Daily Dose: 11/5/2012

Recession Increases Suicide Rates: In times of recession, the suicide rate has tended to rise, most likely due to high levels of unemployment and the effects that this can have on mental health. In an analysis of suicide rates from 2008 to  2010, it was discovered that the rates spiked significantly more than in previous times of recession. The rate increased by .51 deaths per 100,000 people, which may not mean anything to most of us – but it means that an additional 1,500 people committed suicide each year than expected. In all regions of the country, it was found that for every one percent rise in unemployment, there was also a one percent rise in suicide rates. This is not just an American phenomenon; unemployment in Europe has showed the same effect.
Your Own Heartbeat Could Power A Pacemaker: Currently, the batteries in pacemakers must be replaced every five to seven years, resulting in expensive surgeries and hospital stays. But researchers are looking at a new power source for these devices: your own heart. Scientists have created an experimental energy-converting device, half the size of the batteries used now, that relies on piezoelectricity (the electrical charge generated from motion). When your heart beats, it vibrates, and the device would take these vibrations and convert them to energy that would power the pacemaker. Though it may seem like these small vibrations could not possibly generate enough energy to power this device, they can actually produce 10 times more energy than the pacemaker requires, at least in optimal conditions. Read more about the science behind this promising development here.