Tag: stress

Study Says: Laugh Your Way to a Pregnant Belly

By Patrick Morgan | January 14, 2011 12:39 pm

Whether you chortle, chuckle, or cackle, having a good laugh–as we’ve known for decades–reduces stress. And according to an Israeli study, it can also make you pregnant.

OK, that’s a slight exaggeration. But researchers who studied 219 women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) discovered that women were more likely to become pregnant if they were paid a visit by a professional “medical clown” after the procedure. The numbers speak for themselves: 36 percent of the clowned women became pregnant, whereas only 20 percent of the un-clowned women conceived.

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Want More Milk? Then Name Your Cows

By Boonsri Dickinson | February 4, 2009 11:25 am

cow1.jpgOne can only speculate whether cows have a preference for names like Princess or Lady. But according to a new study, pretty much any name is better than none at all.

When British scientists asked 516 U.K. dairy farmers, half of whom had named their cows, the other half of whom hadn’t, about how much milk their animals were producing, they found that the cows with names produced more milk—a whopping 500 pints more a year, in fact. That’s an extra 6,800 gallons per year at a typical farm!

The reason for the significant increase, according to Catherine Douglas of Newcastle University’s School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, is that calling cows by name, and thereby presumably giving them personal attention, cuts their level of cortisol, a stress hormone that inhibits milk production.

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MORE ABOUT: cows, milk, stress

Worst Science Article Of The Week: Too Much Coffee Will Make You Hallucinate?

By Boonsri Dickinson | January 16, 2009 12:54 pm

seeing-things.jpgHallucinating isn’t all that uncommon: A whopping 10 percent of people claim to hear voices in their lifetime (though it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re crazy). And while caffeine can cause a range of ailments including bone loss and a rise in blood pressure—and is accused of causing plenty more— hallucinations have remained safely off the list.

Until now, that is. Supposedly, a team of psychologists from Durham University in the U.K. have found that big-time coffee drinkers are three times more likely to suffer hallucinations. The researchers wanted to assess how an excess amount of caffeine affects a healthy population, so they asked 200 non-smoking students about their daily caffeine intake, including anything from coffee to tea to energy drinks to chocolate to caffeine pills.

After probing each person for their caffeine habits, the researchers assessed the students to determine their stress levels as well as how likely they were to hallucinate. A small number (the exact number wasn’t released, but it was small) of the subjects claimed they could see things that weren’t there, hear voices when no one was around, or even “sense the dead.”

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