Location of study: Japan
Results: When a new mother gazes down at her infant, the eye contact made serves to increase oxytocin — the feel-good hormone associated with bonding. New research out of Azabu University in Japan has found a similar phenomenon to take place between dogs and their owners. When researchers observed 30-minute interactions dogs had with their owners and other people, they found that oxytocin levels were elevated in both the dogs and owners who made eye contact with one another.
Significance: “Our data suggest that owner-dog bonding is comparable to human parent-infant bonding, that is, oxytocin-mediated eye-gaze bonding,” study leader Takefumi Kikusui told CBS news.
Location of study: The Netherlands
Results: Can the sweat of a happy person convey positive emotions to another? New research out of Utrecht University in the Netherlands suggests just that. In a recent study, researchers found that being exposed to sweat “produced under happiness” appeared to induce happy feelings. Conversely, “fear-based” sweat appeared to have an opposite effect.
Significance: Researchers say the findings, while broad, imply that positive emotions might be communicable via sweat chemicals. “This suggests that somebody who is happy will infuse others in their vicinity with happiness,” senior researcher and psychological scientist Gün Semin said in a statement. “In a way, happiness sweat is somewhat like smiling – it is infectious.”
Study subjects: 19 women between the ages of 18 and 40
Results: New research suggests that soft drinks sweetened with sugar work to suppress the body’s stress response by curbing cortisol (aka the stress hormone). However, the same results were not reported for drinks sweetened with aspartame. The findings came after a 12-week consumption period.
Significance: “This is the first mechanistic evidence that high sugar–but not aspartame–consumption may relieve stress in humans,” study author Kevin D. Laugero, PhD, said in a statement put out by the Endocrine Society. “The concern is psychological or emotional stress could trigger the habitual overconsumption of sugar and amplify sugar’s detrimental health effects, including obesity.”
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