Cavities, gingivitis, plaque and gum disease aren't the only things you need to fear if you've got dentophobia (fear of the dentist). A recent study in Taiwan found that people who had their teeth cleaned by a dentist at least twice a year reduced their chance of getting a heart attack by a whopping 24 percent and cut down their risk of stroke by 13 percent.
Practical, albeit random, information.
Which, led us to wonder about some of the other bizarre findings out there that offer equally practical, if not strange, information. What we found didn't disappoint.
Country music causes suicide
It might not be your cup of tea, but does listening to country music actually make you want to kill yourself? According to a 1992 study by Steven Stack and Jim Gundlach, "The Effect of Country Music on Suicide," suicide rates among white people were higher in areas where country music was most popular. They concluded that the music's themesalcoholism, relationship problems, financial problems, depressionpossibly affected fans.
People will eat forever if you let them
Think that goldfish are the only animals that will eat themselves to death? Think again. Brian Wansink, a professor at Cornell University, revolutionized the way people view foodliterallywhen he conducted a study using "bottomless," automatically refilling soup bowls to see how much people will mindlessly eat. He showed that portion sizes and plate sizes (and even lighting, music and table arrangements) had a significant impact on how much people are willing to consume. He also showed that labels like "low-fat" and "healthy" made people actually consume more, effectively negating any health benefits.
Swearing relieves pain
F#@k it! Swear all you want after you stub your toe or get a paper cut. It actually will make you feel better. In 2009, a study led by Richard Stevens, a psychologist at Keele University in England, had student volunteers immerse their hand into freezing cold water. They were allowed to chant a neutral word during one round and allowed to chant an expletive of their choice during the other. When they were allowed to curse, the students reported less pain and stayed with their hands immersed an average of 40 seconds longer. The experiment was replicated on Mythbusters.
Women in heat repel men in relationships
A study by Florida State University found that men in committed relationships evolve different responses to attractive women in order to avoid cheating. A woman worked with men in a laboratory over the course of several months with strict instructions not to make herself more attractive with makeup or perfume. The men later rated her attractiveness at various stages of her menstrual cycle. Single men rated her as particularly attractive when she was ovulating (and highly fertile), but the exact opposite happened with men in relationships. Researchers concluded that the committed men had evolved certain "relationship maintenance" techniques to counteract their mating instincts.
The real Murphy's Law
Did you think "Murphy's Law" was just slang to explain away a crappy situation? The origin of the term came from a 1949 air force study of how many Gs the human body can withstand. Colonel John Paul Stapp volunteered to be strapped to a rocket sled called the Gee Whiz, and subjected to crashes of over 200 mph. Captain Ed Murphy Jr., an engineer, was tasked with attaching sensors to the sled to measure the force, but after they malfunctioned, Murphy complained about the technician who installed them, "If there are two ways to do something, and one of those ways will result in disaster, he'll do it that way." Stapp later amended his observation to "whatever can go wrong, will go wrong," and called it "Murphy's Law."
Chickens prefer pretty women, too
The next time someone calls you shallow, blame biology. Researchers at Stockholm University trained chickens to react to the faces of a specific gender. They then gauged their reactions to certain faces and found that the chickens reacted more positively to faces consistent with what humans found physically attractive. They concluded: "This suggests that human preferences arise from general properties of nervous systems, rather than from face-specific adaptations."
Testing the five-second rule
An industrious high school student in Chicago took it upon herself to test the "five-second rule" that food dropped on the floor can still be eaten if it's picked up within five seconds. She found that the floors in general were surprisingly clean, but when any food came in contact with a surface that was purposefully inoculated with E. coli, it became tainted in less than five seconds.