Trendy restaurants that amp up the music generate mixed feelings in diners. Now there’s evidence that music affects patrons’ food choices.

Behavioral scientists who ran a series of lab studies and real-life field experiments found participants selected more unhealthful or calorie-laden items like red meat and cake when the ambient music was loud, and were more likely to choose healthful items when softer music was played.

The genre of music did not appear to influence the choices, the researchers said.

Halting early seizures may protect brain

Many children with autism also have epilepsy or some form of seizure disorder. But the relationship between the two was not well understood.

But a new Penn study suggests that early life seizures may switch on synapses in the brain that can lead to further development delays in children with autism and other intellectual disorders, including language and learning deficits. The good news is that aggressively treating those seizures may keep those synapses “silent” and allow the brain to develop more normally.

“We now have evidence that seizures appear to be worsening the developmental disorder, and when you block those seizures, you reverse that,” said senior author Frances Jensen, chair of neurology at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine.

Rare, deadly virus breaks out in India

A rare, brain-damaging virus that experts consider a possible epidemic threat has broken out in Kerala, India, for the first time, infecting at least 18 people and killing 17 of them, the World Health Organization said. The Nipah virus, which produces flulike symptoms, resides in fruit bats across South and Southeast Asia. It can spread to humans through contact with the animals’ bodily fluids. There is no vaccine and no cure.

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