Archive for December, 2015

small study suggests that for adolescents, their number of Facebook friends may be related to their stress levels, with more than 300 friends associated with higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol.


The study only included 88 participants at one point in time, so it can’t indicate whether changes in Facebook metrics cause an increase in stress, or vice versa.

Other important external factors are also responsible for cortisol levels, but Facebook involvement may have its own effect, senior author Sonia Lupien of Montreal Mental Health University Institute said in a statement.

“We were able to show that beyond 300 Facebook friends, adolescents showed higher cortisol levels; we can therefore imagine that those who have 1,000 or 2,000 friends on Facebook may be subjected to even greater stress,” she said.

The 88 teens in the study, age 12-17, answered questions about their Facebook use frequency, number of friends, self-promoting behavior and supporting behavior of friends. The researchers measured the teens’ cortisol levels four times a day for three days.

Kids who had more than 300 Facebook friends tended to have higher cortisol levels than those with fewer friends, the researchers reported in Psychoneuroendocrinology.

With more peer interaction on Facebook, however, cortisol levels tended to be lower. Neither depression nor self-esteem were related to cortisol levels.

Cortisol levels in early adolescence may influence risk of depression years later, the authors wrote.

Wenhong Chen of the department of Radio-TV-Film and the department of Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin, who was not part of the new study, points out that the research is about Facebook, and so the findings can’t necessarily be generalized to other forms of social media use.

It may also not be generalizable to other age groups, Chen said.

“The preliminary nature of our findings will require refined measurement of Facebook behaviors in relation to physiological functioning and we will need to undertake future studies to determine whether these effects exist in younger children and adults,” Lupien said. “Developmental analysis could also reveal whether virtual stress is indeed ‘getting over the screen and under the skin’ to modulate neurobiological processes related to adaptation.”

Offline friend network size was also related to cortisol levels.

“It may not be about the number of friends either online or offline, it may be more about potential communication overload,” Chen said by email.

Larger networks may mean more peers and more drama, she said.

Rather than using the overall number of friends online or offline it may be more revealing to examine network composition, strong ties and weak ties, as well as individuals’ position in their networks, she said.

ource: Facebook network and stress levels may be tied together | Duluth News Tribune

Prosecutors say the former Suffolk County police chief should be denied bail Friday because he’s a danger to the community for a long-running pattern of behavior that includes beating a prisoner who snatched sex toys and pornographic videos from his SUV and covering up the crime.

They plan to argue against bail for James Burke, saying in court papers he had long tried to “create a climate of fear to protect his interests” as he led one of the nation’s largest police forces.

Defense attorney Nancy Bartling said in an email there will be no evidence alleging Burke is a danger to the community or a threat “to further obstruct any investigation.”

“No facts exist that warrants his incarceration before trial. He has the same presumption of innocence that every criminal defendant has who appears before the court,” she said.

Prosecutors claimed in a letter obtained by The Associated Press before it was deleted from the public record that Burke repeatedly abused his power and authority prior to Wednesday’s arrest.

They say he used a GPS device in 2013 to snoop on a high-ranking civilian police department official he disliked and covered up his drunken driving accident in 2011.

They contend his conduct worsened after he learned federal authorities were investigating him for punching, kicking and threatening the life of a handcuffed inmate arrested for breaking into his vehicle in December 2012 and for snatching his personal items from the crime scene at the inmate’s mother’s home.

The letter to U.S. District Judge Leonard Wexler said Burke began a cover-up when a special prosecutor was appointed in March 2013, telling witnesses to agree “he merely ‘popped’ his head in to look” at the suspect.

“Knowing Burke’s reputation for violating the law and seeking retribution against those who went against his corrupt orders, the witnesses feared their careers would be destroyed,” prosecutors wrote.

After the FBI and prosecutors began a civil rights probe in May 2013, Burke told a witness at an evidentiary hearing in October 2013 to lie, which the officer did, prosecutors said.

“Efforts by Burke to tamper with witnesses and impede the federal investigation have continued to the present, and Burke’s touted connections to law enforcement who remain on duty in the county continue to instill fear,” prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said county officers assigned to a joint state-federal task force were ordered by Burke to spy on witnesses and federal law enforcement colleagues. They said several witnesses have said Burke in October tried to give them a “timeline” containing false events and that he has threatened to “take everyone” down with him if he was arrested.

Wexler has said he plans to close Friday’s bail hearing to the public, prompting a letter from lawyers for several media organizations, including The Associated Press, challenging the legality of a closed hearing. The letter, citing legal precedent, said “the existence of pretrial publicity, alone, does not justify closure.”

The other news organizations were Newsday, the Daily News, The New York Times, the New York Post, News 12 Networks, WABC-TV and WNBC-TV.


Neumeister reported from New York.

Source: Prosecutors Seek to Detain Ex-Chief, Labeling Him a Danger – ABC News

WASHINGTON, Dec. 10 (UPI) — A pesticide used by farmers until it was banned for commercial sale in the United States in 1988 was linked to the development of Parkinson’s disease in people who consumed it in milk, researchers reported in a new study. Previous studies have suggested milk could increase the risk for Parkinson’s, a neurodegenerative disease that affects motor neurons in the brain, however researchers found in a study of Hawaiian men who donated their brains to science that the pesticide heptachlor epoxide may have played a role in their disease. ADVERTISING Heptachlor and the form it takes when sprayed, heptachlor epoxide, was 1980s by pineapple farmers and made its way into milk after scraps and debris from farms were fed to dairy cows. Scientists said the chemical persists in soil and water for years, and has been found in both, as well goat and milk supplies in other parts of the world. An international team of researchers used data collected from 1965 to 1968 by the Honolulu-Asia Aging Study on milk intake by 449 men between ages of 45 and 68, who then agreed to donate their brains for research after death, postmortem studies of which were done between 1992 and 2004. Neuron density in the brains was found to be lowest among nonsmokers who consumed the highest amounts of milk, with density found 41.5 percent lower for people who drank 16 ounces or more of milk per day. The pesticide was found in 9 out of 10 brains of the people who drank the most milk, and found in just 63.4 percent of men who drank no milk. The researchers also noted the study appears to support nonsmokers’ lower risk for neuron loss associated with Parkinson’s disease, supporting findings in previous studies. Despite the strong link found in the new study, the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation cautions the milk could not be tested, leaving the results of the study to be somewhat hypothetical. “The researchers could not test whether the milk the men drank was contaminated with pesticides, and no one knows how long or how widespread the contamination was before being detected,” the foundation said in a press release. “The potential link between drinking milk, pesticides and development of Parkinson’s disease needs further investigation.” Heptachlor was used for termite control as well as on crops through the 1960s and 1970s, when its use declined until U.S. commercial sales of the chemical were banned in 1988. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency still allows the use of heptachlor to control fire ants in power transformers. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration limits for residual heptachlor and heptachlor epoxide for most food crops is .01 or .02 parts per million, and .1 parts per million for milk solids. The study is published in the journal Neurology.

Source: Study links contaminants in milk to Parkinson’s disease –

There are multiple ways to determine if that carton of milk in your fridge should be thrown out (smell test, taste test or just checking the “sell-by” date). But what’s the best way to figure out if your food should be tossed or saved?

“Sell-by” dates may seem like an easy way to tell when to throw out food, but it turns out that in most cases, a “sell-by” or “best used by” date isn’t an automatic warning sign that the food is spoiled.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the “sell-by” date tells the store how long to display the product for sale. It doesn’t mean the product has gone bad once it reaches the “sell-by” or “best used by” date.

A “best used by” date actually has nothing to do with spoilage. In this case, the date is recommended for flavor or quality standards. A canned item like soup with a “best if used by” date might be safe to eat long after the date passes, but expect a little less flavor with each passing day.


There are no federal requirements for putting expiration dates on food, except for infant formula. A “best used by” date indicates the last date of the product’s peak quality. In the case of infant formula, using a product after the “best used by” date can mean there are less nutrients and the quality may have degraded so that the formula separates or clogs.

Dr. Michael Hansen, senior staff scientist with Consumers Union, a consumer trade group, told ABC News that the dates listed on food don’t give much indication if a product has spoiled or not.

“What most people think is that the food is bad after that date,” Hansen said, “and that it could be a hazardous.”

The USDA has guidelines on how long to keep perishable items in the fridge here. The guidelines should be followed regardless of the “sell-by” date. Food with a “use-by” date shouldn’t be consumed after that date passes.


Source: Food Sell-By Dates: What They Really Tell You – ABC News

Narcissists are bred, not born, by parents who tell them they are superior to others and deserve special treatment.

Source: How parents create narcissistic children – The Washington Post

A new study shows that the happiness of a first-time parent falls after the baby arrives. That may be why so many don’t end up having a second.

Source: It turns out parenthood is worse than divorce, unemployment — even the death of a partner – The Washington Post

The researchers say the belief that unhappiness and stress directly cause ill health “came from studies that had simply confused cause and effect.”

Source: Happiness won’t help you live longer (but unhappiness won’t kill you either) – The Washington Post

Scientists keep discovering more information about how vitamin D, which is the only one the body produces by exposing the skin to sunlight, can affect our health.

Source: Vitamin D helps boost testosterone levels in men

The debate over vitamin D3 and what it can or can’t do in the body has taken a positive spin. Using biopsies of actual tissues samples, scientists in the UK have documented actual regeneration or repairs in muscle fibers.

Source: Study says vitamin D3 may speed up recovery process |

A drug that’s commonly used to treat diabetes may hold the secret to longevity, according to a recent study.

Source: Miracle Drug Metformin May Hold Longevity Secrets : Health & Medicine : Science World Report

What do you get when you cross half an arachnid and an electric car? It’s called the SwinCar, and it is French, fully electric, and completely awesome.

Source: Could the SwinCar Revolutionize Electric Off-Roading? – JK-Forum