Cognitive Function and Obesity: Does Your BMI Link to Your IQ?

In addition to the well-known impact on risk for disorders such as diabetes and reduced life-expectancy, the effects of obesity may extend to psychological function. The so-called obesity epidemic may be causing decline in cognitive function through direct and indirect impacts on brain functioning. An expanding waistline thus appears to link to decreasing ability to learn and remember.

Obesity and memory

Eating Behavior May Be Influenced By Dining Companions

A new study published in the online journal PLoS ONE demonstrates that diners mimic the eating patterns of their dining companions, matching them bite-for-bite [1]. The researchers studied pairs of young women who did not know one another, and found that they influenced each other with regard to eating patterns. Particularly within the first ten minutes of dining together, the women tended to mimic each other, taking bites of food within five seconds of one another.

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Memories are Made of This: Differences in Working Memory with Age are Linked to Memory Strategies Used

It seems to be a fact of life that memory performance decreases as we age, but new research helps to understand what precisely is decreasing, why and points towards strategies that might help. A study published in the journal Memory suggests that older adults perform less well on working memory tasks as they do not forget information that is no longer relevant [1]. This might sound like a good thing, but it leads to overload of memory processes, damaging memory performance.

Images in the mindImages in the mind image via Shutterstock

Grey Weather, Grey Mood: Cortisol Levels May Underlie Seasonal Affective Disorder

The relationship between season and psychological health in terms of mood has been greatly researched. A recent study shows the cortisol function differs over season in people reporting “Seasonal Affective Disorder” or SAD [1]. This may finally help us to understand any biological mechanism underlying of SAD.

Seasonal affective disorder

Will You Win or Lose? Getting People Tested for Diabetes

Do you respond better to scary messages or those telling you what you’ll gain? This question has concerned health promoters and researchers for many years. A recent study in the UK has shown that the response is related to gender [1]. Men responded better to messages that focus on the negatives or “losses”.