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Today in medicine: Stress has increased since the 1980s

Over the last quarter century stress increased 18 percent for women and 24 percent for men.

Stress has increased since the 1980s

Study subjects: 6,300 Americans

Location of study: U.S.

Results: A new report in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology says that over the last quarter century stress increased 18 percent for women and 24 percent for men. Among those experiencing the highest stress levels were people with lower incomes and those with less education. The study also found that stress decreases as people get older.

Significance: The computer age hasn't made life less stressful. The widening wealth gap is also possibly increasing economic stress levels.

For smokers, a picture says a thousand words

Study subjects: 200 smokers

Location of study: U.S.

Results: The American Journal of Preventive Medicine reports that putting graphic images on cigarette packs, such as pictures of patients on ventilators, was more effective in getting smokers to realize the health risks than worded warnings.

Significance: This news could help lead to the creation of more convincing warning labels for packs of cigarettes.

Stem cell treatments for stroke victims

Study subjects: 12 stroke patients

Location of study: Scotland

Results: Researchers found promising results when treating stroke victims with stem cells. Five of the six patients who received doses of the stem cells had some improvement in movement and speech without any side effects.

Significance: Stem cells could one day improve the quality of life for stroke victims.



Making music is brain food

Study subjects: 12 people with no prior musical training

Location of study: Italy

Results: Scientists tested people with no musical background and found that after only two weeks of regular exercise on a piano keyboard, both motor skill and brain function had improved.

Significance: The study supports evidence that just a short period of ambidextrous training leads to better coordination. The musical stimuli prompted a structural reconstruction of gray matter in those brain regions that are involved in coordinated movement. Also, it furthers new research into neuroplasticity, the brain's auto-restructuring to meet the need of a new task.

 
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