Optimism Helps Prevent Heart Disease & Stroke

People who are more optimistic, hopeful and satisfied with their lives are less likely to have heart problems, says a new Harvard meta-analysis that has aggregated over 200 independent studies. 

What's the Latest Development?


A Harvard meta-analysis of more than 200 studies looking at cardiovascular risks and emotional states has found that traits like optimism, hope and satisfaction with one's life are linked with a reduction in the risk of heart disease and stroke. "One study last year, for example, looked at 8,000 people and found a lower risk of heart disease among those who reported more happiness or satisfaction in areas like career, sex life and family, but not in areas like romance and standard of living." The correlation remained stable even after controlling for subjects' demographic data and health behaviors. 

What's the Big Idea?

Studies such as these, which find links between emotional and physical states, typically face the chicken and egg problem. Does being optimistic protect one's health or is that people who lead healthy lives, by exercising and eating right, have more reason to feel good about themselves and the world? "While researchers cannot say for sure, some studies have found a protective effect for optimism even after controlling for things like socioeconomic status, body weight and smoking." Scientists, however, have long known that states like anxiety and depression can worsen the outcome for heart patients. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com


NYTimes exposé reveals how Facebook handled scandals

Delay, deny and deflect were the strategies Facebook has used to navigate scandals it's faced in recent years, according to the New York Times.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The exhaustive report is based on interviews with more than 50 people with ties to the company.
  • It outlines how senior executives misled the public and lawmakers in regards to what it had discovered about privacy breaches and Russian interference in U.S. politics.
  • On Thursday, Facebook cut ties with one of the companies, Definers Public Relations, listed in the report.
Keep reading Show less

Russian reporters discover 101 'tortured' whales jammed in offshore pens

Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.

(VL.ru)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Russian news network discovers 101 black-market whales.
  • Orcas and belugas are seen crammed into tiny pens.
  • Marine parks continue to create a high-price demand for illegal captures.
Keep reading Show less

Unraveling the mystery behind dogs' floppy ears

Dogs' floppy ears may be part of why they and other domesticated animals love humans so much.

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash
Surprising Science
  • Nearly all domestic animals share several key traits in addition to friendliness to humans, traits such as floppy ears, a spotted coat, a shorter snout, and so on.
  • Researchers have been puzzled as to why these traits keep showing up in disparate species, even when they aren't being bred for those qualities. This is known as "domestication syndrome."
  • Now, researchers are pointing to a group of a cells called neural crest cells as the key to understanding domestication syndrome.
Keep reading Show less