The human body: An inspiring biological work of art? Or a meaty sack of germs and fluids? Either way, there’s still a lot we don’t know about what goes on in there — and scientists are constantly attempting to find out more. Here are the most interesting things we learned about our bodies in the last seven days…
Researchers Finally (Kinda) Figured Out Why This Woman Can’t Feel Pain
In a paper published on Thursday, researchers chronicled the strange case of a 71-year-old Scottish woman who has never been able to feel pain or anxiety. She even likened the experience of giving birth to a tickle and can heal wounds incredibly quickly. Basically, she’s a superhero, and I’ll take whatever she’s got.
For years, her condition baffled researchers, but this most recent paper explains that she has an altered version of the so-called FAAH-OUT pseudogene, which researchers now believe is responsible, at the very least, for her inability to feel pain. Basically, FAAH-OUT slows the neighboring gene FAAH, which breaks down anandamide, a neurotransmitter known as the “bliss molecule.” FAAH has been linked to several bodily functions, including mood and pain relief, which means a slowed down functionality could be what’s at play here.
While there’s still a lot to learn in regards to this lady and her totally freaking awesome mutation, I for one, suggest that she be in the next X-Men movie, if only so I feel less pain watching it.
People Who Drive Cars Think People Who Ride Bicycles Are Inhuman
You read that right: New research shows that more than half of car drivers think cyclists aren’t completely human. To come to this conclusion, Australian researchers presented 442 participants with either the iconic evolution of man image, or an adaption showing an evolution from cockroaches to humans, and asked them where cyclists might land. On both ape-human and insect-human scales, 55 percent of non-cyclists and 30 percent of cyclists rated cyclists as not completely human. The researchers suggest that this is why we all experience extreme road rage when attempting to get around that fucking cyclist who’s pedaling right in the middle of the road… I WILL FUCKING RUN YOU DOWN SON JUST MOOOOOOOOVVVVEEE
Walking Around and Being Nice Is the Best Way to Be Happier
At least, that’s the conclusion a recent study came to. Researchers tested the benefits of three different methods meant to reduce anxiety and increase happiness — wishing others well, trying to relate to others and thinking of yourself as better than others — and found that simply being nice to people is the best way to feel better about yourself.
“Walking around and offering kindness to others in the world reduces anxiety and increases happiness and feelings of social connection,” said lead author Douglas Gentile in a press release. “It’s a simple strategy that doesn’t take a lot of time that you can incorporate into your daily activities.”
Yeah, but like, what about scrolling through Instagram and comparing yourself to others until you want to die? That works, right?
Reading Your Kid an Actual Book, Rather Than an E-Book, Is Better for Your Relationship
Why the hell did I buy this Kindle then? And adopt this child? Researchers recently studied 37 parent-toddler pairs and found that they generally talked more frequently (and the quality of their interactions were better) when they were reading printed books, as opposed to e-books. Additionally, the research mentions that these early interactions not only improve your relationship, but also help the kids take away much more from whatever they’re reading, since parents can chime in and help them understand what’s going on. So yeah, apparently my grandma isn’t completely crazy for filling her entire garage with books instead of getting an iPad.
Just Looking at Something That Reminds You of Coffee Can Give You More Energy
And from this moment on, my computer background will be coffee. Using four separate studies and a mix of participants from Western and Eastern cultures, researchers compared coffee and tea-related cues, finding that simply exposing someone to something that reminds them of coffee can cause them to perceive time as shorter and think in more concrete, precise terms. “People who experience physiological arousal — again, in this case as the result of priming and not drinking coffee itself — see the world in more specific, detailed terms,” author Sam Maglio said in a press release.
See, we told you triple-double CBD-impregnated, mushroom-magic-powder-dipped cappuccino with all the Bulletproof blackmagic-ery was unnecessary — just look at pictures of coffee on the internet instead.