There's A Gene That's Probably Responsible For Bad Drivers
For decades, it was a staple of hack comedians to complain that women and/or various minorities made for terrible drivers. But it turns out that their low-key eugenics streak was right; they were just focusing their complaints in the wrong direction.
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, is secreted to whatever area of the brain is responsible for the task you're currently performing. It helps brain cells communicate, and it also shores up memory retention. But about 30 percent of Americans have a genetic variant that limits the secretion of BDNF, and previous studies have found that smaller portions of their brains are stimulated (they also don't recover from strokes as quickly). So researchers decided to test out their driving ability to determine the practical repercussions of all this.
Federico Rostagno/Adobe Stock"H-how?! We didn't even give a you a physical car! It was a simulator!"
And indeed, over two tests done over the course of four days, participants with the variant both performed worse and remembered less. There are some caveats, as the study used a simulator and only involved 29 people. But researchers were still surprised that there was a clear connection between the genetic variation and poorer performance, given the incredible complexity of basically everything your brain ever does. Just keep in mind that it's not like the people with the BDNF deficiency are mouth-breathing morons. In fact, the variant helps people resist neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's and MS. So adjust your hilarious routine to "most people drive and get brain diseases like this, but people with fewer brain secretions drive and get sick like this " accordingly.
Trouble Falling Asleep Or Waking Up Can Be Genetic
The world is not built for night owls. Jobs and classes start at around eight, many businesses close in the evening, and if you routinely get pizza delivered to your place at two in the morning, people start to think that you're a serial killer. If you're the type to not drag yourself out of bed until 11, you're pegged as undisciplined and lazy, even though in the end you're putting in as many hours as anyone else.
But there's growing evidence that no, your sleep schedule isn't merely a preference you can change, and that yes, it's perfectly normal to be up until 3 a.m. playing video games. People who stay up late and struggle to wake up in the morning have a mutation in their CRY1 gene, which affects their circadian rhythm. That rhythm is what regulates your sleeping and waking patterns, and those with this mutation struggle to fall asleep and thus end up staying awake for around two hours longer than those without the mutation.
amenic181/Adobe Stock"Look, you can stay up doing this for the next two hours, or you can watch Netflix. Choose." -- your brain