Placebos and genetically influenced friendships

  • Power Balance Australia said: ‘In our advertising, we stated that Power Balance wristbands improved your strength, balance and flexibility. ‘We admit that there is no credible scientific evidence that supports our claims and therefore we engaged in misleading conduct in breach of s52 of the trade practices act 1974.’
    But the US-based parent company yesterday stood by its bands, saying: ‘This is simply a matter of correcting prior marketing claims [in Australia].’ It added: ‘We have heard from fitness professionals, athletes, coaches, personal trainers and everyday users who tell us they have experienced benefits from Power Balance.’
    Last year, some sports psychologists raised doubts over the popular bands, saying they created a ‘placebo effect’.
  • Researchers in the United States say they have uncovered tentative evidence of a genetic component to friendship. Using data from two independent studies, they found carriers of one gene associated with alcoholism tended to stick together. However, people with another gene linked with metabolism and openness, stayed apart.
    Details are published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers looked at six genetic markers in two long-running US studies, the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and the Framingham Heart Study, which contain both genetic data and information on friends. With one gene, called DRD2, which has been associated with alcoholism, they found clusters of friends with the very same marker. Another gene called CYP2A6, which has a suspected role in the metabolism of foreign bodies including nicotine, appeared more divisive. People with this gene seemed to steer clear of those who also carry the gene.

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