Is sadness a sickness? It appears to spread like one, a new study has found.
Researchers at Harvard University and MIT wanted to see if a mathematical model developed to track and predict the spread of infectious diseases could also apply to the spread of happiness — and found that it worked. They used data collected from 1,880 subjects in the Framingham Heart Study, a long-term research effort that has followed subjects since 1948, giving them physical and emotional exams every two years.
At each visit, subjects were classified as content, discontent or neutral. The researchers monitored how these emotional states changed over time and how these changes depended on the emotions of the people with whom the participants came into contact.
When the information was put into a traditional infectious-disease simulation, the researchers found a correlation between an individual's emotional state and those of the person's contacts.
In other words, it appears that you can catch happiness. Or sadness. Sadness is more contagious: A single discontent contact doubles one's chances of becoming unhappy, while a happy contact increases the probability of becoming content by 11 percent.
—Los Angeles Times
Use sunscreen right for best results
Many people don't use sunscreen correctly, dermatologists say. Here are some tips:
* Sunscreen takes time to start working. Instead of slathering on lotion when you're already outside, apply it 20 to 30 minutes before leaving the house.
* A high SPF isn't fail-safe. Even products with SPF 50 or higher won't block all of the sun's rays. No matter how high the number, you need a thick coating and reapplications every one to two hours.
* It's never too late to protect yourself. Even if you've had frequent sunburns, you can still reduce your risk of skin cancer now. Daily sunscreen use will slow the growth of existing precancerous sun spots as well as reduce the number of new ones. —Newport News, Va., Daily Press