8 Innocent Things That Are Signs Of Huge Health Problems
We all have imperfections we've just had to get used to -- maybe your nose is too big, or your eyebrows don't line up perfectly, or your ears think will.i.am is a musician. However, learning to live with these little mistakes of nature can be hard when they're actually trying to murder you. Or when they're indicative of an underlying issue that might potentially impact your quality of life in a negative way. Regardless, the point is: You're screwed.
Sometimes a flaw is just a flaw, but other times it can be the Silver Surfer to a Galactus-sized, life-ruining problem, like ...
Male Pattern Baldness And Prostate Cancer Go Hand-In-Hand
Unless your head is as exquisitely shaped as Patrick Stewart's, losing your hair is a tragic moment in the life of anyone. But, hey, at least it's just hair, right? No one's ever died from being bald. Yeah, about that ...
"What's that? You wanted to keep living anyway? My bad." -your body
It turns out that male pattern baldness and prostate cancer are good chums. In a study conducted by the National Cancer Institute, 4,000 men of all ages were tested, and researchers found that balding men had a significantly increased rate of prostrate cancer. For those men who had any degree of balding at all, they were at a 56 percent greater risk of dying from prostate cancer within a 21-year period. Those with moderate balding, meanwhile, were 83 percent more cancer-prone than the smug bastards with intact carpets on their heads.
Another study showed that being bald in the front and the crown of your head by age 45 makes you 40 percent more likely to have aggressive prostate cancer when you're older. The explanation? It's probably that prostate cancer and balding are caused by the same thing: too much testosterone. You're just too manly for your own good.
Start leaving this lying around wherever you go to let potential partners know what a stud you are.
The silver lining is that beating cancer is all about detecting it early, so if your hands end up too full of hair after shampooing, go get your ass checked, pronto.
If Your Index Finger Is Longer Than Your Ring Finger, You Might Have Schizophrenia
Quick, men, compare your right hand's index finger and ring finger. Is your index finger longer? Yes? Congratulations, you might have schizophrenia.
No, we said the other fingers. Why are you showing us that one?
At least, that's according to a study published in Clinical Anatomy, where researchers measured the hands of over a hundred male patients with schizophrenia and then compared them to the fingers of a hundred men without the condition. They found that schizophrenic men were, on average, equipped with long right index fingers but had been shortchanged in the ring finger department. What the hell do your fingers have to do with your brain, you might be wondering? The answer is simple: They were both created in the same place. Yeah, it's all your mom's fault, basically.
"Also, her maternity clothes were so ugly, it warped your terrible fashion sense in the womb."
Researchers found that men and women with schizophrenia had a tendency to have a more "feminine" phenotype when it came to their index and ring fingers. So, it's possible that when you were in the womb, there was a low fetal androgen/estrogen ratio and this somehow caused a rift in your hemispheric lateralization, which is common in the illness. In dumbshit layman's terms, your hormones fucked up and now you're a little insane. So, uh, yeah, we were just kidding about your mom.
And speaking of "uh" ...
Say Words Like "Um" And "Because" A Lot While Speaking? You're A Potential Psychopath
Not everyone can speak as clearly and mellifluously as an NPR radio show host: Most of you probably litter interjections like "um" throughout your sentences or repeat certain words more often than your English teacher would find acceptable. But you don't do this too much, we hope, because that might mean you're a psychopath.
In movies and shows, psychopaths are usually well-spoken and sophisticated (except for the occasional taunt regarding the investigative officer's anatomy), but that's not how they sound in real life. Researchers put together a study composed entirely of convicted murderers, with 14 out of the 52 ranked as psychopaths by the Whoever Ranks People As Psychopaths Association (WRPAPA). They had the murderers talk about their crimes and the events leading up to them, and they found that those who were psychopaths had much more disfluencies ("uhs" and "ums") in their speech.
"He murdered the victim; we think we might be murdering language. Get me WRPAPA."
The researchers think this is probably because the psychos have to constantly stop their speech to "put the mask of sanity on." Another verbal curiosity: Psychopaths use words like "because" and "so that" more often, because they see everything in terms of cause and effect. Whereas a "normal" murderer will ramble about motivations like family or religion, psychos paint their crimes as inevitable sequences of events that anyone should find perfectly logical, even if they start with, "So one day my neighbor's dog said ..."
Short People Have Heart Attacks Written Into Their DNA
It's common knowledge that you'll never see a whole lot of senior citizen basketball players; the human heart just can't be arsed to support a seven-footer for 90 years of life. Well, we now know that it also works the other way: Researchers, in their ongoing quest to prove that everything is going to kill us, have determined that shortness correlates with heart attack risk in men.
And not just because of the Napoleon complex, as fitting as that may be.
After studying nearly 200,000 people, researchers from the British Heart Foundation found that for every extra 2.5 inches you have on your height, your chance of coronary disease is cut by 13.5 percent (they don't specify what the base height is from which to determine these "extra" inches, but let's just assume they mean from your toes). For something easier to put into perspective, they found that the difference in chance of heart problems of a 5-footer and a 6-footer -- who smokes as much and eats the same amount of ribs -- is 64 percent.
"It's bad enough that peers pick on me; you betray me too?"
But before you buy a plane ticket to Korea and schedule some limb-lengthening surgery, keep in mind that cigarettes and junk food are still hundreds of times worse for your heart problems than being short. Quitting all your unhealthy habits would do you much better than fretting about gaining an extra inch or two, regardless of what your spouse might say.
So why does this happen? While the researchers couldn't pinpoint the exact reason, they believe that it may have something to do with our genes: The genes that cut our height might also increase the amount of cholesterol and fat in the bloodstream. Some genes just want to watch the world burn.
Avoiding Eye Contact Can Be A Sign Of Schizophrenia
Withholding eye contact is considered one of the clearest signs that the person you're talking to must be a shifty motherfucker -- if someone you know won't look you in the eye during conversation, you'll probably assume they're trying to hide something. But, don't worry, there's another explanation: They could simply be schizophrenic. See, we've known for a while that people with schizophrenia tend to avoid eye contact, but a recent study determined that it's not that they're rude; it's that, sometimes, they can't even tell which way you're looking.
"My eyes are up here, buddy. I think."
The researchers simply sat schizophrenic patients in front of photos of people looking in different directions, and found that they had trouble figuring out when someone's eyes were pointed at them. They also performed poorly in other visual tests, which confirms that it's not just faces that baffle them. In fact, people with schizophrenia tend to have trouble holding their gaze on objects in general, whether they're moving or not. Move your finger in front of your face and try to follow it with your eyes. Did you go too fast or too slow? Then, once again, we're afraid that you (maybe) have schizophrenia.
You can actually use that one this time.
On the upside, scientists have used this knowledge to create a model that can determine with 98 percent accuracy which patients were schizophrenics by inputting their eye movements. That kinda sucks for the 2 percent who got diagnosed as mentally ill because they got distracted and looked at a fly during the test, but hey, baby steps and all.
Asians Who Get Red While Drinking Have A Higher Chance Of Cancer
For Caucasians, alcohol-induced facial redness is normal -- with a few shots any joke seems like an '80s Eddie Murphy monologue, and choking from our own breathless laughter can turn any face red. That's why it can be easy to misinterpret your Asian friend's red face as the same harmless thing, when it's actually a sign of a potentially deadly condition.
No, not thinking you suddenly don't suck at singing, though that can be deadly in some countries.
What we're describing is referred to as "Asian flush." When you take someone of Korean, Chinese, or Japanese descent out for a night on the town and they start to get red after a few drinks, what they're experiencing isn't the usual harmless flushing that people from other parts of the Benetton spectrum get -- it's the result of a dangerous chemical reaction caused by genetic deficiencies. More specifically, they can't properly metabolize alcohol because they lack a certain ethanol-busting enzyme known as ALDH2, which leads them to build up a toxic substance called acetaldehyde (aka, the shit that turns you red).
Some Asians with this genetic deficiency can't metabolize alcohol at all, but others who persist end up doing so with heart palpitations and flushing ... not just in the face, but all the way down to their waists. Other symptoms include nausea, headaches, and increased heart rate. And since these are symptoms easily confused with regular ol' drunkenness, most people don't even realize anything's wrong.
We sincerely hope this guy is only red because someone tricked him into drinking pee.
So what's the worst that could happen? Esophageal cancer. Asians with this genetic deficiency who drink two beers a day are 10 times more likely to develop cancer in their food-tubes than people who can metabolize alcohol properly, since acetaldehyde is also carcinogenic. In other words, time to find another way to make an ass of yourself in public.
Psychopaths Are Less Likely To "Catch" A Yawn
We all know the age-old maxim that yawns are contagious, and we all went through that brief spell in childhood where we thought this meant yawning was actually a disease and you could force it on the rest of your friends by yawning in their faces ( ... right?). Humans aren't the only animals that do this -- chimpanzees and dogs have been observed falling under the spell of the domino-effect yawn, as well as many other social mammals. Essentially, yawning is contagious because we are empathetic with each other, and seeing someone yawn makes us in turn subconsciously want to say, "Hells yeah, I'm getting me some of that action."
Aaaand, we just made everyone reading this at work look bad.
But then there are those who aren't empathetic, and those who are so far off the not-empathetic charts that science considers them psychopathic. Psychopaths are generally less empathetic, as the whole "remorselessly killing other people" thing hints at, so researchers wanted to test if this determined whether or not they would yawn subconsciously along with the rest of us. So, they had participants fill out a questionnaire that first determined their level of general cold-heartedness, to see where on the spectrum of "bleeding-heart hippie to utter psychopath" they fell. Afterward, they made the participants watch different videos of people either laughing, yawning, or doing nothing at all, and then recorded their reactions.
Unsurprisingly, those who were closer to being psychopaths (or were full-blown Hannibal Lecters) were less likely to yawn than those who scored with higher empathy. So the next time you find yourself yawning in the middle of a boring lecture or meeting, look around you -- every asshole who doesn't yawn back is, well, probably really an asshole.
If You Can Tickle Yourself, You Might Be A Schizophrenic
It's a cold hard fact of life we all learned when we were kids: You can tickle your friends, your friends can tickle you, but you can't tickle yourself.
Nope, doesn't count.
But why is this? The simple answer is that the brain already expects it when you try to tickle yourself, so it essentially doesn't give a fuck. But it's not really as simple as that; after all, no matter how much warning you have that some asshole is about to jump you and start hitting all your most sensitive spots, it's still going to give you laughing fits to the brink of tears. The more sciency answer is that your brain doesn't react the same way when the movements are self-produced, as opposed to external forces that are tickling your funny spots.
There is an exception, however. If you've been going through these last few paragraphs thinking, "But I can tickle myself!" then there's a high chance that (for the third time today) you're schizophrenic. Sorry.
If it's any consolation, we're a figment of your imagination and you're just looking at a blank screen.
See, for the rest of us, we don't laugh from self-tickling because we understand that our movements are self-induced; you touch your body and you know it's you touching it, whether you see it or not. But schizophrenic patients have neurological changes in the brain that disable or impede how much you can identify self-initiated actions. Even if they understand the theory that they're tickling themselves, their brain doesn't register the fact that their movements are responsible for the tickling sensations on their skin, and thus they end up making themselves laugh. Which is horrible, when you think about it, because THE TICKLE MONSTER WAS YOU ALL ALONG.
Want more shit to self-diagnose yourself with and freak out about? Then check out 5 Physical Details That Reveal Highly Personal Information and Your Body Hates You: 6 Gruesome Disorders Anyone Can Get.
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