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Social Studies

Does your doctor really feel your pain? Add to ...

Doctors feel your pain

“When physicians tell you they feel your pain, they may be doing more than sharing their concern as they may actually experience feelings related to your condition,” reports Psych Central. “This remarkable discovery resulted from a study in which physicians underwent brain scans while they believed they were actually treating patients. From this experiment, researchers discovered the first scientific evidence indicating that doctors truly can feel their patients’ pain – and can also experience their relief following treatment.” The findings appear online in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

Identical twins? Not really

“According to Nessa Carey in The Epigenetics Revolution, 10 million pairs of identical twins are alive today. In other words, to be an identical twin is not all that strange,” writes Priscilla Long, herself an identical twin, in The American Scholar. “But the big news is that having identical genes does not make you identical. Identical twins can be up to 12 per cent different. This being the case, the term ‘identical’ has been replaced by ‘monozygotic.’ The difference is caused by epigenetics, which is, in Carey’s words, ‘the set of modifications to our genetic material that change the ways genes are switched on or off, but which don’t alter the genes themselves.’ ”

Artist offers treasure hunt

A British art gallery is at the centre of an off-the-wall treasure hunt – after an artist claimed to have hidden an £8,000 ($12,675) cheque among its exhibits, The Daily Telegraph reports. “Milton Keynes Gallery said it had no prior knowledge of Tomas Georgeson’s apparent attempt to boost its visitor numbers by concealing the cheque – with the payee left blank – in one of its public spaces.” The artist said the cheque won’t bounce if somebody finds it and cashes it. He hopes the potential windfall will lift interest in local art and break down a “disconnect” between the visitor attraction and the public. Georgeson is reportedly planning on recovering the cheque on March 1 if it has not been found. The gallery’s communications director said staff looked for the cheque but couldn’t see anything. “We can’t confirm or deny whether it’s a hoax or not.”

When companies open up

“Office workers have grown accustomed to knowing the intimate details of each other’s lives – from a colleague’s favourite cat video to a boss’s vacation fiasco,” writes Rachel Emma Silverman of The Wall Street Journal. “Now a small but growing number of private-sector firms are letting employees in on closely held company secrets: revealing details of company financials, staff performance reviews, even individual pay – and, in doing so, walking a tightrope between information and TMI, or too much information. The warts-and-all approach, most often found in startups, builds trust among workers and makes employees more aware of how their particular contribution affects the company as a whole, advocates say.”

Cyclists follow their vibe

“Think of it as satnav for your waist,” says the New Scientist. A vibrating belt for cyclists, which guides you to your destination, has proven successful in early tests. Wearing a ‘vibrobelt,’ you simply choose a destination on your smartphone and set off. The belt then gives your directional nudges just before each turn. Developed by Haska Steltenpohl of the Intelligent Systems Lab at the University of Amsterdam, the system is designed to help cyclists keep their attention trained on the road. In tests, cyclists who used the vibrobelt were much more aware of their surroundings than those who had to glance at the screen of a GPS device.

Thought du jour

If you don’t get what you want, it’s a sign either that you did not seriously want it, or that you tried to bargain over the price.

Rudyard Kipling, English writer (1865-1936)

 

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