Under the Microscope: September 15, 2011

This week, a food pantry that’s trying to offer healthier food to low-income families. Plus, an MU researcher tells us how quitting smoking may make you a happier person.

Hosted by Kyle Deas.

The Shelby County Food Pantry distributes about 37 thousand pounds of food every month to food-insecure families. But the organization’s recent efforts have been focused not just on feeding people, but on trying to get healthy food to those families who are least able to afford it. Scarlett Robertson has this story.

Plus, Andrew Littlefield is a doctoral student at the University of Missouri whose work focuses on the relationship between substance abuse and personality. He was recently charged with analyzing a mountain of data going back almost twenty-five years.

Littlefield found was that individuals who quit smoking showed a significant decline in negative personality traits like impulsivity and neuroticism. What remains to be seen, though, is whether this link is causal. Did quitting smoking improve the mental health of the study participants? Or did they quit smoking because they became happier people? The answer to that question, says Littlefield, requires more research.