“Young Europeans may die at earlier age than their grandparents, says WHO”
- The Guardian, September 23, 2015

For all the excitement about the wellness trend, a recent WHO report indicates that young European people may die at an earlier age than their grandparents if the region fails to curb smoking, drinking and obesity. Different mitigating measures are envisaged, but the pressure for a sugar tax is mounting.


“Consumers are embracing full-fat foods”
- The New York Times, September 23, 2015

A new report prepared by investment bank Credit Suisse to provide Wall Street with insight into changes in consumer purchasing habits shows a stunning reversal about dietary-fat consumption. It suggests that the public is increasingly eating more, not less, full-fat foods, and that the trend will only continue.


“Neuroscience backs up the Buddhist belief that ‘the self’ isn’t constant, but ever-changing”
- Quartz, September 20, 2015

Buddhists argue that nothing is constant, and that everything changes through time—meaning that we all have a “constantly changing stream of consciousness” (in the words of Evan Thompson, a philosophy of mind professor at the University of British Columbia). Neuroscience tells the same story, showing that the brain and body is constantly in flux, and that nothing corresponds to the notion that there’s an unchanging self. The consequences are considerable and wide-ranging—destroying for example the central notion in neo-classical economics that consumer preferences are stable.


“What technology can’t change about happiness”
- Nautilus, September 17, 2015

This article makes a simple, but critically important point: at a time when pills and gadgets proliferate, it is social connection that still matters the most. It points to the growing body of evidence in the medical and neuroscience literatures showing that strong personal relationships lead to better health outcomes and can actually shift the architecture of the brain.


“A therapist on every phone”
- The New York Times, September 22, 2015

“Thousands of new mobile phone apps have popped up to treat symptoms of depression and anxiety. Though many claim to employ clinically sound methods, critics say that human interaction is key to mental health care. Is it safe or effective to use apps to treat anxiety or depression?”

The New York Times assembled four experts to debate this topic/trend. Some say that the new “therapist apps” can provide help to a broader (less wealthy) demographic (and 24/7)—while others argue that these mobile tools can’t address our “Stone Age minds…which process emotions through human interactions like voice, touch and facial expressions.”