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WALKING ON AIR: A journalist looks out onto the French Alps from the Step into the Void on the peak of Aiguille du Midi above Chamonix. (ROBERT PRATTA/REUTERS)
WALKING ON AIR: A journalist looks out onto the French Alps from the Step into the Void on the peak of Aiguille du Midi above Chamonix. (ROBERT PRATTA/REUTERS)

Talking Points: French Alps, know your travel agent, and anxious cats Add to ...

BRAIN SHRINKAGE

Note to frequent pot-smokers: If you forget where you hid your stash, blame your brain. PBS Newshour reports on a recent study that found teenagers who’d smoked marijuana daily for three years performed poorly on memory tests and also showed abnormal changes in brain structures. The study, from Northwestern University, observed the brains of teens who admitted having been heavy consumers of cannabis. Researchers discovered that memory-related structures in the teens’ brains appeared to have shrunk and collapsed inward, which possibly indicated a decrease in neurons. More worrying was the fact that the abnormalities were recorded up to two years after the teens had stopped smoking marijuana.

THE GEOGRAPHIC CURE

Anyone looking to maintain optimum health should get to know their local travel agent. As reported in The Los Angeles Times, a new study makes a direct link between travel and decreased risks of heart attack and depression. The study from the U.S. Travel Association, the Global Commission on Aging and the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies shows that regular travel delivers physical and cognitive benefits. The study said that women who vacation only every six years or less have a higher risk of heart attack or coronary death compared to women who vacation at least twice a year. Also, men who refused to take an annual vacation had a 20-per-cent higher risk of death, and a 30-per-cent greater risk of death from heart disease. And, yes, researchers did account for factors such as income levels and preexisting poor health.

COOL, COOL KITTIES

All the longstanding suspicions were true: Your cat really doesn’t like you. USA Today reports on new research suggesting that most domestic felines have an “anxious avoidant” attachment style to the people who feed and care for them daily, which means they usually don’t care whether their owners are present or not. According to British veterinary behaviour professor Daniel Mills, most cats regard their owners, or any other humans, as simply a “provider of resources” or means to an end. Mills contrasts this to the way dogs feel about their owners – they love them “the same way children love their parents.”

THOUGHT DU JOUR

To have a grievance is to have a purpose in life.

Eric Hoffer, author (1902-1983)

 

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