November 1, 2019

Weekend reads: His parents brushed off his story about a stranger in the kitchen. Later, they found a body in the vents.

Daily Briefing

    Ben Palmer's reads

    When you're running a marathon, turn to … potatoes? The human body can store the glycogen needed to sustain itself through intense physical activity, such as running a marathon, only for so long. To keep the body from completely depleting its glycogen—an experience distance runners often describe as "hit[ting] the wall—runners reach for sugar, often in the form of candy—but a new study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology says runners could also eat potatoes. For the study, researchers compared the performance of elite cyclists fed either a sugary goo, an identical amount of potato puree, or a placebo. The researchers found that the cyclists who ate potatoes had comparable distances to those who ate sugar. However, the researchers also noted that the cyclists who ate potatoes also experienced higher levels of abdominal pain, flatulence, and bloating, likely due to the fact that they needed to eat the pureed equivalent of four potatoes per hour to receive the necessary sugar.

    Going on a diet to help depression. The Mediterranean Diet is known to be a good diet for weight loss, but it also might help fight the symptoms of depression, according to a study published in PLOS One. For the study, researchers observed a randomized group of 76 college students with poor diet and depression symptoms. The students were placed into two groups—one that was put on a Mediterranean-style diet high in fruits, vegetables, fish, olive oil, nuts, and seeds, and one that continued their usual eating habits. After three weeks, the researchers found that, on average, depression symptoms in the diet group changed from moderate severity range to a normal range, while symptoms in the control group stayed in the moderate severity range. The diet group also scored significantly lower on anxiety and stress tests than did the control group.

    Danielle Poindexter's reads

    Horror author recalls real horror story from his past. In celebration of Halloween, author Grady Hendrix in a series of tweets described a horrifying details of an experience he endured as a kid. Hendrix shared how, when he was nine, he would sneak downstairs when everyone was asleep to get snacks. But one night when Hendrix sneaked into the kitchen, he heard a "fork click on the counter," he writes. When he looked up, the microwave clock showed the reflection of a "skinny guy, eating our leftovers, and drinking our milk from the carton," according to Hendrix. Terrified, Hendrix backed away, went back upstairs, and woke up his parents. "Everyone said I read too many horror comics so they blew off what I said," he writes. Hendrix kept looking out for signs that the man was there and one day, he noticed something in the air conditioning vent above his bed. "Behind the vent a pair of eyes were watching me," he writes. Eventually, the house started to smell. When a maintenance worker crawled into the vents, they found the man Hendrix spotted in the kitchen. He had died in the vent. "To this day I can't look inside the vents in houses," according to Hendrix.

    What happens when 'morning sickness' lasts after pregnancy? When Laura Turner was pregnant, she would get nauseous and vomit often. She was so sick that she was hospitalized about five times during her pregnancy. But what Turner didn't realize was that "the anxiety that had been my faithful companion all my life was running amok in my estrogen-soaked body," she writes for Buzzfeed News. The combination of hormones and the anxiety she experienced surrounding her pregnancy was making her sick, which was why Turner suffered the same symptoms months after giving birth to her son. One time after giving birth, the sickness "lasted a month, and I had to seek help," she writes, adding, "What I didn't know then is that as much as anxiety is a mental illness, growing in dark synapses and neural pathways, it also lives in the body. Eventually, Turner found out she had cyclic vomiting syndrome. "I stand on my own historical record, sharing it as salve, as a way to say 'you are not alone' to anyone who might recognize themselves in what I have to say."

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