The human body: An inspiring biological work of art? Or a meaty sack of germs and fluids? Either way, there’s still a lot we don’t know about what goes on in there — and scientists are constantly attempting to find out more. Here are the most interesting things they’ve discovered about our bodies in the last seven days:
Bald Isn’t Beautiful, It’s Dominant
Aspiring George Costanzas, rejoice: Three University of Pennsylvania studies asked men and women to rate images of men with and without hair by dominance. In each study, bald men were consistently perceived as more dominant than their hairy brethren—and in one study, stronger and taller, too. But like all good things, there was a downside: Bald men also were rated as less attractive and older-looking.
As If People Needed Another Reason to Hate Cats
“Cats are cancer,” you might hear your dog-loving friends say. Unfortunately, they might be right. Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite carried by cats and delivered unto the world via their poop, has been shown to alter more than 1,000 genes associated with cancer, a Tufts University study has found. In addition to that frightening news, the parasite, which has long been known to cause toxoplasmosis in pregnant women, may also increase a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and epilepsy.
How Much is Four Plus Four, Mein Freund?
MRI imaging of the brains of Luxembourgians who speak both German and French, by researchers at the University of Luxembourg, revealed that multilingual people handle math problems differently depending on what language they’re using. If the participants were presented problems in either German or French, depending on the complexity of the problems themselves, participants would activate different parts of their brains to solve them. This could result in taking either more or less time for the same calculation, depending on the situation. As it turns out, math might not be the universal language it’s made out to be.
Attack of the Cancer-Killing Tomatoes
Who needs sunscreen when you’ve got tomatoes? Just kidding, always wear sunscreen. But you may be able to easily reduce your chances of contracting skin cancer thanks to an Ohio State University study that has found that a daily diet of tomatoes can cut your chances of developing skin cancer in half. The bad news? You need to be a dude. That’s right, for the women who participated in the study, no amount of tomato consumption showed a statistical effect on their risk for skin cancer.
Sex is Well Bloody Boring, Say British Women
You heard that right: A study by U.K. researchers published in BMJ Open found that, in a long-term relationship, women were twice as likely as men to lose interest in sex. The findings, which are based on the experiences of about 4,800 men and 6,700 women aged 16 to 74, also showed that men’s libido dips between the ages of 35 and 44, while women’s dips while they’re between the ages of 55 and 64. Men and women: Never on the same page, sexually speaking.