Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Day 45: More Fruit of the Blog of Knowledge

The sun returned yesterday, and the pool was a magnet. Everyone in the family ended up there - the four of us, Walt and Terry's three grandchildren, their sons Jeffrey and Christian and even Walt's mom, Anna. What a great bunch of people to spend a great summer's afternoon with.

It was a Disney-perfect summer day. Kids laughing and splashing, baseball games being followed and steaks and burgers on the grill. Needless to say, not much really happened so today's post will be one more chapter in the Blog of Knowledge. This is my ongoing contribution to the education of the 8 or 9 people who read this where I share interesting research that I've stumbled across lately.

The first study is especially disturbing. Scientists have discovered that fat people are stupid. A research project by scientists at UCLA have learned that obese people have 8% less brain tissue than thin people. They also learned that obese people's brains looked 16-years older than thin people's.

The scientists scanned 94 brains and decided that was enough to draw conclusions. Of course, their determination of cause-and-effect is open to debate because statistically it is just as valid to say that people with smaller brains tend to get fat.

Somehow, neither interpretation gives me much comfort. But I'm having trouble explaining why. Maybe if I have another macaroon it will help.

The second bit of research is much more positive. The New York Times reports that clinical trials are under way for a drug that lets you eat as much as you want but it tricks your body into thinking it's on a diet.

One of the best things to come out of that research is that the key ingredient in this drug is resveratrol. This is a minor ingredient of red wine, which goes to show that I have been self-medicating all these years without even knowing it. Which, of course, may be because I have a smaller brain.

Or it may just be because I am getting older. For another study has discovered that binge drinking is no longer restricted to younger people. In a study of 11,000 people between 50 and 65, a US government survey discovered that one in four of men my age has engaged in binge drinking in the past month.

Surprisingly, it turns out that I am not one of them. The standard definition of binge drinking is consuming 5 or more drinks in 2 hours. It's not so much restraint on my part (as most of you would know), but because I like to stretch out my drinking time to cover the whole evening, well past a mere 2 hours.

The research also learned that even after age 65, about 14% engage in binge drinking. I am pretty sure this is just an unfortunate coincidence where they go out for the early bird special and stumble onto happy hour at the bar. You know how hard it is for us retirees to say no to a bargain.

No comments: