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Social studies

Teens in love shouldn't worry parents Add to ...

Young love? Not depressing

“Once their kids become teenagers, many parents – even good parents with good kids – start to freak out about the perils of teenage romance and sex,” writes Kevin Lewis of The Boston Globe. “And, indeed, research has shown that teenage dating and sex are associated with psychological problems. But how much should we worry? Psychologists analyzed data from a national survey of teenagers and found that neither dating nor sex with a dating partner were associated with depression, controlling for genetic and family-environment differences. However, sex with a non-dating partner (i.e. casual sex) was associated with depression, especially among younger teenagers.”

Flexing your Elvis muscle

“In babies, a gummy smile is prized by all who witness it,” says The Independent. “In adults, it can be the source of anxiety and grief. Now research has revealed that two simple injections into the so-called Elvis Presley muscle can help them smile along with the rest of the world.” A gummy smile is defined as any show of gum that extends more than two millimetres above the teeth during smiling. In a study, reported in Plastic Reconstruction Surgery, botulinium toxin was injected into 52 people, in the levator labii superioris nasalis muscle – otherwise known as the Elvis muscle. “This is the muscle that dilates the nostril and pulls the upper lip upwards during a smile. It is also brought into play when someone snarls, hence its renaming.”

The sound of youth

“Surgeons are reaping the rewards from Britain’s aging population by offering treatments that can restore the youthful tone to voices,” says The Sunday Times of London. “With increasing numbers of elderly people wishing to remain in the workplace, the operations reduce the reediness in the voice that comes with old age and can, the surgeons claim, help to boost patients’ confidence.” There is expected to be heightened demand for so-called “voice-lifts” from executives and business people, “who are increasingly likely to work into their seventies and eighties. … These aging executives may be seeking to maintain an edge of aggression and authority in an ever more youth-oriented workplace.”

Odd walk? Not my owner

“Could you tell if a phone has been stolen by a change in the walking pattern of the person carrying it?” asks the New Scientist. “An Android app developed by Marios Savvides and colleagues at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh uses data from the accelerometer and gyroscope that come as standard on modern smartphones to record the movements that a phone makes as its owner walks.” The app “can identify a particular gait with over 95 per cent accuracy. The technology could one day be used to shut a device down if it registers a gait that does not match that of its owner.”

Apes running out of room

“Great apes, such as gorillas, chimps and bonobos, are running out of places to live, say scientists. They have recorded a dramatic decline in the amount of habitat suitable for great apes, according to the first such survey across the African continent,” BBC News reports. “Eastern gorillas, the largest living primate, have lost more than half their habitat since the early 1990s. Cross River gorillas, chimps and bonobos have also suffered significant losses, according to the study. Details are published in the journal Diversity and Distributions.”

Thought du jour

“With the stones we cast at them, geniuses build new roads for us.”

Paul Eldridge, American author (1888-1982)

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