Today in Research: An MRI Scan's Unintended Consequences; More

Discovered: geeky-looking scientist tattoos, an unintended MRI effect, the mediterranean ideal, legitimacy for hysteria patients, and measuring the Earth's dwindling resources.

  • An MRI scan as a possible, unintended antidepressant. This Scientific American-reported research linking an MRI to better scores on a depression scale isn't meant to tout a scan as a way to feel better, but does appear to add evidence to the notion that magnets do something to the brain. According to a study conducted by a researcher at Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Iran, "MRI machines do, in fact, manipulate brain activity -- and they change the brain in a way that helps treat depression." The first part of that statement seems worrisome (manipulate brain activity?), but the article focused on the supposed antidepressant effects of an MRI, finding that the researchers surmised this could be due to a placebo effect (i.e. getting treatment of any kind makes one feel better, the news outlet notes) or the magnetic field did something to these participants brains that made them score less-depressed after being scanned. If only airport back-scatter technology could help ease migraines. [Scientific American]
  • Just aim to eat a Mediterranean diet, already. Reuters knows that you're not eating a Mediterranean diet, even though it has written about researchers finding that this is the best way for you to be eating many times. So, as if to give you an excuse for slacking off a little, the latest study in this vein that the news outlet highlights is touting the benefits of a "Mediterranean-ish" diet. Ideally, you'd like to eat all the "fish, healthy fats like olive oil, whole grains, and vegetables" like recent studies suggest. But, according to a new study, the "closer their diets were to the spirit of Mediterranean eating ... the lower their risk of death from vascular problems including heart attacks." [Reuters]

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