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September 7, 2018

Weekend reads: Can a gym schedule help you work out more? Likely not, research suggests.

Daily Briefing

    Ben Palmer's reads

    Pretty gross. Security trays at airports carry more germs than toilets, according to a recent study published in BMC Infectious Diseases. For the study, researchers collected samples from security trays at Helsinki-Vantaa airport in Finland during peak flu season and found that half of the trays tested positive for germs that can make humans sick, such as influenza A and rhinovirus. To avoid getting sick at the airport, CDC recommends washing your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds.

    Is this making you twitch? Eye twitches are common, Kate Furby writes for the Washington Post, and according to Shameema Sikder, an ophthalmologist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the causes are simple. "It's kind of like all the things your mom lectured you about growing up: lack of sleep, staring at screens, dry eyes, caffeine, dehydration, stress," she said. If you find yourself suffering from frequent eye twitches, Sikder recommends looking away from a screen every 20 minutes and closing your eyes to hydrate them. Artificial tears can also help, if necessary.  Sikder said it's important to pay attention to the duration, frequency, and pattern of your eye twitches. Changes could be a sign of something more serious, and, if other parts of your face twitch, Sikder said you should see a doctor.

    Danielle Poindexter's reads

    No, you can't trick yourself into working out. Creating a weekly exercise schedule might not encourage you to work out more, according to a new working paper. For the paper, researchers compared gym members who created an exercise plan with those who did not. Researchers looked at gym records to track how often participants excised and found there was little-to-no difference in workout frequency between the two groups. The reason? According to researchers, there was a "gap between intentions and actions," meaning the treatment group did not always show up to the gym when scheduled.

    Your thoughts might change how others act. An experiment might prove that our thoughts affect the behavior of others. Research psychologist Bob Rosenthal assigned lab rats to a group of experimenters, telling the experimenters that some of the rats were incredibly intelligent while others were dumb. The rats, however, were all of average intelligence. The researchers ran the rats through a maze and found that the "smart" rats performed twice as well as the "dumb" rats. According to Rosenthal, the researchers' expectations caused them to treat the rats that they perceived as smart with more care—which positively influenced the rats' performance. Other studies found that a similar phenomenon can occur between people.

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