Every week, we’re bringing you a roundup of the latest health and wellness news to hit the wire. This week, we look at how exercise benefits some emotional states more than others; a biological clue to anorexia nervosa; and a surprisingly harmonious model for the novel coronavirus.
Feeling hostile toward your isolation partner? Get moving
By now, your isolation “family” might be getting on your nerves or each others’. Even if you’re home alone, your friends’ and family’s activities might be aggravating you to the point where you can hear that tone creeping in your voice. Fortunately, new research shows that aerobic activity has a positive effect not only on feelings of depression but also hostility—and those benefits may linger even when you’re sedentary.
As reported in The New York Times, the study, published in Health Psychology, followed 119 men and women ages 20 to 45, divided into two groups. One group did aerobic exercise for 12 weeks and then stopped for four weeks; the other group did nothing. At the beginning of the study and again at 16 weeks, researchers gauged the participants’ levels of depression, anxiety, hostility and anger. They found that the active group experienced reduced levels of depression and hostility, although they did not report the same effect for anxiety and anger.
While running and cycling outdoors may be off-limits for you right now, it might be time to explore the wide range of cardio and HIIT workouts available online (including low-impact options that might help keep the peace in close quarters).
Anorexia nervosa may be rooted in our biology
Although awareness of the psychiatric eating disorder anorexia nervosa has grown in recent decades, the medical community is still searching for more insight into the biology of the disease. Now, researchers at UC San Diego have published the results of a study in the The American Journal of Psychiatry that reveals an aspect of sufferers’ brain function may differ from that of people who don’t suffer from the condition.
The researchers monitored blood markers and neurological behavior of their test subjects. They found that there were neurological differences corresponding to a decreased hunger response in the participants recovering from anorexia nervosa, compared to the control group. According to the scientists, their findings may explain why people who suffer the disease are able to avoid eating, one of the hallmarks of the condition.
The sound of the coronavirus may help the search for a vaccine
A musical model is one of the latest tools that researchers are using in an effort to understand the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
While digital visualization has given the world a look at the shape of the virus, scientists need to understand its molecular makeup, and that’s where researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology come in. As reported in Science, the model assigns different notes to specific amino acids that comprise the hallmark protein spikes on the surface of the virus protein. The tone and duration of notes and the composition signify the intricate sequencing and folding of the amino acids.
On the SoundCloud page that hosts the musical score, MIT researcher Markus Buehler explains, “This doesn’t really convey the deadly impacts this particularly protein is having on the world. This aspect of the music shows the deceiving nature of the virus, how it hijacks our body to replicate, and hurt us along the way.”
Photo credit: FilippoBacci, Getty Images