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10 New Mind-Blowing Discoveries

You have to read it to believe it -- here's 10 crazy things the world learned this week.

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So why do these women have more kids? After researching 161 female relatives of gay and straight men researchers found the “gay man gene” seems to make women more attractive to men, that they “are more fertile, displaying fewer gynecological disorders or complications during pregnancy; they are more extroverted, as well as funnier, happier and more relaxed; and they have fewer family problems and social anxieties.”

Probably because they’re around so many gay men. That’ll make any girl feel better.

3. Our friend flora

It’s always fascinating to get a little more insight into why we are the way we are, particularly when we are sad. People with depression and anxiety, especially if they've been told to “look on the bright side,” enough times to make them even more depressed, may get a little more insight into their condition from a new University College Cork study showing a correlation between levels of serotonin in the brain and gut bacteria in early life, Science Daily reports .

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that gives us a feeling of well-being. Most “effective antidepressant drugs work by targeting this neurochemical.” The researchers used a “germ-free mouse model” to show that an absence of bacteria in early life had a significant effect on serotonin in the brain. The effect was greater on males and it can’t be reversed. The research builds on previous studies “showing that a microbiome-gut-brain axis exists that is essential for maintaining normal health which can affect brain and behavior,” and “that manipulations of the microbiota (e.g. by antibiotics, diet, or infection) can have profound knock-on effects on brain function.”

Dr. Gerard Clarke, lead author of the study, says, "Although we always believed that the microbiota was essential for our general health, our results also highlight how important our tiny friends are for our mental wellbeing."

While the effect can’t be reversed, Evelyn Ring of the Irish Examiner reports in a related story, the researchers at the University College Dublin found that simply socializing a bit more alleviated symptoms of depression in people who were already getting conventional mental health treatment. 

Personally I find it helpful, on those Debbie Downer days, to talk to someone who’s got it worse than me. Helping other people feels good, plus it makes you realize your own situation might be better than you think. 

4. Little seizures

If reality is bumming you out and you need an escape it can also help to go to a movie…unless the movie gives you a seizure. 

That’s what happened to a 15-year-old boy who went to see Prometheus and ended up passing out and having a seizure in a scene in which one character “performs an emergency caesarian section on herself to remove an alien,” reports Maria Lewis of the Daily Telegraph.

Last year when another intense birthing scene -- this one in Twilight -- caused multiple seizures,  CBS Sacramento reported that the flashing red lights in the scene may have induced photosensitive epilepsy, a rare condition in which such stimulus can cause an episode in those genetically predisposed, according to Dr. Michael G. Chez, the medical director of pediatric neurology and epilepsy for Sutter Sacramento.

“It’s like a light switch going off, because it hits your brain all at once,” Dr. Chez said. 

An episode of Pokemon caused such seizures in children, but modern television sets no longer project the light frequency that would have triggered them. Lewis reports that the scene in  Pulp Fiction  in which one character has to give another a shot of adrenaline right to the heart reportedly also caused seizures…while filmmaker Quentin Tarantino was in the theater. In 1987 Wang Chung’s video “Everybody Wang Chung Tonight” was banned by the BBC for fear its frenetic, rapid-fire cuts would cause epileptic seizures (maybe it worked because I can find no stories that say it did cause seizures). 

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