The meta-analysis of more than 47,000 study participants found that variations on two genes influence how much coffee people consume. CYP1A2, which handles how the body metabolizes caffeine, and AHR, which regulates CYP1A2, have profound impacts on the way coffee reacts in your body. Researchers found that people who "high-consumption variants" of either or both chromosomes drank around 40 mg more caffeine per day than those that didn't. That's the equivalent of a can of soda or a third of a cup of coffee.
While that may not seem like a lot, it could be connected to other health benefits. As reported in the Boston Globe, "these gene mutations that predispose some to a higher caffeine intake might also protect them from dangerous toxins by flushing them more quickly out of the body. And that could provide some explanation for why coffee drinkers have been found in the latest research to have fewer health problems like strokes."
Not convinced? Still want to break your coffee addiction? Read how one woman tried - and failed - to give up caffeine.
Researchers at New York University discovered that while "much of memory research involves repetitive, rote learning," in fact, we regularly absorb large blocks of information in the blink of an eye and remember things quite well from single events. Insight is an example of a one-time event that is often well-preserved in memory," explains Kelly Ludmer, a research student in neurobiology at Israel's Weizmann Institute of Science.
Researchers tested insight by showing study subjects "camouflage images," that is, images that had been systematically degraded until they resembled ink blots. Participants were shown the camouflage images and then flashes of the original, unaltered photo. After that, they were then able to easily identify what the degraded image was. Researchers repeated the exercise with dozens of photos and were able to identify -- via MRI -- the part of the brain used to store such insights.
Meet your amygdala, which has long been considered the home of emotional impulses in our brains.
"Our results demonstrate, for the first time, that the amygdala is important for creating long-term memories –- not only when the information learned is explicitly emotional, but also when there is a sudden reorganization of information in our brain, for example, involving a sudden shift in perception," said Ludmer. "It might somehow evaluate the event, 'deciding' whether it is significant and therefore worthy of preservation."
The conclusion: Treat your little amygdala well, and it could make you the next J.K. Rowling.
Researcher Jennifer Bosson, at the University of South Florida, found that negatively gossiping about someone helps people form bonds -- aptly called "negativity friendships."
"There's something really powerful about the discovery of shared negative attitudes," Bosson says. She began her research into the negative Nelly phenomenon in 2006, and based much of her findings on anecdotal evidence -- research subjects recounting loosely how they bonded with friends.
But her newest work took on a more rigorous methodology: She asked students to place an X next to the name of the professor they liked or disliked the most. They were then asked to look at the questionnaire of another student, whom researchers casually mentioned either liked or disliked the same faculty member. Patterns began emerging: Students who shared the same viewpoints on the professors felt as if they knew each other better.
Why is shared negativity a stronger bond than shared positive vibes? Says science, showing negativity in the first place signals that you instinctively trust someone, because negativity is typically considered less socially acceptable than "being nice."
Related: The Dark Side of Female Friendship: An Interview With the Author of "The Twisted Sisterhood."
Women have figured out a way to wear heels for virtually every occasion, but how about heels for scuba-diving? If you're Jessica Simpson, flipper heels sound like a really good idea.
Simpson has built a successful shoe business with stylish, reasonably priced heels, and now she's looking to expand her empire. Earlier this week, she tweeted a pic of her inspiration, saying, "Scuba gear coming soon for @jscollection heels for every occasion ;)."
We traced the scuba shoe to Lisa Carney, an Australian designer who made the heels in 2002 for Mercedes Australian Fashion Week. And as you can imagine, they're not the easiest to walk in. Jean-Paul Gautier had a model take a tumble on the runway in a pair of these "flipeels." Ouch. In this case, fashion doesn't meet function, but if you want to walk into a room and make a statement, this just might be the way to do it.
Perhaps Jess will test out a pair the next time she goes deep-sea diving for tuna. Or is it chicken? Sorry, we just couldn't resist.
Check out a video of the shoes after the jump!
Wharton professor Uri Simonsohn says there's a likely tie. People tend to gravitate toward companies, places, people and possessions that start with the same letter their names do. But Simonsohn, who did a new study on the power of names, came up with different reasons than previous researchers have.
According to Simonsohn, the phenomenon can't simply be pinned on "implicit egotism" on our parts (phew!), as other studies have suggested. In other words, he says, people don't subconsciously seek jobs, marital partners, places to live and even cars whose names start with the same letter as theirs simply because they have positive feelings associated with that letter.
Instead, he posits, it's "reverse causality." Translation: They take matters into their own hands, deliberately choosing to fill their lives with affiliations, people and places with the same monogram they have. So for example, they might give a business they start a name beginning with their own first initial.
"Rather than employees seeking out companies with similar names, people starting new companies may name them after themselves," says Simonsohn. "Walt Disney worked for a company starting with D not because of an unconscious attraction to that letter, but because he so christened it."
But on some level, people probably are partial to their own initials and may unknowingly make some choices based on them, he admits. It's just that the letters are unlikely to truly influence the course their lives take.
"I can't imagine people don't like their own letter more than other letters," says Simonsohn, "[but] the differences it makes in really big decisions are probably slim."