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Winter Baby Borns More Likely to be Lefties?

left handHere is a bit of interesting news. Baby boys who are born in the winter are more likely to be left-handed than are those born in the summer. Psychologists at the University of Vienna conducted a study with 13,000 adults and found that, in general, 7.5% of women are left-handed and 8.8% of men are. Their findings were published in the scientific journal Cortex.

However, they found that 8.2% of the left-handers were born during the period from February to October, while from November to January, the number rose up to 10.5%. Researchers have thought that if an embryo is exposed to higher levels of testosterone in the womb, this might increase the chance that the baby will be left-handed. More daylight increases the levels of testosterone, and babies that are born in the winter were in embryo during the spring and summer.

As Ulrich Tran, the lead author of the study, said, “Presumably, the relative darkness during the period November to January is not directly connected to this birth seasonality of handedness. We assume that the relative brightness during the period May to July, half a year before, is its distal cause.’

This theory, The Geschwind-Galaburda hypothesis, named after the neurologists who devised it, suggests that testosterone delays the left brain hemisphere’s maturation in the embryo.

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Shock Your Way Towards Better Excercise

Now here is a good way to get yourself motivated to exercise. When you wear this wristband and you don’t reach your exercise goals, you’ll get a bit of a shock. Really.

Called Pavlok, it is supposed to offer you reinforcement to get moving. The firm has already raised $100,000 in investments and will soon have a crowdsourcing campaign as well, according to founder Maneesh Sethi.

As Sethi told, “It’s not about the shock as much as it is about training your brain to do the things you say you’re going to do.”

According to their website, “Pavlok offers a simple, wearable device that helps consumers form better habits. Using psychologically proven and user tested algorithms, the Pavlok wristband enforces users’ commitments to fitness, productivity, and more — even if that means ‘sparking’ their commitment by delivering a mild (but jolting) electric shock.”

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Great Product When Soaking Up The Rays

tanningIt’s a problem when you go to the beach to know what to do with your valuables. Now, a clever new device just might be the answer. It’s called Tansafe and it looks like a brand of sunscreen – but it is actually an empty case that can hold your important things.

It has enough room to store keys, cash and credit cards and is even large enough to hide a smartphone. It’s small enough to carry along with you and the lid is water-tight.

Online retailer Firebox is selling the item for £7.99 and they describe it as ‘an essential traveling companion for canny sunbathers everywhere’.

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Exercise Linked to Performance in School Says New Study

exerciseGetting your kids out the door for some fresh air and exercise just might help improve their test scores. This is the latest idea discussed in a new study published in the Journal of Paediatrics. Researchers looked at the links between physical fitness and academic performance.

As Irene Esteban-Cornejo, of the Autonomous University of Madrid, said: “Because these physical fitness components are highly associated with each other, it is important to differentiate which physical fitness components are important in relation to academic performance.” The study included more than 2000 Spanish children and teenagers from 6-18 and looked at their physical fitness, their body composition and their academic achievement.

They found that both cardio-respiratory capacity and motor ability were related to academic achievement. The link was strongest for speed, agility and coordination.

As Dr Esteban-Cornejo said: “Having high levels of cardio-respiratory and motor fitness may, to some extent, reduce the risk of school failure.”

Of course, more studies may be necessary since this could certainly be a chicken-egg situation. Children who exercise more and are more motivated physically may also be more alert in class and more interested in reaching their potential. More studies will help to elaborate on the cause-effect relationship.

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Calculate Your Life Expectancy

Have you ever wondered how long you’re going to live? And how much your lifestyle habits are influencing your life expectancy?

These are the questions that are addressed in the life expectancy calculator below. Called Project Big Life, it was created by a team that was investigating the deaths of 70,000 people while looking at how health behaviors affect the risk of death. Canadian medical experts, along with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and others have created the calculator.


What would you like us to calculate for you?
Age:     (between 20 and 79 years)
Height: cm   or
Weight: kg   or   pounds


Smoking Status
What is your smoking status?


Alcohol Consumption
How often do you consume alcoholic beverages?


Fruit & Vegetable Diet
How many times did you have each of the following in the past week?
Fruit juice: (0 to 70)
Fruit: (0 to 70)
Salad: (0 to 70)
Potatoes: (0 to 70)
Carrots: (0 to 70)
Other vegetables: (0 to 70)


Leisure Physical Activity
How much time did you spend jogging or running in the past week?
(0 to 35) hours


How much time did you spend playing ice hockey, soccer, basketball, volleyball, or rollerblading in the past week?
(0 to 35) hours


How much time in the past week did you spend doing other leisure activities? (i.e. walking, cycling, gardening, exercising, golfing, bowling, skating, fishing, baseball, tennis etc.)
(0 to 35) hours


Self-Perceived Stress
Thinking about the amount of stress in your life, would you say that most days are:



Postal Code (Optional):   (e.g. K1Y 4E9) Postal code is used to adjust for geographic variations
Did you immigrate to Canada?


What is your Household Income?


Which of the following Conditions do you have?


Does illness limit your ability to participate in activities?
Provide this information if you would like to see the probability of living until a future event of your choice.
For example, will I live to see
    – the Toronto Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup?
- my grandchild get married?
- my grandchild’s graduation?
- my retirement?
- my 100th birthday?
Event name:   (e.g. Your child’s or grandchild’s wedding)
Event year:     (YYYY – e.g. 2019)



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Terracotta Army…Made from Pizza Dough

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If you can’t get to China to see the famous Terracotta Army – then maybe you can see them at the PizzaExpress chain in Beijing. Opening soon, the chain decided to have British food artist Annabel de Vetten recreate the entire Terracotta Army – out of pizza dough.

That’s right. The artist who specializes in cakes for her company Conjurer’s Kitchen, used PizzaExpress’s signature dough to create each warrior. The warriors have been recreated in such detail that each one has a different hair style and realistic folds in his clothes.

The Beijing PizzaExpress will join many other eateries at the Taikoo Li shopping center in Sanlitun, but chances are none of them will have quite such an elaborate display as part of their restaurant.

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Tips for Saving Money This Summer

summerWith school out, it’s time to start budgeting for the summer, and Primerica offers some very important tips for doing so. Everyone wants to have fun in the sun, but this doesn’t mean that you have to break the bank in the process.

On their blog, Primerica offers these tips.

  1. Start small by understanding how making the smallest changes can have big results. For instance, if you always swing by Starbucks in the morning during the summer, cut out two of those runs a week and you’ll be shocked by your savings.
  2. Have fun without spending a great deal. There are many parks where you can find great activities without entrance fees. Look in the newspapers as well for inexpensive ideas and for coupons that will make a big difference.
  3. Think ahead. Try to keep your financial goals in mind as you plan for the summer so that you won’t spend today what you really wanted to save for tomorrow.
  4. Pay It forward by sharing the financial knowledge that you have with others.

The summer is certainly a time for fun and adventure. Talk to friends to get ideas for inexpensive family outings. The beach, for instance, is much less expensive than a pool membership. Some museums have free entrance one afternoon a week in the summer. Finding out about these activities can make the difference between a make and break financial summer.

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Emotional Eating Starts Young, Study Finds

cookiesBelgian researchers recently explored the roots of emotional eating and found surprising results. Children as young as five will turn to food when they are anxious or stressed. The Belgian team asked more than 300 children who were between the ages of five and ten about their lives. The parents also answered questions in a questionnaire about how often their children ate certain foods.

The results certainly showed a correlation between the stress in a child’s life and the sweets they ate. Researcher Nathalie Michels of Ghent University also showed that levels of the hormone cortisol rose as the stress did.

As a result of the study, Dr. Michels is encouraging schools and parents to teach children how to cope with stress. As she said, “Parents and children should be made aware that stress can influence emotional eating behavior, so they can pay attention to potential triggers and anticipate this behavior. Furthermore, children should be equipped with stress-coping skills, such as problem-solving or asking for help, instead of seeking solace in food.”

Adding to the discussion, Tam Fry of the National Obesity Forum said, “From the moment that an infant is born it learns that sweetness brings comfort. It should therefore be of no surprise that it is sophisticated enough, even by age five, to know that it’ll feel better about some unhappy event having eaten a chocolate biscuit or something sugary.”

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