1) The Marlboro Man: 1942-2014
Eric Lawson, the billboard cowboy who embodied the major tobacco brand's ideal rough and macho smoker in popular 1970s ads, died today of obstructive pulmonary disease likely caused by years of smoking. [StLToday]
2) Good cholesterol turns out to be not so good after all.
HDL cholesterol, affectionately known as the "good" cholesterol, is generally thought of as a heart-friendly compound that cleans and clears arteries. However, according to a new study in the journal Nature Medicine, the good stuff can turn ugly when it's in the artery walls, becoming dysfunctional and potentially threatening to clog arteries. [BBC]
3) Not sleeping well? Turn off your smartphone.
Flashy lights, endless texts, and GIFs galore might be doing more than depriving you of a few extra minutes of sleep. Using your smartphone after 9 p.m. could put a serious damper not only on the quality of sleep you get that night, but also on your productivity at work the next day, says a study published in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision. By far the biggest culprits (outdoing even laptops, tablets, and TV), smartphones keep the mind maximally engaged, disrupting a quiet descent into sleep that throws normal rest patterns off all night and leaves you feeling depleted and unengaged the next day. [Huffington Post]
4) If you've got one of those impulsive "addictive personalities," you probably abuse food, too.
Could the irresistible urge for a late-night burrito combo be just as addictive as a booze-and-cigarette binge? You'd better believe it, says a recent study in the journal Appetite, which found that while they might not be obese, people with impulsive behavior were at risk to abuse food just as much as drugs and alcohol. The tantalizing seduction of foods high in fat, sodium, and sugar causes cravings in the brain that mimic a need for addictive substances like nicotine. [Science Daily]
5) The quest to map the human appetite begins.
What makes a person prefer leafy greens over fried chicken? A European research team led by the University of Edinburgh is setting out to answer exactly that. The five-year initiative, coined "Nudge It," aims to understand how experiences from a young age eventually shape our dietary choices in adulthood. Researchers hope the data gleaned from the project will help shape new health policies worldwide. [MMT]