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Can't Beat a Good Story

Scott LaFee on

When people watch the same movie together, their hearts begin to beat in time. It's not the shared emotional experience however that causes the effect but rather similar cognitive work in their brains.

In a new study, researchers tested volunteers listening to an audiobook of Jules Verne's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," watching instructional videos or listening to children's stories. Some volunteers were purposefully distracted during their participation.

Heart rates began beating in sync but became disjointed with distraction.

Sleep/Walking

A new study suggests that sleep deprivation can affect your walk when awake. Gait -- the manner in which you walk -- is not automatic and innate. The brain adjusts speed, stride and other elements of locomotion based on visual and auditory cues, often unconsciously.

Researchers found that persons plagued by poor sleep were less steady on their feet, and less able to walk purposely, avoiding obstacles and keeping their balance.

 

Body of Knowledge

Your tongue is comprised of eight interwoven muscles, similar in structure to an elephant's trunk or an octopus's tentacle. Contrary to some mythology, it's not the strongest muscle(s) in the human body -- that claim more rightly goes to the quadriceps on the front of your thighs or the gluteus maximus on your rear -- but the tongue is tireless, the result of much redundancy in muscle architecture. Different muscle fibers can be activated to get the same movement and result while avoiding exhausting any single muscle.

Get Me That, Stat!

Another measure of the pandemic, alas still growing: The monthly rate of the body mass index for children and adolescents (ages 2-19) increased almost twice as fast during the pandemic as before.

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