Morning Radar: Three things we're talking about this morning
Holiday un-cheer: University of Texas' cancer centre has put out a release cautioning holiday partiers to think about the risks of the big C when imbibing. "Research shows that drinking even a small amount of alcohol increases your chances of developing cancer, including oral cancer, breast cancer and liver cancer," according to Clare McKindley, the clinical dietitian in MD Anderson's Cancer Prevention Center.
While the centre does mention that drinking small amounts of alcohol may protect the body against coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes - and some evidence even suggests that red wine may help prevent cancer - it's as if they know we can't stop at "small amounts."
So, they include tips, such as stick to the recommended serving size (a drink really is 1.5 ounces and you should have no more than two a day), select low-calorie options (no eggnog), and stay away from 100-proof liquor (what were you going to make with that, anyway?).
One Canadian researcher would add one more: skip the caffeine-enchanced tipples.
A Dalhousie University study suggests students who drink alcohol with energy drinks nearly double the amount of alcohol they consume. The 72 students at the Halifax university who were interviewed for the study said they consumed more than eight drinks on occasions they mixed alcohol and energy drinks, reports CBC.ca. Pass the sparkling water.
Anxiety ground zero: A University of Alberta neuroscientist has discovered what tips off anxiety in the brain. Yes, it could be your office Christmas party or the spectre of spending the holidays with just too much family, but researcher William Colmers has zeroed in on the exact brain function that makes it happen.
Dr. Colmers uncovered a "previously undiscovered mechanism in the brain that controls anxiety," according to this Montreal Gazette piece.
That mechanism affects neurons in the pea-sized part of the brain that assesses risk and reward, making those neurons more or less excitable and therefore more or less likely to send out anxious messages, the paper reports. While it may lead to targeted drug therapy, this discovery can't do anything about your skyrocketing stress this week, sorry.
Soccer blaze: And you thought the soccer moms in your neighbourhood were remarkable. But even the most intense sports parent has nothing on these Polish soccer fans, who take it to the next level.
They're cheering - and flaming - on the popular Polish squad Lech Poznan, according to Gawker. The players, they note, are 11-years-old.