America is being eroded by greed. More schools are being closed, more prisons are being built, and money is changing hands in all the wrong places. From limiting the potential of the future generations, to arresting innocent people for personal gain, America has become rotten.
Like a rat in a Skinner box, when you give the right incentives, they're motivated to get the cheese. But unlike in the Skinner box, the cheese taken in America is at the expense of others.
This article explains it all, from incentives to education. ... Read more »
Lochner, L., & Moretti, E. (2004) The Effect of Education on Crime: Evidence from Prison Inmates, Arrests, and Self-Reports. American Economic Review, 94(1), 155-189. DOI: 10.1257/000282804322970751
A violent attack by someone who is mentally ill quickly grabs the headlines. And it’s usually implied that mental illnesses are a preventable cause of violent crime. Tackle that and we can all sleep safer in our beds. But by pressuring mental health services to focus on the risk of violence we are in danger of actually increasing it.
Most of the debate around risk and offending has centred around schizophrenia – the bread and butter of community psychiatry. But what is the evidence relating to the risk of violence in those diagnosed with schizophrenia? It’s tricky because schizophrenia varies so much in character and severity. And other factors known to have an association with violent crime, like migration and social disadvantage, are often also implicated as a part of the cause or consequence of schizophrenia.... Read more »
Short, T., Thomas, S., Mullen, P., & Ogloff, J. (2013) Comparing violence in schizophrenia patients with and without comorbid substance-use disorders to community controls. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica. DOI: 10.1111/acps.12066
Pesticide levels considered environmentally friendly in Europe and Australia are, in fact, having a devastating effect on invertebrate insect biodiversity in nearby creeks and streams, a new study has found, showing the need for an urgent overhaul of the way pesticide risk is assessed. Water-dwelling invertebrates like worms, snails, crustaceans, mites and insects play a crucial role in regional ecosystems because they provide food for fish, birds and platypuses.... Read more »
Beketov, M., Kefford, B., Schafer, R., & Liess, M. (2013) Pesticides reduce regional biodiversity of stream invertebrates. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1305618110
For half the population, it comes three to five days each month, 12 months each year, for 40 years of our lives. Menstruation can be debilitating, relieving, disappointing, or simply an inconvenient fact of life.
But why do humans menstruate, when most animals don’t? When you shake the tree of life, you find that only a handful of mammals aside from us – primates, a small number of bat species, and the elephant shrew – have opted for the monthly bleed.... Read more »
Emera, D., Romero, R., & Wagner, G. (2012) The evolution of menstruation: A new model for genetic assimilation. BioEssays, 34(1), 26-35. DOI: 10.1002/bies.201100099
In my mind, pills are like apps. Do you have a common problem to solve? There’s an app for that, as Apple has trademarked. Do you have some health related issue? There’s probably a pill for that. Blood pressure? Check. Cholesterol? Check. Social anxiety? Check. Erectile dysfunction? Check. Obesity? Check. Female libido? Oops! No check! But just wait! Big Pharma is working on that! As far back as January 2005, as published in the British Medical Journal, attempts have been made to develop a misnamed female Viagra.... Read more »
Moynihan, R. (2005) The marketing of a disease: female sexual dysfunction. BMJ, 330(7484), 192-194. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.330.7484.192
Short bouts of intermittent exercise throughout the day may be better than one vigorous workout in convincing your brain that you are full, according to a new study published in the journal Obesity.
The researchers, from the United States and Murdoch University, set out to find how the appetite-regulating hormone Peptide YY (PYY) fluctuates with intermittent or continuous exercise. The research team asked the 11 participants to do no exercise on day one, to do a one-hour morning exercise session on day two, and to do 12 five-minute bouts of exercise throughout the third day day. Blood was drawn every 15 minutes to assess hormones and the subjects were asked to rate their levels of hunger.... Read more »
Holmstrup, M., Fairchild, T., Keslacy, S., Weinstock, R., & Kanaley, J. (2013) Satiety, but not total PYY, is increased with continuous and intermittent exercise. Obesity. DOI: 10.1002/oby.20335
For the past 70 years or so, crime has mainly been explained through socio-economic factors such as housing or level of education. Currently the focus has shifted more to neuroscience and biology – and the idea that a chemical imbalance might also cause someone to be more violent or prone to criminal behavior.... Read more »
When people think of mental problems related to body image, often the first thing that comes to mind is the thin figure associated with anorexia. Body dysmorphic disorder is less well known, but has around five times the prevalence of anorexia (about 2% of the population), and a high level of psychological impairment. It’s a mental disorder where the main symptom is excessive fear of looking ugly or disfigured. Central to the diagnosis is the fact that the person actually looks normal.... Read more »
Buchanan, B., Rossell, S., Maller, J., Toh, W., Brennan, S., & Castle, D. (2013) Brain connectivity in body dysmorphic disorder compared with controls: a diffusion tensor imaging study. Psychological Medicine, 1-9. DOI: 10.1017/S0033291713000421
If someone told you to put your rock hard green McIntosh apple with a banana as that would make it ripe, you sure would scoff a little. But, believe your ears and do that yourself. It’s an easy way to get that red juicy goodness without spending a single penny! It sounds like magic – but it’s pure science. A very recent study by scientists from the Salk institute for Biological Studies have published their finding in the online international journal eLIFE – stating that the plant hormone ethylene alone activates thousand of other genes in a plant.... Read more »
Katherine Noelani Chang, Shan Zhong, Matthew T Weirauch, Gary Hon, Mattia Pelizzola, Hai Li, Shao-shan Carol Huang, Robert J Schmitz, Mark A Urich, Dwight Kuo, Joseph R Nery, Hong Qiao, Ally Yang, Abdullah Jamali, Huaming Chen, Trey Ideker, Bing Ren, Ziv . (2013) Temporal transcriptional response to ethylene gas drives growth hormone cross-regulation in Arabidopsis . eLife. info:/
For the first time, researchers have found that stress can leave an epigenetic mark on sperm, which then alters the offspring’s hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, a part of the brain that deals with responding to stress. The study was published in the Journal of Neuroscience.
The experiment was conducted with preadolescent and adult male mice, in which stress was induced – for example by confronting the mice with predator odor (fox urine) or foreign objects in their cages.
Their offspring, both male and female, turned out to have abnormally low reactivity to stress. Whenever the stress pathway is deregulated – this can be both an extreme high reactivity, as well as a very low activity – this means an organism cannot respond to changes in its environment. In people, this might cause stress-related mental disorders.... Read more »
Rodgers, A., Morgan, C., Bronson, S., Revello, S., & Bale, T. (2013) Paternal Stress Exposure Alters Sperm MicroRNA Content and Reprograms Offspring HPA Stress Axis Regulation. Journal of Neuroscience, 33(21), 9003-9012. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0914-13.2013
The ultimate dream of nanotechnology is to be able to manipulate matter atom by atom. To do that, we first need to know what they look like. In what could be a major step in that direction, researchers have developed a method that can determine the shape of a single molecule and identify its constituent atoms.
The laws of nature limit what can be seen with the help of light alone. Only objects separated by more than half the wavelength of the light that illuminates it can be observed as separate objects. To overcome this limit, in 1928, Edward Hutchinson Synge came up with an idea of imaging things too small for the naked eye. The idea was to shine light on a small particle and study the scattering when reflected back, making the wavelength of incident light irrelevant.... Read more »
Zhang, R., Zhang, Y., Dong, Z., Jiang, S., Zhang, C., Chen, L., Zhang, L., Liao, Y., Aizpurua, J., Luo, Y.... (2013) Chemical mapping of a single molecule by plasmon-enhanced Raman scattering. Nature, 498(7452), 82-86. DOI: 10.1038/nature12151
According to a new study published by researchers at the University of Michigan, social media might just be the perfect way to express our narcissistic tendencies. “Among young adult college students, we found that those who scored higher in certain types of narcissism posted more often on Twitter,” said Panek, leading author. ”But among middle-aged adults from the general population, narcissists posted more frequent status updates on Facebook.”
For the first experiment, 496 young college students (average age 19) were asked to answer some questions concerning their social media use. In addition, they took a personality assessment measuring different aspects of narcissism; exhibitionism, exploitativeness, superiority, authority and self-sufficiency.... Read more »
Panek, E., Nardis, Y., & Konrath, S. (2013) Mirror or Megaphone?: How relationships between narcissism and social networking site use differ on Facebook and Twitter. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(5), 2004-2012. DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2013.04.012
Researchers stumbled upon the cone-shaped monument, that weighs about 60,000 ton, while executing geophysical research in the southern Sea of Galilee.
Expected is that the structure was built 6000 years ago. According to Prof. Shmulik Marco, who took part in the research, this is an impressive accomplishment since the stones had to be carried more than a mile – and be arranged according to a specific plan.... Read more »
Paz, Y., Moshe, R., Zvi, B., Shmuel, M., Tibor, G., & Nadel, D. (2013) A Submerged Monumental Structure in the Sea of Galilee, Israel. International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, 42(1), 189-193. DOI: 10.1111/1095-9270.12005
A recent paper published in Nature reports the employment of blood tests for cancer patients to capture circulating tumor DNA that is subsequently sequenced and analyzed, the goal being to identify mutations and characterize the tumor genomic profile.... Read more »
Murtaza, M., Dawson, S., Tsui, D., Gale, D., Forshew, T., Piskorz, A., Parkinson, C., Chin, S., Kingsbury, Z., Wong, A.... (2013) Non-invasive analysis of acquired resistance to cancer therapy by sequencing of plasma DNA. Nature, 497(7447), 108-112. DOI: 10.1038/nature12065
Forshew, T., Murtaza, M., Parkinson, C., Gale, D., Tsui, D., Kaper, F., Dawson, S., Piskorz, A., Jimenez-Linan, M., Bentley, D.... (2012) Noninvasive Identification and Monitoring of Cancer Mutations by Targeted Deep Sequencing of Plasma DNA. Science Translational Medicine, 4(136), 136-136. DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3003726
Chan, K., Jiang, P., Zheng, Y., Liao, G., Sun, H., Wong, J., Siu, S., Chan, W., Chan, S., Chan, A.... (2012) Cancer Genome Scanning in Plasma: Detection of Tumor-Associated Copy Number Aberrations, Single-Nucleotide Variants, and Tumoral Heterogeneity by Massively Parallel Sequencing. Clinical Chemistry, 59(1), 211-224. DOI: 10.1373/clinchem.2012.196014
Leary, R., Sausen, M., Kinde, I., Papadopoulos, N., Carpten, J., Craig, D., O'Shaughnessy, J., Kinzler, K., Parmigiani, G., Vogelstein, B.... (2012) Detection of Chromosomal Alterations in the Circulation of Cancer Patients with Whole-Genome Sequencing. Science Translational Medicine, 4(162), 162-162. DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3004742
Using multiple regression, I animate state college entrance exam scores controlled for state participation levels and test preference. Then, I review a study on “noncognitive predictors” of college outcomes, which might eventually replace the SAT and ACT.... Read more »
Schmitt N, Keeney J, Oswald FL, Pleskac TJ, Billington AQ, Sinha R, & Zorzie M. (2009) Prediction of 4-year college student performance using cognitive and noncognitive predictors and the impact on demographic status of admitted students. The Journal of applied psychology, 94(6), 1479-97. PMID: 19916657
Hi Julie,(source: The Blue Dog)WOW! May was a seriously jam-packed month for dogs! I'm just as amazed as you are that it's already June. I think I'm in denial, although June means lots of fun things happening, like the SPARCS conference, so maybe it's actually OK that it's here.I loved your last post. So much great information - thank you for sharing! You mentioned how you avoid touching dogs if they don't want to interact and that got me thinking about a sense I haven't written about yet. We've covered views, smells, music and now, I'm going to touch on, well... touch. Not the bitey kind of touch, but the soothing, calm, stroking kind. The outside of a dog is good for our insides...It's true. Patting a dog is something we enjoy. The tactile experience of touching something soft and warm is inherently pleasing. Research has shown that human oxytocin (=happy/social/feel good/"love" hormone) levels rise when we interact with our dogs. Our blood pressure and heart rates lower when we pat dogs, as do our cortisol (=stress hormone) levels.(source)These are just some of the reasons there is so much interest in researching further benefits of human-animal interactions and animal-assisted therapies....and we can be good for a dog's insides too!(source)Interestingly, other studies have shown that dogs' heart rate, cortisol levels and blood pressure can lower when we groom and pat them. Of course, this is not universal. Dogs are individuals and their preferences will vary. Not all pats are equalResearch suggests that dogs prefer to be patted in a soothing way. Not really surprising - think of how we like to be touched and compare a back slap with a gentle stroke. I know which would be more likely to lower my heart rate and relax me!A study that examined the reinforcing value of physical contact by grooming to dogs showed that length of grooming (longer=better) was more important than location of grooming in reducing heart rate. What are you doing this week? I'm off to Sydney for a few days to meet with loads of different working dog groups to talk Action Plan. I'll be sure to tell you all about it next time. Right now, I'm going to go give my dogs a nice long pat! Mia... Read more »
McGreevy Paul D., Righetti Joanne, & Thomson Peter C. (2005) The reinforcing value of physical contact and the effect on canine heart rate of grooming in different anatomical areas. Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People , 18(3), 236-244. DOI: 10.2752/089279305785594045
Coppola Crista L., Grandin Temple, & Enns R. Mark. (2006) Human interaction and cortisol: Can human contact reduce stress for shelter dogs?. Physiology , 87(3), 537-541. DOI: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2005.12.001
Hennessy Michael B., Voith Victoria L., Hawke Jesse L., Young Travis L., Centrone Jason, McDowell Angela L., Linden Fran, & Davenport Gary M. (2002) Effects of a program of human interaction and alterations in diet composition on activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in dogs housed in a public animal shelter. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 221(1), 65-91. DOI: 10.2460/javma.2002.221.65
Bergamasco Luciana, Osella Maria Cristina, Savarino Paolo, Larosa Giuseppe, Ozella Laura, Manassero Monica, Badino Paola, Odore Rosangela, Barbero Raffaella, & Re Giovanni. (2010) Heart rate variability and saliva cortisol assessment in shelter dog: Human–animal interaction effects. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 125(1-2), 56-68. DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2010.03.002
O'Haire Marguerite. (2010) Companion animals and human health: Benefits, challenges, and the road ahead. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 5(5), 226-234. DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2010.02.002
I am an air force brat. My father and my father-in-law enlisted in the German and US Air Forces, respectively. They served during the Cold War when I was born in 1961 a few month after the Berlin Wall went … Continue reading →... Read more »
Elwood, N.J. and J.W. Gaithwaite. (2007) Perpetuating a Pier. Civil Engineering, 77(5), 62-67. info:/
It is better to travel well, than to arrive. This quote that arguably comes from Buddha partly explains why we focus on cell migration in Multiple Sclerosis (MS). MS is an incurable disease that affects 2,5 million people worldwide (As reviewed by Ransohoff, 2012). The onset usually presents in young adulthood and it is mostly diagnosed in women. What causes this devastating disease?... Read more »
Odoardi F., Sie C., Streyl K., Ulaganathan V.K., Schlaeger C., Lodygin D., Heckelsmiller K., Nietfeld W., Ellwart J., Klinkert W.E.F., Lottaz C., Nosov M., Brinkmann V., Spang R. Lehrach H. Vingron M., Wekerle H. Fluegel-Koch C. . (2012) T cells become licenced in the lung to enter the central nervous system. . Nature, 675-682. info:/
Wingerchuk, D. (2011) Smoking: effects on multiple sclerosis susceptibility and disease progression. Therapeutic Advances in Neurological Disorders, 5(1), 13-22. DOI: 10.1177/1756285611425694
Iglesias, A., Bauer, J., Litzenburger, T., Schubart, A., & Linington, C. (2001) T- and B-cell responses to myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis and multiple sclerosis. Glia, 36(2), 220-234. DOI: 10.1002/glia.1111
Jenh, C., Cox, M., Cui, L., Reich, E., Sullivan, L., Chen, S., Kinsley, D., Qian, S., Kim, S., Rosenblum, S.... (2012) A selective and potent CXCR3 antagonist SCH 546738 attenuates the development of autoimmune diseases and delays graft rejection. BMC Immunology, 13(1), 2. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2172-13-2
Wolf, C., Sidhu, J., Otoul, C., Morris, D., Cnops, J., Taubel, J., & Bennett, B. (2013) Pharmacodynamic Consequences of Administration of VLA-4 Antagonist CDP323 to Multiple Sclerosis Subjects: A Randomized, Double-Blind Phase 1/2 Study. PLoS ONE, 8(3). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0058438
So far we have always thought that evolution proceeds by addition, but nobody has ever proven that, at least in some cases, it may evolve by subtraction. In nature, in determinate phases of evolution, complicated organs may be formed, due to certain genetic assets. Sometimes the complexity of the formed tissue can be so high that prevents it from working in an optimal way. Evolution then would do its course by eliminating what is superfluous.
This is the content of the research conducted by the scientists D. McShea and W. Hordijk, recently published on Evolutionary Biology. The authors have proposed a model of evolution called “evolution by subtraction”: some species adapt themselves to the environment evolving form being roughly complex to becoming efficiently simple.... Read more »
The Hula painted frog was the first amphibian to be declared officially extinct in 1996. In 2011, however, the frog reappeared in Israel. Now it turns out the species is actually an unique “living fossil,” without close relatives among other living frogs.
A recent study published in Nature Communications offers an in-depth genetic analysis of the amphibian. The results show that the Hula painted frog is not related to any living frog species, yet the sole representative of an prehistoric clade of frogs (a group with a single common ancestor) that has been considered extinct for a million years, named Latonia.... Read more »
Biton, R., Geffen, E., Vences, M., Cohen, O., Bailon, S., Rabinovich, R., Malka, Y., Oron, T., Boistel, R., Brumfeld, V.... (2013) The rediscovered Hula painted frog is a living fossil. Nature Communications. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms2959
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