How To: Miss Your Chance At Fame

According to 3 Would-Be Holy Books That Got Left Out of the Bible

Book:
The Infancy Gospel of James
Didn't Make the Cut: Because prequels are never as popular as the original story (we're looking at you, Mr. Lucas).
The Infancy Gospel of James focuses on the early life of the Virgin Mary and is the source of most extra-biblical traditions about her. Here, Mary is a miracle baby, born to aging parents and sent to live with priests. And Joseph isn't her husband, but a widower who agrees to be her guardian after the priests decide that she's a bit too, well, female to stay at the Temple. When Mary turns up pregnant, the priests have her and Joseph pass an honesty test by drinking blessed water that will make them sick if they lie. Most odd though, is the author's decision to have Salome, best known for asking for the head of John the Baptist on a platter, improbably fill the roll of Holy midwife.

Book: The Gospel of the Egyptians
Didn't Make the Cut: For being a little too ascetic.
Only parts of this Gospel survive, but these bits advocate self-denial and celibacy in order to kill ties to the body, break the cycle of birth, and theoretically return man to a sinless, androgynous state. Sounds like fun. Thankfully, early church leaders weren't too fond of the idea either; many gospels left out of the Bible share these beliefs. Another thing apocryphal gospels share: Salome. She appears here as one of the women who finds Jesus's tomb empty on Easter morning.

The Book: Transitus Mariae
Didn't Make the Cut: Because reunion specials are even less popular than prequels.
Supposedly an account of the death of the Virgin Mary, the Transitus Mariae is only one of many works that tell roughly the same story. Here, the death of Mary leads to an Apostle reunion, as all 12 are transported to her deathbed from around the globe and even from beyond the grave. Jesus, too, puts in an appearance, leading a train of angels from Heaven to receive both His mother's soul and body. Before the body can be taken up, however, the author fits in a bit of anti-Semitism, having a Jew who dares to touch Mary lose both his hands. Mercifully, the Apostles intervene (possibly remembering that they, themselves, are Jewish) and restore the man's appendages.

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Feeling Down? Lifting Weights Can Lift Your Mood, Too
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There’s plenty of research that suggests that exercise can be an effective treatment for depression. In some cases of depression, in fact—particularly less-severe ones—scientists have found that exercise can be as effective as antidepressants, which don’t work for everyone and can come with some annoying side effects. Previous studies have largely concentrated on aerobic exercise, like running, but new research shows that weight lifting can be a useful depression treatment, too.

The study in JAMA Psychiatry, led by sports scientists at the University of Limerick in Ireland, examined the results of 33 previous clinical trials that analyzed a total of 1877 participants. It found that resistance training—lifting weights, using resistance bands, doing push ups, and any other exercises targeted at strengthening muscles rather than increasing heart rate—significantly reduced symptoms of depression.

This held true regardless of how healthy people were overall, how much of the exercises they were assigned to do, or how much stronger they got as a result. While the effect wasn’t as strong in blinded trials—where the assessors don’t know who is in the control group and who isn’t, as is the case in higher-quality studies—it was still notable. According to first author Brett Gordon, these trials showed a medium effect, while others showed a large effect, but both were statistically significant.

The studies in the paper all looked at the effects of these training regimes on people with mild to moderate depression, and the results might not translate to people with severe depression. Unfortunately, many of the studies analyzed didn’t include information on whether or not the patients were taking antidepressants, so the researchers weren’t able to determine what role medications might play in this. However, Gordon tells Mental Floss in an email that “the available evidence supports that [resistance training] may be an effective alternative and/or adjuvant therapy for depressive symptoms that could be prescribed on its own and/or in conjunction with other depression treatments,” like therapy or medication.

There haven’t been a lot of studies yet comparing whether aerobic exercise or resistance training might be better at alleviating depressive symptoms, and future research might tackle that question. Even if one does turn out to be better than the other, though, it seems that just getting to the gym can make a big difference.

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