Professional athletes are among the most superstitious of all people. While we may be tempted to think these rituals have no effect on performance, psychologists say that if an athlete believes it helps, then it actually does. Experts explain how superstitions work in sports and in life.
Dr. Stuart Vyse, author, Believing In Magic: The Psychology of Superstition
Major League Baseball teams spend $1.7 billion annually on pitchers, yet it is an extremely risky investment. Teams haven’t figured out how to prevent all-too-frequent arm injuries, which are now filtering down to children as well. A journalist who investigated the science of pitching injuries explains.
Jeff Passan, baseball columnist, Yahoo Sport and author, The Arm: Inside the Billion Dollar Mystery of the Most Valuable Commodity in Sports
We’ve reported on how dogs can sniff out a variety of diseases in people with scientists trying to create a mechanical nose to do the same thing. Now a study presented to the American Chemical Society shows they’re making progress. Researchers have identified a signature odor in 90% of cases of prostate cancer and have developed a chemical test to detect it. Doctors are looking for an alternative to the PSA test to detect prostate cancer because of the high proportion of false positives.
People who are depressed have a surprisingly high risk for heart disease. A new study in the journal Atherosclerosis shows that depression is just as much of a cardiovascular risk as obesity and high cholesterol. The 10-year study finds that depression is to blame for about 15% of all heart disease deaths, a rate exceeded only by smoking and high blood pressure. About 350 million people around the world suffer from depression.
It might be easier to get into an argument when you’re tired because you’re misreading the emotions of other people. A study in the journal Neurobiology of Sleep and Circadian Rhythms shows that sleepy people have trouble interpreting some emotions in the faces of others compared to those who are well rested. Tired people can read fear and anger in others’ faces but more subtle emotions are misinterpreted far more often.
And finally, slightly more than half of parents give sports the green light for their kids but about one in every six completely rule them out. The reason? Concussions. The rest of parents, about a third of them, allow participation on a sport by sport basis, according to a Harris survey for the American Osteopathic Association. About two thirds of parents say basketball and baseball are ok for kids. But less than 20% approve of their children playing football.
Concussions have prompted many parents to question whether their sons should play high school football. A well known sportswriter and parent who was given nearly unlimited access to a high school team for a year shares the red flags he saw as well as the benefits of playing.