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Fit Fix: More Than a Feeling, Empathy Actually Hurts

Plus more of today's top health and science headlines.

Feeling for your friends when they're down actually causes you pain.

When our friends or loved ones are harmed, whether they're being excluded from a conversation or getting punched in the face, the emotional distress we experience actually translates into physical pain in our brains. When participants in a study watched videos of people being socially ostracized or zapped by a "mildly painful stimulus," the posterior insular cortex (the part of your brain that processes physical pain) lit up like a roman candle. "Our findings lend support to the theoretical model of empathy that explains involvement in other people's emotions by the fact that our representation is based on the representation of our own emotional experience in similar conditions," said study author Giorgia Silani. In other words, it seems our brains are hardwired to really "feel" what our friends are feeling (at least as far as pain is concerned) when we empathize. [MNT

The best way to beat Lou Gehrig's disease? Eat a ton of pasta.

Today the popular scientific breeze blows favorably in carbs' direction. While recent studies seem to have suggested that high-carb diets could lead to dementia, a pilot study published in the The Lancet claims that a carb-rich diet could slow and stymie the progression of the neuromuscular disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which is more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease, famously named for the star baseball legend it crippled. [MedicalDaily]

Living near the airport is more than just annoying, it's dangerous to your health.

The drone and rumble of jetliners crisscrossing and diving above your head has been shown to increase your odds for heart attack and stroke, says a report published in the journal Environmental Health. The constant noise that comes along with living near the tarmac disrupts our nightly sleep patterns, and while it might just seem like a minor annoyance in the mean time, over the long run that interrupted sleep adds up which could lead to raised blood pressure. [MedicalDaily]

Dangerous designer party pills are leaving the law in the dust.

The slow march of legislation just can't seem to keep up with the constant stream of recreational drugs seemingly pouring out of Canada, which is fast becoming the "ecstasy capital" of the world. "The chemists who are making these drugs are coming up with about 10 new drugs per year," Alan Hudson, a pharmacologist from the University of Alberta, told Medical News Today. "The best way forward is to educate people that they're playing Russian roulette— the health risks from taking these drugs are high, and potentially lethal." A new paper written by Hudson and his peers from the U of A and published in Drug Science, Policy and Law, warns that at the rate these drugs are churning out, research to understand their potential hazards can't keep up, stifling legal policy and potentially creating a major public health crises. [MNT]


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