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In the 1985 Academy Award-winning film "Cocoon," three residents in a retirement home discover that swimming in a pool containing the pods of an alien life form allows them to absorb alien energy. They immediately feel younger, stronger and rejuvenated. Great fun ensues. Back in real life, a 1979 study had already shown that it is not necessary to go interplanetary to generate a similar effect: Harvard University social psychologist Ellen Langer had devised a novel

Pain can take many forms. There is throbbing pain, stabbing pain, phantom pain, acute pain and chronic pain. Regardless of what we call it, we all know what it feels like. Pain can be both physical and emotional. It involves elements of learning and memory. It is a tangled, overlapping and complex condition. This is also why modern medicine continues to struggle when trying to accurately interrupt an individual's pain and to safely alleviate it.

I told myself I needed to move on. I'd covered the issue of stress numerous times in the past, most recently in April. Then I read the following news: According to a recently released study published in the journal Neurology, stress might be tied to a slight shrinking of the brain. In a study of more than 2,000 healthy, middle-aged volunteers, doctors found that those with a higher hormone indicator of stress performed more poorly

A recent study published in the Health Psychology journal, based on interview responses over a period of years from more than 19,000 married people up to age 90, suggests that married people who rated their unions as "very happy" or "pretty happy" were about 20 percent less likely to die early. The report seems consistent with other findings suggesting that a supportive marriage helps reinforce a couple's mutual psychological and physical health. Speaking with Time magazine,