For scientists, an answer to a question, or solution to a problem, is not true until proven so. And sometimes that means revealing what mere mortals already knew, like, say the fact that getting to the hospital quicker can save heart-attack victims, or, the seemingly far-fetched idea that exercise is good for you.
Here are a few of the most obvious findings in science.
High heels lead to foot pain
Yes, ladies, hiking in stilettos takes its toll. A study in the October 2009 issue of the journal Arthritis Care & Research found that nearly 64 percent of older women who reported foot pain regularly wore high heels, pumps or sandals at some point in their lives. [How High Heels Hurt (Infographic)]
"We found an increased risk of hind-foot pain among women who wore shoes, such as high heels or pumps, that lack support and sound structure," said study team member Alyssa B. Dufour, a graduate student at the Institute for Aging Research of Hebrew SeniorLife.
Pigs love mud
Turns out pigs aren't just putting on a show when they haul butt around their muddy quarters, diving into the muck. They actually like it. While mud baths keep pigs cool, a review of research reported in 2011 found wallowing may also be a swine sign of well-being. While the review found the strongest reason noted in the past studies for wallowing was to keep cool, the pigs kept it up through winter months.
Coed dorms fuel sex and drinking
Confirming every parent's fears about college life — and many students' hopes — scientists found that university students in coed housing are 2.5 times more likely to binge drink every week than undergrads in single-sex dorms.
Another whopper: Students in coed housing are also likely to have more sexual partners, and watch more pornography, than their peers.
The findings were detailed in 2009 in the Journal of American College Health.
We all want to date a hottie
Sure, you may say you look for a good sense of humor and a sweet disposition, but deep down, you have to admit a pretty face wouldn't go amiss.
Both men and women unconsciously desire a sexually attractive partner, a study released in January found.
Using a high-speed word association test, the researchers found that people responded faster to words linked to sexiness, no matter how low they claimed to prioritize the physical. The mismatch between what we say we want and what we want may be why online dating meet-ups sometimes go astray, the researchers said.
Smoking pot and driving isn't safe
Who knew, getting behind the wheel while high could be trouble? According to a study published in October in the journal Epidemiologic Reviews, marijuana use increases the risk of car crashes. People who took to the road within three hours of smoking pot, as well as those who tested positive for the drug, were more than twice as likely as other drivers to be involved in a car crash. And that risk increased for those who smoked more frequently and those showing a higher level of the drug in their urine.
Eating lots of red, processed meat is unhealthy
Sorry, but that double cheeseburger is still not your friend. Scientists found that eating lots of saturated fat-filled red meat, and highly processed and salted meats, is associated with a higher risk of death.
A 2009 study of more than 500,000 people found that individuals who consume more of these foods have an increased risk of death from all causes, and also specifically from cancer or heart disease, over a 10-year period, compared with people who eat less of those meats. The findings were detailed in a paper in the March 23 issue of the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.
"For overall mortality, 11 percent of deaths in men and 16 percent of deaths in women could be prevented if people decreased their red meat consumption" to the amount consumed by the bottom one-fifth of subjects in the study, the researchers wrote.
Calling an ambulance improves heart attack survival
Think you're having a heart attack? Dial 911. Believe it or not, paramedics really do save lives.
Research presented at the Acute Care Cardiac Congress in October 2012 found that only 29 percent of Turkish patients having heart attacks went to the hospital by ambulance, despite the fact that this service is free in Turkey. Taking a cab or driving one's own car was slower than an ambulance ride and delayed crucial treatment, the study found.
Exercise is good for you
If you haven't heard by now that getting moving is good for you, you might want to get with the times. Perhaps also not new news to those who enjoy a good endorphin buzz: Exercise improves mental health as well as physical.
A study published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science in September 2012 found that both the improved body image that came with exercise and the social interaction inherent in organized sports made teens less likely to suffer from mental problems such as depression, anxiety or substance abuse. The study controlled for factors such as socioeconomic background, age and gender.
Bullies target unpopular kids
Who'd have guessed? Bullies target kids who are unpopular and less likely to be defended by their peers, a 2010 study found.
And in elementary school, which this study focused on, kids are only interested in what their same-sex peers think. So, boys will target classmates who are not well-liked by other boys, regardless of what the girls think. Same went for girl bullies. In that way the bullies could gain status by dominating other kids while also staying in the good graces of the in-group.
While the findings are a no-brainer, they do paint a picture of a young, yet strategic, bully who goes out of his or her way to ensure success when taunting, hitting, making fun of and other bully behaviors.
"Bullies do it so strategically that if there is not a good program at the school nothing will change. They won't change their behavior by themselves, because it gives them a lot of advantages," said lead researcher René Veenstra, professor of sociology at the University of Groningen. "You really need a good program that changes the attitude of all the kids in the classroom that makes clear to children that if they want the bully to stop they all have to be part, take joint action." Veenstra and colleagues detailed their findings in the March/April issue of the journal Child Development.
Unsafe sex is more likely after drinking
Drinking too much alcohol can impair decision-making. And a study out this year drove this point home: Canadian researchers, reporting results that will be published in January 2011 in the journal Addiction, said they ran 12 studies looking at the link between blood alcohol and the likelihood of agreeing to use a condom during sexual intercourse. The more alcohol in a person's system (yes, the drunker they were), the more likely they were to throw caution to the wind and ditch safe sex. Specifically, for every 0.1-milligram-per-milliliter increase in study participants' blood alcohol levels, there was a 5 percent increased likelihood of having unprotected sex.