The truth is out there: 03/10/2009

A weekly look at the world
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The Independent Online

*Love may well heal the world, according to reports in Scientific American. A new study found that love makes us more creative by causing us to think more globally. But don't confuse love with lust, the Dutch psychologists warn, as thinking about sex triggers logical processing, which promotes analytic thinking that interferes with creativity.

*Ex-professional American football players are 19 times more likely to suffer from Alzheimer's or similar memory-related diseases than the average American man. A study, commissioned by the National Football League (NFL) and reported in the Huffington Post, examined men aged 30 to 49, finally putting paid to years of denial by the league that the sport did not cause long-term cognitive damage.

*Disney's the Magic Kingdom celebrates its 38th anniversary. Mickey (who is 81) and co may feel old but they are still mere whippersnappers in the eyes of Danish theme park Bakken ("The Hill") which has been amusing the residents of Copenhagen since 1583.

* this week posed the interesting question: does poverty make you obese or is it the other way round? The Fat Studies Reader, an essay due out in November, shows that US women who are 64lb overweight make 9 per cent less money than their median-sized counterparts.

*The most recent data from US state health departments suggests that two-thirds of Americans are now overweight or obese. This, unhappily for the overweight, coincides with a study reported by the British Psychological Society which found that normal weight students felt more powerful when talking to obese people due to the stigma of being fat.

*But there is good news for the rotund this week as it emerged that more sleep could be the key to weight loss. WebMD has reported research which found that appetite-controlling hormones are released during sleep so the more you snooze, the more you could lose.

*The BPS this week highlighted research showing that political activism is good for you. The evidence is tentative but according to psychologists Malte Klar and Tim Kasser, people's vitality levels get a boost from a bit of political activism. Viva la revolución!

*Though the politically active may convert to spirituality when they hear of research reported by xenophilious.word which found that spiritual women have more sex. The study of undergraduates found that spirituality was more important than alcohol, religion or impulsivity in determining a young woman's number of sexual partners.

*Jamie Oliver may be disturbed to read the report in The New York Times describing how the city's school cafeterias use "frozen pre-roasted commodity chicken parts" because "there isn't a speck of raw meat allowed in NYC school cafeterias. It poses too much of a food-handling challenge".