News for Nerds - The 'Snoring is Bad For You' Edition

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  • Posted by: Dom Testa|
  • 2/1/2013 |
  • 10:00 am
News for Nerds - The 'Snoring is Bad For You' Edition

Welcome back to News for Nerds! This week we'll share plans for a billion dollar computer, show you a mind-boggling story from the world of medicine, and reveal an unexpected benefit to Sunday's Super Bowl madness. But first, here are your headlines.

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Everybody knows that snoring can be an irritant to the people who live with you. It's also become pretty well-established in recent years that snoring can be a symptom of larger health problems, such as sleep apnea. But doctors now tell us that snoring itself can actually be quite bad for you -- in some ways as bad, or worse, than smoking or obesity.

The trouble seems to be the damage that it causes to your carotid artery, which supplies blood to the brain. When that artery thickens -- in this case, as a result of the trauma and inflammation caused by snoring vibrations -- then your risk of stroke and heart attack go way, way up.

Says Dr. Robert Deeb from the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, "Patients [who snore] need to seek treatment in the same way they would if they had sleep apnea, high blood pressure, or other risk factors for cardiovascular disease."

My main man Charlie Rose digs a little deeper in this interview with another prominent medical expert:

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Football fans will get their last glimpse of the gridiron this weekend as the 49ers and Ravens square off in New Orleans. Many millions of people will huddle around their TVs or congregate at parties, snacking on chips and watching over-hyped commercials.

We learned this week that, as a result of all this Super Bowl activity, energy use in the U.S. will plummet for a few hours Sunday. In fact, during last year's game -- which turned out to be the most-watched television broadcast in American history with more than 111 million viewers -- energy use dropped a full 5 percent in the western part of the country, and 3.8 percent in the east.

This might seem counterintuitive at first, but it actually makes perfect sense. There are two reasons: first, one out of every three people in the country will be focused on a single specific activity, watching TV, instead of doing laundry, vacuuming, or whatever else you we do on Sundays. And second, many people will be doing so in large groups, rather than watching at home by themselves.

Now if only we could get a scientist to explain why I always get 5s and 2s in the office pool, every year. Hopefully there's a team at MIT working on that right this minute.

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Here are a few other cool science stories you might enjoy:

  • An international team of researchers raised $1.6 billion to spend the next ten years working on a supercomputer that will simulate the human brain. It's really only a matter of time before the machines are our overlords.
  • A lot of people complain about weather pains this time of year. Turns out it might have something to do with barometric pressure after all.
  • And finally, if you want to be inspired by the sheer tenacity of the human spirit, check out this story on Brendan Marrocco, a soldier who lost all four limbs, died three times, and has now received two new human arms. Incredible.

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That's all for now! I'll be back with more News for Nerds next week, but be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter, and to sign up for the free e-Newsletter so that you can properly get your nerd on every single month! And please send any juicy News for Nerds tips to me right here!

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