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January 24, 2020

Weekend reads: Meet the 'World's Worst Cat.' (And yes, she's up for adoption.)

Daily Briefing

    Ben Palmer's reads

    Should babies move around more? Letting babies move around more may reduce their levels of fat, according to a new study published in Obesity. For the study, researchers put trackers on infants' ankles to track how much they moved. The researchers then visited the babies when they were three, six, nine, and 12 months old, weighing them and checking their body fat levels, as well as fitting them with small accelerometers that they would wear for four days following the visit to measure their activity levels. The researchers found that activity increased as the babies grew, and that some babies were more active than others. Those that were less active typically had more fat around their middle area, the researchers found. Sara Benjamin-Neelon, an associate professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and lead author on the study, said the study's findings suggest that parents should "[a]llow babies to spend supervised time each day moving freely on the floor, as long as the environment is safe."

    Sunscreen ingredients may be absorbed into your bloodstream. Some active ingredients in sunscreen can be absorbed into the bloodstream, according to a new study published in JAMA. In the study, researchers looked at six main active ingredients used in different combinations in sunscreens, including avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene, homosalate, octisalate, and octinoxate. They asked participants to apply sunscreen four times a day for nearly a month and tested blood samples from the participants. The researchers found that all six active ingredients ended up in the bloodstream as a measurable level. However, that isn't necessarily a bad thing, according to Janet Woodcock, director of FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "[T]he fact that an ingredient is absorbed through the skin and into the body does not mean the ingredient is unsafe," she said. Michele Green, a dermatologist from Lenox Hill Hospital, said, "Until we know further, it is important to continue to use sunscreen since it is a good way to protect skin from the sun's UV rays."

    Danielle Poindexter's reads

    The 'world's worst cat' is up for adoption. When the staff at Mitchell County Animal Rescue in North Carolina first met 4-year-old Perdita, they thought she was in pain. But after taking her to the vet, Amber Lowery, director of the shelter, said they realized the cat was not sick after all but "just a jerk." In an Instagram post, Mitchell County Animal Rescue says Perdita is up for adoption but is "not for the faint of heart." The shelter in the post said Perdita likes "lurking in dark corners" and "being queen of her domicile," but dislikes the color pink, kittens, dogs, children, the Dixie Chicks, and hugs, among other things. Shelter workers said Perdita might do well with an owner who is also "socially awkward" and "understands personal space."

    Will we all experience a mid-life crisis? Researchers David Blanchflower and Andrew Oswald in a 2007 study set out to prove that midlife crises are real. After studying 500,000 American and European adults, the researchers found that people hit "rock bottom in their mid-to-late 40s," Greg Rosalsky writes for NPR's "Planet Money." A newer study by Blanchflower published this year finally reinforced those findings. Using data from 132 countries, Blanchflower found that when he statistically controlled for things such as education and employment status, people's happiness always started to trend down in middle age, and then picked up again when they got older. According to Blanchflower, this was true in both developing and developed nations. But why is the mid-life crisis so pervasive? Blanchflower said middle age is usually when people realize they won't achieve their biggest dreams. "At first, that's a blow. But then we realize that's OK, and we start just wanting to enjoy what time we have left," Rosalsky writes.

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