CLOSE
iStock
iStock

Fish-Heavy Diets Could Help Lower Your Risk For Depression

iStock
iStock

People at risk for depression could benefit from making an easy change to their diets, according to new research.

Scientists exploring the connection between what we eat and our mental health have extolled the value of a Mediterranean diet and a focus on clean eating while cautioning against processed foods. Now, an analysis of dozens of previous studies conducted over the past 15 years suggests seafood may be especially effective in combating depression.

Researchers at the Medical College of Qingdao University in China produced a meta-analysis of 26 previous studies, involving a total of 150,278 participants, all of which considered the effect of seafood on mental health. In the end, 14 of the studies didn't indicate any particular relationship between fish consumption and depression—but the other 12 showed a "significant association." A seafood-heavy diet was associated, on average, with a 17 percent reduced risk of depression (20 percent when men were considered separately, and 16 percent for women).

The researchers, whose findings were published in a recent issue of the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health [PDF], write that, "the exact biological mechanisms whereby high-fish intake reduce risk of depression are not well established." They posit that the benefits could be the result of seafood's high levels of n-3 PUFAs (also known as Omega-3 fatty acids) and other vitamins, or that higher consumption levels may just correspond with healthier diets overall.

While fish can't cure mental illness, the research concludes that "higher fish consumption may be beneficial in the primary prevention of depression."

Last year, Michael Berk, a professor of psychiatry at the Deakin University School of Medicine in Australia, told The Washington Post that this area of study—exploring how our diets impact depression and anxiety—"is a very new field; the first papers only came out a few years ago." But, adds Berk, "the results are unusually consistent, and they show a link between diet quality and mental health."

[h/t Munchies]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
Animals
Why Tiny 'Hedgehog Highways' Are Popping Up Around London
iStock
iStock

Hedgehogs as pets have gained popularity in recent years, but in many parts of the world, they're still wild animals. That includes London, where close to a million of the creatures roam streets, parks, and gardens, seeking out wood and vegetation to take refuge in. Now, Atlas Obscura reports that animal activists are transforming the city into a more hospitable environment for hedgehogs.

Barnes Hedgehogs, a group founded by Michel Birkenwald in the London neighborhood of Barnes four years ago, is responsible for drilling tiny "hedgehog highways" through walls around London. The passages are just wide enough for the animals to climb through, making it easier for them to travel from one green space to the next.

London's wild hedgehog population has seen a sharp decline in recent decades. Though it's hard to pin down accurate numbers for the elusive animals, surveys have shown that the British population has dwindled by tens of millions since the 1950s. This is due to factors like human development and habitat destruction by farmers who aren't fond of the unattractive shrubs, hedges, and dead wood that hedgehogs use as their homes.

When such environments are left to grow, they can still be hard for hedgehogs to access. Carving hedgehog highways through the stone partitions and wooden fences bordering parks and gardens is one way Barnes Hedgehogs is making life in the big city a little easier for its most prickly residents.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
Big Questions
Where Should You Place the Apostrophe in President's Day?
iStock
iStock

Happy Presidents’ Day! Or is it President’s Day? Or Presidents Day? What you call the national holiday depends on where you are, who you’re honoring, and how you think we’re celebrating.

Saying "President’s Day" infers that the day belongs to a singular president, such as George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, whose birthdays are the basis for the holiday. On the other hand, referring to it as "Presidents’ Day" means that the day belongs to all of the presidents—that it’s their day collectively. Finally, calling the day "Presidents Day"—plural with no apostrophe—would indicate that we’re honoring all POTUSes past and present (yes, even Andrew Johnson), but that no one president actually owns the day.

You would think that in the nearly 140 years since "Washington’s Birthday" was declared a holiday in 1879, someone would have officially declared a way to spell the day. But in fact, even the White House itself hasn’t chosen a single variation for its style guide. They spelled it “President’s Day” here and “Presidents’ Day” here.


Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Maybe that indecision comes from the fact that Presidents Day isn’t even a federal holiday. The federal holiday is technically still called “Washington’s Birthday,” and states can choose to call it whatever they want. Some states, like Iowa, don’t officially acknowledge the day at all. And the location of the punctuation mark is a moot point when individual states choose to call it something else entirely, like “George Washington’s Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day” in Arkansas, or “Birthdays of George Washington/Thomas Jefferson” in Alabama. (Alabama loves to split birthday celebrations, by the way; the third Monday in January celebrates both Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert E. Lee.)

You can look to official grammar sources to declare the right way, but even they don’t agree. The AP Stylebook prefers “Presidents Day,” while Chicago Style uses “Presidents’ Day.”

The bottom line: There’s no rhyme or reason to any of it. Go with what feels right. And even then, if you’re in one of those states that has chosen to spell it “President’s Day”—Washington, for example—and you use one of the grammar book stylings instead, you’re still technically wrong.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios