Loud music and food

Here's evidence that loud background music in restaurants affects food choices - and not in a good way. Behavioural scientists who ran a series of lab studies and field experiments found that participants selected more unhealthy items like red meat and cake when the ambient music was loud. They were more likely to choose healthy items when softer music was played in the background. "High-volume music is more exciting and makes you physically more excited, less inhibited and more likely to choose something indulgent," said Dipayan Biswas, a professor of business and of marketing at University of South Florida in Tampa and lead author of the paper, published in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science. The genre of music did not appear to influence the choices, the researchers said.

E-cigarettes bad for lungs

A common cinnamon food additive that is widely used to flavour e-cigarettes had harmful effects on human lung cells in a laboratory culture, disrupting the cells' innate host defence system, scientists report. The compound, called cinnamaldehyde, gives cinnamon its characteristic flavour and smell. It is generally considered safe when added to food. But like many chemicals in e-cigarette emissions, it has not been thoroughly evaluated for safety when inhaled, said Phillip Clapp, who recently completed his doctorate in the lab of Dr Ilona Jaspers, deputy director of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Center for Environmental Medicine, Asthma and Lung Biology.

Tonsillectomy bad in long run

A report published in JAMA Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, suggests that tonsillectomy may have long-term risks that in some cases outweigh any short-time benefits. After controlling for many health factors, researchers found that the surgery was associated with almost triple the relative risk of diseases of the upper respiratory tract. "This is the first study to look at long-term risks," said the lead author, Sean G. Byars, a research fellow at the University of Melbourne in Australia. "With some kids, knowing that there are future risks may cause people to hold off, use pain medication instead," he said.

Night owls prone to depression

Night owls may be at greater risk for depression than early birds. Previous studies have found a link between a person's circadian rhythm and depression, but none were able to tell whether sleep habits were a cause or an effect of it. This new prospective study, in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, is a step closer to establishing causality. The researchers found that compared with the intermediate types, morning people were 12 per cent less likely to develop depression, and night owls 6 per cent more likely to develop it. The relationship was linear: the more a person tended toward the night-owl type, the more likely he or she was to have depression.


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