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…
Parents Who Toke Are More Likely to Discipline Their Kids
Lots of people claim that smoking weed helps them be a better parent. In theory, it should mellow you out — not so much that you lose your wits, but just enough that you’re not about to snap when your kid leaves a wet towel on the floor for the hundredth time. But recent studies show that the correlation between weed and chillness doesn’t necessarily hold true for pot-smoking parents. In 2009, researchers conducted 3,023 randomly selected phone interviews with California parents of children 12 and under, and asked them about their substance use (including alcohol) and how frequently they used different forms of discipline. Now, a decade later, the researchers have released their findings: Those who had used marijuana in the last year disciplined their children more than non-users.
The study accounted for non-violent discipline, corporal punishment and physical abuse. Parents who reported the highest amount of substance use were 1.45 times more likely to physically abuse their children than those who only reported using one substance. Further, parents who said they used both marijuana and alcohol were .5 times more likely to physically abuse their children than those who just used alcohol.
So angry parents, maybe don’t crossfade while the kids are home?
Run Out of Meth? Try Wasp-Killer
Recently, police in Boone County, West Virginia, have noticed a rise in people using wasp spray to get high. They believe it’s responsible for three overdoses in the last week alone. Better known as “wasping,” people are utilizing the spray as a meth substitute: When sprayed on hot metal sheets, the spray becomes crystallized, and can then be smoked or injected.
Pyrethroids, the active ingredients in bug killer, mess with the human body’s nerve signalling, resulting in a meth-like response in that it produces erratic behavior, abnormal sensations and increased heart rate. It can also lead to extreme swelling of the hands and feet, seizures and paralysis. Given wasp-killer’s affordability, it’s a tempting alternative for addicts in a pinch. Police are reporting that while people may be able to use it once or twice without dangerous symptoms, it becomes more deadly with increased use.
Everyone’s Lying About Root Canals
Root canals are considered to be such an unpleasant experience, they’re often a punchline: “Dinner with the inlaws? I’d rather have a root canal!” But it turns out you’re all just a bunch of big baby liars, at least according to dentists, who claim a root canal is no worse than having a dental assistant stab your gums repeatedly during a cleaning. Students at Adelaide Dental School conducted a study where 1,096 Australian participants self-reported their dental health/quality of life, and had their reports compared to their records over a two-year period. The students found no difference in perception of dental health among those who’d had root canals compared to other types of dental work.
Which, okay, fine, but since when did thinking you had decent oral health mean that you didn’t find a root canal unpleasant? Is this how dentists understand human emotion?
No wonder people are so scared of them.
Social Media Is Making Teens More Depressed by the Hour
Some screens are better than others: Video games are fine, but social media and binge-watching TV can literally worsen your mental health with each passing minute. In a study published in JAMA Pediatrics, doctors identified a correlation between screen time and depression among teens. Specifically, they found that for each additional hour spent on social media, teens experienced a 0.64-unit increase in depressive symptoms compared to their peers. They believe that people’s tendency to compare themselves to others on social media is part of the cause.
Meanwhile, they didn’t find this same correlation between depression and video games. Unlike most social media use, video games often involve direct communication, and are typically seen as a leisure activity.
Turns out it’s a lot healthier to compare yourself to Bowsette than people on Instagram.
Plastic Straws Might Be Bad For Sea Turtles, But Metal Straws Will Impale You
Plastic straws only account for a fraction of pollution in oceans, but the move to ban or replace them has been swift. Since paper straws suck and dissolve in three seconds, metal straws have been a popular alternative for at-home straw users. But that comes with some risk! In November 2018, a 60-year-old British woman was carrying a glass with a 10-inch stainless-steel straw fixed in place with a lid. The woman fell over, impaled herself through her eye with the straw and died shortly after. The coroner’s report, which ruled the death an accident, was released just last week.
This isn’t to say you should go back to using plastic straws, but it is a reminder that metal straws are basically weapons. At the very least, maybe don’t use them with a lid.