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June 16, 2017

Weekend reads: If you're going gray, don't blame stress

Daily Briefing

    Ben Palmer's reads

    What causes gray hair? According to New York Times' Karen Weintraub, your hair greys when cells called melanocytes—cells located at the root of each hair follicle—"get damaged by disease, environmental exposures, or simply age." She writes that while most people go gray eventually, the timing varies by race and gender, as well as your genetic predisposition—if your parents grayed early, you likely will too. But contrary to popular belief, there's no clear connection between chronic stress and gray hair. Citing inconclusive studies on the subject, James Kirkland, director of the Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging at the Mayo Clinic, said, "The consensus is that stress possibly does it. ... But that's a gut feeling rather than convincing evidence."

    Woman gives birth without ever knowing she was pregnant. Unaware that she was pregnant, Christine Harvey of Malden, Massachusetts, unexpectedly gave birth earlier this week after experiencing what she thought were simply painful cramps. Harvey was waiting on the sidewalk for a friend to take her to the hospital when she realized her cramps were actually contractions. Neighbors called 911, but the emergency crew arrived too late: Harvey had already delivered a healthy 6-pound, 6-ounce baby girl.

    Rachel Schulze's reads

    To lose weight, eat your vegetables. New research suggests what you may have already suspected: Eating a vegetarian diet helps people shed weight faster than a conventional weight-loss diet. The new findings, published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, come from a study of 74 people with Type 2 diabetes. The people who followed a vegetarian diet lost about 13.5 pounds over six months, while those who followed a conventional low-calorie, anti-diabetic diet lost about 7 lbs. However, while both groups had similar reductions in subcutaneous fat, participants on the vegetarian diet lost more muscle.

    The kids are all right. The share of teenagers working summer jobs has fallen over the past few decades, but it's not because they're lazy—teens are instead taking advantage of other opportunities for self-improvement, according to new research. While the share of teens who had or were looking for a summer job fell from 60 percent in 1978 to 35 percent in 2016, the share of young people who are "neither in education, employment, or training" hasn't moved more than 0.1 percentage point since the late 1990s. Meanwhile, the share of recent teenage high school graduates who are enrolled in two- or four-year college increased about 25 percent over the last 50 years or so—almost exactly reflecting the decline in the teenage workforce-participation rate, according to The Atlantic's Derek Thompson. 

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