Daily Dose: 10/29/2012

Extra Pounds Leads to Extra Work For Your Brain: The brains of people who are overweight or obese may have to work harder than those of thinner people. Researchers noted that during an MRI, heavier people’s brains showed hyperactivity in the areas linked with memory and decision-making. Obesity is often correlated with high blood pressure and inflammation, two conditions which irritate your brain and make it work harder than usual. Even worse news, this works to a dangerous cycle: the extra pounds can affect your impulse control, meaning that you may eat fatty foods even when you know you shouldn’t — this adds to weight gain, and then your brain has to work even harder. Read some more surprising effects of obesity here.

Massachusetts to Vote on Assisted Suicide: Massachusetts voters will face an important question this Election Day: Should terminally ill patients be allowed to choose their own lives? The “Death by Dignity Initiative” is included on the state’s general election ballot, and would allow doctors to administer lethal drugs to those with fewer than six months to live. The measure would only apply to patients who are mentally capable at the time of the decision, as determined by at least two doctors, and would require the patient to ask for these drugs twice. Supporters of the statute argue that this would give terminally ill patients control over their deaths and end unnecessary suffering. Opponents believe “assisted suicide” is morally wrong, and also point out that the assessment of six months to live may or may not be accurate. Polls point to the initiative being passed, with 65% of those polled in favor.

Decorative Contacts May Hurt Your Eyes: If you planned on wearing decorative contact lenses as part of your Halloween costume this year, beware — eye doctors are warning that these lenses may lead to infection or even vision loss. Whether you choose lenses that make you look like a vampire or turn your brown eyes green, you should never buy decorate lenses without consultation and prescription by an eye doctor. It is illegal to sell these lenses without a prescription, but many people buy these lenses at drug stores, beauty salons, or order them online. Read more about the potentially harmful effects of unprescribed contact lenses.