6 Things You Need To Know Today (May 4, 2018)

Photo: Peter Kisteman

1. If you've ever felt super-connected to a horse, it isn't all in your head.

According to new research out of the University of Sussex and the University of Portsmouth, horses can read human emotions and remember their moods quite easily. "What we’ve found is that horses can not only read facial expressions, but they can also remember a person’s previous emotional state when they meet them later that day—and, crucially, that they adapt their behavior accordingly," said one of the study's authors. (UPI)

2. Yes, your allergies are worse this year than last year.

According to experts at the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, climate change is making seasonal allergies more intense than ever. Apparently, more carbon dioxide in the air means more pollen in the air. Sigh. (ABC News)

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3. Your communication style with your children may contribute to their habits in adulthood.

A new study published in Biological Psychiatry states that children who maintain healthy communication patterns with their parents early on in life were less likely to engage in harmful behavior as young adults. The 14-year study followed participants from 11 to 25 years old and identified that the extent and quality of communication between parents and children had a direct impact on the developing part of the brain that plays a role in processing habits and consumption patterns with food, alcohol, and drugs. (Eureka Alert)

4. There's a major fight over water going on in the Southwest.

Lake Mead is the country’s largest reservoir of water, and after a winter of low precipitation, it's beginning to become overdrawn. That's caused states that depend on the resource like California, Colorado, and Arizona to get into a debate about who has the rights to what. If it continues, certain states and cities may have to cut back on their water use in a big way. Stay tuned. (Grist)

5. Scientists found the region of the brain that determines whether you're likely to be timid or courageous in the face of fear.

There are two bundles of brain cells identified in rodents that react to a fear response—one is associated with a timid reaction and the other a bold, courageous one. Researchers manipulated them and found that they could change a mouse's response based on which pathway was activated. And because there are parallels to the human brain, "This opens the door to future work on how to shift us from paralysis and fear to being able to confront challenges in ways that make our lives better," said Andrew Huberman, Ph.D., the senior author on the study.

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6. News flash: Older people are having sex too.

A new study found that two-fifths of people between ages 65 and 80 are having frequent sex, but few are talking about it. "We recognize that sex and sexual health is something that is very important to the health and well-being of older people but is not something that gets a lot of attention," said one of the study's authors. "We know as younger people if you don’t get [sex] enough then you are quite miserable, but that is the same thing in older people," said another. "I think we as a society have to agree that older people have a right to good sexual health too, because every message is always about younger people." (The Guardian)

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