Friday, April 18, 2014

Plastic Surgeon Certificates of Identity

Well, hey there! Great to see you today. What'cha been up to? Me? Going for walks with Nong, then chillin' out in my recliner with a coffee. Help yourself to one and slip a virtual treat onto your plate while no one is looking. Say... take a gander at the before and after photos above...

Korean plastic surgeries have gotten so good that some surgeons are issuing special certificates to prove people are who they say they are.

South Korean plastic surgeons are among the best in the world. In fact they’re so good that people from other countries like China and Japan are actually having trouble getting back home.

That’s sounds really crazy, but it’s true. When most people get a nose job or a lip job, they just look like ‘enhanced’ versions of themselves. But people returning from a plastic surgery vacation in South Korea are truly transformed. 

You’d have to look very closely at the ‘before’ and ‘after’ photographs, and even then, it’s hard to make a connection. So I suppose you couldn’t really blame airport officials for stopping these tourists from returning home.

My idea of a nose job is when I'm drinking cappucino, get a little too close to the whipped cream and get it all over my shnoz!

See ya, eh!

Bob on the mend...

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Black and Blond – The Origin of Blonde Afros in Melanesia

Good day to you, eh! How're you going? Fit for footy? You will be after quaffing down a mug of coffee and a virtual treat. Being the world explorer that I know you are, I thought you'd be interested in this...

About a quarter of the Melanesian population in the Solomon Islands archipelago has an extremely unusual trait – dark skin with blond hair. The archipelago, located east of Papa New Guinea in Oceania, consists of a thousand islands inhabited by over half a million Melanesian people. They have the darkest skin in the world outside of Africa, but strangely, about one-fourth of the inhabitants sport blond afros.

This rare Melanesian characteristic has baffled scientists and genetic experts for years. Up until now, they have attributed the trait to inheritance – from the Europeans, especially the British, German and Australians, who have been associated with the island for hundreds of years. 

Several of the islands were under German jurisdiction in the 19th century. In 1893, the UK took southern Solomon Islands under their wing, declaring the region a protectorate. The rest of the islands were added to the protectorate at a later stage. And in the early 20th century, Australian and British companies set up coconut plantations on many of the islands.

So it isn’t entirely unbelievable that the dark-skinned Melanesians got their blond hair from the growing influx of ‘outsiders’. The locals, however, prefer not to go by that theory. They have been insisting for years that their blond hair is a result of a diet rich in fish and constant exposure to the sun. 

As it turns out, both theories may be quite far from the truth. According to a recent investigation, random mutation might actually be the answer to the mystery of the Melanesian blonds.

There...you've learned something new already today! 

See ya, eh!

Bob

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Aging and Energy



Hi ya!

Thanks for clicking by today. Glad you could make it. Coffee’s on and there’s a splendid array of completely low-fat, virtual treats to tempt you so go on...be a devil. Hey, you know, while I have been rather incapacitated for the past few weeks, my pal, Dr. Al has still been sending me interesting emails. Here’s one that is apropos...

Dear Bob,

When your cells can’t make enough energy, you feel it. It’s a pretty good description of getting older. And that’s no coincidence. They go together.

But you don’t have to go through that.

Nature, in its wisdom, has provided us with a nutrient that can triple … even quadruple … your energy in just a few days.

It works by massively increasing the number of cellular “engines” you have. Then it protects those engines and keeps them humming along.

The engines I’m talking about are your mitochondria. They’re tiny, independent cells within your cells. Their job is to take nutrients and make energy for you. Not just energy to run around but also for pumping blood, blinking, and even reading the menu and deciding what to order.

But the same thing happens to mitochondria over time that happens to an old car engine. Oxidation (in a car it’s called rust) breaks down the engines so they don’t run as well, or produce as much power. You also have fewer of these engines as you age, and they’re undersized, and degraded.

Unless you do something about it, you get all the consequences of aging I just described. Slowing down like that is one of the things that bothers my patients the most about aging.

But when I introduce them to PQQ, everything changes. I love PQQ because it combines the two things that I have most specialized in; anti-aging and energy production. PQQ can reverse the energy loss that happens as you age, and keep your cells young and robust.

In one study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, researchers fed mice a diet supplemented with PQQ. The mice grew a staggering number of new mitochondria in just 8 weeks.1

But PQQ is a powerful antioxidant as well, which is not very well known even in the anti-aging community. A new study gave five men and five women a single dose of around 10-15 mg (depending on their body weight) of PQQ. Then researchers measured changes in their antioxidant capacity. Over the next two days, PQQ significantly reduced their markers for oxidative stress.

Even better, in a second part of the study, the people got daily PQQ for three days. All of them had increases in metabolites showing their mitochondria were working much more efficiently.2 They got more energy with less effort. Which means PQQ is like a whole-body energy tune-up.

Plus, PQQ works harder and for longer than any other antioxidant. It’s so stable and strong it works for thousands of antioxidant cycles.3 Other related antioxidants, like the ones in green tea, break down quickly. But PQQ keeps right on protecting you hundreds of times longer.

No one else is talking about PQQ, and it’s mostly because they don’t know about it. It’s brand new, and unless you’re reading scientific journals you won’t have heard of it. They’re certainly not teaching this in nutrition classes, and you’re certainly not going to find out about it from your doctor.

Once you know how important it is, it is possible to get some through food. Right now no one is getting enough through food because they don’t know it’s there, or what to eat. But it is possible. It’s in a few, specific foods, and here’s what they are:

  1. The food with the most PQQ is natto. Natto is the Japanese fermented soy product (without all the processed soy waste like there is in Western soy foods).

  1. Eggs are the next best food for PQQ, which is one of the reasons eggs are a perfect food.

  1. The herb parsley has some PQQ.

  1. Kiwi, a fruit with lots of healthy fat, also has a small amount of PQQ.

  1. Green tea has PQQ in it, too, to go along with its other health benefits.

  1. Beyond that, you get some in green peppers, and whiskey.

Also, you can get PQQ in supplement. But here’s what you need to know:

  • Most supplements only use a 5 mg dose, but you need 10 mg. PQQ is expensive, and many supplement makers want to get away with giving you either lower quality or a lower dose.

  • It’s also a good idea to combine it with CoQ10, which is the fuel mitochondria use.

  • If you take CoQ10, make sure you get the kind your body absorbs best, ubiquinol.

To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD



I’ll have to look for it next time I hobble past a GNC or other vitamin/supplement shop.


See ya, eh!


Bob

PS: PQQ is not the Parti Quebecois in Quebec!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Green Tea Improves Working Memory



Well, hey there! Great to see you. I know you’ve been hovering around the virtual cafe wondering if it’ll be open or not. I’m getting a little more energy day by day so sit down with a mug of java juice and a virtual treat, why don’t’cha...even though the topic today is tea. 

New evidence for the cognitive benefits of tea comes from a study published in Psychopharmacology.

Researchers at the University of Basel have now found that green tea extract can improve working memory (Schmidt et al., 2014).

Working memory is vital to holding pieces of visual, verbal or other information in your mind while you manipulate them.

Better working memory has been linked to improved learning, attention and other vital outcomes.

Synaptic functioning

In their study, participants were given a drink which sometimes contained green tea extract and were then asked to complete a series of tests of their working memory.

Either way the drink looked and tasted the same, whether or not it contained green tea extract.

Meanwhile, their brains were scanned to see how the green tea affected synaptic functioning.
What the researchers found was that not only did participants do better on the tests after ingesting the green tea, but that it enhanced the connections between the frontal and parietal regions of the brain.

The findings are interesting especially for older adults, as a series of studies have suggested green tea may be beneficial in this area:

    “…consumption of green tea improved memory and attention in subjects with mild cognitive impairments and that the consumption of flavonoid-rich foods such as green tea reduced beta-amyloid-mediated cognitive impairments.

Furthermore, higher consumption of green tea has also been associated with a lower prevalence of cognitive impairments in older adults.” (Schmidt et al., 2014).

Yeah, well, I drink green tea almost every day...when I can remember where I put it! Then a little later, I sit down with a nice mug of coffee though at the moment, I am only allowed decaf!

See ya, eh!

Bob on the mend

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Burning Light Bulb!

Hi there! Thought It was time I got back in the saddle...sort of. I can't promise I'll post every day for a while yet. It will depend how I feel but this is something I received from Audrey in Calgary that I thought I should pass along to you. It was written by someone named Jerry Stiles...

"Above is a picture of a CFL light bulb from my bathroom. I turned it on the other day and then smelled smoke after a few minutes. Four inch flames were spewing out of the side of the ballast like a blow torch! I immediately turned off the lights. But I'm sure it would have caused a fire if I was not right there. Imagine if the kids had left the lights on as usual when they were not in the room.

I took the bulb to the Fire Department to report the incident. The Fireman wasn't at all surprised and said that it was not an uncommon occurrence. Apparently, sometimes when the bulb burns out there is a chance that the ballast can start a fire. He told me that the Fire Marshall had issued reports about the dangers of these bulbs.

Upon doing some Internet research, it seems that bulbs made by “Globe” in China seem to have the lion’s share of problems. Lots of fires have been blamed on misuse of CFL bulbs, like using them in recessed lighting, pot lights, dimmers or in track lighting. Mine was installed in a normal light socket.

I bought these at Wal-Mart. I will be removing all the Globe bulbs from my house. CFL bulbs are a great energy saver but make sure you buy a name brand like Sylvania , Phillips or GE and not the ones from China.

PASS THIS ON TO YOUR FRIENDS........."

Sincerely,


Jerry Stiles

Thanks, Audrey!

See ya, eh!

Bob

Sunday, March 16, 2014

POST-SURGERY BREAK

Following my Triple Bypass surgery last week, I am on an eight-week recovery program so will not be publishing into the near future.

Bob

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Stinky Candle Company Offers Unique Manly Aromas

A gracious good day to you. Thanks for stopping into my virtual cafe. You're just in time for a mug of freshly brewed and roasted Arabica and a virtual muffin or pastry. Say, do you like aromatic candles? Well here's a guy who has put a new spin on available aromas...

Would you dare to buy candles that were labelled ‘Stinky’? Apparently, there are people who would! The Stinky Candle Company was set up by Jeff Bennett after he got sick of boring scents like vanilla, lavender and shea butter. He came up with 25 unique smells – including bizarre stuff like leather, pencils, wood, wet grass, money and even car exhausts.

The Chicago based inventor seems to have gone all out in choosing scents for his new collection. His range also includes food-inspired aromas like bacon, wine and fast food. The candles are priced between US $6 and $8. I'm not sure how well these candles are selling, but it doesn’t look like Jeff is too bothered about that. He’s more excited about the candles. Eventually, he aims at increasing the range from 25 to 200.

He spoke about his inspiration behind creating the candles: “A lot of people I knew really liked scented candles and they loved receiving them as gifts. I wondered why we only ever see the same fragrances in shops and thought it would be a fun idea to try and come up with some unusual ones.” So he got to work on the concoctions in his garage, sourcing specific odors from a fragrance house.

Do you know why men like a woman wearing leather? Simple... it makes her smell like a new car!

See ya, eh!

Bob

Drunk woman takes BITE out of car!

Hi ya! Thanks for dropping out of cyberspace for a mug of coffee and a virtual treat. Always a pleasure to see you. But, you know... not everyone is a welcome sight. Take Rhian Jeremiah for example...

Rhian Jeremiah, in a slightly enraged condition, picked an argument with three strangers on a night out – then tried to eat their car.

She apparently sank her teeth into the roof of the Fiat 500 in a scene reminiscent of Jaws in the James Bond movies. The shocked victims said they heard “metal crunching” as drunken Jeremiah bit down on their car.

A court was told Selina Day, 23, and two friends were parked outside the Lip Lick’n Chicken takeaway when “aggressive and angry” Jeremiah, 26, approached them.

Ms Day said: “She came up to the car and tried to rip the door open. I couldn’t understand her, she was drunk and abusive.

“There was a bit of an argument and she sunk her teeth into the part of the car above the window. I could hear the metal crunching.”

Police found teeth marks in the white metal work, which cost more than £200 to repair.

Magistrates in Aberystwyth, West Wales, were told Jeremiah had been drinking in the town at a memorial for her boyfriend Simon Jones, who drowned. She had been retracing his steps on what would have been his birthday, the court heard.
Jeremiah, of Cardigan, was found guilty of causing criminal damage.

She admitted assaulting two police officers, who were called to arrest her. She was given a 12-month community order and ordered to attend 20 alcohol abuse counselling sessions.

Holy doodle, eh! There's a lady who should stop in here for a calming mug of java, don't'cha think? She'd probably bite right through the mug though. Wonder how she does with bicycle chains?

See ya, eh!

Bob

Life is Tough in Prison...

Hey! Hey! There you are! Thanks for clicking by today. Fill your mug and snag a virtual muffin or two. Say...life is tough sometimes, isn't it? Even in prison where inmates have to do without some of the essentials...

Norway's prison system is regarded as among the most inmate-friendly in the world, but convicted mass murderer Anders Breivik is still not impressed. Breivik, serving 21 years for the 2011 bomb-and-gun attacks that killed 77 people, may already enjoy amenities unheard of for a comparable American murderer. 

In November, Breivik sent the prison wardens 12 demands, including an upgrade of his manual typewriter and his PlayStation 2 (to a PS3, with better access to game selection). 

He also demanded that his weekly government "allowance" (equivalent of $49) be doubled, and said if the "torture" of his living conditions is not relieved, he would be forced into a hunger strike. (Breivik threatened a similar strike in 2012, citing "inhumane" conditions such as cold coffee, lack of skin moisturizer and insufficient butter for his bread.)

Wow! What harsh conditions, eh? What about those 77 people he mowed down in cold blood? Maybe they should let him go on his hunger strike... encourage it even. It might save the Norwegian taxpayers a bunch of money. What do you think?

See ya, eh!

Bob

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Walking across the USA six...soon to be seven times!

Well, hi there! Glad you could click by today! It's always a joy to see you. Help yourself to a mug of coffee and a virtual doughnut, why don't'cha? Say...do you like to walk? I love to...at least I used to before my aches, pains and damaged nerves slowed me down. Anyway, listen to what Steve Furgate has been doing...

14 years ago, Steve Fugate took it upon himself to walk across America, as therapy after losing his son. Since then, he has achieved his goal 6 times, and is currently on his seventh attempt. 

Through his extraordinary journey, he hopes to spread just one simple message – ‘Love Life’. He started his latest walk on March 23, last year and is still going strong. He has already passed through 21 states and has 27 more to go. “My feet swell, my knees hurt, my legs hurt. I do not like walking. But I do it specifically for a reason,” he said. It’s estimated 67-year-old Steve has walked over 34,000 kilometers since he first set out on his legendary treks.

Fugate, a native of Florida, had never really been a fan of walking, but he found it to be a great way to spread love after he lost his children. 1999 was a particularly tough year for him. He was going through a failed marriage and his business had taken a hit. 

To make matters worse, his son Stevie, 26, was convicted of drunk driving. It was all getting a bit too much to handle, so Fugate decided to go trekking on the 2,167 mile Appalachian Trail, leaving his son in charge of the business.

Unfortunately, young Stevie was also dealing with several serious issues at the time and committed suicide. Fugate received the tragic news as he was trekking through Pennsylvania. “When he put a gun to his mouth and pulled the trigger, he ended my life too,” said the heartbroken father. 

After a brief period of grieving, he made up his mind to finish the trek. This turned out to be a life-altering decision. “When I was out there, something happened to me. I couldn’t imagine any other human being going through what I did. It’ll change your whole life.”

Johnny Appleseed, Jack Reacher and now Steve Furgate. Keep on walking, Steve!

See ya, eh!

Bob

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Great Pancakes for Pancake Tuesday!

Happy Pancake Day!! Glad you could make it. Wouldn't want to have given your stack of pancakes away, now, would I? Pour yourself a mug of freshly roasted and brewed coffee to accompany that mountainous stack of pancakes. So where did Pancake Day come from anyway?

In medieval times, Shrove Tuesday (Shrove derives from "shrive", meaning "to confess") was the last chance to indulge yourself and to use up the foods not allowed during Lent, the Christian preparation for Easter. Pancakes were eaten on this day because they contain fat, butter and eggs which were forbidden during Lent.

Whether you observe Lent or not, why not join in the fun of Pancake Tuesday? Pancakes are quick, easy and inexpensive to make for just one or a whole crowd.

My favourite is Buttermilk Pancakes and here's a recipe from Canadian Living, eh.

A splash of vanilla and a small pat of butter are the secret ingredients to these decadent, fluffy pancakes.


Ingredients

    1-1/2 cups (375 mL) all-purpose flour
    3 tbsp (45 mL) granulated sugar
    1 tsp (5 mL) baking powder
    1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
    1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
    1-3/4 cups (425 mL) buttermilk
    1 egg
    2 tbsp (30 mL) butter, melted
    2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla
    1 tbsp (15 mL) canola oil
      

Preparation

    In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg, butter and vanilla; pour over dry ingredients and whisk until combined but still slightly lumpy.

    Lightly brush large nonstick skillet or griddle with some of the oil; heat over medium-high heat. Using scant 1/4 cup (50 mL) per pancake, pour in batter; spread slightly to form pancakes. Cook until bubbles appear on top, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook until bottom is golden brown, about 1 minute. Transfer to rimmed baking sheet; cover and keep warm in 250°F (120°C) oven.


When you serve them up, don't forget a generous splash or two of Canadian Maple Syrup, eh!

Of course, today we are recommendedly (there he goes inventing new adverbs again!) forbidden to indulge in pancakes among other tasty things because of heart disease, cholesterol, et al. But sometimes, you've just got to let go. Know what I mean?

See ya, eh!

Bob




Monday, March 3, 2014

An Apple a Day...

G'day to you! I trust you're well today... because you had an apple yesterday, right? Pour some coffee into your outheld mug and nudge an apple danish onto your place, why don't'cha? Speaking of apples...

Most of us have heard the adage, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” throughout our lives, but new research shows that there is serious truth to the message.  

Scientists at the University of Oxford, England compared the effects of eating one daily apple to taking statin drugs (used to lower cholesterol levels) among British adults aged 50 and up.  The study participants made no other dietary or lifestyle changes and their mortality rates from heart attacks and strokes were recorded.

The results of the study were published in BMJ.  Scientists found that eating an apple a day or taking statin drugs daily resulted in an equivalent reduction of mortality.  The scientists also estimate that if 70% of the 50+ population of the United Kingdom simply ate one apple daily, 8500 deaths every year due to heart attack or stroke would be averted. And, if 90% of the British population over fifty ate a daily apple, the number of lives saved would climb to 11,000 annually.

Scientists also found that prescribing statin drugs to everyone over the age of fifty would result in 1200 additional cases of myopathy, 200 additional cases of rhabdomyolysis, and 12,300 additional cases of diabetes annually.  The great news is that if people ate a daily apple instead of taking statin drugs to prevent heart attacks and strokes, there would not be an increase in any of these serious conditions.

The researchers concluded that “An apple a day or a statin a day is equally likely to keep the doctor away.” They added “We find that a 150 year old proverb is able to match modern medicine and is likely to have fewer side effects.”

So there you go...eat an apple a day and you will stay healthier...unless the apple is in a double crust pie where the pastry is made with lard and the pie is topped with double Devonshire cream!
 

See ya, eh!

Bob

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Terror Chihuahuas!

Hiya! How's life treating you today? Ready for a mug of Arabica juice to make you feel perky? Virtual muffin to go with that? Why not, eh! Say...are you a dog person or a cat person? There is no middle ground here. Here's something that may swing your vote...

Chihuahuas usually seem to be pretty harmless, but apparently they can be quite vicious in large numbers. The residents of Maryvale, a small town in Arizona, can certainly vouch for the fact. The town is filled with stray pooches that are terrorizing children and defecating all over the place.

Local animal control officials say they’re finding it quite difficult to control the Chihuahua population. They’ve received over 6,000 calls from frustrated residents – three times higher than any other town in the state. 

According to Melissa Gable from Maricopa County Animal Control (MCAC), these dogs aren’t spayed or neutered so they’re always looking out for a mate and having babies. This makes the problem worse.

“There’s a lot of dogs in the street,” said Stephanie Guzman, a resident. “People will start going crazy because they bark all night.”

Jose Lopez, another resident, said he was bitten by stray dogs a couple of times. “A lot of people go back to Mexico and they just leave their dogs behind,” he said. “They’ll leave like for a month and just sort of leave their dogs to fend for themselves over here.” John Reynolds, MCAC supervisor agreed that abandoning dogs is the number one cause for the large population of strays, especially since the foreclosure crisis hit the area.


Officials are now issuing instructions to residents on how they can help control the situation. “If at all possible, if you see a stray, if you can safely contain him in your yard and then call us, that makes a big difference,” said Ms. Gable. “Because what’s happening is people are calling saying, ‘hey, I see a stray,’ but by the time we get there, it’s long gone.”

Well doggone it...Arizona's gone to the Chihuahuas, eh.

See ya, eh!

Bob

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Homeless Man Wins $2.79 Million Jackpot!

Hey there! Thanks for clicking by today. Coffee's brewed and there's a tray full of delicious virtual treats awaiting you so help yourself. Say...have you ever had a dream come true? Well listen to this...

When László Andraschek used his last few coins to purchase a lottery ticket, I’m sure he had no real hope of winning the jackpot – a whopping 600 million forint (US $2.70 million) – but it actually happened. The 55-year-old Hungarian went from being a homeless tramp to a millionaire, overnight.

For seven long years, Andraschek lived in a homeless shelter in the city of Győr. “It all happened to me, I remember it, but I don’t miss it,” he said about his experience of being homeless. He was also a recovering alcoholic at the time. “I had drunk myself out of the family by the age of 31. 

I was the last child at home and spent all my wages on drink. I worked on-and-off as an agricultural repairman. I lived the typical life of an alcoholic and I thought it was all right.”

It came to a point where Andraschek’s siblings were fed up of him and asked their mother to kick him out. This was in 1989; at age 31, Andraschek had become completely destitute. 

He tried to hang himself, but the rope snapped and he ended up losing a foot. “Even losing a foot didn’t make me mend my ways because I would blame everyone around me, anyone but myself.” 

In 1991, he registered himself as homeless.

Well now...I'll bet you those siblings of his are the first ones to come crawling and looking for handouts from László. All I can say is "Enjoy your new found fortune and...hey buddy can you spare half a million?"

See ya, eh! 

Bob 

Friday, February 28, 2014

Find that Genius!

Hi there! How's it going? Having a 'caffo' day, I trust? I hope so. Perk up your brain with a jolt of espresso to 'espressify' your brain. Help it along with a virtual muffin, why don't'cha? Speaking of brains, here's some interesting research being done in Beijing...

Beijing Genomics Institute scientists are closing in on a technology to allow parents to choose, from several embryos, the one most likely to yield the smartest offspring. 

London's Daily Mail (in January, referencing recent work in Wired, The Wall Street Journal and The New Yorker) explained that BGI will have identified high-potential mathematics genes (by mapping the cells of geniuses) so that researchers can search for those among a couple's array of embryos. (Most embryos will yield gene arrays resembling their parents', but one embryo is likely "better" -- and maybe much better.) 

One Chinese researcher acknowledged the "controversial" nature of the work, "especially in the West," but added, "That's not the case in China." 

Remember there's a 'one child per family' deal in China so parents want to make the most of the one opportunity they have. The parental price tag on finding the smartest kid? Expensive, said a supporter, but less than upgrading an average kid via Harvard, or even a private prep school.

Advance selection...hmmm. Is this not another version of selection of the master race?

See ya, eh!

Bob

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Placebo Effect Works on Sleep and Exercise

Whoa! Slow down that spiraling orbit, eh! You almost crashed into the coffeepot! Trying to exercise in front of your computer, were you? Nodded off, perhaps? Anyway, I'm glad you could make it today. Coffee's fresh and the usual magnificent array of virtual treats awaits. Say...wouldn't it be something if you could get the benefits of a good night’s sleep without actually having had one?

In great news for insomniacs everywhere, a new study has found that the simple power of suggestion might be enough to improve the cognitive functions associated with a well-rested body.

The placebo effect — most commonly demonstrated when someone takes a sugar pill that makes them feel better — has fascinated researchers for years. But new research takes the concept beyond inert pharmaceuticals to reveal that people can get placebo sleep, and even placebo exercise. By simply being told they were sleeping well and exercising enough, they received beneficial effects.

In one study, Christina Draganich and Colorado College psychology professor Kristi Erdal recruited 164 participants who were told they would be undergoing a new technique to measure sleep patterns. The technique was a fabrication. The volunteers were given a short lecture about the importance of REM and how better sleep improves cognitive function, and then they were hooked up to phony sensors before going to sleep. They were then divided into two groups, “above average” quality sleep and “below average” quality sleep.

The “above average” group was told that the sensors recorded 28.7 percent REM sleep while the “below average” group was told they received 16.2 percent REM. Of course, since the sensors were fictitious, these recordings were not true. They were then given a test to measure cognitive function. The “below average” group did significantly worse on the tasks, while the “above average” group had superior performances.

A follow-up phase that added more controls and additional cognitive tests confirmed the initial results. “These findings supported the hypothesis that mindset can influence cognitive states in both positive and negative directions, suggesting a means of controlling one’s health and cognition,” the researchers concluded.

Meanwhile another study, published in the journal Psychological Science, further supports the idea of intangible placebos — this time as they pertain to exercise and health. Researchers studied a group of 84 female housekeepers from seven hotels. The housekeepers in four of the hotels were told that their work fulfilled the exercise requirements for good health, while the women in the other three hotels were told nothing.


After four weeks, the women were examined to ascertain changes to their health; the workers who were told they were exercising adequately lost an average of two pounds, lowered their blood pressure by almost 10 percent, and were significantly healthier as measured by body-fat percentage, BMI and waist-to-hip ratio. These changes were notably higher than those from the group who didn’t think they were exercising enough and were especially remarkable given the time period of only four weeks, according to the study’s news statement

The findings suggest that simply thinking you got a workout could actually make you healthier, said Ellen Langer, Harvard University psychologist and author of the study. “Whether the change in physiological health was brought about directly or indirectly, it is clear that health is significantly affected by mindset,” said Langer.
 
Both studies conclude that moderating one’s mindset can prove beneficial for health. Now all we need is a group of scientists duping us into believing that we are sleeping wonderfully and exercising enough.

See ya, eh. I have to go exercise on the couch!

Bob