Bits & Bites


Recent research shows kissing frequency correlates with relationship satisfaction. More kissing equals a better bond, and not just between lips. Researchers showed that the amount a couple kissed was proportional to their stated level of relationship satisfaction.

Finding it hard to build a relationship? Work on your kissing skills. About 60 per cent of men and 66 per cent of women confessed to breaking things off before anything serious happened because the other person was a lousy lip locker.

Kisses leave an impression, and not just lipstick. Psychologist John Bohannon from Butler University says that most people can recall up to 90 per cent of the details of their first romantic kiss. In a study of 500 people, most remembered this experience more vividly than their first sexual encounter.

As for health, there's a famous German study from the 1980s that found that men who kissed their wives before leaving for work lived, on average, five years longer than those heartless souls who left without so much as a goodbye peck on the cheek. Pucker up, men. You'll thank us later.


Do you type love letters on the laptop and key in grocery lists on your phone? Don’t throw out your writing utensils just yet. According to science, writing with a pen, pencil or plume is exercise for the brain.

A study published by the Association for Psychological Science found that students who took notes on laptops performed worse on conceptual questions than students who took notes longhand. Laptoppers tend to transcribe lectures verbatim rather than processing info into their own words.

Just the act of writing can boost brain development. When a child learns cursive, she’s tapping into complex motor control and concentration. But it’s not just an exercise for the young. A Wall Street Journal report found that by engaging fine motor-skills and memory, writing by hand is a good cognitive exercise for aging brains.

Writing by hand can also soothe an agitated mind, a busy brain. Dr. Marc Seifer, a graphologist (it’s a thing) and handwriting expert, claims that putting pen to paper and writing a paragraph or two every day is a kind of “graphotherapy” that can have a calming effect and even retrain a brain that’s suffered trauma.


Want to do some good during the season of giving? Give blood. Not only will it help save lives, it can vastly improve your own. The red blood cell life cycle averages about 115 days. Donate blood, pass on your red blood cells, and encourage your body to make fresh cells — all in the middle of the life cycle. This way, your blood performs at optimal levels.

Know that iron clings to hemoglobin in red blood cells and carries oxygen throughout the body. When iron isn't attached to hemoglobin it floats in the bloodstream, which creates free radicals. These free radicals are a normal part of energy creation, but when they're out of whack they create oxidative stress and breakdown parts of the body.

It's this "breakdown" of tissue that causes cells to go rogue. Studies published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute show that participants who donated blood and reduced iron stores actually lowered their risk of cancer.


Look down. See those two feet and 10 toes? Bend down (come on, you can do it), and look a little closer. What do you see? Close examination of the feet can tell you a lot about your health.

Start with hair. Unless you're a hobbit, you should have some strands here and there. A total lack of hair prior to any trimming you do for aesthetic purposes could be a sign of poor circulation. Of greater concern is if you used to have hair down there and notice it's gone. Don't panic, but definitely consult your doctor.

Now wiggle those toes. After this little piggy goes to market, do you feel any numbness? Maybe you've been sitting or standing in one position too long. Or maybe it's a sign of multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, or nerve damage. Again, consult a medical professional if the numbness persists.

A throbbing, swollen, red, and warm toe is a telltale sign you stubbed it on the coffee table again. Or it could be gout, a form of arthritis. Although gout is often associated with a diet high in meat, just over 1 in 10 cases of gout are directly related to what you eat. Get that toe checked out.

An underactive thyroid gland, or hypothyroidism, can harm your body a number of ways. One sign is perpetually cold feet. Add other symptoms like fatigue, weight gain, and dry skin and hair, and you should speak to your doctor.


Anyone who has a pet will tell you (whether you like it or not) that there's no love like the love from a dog. But even seemingly indifferent cats, lizards that don't purr, and cold-scaled fish can have a positive effect on a person's overall mood and wellbeing.

People with dogs in the family tend to get more exercise. According to one study in the U.S., dog walkers got about 30 minutes more exercise per week. And it's no secret that a loving pet relieves stress, whether it's a playful pup, a purring kitten or a fish swimming amongst the sway of seaweed. Of course, in today's digital world, you don't even have to be in the same room as an animal to reap the rewards.

The authors of a study from Indiana University Media School reported that people who watched cat videos on Youtube or Facebook actually showed signs of reduced anxiety. Furthermore, after only one video, subjects exhibited a more positive outlook on life overall. No wonder pets are welcome guests at many hospitals, palliative care facilities, and nursing homes. Pet therapy has shown to boost the function of residents with cognitive impairment. Moreover, some special canines are employed to literally sniff out everything from diabetes and epileptic seizures to some types of cancer.


Winter 2018, Vol 10 N°1

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The Science of Prevention