3 Things We Learned About Our Bodies This Month: December 2016

How to get rid of a song that's been stuck in your head; DUI tests for weed; and the literal life-saving powers of being an optimist.


The Queen of England Can Help You Remove That Annoying Earworm

A British study has found that one of the best ways to get rid of a song that’s been stuck in your head all day is to sing the British national anthem, “God Save the Queen.” Whether this is because the song has some kind of special musical structure that helps dissipate the troublesome earworm, or whether it’s just such an endlessly long, gloomy dirge that it causes you to forget pretty much everything you’ve ever known, has yet to be ascertained (honestly, compare it to the jaunty French anthem. So hummable!) The study also recommends just doing something—anything—to distract yourself, as earworms tend to be most effective when you’re already bored or inactive.

It’s Really Hard to Make a DUI Test for Weed

With marijuana now legal in eight states, the problem of stoned drivers is only going to increase. The even bigger problem—for traffic cops, at least—is that there’s no reliable method of testing people for weed the way they currently do with alcohol. It’s easy enough to determine whether someone has ingested the drug: The difficult part is figuring out—with so many different strains, and all the ways different people feel affected by it—whether or not someone has had too much to safely drive. That’s why the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research in San Diego has just received a $1.8 million grant to develop a roadside test more reliable than simply asking, “Would you like some Taco Bell right now?”

Pessimists Die Younger Than Optimists, Validating the Beliefs of Both

A study from the Department of Psychiatry at Päijät-Häme Central Hospital, Finland, has found that people with a gloomy outlook on life are more likely to die at a younger age than those with sunnier dispositions. Overall, those regarded as being the “most pessimistic” were 2.2 times more liable to die of heart disease than those labeled as “moderately pessimistic.” This news might be of relevance to our piggy friends, since a separate study recently concluded that pigs also experience both optimism and pessimism. No word yet on whether the trough is half full or half empty.