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Today in research: people gain weight, your heart likes being married, the oldest fossils are discovered and, again, disgusting anti-smoking ads seem ineffective.

  • No one wants to see diseased mouths on cigarette packs. Further solidifying a strain of research noticed recently, a University of Missouri study on 49 participants found that the combination of "threatening messages" and gruesome anti-smoking visual aids--when combined--weren't effective in preventing people from wanting to smoke. The researchers suggest that the visual aid strategy on cigarette packs "may backfire" because smokers tend to push those images from their mind. "You have to talk to smokers in a meaningful and encouraging way that outlines the consequences of smoking, but also have messages designed to minimize the defensive avoidance responses," said researcher Paul Bolls in a release.[Eurekalert]
  • Proof that both happy and sad stages of life make you want to eat. Ohio State University researchers culled survey responses from 10,000 U.S. adults from 1986 to 2008, tracking Body Mass Index and marital status during this time. They found, to generalize, "Women are more likely to gain weight after they get married, while men are more likely to put on pounds after a divorce," relayed MyHealthNews. Sensibly, Jezebel warns of how media will overstate the findings: "In all likelihood this doesn't mean you're going to double your weight and experience a serious health problem, but expect reports in the next few days about how marriage is making you fat." [MSNBC, BBC News, Jezebel]
  • And the happy stage is good for your heart. In yet another study finding that married folk live longer than single people, University of Rochester researchers have found that the institution has a healthy effect on those undergoing heart surgery. "Patients who were married when they underwent coronary artery bypass surgery were more than twice as likely to survive for 15 years, compared with unmarried patients," relayed Healthland. [Time Healthland]
  • Geologists think they've discovered 3.4-billion-year-old fossilized bacteria.  The New York Times is quick to point out that the findings haven't yet been "sustained," but as of now, the team led by David Wacey of the University of Western Australia can lay claim to a nifty title in their field: discoverer of the oldest fossilized thing on Earth, some organism that looks like bacteria in old sandstone. The finding narrowly beats the previous "oldest fossil" record holder by Dr. J.W. Schopf--one guy who might secretly be hoping the record isn't "sustained." [The New York Times]
  • Silkworm silk and human cells combine to create...something that stops a bullet. Utah State researcher Randy Lewis and Dutch artist Jalila Essaidi created a sort of bizarre art project/science experiment by weaving together "a lattice of human skin cells and silk that was capable of stopping bullets fired at reduced speeds," according to the AP. As this gooey blob shows below, a .22 caliber bullet was fired at the "skin" (silkworm silk + human cells) and repelled by it. Lewis apparently "downplayed the potential bulletproof applications of his research." The AP says that the finding could be used to "help surgeons heal large wounds and create artificial tendons and ligaments." [Associated Press]

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