Four out of five people stop breathing correctly when typing an email

Four out of five people regularly stop breathing while typing emails, according to studies conducted by former Apple executive Linda Stone. The condition, which health professionals are calling “email apnea,” may lead to serious health consequences.

“If people are in a stressful situation, perhaps having to deal with some stressful communication, they might end up holding their breath,” said Edward Grandi, executive director of the American Sleep Apnea Association. “It’s not just email, it’s email and texting.”

Gizmodo blogger Adam Clark Estes wrote that he had noticed the condition in himself, whenever he was concentrating on writing an especially difficult paragraph.

“I must’ve slipped a little too deeply into the zone,” he said. “A head shake and a couple breaths later, and I was back at it.”

But the pattern is hard to break, Estes noted.

“Within minutes, the same light-headed feeling was back. I’d stopped breathing, again.”

Apnea: not just for sleeping

Prior to evidence of how widespread email apnea is, the most common form of apnea (cessation of breathing) was thought to be sleep apnea. In sleep apnea, most common in overweight adults, the cessation of breathing pulls the patient out of deep sleep into either light sleep or complete wakefulness. Sleep apnea can lead to a sore or dry throat and symptoms of sleep deprivation including tiredness, anxiety, depression, headaches, impotence, low libido and poor memory and concentration.

Waking apnea – including email apnea – has different effects. Because the body is not getting enough oxygen, it activates the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the “fight-or-flight” response. This can produce pupil dilation, increased heart rate, flushing, excessive sweating and restless legs.

But while the fight-or-flight response is well suited to evading or overcoming physical threats, it can be maladaptive when activated in an office chair. Among other things, a constantly activated sympathetic nervous system can produce symptoms of chronic stress, including problems with the metabolic, reproductive and immune systems.

“Are we more obese and diabetic because of a combination of holding our breath off and on all day and then failing to move when our bodies have prepared us to do so?” Stone said…

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9 Freaky Scientific Discoveries

1 – Most of the Universe is Dark Energy


The universe as we know it, with its billions of stars and hundreds of billions of galaxies, amounts to only 4% of what it actually is. What’s the rest? According to recent reports, 23% is “dark matter” and 73% is “dark energy.” In other words – we have no idea.

2 – The Amazing Power of Quantum Levitation

Forget about the stupid Hyperloop hype; we can use the power of quantum levitation to make all kinds of objects float around, and possibly create a transit system in the air. All you need is a magnet and a superconductor cooled with liquid nitrogen. Watch below and be amazed.

3 – Parallel Universes Exist

It turns out that parallel universes exist, at least according to the results of this freaky experiment/discovery. Quantum physicists at UCSB placed a tiny “paddle” that was the width of a human hair into a vacuum which was created in a jar. They then “plucked” the paddle and it vibrated and stood still AT THE SAME TIME. Essentially, that means something may exist in two states (or two universes) at once, opening the door for not only multiple versions of ourselves, but also the possibility of time travel. Holy bearded Spock!…


The Power of a Daily Bout of Exercise

This week marks the start of the annual eat-too-much and move-too-little holiday season, with its attendant declining health and surging regrets. But a well-timed new study suggests that a daily bout of exercise should erase or lessen many of the injurious effects, even if you otherwise lounge all day on the couch and load up on pie.

To undertake this valuable experiment, which was published online in The Journal of Physiology, scientists at the University of Bath in England rounded up a group of 26 healthy young men. All exercised regularly. None were obese. Baseline health assessments, including biopsies of fat tissue, confirmed that each had normal metabolisms and blood sugar control, with no symptoms of incipient diabetes.

The scientists then asked their volunteers to impair their laudable health by doing a lot of sitting and gorging themselves.

Energy surplus is the technical name for those occasions when people consume more energy, in the form of calories, than they burn. If unchecked, energy surplus contributes, as we all know, to a variety of poor health outcomes, including insulin resistance — often the first step toward diabetes — and other metabolic problems.

Overeating and inactivity can each, on its own, produce an energy surplus. Together, their ill effects are exacerbated, often in a very short period of time. Earlier studies have found that even a few days of inactivity and overeating spark detrimental changes in previously healthy bodies.

Some of these experiments have also concluded that exercise blunts the ill effects of these behaviors, in large part, it has been assumed, by reducing the energy surplus. It burns some of the excess calories. But a few scientists have suspected that exercise might do more; it might have physiological effects that extend beyond just incinerating surplus energy…

Can You Read People’s Emotions?

Are you tuned in to the emotions of others? Or have you been accused of being insensitive?

If you are among those people who are mystified by moods, new research offers hope. A new study shows that certain types of reading can actually help us improve our sensitivity IQ. To find out how well you read the emotions of others, take the Well quiz, which is based on an assessment tool developed by University of Cambridge professor Simon Baron-Cohen.

For each photo, choose the word that best describes what you think the person depicted is thinking or feeling…




Ask Well: Nighttime Urination

Q – How normal is it to get up and urinate three times a night?

I am a 67-year-old woman and my frequent urination is interfering with my sleep.

AWaking to urinate at night is common, especially among older adults, and most doctors agree that getting up to urinate once a night is not generally a problem. But “getting up two or more times at night has been linked to decreased quality of sleep and quality of life,” said Dr. Tomas L. Griebling, a professor of urology at the University of Kansas School of Medicine.

Having a late afternoon latte or a nightcap may be one reason for increased late-night urination. However, two or more nightly episodes — a condition called nocturia — may be a sign of a serious problem, such as diabetes, congestive heart failure or sleep apnea. “It is not an inevitable or normal part of aging,” Dr. Griebling, a spokesman for the American Urological Association, said.

One 2011 study found that the risk of death increased with the increasing number of nighttime episodes, since it may be a sign of more serious illness. Nocturia was a particularly strong predictor of mortality in people under 65.

A recent review of studies suggests there is a link between nocturia and depression, though it is unknown whether the conditions are causally related. But “treating one may improve the other,” said Dr. Ariana L. Smith, an assistant professor of urology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Usually during sleep, our bodies produce a hormone called vasopressin that slows urine production. But some people produce low amounts of this hormone, increasing nocturnal urine.

It is important to have a doctor evaluate the condition to pinpoint the cause. If you are awakened by the tiniest amount of urine, prescription drugs can “allow you to store more urine before you feel the need to go,” Dr. Smith said.

How Safe Is Cycling? It’s Hard to Say

Until his bike slid out of control while he was going 35 miles an hour downhill around a sharp turn, Dr. Harold Schwartz thought cycling accidents were something that happened to other people. Now, after recovering from a fractured pelvis, Dr. Schwartz, 65, the vice president for behavioral health at Hartford Hospital in Connecticut, has changed his mind.

“No one is immune,” he said in an interview. Like many avid cyclists, he is convinced that it is not if you crash. It’s when.

But Rob Coppolillo, 43, who was an elite level amateur bicycle racer for 10 years, led cycling tours in Italy and regularly rides in his town, Boulder, Colo., begs to differ. He’s never had an injury more serious than a little road rash, he says.

“For the vast majority of us, it’s a pretty safe sport,” he said.

Who is right? Although many cyclists have strong opinions on the safety of their sport, the answer is that no one really knows how safe it is, or whether its safety has changed over the years.

It’s not that there is a lack of data. Instead, it is that the data are inadequate to answer the questions. No one has good statistics, for example, on crashes per mile ridden. Nor do the data distinguish road cycling on a fast, light, bike with thin tires from mountain biking down dirt paths filled with obstacles or recreational cycling on what the industry calls a comfort bike. Yet they are very different sports.

What remain are often counterintuitive statistics on the waxing and waning of cycling in the United States, along with some injury studies that could give cyclists pause.

For instance, although there is a widespread perception that bicycling is becoming more popular, data from the National Sporting Goods Association show that the sport’s peak — as measured by the number of people who say they ride — was in 2005, when it reached 43.1 million Americans. Last year, the number was 39.3 million.

Those data go back to 2003. But the National Bicycle Dealers Association has sales figures that go back decades. Consistent with the ridership survey, 2005 was a good year, with 14 million adult-size bikes sold. Last year, that number was 13 million. But the record year, never surpassed, was 1973, when sales reached 15.2 million.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention keeps statistics on deaths and emergency room visits resulting from bicycle accidents. The yearly death rate has ranged from 0.26 to 0.35 per 100,000 population, with no particular pattern; in 2010, the agency says, there were 800 bicycle fatalities, about one-fortieth of all road deaths.

“There is no trend,” said Linda Degutis, the director of the agency’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, who added that bicycling seemed no more dangerous than other sports.

Dr. Rochelle Dicker, a trauma surgeon at the University of California, San Francisco, does not see it that way. She cares for victims of the worst bicycle injuries, people who might need surgery and often end up in intensive care. So she decided to investigate those crashes…

AI Reality Check In Online Dating

“Researchers have developed an online dating system that not only matches you with partners you’ll find attractive, but who are also likely to find you attractive too. The researchers at the University of Iowa have addressed an underlying problem of online dating sites.

There’s no doubt that such sites are ever increasing in popularity, and have good algorithms taking into account the reported likes, interests and hobbies of the person looking for a partner to come up with a potential match. What’s less well catered for is the trickier aspect of the reciprocal interest – you may think person x looks nice, but will they find you equally attractive?

The problem here is that if you are Average Joe and try asking out Supermodels Ann, Barbara and Cheryl, you’re unlikely to get a reply. Well, not a printable one, anyway. So coming up with yet another supermodel for you to sob over isn’t a lot of help.Instead, the researchers add a note of reality by analyzing the replies you get, and use this to work out how attractive you are.

This is a scary thought for many of us, and one we may well not want an honest answer to. The results are used to recommend people who might actually reply if you get in contact with them. Fortunately for the attractively challenged, the research is still just that – research. However, given the fact the online dating market is worth around $3 billion a year, chances are someone is going to make use of this. We have been warned.”