November 8th, 2013
02:40 PM ET
Here are five medical studies published this week that may give you new insights into your health, mind and body. Remember, correlation is not causation, so if a study finds a connection between two things, it doesn't mean that one causes the other.
Your mom was right - music lessons rock
As much as you hated practicing scales as a kid, that early music training may have benefited your brain for life.
Researchers at Northwestern University found older adults who took music lessons when they were young responded faster to spoken words, even when they hadn't played a musical instrument in decades.
"Neural timing is the first to go in the aging adult," study author Nina Kraus said. The findings suggest musical training could help prevent this cognitive decline.
Sleepy surgeons may not hurt you
We've all heard that surgeons, especially surgical interns and residents, are run ragged by endless shifts. But does their lack of sleep affect your surgery outcome?
Researchers in Ontario, Canada, analyzed data from 94,183 elective laparoscopic cholecystectomies - or gallbladder removals - and found no risk of additional complications when the surgeon hadn't slept the night before.
"Pilots do not fall asleep during takeoff and landing, truck drivers do not fall asleep during loading and unloading, and astronauts do not fall asleep during atmospheric reentry," doctors Michael Zinner and Julie Ann Fresichlag wrote in an accompanying editorial. "Operating is a highly focused skill that takes years of training and is not monotonous."
Read more from Medical Daily
Awww. Men slow down when they're in love
On average, men walk faster than women because of their heavier bodies and longer legs. But a new study suggests they'll slow down for us meandering females if they care enough. (Singles tip: If he just wants to be friends, you'll continue to lag behind).
Scientists asked 22 people to walk around a track alone, with a partner and with friends of the same and opposite sex. When they were walking with a significant other, the males slowed their pace to match the females'. This bonding moment didn't happen with other pairings.
Read more from TIME.com
Beware of gummy bears... and the flu shot?
The flu shot may have some unintended side effects for people who are allergic to gummy worms, jello and Peeps.
Allergy experts say the flu shot uses gelatin to protect the vaccine from extreme cold or heat, so anyone with a gelatin allergy may have a bad reaction.
Read more from ScienceDaily.com
Teens can eat chocolate and not get fat
While this study only looked at adolescents in Europe, we're really, really hoping the results apply to the rest of us too.
Researchers at the University of Granada in Spain analyzed data from 1,458 teens between the ages of 12 and 17. Those who ate more chocolate had lower body fat levels, including around their middle, where body fat is said to be the most dangerous. These results were independent of the teen's sex, age, total calorie intake, saturated fats, fruit and/or vegetable consumption and physical activity, according to the study authors.
Unfortunately, they still don't recommend eating excessive amounts of chocolate. "As they say: 'You can have too much of a good thing.'"
Read more from EurekaAlert.org
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