1. How TV rots little brains

    You've heard that TV can rot a kid's brain -- but that's more than just a figure of speech. Fast-paced shows like "SpongeBob Squarepants" can turn bright kids into dimwits before the next commercial break.

    In an experiment that borders on child abuse, 4-year-old kids were asked to watch nine minutes of either the fast-paced "SpongeBob" show or a gentler program called "Caillou," while a control group sat quietly and drew pictures.

    I feel dumber just typing the name "SpongeBob Squarepants," so I wasn't surprised when I read in Pediatrics that the kids who watched it did worse on a bunch of mental tests afterwards -- suggesting short-term problems with learning, attention span, memory, and executive function… all after just nine minutes of dopey programming.

    All told, the "SpongeBob" kids scored an average of 12 points lower than kids who watched "Caillou" or who sat quietly and drew pictures.

    These kids even had a harder time with delayed gratification.

    In one test, the children were timed to see how long they'd wait before eating a snack. And while the "Caillou" and crayon kids held out for an average of four minutes, the ones who watched "SpongeBob" grabbed for that snack after two and a half.

    I've already seen TV-loving critics chime in to defend "SpongeBob" and blast the study -- but the bottom line here is that 4-year-old kids shouldn't be watching ANY television at all, much less something this stupid.

    And yes, it IS stupid.

    Just to be fair, I went online and watched some "SpongeBob" -- and I feel like I lost a little of my brain, too.

  2. Is your TV killing you?

    Want to know one of the best things you can do for your health... starting today?

    Follow these two simple steps:

    1). Unplug your TV
    2). Toss it in the dumpster

    That's it!

    It might seem drastic, but according to a new study, people who watch the most TV die the soonest. If that's not reason enough to trash the thing, I don't know what is!

    Researchers tracked 4,512 middle-aged Scottish men for an average of four years and found that those who spent at least two hours a day watching TV had more than double the risk of cardiac events such as heart attacks, according to the study in The Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

    And those who spent four hours a day watching the tube got something even worse: A 50 percent boost in the risk of death by any cause during the study period.

    I'm no CSI expert, but my prime suspect here isn't the TV. Studies have shown time and again that people who keep their meat in the seat the longest have the worst overall health -- they're usually the fattest, sickest, weakest, and most likely to die in any group.

    Not even exercise can undo that damage -- some of the TV lovers in the new study dutifully worked up a sweat for hours each week, only to drop dead at the exact same rate as the non-exercisers.

    And that's not the only bad news for butt-sitters this week -- another new study finds that people off their feet the most have the biggest bellies and lowest levels of HDL cholesterol.

    No surprise there.

    But the study in the European Heart Journal also found that those who got up regularly -- even for just a minute at a time -- slashed those risks.

    That means there's just one way to save your skin, and that's to get off your rear throughout the day -- not just for a short burst of exercise at the end of it.

  3. California tree huggers want to take away your television

    According to a report in the Orange County Register, the California Energy Commission (CEC) is considering banning any big-screen TV sets that don't meet new - and amazingly arbitrary and draconian - energy efficiency standards.
  4. Study questions effectiveness of Big Pharma ads

    A new study has shown that by and large, DTC drug ads are costing Big Pharma billions - and it's hardly boosting drug sales at all.

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