several behavioral features in listening to music are closely related to attachment: lullabies are song to infants to increase their attachment to a parent, and singing or playing music together is based on teamwork and may add group cohesion.

Staring contests are automatic: People lock eyes to establish dominance

Imagine that you’re in a bar and you accidentally knock over your neighbor’s beer. He turns around and stares at you, looking for confrontation. Do you buy him a new drink, or do you try to outstare him to make him back off? New research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, suggests that the dominance behavior exhibited by staring someone down can be reflexive.

Scientists create illusion of having 3 arms

In a novel paper published in the online scientific journal PLoS ONE they describe how it is possible to create an illusion of owning three arms, under controlled conditions in a laboratory. The experiment involves the participant sitting at a table and having a realistic prosthetic arm placed next to their right arm.