Humans news stories

Traffic fatalities decline in states with medical marijuana laws
24th December 2016 | Humans

States that enacted medical marijuana laws, on average, experienced reductions in traffic fatalities, according to a study by researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. Overall, states that passed medical marijuana laws saw an 11 percent reduction in traffic fatalities, on average, after enacting the laws, and had 26 percent lower rates of traffic fatalities compared with states without the laws.

Herbal medicine may make tuberculosis easier to treat
24th December 2016 | | Humans, Tech

A centuries-old herbal medicine, discovered by Chinese scientists and used to effectively treat malaria, may help treat tuberculosis and slow the evolution of drug resistance.

A new study shows the ancient remedy artemisinin stopped the ability of TB-causing bacteria, known as Mycobacterium tuberculosis, to become dormant. This stage of the disease often makes the use of antibiotics ineffective.

Antibiotic resistance will hit a terrible tipping point in 2017
24th December 2016 | | Animal Life, Humans

“We are about to reach the point where more antibiotics will be consumed by farm animals worldwide than by humans,” says Mark Woolhouse, at the University of Edinburgh, UK.

This will mean more resistant bacteria, which could be a big threat

Related: Antibiotic cream could prevent Lyme disease: research

You’re an Adult. Your Brain, Not So Much.
24th December 2016 | | Humans

The human brain reaches its adult volume by age 10, but the neurons that make it up continue to change for years after that. The connections between neighboring neurons get pruned back, as new links emerge between more widely separated areas of the brain.

Alt: You may think you’re grown up at 18, but our brains don’t fully mature until after we hit 30

Brain’s party noise filter revealed by recordings
24th December 2016 | | Humans

Direct recordings have revealed what is happening in our brains as we make sense of speech in a noisy room.

Focusing on one conversation in a loud, distracting environment is called “the cocktail party effect”.

A daily cold shower seems to have some psychological benefits
23rd December 2016 | Humans

Exposing your body to cold water has been promoted as a health tonic since at least the Roman period, so it’s about time we gave this a thorough investigation. In a new paper in PLOS One Geert Buijze and his colleagues report on the health and wellbeing effects of the “cool challenge” – a 30-day event in the Netherlands that involved more than 3000 people taking daily showers that ran cold for at least the last 30 seconds each time.

Frequent sauna bathing protects men against dementia
23rd December 2016 | | Humans

Frequent sauna bathing can reduce the risk of dementia, according to a recent study carried out at the University of Eastern Finland. In a 20-year follow-up, men taking a sauna 4-7 times a week were 66% less likely to be diagnosed with dementia than those taking a sauna once a week.

Sunlight offers surprise benefit — it energizes infection fighting T cells
23rd December 2016 | | Humans

Sunlight allows us to make vitamin D, credited with healthier living, but a surprise research finding could reveal another powerful benefit of getting some sun.

Using lots of social media accounts linked to anxiety
23rd December 2016 | | Humans

New research links the number of social media platforms a person uses with risk of depression and anxiety.

The analysis, published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, shows that people who report using seven to 11 social media platforms had more than three times the risk of depression and anxiety than their peers who use zero to two platforms, even after adjusting for the total time spent on social media overall.

The Woman Who Sees Time as a Hula Hoop
23rd December 2016 | | Humans

Imagine a calendar. Chances are you just thought about a rectangular grid, with time progressing from the top-left to the bottom-right. But around one percent of you may have pictured something different—a V, for example, or a hoop encircling your head.

Pregnancy causes long-term changes to brain structure, says study
20th December 2016 | | Humans

Pregnancy appears to trigger long-term changes in brain structure, researchers have revealed, suggesting that the transformations could boost a mother’s ability to care for her newborn baby.

Patients treated by female doctors less likely to die than patients treated by men, new study shows
20th December 2016 | | Humans

Elderly patients are less likely to die or to be readmitted to to the hospital when they’re treated by a female physician than by a male physician, according to new research.

Pets Help People Manage The Pain Of Serious Mental Illness
19th December 2016 | | Animal Life, Humans

Any pet owner will tell you that their animal companions comfort and sustain them when life gets rough. This may be especially true for people with serious mental illness, a study finds. When people with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder were asked who or what helped them manage the condition, many said it was pets that helped the most.

British people are nearly twice as happy as they think they are
19th December 2016 | | Humans

Joyful Brits underestimate the nation’s happiness by 45 per cent, according to a new poll on public perception.

Despite their gloomy estimations, nine in 10 British people consider themselves to be “very or rather happy.”

Number of teens who report doing drugs falls in 2016
19th December 2016 | | Humans

Fewer teenagers in the United States used drugs in 2016 than in previous decades. The positive news comes from an annual survey of almost 45,500 U.S. students in grades eight, 10 and 12.

Teens benefit from later high school start times
19th December 2016 | | Humans

Later high school start times are associated with positive outcomes among teens, including longer weekday sleep durations and reduced vehicular accident rates, research suggests.

Driving after less than five hours sleep is as dangerous as being drunk behind wheel
19th December 2016 | | Humans

Sleeping less than five hours a night and then getting behind the wheel is as dangerous as driving while drunk, a major study has found.

Related: Jet lag increases risk of liver cancer, new study suggests
Related: Australian researchers make major breakthrough in understanding cot death

News stories covering humans, psychology and health.