Humans aren't designed to "be happy." Why do we keep pretending?

A new essay by Rafael Euba questions the goals of the happiness industry.

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  • Biologically speaking, humans are not designed for happiness, writes Rafael Euba on The Conversation.
  • Depression is a natural part of life, fostering problem-solving skills and keeping us out of dangerous situations.
  • Euba says the $11 billion positive thinking industry is a big reason for this focus on happiness.
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Personal Growth

The risk of developing autism is 80% genetic, researchers now say

The study — which involved more than 2 million children — is the largest of its kind.

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  • The study involved more than 2 million children born in Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Israel, and Western Australia.
  • The results indicated that inherited genes accounted for about 80 percent of the risk of developing autism spectrum disorder.
  • Still, it remains unclear which genes are at play in contributing to autism, and also how environmental risk factors contribute to the disorder.
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Mind & Brain

Scientists develop an 'EpiPen' for brain and spinal cord injuries

This new research could help individuals recover from one of the most dreaded types of injury.

  • Brain and spinal cord injuries are notoriously difficult to treat, with many existing methods of treatment provoking undesirable side effects.
  • Now, new research demonstrated a novel technique using nanoparticles to "program" the body's immune cells such that they don't cause any unintended damage and promote healing.
  • Since they don't involve any pharmaceuticals, the use of nanoparticles circumvents the dangerous side effects of other treatments.
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Surprising Science

Belly fat: Gut bacteria checks could lead to personalized diets

The reason one diet does not suit all may be found in our guts.

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  • New research shows that there's no one diet that works for everyone.
  • Instead, gut bacteria may hold the key to personalized diet plans.
  • A future doctor may check gut bacteria to offer diet advice.
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Surprising Science

The profound effects of exercise on the brain: A conversation with Dr. John Ratey

The Harvard Medical School's clinical professor of psychiatry wrote the book on the topic.

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  • Dr. John Ratey's 2008 book, Spark, investigated the many important effects that exercise has on mental health.
  • While physical fitness is essential to good health, moving in a variety of ways is even more important.
  • Recent research suggests that exercise is as effective for treating certain mental health conditions as pharmaceuticals.
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Surprising Science