Research reveals that regular video games are just as effective at exercising your brain as brain training games

SCOTT LAFEECommercials and ads touting brain games as a way to boost cognitive function are everywhere; supporting data is not.

In a recent study, researchers tested two groups of 64 young adults. One group played Lumosity games for 30 minutes a day, five days a week, for 10 weeks; the other group played online video games on the same schedule. Researchers conducted decision-making and cognitive tests before and after the gaming period. Both groups showed improvement in cognitive testing, but Lumosity's specific brain training wasn't any more effective than just playing video games.

A lingering price

A new study of Holocaust survivors suggests another way their suffering did not end with the conclusion of World War II. They were also vulnerable to higher risk of developing cancer over time.

Researchers looked at health data for 152,622 Holocaust survivors over 45 years. They were divided in two main ways: persons whose country was occupied by Nazi German and persons who qualified for compensation after the war.

Individuals from occupied countries had an 8 percent higher risk of developing any type of cancer. Individuals who received compensation had a 6 percent higher risk.

Body of knowledge

The skin of the average adult weighs roughly 8 pounds and covers 22 square feet. A standard doorway encompasses 21 square feet. Given the increasing obesity epidemic, many Americans are probably now the equivalent of double doors.

Life in Big Macs

One hour of quietly standing in line burns 81 calories, (based on a 150-pound person) or the equivalent of one-tenth of a Big Mac. If you're standing in line at a McDonald's to buy a Big Mac, you're going to have to be in line a long time to even things out.

Doc talk

SOB: No, it's not a medical opinion of a patient's parentage, but an acronym for "shortness of breath."

Phobia of the week

Phalacrophobia: Fear of

becoming bald

Never say diet

The Major League Eating record for sweet corn is 61.75 ears in 12 minutes, held by Carmen Cincotti. Warning: Most of these records are held by professional eaters; the rest by people who really should find something better to do.


"Poisons and medicine are oftentimes the same substance given with different intent."

— English physician and educator Peter Mere Latham (1789-1875)

Medical history

In 1903, inventor extraordinaire Thomas Edison weighed in on the potential of newfangled X-rays. He wasn't a fan. In a front-page story in the New York World, under the headline "Edison Fears Hidden Perils of the X-rays," he recounted a history of injuries to his lab employees caused by X-rays, including cancers and vision damage. It was enough to persuade him to abandon his own research on x-rays and other radioactive materials. "I am afraid of radium and polonium too, and I don't want to monkey with them."


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