'Magic mushrooms' help smokers quit, and other studies you missed

The hallucinogenic chemical found in "magic mushrooms" could help cigarette smokers quit.

Story highlights

  • Smokers given a chemical found in 'magic mushrooms' quit smoking successfully
  • People who gained even five extra pounds saw their blood pressure go up
  • Scientists have found a way to turn on a gene that slows aging
Here's a roundup of five medical studies published this week that might give you new insights into your health. Remember, correlation is not causation -- so if a study finds a connection between two things, it doesn't mean that one causes the other.
Even a few extra pounds can hurt your blood pressure
The extra five pounds you gained on vacation this summer can do more harm than you think.
Even a small amount of weight gain can cause your blood pressure to go up, according to new research that was presented at the American Heart Association's High Blood Pressure Research Scientific sessions.
High blood pressure can lead to a stroke and/or heart attack, among other problems.
The small eight-week study constantly monitored the blood pressure of 16 people who were considered to be at a normal weight.
Scientists fed the group an extra 400 to 1,200 calories a day in the form of a chocolate bar or a shake. They gained about 5% in weight over the study period and saw their blood pressure rise.
Their systolic blood pressure increased from 114 to 118 mm Hg. While 118 is still considered healthy, the fact that it went up even with a slight weight gain is a concern. The people who gained the weight around their middle saw the biggest increase in blood pressure.
'Magic mushrooms' help smokers kick the habit
New research published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology suggests anti-smoking drugs on the market today could use a little magic.
The term "magic mushrooms" is usually used to describe mushrooms from the genus Psilocybe that are known to cause differences in mood, perception and behavior. Cigarette smokers who were given a pill with the hallucinogenic chemical found these mushrooms had nearly twice as much success quitting smoking than those taking approved anti-smoking drugs.
The study followed 15 volunteers who were given two to three doses of the hallucinogenic. Of those 15, 12 quit smoking and still hadn't smoked after six months.
It's a small study, and there was no control group, so the scientists at Johns Hopkins will do some follow-up work that will include brain scans to try and see what is happening in these quitters' brains.
The secret to a happy marriage
Turns out the phrase "happy wife, happy life" may be true. What makes the most difference for married couples' general happiness is if the female partner in the relationship is happy, a new study in the Journal of Marriage and Family suggests.