7 Things You Need To Know Today (November 21, 2017)

Photo: Guille Faingold

1. Dogs are more than just great companions.

They can be great for your health, too! A new study published in the journal Scientific Reports showed that owning a dog was associated with a lower risk for cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality. (Today)

2. The key to getting rid of pollution? Collaboration.

It's sad but true: Every part of the planet is affected by pollution, and every person in the world is bound to come across it at one point or another. The UN environmental chief referred to our far-reaching pollution as a "menace" in a report last week and said that in order to get rid of it, citizens, politicians, and organizations are going to need to work together to find solutions. (United Nations)

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3. Is the practice of dermatology being exploited as a cash cow?

The New York Times did an analysis of Medicare billing from 2012 to 2015 and reviewed a database from the American Medical Association. They found that more physician assistants performed unsupervised medical procedures and saw a marked increase in invasive treatment of nonthreatening diseases on people near the end of life. These unnecessary upticks coupled by private equity interest in buying into the $11 billion dermatology industry has raised eyebrows about ethics of treatments for seniors specifically. (NYT)

4. Surprise! 90 percent of Americans aren't eating enough fruits and veggies.

According to a new study by the CDC, only 1 in 10 Americans eats the recommended amount of fruits and veggies every day—putting the population at risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity. Groups especially affected by this are men, young adults, and people living in poverty. (CDC)

5. Want to keep anxiety at bay? Solve a problem.

A new study out of Duke University found that giving anxiety-prone people a complex problem to solve was an effective buffer against anxious thoughts. "These findings help reinforce a strategy whereby individuals may be able to improve their emotional functioning—their mood, their anxiety, their experience of depression—not only by directly addressing those phenomena but also by indirectly improving their general cognitive functioning," said study co-author Ahmad Hariri, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke. (Forbes)

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6. Sex toys have a very long history, as it turns out.

If you think sex toys became prominent over only the last several decades, think again. In her new book Buzz: A Stimulating History of the Sex Toy, Hallie Lieberman takes a deep dive into just how far back the sex toy goes. As it turns out, we've probably been crafting sex toys for a good 30,000 years. (The Cut)

7. There's great news for food allergy sufferers.

A new device, created by a company called Nima Labs, is able to detect the presence of allergens in food. How does this work? The device scans a sample of food placed in a capsule and then puts out an alert if it's unsafe to eat. (News 3)

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