Discovered: Young kids who binge on TV don't become athletes; there's a gender gap in Scandinavian universities; to live longer, eat less; people aren't following their prescriptions.
Even women in Scandinavia can't have it all. Scandinavia, land of the 16-month paid maternity leave, may not be exactly the beacon of gender equality that it's held up to be. At least their universities aren't. Researchers in England found that universities in Denmark, Norway and Sweden have fewer female professors than the European average. They cite persistent sexism, a glass ceiling effect, and gender norms surrounding domestic duties as key factors in the discrepancy. In fact, those generous maternity leave programs may actually discourage mothers in academia from developing their careers past childrearing age. "Welfare provision, which focuses on mother as carer, has the unintended consequences of limiting women’s development opportunities," the researchers found. [Queen Mary, University of London]
Quick, get your kids away from that TV! We already know that sitting is terrible for you. Now we know that sitting is particularly bad if you're a small child who's doing all that sitting in front of a TV. A recent study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity demonstrates a positive correlation between the time children spend watching TV and expanding waistlines later in life. More TV time also weakens explosive leg strength, a key attribute of successful athletes. [Los Angeles Times]
Low-calorie diets could help people suffering from neuromuscular diseases. Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio have discovered that low-calorie diets lead to prolonged life in fruit flies genetically manipulated to mimic conditions such as Parkinson’s disease. “Diet restriction increased the neurotransmitters released at synapses called neuromuscular junctions,” Dr. Eaton said. These synapses are crucial for movement, and muscle activity diminishes when they degenerate. "This suggests that diet could be an important therapy for improving muscle function during motor diseases such as ALS." [The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio]
People have a hard time following doctors' orders. It may not be news that people don't take their prescription medication how they're supposed to, but now there's data that proves patients aren't adhering to their doctors' orders. Researchers at UCLA conducted focus-group discussions with providers and patients, and also examined discussions between doctors and patients. They estimate that widespread non-adherence costs the U.S. health care system $290 billion every year and can lead to all kinds of bad outcomes, including death. [UCLA]