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Being optimistic likely to Lengthen your Life, a New Study suggests

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FILE - A general view shows a "smiling" sunflower in a field in Tokyo on July 30, 2015. Some 20,000 sunflowers were enjoyed by visitors to the area, VOA
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Dec 8, 2016: Being optimistic could lengthen your life, a new study suggests.

Writing in the American Journal of Epidemiology, researchers at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that women with “a general expectation that good things will happen” had significantly lower risk of several deadly diseases such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease and infection compared to less optimistic women.

“While most medical and public health efforts today focus on reducing risk factors for diseases, evidence has been mounting that enhancing psychological resilience may also make a difference,” said Eric Kim, research fellow in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences and co-lead author of the study. “Our new findings suggest that we should make efforts to boost optimism, which has been shown to be associated with healthier behaviours and healthier ways of coping with life challenges.”

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Furthermore, researchers found “ healthy behaviors only partially explain the link between optimism and reduced mortality risk.”

For the study, researchers looked at data from 70,000 female participants in the Nurse’s Health Study, which examines women’s health every two years via surveys.

Specifically, they looked at the women’s level of optimism as well as other factors such as overall health, race, diet and physical activity.

They found the most optimistic woman had nearly a 30 percent lower risk of dying from disease. For example they had a 16 percent lower risk of dying from cancer, a 38 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease, a 39 percent lower risk of dying from stroke, a 38 percent lower risk of dying from respiratory disease and a 52 percent lower risk of dying from infection compared to the least optimistic women in the study.

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Researchers noted other studies have linked optimism with reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease, but this was the first to link optimism with reduced mortality from other diseases.

“Previous studies have shown that optimism can be altered with relatively uncomplicated and low-cost interventions, even something as simple as having people write down and think about the best possible outcomes for various areas of their lives, such as careers or friendships,” said postdoctoral research fellow Kaitlin Hagan, co-lead author of the study. “Encouraging use of these interventions could be an innovative way to enhance health in the future.”  (VOA)

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Old Dusty Kilogram Swapped for Something More Stable: Scientists

It has taken years of work to fine-tune the new definition to ensure the switchover will be smooth.

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Kilogram
The International Prototype of the Kilogram (IPK) is pictured in Paris, France, in this undated photo obtained from social media. VOA

After years of nursing a sometimes dusty cylinder of metal in a vault outside Paris as the global reference for modern mass, scientists are updating the definition of the kilogram.

Just as the redefinition of the second in 1967 helped to ease communication across the world via technologies like GPS and the internet, experts say the change in the kilogram will be better for technology, retail and health — though it probably won’t change the price of fish much.

The kilogram has been defined since 1889 by a shiny piece of platinum-iridium held in Paris. All modern mass measurements are traceable back to it — from micrograms of pharmaceutical medicines to kilos of apples and pears and tons of steel or cement.

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Border Security Force officials showing 17 kilogram heroine.

The problem is, the “international prototype kilogram” doesn’t always weigh the same. Even inside its three glass bell jars, it gets dusty and dirty, and is affected by the atmosphere. Sometimes, it really needs a wash.

“We live in a modern world. There are pollutants in the atmosphere that can stick to the mass,” said Ian Robinson, a specialist in the engineering, materials and electrical science department at Britain’s National Physical Laboratory.

“So when you just get it out of the vault, it’s slightly dirty. But the whole process of cleaning or handling or using the mass can change its mass. So it’s not the best way, perhaps, of defining mass.”

What’s needed is something more constant.

kilogram, weight
The Kilogram. Flickr

So, at the end of a week-long meeting in the Palace of Versailles, Paris, the world’s leading measurement aficionados at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures will vote Friday to make an “electronic kilogram” the new baseline measure of mass.

Just as the meter — once the length of a bar of platinum-iridium, also kept in Paris — is now defined by the constant speed of light in a vacuum, so a kilogram will be defined by a tiny but immutable fundamental value called the “Planck constant.”

The new definition involves an apparatus called the Kibble balance, which makes use of the constant to measure the mass of an object using a precisely measured electromagnetic force.

Paris,diesel,kilogram, weight
The kilogram has been defined since 1889 by a shiny piece of platinum-iridium held in Paris.VOA

“In the present system, you have to relate small masses to large masses by subdivision. That’s very difficult — and the uncertainties build up very, very quickly,” Robinson said.

“One of the things this [new] technique allows us to do is to actually measure mass directly at whatever scale we like, and that’s a big step forward.”

Also Read: NASA to Send Organ-on-Chips to Test Human Tissue Health in Space

He said it had taken years of work to fine-tune the new definition to ensure the switchover will be smooth.

But while the extra accuracy will be a boon to scientists, Robinson said that, for the average consumer buying flour or bananas, “there will be absolutely no change whatsoever.” (VOA)