Elegant, softly lit dining cuts food intake
Ambience can affect the amount of food consumed by diners, an unusual study has found. Researchers decorated a section of a Hardee's restaurant in Champaign, Ill., with indirect lighting, soft music, white tablecloths, even candles on the tables. The room was soundproofed, isolated from the loud music and bright lights of the adjoining standard interior. Only one thing remained the same: the menu. The study, published in the journal Psychological Reports, found that food selection did not differ between groups. But the fine diners spent an average of 4.7 percent more time eating, and ate 86 percent of the food on their plates, compared with 95 percent for those in the regular area. The fine diners consumed an average of 775.3 calories, while the others ate 949.2. Yet on questionnaires, the fine diners rated the food more highly. "You create a nice atmosphere, people talk more, they concentrate less on the food," said an author of the study, Koert van Ittersum, an associate professor of marketing at the Georgia Institute of Technology. "And they leave the place more satisfied."
Abortion and later preterm births tied
Induced abortions may raise the risk for very preterm birth in subsequent pregnancies, a new study reports. Researchers reviewed the records of 300,858 first-time mothers who had single babies in Finland from 1996 to 2008 for an analysis appearing in the journal Human Reproduction. The risk for birth at 28 or fewer weeks of gestation — increased with the number of previous abortions: a 19 percent increase after one abortion, 69 percent for two and 278 percent for three. The authors caution that unknown variables could have influenced their findings, and that their observational study does not establish cause and effect. Still, they believe that the finding could be explained by infections that sometimes occur before or after surgery for abortion. "The risk is low," said the lead author, Reija Klemetti, a researcher at the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare, "and abortion is a safe surgical procedure. But having more than two can have consequences, and this information should be included in sexual education programs."
At USF, online
Friedreich's ataxia conference tonight
Scientists, clinicians and patients will gather at the USF Health Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS) in downtown Tampa tonight from 6 to 8 p.m. to share research insights into the debilitating neuromuscular disorder Friedreich's ataxia and related conditions. The symposium is free and open to the public. Hosted by Friedreich Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA) and the USF Ataxia Research Center (ARC), the scientific symposium will be live streamed through the FARA Facebook page. For more information: www.curefa.org/energyball/sep6.html or call (813) 974-5909.