Let’s face it: People who love to read have long felt superior to those who would rather watch Television than crack a good book.
Now, reports The Guardian’s Alison Flood, there’s a new reason to justify those late nights binge reads and long library trips: Reading could help you live longer.
A new study in the journal Social Science and Medicine suggests that elderly people who read books have what authors call “a survival advantage” over those who don’t.
Researchers used information from the National Institute on Aging’s Health and Retirement Study, a large public resource on adults 50 years and older in the United States, to tease out correlations between reading and longevity.
The study includes a survey on activities that categorized aging adults’ reading habits.
The researchers gave participants a reading score that characterized the amount of time they spent reading books or periodicals per week.
They also assessed participants’ cognitive engagement using scores that take the ability to perform cognitive tasks, like counting backward from 20, into consideration.
Then, they matched up each participant to information in the National Death Index, a central database of the names of people who died based on state reporting.
After poring over data from 3,635 participants and adjusting for factors like age, sex, race and education, researchers found that 27 percent of respondents who replied that they had read a book within the last week during the survey had died during 12 years of the study, compared to 33 percent of people who did not read books.
People who read books lived an average of 23 months longer than those who did not. The amount of time people spent reading seemed to matter too: People who read up to 3.5 hours a week were 17 percent less likely to die, and people who read more than that were 23 percent less likely.
Periodical and newspaper readers lived longer too, but not as long as those readers who preferred books.
“We uncovered that this effect is likely because books engage the reader’s mind more—providing more cognitive benefit, and therefore increasing the lifespan,” Avni Bavishi, who co-authored the study, tells Flood.
“For my part I deem those blessed to whom, by favour of the gods, it has been granted either to do what is worth writing of, or to write what is worth reading; above measure blessed those on whom both gifts have been conferred”–Pliny the Elder.
Johannes de Kehtam’s Fasciculus Medicine (printed in Venice in 1500) was the first anatomy to be printed with illustrations.
Ketham was described as a German doctor living in Italy and may well have been Johann von Kerchheim, a German practicing surgery and medicine in Venice during 1470), and who wrote a series of tracts on various aspects of medicine which were then collected into this single bound volume.
The illustrations are spectacular and to me have a very modern sensibility in their mid-Renaissance woodcut legacy–the look very clear and concise, are well proportioned, nicely labeled, and give plenty of free rein to open and blank spaces on the woodblock.
The only time these images really “fail” is when they appear in color–a process that would’ve been undertaken privately, by the purchaser of the book, who would have contracted with an artisan to color the book.
The images in almost all of the cases of coloring that I have seen just do not match the elegance and brilliance of the original with no color.
Source for all images: NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE,
When you lock lips with that special person, you’re not only sharing your bubbling passions, but also your unique blend of oral bacteria.
In a study that’s sure to stoke the flames of love, scientists discovered that lovebirds exchange some 80 million bacteria after swapping spit for 10 seconds. That sounds like a cavity waiting to happen.
But don’t worry: Scientists also found that it takes a lot of kisses to significantly change your mouth’s unique collection of microbes.
It’s been estimated that over 700 difference species of microbes eat and poop on your teeth, cheeks and gums.
Fully aware of your mouth’s thriving civilization, researchers were curious just how many microbial nomads migrate to your partner’s mouth during a make-out session.
They took tongue and saliva samples from 21 different couples, including one female and one male couple.
First, they tested to see how similar a couple’s mouth microbiomes were to each other.
Then, they attempted to determine how much bacteria was exchanged during a French kiss.
One person in each couple drank a probiotic yogurt drink containing a mix of common yogurt bacteria such as Streptococcus thermophilus.
Then, the couples kissed for 10 seconds, and researchers took saliva and tongue samples from the receiver, or the person in each couple that didn’t swallow the drink.
There’s something undeniably beautiful about prosthetic limbs, designed to echo the physical grace and mechanical engineering of the human body. For most people, these objects elicit some combination of squeamish discomfort and utmost respect.
But far fewer of us connect those feelings to the untold generations of battle-scarred amputees whose sacrifices made prosthetics a public priority.
“Patients even have doctors sign non-disclosure forms to protect potential patents.”
“You hate to think that war is what drives technology, but it does,” says Kevin Carroll, the Vice President of Prosthetics for Hanger, a major artificial-limb producer founded just after the Civil War.
Historically, the impulse to create functional replacement limbs has grown in parallel with the number of living amputees, whose ranks ballooned following periods of military conflict, especially the American Civil War and World War I.
Such episodes of violence provided the impetus for doctors and scientists to study how the human body copes with physical damage, and how we might repair it.
Today, double amputees regularly win gold medals at the Paralympics, and computer-based technologies allow replacement limbs to translate signals from the human brain into motion.
But it’s been a long and violent haul from the wooden “peg-leg” days when amputees were pitied, ignored, or actually destined to die because of limited medical care.