Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh, The Loh Down on Science is a fun way to get your daily dose of science plus a dash of humor in less than two minutes.
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Scary Movie


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Uh oh:  blood-curdling screams aren't just figures of speech anymore! 

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, and a terrifying new study from Leiden University Medical Center. 

Researchers there showed a group of healthy volunteers the twenty-ten horror film "Insidious."  After a week, the same group was shown a far less frightening documentary about making champagne.  A second group watched the documentary first, then the scary movie. 

The researchers took blood samples from everyone before and after each screening.  Then they looked at markers of blood-clotting activity in the samples.

Result?  On average, concentrations of a key blood-clotting protein were 56 percent higher after the horror movie.  After the documentary?  Levels of the coagulant fell by 86 percent.

Translation?  The horror-flick-induced fear was literally blood-curdling. 

Champagne documentary?  Not so much.

The researchers aren’t sure why.  They suggest that scary flicks trigger a fight-or-flight response.  This in turn leads to a surge of adrenaline, which is known to accelerate clotting.

Now if only a good scare actually worked for the hiccups.