Saying 'No' To Your Doctor; 'Addiction' Gets Redefined

Plus: new research finds that nice guys earn much less than their less-agreeable peers

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In today's science and research coverage: a new study finds nice guys earn much less than their mean-spirited peers, the amount of arguments you have with your spouse doesn't rise over time, Newsweek's cover entreats you to say "No" to your doctor, and the term "addiction" gets redefined.

  • Found in your grocery store check-out line: Newsweek's latest cover highlights a trend among physicians and researchers who believe that "more health care often means worse health." Here's the counterintuitive argument: "for many otherwise healthy people, tests often lead to more tests, which can lead to interventions based on a possible problem that may have gone away on its own or ultimately proved harmless." We are, in other words, a very test-prone people--and sometimes the tests don't actually help us. [Newsweek]
  • The term "addiction" gets redefined as a brain disorder. Previously it was classified by the The American Society of Addiction Medicine as a behavioral problem "involving too much alcohol, drugs, gambling or sex," according to a news release. "At its core, addiction isn't just a social problem or a moral problem or a criminal problem. It's a brain problem whose behaviors manifest in all these other areas," said Dr. Michael Miller, past president of ASAM, to MSNBC, adding: "the disease is about brains, not drugs. It's about underlying neurology, not outward actions." [Eurekalert, MSNBC]
  • Charlie Brown-style nice guys never, ever win: the latest salvo against agreeable men arrives in a newly published study by researchers from the University of Notre Dame and University of Western Ontario. After analyzing a sample of 10,000 workers across the spectrum of professions the academics found that those men with lower self-reported "agreeableness" made up to 18 percent more--about $9,772 more annually, The Journal reported. This isn't surprising in the slightest. [The Wall Street Journal]
  • Good news for those in a tolerable relationship: the amount you argue with your husband or wife isn't likely to increase over time. Ohio State researchers culled data tracking 1,000 couples over a 20-year period and sorted these couples into high, middle and low conflict marriages. The results? "There was a very slight decrease in the amount of conflict reported in the final years of the study, which was slightly larger for the high-conflict couples. Still, the differences over time were small," said lead author Claire Kamp Dush.  [Ohio State University]
  • Being overweight doesn't necessarily mean you're unhealthy, according to two new studies published in Canadian academic journals. One study culled data from the 8,000 people in the National Health and Human Nutrition Examination Surveys and found "a correlation between health complications and heavier weight. But they also found 'people who are out there, who are pretty healthy despite being large,'" said the lead researcher, Dr. Arya Sharma, to CNN. Sharma added: "What the study clearly shows is you can't make that [a risk] call based on [the Body Mass Index]...You're going to have to look at additional risk factors." [CNN]
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