LAB REPORT

Fatherhood makes you fatter and your music may define how you think

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 July, 2015, 12:09am
UPDATED : Monday, 27 July, 2015, 12:09am

How fatherhood makes you fatter

Men gain weight after they become fathers for the first time - whether or not they live with their children - reports a large, new Northwestern Medicine study that tracked the weight of more than 10,000 men over 20 years from adolescence to young adulthood. A typical 1.8-metre tall man who lives with his child gained an average of about 2kg after becoming a first-time dad, and 1.5kg if they do not live together. By contrast, non-fathers of similar stature lost about 600 grams over the same time period, says the study, which appeared last week in the American Journal of Men's Health. The study controlled for other factors that could contribute to weight gain such as age, race, education, income, daily activity, screen time and marriage status. Previous research by lead author Dr Craig Garfield, an associate professor of paediatrics and of medical social sciences, showed new fathers have an increase in depression symptoms in the early years after their child's birth.

Musical tastes offer a window into how we think

If you prefer Queen's Crazy Little Thing Called Love rather than Metallica's Enter Sandman, your thinking style is likely to make you more of an empathiser (you focus on and respond to the emotions of others) than a systemiser (you analyse rules and patterns in the world), according to University of Cambridge psychologists in a new study in the journal PLoS ONE. The researchers recruited more than 4,000 participants mainly through the myPersonality Facebook app. The app asked users to take a selection of psychology-based questionnaires. Later, they were asked to listen to and rate 50 musical pieces from 26 genres and subgenres. People who scored high for empathy tended to prefer mellow music (from R&B to soft rock and adult contemporary), unpretentious music (from country and folk to the singer/songwriter genre) and contemporary music (from electronica, Latin, and acid jazz to Europop). They disliked intense music, such as punk and heavy metal. In contrast, people who scored highly on systemising favoured intense music, but disliked mellow and unpretentious musical styles.

One-third of colorectal cancers diagnosed before 35 are hereditary

Hereditary colorectal cancers, caused by inherited gene mutations, are relatively rare and account for about 5 per cent of all colorectal cancer cases. However, researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Centre have discovered a particularly high prevalence of hereditary cancers among those diagnosed with the disease before the age of 35. Published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the study reviewed data from 193 patients aged 35 or younger who were diagnosed with colorectal cancer at the centre between 2009 and 2013 and found that 35 per cent of the patients had a genetic disease. These patients face unique challenges related to disease aggressiveness, the impact of treatments on fertility and potential genetic risk to family members, says lead researcher Dr Eduardo Vilar Sanchez. "Based on our findings, patients under the age of 35 need to be evaluated by a genetic counsellor. Period," he says.