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Health Highlights: Jan. 10, 2011

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Music Triggers Release of Pleasure Chemical: Study

Listening to music causes the brain to release dopamine, a chemical that makes people feel pleasure, says a new study.

The researchers at McGill University in Montreal said their finding helps explain why music is so popular across cultures, reported.

The study included eight people who regularly experienced chills when they heard particular parts of certain pieces of music. Brain scans revealed where and when their brains released dopamine as they listened to music.

Only instrumental music was used in the study, which shows that the dopamine response doesn't depend on voices, said researcher Valorie Salimpoor. She added that further work is needed to find out how voices might contribute to the feeling of pleasure when listening to music, reported.

The study was published online in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

Previous research has shown that dopamine helps us feel pleasure while eating and having sex.


Illness Outbreak on Cruise Ship

An outbreak of gastrointestinal illness that affected 150 of 2,336 passengers and three crew members occurred last week on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Radiance of the Seas.

The illness was marked by diarrhea and vomiting, USA Today reported.

After the five-night voyage ended in Tampa on Saturday, the Radiance of the Seas underwent a ship-wide cleaning before it departed on its next cruise.

Increased prevention efforts have led to a decline in the number of such outbreaks on cruise ships in recent years, USA Today reported.

In 2010, there were 14 outbreaks of illnesses on cruise ships operating out of U.S. ports, compared to 15 in 2009, 21 in 2007, and 34 in 2006, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Posted: January 2011