Blog Posts by Carolyn Morris

  • Monogamy explained: Why non-dominant males are winning over alpha-males

    Monogamy became the norm when women started choosing non-dominant males, says a recent study. (Thinkstock)Forget the sexual revolution of the 1960s. It seems the move to monogamy, maybe several million years ago, might have been the biggest revolution in romantic relationships.

    According to a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, non-dominant males, who couldn't compete directly with their alpha or beta counterparts, would woo females by providing for them and their children. The females began preferring the breadwinning male to the bigger or stronger ones, and would become faithful to him.

    "Once females begin to show preference for being provisioned, the low-ranked males' investment in female provisioning over male-to-male competition pays-off," explains study author and University of Tennessee in Knoxville professor of ecology, evolutionary biology and mathematics, Sergey Gavrilets.

    A real insurgency by the lower echelon of males.

    Also see: Relationship Status Bracelets wear your heart on your sleeve

    Through a mathematical model, Gavrilets

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  • Alcoholic energy drink sales have increased by 300 per cent: report

    The sales of alcoholic energy drinks increased dramatically from 2005-2010. (Getty)Energy drinks may give you wings, but researchers concerned about your health are trying to find ways to clip those wings.

    "If you're an alcoholic-energy-drink consumer, you're more likely to drink and drive, and be involved in violence and risky sexual behaviours," says Timothy Stockwell, University of Victoria psychology professor and director of the university's Centre for Addictions Research of British Columbia.

    And this is even when controlled for risk-taking personality styles, he insists.

    Stockwell co-authored a recent report on this problem mixture, in collaboration with the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse.

    The report shows that the sales of pre-mixed alcoholic energy drinks jumped by almost 300 per cent from 2005 to 2010.

    And it seems the biggest consumers are young adults. The report states that use among young adults is around four or five times higher than among the general population above 15 years old.

    Also see: Is Facebook a good place to find a kidney?

    That's just

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  • Edible ‘stop signs’ in chips can make you eat fewer, says study

    The occasional red potato chip in a bowl prevented people from eating as many in a recent study. (Thinkstock)Ever tried to have only one or two potato chips? You probably didn't succeed. Why is it that we can be meticulous about our servings of veggies and proteins during meals, but then burn through a bag of chips without noticing.

    Researchers at Cornell University's Food and Brand Lab think it's because you need a stop sign. Literally.

    As part of a small study published in this month's issue of the journal Health Psychology, researchers served tubes of Lays Stackables to two groups of college students (98 students in total) as the students watched video clips in class. Some of the tubes had an edible "stop signs" — chips dyed red — placed at intervals of either seven or 14 chips.

    Also see: Single women seek work-life balance too

    While the students weren't told what the red chips were supposed to represent, the students with "stop signs" ate 50 per cent fewer chips than the rest of the group. They also had a much better idea of exactly how many they'd eaten.

    "I wonder whether the stop sign

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  • Skinny jeans can cause nerve damage, doctors warn

    Skinny jeans can cause "meralgia paresthetica" is a condition of nerve damage. (Thinkstock)Do you get out the pliers to squeeze into your skinny jeans, in homage to that memorable Dazed and Confused scene? Or maybe your morning routine involves a bit of hopping up and down and sucking in of your tummy.

    Well, sorry to cramp your style, fashionistas, but your style could be cramping your health.

    According to doctors, tight jeans can cause nerve damage called "meralgia paresthetica." That's the medical term for pain or abnormal sensation, or both, in the front and side of your thigh.

    Also see: 'Red Thong In Divorce Court': The days of simple nail polish names are over

    "It's a disorder that occurs when one of the nerves that runs in the outer part of a thigh gets compressed," Dr. Karen Boyle, a surgeon at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center, tells ABC2News. "The pressure on it causes symptoms of tingling, numbness and pain in the outer part of the thigh."

    Canadian physician and medical director of Timmins & District Hospital, Dr. Malvinder Parmar wrote about this nefarious

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  • Pom Wonderful juice ad health claims unfounded, says U.S. federal judge

    A U.S. federal judge has ruled that Pom Wonderful ad health claims are unfounded. (Getty)It turns out that Pom is not so wonderful after all. This week, a U.S. federal administrative judge ruled that the makers of the pomegranate juice, Pom Wonderful, have been deceiving the public about just how beneficial their product is.

    The judge said that there was not enough evidence to back up claims that the juice could "treat, prevent or reduce the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer or erectile dysfunction."

    And this, despite millions spent on medical studies to establish a link, as Bloomberg Businessweek reports. Pom owners and Beverly Hills billionaires, Stewart and Lynda Resnick, have been trying to put science behind their pomegranate craze by spending around 35 million dollars on close to 100 studies.

    Also see: The truth about the 'five-second rule'

    But the results were not enough to warrant claims made in 12 out of 540 questionable ads.

    "This makes it clear why everyone should be suspicious of the results of sponsored studies," New York University nutrition professor

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  • Mark Zuckerberg’s wedding raises question of a prenup

    Donald Trump advised Mark Zuckerberg to get a prenup before Zuckerberg announced his marriage. (Forbes)In this marriage, the stakes are high.

    This past Saturday, one day after Facebook made its stock market debut, founder Mark Zuckerberg married his long-time girlfriend, Priscilla Chan. This had the media world carrying out another type of speculation.

    The point in question is whether or not the newlyweds had made a prenuptial agreement, as Donald Trump had advised last week before any news of the surprise wedding had surfaced.

    "They get married, and then for some reason over the next couple of years they get divorced and then she sues him for 10 billion dollars US, and she hits the jackpot," Trump tells CNBC.

    Toronto family lawyer Julie Stanchieri agrees.

    "It's always a good idea when there is a dramatic difference in income to have a prenup in place," says Stanchieri. "It makes things clear, and it means there's less to fight about down the road."

    "Not to say they won't find another reason to fight," she adds.

    Also see: Are people really more likely to cheat when it rains?


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  • Dangers lurk at your local garage sale, Health Canada warns

    Health Canada released a list of potentially unsafe items at garage sales.(Thinkstock)Are you spring cleaning mode? Planning to make a few bucks on those old children's toys? Well, if they happen to be lawn darts or include small magnets, they might be better suited to the garbage bin.

    "There's a lot of potential risks for buying second-hand items, some products are banned, or damaged," says Suzane Aboueid, a senior project officer at Health Canada's Consumer Product Safety Directorate. "People may not be thinking safety when they're buying at a garage sale. They're thinking more about the deal."

    This week, Health Canada released an advisory and fact sheets for garage-sale vendors and shoppers, especially concerning products intended for children. The tips are just as relevant for those of us who use the online garage-sale equivalents of Craigslist or Kijiji.

    Also see: Ex-wife exacts revenge on husband by selling stuff in garage sale

    Some of the warnings are obvious — second-hand cosmetics or used plastic baby bottles — but others aren't so evident. At the risk of

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  • Coffee linked to longer life, according to large U.S. study

    A large study suggests that 3-6 cups of coffee a day can actually increase your life expectancy. (Thinkstock)Do you feel guilty about that morning cup of coffee? What about the second, third or fourth cup?

    According to a Statistics Canada article from a few years ago, coffee is second only to water as the most popular drink among Canadians. And for men above the age of 50, coffee tops the list.

    Well, if you're anything like the typical Canadian, science has now given you one less reason to fret over your daily caffeine fix. It seems coffee is linked to longevity.

    Also see: Red wine can aid in good bacteria growth

    In a study published in the latest issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers followed a group of over 400,000 men and women between the ages of 50 and 71, from 1995 until 2008. They didn't include anyone who'd previously suffered from heart disease, a stroke, or cancer. The participants reported how much coffee they drank at the beginning of the study and researchers assumed that these habits would not change much.

    During the study, just over 50,000 of the

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  • Some of the gross stuff (a.k.a. food additives) we eat on a daily basis

    Bacteria-killing viruses such as bacteriophages are sprayed on deli meats. (Thinkstock)If you believe that old adage that you are what you eat, you must be having an identity crisis these days. With so many things in our food that surprise and even disgust us, we seem to never be sure if we know exactly what we're eating.

    Recently consumers have been outraged at so-called pink slime being added to hamburger meat — or the use of ammonium hydroxide in processing. And vegetarians were surprised to learn that their Starbucks Strawberry and Cream Frappuccino contained crushed up cochineal beetles.

    This week, the Conference Board of Canada released a report showing that Canadians are eating way too much salt, sugar and unhealthy fats. The authors blame processed food and they want to see better standards and labeling.

    But that's just the beginning.

    "If you were grossed out by pink slime," Sarah Klein, a lawyer with the Washington-based Center for Science in the Public Interest tells earlier this year, "there's more to come."

    The Huffington Post and CBS News have

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  • Breakfast program boosts student brains, according to study

    A Toronto study has linked eating breakfast with greater academic achievement. (Thinkstock)Breakfast for the brain. A new evaluation of Toronto's school breakfast program shows a link between a morning meal and performance at school

    "Providing students with a healthy breakfast every morning improved their academic performance, behaviour, attendance and health," says Sandra Best, a director of the Toronto Foundation for Student Success, which co-produced the study with the Toronto District School Board.

    The research was an evaluation of Toronto's Feeding Our Future program, which began providing free morning meals to students in four Toronto middle schools and three Toronto high schools in 2008.

    Also see: Mother's loving tribute to son born with bilateral cleft palate

    The program was launched after the school board discovered that a majority of kids in Toronto's Jane and Finch neighbourhood were going to school daily on an empty stomach. With prior research showing that kids who get a good meal in the morning do better at school, the Toronto Foundation for Student Success got

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