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Improve memory, do your chores
October 21st, 2010
04:12 PM ET

Improve memory, do your chores

This week, as we've watched news and trends on brain matters, we've seen some fascinating studies and perspectives about how to bolster memory, make mundane tasks more fun, and improve decision-making. Here's a sampling:

Fonts of remembrance
You may think you like reading in easy-to-read fonts, such as Arial, but it turns out that people remember information better if they have to think about it harder. A study in the journal Cognition by Daniel Oppenheimer at Princeton University shows that, in high school classrooms, students retained material better if they read it in a font that is slightly harder to read, like Monotype Corsiva. This was true for both humanities and science classes. Here's the full scoop from the Economist.

Improve your memory fast
Speaking of memory, here's how to improve your memory in 15 minutes. Time writer John Cloud subjects himself to the same kinds of psychological research he writes about, including a mild form of electroshock therapy.

The key to self-control: Fun
You might be better at doing chores if you change how you think about them. A study in the Journal of Consumer Research suggests that when people perceive a task to be fun, they are more likely to exercise self-control about them. TIME's Healthland reports.

And that may play out in the real world among kids who consider learning to be fun. Tomorrow, CNN.com will feature the story of five high-achieving young people and how their parents have helped them view education in a positive light.

Behind the numbers
Harvard researcher Daniel Gilbert, who's spoken to CNN in the past about happiness, had a fascinating opinion piece in the New York Times suggesting that our reliance on certain numbers to make decisions is irrational. Did you know that "$7.22" sounds bigger than "$7.66" because of the vowel sounds in the respective numbers?


Why you should have sex at least once a week
October 21st, 2010
12:45 PM ET

Why you should have sex at least once a week

Couples often ask me how frequently they should be having sex, and, until recently, I’ve always responded that there’s no one right answer. After all, a couple’s sex life is affected by so many different factors: age, lifestyle, each partner’s health and natural libido and, of course,  the quality of their overall relationship to name just a few.

What might seem like too much sex to one person may seem like too little to another: (Remember that scene in Annie Hall, in which Woody Allen and Diane Keaton are discussing their sex life, split-screen, with their respective therapists? Asks Woody’s therapist, “How often do you sleep together?”  To which he responds: “Hardly ever. Maybe three times a week.” Meanwhile, Diane Keaton’s therapist is asking her the very same question, and she replies, “Constantly. I'd say three times a week.”)

FULL POST


Breaking down whooping cough
October 21st, 2010
10:40 AM ET

Breaking down whooping cough

Pertussis, or whooping cough, which has claimed its 10th death in California, is caused by bacteria that can lead to severe upper respiratory infections.  Here's what you need to know.

What are the signs?

Whooping cough's symptoms are hard to distinguish from the common cold - runny nose, congestion, sneezing, red, watery eyes, a mild fever and coughing.  The coughs may have a high-pitched "whoop" sound when the sick person is trying to draw in the next breath of air.

But whooping cough might be a misleading name because many people — particularly infants (who have been mainly affected by this outbreak) — don't develop the characteristic whoop. FULL POST


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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

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