Watching cat videos online may be good for you

Location of study: U.S.
 
Study subjects: Nearly 7,000 people who watch cat videos

Results: Have a weakness for watching kittens prance around the Internet? You're not alone—researchers from Indiana University say that over two million cat videos were posted to YouTube in 2014 alone. What's more is that they resulted in nearly 26 billion views. Researchers set out to answer a key question: how do people feel after watching cat videos online? It turns out that an overwhelming majority felt more energetic and had fewer negative emotions than before watching.
 
Significance: The findings suggest that the pleasure experienced from viewing this type of content might even help people cope with difficult tasks afterward. "Researchers, myself included, spend a lot of time talking about the harms of media use, be it leading to desensitization to violence or cultivating dangerous misperceptions," says Jessica Gall Myrick, the IU assistant professor who led the research. "However, this study points out that media use may also be beneficial if it can lift our moods when we’re feeling down with just a short little cat video."
 
 
Location of study: U.S.
 
Study subjects: 360 adolescents aged 12 to 15
 
Results: In a recent study, researchers found that kids with weaker working memories were more likely to engage in impulsive behaviors — including risky sexual acts. The findings, which were reported by the Society for Research in Child Development, suggest potential new ways of intervening with kids who demonstrate impulsive behavior.
 
Significance: “We extended previous findings by showing for the first time that individuals who have pre-existing weakness in working memory are more likely to have difficulty controlling impulsive tendencies in early to mid-adolescence,” study leader Atika Khurana, assistant professor of counseling psychology and human services at the University of Oregon, said in a press release. “Furthermore, changes in these impulsive tendencies are associated with early and unprotected sex in adolescents, even after taking into account parents’ socioeconomic status, involvement, and monitoring of sexual behavior.” 
 
 
Location of study: U.S.  
 
Results: According to experts from the University of Illinois, including pet dogs with naturally occurring cancer in early drug trials could come with some serious benefits. “Some tumor types are very similar between dogs and people, and the biology, genetics, and clinical behaviors are conserved despite obvious difference in species,” says professor Timothy Fan, a veterinary clinical medicine professor at the University of Illinois. “Because dogs develop cancers spontaneously, or naturally, just as cancer develops in people, novel therapeutics which exert activities in dogs have reasonable potential to demonstrate similar positive effects in human cancer patients.” 
 
Significance: Researchers have already begun looking to dogs for new cancer treatments. For several years, Fan and his team have been testing a new anti-cancer drug in pet dogs who’d already developed cancerous tumors naturally. It was because of the positive results that the drug advanced to a prospective cancer therapy for humans. In fact, the drug (known as PAC-1) is currently the focus of an early-stage human clinical trial. 
 
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