Spiders Look Scarier to People Scared of Spiders; A Case for Early Mammograms

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Discovered: Science's cruel joke on arachnophobes, a case for early mammograms, man will not go extinct, surgeons make bad health decisions. 

  • Science's cruel joke on arachnophobes. The more afraid of spiders a person is, the bigger a spider appears to that person, research from Ohio State University finds. "If one is afraid of spiders, and by virtue of being afraid of spiders one tends to perceive spiders as bigger than they really are, that may feed the fear, foster that fear, and make it difficult to overcome," said researcher Michael Vasey. Why so evil, science? These people already can't sleep without imagining creepy crawly things all over their bodies. Now you're saying, when that scaredy-cats encounter the horrifying creatures, they perceive those 8 legs of horrible as 8 enormous legs of horrible, which only makes their phobia even worse? That's just mean.  [Ohio State]
  • The benefits of mammograms for 40-49 year old women. Remember all that talk about pushing mammogram testing to 50, up from 40? Well here's something for the other side. Women between the ages of 40-49 who had mammography-detected breast cancer, had better prognoses. "In our study, women aged 40 to 49 whose breast cancer was detected by mammography were easier to treat and had less recurring disease and mortality, because their cancer was found at an earlier stage," explains researcher Judith A. Malmgren. So, yeah, just a data point for that debate. [Radiology]
  • Man will not go extinct. Good news for humanity: The Y chromosome will not disappear from existence. This was a real concern, since  it had been shrinking, only having 19 of its 800 ancestral genes left. But, it will not continue to shrivel, science has confirmed. "The Y was in free fall early on, and genes were lost at an incredibly rapid rate," assured researcher David Page. "But then it leveled off, and it's been doing just fine since." Confirmation: There will be no (biological) End of Men. [MIT]
  • Surgeons make bad health decisions, too. Like, worse health decisions than the general population. About 15 percent of surgeons have alcoholic dependency issues, which is higher than the rest of the population, finds a new survey. "Surgery is a stressful business. There are people who turn to alcohol to help deal with their stress," said Dr. Edward Livingston. We get that. But, it's worse because these people supposedly care about health and stuff, right? [Reuters]

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