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Golden Age at the Golden Arches

Scott LaFee on

Fast food might not be very good for you in terms of physical health, but a survey conducted of 125 older adults (ages 55-92) in the Minneapolis area found that regular visits to familiar eateries was good for their mental health, mostly because it provided a comfortable, easy-to-access place in which to socialize with others.

"Traditionally, fast food has a negative relationship with cognition -- we know that diets high in saturated fat cholesterol are associated with increased risk of cognitive decline," said lead author Jessica Finlay, a research fellow at the University of Michigan.

"It has been criticized in public health literature because it can offer unhealthy food choices. But as a geographer, I'm interested in the places themselves and what those spaces mean for the everyday lives of older adults."

Fast food joints and similar venues, such as coffee shops, provided a place to gather and interact with others, stimulating the brain. The researchers' advice: Skip the Big Mac, but enjoy the chat.

Body of Knowledge

Currently, there are an estimated 300 bodies frozen in liquid nitrogen and stored around the country in hopes that science will someday be able to bring them back to life. (Walt Disney is not among them.)

 

Get Me That, Stat!

Pregnant women who use venlafaxine, a common antidepressant marketed as Effexor, may be more likely to deliver babies with birth defects, according to new research. Up to 8% of women are prescribed antidepressants during pregnancy.

Counts

1 in 10: Ratio of high school students who use recommended protection when having sex

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