February 2019 Newsletter
Smokers at greater risk of hearing loss
Smoking is associated with increased risk of hearing loss, according to a study of over 50,000 participants over 8 years in Nicotine & Tobacco Research, published by Oxford University Press. Researchers analyzed data from annual health checkups, which included audio testing performed by a technician and a health-related lifestyle questionnaire completed by each participant. Even after adjusting for factors including occupational noise exposure, researchers noted a 1.2 to 1.6 increased risk of hearing loss among current smokers compared with participants who never smoked.
Depression can impact memory, brain volume in older adults
Depression is known to negatively affect mood, often reducing the quality of life. In a new study, researchers found that older adults with depressive symptoms may have memory problems as well as structural changes in their brain. “With as many as 25% of older adults experiencing symptoms of depression, it’s important to better understand the relationship between depression and memory problems,” said co-author Dr. Adina Zeki Al Hazzouri, an assistant professor of Epidemiology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
Daydreaming may help you become more socially adept
What do you think about when your mind wanders? Chances are, you reflect back on past situations, think about plans for the future or plumb your inner psyche to take stock of your thoughts and feelings. And many of these ruminations likely involve other people. When our brains are not otherwise occupied, a network of neural regions called the default mode network automatically comes online. It enables us to turn our attention inward and daydream, but it also helps us to project out and put ourselves in other people’s shoes.