And the Research Says…

Everywhere you turn these days you hear about a new research study which claims to prove this or that. Many are interesting and useful while others appear to be stupid and a waste of time. And many reach a conclusion with obvious results that we already knew. Studies with self-evident findings include:

  • Male science nerds are most likely virgins. Duh!
  • Travelers like it more when they have TSA PreCheck. Double Duh!
  • Watching TV for hours impairs your mental ability, especially if you watch, Mama June: From Not to Hot, Keeping up with the Kardashians or The Real Housewives of Wherever. I think you forfeit two I.Q. points per hour of watching these shows.
  • Nose picking is common among teenagers. Fortunately, the paper didn’t discuss what they did with the pickings; and
  • That the rich are more likely to engage in lying, cheating and other unethical behavior than those of us in the lower classes. We already knew this from observing such wealthy evil doers as Montgomery Burns, Tywin Lannister and one other who shall not be named (no, I’m not referring to Voldemort).

What wonders will scientists discover next?

 

While some of the studies are silly, many are fascinating. I am especially curious about those that deal with diet and health. One interesting study found that a healthful diet will help you live longer. Imagine that! But wait, chocolate is healthy, right? Actually it might be. Currently the oldest living man is a 113 year old Japanese guy who attributes his longevity to his love of sweets. Even if chocolate doesn’t add to your life expectancy, other analysis implies that it might make you smarter. Pass the bowl of M&Ms please.

Recently there have been a number of studies on coffee’s impact on human health. I enjoy that hot beverage but thought too much was bad for my well-being. However, in an academic piece recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, it was observed that there was a positive correlation between coffee drinking and longer life regardless of how many cups you consume. One exception is in California where the beverage may soon come with a cancer warning. So it might be wise to confine your coffee consumption to the other forty nine states. Another coffee caveat is that, according to a paper published in the journal Appetite, drinking black coffee is associated with psychopathic behavior. That explains the behavior of that cream avoiding anti-social maniac in Marketing.

Now that researchers have determined the benefits of coffee, scientists should turn their attention to my other favorite beverage, beer. Martin Luther, the Protestant Reformer with the funny hat, pointed out the spiritual effects of beer when he said, “Whoever drinks beer, is quick to sleep; whoever sleeps long does not sin; whoever does not sin, enters Heaven. Thus let us drink beer.” What did you expect him to say, after all, he was German. You have to admire his logic, though he fails to consider or remember all the sinning that occurs between the first sip and slumber, even if that period is brief.

Just doing the Lord’s work

So much of the past academic work has concluded that beer is bad for us or should only be drunk in moderation, whatever that means. But now that Martin Luther has pointed out the spiritual benefits of ale, it is time for scientists to jump on the band wagon and espouse the advantages of tipping back a cold one or two. Lo and behold they are beginning to do just that. Hallelujah! Recent scientific examinations have shown that drinking beer in moderation (again with that nasty qualifier) has the following benefits to one’s healthfulness:

  • It makes your bones stronger
  • It may reduce the risk of some cancers
  • Drinking beer makes your heart stronger; and
  • Drinking beer makes you skinnier (this one is a stretch even for me)

Academics at the University of Exeter have also found that consuming beer had a positive impact on memory, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. People probably don’t want to remember the things they said or did while drinking.

Perhaps most interesting, however, were the findings published by a German scientist which concluded that drinking brewskies makes us happy.

Investigations have also shown that exercise improves mental as well as physical health. But we don’t need scientists to tell us that working out makes us cheerful. We know that from Elle Woods in Legally Blonde who famously declared, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.”

So I can make myself happy by exercising or by drinking beer. Beer or exercise? Exercise or beer? I should probably choose exercise. No. I’ll choose beer. I know what you are thinking. To ensure maximum bliss, why not drink beer while exercising? Unfortunately most gyms frown on this.

Let’s stay on the safe side.

Besides the numerous papers on the positive impact derived from consuming chocolate, coffee and beer, there are many studies on the effect of other things on human health and well-being. One of my favorites is a study by Quilmes National University in Buenos Aires which determined that Viagra helped mice overcome jet lag faster (who knew this was an issue for rodents) and that it may have the same effect on humans.

Another Viagra study, again on mice, showed that giving this miracle pill to rodents resulted in a 50% reduction in colorectal cancer. This finding may also be useful to humans. A side effect of both studies was very happy female mice.

A somewhat related study found that a parasite found in cat poop can reduce a human’s fear of failure. It is easy to understand how useful this information could be:

Wife says: Honey, would you like to join me in the bedroom?

Husband thinks: Oh My Gosh! I’m out of the little blue pills.

Husband says: I’ll be right there. I just need to change the cat litter first.

So we are being bombarded with research studies, some useful, some not so much. I’m not anti-science. Research is important. It just needs to be targeted in the right areas. I vote for more study of the benefits of the important things in life like coffee, chocolate, beer and of course, Viagra.

John Wade, a frequent contributor to Unhinged Magazine, is a retired Chief Financial Officer who lives in Wildwood, Missouri.