DW′s Health News: Why does music make us dance? | Science| In-depth reporting on science and technology | DW | 28.08.2018
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DW's Health News: Why does music make us dance?

Did you know that the bass makes us move? That some people smell things that aren't there? Or that hostile relationships can make us sick? DW brings you this week's health news, all in one handy guide!

Why does music make us dance?

Music can be found in pretty much all cultures worldwide and a lot of the time it makes us dance. But what is the driving force in music that makes us want to bob our heads, wave our arms and shuffle our feet?

Scientists in Australia have looked into this question and discovered that the answer lies in the bass. The researchers studied how our brains process low-frequency sounds, which usually form the rhythmic basis of music. They played high- and low-frequency sounds to people and watched their brains' reaction using electroencephalography (EEG).

The results: People's brain activity seemed to be in sync with the frequency of the beat. The more bass-heavy a song, the more inclined people were to dance to it. The researchers hope that their findings can also be used for treating a range of medical conditions, especially cognitive or motor function disorders.

Zigarettenstummel (picture-alliance/MAXPPP/O. Boitet)

Some people with POP smell cold cigarettes or smouldering hair when nothing is there

What is that stink?

People who experience phantom odor perception (POP) smell things that aren't actually there. POP can have a great influence on people's eating habits and can hinder their ability to smell fire, rotting food or other danger signals.

Using data from more than 7,000 individuals, researchers in the US have discovered that POP might be more common than previously thought. Their results showed that one in 15 people over the age of 40 experience POP, with women affected twice as often as men.

The greatest risk factor was poor overall health. Also, smokers were more likely to suffer from POP. Although the causes of POP are still unknown, the researchers believe that overactive odor-sensing cells in the nose could be involved. 

Hostile relationships make you sick

Symbolbild - Beziehungsstreit (Colourbox/A. Gravante )

Constantly arguing with your partner can make you sick

Your lifestyle — everything from practicing yoga to trying out a trendy new diet — influences your gut and consequently, your health. Now, researchers in Ohio have discovered that hostility amongst married couples can cause the so-called leaky gut syndrome.

A leaky gut is caused by holes in the intestinal wall through which bacteria and toxins can move into the bloodstream. There they can trigger inflammation and cause disease. The researchers asked couples which topics they argued about most — money and in-laws — and then allowed them to have 20-minute discussions on these issues.

The results showed that people who were more hostile toward their spouses had elevated levels of a protein in their blood that indicates leaky gut syndrome. Participants with the highest levels of the protein also had increased levels of inflammation.

The researchers also discovered that people with a history of depression were more likely to have leaky gut syndrome induced by marital hostility. The moral of the story: Stressful relationships can have a great impact on your health.

Symbolbild - Haferbrei (Colourbox/Haivoronska_Y )

A juicy bowl of porridge and fruit is just what you need before your morning workout

What's better before a workout: eating or fasting?

Eating breakfast before your workout can aid digestion and even burn more carbohydrates during exercise, a new study has found. Researchers in the UK studied how eating breakfast before exercising would affect the body.

Participants of the study were asked to eat a breakfast of porridge with milk and then cycle for an hour. The researchers then tested the participants' blood sugar levels and the levels of a specific carbohydrate stored in muscles.

Their results showed that eating breakfast before a workout is better for you than going hungry and eating later: more carbohydrates were burned during exercise, including stored carbohydrates. Blood sugar levels were lower after a second meal as well.

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