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PERILS OF MULTI-TASKING

Like to live tweet your favourite TV show? Like to watch your Facebook feed on one screen, while working on another? Here’s the bad news: A new study suggests that if you tend to use multiple media devices (like your smartphone, laptop and TV) at the same time, you might not be doing your brain any favours.

As reported by New York Magazine, new research has revealed a link between the simultaneous juggling of media devices and a reduced volume of brain cells in the region associated with cognitive and emotional control.

Researchers at the U.K.’s University of Sussex’s Sackler Centre for Consciousness recently examined the brain structures of 75 adults via magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Prior to the research, all test participants filled out a detailed questionnaire regarding their current use of various media devices, including mobile phones, laptops, televisions and even print media.

What they discovered after the MRIs: Regardless of individual personality traits, those test subjects who regularly operated a higher number of media devices concurrently had reduced grey matter density in the region of the brain more commonly known as the anterior cingulate cortex, which dictates cognitive and emotional control functions.

The Sussex scientists caution that the findings in their study are purely correlational and those people with a penchant for using several devices aren’t necessarily causing a decrease in their brain cells.

In fact, MIT neuroscientist Earl Miller, who was not involved in the research, weighed in, stating, “It could be (in fact is possibly more likely) that the relationship is the other way around.”

Translation: Those individuals who are least happy using one device at a time may have had less grey matter in the first place.

But there is some good news. While researchers used to believe that once brain cells were gone, they were gone forever, that theory doesn’t appear to hold forth any more.

“Studies have shown that physical exercise can increase production of new brain cells in mice. And humans studies have shown aerobic exercise helps enhance cognitive abilities,” says Miller.

In other words, get off the couch, grow new brain cells.

BLAME GAME

Walmart is blaming the injuries sustained by Tracy Morgan in last spring's horrific accident on the fact that he wasn’t wearing a seat belt. The retail giant made the claim in New Jersey federal court on Monday in response to the 30 Rock star’s lawsuit arising from the six-car accident on the New Jersey turnpike. The retail giant’s defence states that Morgan’s injuries – which included a broken leg, broken femur, broken nose and broken ribs – “were caused, in whole or in part, by plaintiff’s failure to properly wear an appropriate available seat belt restraint device.” Morgan was among several people seriously injured in the accident, which also took the life of his friend and fellow comedian James McNair, who are now suing Walmart for negligence.

Source: Hollywood Reporter

DYLAN TRIBUTES

Nobody can say the Swedish scientific community doesn’t have good musical taste, or a sense of humour. Apparently a group of eminent Swedish scientists have spent the past 17 years sneaking lyrics from Bob Dylan songs into their published papers. The tradition reportedly began in 1997 when a research team from Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute published a paper titled Nitric Oxide and Inflammation: The Answer is Blowing in the Wind. The trend went on for the next two decades until a sharp-eyed librarian took note of a paper from the same university titled Blood on the Tracks: A Simple Twist of Fate, which merged two Dylan songs in the same paper.

Source: People

ABOOT TIME

Now it can be told: Justin Long faked a Canadian accent as a child just to impress his friends. “I grew up saying ‘sore-ee’ and ‘aboot’ because I was such a huge Michael J. Fox fan,” said the Tusk star in a recent interview. “He was my hero when I was growing up so I just thought that was the cool way to say ‘sorry’.” Added Long: “I never understood how it was making fun of them. I prefer the way Canadians say it.”

Source: Canadian Press

TIFF TIME

Rosie O’Donnell is already stirring up trouble on The View. Two weeks into her comeback season, the feisty O’Donnell got into a shouting match with fellow host Whoopi Goldberg during a recent taping of the daytime talk series. According to reports, the spat erupted last Thursday when Goldberg interrupted O’Donnell to remind her the show had to go to a commercial break. O’Donnell (who refuses to wear an earpiece during tapings) allegedly responded by saying, “You hurt my feelings,” during the break. An annoyed Goldberg allegedly retorted: “I said this was not the time, Rosie.” When O’Donnell continued to complain, Goldberg allegedly snapped, “I told you to leave it alone and you just don’t want to listen… I’m really sick of your [expletive]!”

Source: Daily Mail

POPULATION DIP

For some U.S. women, living through a recession means they will never have kids. A recent study from Princeton University reveals that among American women who were in their early twenties during the “Great Recession” of 2008, approximately 150,000 will forego having children by the time they reach 40. The study authors say that the lingering impact of the recession will eventually result in roughly 427,000 fewer U.S. children being born over the next few decades.

Source: The Atlantic

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