Negotiation training has been shown to lead to positive outcomes for parties on both sides of the table, identifying 'win-win' solutions and helping the wheels of the world turn more amicably. But many studies focus on consequences when both negotiators are trained using the same methodology, when the reality is that a counterpart from another organisation may be trained differently or not at all. What happens then? A study by Alfred Zerres and colleagues finds out.The study recruited 360 business administration students as either a 'buyer' or 'seller' and gave each some information on the context to study. Participants then conducted an initial negotiation over computer chat with a counterpart (a buyer to their seller), each trying to achieve their assigned objectives. Pair performance was measured by combining the success of buyer and seller: the negotiation was designed to be non-zero-sum as some factors were framed as more valuable to the buyer than seller, and vice versa, making some settlements more 'efficient' or mutually attractive than others. For this first negotiation, pair performance was fairly inefficient, on average reaching just 61% of the best outcome for both parties. After this, some participants were kept busy with a filler task, whilst others received negotiation training. The training introduced the idea of 'logrolling', trading factors that mean more to the person receiving than the one giving, epitomised by two children fighting over an orange when one is most interested in the juice and the other the peel. Trainees then had opportunities to work through an example and then try and extend the concept to some other cases. After this session, all pairs reconvened for a second negotiation on a separate issue. In some cases both parties had received training, and their pair performance was significantly better. What about when just one party had been trained? They did just as well – but only if it was the seller who had gotten training. Seeking a causal mechanism behind this, the researchers had recorded the computer-chat negotiation interactions, and looked at the amount of active information exchange in each pair, specifically sharing their own priorities or asking the counterpart about theirs. This kind of information sharing is crucial for logrolling, and analysis confirmed that this was behind the better performance by pairs with a trained seller. In a third negotiation one month later, groups with a trained seller both were better at spotting logrolling opportunities but also at recognising entirely compatible factors such as a buyer wanting quick delivery and a seller wanting to clear their warehouse rapidly.The buyer role in a negotiation is about loss-aversion (not being suckered into a bad purchase) which encourages a vigilant but passive stance - 'convince me!' - putting the onus on the seller to push and shape the conversation. If the seller is focused on log-rolling, then that conversation will be more transparent and lead to better outcomes. In some cases, a purchasing organisation might benefit more by identifying vendors that are trained in (virtuous, win-win) negotiation techniques than to invest in training their own buyers. Alternatively, organisations who do train sellers might want to go beyond providing new concepts and investigate whether altering their motivational mindset could lead to better outcomes in negotiations that matter.Zerres, A., Hüffmeier, J., Freund, P., Backhaus, K., & Hertel, G. (2013). Does it take two to tango? Longitudinal effects of unilateral and bilateral integrative negotiation training. Journal of Applied Psychology, 98 (3), 478-491 DOI: 10.1037/a0032255 Further reading: Nadler, J., Thompson, L., & Van Boven, L. (2003). Learning negotiationskills: Four models of knowledge creation and transfer. ManagementScience, 49, 529 –540. doi:10.1287/mnsc.49.4.529.14431... Read more »
Zerres, A., Hüffmeier, J., Freund, P., Backhaus, K., & Hertel, G. (2013) Does it take two to tango? Longitudinal effects of unilateral and bilateral integrative negotiation training. Journal of Applied Psychology, 98(3), 478-491. DOI: 10.1037/a0032255
What is going on in the brain of someone who has the deluded belief that they are brain dead? A team of researchers led by neuropsychologist Vanessa Charland-Varville at CHU Sart-Tilman Hospital and the University of Liege has attempted to find out by scanning the brain of a depressed patient who held this very belief.
The researchers used a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanner, which is the first time this scanning technology has been used on a patient with this kind of delusion - known as Cotard's syndrome after the French neurologist Jules Cotard. The 48-year-old patient had developed Cotard's after attempting to take his own life by electrocution. Eight months later he arrived at his general practitioner complaining that his brain was dead, and that he therefore no longer needed to eat or sleep. He acknowledged that he still had a mind, but (in the words of the researchers) he said he was "condemned to a kind of half-life, with a dead brain in a living body."
The researchers used the PET scanner to monitor levels of metabolic activity across the patient's brain as he rested. Compared with 39 healthy, age-matched controls, he showed substantially reduced activity across a swathe of frontal and temporal brain regions incorporating many key parts of what's known as the "default mode network". This is a hub of brain regions that shows increased activity when people's brains are at rest, disengaged from the outside world. It's been proposed that activity in this network is crucial for our sense of self.
"Our data suggest that the profound disturbance of thought and experience, revealed by Cotard's delusion, reflects a profound disturbance in the brain regions responsible for 'core consciousness' and our abiding sense of self," the researchers concluded.
Unfortunately the study has a number of serious limitations beyond the fact that it is of course a single case study. As well as having a diagnosis of Cotard's Delusion, the patient was also depressed and on an intense drug regimen, including sedative, antidepressant and antipsychotic medication. It's unclear therefore whether his distinctive brain activity was due to Cotard's, depression or his drugs, although the researchers counter that such an extreme reduction in brain metabolism is not normally seen in patients with depression or on those drugs.
Another issue is with the lack of detail on the scanning procedure. Perhaps this is due to the short article format (a "Letter to the Editor"), but it's not clear for how long the patient and controls were scanned, nor what they were instructed to do in the scanner. For example, did they have their eyes open or closed? What did they think about?
But perhaps most problematic is the issue of how to interpret the findings. Does the patient have Cotard's Delusion because of his abnormal brain activity, or does he have that unusual pattern of brain activity because of his deluded beliefs? Relevant here, but not mentioned by the researchers, are studies showing that trained meditators also show reduced activity in the default mode network. This provides a graphic illustration of the limits to a purely biological approach to mental disorder. It seems diminished activity in the default mode network can be associated both with feelings of being brain dead or feelings of tranquil oneness with the world, it depends on who is doing the feeling. Understanding how this can be will likely require researchers to think outside of the brain.
Charland-Verville, V., Bruno, M., Bahri, M., Demertzi, A., Desseilles, M., Chatelle, C., Vanhaudenhuyse, A., Hustinx, R., Bernard, C., Tshibanda, L., Laureys, S., and Zeman, A. (2013). Brain dead yet mind alive: A positron emission tomography case study of brain metabolism in Cotard's syndrome. Cortex DOI: 10.1016/j.cortex.2013.03.003
Post written by Christian Jarrett (@psych_writer) for the BPS Research Digest.
... Read more »
Charland-Verville, V., Bruno, M., Bahri, M., Demertzi, A., Desseilles, M., Chatelle, C., Vanhaudenhuyse, A., Hustinx, R., Bernard, C., Tshibanda, L.... (2013) Brain dead yet mind alive: A positron emission tomography case study of brain metabolism in Cotard's syndrome. Cortex. DOI: 10.1016/j.cortex.2013.03.003
One of the palpable weaknesses in the American justice system is the tendency for it to produce different outcomes for people from different social classes. Part of this is a result of discrepancies in the quality of legal representation people can afford, but part of it is also due to inconsistencies in the way morally questionable activities [...]... Read more »
Something small has gone wrong in your home. Maybe a light bulb has gone out, or the tap has started leaking at the hinge. You can't fix it right now, because you're half way through watching nineties classic "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York". Or maybe "Game of Thrones". Whatever, I don't keep up with TV. The point is you need a quick fix, so you grab a lamp from the bedroom or stick a towel under the sink. That'll do, you think. I'll sort it out properly tomorrow. Future me totally has this one covered. Three months later, you still haven't bothered to buy a new light bulb and the towel is now so sodden it smells like it crawled out of a music festival toilet. Well congratulations, you have just engaged in what is rather grandly known as "Geoengineering". If you can't fix the original problem, add something on that will kind of sort it out for a while, maybe. More technically, it's an attempt to reduce the Earth's temperature, without actually dealing with the problem, the emission of fossil fuels at an unprecedented rate. Treating the symptoms but not the cause, to switch metaphors for a moment.The best way to explain this is probably with an example; luckily for me Vaughn and Lenton (2011) have published a 46 page review of current geoengineering proposals for me to choose from. The citation is at the bottom, but if you can't access it for pay-to-view reasons, then the wikipedia page is as thorough a guide as any. So, to start with a sane and boring idea, reforestation of land (growing more trees) would lead to an increase in photosynthesis, decreasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. I don't see why anyone would get behind that idea though, when we have this option right out of a science fiction movie:That is a computer graphic of a "Solar Shade", a giant mirror in space. In an idea so mind bogglingly stupid it might just be genius, the logic runs as follows: i) We get heat from the suns rays. ii) It's currently a bit hot. iii) Less sun = less hot. iv) mirrors reflect light and therefore heat. v) YOU GUYS WE SHOULD TOTALLY BUILD A MIRROR IN SPACE. To reflect enough solar energy to counteract the current warming the total reflective area would have to be approx. 4.7 million km^2. That is not only putting the equivalent of India in space, but sending up Mongolia to keep it company. Not only that, but we would have to add at least 1 Belgium per year if we continued at the current rate of warming. The most recent plan for this, was not the giant disc imagined above, but 1.6 trillion tiny mirrors of half a meter diameter instead. This plan does presume the mirrors wouldn't be stolen by a horde of magpies on the way up, acting together at last for the biggest heist in stealing shiny things history. Although this is all quite entertaining, it is complete madness, and sounds like some kind of supervillain chicanery. It will not happen. Plus, Belgium would probably object to being repeatedly fired into space.Somewhere between the two extremes of planting trees and firing a silvery cloud into orbit, there are the wacky but plausible suggestions like cloud ships, which would use sea spray to add to the particles in the atmosphere, creating more clouds, reflecting more sunlight. Unmanned yachts, using the power of the wind to wander around the oceans on a lonely mission to fire as much of the sea upwards as yachtily possible. Despite my derision, I do think geoengineering solutions are important. The real truth of the matter is, we won't cut carbon emissions enough to avoid seeing the impacts of global warming. Something must be done. Hopefully that something will involve a shift to renewable energy, which will be an inevitability when we run out of oil anyway. Until then though, our options are either to adapt to the new world we find ourselves in, or attempt to delay the inevitable change through these halfway solutions. Whatever the overall strategy, I hope we as a species aren't vain enough to think reflection is the only way to go, because the moment the space mirror launches is the moment I lose any residual hope for humanity.Vaughan, N., & Lenton, T. (2011). A review of climate geoengineering proposals Climatic Change, 109 (3-4), 745-790 DOI: 10.1007/s10584-011-0027-7... Read more »
We all know that the Earth rotates beneath our feet, but new research from ANU has revealed that the centre of the Earth is out of sync with the rest of the planet, frequently speeding up and slowing down.... Read more »
ANU News. (2013) Earth’s centre is out of sync. Australian National University. info:/
Men might have found themselves an excuse not to listen to women. New research suggests that men have twice more difficulty reading emotions in women than in men. This may not sound surprising, but evidence that men have trouble understanding women is, at best, scarce.Being able to guess someone else’s thoughts, feelings and intentions is an instinctive social skill that develops in early childhood. We might take it for granted, but people who struggle or are unable to read other people, like people with autism spectrum disorders, have serious problems in communicating and interacting socially. This important ‘mindreading’ trait, so far thought to be unique to our species, recruits a complex brain network. Different, but partially overlapping, brain regions are activated when we perceive mental states like beliefs, intentions or desires (mentalizing) and when we ‘feel’ the emotions of another person (empathy). In a new PLoSONE study, Boris Schiffer’s research group at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, investigates whether there are differences in neural activation when men recognise emotions in women when compared to men. The researchers asked 22 healthy adult men to do a modified version of the ‘Reading the Mind in the Eyes’ (RME) test while their brain activity was measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The RME test has been used in countless studies to measure mentalizing and empathy (you can take the test here). In this study, each participant had to guess what either a man or a woman in a photo was thinking or feeling from looking only at his or her eyes. For each of the 36 pairs of eyes, there was a choice of two mental states, for instance ‘terrified’ or ‘upset’. The participants performed better in the test when the eyes belonged to men, suggesting that men have greater difficulty in recognising mental states in women than in their own gender. But the question is… why? The fMRI readings shed some light into this.Schiffer and colleagues predicted that recognising mental states in male or female eyes would activate brain areas involved in mentalizing and empathy, and this is what they found. But there was more. Some areas were more active when the participants were guessing emotions in men, and others when they were recognising emotions in women. It isn't clear what these results mean though. As these differently activated brain regions have in one way or another previously been involved in memory, the authors speculate that they are recruited to retrieve either autobiographical emotional memories (when the participants look at male eyes) or memories of past encounters with women (when they look at female eyes). But this doesn’t explain why men have more difficulty in perceiving women’s emotions. There was, however, another clue in the fMRI readings. Just looking at male eyes, without having to do any particular task, activated the amygdala, which is a brain region associated with processing of emotions and empathy. The authors suggest that when men respond to their own gender, emotion and empathy brain networks are recruited (because men can more easily relate to other men), and this might enhance their ability to perceive mental states. A few studies support this idea. For instance, one study showed that men are better than women at recognising angry faces in men. Schiffer and colleagues further speculate that in evolutionary terms, ‘it makes more sense’, they claim, that we should be better at mentalizing about people that are most similar to us. This would have been particularly important for men in the ‘ancient times’, the authors add, as men were hunting and fighting for territory and it was advantageous for them to predict the intentions of their male rivals. But while this is an attractive hypothesis, it remains rather speculative.And what about women? The main lingering question from this research is perhaps whether women are also better at reading mental states in individuals of their own gender. According to the authors, the prediction is that they should. So men should not be too quick to blame their gender for not understanding the opposite sex- this may backfire. Reference:... Read more »
Schiffer Boris, Pawliczek Christina, Müller Bernhard W., Gizewski Elke R., Walter Henrik, & Krueger Frank. (2013) Why Don't Men Understand Women? Altered Neural Networks for Reading the Language of Male and Female Eyes. PLoS ONE, 8(4). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0060278.g003
A new study by scientists at Duke University and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) finds no evidence of groundwater contamination from shale gas production in Arkansas.... Read more »
Warner, N., Kresse, T., Hays, P., Down, A., Karr, J., Jackson, R., & Vengosh, A. (2013) Geochemical and isotopic variations in shallow groundwater in areas of the Fayetteville shale development, north-central Arkansas. Applied Geochemistry. DOI: 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2013.04.013
A new species of green palm-pitviper of the genus Bothriechis is described from a seriously threatened cloud forest reserve in northern Honduras. Because of similarity in color pattern and scalation, the new species (Bothriechis guifarroi) was previously confused with other Honduran palm pitvipers. Genetic analysis revealed that the closest relatives of the new species are actually found over 600 km to the south, in the mountains of Costa Rica. The study was published in the open access journal Zookeys.... Read more »
Pensoft News. (2013) When green means danger A stunning new species of palm-pitviper from Honduras. Pensoft News. info:/
A team of astronomers led by Jose Dias do Nascimento (Department of Theoretical and Experimental Physics, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte [DFTE, UFRN], Brazil) has found the farthest known solar twin in the Milky Way Galaxy– CoRoT Sol 1, which has about the same mass and chemical composition as the Sun. Spectra from the High Dispersion Spectrograph (HDS) on the Subaru Telescope showed that CoRoT Sol 1 is about 6.7 billion years old while space-based data from the CoRoT (Convection, Rotation and planetary Transits) satellite indicated a rotation period of 29 /- 5 days. This newly discovered, evolved solar twin allows astronomers to uncover the near future of our solar system’s central star–the Sun.... Read more »
NAOJ Press Release. (2013) Subaru Telescope Observations and the CoRoT Mission Unveil the Future of the Sun. Subaru Telescope NAOJ. info:/
tumblr: bellapaige88On average, 9.5/1000 population has epilepsy in Low and Middle Income Countries (LAMIC). A research which has resulted in the global campaign against epilepsy has shown, the gap between treatment need and the treatment provision worldwide is approximately 70% . This large ‘treatment gap’, i.e., lack of appropriate treatment for a large number of patients with epilepsy, due to a number of causes including inability to identify cases, inability to deliver adequate treatment, people’s attitudes and perception, availability of anti-epileptic drugs and finally, health policies of individual countries and the priority given to epilepsy. The first step towards narrowing the treatment gap is improving diagnosis. Clinical investigations that help in the diagnosis of epilepsy include electroencephalography (EEG), neuro-imaging techniques such as computed axial tomograpy (CT) and magentic resonance imaging (MRI). Simple blood tests, including haematological, liver and kidney function profiles can reveal treatable causes of epilepsy, such as parasitic infections. Neuropsychological evaluation identifies areas of function and dysfunction. Long term video monitoring can greatly improve the diagnosis of epilepsy. Therapeutic drug monitoring can ensure that patients are receiving optimal doses of medication and can help greatly in avoiding toxicity. However, the availability of investigative procedures varies greatly, from 82.4% for EEG, 70.5% for CT, 45% for therapeutic drug monitoring to only 20.6 % for MRI, 21.7% for long-term video monitoring and in LAMICs. Special investigations of brain function such as positron emission tomography (PET) and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) are not available in most LAMIC centres.Epilepsy services in low and middle income countries are almost non-existent and service organization is a challenge. Epilepsy services should be community based and it is important to integrate these services into the primary health care structure to ensure sustainability. The Indian model is one such example, where epilepsy care has been incorporated into programmes for poverty alleviation . Public-private partnerships and non-governmental organizations (NGO) are also important components of the Indian model. The ultimate goal of all workers in the epilepsy field is to improve the quality of the life of people with epilepsy and their families. The prime manner in which this is aimed for is by the provision of good medical care.Wang WZ, Wu JZ, Wang DS, Dai XY, Yang B, Wang TP, Yuan CL, Scott RA, Prilipko LL, de Boer HM, & Sander JW (2003). The prevalence and treatment gap in epilepsy in China: an ILAE/IBE/WHO study. Neurology, 60 (9), 1544-5 PMID: 12743252Mbuba CK, Ngugi AK, Newton CR, & Carter JA (2008). The epilepsy treatment gap in developing countries: a systematic review of the magnitude, causes, and intervention strategies. Epilepsia, 49 (9), 1491-503 PMID: 18557778 Pal, D., Das, T., & Sengupta, S. (2000). ... Read more »
Mbuba CK, Ngugi AK, Newton CR, & Carter JA. (2008) The epilepsy treatment gap in developing countries: a systematic review of the magnitude, causes, and intervention strategies. Epilepsia, 49(9), 1491-503. PMID: 18557778
Pal, D., Das, T., & Sengupta, S. (2000) Case-control and qualitative study of attrition in a community epilepsy programme in rural India. Seizure, 9(2), 119-123. DOI: 10.1053/seiz.1999.0357
Mani KS, Rangan G, Srinivas HV, Srindharan VS, & Subbakrishna DK. (2001) Epilepsy control with phenobarbital or phenytoin in rural south India: the Yelandur study. Lancet, 357(9265), 1316-20. PMID: 11343735
Wang WZ, Wu JZ, Wang DS, Dai XY, Yang B, Wang TP, Yuan CL, Scott RA, Prilipko LL, de Boer HM.... (2003) The prevalence and treatment gap in epilepsy in China: an ILAE/IBE/WHO study. Neurology, 60(9), 1544-5. PMID: 12743252
Staying hydrated is good advice for men who’ve had kidney stones before, but sugar-sweetened sodas and fruit punch may not be the best choice of fluids.... Read more »
Ferraro, P., Taylor, E., Gambaro, G., & Curhan, G. (2013) Soda and Other Beverages and the Risk of Kidney Stones. Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. DOI: 10.2215/CJN.11661112
Researchers have found that the cancer patients in America are more than two times more likely to go bankrupt than the healthy people. I think this is the case not only in America but everywhere in the world.
Researchers collected data in Washington State from about 400,000 adults and found that the patients of cancer have more chances of bankruptcy, i.e. 2.65 times more chances, even if they have the health insurance as the high cost of cancer treatment is really high.
“Younger cancer patients had 2–5 times higher rates of bankruptcy than cancer patients age sixty-five or older, which indicates that Medicare and Social Security may mitigate bankruptcy risk for the older group,” Researchers wrote.
“People who have fewer assets, less income and less generous insurance because of entry-level jobs or no insurance are more vulnerable to severe financial distress,” lead author, Dr. Scott Ramsey, said in a statement.
These financial crises could be solved by the help from the governments and employers.
“The findings suggest that employers and governments may have a policy role to play in creating programs and incentives that could help people cover expenses in the first year following a cancer diagnosis,” Researchers wrote.
Think Progress, NBC News
Ramsey, S., Blough, D., Kirchhoff, A., Kreizenbeck, K., Fedorenko, C., Snell, K., Newcomb, P., Hollingworth, W., & Overstreet, K. (2013). Washington State Cancer Patients Found To Be At Greater Risk For Bankruptcy Than People Without A Cancer Diagnosis Health Affairs DOI: 10.1377/hlthaff.2012.1263... Read more »
Ramsey, S., Blough, D., Kirchhoff, A., Kreizenbeck, K., Fedorenko, C., Snell, K., Newcomb, P., Hollingworth, W., & Overstreet, K. (2013) Washington State Cancer Patients Found To Be At Greater Risk For Bankruptcy Than People Without A Cancer Diagnosis. Health Affairs. DOI: 10.1377/hlthaff.2012.1263
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has published a comprehensive summary of the epidemiology of childhood brain disorders in the most recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.This report produced some sensationalized headlines that up to 20% of children suffer from a mental disorder. However, I was more interested in looking at the prevalence estimates for some of the individual disorders from the report.The report collates data collected from a variety of surveys and data sets including the NHANES, NHIS and the National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH). These surveys typically use parental report to estimate prevalence ratesFor the purposes of this post, I will focus on two childhood brain disorders: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD).The key findings from the report in ADHD include:7.6% of parents reported their child between 3-17 years had received a diagnosis of ADHD in the NHIS8.9% of parents reported their child received a diagnosis of ADHD in the NSCH study9.6% to 12.3% of boys had received a diagnosis of ADHD3.8% to 5.4% of girls had received a diagnosis of ADHDA diagnosis of ADHD was more with older age, in children with health insurance and higher income groupsA diagnosis of ADHD was not related to parental education level The key findings from the report for autism and autism spectrum disorder include:.8% to 1.1% of parents reported their child between 3-17 years had received a diagnosis of autism1.8% of parents reported their child had received a diagnosis of ASDSurveys consisted noted a male predominance with boys having an estimated 3.5 to 4.5 times higher rate of autism and ASD diagnosisAgain having health insurance increased the rate of autism or ASD diagnosis by around two foldAutism and ASD prevalence rates were somewhat higher in the Northeast region of the U.S. and in white, non-Hispanic childrenIn contrast to ADHD, ASD rates were similar across parental income categoriesThe report notes in the discussion section: "Substantial but not insurmountable challenges to surveillance of mental disorders in children exists." They note current methods focus on parental reports and are biased by variability in access to health and mental health providers. The also note the imperfect diagnostic approach to childhood mental disorders and the need for more consistent diagnostic approaches.This report is a good comprehensive summary of what we know about these childhood brain disorders in the United States. Readers with more interest in this topic can access the free full text report in the citation below. In the next two posts, I will summarize key findings in the conduct disorder and affective disorder categories.Photo of clown fish from the Oklahoma Aquarium is from the author's files.Perou R, Bitsko RH, Blumberg SJ, Pastor P, Ghandour RM, Gfroerer JC, Hedden SL, Crosby AE, Visser SN, Schieve LA, Parks SE, Hall JE, Brody D, Simile CM, Thompson WW, Baio J, Avenevoli S, Kogan MD, Huang LN, & Division of Human Development and Disability, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, CDC, Atlanta, Georgia (2013). Mental health surveillance among children - United States, 2005-2011. Morbidity and mortality weekly report. Surveillance summaries (Washington, D.C. : 2002), 62 (2), 1-35 PMID: 23677130... Read more »
Perou R, Bitsko RH, Blumberg SJ, Pastor P, Ghandour RM, Gfroerer JC, Hedden SL, Crosby AE, Visser SN, Schieve LA.... (2013) Mental health surveillance among children - United States, 2005-2011. Morbidity and mortality weekly report. Surveillance summaries (Washington, D.C. : 2002), 62(2), 1-35. PMID: 23677130
CrossFit Nutrition: Cell Health and Telomeres. CrossFit Nutrition: you can only be as healthy as your cells. One marker of cell health is telomere length. Telomeres cap the ends ofThe post CrossFit Nutrition: Saturated Fat and Cell Health appeared first on WODMasters Stiff Competition.... Read more »
Song Y, You NC, Song Y, Kang MK, Hou L, Wallace R, Eaton CB, Tinker LF, & Liu S. (2013) Intake of Small-to-Medium-Chain Saturated Fatty Acids Is Associated with Peripheral Leukocyte Telomere Length in Postmenopausal Women. The Journal of nutrition. PMID: 23616516
FIFA discoverd that a lot of Mexican meat contains clenbuterol. A drug used to fatten cattle, enhance sportsperfomance, treat people with breathing disorders ánd to lose weight. So watch it with those tacos.... Read more »
Thevis, M., Geyer, L., Geyer, H., Guddat, S., Dvorak, J., Butch, A., Sterk, S., & Schänzer, W. (2013) Adverse analytical findings with clenbuterol among U-17 soccer players attributed to food contamination issues. Drug Testing and Analysis. DOI: 10.1002/dta.1471
Zwischen 1821 und 1851 wurde im Königreich Württemberg die topographische Landesvermessung durchgeführt. Sie war noch vor der Annahme der württembergischen Verfassung angeordnet worden und sollte einer gerechten Besteuerung in dem 1806 erheblich erweiterten und zum Königreich erhobenen Württemberg dienen. Das Produkt war neben dem steuerrelevanten Primärkataster auch der topographische Atlas des Königreichs Württemberg, der die Messtischblätter 1:50000 umfasste. Eduard Paulus der ÄltereEduard Paulus der Ältere(Ölgemälde: Landesmus. Württemberg [Urheberrechte erloschen]; Wikimedia Commons)Einer der Mitarbeiter der Landesvermessung war Karl Eduard Paulus, geboren am 29.1.1803 in Berghausen südlich von Speyer. Er trat 1823 in das Königliche statistisch-topgraphische Bureau ein. Anfangs als Messgehilfe tätig, war Paulus bei der Erstellung mehrerer Urkarten und Atlasblätter beteiligt. 1843 wurde er zudem in das Projekt der Oberamtsbeschreibungen einbezogen. Nach und nach legte er eine archäologische Karte von Württemberg vor. 1852 konnte er die ganz Württemberg umfassende Karte im Maßstab 1:200000 auf der Tagung des Gesamtvereins der deutschen Geschichts- und Altertumsvereine in Mainz präsentieren. Es war die erste, ein Land vollständig abdeckende archäologische Karte. Da Paulus das Dreiperiodensystem nicht anerkannte, unterschied er - blau kartiert - altgermanisch (keltisch) und alamannisch (fränkisch) sowie - in rot - römisch.Paulus ergänzte die Karte in mehreren Auflagen. Die vierte Auflage erschien posthum, als sein Sohn Eduard Paulus der Jüngere Landeskonservator war. SurveymethodenMehrfach hat Paulus seine Methoden beschrieben. Die neuen topographischen Karten mit ihrer Schraffur-Darstellung des Geländes wie die genauen Flurkarten im Maßstab 1:2500 spielten hier eine zentrale Rolle, dienten sie Paulus doch einerseits zur Eingrenzung potentieller Fundstellen, zugleich aber auch der Kartierung und Dokumentation. Einzelne vor- und frühgeschichtliche Anlagen, wie beispielsweise die Viereckschanze von Fleinheim wurden bereits bei der topographischen Landesvermessung im Maßstab 1:2500 aufgenommen. Anhand der Karten definierte Paulus archäologisch interessante Situationen, die er dann beging. Die lokale Bevölkerung war ihm dabei eine wesentliche Informationsquelle (siehe Archäologen und mißrathene Genies - Tips für die archäologische Kartierung). Mit ihren topographischen Beobachtungen haben Paulus' Forschungen mehr mit einer modernen Landschaftsarchäologie gemein als mit der Kossinna'schen Siedlungsarchäologie, auch wenn auch für Paulus die Zuweisung zu früheren Völkern grundlegend war.Ausschnitt aus der topographischen Karte des Königreichs Württemberg4. Aufl., 1882Vaterlandskunde Das Projekt der topographischen und der archäologischen Ebene hängen nicht nur methodisch - die topographischen Karten als Voraussetzung zur archäologischen Kartierung - sondern auch auf der inhaltlichen Ebene zusammen: Karten und Archäologie als Elemente der Identitätsbildung.Das steigende Interesse für die Vorgeschichte hat in Deutschland sehr viel mit der politischen Situation nach der Auflösung des Alten Reiches zu tun. Der Blick in die Vergangenheit bot Ausgleich für die Gegenwart und lieferte mit seinen nationalen Untertönen Argumente für eine neue Reichsgründung.Unterhalb der "nationalen" Ebene diente eine Vaterlandskunde auch dazu, den neu geschaffenen oder vergößerten Staaten selbst eine Identität zu verschaffen. Parallel zur topographischen Landesvermessung und der von Paulus betriebenen Kartierung der archäologischen Fundstellen wurden in Württemberg weitere Vorhaben der Vaterlandskunde forciert: detaillierte Landesbeschreibungen, die zunächst die verwaltungsrechtlichen Rahmenbedingungen festgehalten hatten, aber bald schon um geologische, naturräumliche, volkskundliche und historische - einschließlich archäologische - Informationen ergänzt wurden. Ziel dieser Vaterlandskunde war unter anderem die Schaffung einer gemeinsamen Identität im neuen, gewachsenen Staat Württemberg, der nun neben den alten protestantischen Regionen auch katholische Landstriche mit einbezog. "Ohne Kenntnis des Vaterlands kann es unmöglich wahre Vaterlandsliebe geben (Memminger 1822, 2)." "Die Kenntnis des Vaterlands ist zugleich die Grundlage bürgerlicher Tüchtigkeit und fördert das staatsbürgerliche Leben. (Memminger 1822, 4f.)" LiteraturhinweisF. Kreienbrink, Mapping the Past: Eduard Paulus the Elder (1803–1878) and the Archaeological Survey of Württemberg. Bulletin of the History of Archaeology, 17 (2), 2007 DOI: 10.5334/bha.17202Memminger, Neuere Anstalten und Mittel zur Förderung der Vaterlandsliebe. Württembergische Jahrbücher für Statistik und Landeskunde 1, 1822, 1-71 (Digitalisat)... Read more »
Kreienbrink, F. (2007) Mapping the Past: Eduard Paulus the Elder (1803–1878) and the Archaeological Survey of Württemberg. Bulletin of the History of Archaeology, 17(2). DOI: 10.5334/bha.17202
I have vague memories of the first time I counted to a hundred. It felt like one of those landmarks like tying your shoes for yourself the first time, or riding the bicycle more than a few feet without the training wheels or dad holding you up.
Of course, I don't come anywhere near Adam Spencer:
Once when I was about 7, I counted to 10,000 just to check the numbers didn't run out before then #NerdConfessions
Counting large numbers is not something that comes easily for us humans. A new paper claims this little guy, a baby guppy, may be a superior number cruncher as soon as it pops out of mama’s belly:
A couple of years ago, I reported on a paper that looked at the development of “counting” ability in guppies. In that paper, they claimed that it took about 40 days for guppies to develop the sort of ability to distinguish numbers that they had as adults. Now, the same team is back, testing very young guppies again, but this time using new methods.
The team asked these tiny guppies if they recognized numbers of things by showing animals dots while they have them food. Here are the three stimuli the team used.
Both A and B differ in the number of spots, but A also differs in the average sizes of those spots (which the authors call a “continuous variable). C differs in size, but not in the number. This is try to control for the fact that when you change number of things, you also change many other factors, like amount of area reflecting light, etc.
The authors then measured the amount of time the guppies spent near each set of dots as an indication of “preference”, on the assumption that the guppies are more likely to spend time near the dots where they got food if they learned certain dots meant food. If animals don’t learn where the food is, they may well not be able to tell the stimuli apart.
The authors place these pairs of dots at the end of the tank while fish are feeding when they were four and five days old. As a control, they either feed the fish food or just in a little water without food. On day six, they placed the babies in the tank to see which set of dots they gravitate to. On day seven, they repeat this, but flip the positions of the dots.
The fish were significantly more likely to be around the set of dots that promised food when they differed by number (A and B, above), but not when the dots varied in size. That said, the guppies were not great at this. The guppies got it right only 60% of the time, which is only a slight improvement on a coin toss.
However, the authors themselves admit that this paper is hard to compare with their previous one because the stimuli are so different. The previous paper used other live fish as the stimulus, not just static dots. They also note that this test is slightly different from other training tests, which generally ask the animal to do something even more specific than “hang out at one end of an aquarium.”
It is an interesting suggestion, though, that animals so small and so young can cope with differences in number. But I still think I’ll beat them at counting to a hundred.
Piffer L, Miletto Petrazzini ME, Agrillo C. 2013. Large number discrimination in newborn fish. PLOS ONE 8(4): e62466 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0062466
One fish, two fish... can fish count?
Picture by Shaojung on Flickr; used under a Creative Commons license.... Read more »
by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room
A while ago we did a focus group on a shockingly unethical healthcare provider targeting lower income zip codes for insurance fraud and the phrase “those Mexicans” came up in the deliberations. “That’s a good business model”, an older Caucasian woman said, “because those Mexicans will do whatever you tell them to do”. She seemed oblivious [...]
Everyday racism: A comparison of African American and Asian American Women
Life lessons from mock jurors: “Money don’t got no color”
The Jury Room: A new blawg
... Read more »
Rasinski, H., Geers, A., & Czopp, A. (2013) "I Guess What He Said Wasn't That Bad": Dissonance in Nonconfronting Targets of Prejudice. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. DOI: 10.1177/0146167213484769
Publication of US psychiatry's updated diagnostic code has provoked renewed debate in recent weeks over the extent to which mental illness ought to be framed as a psychosocial or a biological problem. The answer of course is that it is both. A new Canadian study captures this interplay, showing how close friendships mitigate the risk for girls whose genes mean they are more vulnerable than average to depression.
Mara Brendgen and her colleagues studied 294 pairs of twins aged ten years old (147 girls). Some of the twins were identical (they share the same genes), the others were non-identical (sharing just half their genes). Each twin pair was raised together in the same family.
The researchers obtained ratings of the children's signs of depression from their teachers and classmates. They also gauged their close friendships by asking each child to nominate up to three best friends in their class, and to indicate who was their very best friend. Reciprocal nominations were a sign of mutual friendship. The children also answered questions about the quality of their friendships, including whether they do fun things together or get angry with each other.
Consistent with past research, there was evidence of the role of genes in depression. That is, correlations in signs of depression were much higher between identical versus non-identical twins.
If one of a pair of identical twins had signs of depression, this was taken as an indication that the second twin had genetic vulnerability for the condition. If one of a pair of non-identical twins showed signs of depression, this was also taken to mean the other twin had genetic vulnerability, but less so than in the case of identical twins.
Here's the main result. Genetic vulnerability to depression in girls was less likely to manifest if they had at least one close friend. Stated differently, the protective effect of having at least one close friend was magnified in girls who were genetically vulnerable to the condition. This means that for girls there was an interplay between genetic risk and the protective effect of friendship. This was not the case for boys. Friendships did protect boys from depression, but this was not related in any way to their genetic vulnerability. Perhaps, the researchers surmised, this is because "girls tend to rely more on social relationships as a source of self-definition and self-validation, and their friendships are also characterised by greater intimacy, self-disclosure, empathy and emotional support."
Separate from any issues of genetic vulnerability, another gender difference was that boys, but not girls, showed an additive protective effect against depression of having more friends. The researchers said this may be because girls more often have intimate one-on-one friendships, whereas boys are more often part of friendship groups.
Other details to emerge from the study: better quality friendships were more protective against depression (regardless of genetic vulnerability); genetic vulnerability to depression wasn't associated with the likelihood of a child having friends, but it was negatively associated with the perceived quality of their friendships.
The study has some limitations, particularly the relatively small sample size and the reliance on observer ratings of depression. Also, the results may be specific to this age group. Despite these shortcomings, this is an innovative study on an important topic. Children who show signs of depression pre-adolescence are at heightened risk for having problems in their teens and beyond, so the more we understand about mitigating this risk, the better. The researchers said their results "emphasise the importance of teaching social interactional skills that promote positive relations with others to help prevent the development of depressive behaviour in children."
Brendgen, M., Vitaro, F., Bukowski, W., Dionne, G., Tremblay, R., and Boivin, M. (2013). Can friends protect genetically vulnerable children from depression? Development and Psychopathology, 25 (02), 277-289 DOI: 10.1017/S0954579412001058
Post written by Christian Jarrett (@psych_writer) for the BPS Research Digest.
... Read more »
Brendgen, M., Vitaro, F., Bukowski, W., Dionne, G., Tremblay, R., & Boivin, M. (2013) Can friends protect genetically vulnerable children from depression?. Development and Psychopathology, 25(02), 277-289. DOI: 10.1017/S0954579412001058
I'm gonna try and be fairly brief in this post on the paper by Valerio Napolioni and colleagues* (open-access) looking at plasma cytokine profiles in cases of autism and their asymptomatic siblings. Brief because (a) the paper is open-access and (b) the participant groups (autism: n=25; sibling controls n=25) were relatively small so one has to be quite careful in extrapolating the findings with any large degree of confidence.Siblings by Paul Klee @ WikiPaintings Just in case you are new to cytokines, we are talking biological signalling and communication, and in particular, the language of inflammation both pro- and anti-inflammatory (see this post).With the autism spectrum conditions in mind, research into cytokines has filled quite a few peer-reviewed papers** from lots of different perspectives (see here and here for example). The main message so far is that it is complicated as per everything about autism and immune function.Despite the quite small participant group, the Napolioni paper does seem to be an important paper for a few reasons:They report no overall difference in cytokine profiles - measuring 40 cytokines - between cases of autism and their asymptomatic siblings. This despite the fact that autism symptoms and total IQ measures were different. That was the paper's headline.But.... "the cytokine/chemokine levels in our subjects did correlate with the quantitative clinical traits" or in other words, certain analysed parameters seemed to match with level of severity of autistic traits as measured by schedules such as VABS and SRS. "IL-1β appears to be the cytokine most involved in the quantitative traits".When looking at the children with autism according to various clinical subgroups - non-verbal, functional gastrointestinal (GI) issues, history of regression, history of allergies - a few correlations were noted. So, children who were non-verbal seemed to show higher levels of cytokines such as IL-10, one of the more anti-inflammatory cytokines. Children with accompanying GI issues seemed to show higher levels of more pro-inflammatory cytokines like IL-1β and IL-6 compared with those without GI problems. Reported regression as part and parcel of symptom onset also seemed to show some correlation with specific cytokines too.As the authors point out correlation does not imply causation. Such that just because they reported connections between cytokines and functioning and other factors does not necessarily mean that these observations are causative of autism (or anything else). That being said, as I hinted before, this is not the first time that cytokines and their connection to immune function have been discussed in the autism research literature (see yet another example of this here***); many correlations in similar directions makes for some interesting discussions at least.That headline that children with autism and their siblings did not significantly differ in their cytokine profile carries a few possibilities for interpretation. The authors suggest that this could be evidence of "an ‘autism endophenotype’ that expands immune dysfunction to family members who are seemingly unaffected by the core symptoms of autism". One might also say the same thing about the Gondalia paper**** on gut bacteria in cases of autism and siblings (see here).Assuming that the broader autism phenotype (BAP) does not come into play here, one might speculate that (a) cytokine profiles are not related to the presence of autism, or (b) that the manifestation of autism, some autism, is representative of cytokine involvement but in addition to other factors in terms of the affected sibling - "when an environmental stress (for example, prenatal exposure to environmental toxins, viral and bacterial infections, parental microchimerism, etc.) occurs during development". This last point takes me back to that 1971 John Money study on the appearance of familial autoimmune related conditions 'round about' the presence of autism and a similar correlation. Part of a predisposition to autism?I note from Figure 4 of the paper, that when it came to summarising the various associations across the groups (and sub-groups), quite a few of the very significant differences seemed to be due to differences in IQ, which was tested using the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales (fifth edition). Aside from previous messages of caution on the use of this measure in autism research*****, one has to wonder whether this might be a more pertinent variable when it comes to cytokines and autism. I don't know enough about cytokine profiles in intellectual disability in children for example, to make any novel claims about this, but certainly intellectual development has been mentioned in the research literature with certain cytokines in mind******.OK I said I would try and be brief with this post and have failed miserably. The Napolioni paper has though been worth it though for the potential insights that it might provide into the complex world of cytokines and immune function in relation to the presentation of autism.To close, and following yet more 'we'll win it next year' commentary with regards to the UK entry in the event that is the Eurovision Song Content, might I suggest a group for your serious consideration as a contender next year?-----------* Napolioni V. et al. Plasma cytokine profiling in sibling pairs discordant for autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Neuroinflammation 2013; 10: 38.** Goines PE. & Ashwood P. Cytokine dysregulation in autism spectrum disorders (ASD): Possible role of the environment. Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2013; 36: 67-81.*** Ricci S. et al. Altered cytokine and BDNF levels in autism spectrum disorder. Neurotox Res. April 2013.**** Gondalia SV. et al. Molecular characterisation of gastrointestinal microbiota of children with autism (with and without gastrointestinal dysfunction) and their neurotypical siblings. Autism Research. 2012; 5: 419-427.***** Coolican J. et al. Brief report: data on the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales (5th ed.) in children with autism spectrum disorder. J Autism Dev Disord. 2008; 38: 190-197.****** von Ehrenstein OS. et al. Child intellectual development in relation to cytokine levels in umbilical cord blood. Am J Epidemiol. 2012; 175: 1191-1199. ----------... Read more »
Napolioni V, Ober-Reynolds B, Szelinger S, Corneveaux JJ, Pawlowski T, Ober-Reynolds S, Kirwan J, Persico AM, Melmed RD, Craig DW.... (2013) Plasma cytokine profiling in sibling pairs discordant for autism spectrum disorder. Journal of neuroinflammation, 38. PMID: 23497090
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