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Talking points: your brain on layoffs, nuts to you and why trophy wives

A worker forms dough for the annual baking of Christmas Stollen cakes in Dresden, eastern Germany.

Jens Meyer/AP

YOUR BRAIN ON LAYOFFS

A recession isn't only detrimental to your bank account, it's also bad for your brain. The Daily Mail recaps a study that suggests weathering a recession can make middle-aged people less intelligent in later years. The study considered factors like health, employment and social conditions for 12,000 people aged 50-plus in European countries. It found that being laid off or forced to take a lower-paying job put people at higher risk for cognitive decline, affecting memory, verbal fluency and numeracy in old age. Conversely, workers who got better jobs and improved working environments showed higher cognitive ability.

NUTS TO YOU

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If you're looking to eat healthier this holiday season, break out the nuts. CTV News reports on a new study revealing that regular nut eaters were less likely to die from cancer or heart disease. The exhaustive study conducted by Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital reopened the health records of nearly 120,000 men and women and showed that those who consumed nuts (peanuts, pistachios, almonds or walnuts) were 20 per cent less likely to die during the study period than those who never ate nuts. The risk of dying from cancer was 11 per cent lower for nut-eaters and the risk of dying from heart disease 29 per cent lower. As a bonus, nut-eaters were slimmer, too. "There's a general perception that if you eat more nuts you're going to get fat," said researcher Ying Bao. "Our results show the opposite."

WHY TROPHY WIVES?

Men are such a superficial lot, aren't they? From CBS News we learn of a survey indicating that the physical attractiveness of one's spouse plays a more important role in marital satisfaction for men than for women. Researchers at Southern Methodist University surveyed 450 couples over a four-year period. The husbands who had physically attractive wives (rated by the researchers) reported more continuous satisfaction in their marriages. At the same time, the study showed that the physical appeal of a woman's husband played virtually no part in women's satisfaction with their marriage. If nothing else, the research confirms that men are predictable.

THOUGHT DU JOUR

Not even a collapsing world looks dark to a man who is about to make his fortune.

E.B. White, writer (1899-1985)

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