Guess Which Summer Veggie Might Be the New “Anti-Cancer” Food

A new study by researchers at the Ohio State University demonstrated that daily tomato consumption cut the rate of skin cancer tumors in mice by half. The study appears in Scientific Reports.

It found that male mice fed a diet of 10 percent tomato powder daily for 35 weeks, then exposed to ultraviolet light, experienced, on average, a 50 percent decrease in skin cancer tumors compared to mice that ate no dehydrated tomato.

The theory behind the relationship between tomatoes and cancer is that dietary carotenoids, the pigmenting compounds that give tomatoes their color, may protect skin against UV light damage.

Previous human clinical trials suggest that eating tomato paste over time can dampen sunburns, perhaps thanks to carotenoids from the plants that are deposited in the skin of humans after eating, and may be able to protect against UV light damage.

Coalition of Researchers From Multiple Disciplines Fight Algal Blooms in Ohio

At the Ohio State University scientists and other experts are working together to create solutions to potential health problems and commercial concerns associated with harmful algal blooms in our local lakes and around the world.

The HABRI or Harmful Algal Bloom Research Initiative is a statewide response to the unwanted blooms, which was established in 2014 by the Ohio Department of High Education. Eight other colleges and universities participate in the group.

Some of the OSU participants include: Jiyoung Lee who is looking into reducing microcystins (blue-green algae) in both water treatment plants and lake water; Allison MacKay is developing guidelines for cost-effective water testing and treatment; Stuart Ludsin is developing methods to help state agencies measure the amount of microcystins in local fish populations and guide and inform people about safe amounts of fish to consume during HAB season; and Greg LaBarge is working with 56 farmers in the western Lake Erie basin to collect data about the effects of crop selection, irrigation and soil management on phosphorus/nutrient runoff and its effect on HABs.

Ohio State Researchers Study Self Control

In a new study researchers observed people’s hands, in real time, struggle over the choice between a long-term goal and short-term temptation. This work represents a new way to study self-control.

In an experiment, participants viewed pictures of a healthy and an unhealthy food choice on opposite sides of the top of a computer screen and moved a cursor from the center bottom to select one of the foods.

People who moved the cursor closer to the unhealthy treat (even when they ultimately made the healthy choice) later showed less self-control than did those who made a more direct path to the healthy snack.

The results may shed light on a scholarly debate about what’s happening in the brain when humans harness willpower. But for those with higher levels of self-control, the path to the healthy food was more direct, indicating that they experienced less conflict. The findings also offer new evidence in a debate about how decision-making in self-control situations unfolds, researchers said.

The Science of Stuff (And Getting Rid of It)

Researchers at the Ohio State University may have a solution for those of us who have trouble hoarding stuff we are emotionally attached to. They found that people were more willing to get rid of unneeded items that still had sentimental value if they first took a photo of the items, thus giving them a different way to preserve the memory.

Such techniques could help parents eliminate baby items once their children have grown or a young person moving out for the first time sort through the their childhood knick-knacks.

The researchers conducted a field study involving 797 students who lived in six residence halls on campus. At the end of a fall semester, the researchers advertised a donation drive before the students left for the holidays. But there was a catch: There were actually two different advertising campaigns that varied by residence halls.

In the memory preservation campaign, signs in the residence hall bathrooms stated, “Don’t Pack up Your Sentimental Clutter…Just Keep a Photo of It, Then Donate.” In the control campaign, fliers told students, “Don’t Pack Up Your Sentimental Clutter, Just Collect the Items, Then Donate.” Similar numbers of students were exposed to both campaigns.

After finals week, research associates who were unaware of what the study was about emptied donation bins in each residence hall, counting the items donated.

The researchers found 613 items were donated in the halls that hosted the “memory preservation” campaign, versus only 533 in the control campaign.

In other related experiments, the researchers found that it wasn’t just the memories associated with these possessions that were keeping people from donating – it was the identities linked to those memories.

For example, older parents may still feel connected to their identity as new mothers and fathers and not want to part with their infant clothes.

In one study, some people who were donating goods at a local thrift shop in State College, Pennsylvania, were given instant photos of the items they were donating, while others were not. They were then asked about whether they would feel a sense of identity loss from giving away the item.

Results showed that those who received the photos reported less identity loss than those who did not.
Researchers said that the bottom line is this technique can help anyone who is emotionally attached to items that could be donated or thrown away, helping declutter their lives.

OSU Researcher Finds That Lasting Memories Are a Little “Weird”

Per Sederberg, professor of psychology at The Ohio State University, has developed a theory of “peculiarity” when it comes to what we remember most. Life-long memories simultaneously have elements of both the familiar and the peculiar.

Sederberg states that the process of building life-long memories has to start with a “scaffolding” of things we already know or are familiar with, but something about the scenario has to “violate expectations.” In other words, “It has to be a little bit weird.”

The way to create a long-lasting memory is to form an association with other memories. For the mind to retrieve the memory it needs to connect to other memories in multiple ways. These associations create a map for the mind to find memories. The more connections or roads between them, the easier they are to find.

Sederberg says that there must be a balance between the strange and the familiar. The strange helps know what is important to remember, familiarity helps us know what to ignore. Something too out of place will find no home on the “cognitive map” and will be lost, similarly the too-familiar gets lost as well.

Sederberg’s co-presenters, all based in London, are Dominique Bonnafoux, a senior strategist at FITCH; Mike Reed, founder and creative director of Reed Words; and Jason Bruges, a multidisciplinary artist and designer.