10 Things You Need To Know Today (November 20, 2017)

Photo: Dreamwood - Mikhail & Ludmila

1. If you want to live longer, look no further than your local dog shelter.

A new study has good news for dog owners: Adopting a furry friend could have tremendous health benefits, especially for people living alone. People who live solo and own a dog have a 33 percent lower chance of death and a 36 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease. (CNN)

2. Michelle Obama just told us exactly what we needed to hear.

When asked how to cope with all the uncertainty in the world today, Obama responded with "Focus on what you can control; be a good person every day. Vote. Read. Treat one another kindly. Follow the law. Don’t tweet nasty stuff." It might seem simple, but experts are saying these strategies will be extremely beneficial to your mental health. (Huffington Post)

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3. Turns out women are healthier than men.

A recent study highlighted the healthy eating habits of various demographic groups and highlighted discrepancies across gender and socioeconomic level. For instance, 7 percent of poor Americans meet the daily recommendation of vegetables, versus 11.4 percent of the wealthy; 15.1 percent of women consume the recommended amount of fruit, while only 9.2 percent of men do. Could this be why women live longer? (GrubStreet)

4. Probiotics for cows make everyone healthier.

A new probiotic has made cow farts and burps (a huge source of greenhouse gases) less toxic to the environment, making them contain up to 30 percent less methane. The company producing the probiotic, Mootral, posits that if 40 percent of the world’s 1.5 billion cows are fed the supplement, the resulting emissions reductions would be equivalent to taking 200 million cars off the road. (Fast Company)

5. Will we ever figure out why we dream?

This is a question scientists have been trying to answer for years, but some new theories are based on the idea that dreams are a kind of "overnight therapy." Dreamtime is when we can process emotionally challenging events while our brains are in a state of peace and relaxation. (The Guardian)

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6. Pot is showing promising therapeutic properties for treating people with HIV.

It's notoriously difficult to get funding for studies involving marijuana, but that barrier has been broken by Dr. Robert Cook, who is conducting the largest study of medicinal marijuana to test how it affects the brains of 400 participants with HIV. In addition, he will examine whether marijuana can treat the virus itself. (VICE)

7. When it comes to attracting mates, men and women put out very different vibes.

One Ph.D. student's in-depth analysis of Tinder profiles found that men display "currency" in their profile pictures, flashing items they may have spent money on. Women, on the other hand, make sure to use phrases like "no hookups" or "no one-night stands" to signal what they're really looking for. (PsyPost)

8. Early studies with stem cells show that paralyzed rats regained limb and spine movement.

Paraplegic rats treated with human stem cells regained mobility and sensory perception in their back limbs and tail and recovered some spinal cord activity, showing huge promise for stem cells to treat spinal chord injury. (Science Daily)

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9. The US National Academy of Sciences says nationwide adoption of veganism would be a public health problem.

Amid claims that veganism is better for people and for the earth, the US National Academy of Sciences set out to quantify the impact and found that the nation would be deficient in several primarily meat-derived essential nutrients like calcium, vitamins A, D, B12, fatty acids, and others, and that the reduction of carbon emissions, coming in at 2.6 percent, was smaller than expected. This is one of a handful of studies that’s attempted to quantify this sprawling data, and naturally other scientists are questioning the results—making way for more research, discourse, and ultimately solutions.

10. Teens are more depressed than ever, thanks to social media.

If there was ever a case to limit screen time, this is it. A new study published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science shows staggering statistics about teen depression. In just five years, theres been a 33 percent increase in depression symptoms and 23 percent increase in teen suicide attempts. Researchers discovered that spending more than two hours on the phone was linked to increased suicide risk factors. While these findings beg more research, emphasizing the importance of life outside the screen can't hurt. (Business Insider)

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