Today in research: cohabitation is a great way to pick up terrible habits, drinking may help stave off Alzheimer's, single people die younger, and orange goo in Alaska gets an explanation.

  • You will eventually do the unhealthy, annoying things your spouse does. Just give it time, says a new study which followed 122 people in married relationships and gay partnerships. We imagine that researchers spent long hours in these couple's cluttered living rooms, notepad in hand, just waiting to jot down a wrong move. Not so. The results were based on surveys finding that "one individual's unhealthy habits directly promotes the other's unhealthy habits," stated the lead author, Corinne Reczek, in a news release. [Eurekalert]
  • One reason to tolerate those annoying things. In general, it seems that single people die off faster. Not only has previous research already confirmed that married-types live longer, but the author behind a new meta-analysis study tells MSNBC.com that his findings show "just how poorly the singles do." His depressing findings: "The researchers found the risk of death was 32 percent higher across a lifetime for single men compared to married men. Single women face a 23 percent higher mortality risk, compared to married women." [MSNBC.com]
  • In your counter-intuitive finding today: We've already come to grips with the notion that moderate drinkers may live longer than people who don't drink at all. But we wouldn't have guessed that research would suggest drinking as a way to stave off Alzheimer's disease. In a meta-analysis study, researchers found "that moderate drinkers were 23% less likely than teetotalers to develop signs of memory problems or Alzheimer's. That effect was significant in 14 of the 19 countries, including the U.S." Now we know. [Time Healthland]
  •  Animals are fleeing to higher ground and latitudes, and scientists think global warming has something to do with it. Reading through the AP and New York Times accounts of this new meta-analysis of research, it doesn't seem like scientists are too sure of anything, other than that lots of species are on the move. Chris D. Thomas of York University found, as the AP writes, "about 2,000 species examined are moving away from the equator at an average rate of more than 15 feet per day, about a mile per year." But the Times notices that the opposite was also true: "a large minority of species were observed to move in the opposite direction from what was predicted--for instance, to lower elevations and closer to the equators." [Associated Press, The New York Times]
  • Orange goo in Alaska, explained. Kind of.  On August 3rd, some unsightly bright orange-looking gunk washed up on the shores of Kivalina, Alaska. No one knew what it was for a bit, and then last week the scientists explained that the stuff was "some sort of small crustacean egg or embryo, with a lipid oil droplet in the middle causing the orange color," said an Alaska Fisheries Science Center scientist. Today, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration corrected that assessment by saying that the goo is actually fungal spores. [NOAA Fisheries, Associated Press, Reuters]