6 Things You Need To Know Today (March 12, 2018)

1. Spending time in the sun is great preventive medicine.

A new study, published in the journal Neurology, suggests that adequate sun exposure in childhood and young adulthood might reduce the risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) later in life. It's all about getting enough vitamin D—while still avoiding sun damage. (The New Indian Express)

2. A new study finds that stress is contagious.

New research published in the journal Nature Neuroscience found that someone going through a stressful time can actually transfer his or her stress to someone who isn't. Using mice in pairs, researchers found that one mouse in a stressful situation activated the same stress pathways his "partner" mouse's brain, even when the partner mouse did not experience a real stressor. Also of note, female mice were able to recover from acquired stress when they had a social interaction, whereas male mice did not. Head researcher Jaideep Bains, Ph.D., suggests that the same mechanisms are in place for humans but says that more research is needed to determine whether stress transfer has lasting effects on the brain. (Science Daily)

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3. The louder the grunt, the stronger the move.

A new study reveals the impact of grunting extends beyond just a tactic of intimidation or expression of aggression. The findings concluded that grunting could actually help deepen and strengthen a player’s performance, especially in sports with explosive movements like tennis and martial arts. (NYT)

4. There's an easy way for older adults to boost their immune systems.

Exercising a lot in old age is a great way to keep the immune system strong and protect the body from infections, a new study finds. "The immune system declines by about 2-3% a year from our 20s, which is why older people are more susceptible to infections, conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and, potentially, cancer," explained one of the study authors. However, people who exercised a lot had the immune system of a 20-year-old. (BBC)

5. Deforestation is threatening Australia's koala population.

Nearly 7.5 million acres of forest are expected to be cut down in Eastern Australia before 2030 to make way for more livestock farms. This puts other animals, especially native koalas, at risk. Between 2012 and 2016, deforestation killed at least 5,183 koalas, according to the World Wildlife Fund. (Inhabitat)

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6. Nevertheless, she persisted? Thank serotonin.

A new study conducted is refining our understanding of the function of serotonin. The chemical promotes more than passive waiting, as was once thought. It actually enhances persistence, the ability to stick with a task even when the work is unpleasant and the reward is uncertain. The findings may serve to enhance the efficacy of depression treatments down the road (EurekaAlert!)

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