The World News
Happiness and Health
It has long been thought that happy and positive people tend to be generally healthier than stressed, hostile, or pessimistic people. In one recent study, researchers concluded that people with “upbeat moods” have lower levels of cortisol—a stress hormone that may contribute to a range of ills when it is chronically elevated.
Such people also have lower levels of “two proteins that indicate widespread inflammation in the body.” According to Dr. Andrew Steptoe of University College, London, “mood states are not just a matter of heredity, but depend on our social relationships and fulfillment in life.
Can Video Games Be Addictive?
“Brain reactions of people who play computer games excessively are similar to those of alcoholics or cannabis addicts.” So says psychologist Ralf Thalemann, leader of an addiction research group at Charité University Hospital, Berlin, Germany.
It is thought that stimulation from excessive playing of computer games can cause an increased release of dopamine into a player’s brain, which produces a sensation of well-being that can eventually create an “addiction.” One survey suggested that this may occur in over 10 percent of those who play video games
Pets Come First
According to an Internet survey, “one in four Australians say their pet is the most valuable member of the family, even more important than their partner or parents,” reports The Sydney Morning Herald online.
One in three respondents to a survey conducted by an Australian financial services company spent “more time and money on their pet than on their own medical needs.” Pet treatment options include magnetic resonance imaging, keyhole surgery, bone grafts, chemotherapy, organ transplants, hip replacement, and even brain surgery.
The Rich Are Often “Insecure and Troubled”
“Millionaires feel insecure and troubled,” states the Beijing newspaper China Daily. A survey was conducted among individuals from East China and South China who had an average wealth of 2.2 billion yuan ($275 million).
The researchers, who studied rich people’s “attitudes toward faith, marriage, life, career and money,” found that “a majority of the millionaires love and hate money at the same time.” A number of respondents said that besides social status and a sense of accomplishment, “annoyance is the main thing money has brought them.
Children’s Identities Stolen
A growing number of children are victims of identity theft, with potentially devastating impact on their future credit rating and relationships, says The Wall Street Journal. Such crimes, usually committed by a family member, can go undetected for decades.
“Most people don’t realize that someone has been illegally using their identity . . . until they apply for their first job, a driver’s license, a student loan or a mortgage,” explains the newspaper. Some find out earlier if a credit agency attempts to collect debts that have accumulated in the victim’s name.
A Nap Might Do You Good
A study of over 23,000 Greek men and women concluded that taking at least three daytime naps a week may reduce the risk of death from heart attack by 37 percent. “There is considerable evidence that both acute and chronic stress are related to heart disease,” explains Dimitrios Trichopoulos, a researcher and an epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health, U.S.A. “An afternoon siesta,” he says, “may act as a stress-releasing process [and] reduce coronary mortality.
Divorce Bad for the Environment
The surging divorce rate worldwide is hurting the environment, since it results in increased consumption of limited resources. Divorce leads to more households, decreased household size, and higher consumption per head, says a study printed in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“Divorced households in the [United States] could have saved more than 38 million rooms, 73 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, and 627 billion gallons [2,400,000,000,000 l] of water in 2005 alone if their resource-use efficiency had been comparable to married households.” In the year 2000, there were 6.1 million “resource-inefficient” households of this kind in the United States