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Who doesn't love a good hug?
Hugs can make a bad day better, a happy day happier, and ... prevents illness? Well, sort of.
Carnegie Mellon researchers found frequent hugs really might protect people from getting sick.
It all comes down to social support. No surprise here: people who receive a lot of hugs generally have a lot of people around supporting them. And that helps lower stress and ward off stress-related illnesses.
Researchers say they chose to study how hugs affected people because hugs are usually signs of having close relationships with someone else.
As one of the researchers put it, "We know that people experiencing ongoing conflicts with others are less able to fight off cold viruses. We also know that people who report having social support are partly protected from the effects of stress on psychological states, such as depression and anxiety."
Here's how they figured that out. Researchers gathered information from just over 400 healthy adults and intentionally exposed them to a common cold virus.
Results showed those who received lots of hugs and social support had a reduced risk of infection and experienced less severe symptoms if infected.
This is not an entirely new concept. Science has already proven how beneficial having a good support system is to health.
"We've seen it with people who've had wounds, people who have had surgery. If you have good friends and family around you, you actually heal quicker," said Dr. Seema Yasmin.
Research has shown social support might even affect genetic weaknesses to illnesses. So, bring on the snuggles!
This video includes images from Araceli Arroyo / CC BY NC ND 2.0, Raul Lieberwirth / CC BY NC ND 2.0, Hans-Jörg Aleff / CC BY NC SA 2.0, Tania Cataldo / CC BY 2.0, and Beauty and Peace / CC BY NC SA 2.0.
Sun, 21 Dec 2014 14:52:00 -0500
Americans have seen a boost in their spending power this winter and it's thanks in part to the free fall in oil prices, which have plunged to a five-year low. (Video via Euronews)
And similar to individual consumers, entire countries are deciding how to take advantage of the massive savings on oil.
India may be the most extreme example where, in October, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the opportunity to end government subsidies of diesel, then, in November, he essentially raised the county's gas tax. (Video via ABP News)
In Ukraine, falling oil prices led to a fall in natural gas prices that helped the country to strike an agreement with Russia and maintain its gas supplies through the winter.
And back in the U.S., there is no shortage of ideas for how America should respond to the oil savings.
The International Energy Agency's Maria van der Hoeven called on developed nations to take the opportunity to tax carbon emissions and to end fossil-fuel subsidies, which total more than $550 billion around the globe.
"The point is if these low prices are there, use the opportunity...because you can do it with less economic harm then when you wait until oil prices are going to rise again," van der Hoeven toldCNBC.
Wonkblog's Chris Mooney struck a similar chord saying now is the time to raise the national gasoline tax which has remained at about 18 cents since 1993. Increased gasoline tax revenue, he argues, could be used to "Fix our highway infrastructure, green our behavior," and "help us find tax reform compromise."
But some analysts worry that over confidence in cheap oil prices could lead to a drop in support for fuel efficient vehicles and alternative energy, which gained popularity when oil prices were surging.
As Michael Levi of the Council on Foreign Relations recently warned, "Just as volatility creates opportunities for smart policy, it can also make stupidity easier. Little about the market turmoil should inspire confidence that anyone knows where oil prices will be in a year, let alone a decade or more..."
A bipartisan pair of U.S. representatives did introduce a bill to raise the national gas tax earlier this month. But raising any tax at all will be an even tougher fight in the next two years, as Republicans take control of both chambers of Congress.
This video includes images from Getty Images.
Sun, 21 Dec 2014 14:51:52 -0500
Florida authorities say a police officer was shot and killed in Tarpon Springs early Sunday.
The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said in a statement that the shooting occurred at around 3 a.m. in the Tampa Bay-area city and that a suspect has been taken into custody.
The Tarpon Springs Police Department identified the fallen officer as 45-year-old Charles Kondek, a 17-year veteran of the local police department. Originally from New York, Kondek had previously served on the New York City Police Department for more than five years, authorities said.
Authorities say Kondek responded to a call for service shortly after 2 a.m. Police said the suspect shot at the officer and then fled the scene in a vehicle and crashed into a pole and another vehicle. He was then apprehended by police at that location.
The Tampa Bay Times reports that Kondek was the father of five children.
A news conference is to be held later Sunday.Sun, 21 Dec 2014 12:45:05 -0500 News Source: MedleyStory More Local News Stories