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Adapted cold shower as a potential treatment for depression. - PubMed - NCBI
Exposure to cold is known to activate the sympathetic nervous system and increase the blood level of beta-endorphin and noradrenaline and to increase synaptic release of noradrenaline in the brain as well. Additionally, due to the high density of cold receptors in the skin, a cold shower is expected to send an overwhelming amount of electrical impulses from peripheral nerve endings to the brain, which could result in an anti-depressive effect.
depression  research  solution 
4 weeks ago by Quercki
The neuroactive potential of the human gut microbiota in quality of life and depression | Nature Microbiology
The neuroactive potential of the human gut microbiota in quality of life and depression

Article | Published: 04 February 2019
The neuroactive potential of the human gut microbiota in quality of life and depression

Mireia Valles-Colomer, Gwen Falony, Youssef Darzi, Ettje F. Tigchelaar, Jun Wang, Raul Y. Tito, Carmen Schiweck, Alexander Kurilshikov, Marie Joossens, Cisca Wijmenga, Stephan Claes, Lukas Van Oudenhove, Alexandra Zhernakova, Sara Vieira-Silva & Jeroen Raes

Nature Microbiology (2019) | Download Citation

The relationship between gut microbial metabolism and mental health is one of the most intriguing and controversial topics in microbiome research. Bidirectional microbiota–gut–brain communication has mostly been explored in animal models, with human research lagging behind.
microbes  research  legit 
february 2019 by Quercki
Links between gut microbes and depression strengthened
Much of what we know so far is based on studies showing correlations between specific gut bacteria, their metabolites and neurological symptoms. But these correlations do not prove cause and effect. Many studies use animal models, which don’t accurately mirror human traits or behaviours. Human studies have been limited: they’re usually based on relatively small numbers of people, and might not control for a wealth of confounding factors — such as unusual diets, antibiotics or antidepressants — that can affect the microbiota.

Read the paper: The neuroactive potential of the human gut microbiota in quality of life and depression

A study published this week in Nature Microbiology tackles some of these issues (M. Valles-Colomer et al. Nature Microbiol.; 2019). The authors used DNA sequencing to analyse microbiota in the faeces of more than 1,000 people enrolled in Belgium’s Flemish Gut Flora Project. The team then correlated different microbial taxa with the participants’ quality of life and incidence of depression, using self-reported and physician-supplied diagnoses. The researchers validated the findings in an independent cohort of 1,063 individuals in the Netherlands’ LifeLines DEEP project. Finally, they mined the data to generate a catalogue describing the microbiota’s capacity to produce or degrade molecules that can interact with the human nervous system.
microbes  depression  research 
february 2019 by Quercki
The Hidden Tribes of America - Hidden Tribes
Core Belief 4: Moral Foundations. Morality is about more than just equal treatment. The 2012 book The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt, which provides important insights into the ways in which morality underlies political behavior, explains how morality is comprised of at least five pillars. These pillars, also called moral foundations, are:

Fairness/Cheating: Relating to proportionality, equality, reciprocity, and rendering justice according to shared rules.

Care/Harm: Protecting the vulnerable and helping those in need.

Authority/Subversion: Submitting to tradition and legitimate authority.

Purity/Disgust: Abhorrence for things that evoke disgust.

Loyalty/Betrayal: Standing with one’s group, family or nation.
politics  research 
october 2018 by Quercki
Trajectory Analysis of the Campus Serial Rapist Assumption | Adolescent Medicine | JAMA Pediatrics | JAMA Network
At a Glance

This study tested the assumption that most college men who commit rape do so consistently across time.

10.8% (178 of 1642) of the college men reported perpetrating at least 1 rape from 14 years of age through the end of college.

Analyses revealed 3 cohesive groups of men in terms of their likelihood to commit rape across time: men with low or time-limited (92.6%), decreasing (5.3%), and increasing (2.1%) patterns.

Most men (72.8%) who committed college rape only did so during 1 academic year.

Exclusive emphasis on serial predation to guide risk identification, judicial response, and rape-prevention programs is misguided.
rape  research 
september 2018 by Quercki
Cholesterol-lowering therapy in women and elderly patients with myocardial infarction or angina pectoris: findings from the Scandinavian Simvastati... - PubMed - NCBI
Circulation. 1997 Dec 16;96(12):4211-8.
Cholesterol-lowering therapy in women and elderly patients with myocardial infarction or angina pectoris: findings from the Scandinavian Simvastatin Survival Study (4S)

Miettinen TA1, Pyörälä K, Olsson AG, Musliner TA, Cook TJ, Faergeman O, Berg K, Pedersen T, Kjekshus J.
Author information

The Scandinavian Simvastatin Survival Study (4S) demonstrated pronounced reductions in mortality and major coronary events in a cohort of patients with established coronary heart disease (CHD). The present study provides a detailed, post hoc assessment of the efficacy and safety of simvastatin therapy in the following subgroups of 4S patients: those > or = 65 years of age, those < 65 years of age, women, and men.
cholesterol  simvastatin  research 
march 2018 by Quercki
Frontiers | Music structure determines heart rate variability of singers | Psychology
Choir singing is known to promote wellbeing. One reason for this may be that singing demands a slower than normal respiration, which may in turn affect heart activity. Coupling of heart rate variability (HRV) to respiration is called Respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA). This coupling has a subjective as well as a biologically soothing effect, and it is beneficial for cardiovascular function. RSA is seen to be more marked during slow-paced breathing and at lower respiration rates (0.1 Hz and below). In this study, we investigate how singing, which is a form of guided breathing, affects HRV and RSA. The study comprises a group of healthy 18 year olds of mixed gender. The subjects are asked to; (1) hum a single tone and breathe whenever they need to; (2) sing a hymn with free, unguided breathing; and (3) sing a slow mantra and breathe solely between phrases. Heart rate (HR) is measured continuously during the study. The study design makes it possible to compare above three levels of song structure.
singing  science  research 
november 2017 by Quercki
Twenty five year follow-up for breast cancer incidence and mortality of the Canadian National Breast Screening Study: randomised screening trial | The BMJ
Main outcome measure Deaths from breast cancer.

Results During the five year screening period, 666 invasive breast cancers were diagnosed in the mammography arm (n=44 925 participants) and 524 in the controls (n=44 910), and of these, 180 women in the mammography arm and 171 women in the control arm died of breast cancer during the 25 year follow-up period. The overall hazard ratio for death from breast cancer diagnosed during the screening period associated with mammography was 1.05 (95% confidence interval 0.85 to 1.30). The findings for women aged 40-49 and 50-59 were almost identical. During the entire study period, 3250 women in the mammography arm and 3133 in the control arm had a diagnosis of breast cancer, and 500 and 505, respectively, died of breast cancer. Thus the cumulative mortality from breast cancer was similar between women in the mammography arm and in the control arm (hazard ratio 0.99, 95% confidence interval 0.88 to 1.12). After 15 years of follow-up a residual excess of 106 cancers was observed in the mammography arm, attributable to over-diagnosis.

Conclusion Annual mammography in women aged 40-59 does not reduce mortality from breast cancer beyond that of physical examination or usual care when adjuvant therapy for breast cancer is freely available. Overall, 22% (106/484) of screen detected invasive breast cancers were over-diagnosed, representing one over-diagnosed breast cancer for every 424 women who received mammography screening in the trial.
breast  cancer  research 
november 2017 by Quercki
Fruit, vegetable, and legume intake, and cardiovascular disease and deaths in 18 countries (PURE): a prospective cohort study - The Lancet
Higher fruit, vegetable, and legume consumption was associated with a lower risk of non-cardiovascular, and total mortality. Benefits appear to be maximum for both non-cardiovascular mortality and total mortality at three to four servings per day (equivalent to 375–500 g/day).
food  diet  health  eating  guidelines  research 
september 2017 by Quercki
New research on role of sexism in 2016 election.
The MSS attempts to test for resentment toward women through questions about feminism and women in the workplace. Here are the five statements from the MSS that the Blair Center Poll asked its sample to assess:

Many women are actually seeking special favors, such as hiring policies that favor them over men, under the guise of asking for “equality.”
Most women interpret innocent remarks or acts as being sexist.
Feminists are seeking for women to have more power than men.
When women lose to men in a fair competition, they typically complain about being discriminated against.
Discrimination against women is no longer a problem in the United States.
The respondents to the poll ranked their responses to these statements on a scale from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree.” The researchers classified respondents as “sexist,” “neutral,” or “nonsexist,” based on their overall scores.
sexism  election  Hillary  research 
june 2017 by Quercki
“Mindless Eating,” or how to send an entire life of research into question | Ars Technica
Wansink is probably regretting he ever started typing. Tim van der Zee, one of the scientists participating in the ongoing examination into Wansink’s past, keeps a running account of what’s turned up so far. “To the best of my knowledge,” van der Zee writes in a blog post most recently updated on April 6, “there are currently 42 publications from Wansink which are alleged to contain minor to very serious issues, which have been cited over 3,700 times, are published in over 25 different journals, and in eight books, spanning over 20 years of research.”

That’s enough to cause an entire field to rethink what it thought it knew.

If you hide your junk food, you’ve probably heard of Wansink

You’ve probably come across Wansink’s ideas at some point. He researches how subtle changes in the environment can affect people’s eating behavior, and his findings have made a mark on popular diet wisdom. Perhaps you’ve adopted the tip to use smaller plates to trick yourself into eating less, moved your unhealthy snacks into a hard-to-reach place, or placed your fruit bowl prominently on your kitchen counter. Maybe you’ve scoffed at the “health halo” marketing of a decidedly unhealthy food, or chosen 100-calorie snack packs to control your intake.
research  obesity  statistics  lies 
june 2017 by Quercki
Risk Factors for Femicide in Abusive Relationships: Results From a Multisite Case Control Study
Objectives. This 11-city study sought to identify risk factors for femicide in abusive relationships.

Methods. Proxies of 220 intimate partner femicide victims identified from police or medical examiner records were interviewed, along with 343 abused control women.

Results. Preincident risk factors associated in multivariate analyses with increased risk of intimate partner femicide included perpetrator’s access to a gun and previous threat with a weapon, perpetrator’s stepchild in the home, and estrangement, especially from a controlling partner. Never living together and prior domestic violence arrest were associated with lowered risks. Significant incident factors included the victim having left for another partner and the perpetrator’s use of a gun. Other significant bivariate-level risks included stalking, forced sex, and abuse during pregnancy.

Conclusions. There are identifiable risk factors for intimate partner femicides.
domestic_violence  murder  research 
april 2017 by Quercki
2. Setting Up — Stanford Prison Experiment
Our study of prison life began, then, with an average group of healthy, intelligent, middle-class males. These boys were arbitrarily divided into two groups by a flip of the coin. Half were randomly assigned to be guards, the other to be prisoners. It is important to remember that at the beginning of our experiment there were no differences between boys assigned to be a prisoner and boys assigned to be a guard.
Stanford  prison  experiment  male  research 
march 2017 by Quercki
40 years of data show immigration decreases or stabilizes crime rates | Ars Technica
This study builds on previous findings on arrests and criminal offenses. That previous data showed that foreign-born residents of the US were less likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans. The new study looked at 200 major metropolitan areas as defined by the US Census Bureau. The researchers then used Census data and FBI crime reporting data from 1970-2010 to look at trends for these regions.

The authors were interested in increases in crimes that might be attributable to an influx of immigrants who decreased economic opportunities or ended up in jobs that might otherwise have gone to local-born residents. To that end, they looked at violent crimes and property crimes, including rates of murder, non-negligent manslaughter, aggravated assault, robbery, burglary, and larceny.
....The most striking finding comes from the authors’ models for violent crime, murder, and robbery. The authors found that in three out of four statistical models, an increase in the percentage of foreign-born residents was significantly associated with decreases in these three types of crimes. In other words, when immigrants went up, violent crime went down. For example, rates of property crimes declined more rapidly in cities with high percentages of foreign-born residents than they did in cities with low percentages of foreign-born residents.
immigration  crime  research  data 
february 2017 by Quercki
Over 50 Years Of Research Confirm The Damage Spanking Has On Children - UST
Several studies have examined the effects of corporal punishment on children’s behavior and mental health, with interesting results. One such study from 2012 was published in the journal Pediatrics and found harsh physical punishment such as “pushing, grabbing, shoving, slapping, hitting in non-abusive households increased the odds a child would develop mood, anxiety or personality disorders and alcohol or drug addiction.”
spanking  research 
january 2017 by Quercki
These scientists can prove it's possible to reduce prejudice - Vox
 I called David Broockman, who was then finishing up his PhD studies at the University of California Berkeley. He, along with fellow grad student Josh Kalla and Yale political science professor Peter Aronow, had uncovered the fraud.

Broockman and Kalla were in the midst of setting up their own experiment to replicate the findings with transgender phobia in Miami. In trying to figure out how LaCour pulled it off, Kalla and Broockman found many strange inconsistencies in his data. When they probed, the data fell apart. (LaCour had adapted a preexisting dataset and manipulated it to show positive results for his study.)

But Kalla and Broockman were resolved to go forward with their own experiment. Broockman told me he didn't know what to expect, other than that this idea — that humans are capable of change — was one worthy of a retest.

Well, the results are in. Today, Broockman — now a professor at Stanford — and Kalla, still a graduate student at Berkeley, have published their findings in Science. And they're filled with even more optimism than the faked study two years ago.

The study is titled "Durably reducing transphobia: A field experiment on door-to-door canvassing," and it is the first large-scale, real-world experimental effort that shows lasting opinion change is possible. Broockman and Kalla showed that a 10-minute conversation with a pro-transgender canvasser can influence opinions for at least three months.
transphobia  transgender  hate  research 
november 2016 by Quercki
Researchers discover the point at which maximum sitting time starts to harm your heart
In studying the data the researchers found that the cutoff maximum appeared to be sitting for 12 hours on average every day—such people, the researchers found, were 14 percent more likely to have heart problems than people who sat only 2.5 hours on average each day. The researchers defined sitting as being sedentary, which includes lying down. They noted that an increased risk of cardiac problems began to be noticeable in people who were sedentary for 10 hours a day, which suggests the problem is likely very widespread.
heart  attack  medical  research 
july 2016 by Quercki
Stanford big data study finds racial disparities in Oakland, Calif., police behavior, offers solutions | Stanford News

The researchers suggest that police departments in Oakland and elsewhere can overcome a subtle bias problem. Using better data, providing education and becoming informed are the first steps.

In fact, the Stanford researchers have already conducted training workshops on the subject of bias for about 700 – or 90 percent – of the sworn officers in Oakland. The researchers suggest brief, frequent training sessions with feedback on effectiveness for all police forces.

In the report, Eberhardt wrote, “Our recommendations are broad but are anchored in our primary mission of pushing agencies to collect more data and to do more with the data they collect. For many agencies, this will require a change in mindset: it requires seeing themselves not only as crime-fighting institutions, but also as institutions of learning.”

In broad terms, the researchers’ recommendations suggest:

Use data to measure what matters: Continue collecting traffic-stop data, expand these efforts and update the forms; and standardize, track and analyze crime-related communications provided to officers.
Leverage police body-worn camera footage: Use the footage to train officers and evaluate policies and require officers to self-audit racially charged footage.
Make data accessible: Build a stop data dashboard; automate stop data and narrative analyses; use automatic speech recognition systems; and improve the back-up systems for footage.
Collaborate with data partners: Hire a data manager and partner with experts to analyze traffic stop data.
Improve feedback channels: Give officers feedback on their stop performance and more efficient ways for them to communicate with command staff; conduct customer-service audits after routine stops and community surveys.
Oakland  police  stop  data  research  racism  bias  solutions 
june 2016 by Quercki
Systematic review of herbals as potential anti-inflammatory agents: Recent advances, current clinical status and future perspectives
Herbals containing anti-inflammatory activity (AIA) are topics of immense interest due to the absence of several problems in them, which are associated with synthetic preparations. The primary objective of this review is to provide a deep overview of the recently explored anti-inflammatory agents belonging to various classes of phytoconstituents like alkaloids, glycosides, terpenoids, steroids, polyphenolic compounds, and also the compounds isolated from plants of marine origin, algae and fungi. Also, it enlists a distended view on potential interactions between herbals and synthetic preparations, related adverse effects and clinical trials done on herbals for exploring their AIA. The basic aim of this review is to give updated knowledge regarding plants which will be valuable for the scientists working in the field of anti-inflammatory natural chemistry.

Keywords: Alkaloids, anti-inflammatory agents, cannabinoids, clinical trials, glycosides, herbals, inflammation
herbs  anti-inflammatory  research 
april 2016 by Quercki
Mental Health of Transgender Children Who Are Supported in Their Identities | Articles | Pediatrics

OBJECTIVE: Transgender children who have socially transitioned, that is, who identify as the gender “opposite” their natal sex and are supported to live openly as that gender, are increasingly visible in society, yet we know nothing about their mental health. Previous work with children with gender identity disorder (GID; now termed gender dysphoria) has found remarkably high rates of anxiety and depression in these children. Here we examine, for the first time, mental health in a sample of socially transitioned transgender children.

METHODS: A community-based national sample of transgender, prepubescent children (n = 73, aged 3–12 years), along with control groups of nontransgender children in the same age range (n = 73 age- and gender-matched community controls; n = 49 sibling of transgender participants), were recruited as part of the TransYouth Project. Parents completed anxiety and depression measures.

RESULTS: Transgender children showed no elevations in depression and slightly elevated anxiety relative to population averages. They did not differ from the control groups on depression symptoms and had only marginally higher anxiety symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS: Socially transitioned transgender children who are supported in their gender identity have developmentally normative levels of depression and only minimal elevations in anxiety, suggesting that psychopathology is not inevitable within this group. Especially striking is the comparison with reports of children with GID; socially transitioned transgender children have notably lower rates of internalizing psychopathology than previously reported among children with GID living as their natal sex.
transgender  children  mental  health  pediatrics  science  research 
february 2016 by Quercki
Characterization of Adults With a Self-Diagnosis of Nonceliac Gluten Sensitivity
Background: Nonceliac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), occurring in patients without celiac disease yet whose gastrointestinal symptoms improve on a gluten-free diet (GFD), is largely a self-reported diagnosis and would appear to be very common. The aims of this study were to characterize patients who believe they have NCGS. Materials and Methods: Advertising was directed toward adults who believed they had NCGS and were willing to participate in a clinical trial. Respondents were asked to complete a questionnaire about symptoms, diet, and celiac investigation. Results: Of 248 respondents, 147 completed the survey. Mean age was 43.5 years, and 130 were women. Seventy-two percent did not meet the description of NCGS due to inadequate exclusion of celiac disease (62%), uncontrolled symptoms despite gluten restriction (24%), and not following a GFD (27%), alone or in combination. The GFD was self-initiated in 44% of respondents; in other respondents it was prescribed by alternative health professionals (21%), dietitians (19%), and general practitioners (16%). No celiac investigations had been performed in 15% of respondents. Of 75 respondents who had duodenal biopsies, 29% had no or inadequate gluten intake at the time of endoscopy. Inadequate celiac investigation was common if the GFD was initiated by self (69%), alternative health professionals (70%), general practitioners (46%), or dietitians (43%). In 40 respondents who fulfilled the criteria for NCGS, their knowledge of and adherence to the GFD were excellent, and 65% identified other food intolerances. Conclusions: Just over 1 in 4 respondents self-reporting as NCGS fulfill criteria for its diagnosis. Initiation of a GFD without adequate exclusion of celiac disease is common. In 1 of 4 respondents, symptoms are poorly controlled despite gluten avoidance.
diet  gluten  science  research 
february 2016 by Quercki
About the Results Database -
The results database was launched in September 2008 to implement Section 801 of the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007 (FDAAA) (PDF), which requires the submission of "basic results" for certain clinical trials, generally no later than 1 year after their Completion Date (see Primary Completion Date on The submission of adverse event information was optional when the results database was first released but was required beginning in September 2009. Results information for registered and completed studies is submitted by the study sponsor or principal investigator in a standard, tabular format without discussions or conclusions. The information is considered summary information and does not include patient-level data. The results information that is submitted includes the following:

Participant Flow. A tabular summary of the progress of participants through each stage of a study, by study arm or comparison group. It includes the numbers of participants who started, completed, and dropped out of each period of the study based on the sequence in which interventions were assigned.
Baseline Characteristics. A tabular summary of the data collected at the beginning of a study for all participants, by study arm or comparison group. These data include demographics, such as age and gender, and study-specific measures (for example, systolic blood pressure, prior antidepressant treatment).
Outcome Measures and Statistical Analyses. A tabular summary of outcome measure values, by study arm or comparison group. It includes tables for each prespecified Primary Outcome and Secondary Outcome and may also include other prespecified outcomes, post hoc outcomes, and any appropriate statistical analyses.
Adverse Events. A tabular summary of all anticipated and unanticipated serious adverse events and a tabular summary of anticipated and unanticipated other adverse events exceeding a specific frequency threshold. For each serious or other adverse event, the summary includes the adverse event term, affected organ system, number of participants at risk, and number of participants affected, by study arm or comparison group.
medical  trials  vaccination  statin  research  data  database 
november 2015 by Quercki
AllTrials – Clinical trial publishing game, from The Economist
The results of around half of all clinical trials have never been published. Failing to publish results means the people who make decisions about medicines don’t have full information about the benefits and risks of treatments we use every day.

Use The Economist’s publication bias simulator to run clinical trials yourself, decide which trials to publish, and see how much your decision to withhold results skews the medical evidence.
medicine  research  trials  bias  publishing  drugs  corporations  games 
november 2015 by Quercki
Personalized Nutrition by Prediction of Glycemic Responses: Cell. David Zeevi8, Tal Korem8, Niv Zmora8, David Israeli8,
•High interpersonal variability in post-meal glucose observed in an 800-person cohort
•Using personal and microbiome features enables accurate glucose response prediction
•Prediction is accurate and superior to common practice in an independent cohort
•Short-term personalized dietary interventions successfully lower post-meal glucose
Elevated postprandial blood glucose levels constitute a global epidemic and a major risk factor for prediabetes and type II diabetes, but existing dietary methods for controlling them have limited efficacy. Here, we continuously monitored week-long glucose levels in an 800-person cohort, measured responses to 46,898 meals, and found high variability in the response to identical meals, suggesting that universal dietary recommendations may have limited utility. We devised a machine-learning algorithm that integrates blood parameters, dietary habits, anthropometrics, physical activity, and gut microbiota measured in this cohort and showed that it accurately predicts personalized postprandial glycemic response to real-life meals. We validated these predictions in an independent 100-person cohort. Finally, a blinded randomized controlled dietary intervention based on this algorithm resulted in significantly lower postprandial responses and consistent alterations to gut microbiota configuration. Together, our results suggest that personalized diets may successfully modify elevated postprandial blood glucose and its metabolic consequences
diet  diabetes  research 
november 2015 by Quercki
The Algorithm That Creates Diets That Work for You - The Atlantic
The team found a huge amount of variation between the volunteers. The same food would cause huge sugar spikes in some people but tiny blips in others. The volunteers also differed substantially in the foods that triggered the sharpest spikes: Participant 445, for example, reacted strongly to bananas, while participant 644 spiked heavily post-cookies. “When people talk to their diabetic friends about foods that spike their glucose level, it's really different for everyone,” says Segal. “That's the intuition but, as far as I know, it's never been demonstrated quantitatively on this scale.”

Zeevi and Korem showed that these personal differences were influenced by familiar factors like age and body mass index, and also less familiar ones like gut microbes. They found several groups of bacteria, and families of bacterial genes, that were linked to stronger PPGRs.

The team developed an algorithm that used all of these individual characteristics—some 137 factors in total—to predict a person's blood-sugar responses to different foods. Unlike carbohydrate counting or the glycemic index, this algorithm doesn't just look at the nutrient content of a meal, but also the traits of the person eating it.
diet  diabetes  research 
november 2015 by Quercki
The Scandalous Suppression of Gun Violence Research – The Moderate Voice
In the midst of President Obama’s denunciation of gun violence – if you’ve lost track, the latest massacre was on Friday – he lamented Washington’s ongoing inertia and said that, in fact, “we have a Congress that explicitly blocks us from even collecting data on how we could potentially prevent gun deaths.”
If you heard that remark, you may well have wondered, “Wait a sec. Congress blocks the collection of gun data? Really? Things can’t be that bad. Obama must’ve made that up.”
Nope, he didn’t make that up. The statutory suppression of gun violence research has been the law of the land for the last 19 years, courtesy of the gun lobby and its congressional servants.
We don’t know if universal background checks or more vigilant mental health measures would reduce gun violence because federal money for research has virtually dried up since the mid-1990s. It’s bad enough that, statistically, we’re by far the most violent country in the western world; it’s doubly scandalous that we starve scientific inquiry.
In fact, this past June, the House Republicans voted yet again to bar the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from conducting gun violence research. The CDC has been barred since 1996, the National Institute of Health and other federal health agencies have been barred since 2011 – and this censorship won’t be lifted in the foreseeable future because, as Oklahoma Republican Tom Cole said in June, “We don’t think this (research) is the appropriate forum for a debate over the Second Amendment.”
If the gun lobby is so confident about their Freedom arguments, about the deterrent value of universal gun use, then why are they so afraid of science?
guns  research  CDC  politics  NRA 
october 2015 by Quercki
Why is it harder to maintain weight level now than in the 80s? / Boing Boing
A paper in Obesity Research & Clinical Practice claims that it is now harder to keep the pounds off than it was 30 years ago, even given the same amount of exercise and food consumption.

Olga Khazan reports:

The authors examined the dietary data of 36,400 Americans between 1971 and 2008 and the physical activity data of 14,419 people between 1988 and 2006. They grouped the data sets together by the amount of food and activity, age, and BMI. …

They found a very surprising correlation: A given person, in 2006, eating the same amount of calories, taking in the same quantities of macronutrients like protein and fat, and exercising the same amount as a person of the same age did in 1988 would have a BMI that was about 2.3 points higher. In other words, people today are about 10 percent heavier than people were in the 1980s, even if they follow the exact same diet and exercise plans.

The suggestion is plainly that "there may be other specific changes contributing to the rise in obesity beyond just diet and exercise," but it's not clear what.

The three main suspects: exposure to chemicals that alter hormonal processes (think pesticides and food packaging), the dramatic increase in prescription drugs linked to weight gain (such as SSRIs), and changes in gut bacteria.
fat  research 
october 2015 by Quercki
ProQuest Document View - Decolonizing Indigenous histories, Pleistocene archaeology sites of the Western Hemisphere

One of the most acrimonious debates in American archaeology is that of the timing of the earliest human presence in the Western Hemisphere. I argue that the denial of Pre-Clovis (pre 13,200 cal BP) sites reflects a colonial practice which maintains an erasure of an ancient Indigenous presence. For many Indigenous people there is no separation between the past and the present, all time and all history is crucial to their culture and wellbeing. Rupturing connections between the past and the present as American archaeology has done; has been a very violent and destructive historic event. I argue that American archaeology has an ethical and moral duty to un-erase histories that its academic predecessors erased through violent discursive processes of knowledge production. The existence of numerous archaeological sites in the Pleistocene creates a dialogue from which Indigenous people can challenge erasures of the past, it foregrounds their identities and links to the land and empowers them in seeking justice. To allow that Indigenous people have been present in the Western Hemisphere for a much greater time is to support Indigenous ownership of the past and present. To accept that Indigenous peoples have been in the Western Hemisphere for over 60,000 years and possibly prior to 100,000 ybp is to put them on equal footing with areas of the so called Old World. I concur with Vine Deloria Jr. that Indians will never be accorded full humanity until they are connected with world history. I argue that there is a vast body of evidence for a much earlier human presence than traditionally accepted by American archaeologists. I present evidence of numerous of Pre-Clovis sites dispersed throughout the Western Hemisphere. Contrary to traditional archaeological discussions of early people in the Western Hemisphere, my research focus is not about where the First People came from or when they arrived. I argue that the first people and their descendants are indigenous to the continents of the Western Hemisphere and have been so for thousands of years. This land is where their cultures and lifeway were born, this is where they are from.
Native_American  archaeology  history  research 
september 2015 by Quercki
“Picture yourself as a stereotypical male” | MIT Admissions
In a now-famous study, psychologists at the University of Berlin falsely told participants that they had been selected to participate in a series of tests “to measure the ability to put oneself in someone else’s position” - a fabrication devised to avoid confounding factors in their real study on gender identity priming. They prepared a text describing a day in the life of a “stereotypical woman” who takes care of her family, works part time, and is insightful, helpful, and agreeable. They also prepared an equivalently-structured text outlining the activities of a stereotypical manly man who is tough, risk-taking, and does weight training after work. Subjects were randomly given one of the two texts, and then asked: “If you were the person described in the text, which adjectives would you use to describe yourself?”

Soon after participants described themselves with either the male- or female-associated traits, they were asked to take a mental rotation test presented as independent of the first part of the study, supposedly to measure their personal spatial aptitude. On this mental rotation test, women who were “primed” with the female identity scored an average of 3.86 on the exercise, compared to the female-primed males’ average of 5.14. Okay, expected. But then when primed with the male text, women scored an average of 5.49, while men scored 5.53… wait a second, what?
stereotype  threat  male  female  Black  gender  research 
september 2015 by Quercki
Study confirms that sexist men are losers - Boing Boing
No one, except delusional sexist men, will be surprised to learn that men who harass women online are "low-status, non-dominant men" according to a study published in the journal PLOS One, titled "Insights into Sexism: Male Status and Performance Moderates Female-Directed Hostile and Amicable Behaviour." The Washington Post reports:

Michael Kasumovic and Jeffrey Kuznekoff, researchers at the University of New South Wales and Miami University, respectively ... watched how men treated women during 163 plays of the video game Halo 3. As they watched the games play out and tracked the comments that players made to each other, the researchers observed that — no matter their skill level, or how the game went — men tended to be pretty cordial to each other. Male players who were good at the game also tended to pay compliments to other male and female players.

Some male players, however — the ones who were less-skilled at the game, and performing worse relative their peers — made frequent, nasty comments to the female gamers. In other words, sexist dudes are literally losers.


In each of these environments, Kasumovic suggests, a recent influx of female participants has disrupted a pre-existing social hierarchy. That’s okay for the guys at the top — but for the guys at the bottom, who stand to lose more status, that’s very threatening. (It’s also in keeping with the evolutionary framework on anti-lady hostility, which suggests sexism is a kind of Neanderthal defense mechanism for low-status, non-dominant men trying to maintain a shaky grip on their particular cave’s supply of women.)

"A chart from the Halo study that shows how nice male gamers were to other males (dotted line) and females (solid line) during gameplay. Men always treat each other about the same. But the better a player gets, the more likely he is to be nice to ladies. (Kasumovic et al)"

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sexism  harassment  gaming  research 
july 2015 by Quercki
You have $8 billion. You want to do as much good as possible. What do you do? - Vox
That means that at some point in the not-too-distant future, Open Phil will have to decide if criminal justice investments are a better bet than macroeconomic policy ones, and by how much; if macroeconomic policy investments are a better bet than biosecurity; and whether either is better than funding medical research. It will have to start comparing magnitudes — and that's ridiculously difficult.
charity  research  good  donate  philanthropy 
april 2015 by Quercki
Masters of Love — The Atlantic
Throughout the day, partners would make requests for connection, what Gottman calls “bids.” For example, say that the husband is a bird enthusiast and notices a goldfinch fly across the yard. He might say to his wife, “Look at that beautiful bird outside!” He’s not just commenting on the bird here: he’s requesting a response from his wife—a sign of interest or support—hoping they’ll connect, however momentarily, over the bird.

The wife now has a choice. She can respond by either “turning toward” or “turning away” from her husband, as Gottman puts it. Though the bird-bid might seem minor and silly, it can actually reveal a lot about the health of the relationship. The husband thought the bird was important enough to bring it up in conversation and the question is whether his wife recognizes and respects that.

People who turned toward their partners in the study responded by engaging the bidder, showing interest and support in the bid. Those who didn’t—those who turned away—would not respond or respond minimally and continue doing whatever they were doing, like watching TV or reading the paper. Sometimes they would respond with overt hostility, saying something like, “Stop interrupting me, I’m reading.”

These bidding interactions had profound effects on marital well-being. Couples who had divorced after a six-year follow up had “turn-toward bids” 33 percent of the time. Only three in ten of their bids for emotional connection were met with intimacy. The couples who were still together after six years had “turn-toward bids” 87 percent of the time. Nine times out of ten, they were meeting their partner’s emotional needs.
research  marriage  health  relationships  success 
march 2015 by Quercki
Sodium Intake and Mortality in the NHANES II Follow-up Study
US Dietary Guidelines recommend a daily sodium intake <2300 mg, but evidence linking sodium intake to mortality outcomes is scant and inconsistent. To assess the association of sodium intake with cardiovascular disease (CVD) and all-cause mortality and the potential impact of dietary sodium intake <2300 mg, we examined data from the Second National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES II).

Observational cohort study linking sodium, estimated by single 24-hour dietary recall and adjusted for calorie intake, in a community sample (n = 7154) representing 78.9 million non-institutionalized US adults (ages 30-74). Hazard ratios (HR) for CVD and all-cause mortality were calculated from multivariable adjusted Cox models accounting for the sampling design.

Over mean 13.7 (range: 0.5-16.8) years follow-up, there were 1343 deaths (541 CVD). Sodium (adjusted for calories) and sodium/calorie ratio as continuous variables had independent inverse associations with CVD mortality (P = .03 and P = .008, respectively). Adjusted HR of CVD mortality for sodium <2300 mg was 1.37 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.03-1.81, P = .033), and 1.28 (95% CI: 1.10-1.50, P = .003) for all-cause mortality. Alternate sodium thresholds from 1900-2700 mg gave similar results. Results were consistent in the majority of subgroups examined, but no such associations were observed for those <55 years old, non-whites, or the obese.

The inverse association of sodium to CVD mortality seen here raises questions regarding the likelihood of a survival advantage accompanying a lower sodium diet. These findings highlight the need for further study of the relation of dietary sodium to mortality outcomes.

Sodium; Cardiovascular disease; Mortality; Dietary guidelines; NHANES
One author (MHA) has been an unpaid consultant to the Salt Institute, a trade organization.
sodium  salt  heart  research  guidelines 
march 2015 by Quercki
Study: Evidence-Based Protocols for Medication Abortion Are Safe, Effective
The distinction also matters because many anti-choice laws try to restrict women’s access to medication abortion by forcing doctors to use the FDA protocols. The new study adds to a robust body of evidence that these restrictive laws have no scientific basis.

The study, which spanned five years and followed 13,000 women who used evidence-based protocols for medication abortion at Los Angeles-area Planned Parenthood clinics, found that the protocols were more than 98 percent effective for pregnancies of up to 42 days’ gestation, and more than 95 percent effective up to 63 days.

The FDA protocols only recommend using medication abortion up until 49 days of gestation, or about seven weeks, and are less than 85 percent effective after 49 days.

Doctors and experts say the FDA protocol—which is based on a regimen developed in France 25 years ago and used 15 years ago in clinical trials to approve the drug in the United States—is outdated and out of step with best medical practice.
abortion  safety  evidence  choice  research 
january 2015 by Quercki
ECHIDNE OF THE SNAKES: A Christmas Gift For You: Swimming Through a Study On Gender Roles As Innate And More
The SMPY researchers attempted to figure out why their high-achieving men and women made the life choices they did by analyzing the values reported by each gender group. Among the male participants' top values were full-time work, making an impact and earning a high income. Female participants, on the other hand, valued part-time work, community and family involvement, as well as time for close relationships -- in a nutshell: "having it all." 
I see two problems in that quote. First, there's the egg-and-chicken problem when we assess the values reported in studies like that.  Someone who has spent his/her time on a career might pick career-related values due to confirmation bias, someone who had to give up on a full-time career due to children might pick values which confirm those choices, and in both cases the societal gender norms partly reflect what men and women are taught to value.

Second, being able to dedicate oneself to a career while also having a family requires that someone else takes care of the family.  Likewise, being able to spend more time on the family may require that someone else works more in the labor market or at least gets paid more.

The way this popularization reads to me is as if the two ways of working are independent.  But they are not.  To put it simply:  A career focused woman would need a more home-focused husband and a career focused man would need a more home-focused wife for a life that is successful in the career sense and includes children.**
gender  STEM  research  debunk 
december 2014 by Quercki
Life Paths and Accomplishments of Mathematically Precocious Males and Females Four Decades Later
Two cohorts of intellectually talented 13-year-olds were identified in the 1970s (1972–1974 and 1976–1978) as being in the top 1% of mathematical reasoning ability (1,037 males, 613 females). About four decades later, data on their careers, accomplishments, psychological well-being, families, and life preferences and priorities were collected. Their accomplishments far exceeded base-rate expectations: Across the two cohorts, 4.1% had earned tenure at a major research university, 2.3% were top executives at “name brand” or Fortune 500 companies, and 2.4% were attorneys at major firms or organizations; participants had published 85 books and 7,572 refereed articles, secured 681 patents, and amassed $358 million in grants. For both males and females, mathematical precocity early in life predicts later creative contributions and leadership in critical occupational roles. On average, males had incomes much greater than their spouses’, whereas females had incomes slightly lower than their spouses’. Salient sex differences that paralleled the differential career outcomes of the male and female participants were found in lifestyle preferences and priorities and in time allocation.
intelligence individual differences creativity giftedness
Fifty years after students were summoned out of their classrooms in September 1921 to populate arguably the most famous longitudinal study in psychology, Lewis Terman’s Genetic Studies of Genius (Friedman & Martin, 2011; Holahan, Sears, & Cronbach, 1995; Terman, 1925), Julian C. Stanley launched the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) in September 1971 (Keating & Stanley, 1972; Stanley, 1996). SMPY was designed in part to stand on the shoulders of Terman’s contributions. Terman used time-intensive (individually administered) general-ability assessments to identify 1,528 high-IQ (top 1%) young adolescents and then tracked them for decades. He was interested in their accomplishments, educational needs, and personal well-being. SMPY had a similar agenda, but also a strong interventionist focus (Benbow & Stanley, 1996; Stanley, 2000). SMPY identified participants using more efficient (group-administered) and focused specific-ability assessments, administering college entrance exams to intellectually talented 13-year-olds to identify those in the top 1% in mathematical reasoning ability. The rationale was that for purposes of identifying scientific talent in particular and developing procedures to foster its growth (Bleske-Rechek, Lubinski, & Benbow, 2004; Park, Lubinski, & Benbow, 2013; Wai, Lubinski, Benbow, & Steiger, 2010), it might be more profitable to use tests of outstanding mathematical reasoning ability rather than assessments of more general ability (IQ).
research  STEM  gender  excel 
december 2014 by Quercki
Why Men May Not Try To 'Have It All' The Same Way Women Do
He called it the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth. And before his death in 2005, Stanley handed the reigns of the study over to fellow educational psychologist Camilla P. Benbow. Soon after, Benbow enlisted the help of her colleague David Lubinski.

In 2012, Benbow and Lubinski checked back in with the children, now between the ages of 48 and 53. Along with fellow researcher Harrison J. Kell, they administered a survey to find out how the study participants were faring, 40 years after they first tested into that top tier of academic achievers.

The STEM-minded kids didn't disappoint: Eight percent had earned a patent, 2.3 percent were top executives at "name brand" or Fortune 500 companies; 4.1 percent had earned tenure at a major university; 2.4 percent were attorneys at the country's top firms; and 3 percent had published a book.

But what specifically interested the researchers was the difference between how men and women fared:

"We wanted to investigate the lifestyle and psychological orientation required for developing a truly outstanding career and creative production," the researchers wrote in an article accompanying the survey results, published in November in the journal Psychological Science. "When SMPY was launched, many educational and occupational opportunities were just becoming open to women, so we paid particular attention to how mathematically precocious females, relative to males, have constructed their lives over the past 40 years."

So what insights did the high achievers offer?

Even at this level of intelligence, researchers found that the gender gap was real and obvious. Women in the study, as public discourse would suggest, were indeed interested in "having it all." Men were more focused on money than childcare.
gender  STEM  research  sexism 
december 2014 by Quercki
Police often provoke protest violence, UC researchers find - SFGate
The research team, which studied clashes between police and activists during the Occupy movement three years ago, found that protests tend to turn violent when officers use aggressive tactics, such as approaching demonstrators in riot gear or lining up in military-like formations.
Recent events in Ferguson, Mo., are a good example, the study's lead researcher said. For nearly two weeks, activists angered by a white police officer's fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager have ratcheted up their protests when confronted by heavily armed police forces.
Many police killings, but only Ferguson explodes
Hundreds in Oakland march to support Ferguson protesters
Think twice about judging Ferguson
"Everything starts to turn bad when you see a police officer come out of an SUV and he's carrying an AR-15," said Nick Adams, a sociologist and fellow at UC Berkeley's Institute for Data Science who leads the Deciding Force Project. "It just upsets the crowd."
Adams said many law enforcement agencies aren't aware that they set the tone of a protest and end up inflaming it.
192 cities studied

His team reached its conclusions by analyzing Occupy protests in 192 U.S. cities in 2011. The researchers sifted through thousands of news reports about the protests, which were sparked by concerns over economic inequality, and isolated patterns of violence and their apparent causes.
Some of the most contentious Occupy protests happened in Oakland, where the fallout is still being scrutinized.
police  violence  Ferguson  Occupy_Oakland  research 
december 2014 by Quercki
Women in Academic Science: A Changing Landscape Stephen J. Ceci1, Donna K. Ginther2, Shulamit Kahn3, and Wendy M. Williams1
Psychological Science in the
Public Interest
2014, Vol. 15(3) 75–141
© The Author(s) 2014
Reprints and permissions: DOI: 10.1177/1529100614541236
Much has been written in the past two decades about women in academic science careers, but this literature is contradictory. Many analyses have revealed a level playing field, with men and women faring equally, whereas other analyses have suggested numerous areas in which the playing field is not level. The only widely-agreed-upon conclusion is that women are underrepresented in college majors, graduate school programs, and the professoriate in those fields that are the most mathematically intensive, such as geoscience, engineering, economics, mathematics/ computer science, and the physical sciences. In other scientific fields (psychology, life science, social science), women are found in much higher percentages.
In this monograph, we undertake extensive life-course analyses comparing the trajectories of women and men in math-intensive fields with those of their counterparts in non-math-intensive fields in which women are close to parity with or even exceed the number of men. We begin by examining early-childhood differences in spatial processing and follow this through quantitative performance in middle childhood and adolescence, including high school coursework. We then focus on the transition of the sexes from high school to college major, then to graduate school, and, finally, to careers in academic science.
STEM  sexism  research 
november 2014 by Quercki
The End of Sexism in Science? » Feminist Reflections
At a time when 26 percent of women scientists report being sexually assaulted in the field, the authors of a new study boldly claim that “times have changed” and women’s “claims of mistreatment” in academic science are “largely anecdotal.”

As much as I’d like for this to be true, the claim is founded more on the authors’ fundamental misunderstanding of sex discrimination and oversimplification of gender than on any version of reality.

The authors of “Women in Academic Science: A Changing Landscape”, published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest, examine the career trajectories of women and men in math-intensive fields, finding that women fare as well as men when it comes to invitations to interview for tenure-track faculty positions, job offers, and promotions.
STEM  sexism  research 
november 2014 by Quercki
Slavery, Education, and Inequality
The legacy of slavery for the US economy and society has been the subject of a huge literature. In this paper, we investigate whether it can explain the racial educational gaps which NCLB targets. Our empirical analysis indeed shows that, across the US counties, the current degree of educational inequality, along the racial dimension, can be traced to the intensity of slavery before the Civil War. In other words, those counties that in the past have been more heavily affected by slave labor show a higher degree of racial educational inequality in the present day. Moreover, the data uncover a persistent effect of slavery on the degree of per capita income inequality. On the contrary, the legacy of slavery has no explanatory power for the current level of income per capita. Finally, we show that the driver of income inequality is racial inequality, which is in turn linked to slavery through its impact on the racial gap in education.
JEL Classification: E02, D02, H52, J15, O11
Keywords: slavery, development, inequality, institutions, education
racism  slavery  inequality  institutions  research 
november 2014 by Quercki
Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity May Not Exist | RealClearScience
By extension, the study also lent credibility to the meteoric rise of the gluten-free diet. Surveys now show that 30% of Americans would like to eat less gluten, and sales of gluten-free products are estimated to hit $15 billion by 2016 -- that's a 50% jump over 2013's numbers!

But like any meticulous scientist, Gibson wasn't satisfied with his first study. His research turned up no clues to what actually might be causing subjects' adverse reactions to gluten. Moreover, there were many more variables to control! What if some hidden confounder was mucking up the results? He resolved to repeat the trial with a level of rigor lacking in most nutritional research. Subjects would be provided with every single meal for the duration of the trial. Any and all potential dietary triggers for gastrointestinal symptoms would be removed, including lactose (from milk products), certain preservatives like benzoates, propionate, sulfites, and nitrites, and fermentable, poorly absorbed short-chain carbohydrates, also known as FODMAPs. And last, but not least, nine days worth of urine and fecal matter would be collected. With this new study, Gibson wasn't messing around.

Analyzing the data, Gibson found that each treatment diet, whether it included gluten or not, prompted subjects to report a worsening of gastrointestinal symptoms to similar degrees. Reported pain, bloating, nausea, and gas all increased over the baseline low-FODMAP diet. Even in the second experiment, when the placebo diet was identical to the baseline diet, subjects reported a worsening of symptoms! The data clearly indicated that a nocebo effect, the same reaction that prompts some people to get sick from wind turbines and wireless internet, was at work here. Patients reported gastrointestinal distress without any apparent physical cause. Gluten wasn't the culprit; the cause was likely psychological. Participants expected the diets to make them sick, and so they did. The finding led Gibson to the opposite conclusion of his 2011 research:

“In contrast to our first study… we could find absolutely no specific response to gluten."
gluten  food  science  diet  research 
september 2014 by Quercki
Does fish oil prevent heart disease? Original Danish Eskimo diet study was wrong.
To truly learn whether omega-3s guard heart health or not, we need research that goes a step further: large-scale, randomized trials. A couple of early omega-3 trials got positive results, but they lacked a placebo control group. (That is, there were no subjects swallowing sham pills instead of the real thing.) More recently, randomized and placebo-controlled studies didn’t find any benefit from fish oil. But these studies looked at patients who already had heart disease; they didn’t ask whether omega-3s help healthy people. And medications like statins or aspirin could have masked any positive effects of fish oil in these trials, Manson says. VITAL will follow more than 25,000 healthy people taking real or placebo pills over the course of five years. By 2018, there will be an answer.
heart  research  fish_oil  omega3s  media 
september 2014 by Quercki
First Blood Test to Diagnose Depression in Adults: Northwestern University News
CHICAGO --- The first blood test to diagnose major depression in adults has been developed by Northwestern Medicine® scientists, a breakthrough approach that provides the first objective, scientific diagnosis for depression. The test identifies depression by measuring the levels of nine RNA blood markers. RNA molecules are the messengers that interpret the DNA genetic code and carry out its instructions.

The blood test also predicts who will benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy based on the behavior of some of the markers. This will provide the opportunity for more effective, individualized therapy for people with depression.

In addition, the test showed the biological effects of cognitive behavioral therapy, the first measurable, blood-based evidence of the therapy’s success. The levels of markers changed in patients who had the therapy for 18 weeks and were no longer depressed.   

“This clearly indicates that you can have a blood-based laboratory test for depression, providing a scientific diagnosis in the same way someone is diagnosed with high blood pressure or high cholesterol,” said Eva Redei, who developed the test and is a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “This test brings mental health diagnosis into the 21st century and offers the first personalized medicine approach to people suffering from depression.”

Redei is co-lead author of the study, which was published Sept. 16 in Translational Psychiatry. 

Redei previously developed a blood test that diagnosed depression in adolescents. Most of the markers she identified in the adult depression panel are different from those in depressed adolescents. 
depression  medicine  science  research 
september 2014 by Quercki
The Moral Molecule — Aspen Ideas — Medium
“Person 1 sent you say $15. With the $10 you got for joining the study, you now have $25. Do you want to keep it all, or send some amount back?” No one will know, you get paid in a different building. You’re totally in private.

So the standard view in economics was that if you’re Person 2, money is good. I think it’s a sort of caveman economics: “Oh, money good, me keep money.” It almost never happens in these experiments. What we see happening is that the more money someone sends you, the more money you tend to return to that person.

Person 1 has to sacrifice to make Person 2 better off. What do they expect you to do? Share the money with me, all right, and almost everybody does that. We didn’t care how people feel, we just followed the money. A kind of a Jerry Maguire approach to research: Show me the money, I’ll show you what I care about.

We did blood draws before and after, and we found that the more money you received as the second person in this transaction, the more your brain made oxytocin, and the more oxytocin your brain made, the more money you reciprocated.
oxytocin  mortality  research 
september 2014 by Quercki
Transgender People Can Explain Why Women Don't Advance at Work | New Republic
it’s been near impossible to isolate gender as a variable in the real world and watch how it affects a person’s day-to-day experience. 

Until now. Trans people are bringing entirely new ways of approaching the discussion. Because trans people are now staying in the same careers (and sometimes the very same jobs) after they change genders, they are uniquely qualified to discuss the difference between how men and women experience the workplace. Their experience is as close to the scientific method as we can get: By isolating and manipulating gender as a variable and holding all other variables—skill, career, personality, talent—constant, these individuals reveal exactly the way one’s outward appearance of gender affects day-to-day interactions. If we truly want to understand women at work, we should listen carefully to trans men and trans women: They can tell us more about gender in the workplace than just about anyone.


Ben Barres is a biologist at Stanford who lived and worked as Barbara Barres until he was in his forties. For most of his career, he experienced bias, but didn’t give much weight to it—seeing incidents as discrete events. (When he solved a tough math problem, for example, a professor said, “You must have had your boyfriend solve it.”) When he became Ben, however, he immediately noticed a difference in his everyday experience: “People who don't know I am transgendered treat me with much more respect,” he says. He was more carefully listened to and his authority less frequently questioned. He stopped being interrupted in meetings. At one conference, another scientist said, "Ben gave a great seminar today—but then his work is so much better than his sister's." (The scientist didn't know Ben
sexism  gender  bias  research  transgender 
september 2014 by Quercki
How to read and understand a scientific paper: a guide for non-scientists | IFLScience
Reading a scientific paper is a completely different process from reading an article about science in a blog or newspaper. Not only do you read the sections in a different order than they're presented, but you also have to take notes, read it multiple times, and probably go look up other papers in order to understand some of the details. Reading a single paper may take you a very long time at first, but be patient with yourself. The process will go much faster as you gain experience.
The type of scientific paper I'm discussing here is referred to as a primary research article. It's a peer-reviewed report of new research on a specific question (or questions). Most articles will be divided into the following sections: abstract, introduction, methods, results, and conclusions/interpretations/discussion. 
science  research  howto 
june 2014 by Quercki
Urban Legends: The Basics competitor
Netlore: Online Rumors, Hoaxes & Legends
Once upon a time, urban legends were considered almost exclusively an oral tradition, spread by word of mouth alone. Only when they were collected and published in books were these popular stories ever written down. The Internet, needless to say, has changed all that. Email and the Web are now the primary way legends, rumors, and hoaxes are spread. The term "Netlore" was coined to provide a handy label for this new phenomenon.

Netlore: A Definition
What Is a Rumor?
What Is a Hoax?
How to Spot an Email Hoax
Netlore: Internet Urban Legends
Netlore: Online Chain Letters
snopes  fact  hoax  research 
june 2014 by Quercki
Mass Shootings and the “Man”ifesto » There's Research on That
The kind of attack carried out by Rodger closely matches researchers’ profile of other shooters—a clear, sustained pattern of challenges to their masculine identities. They do not just “snap,” but are shaped over time by the way our society polices gender.

Katherine Newman,  Cybelle Fox, David J. Harding, Jal Mehta, & Wendy Roth. 2005. Rampage: The Social Roots of School Shootings. New York: Basic Books.
Jack Levin & Eric Madfis. 2009. “Mass murder at school and cumulative strain: A sequential model.” American Behavioral Scientist, 52, 1227-1245.
Michael Kimmel and Matthew Mahler. 2003. “Adolescent Masculinity, Homophobia, and Violence: Random School Shootings, 1982-2001.” American Behavioral Scientist, 46(10): 1439-1458
Adam Lankford. 2012. “A comparative analysis of suicide terrorists and rampage, workplace, and school shooters in the United States from 1990 to 2010.” Homicide Studies, 17, 255-274.
Feelings that lost masculinity can only be reclaimed through violence are tied to a broader pattern of threats against women. While there have been declines in violence against women and other crime over the past generation, violence against women remains an enormous problem in the United States and around the world.

Manuel Eisner. “Long-term historical trends in violent crime.” Crime and Justice (2003): 83-142.
Michael Planty, Lynn Langton, Christopher Krebs, Marcus Berzofsky, and Hope Smiley-McDonald. 2013. “Female Victims of Sexual Violence, 1994-2010.” Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.
murder  women  research  statistics 
june 2014 by Quercki
Survey on gender-based violence against women | European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights
In 2010 the FRA initiated a pilot/pre-test study in six EU Member States to test the draft survey questionnaire in a combination of qualitative and quantitative interviews. Work on the full-scale survey started in 2011, and the data collection was completed in September 2012. During the project development the FRA consulted a group consisting of various stakeholder groups concerning the issues to be covered in the survey, and a group of violence against women survey research specialists on the details of technical implementation.

The survey interviewed in total over 40,000 women (approximately 1,500 per country), aged 18-74 years, in the 27 European Union Member States and Croatia. The interviews were managed by Ipsos MORI – in cooperation with the European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control, affiliated with the United Nations (HEUNI), and the United Nations Inter-regional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) – based on an open call for tender and following FRA’s project specifications. In each country a representative sample of respondents was drawn either from existing population registers or using the random route method. In both cases only one respondent per household was interviewed, and the interviews were conducted in a private setting with no other people present except the interviewer and the respondent.

The respondents were asked about their experiences of physical, sexual and psychological violence – including sexual harassment and stalking – by partners and other persons. With regard to incidents of violence, the survey asked a series of questions concerning the nature of violence, consequences, and ways in which the victims have coped with the incidents. While most experiences of violence that were asked about in the survey referred to the time since the respondent was 16 years of age, the survey also included a section on childhood incidents which may have taken place before the age of 16. Socio-demographic information was collected to enable a detailed analysis of the survey results. The same standardised questionnaire was used in all survey countries to ensure the comparability of the results.
violence  women  misogyny  research  Europe 
june 2014 by Quercki
Science faculty’s subtle gender biases favor male students
This entire thing is so condescending to women scientists and women more generally.

The fact that we need a scientific study to prove true what women say about their experiences shows already that there is bias. Implied in this entire exercise is that women are liars (or, at the least, constantly exaggerating and complaining). Women scientists have been lying for a long time about whether they are discriminated against so, once again, someone has set out to discover whether they are actually lying.

Of course, the people who did the study may have done it purposefully to show that women are not, in fact, liars. But that does not negate the fact that women scientists saying they are discriminated against is not, in and of itself, proof that women scientists are discriminated against.

What’s that, all you lady scientists? Bias? I don’t know. Do you have PROOF?

Having to “prove” that women are discriminated against in Science with some kind of scientific proof just shows that women scientists are treated as outside of Science. I literally cannot imagine if an overwhelming group of male scientists all agreed about “what it means to be a man and a scientist” that there would need to be proof that their claims are true. Their experiences would be treated as normal and right. The proof would be in the collectivity of voices.
science  women  bias  discrimination  research  statistics  proof  **** 
june 2014 by Quercki
Frontiers | Overview of Substance Use Disorders and Incarceration of African American Males | Forensic Psychiatry
Venkata K. Mukku1, Timothy G. Benson2†, Farzana Alam1, William D. Richie1* and Rahn K. Bailey1
1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Meharry Medical College School of Medicine, Nashville, TN, USA
2Department of Psychiatry, McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA, USA
Incarceration affects the lives of many African American men and often leads to poverty, ill health, violence, and a decreased quality of life. There has been an unprecedented increase in incarceration among African American males since 1970. In 2009, the incarceration rate among black males was 6.7 times that of white males and 2.6 times of Hispanic males. Substance abuse in African American males leads to higher mortality rates, high rates of alcohol-related problems, more likely to be victims of crimes, and HIV/AIDS. African Americans comprised only 14% of the U.S. population but comprised 38% of the jail population. The cost of incarcerating persons involved in substance related crimes has increased considerably over the past two decades in the U.S. A reduction in the incarceration rate for non-violent offences would save an estimated $17 billion per year. Substance use disorder makes the individual more prone to polysubstance use and leads to impulse control problems, selling drugs, and other crimes. The high rate of incarceration in U.S. may adversely affect health care, the economy of the country, and will become a burden on society. Implementation of good mental health care, treatment of addiction during and after incarceration will help to decrease the chances of reoffending. Therapeutic community programs with prison-based and specialized treatment facilities, cognitive behavioral therapy treatment for 91–180 days, and 12-step orientation with staff specialized in substance abuse can be helpful. It is essential for health care professionals to increase public awareness of substance abuse and find ways to decrease the high rates of incarceration.
African-American  prison  research 
june 2014 by Quercki
Lessons From a Day Spent With the UCSB Shooter's Awful Friends
Rodger said he did it because he hates women.

So do the other forum participants.

[9:27 AM]: media doesnt aknolwedge the majroity of males' discontentment with current sexual distopia

[9:27 AM]: its all about HATING WOMEN
How many times do they have to tell us before we believe them?
misogyny  hate  research 
june 2014 by Quercki
Alcohol and Sexual Assault
Most researchers agree that the most reliable estimates derive from studies using multi-item scales  that is, measures containing several questions describing behaviors which constitute sexual assault in simple, nonlegal language (Koss 1988).
Based on such measures, conservative estimates suggest that at least 25 percent of American women have been sexually assaulted in adolescence or adulthood and that 18 percent have been raped. Furthermore, at least 20 percent of American men report having perpetrated sexual assault and 5 percent report having committed rape (Crowell and Burgess 1996; Spitzberg 1999; Tjaden and Thoennes 2000). Due to their accessibility, college student surveys tend to employ the most thorough measures of sexual assault by including the largest number of behaviorally specific questions. These studies suggest that approximately 50 percent of college women have been sexually assaulted, and 27 percent have experienced rape or attempted rape; in contrast, 25 percent of college men have committed sexual assault, and 8 percent have committed rape or attempted rape (Crowell and Burgess 1996; Koss 1988; Spitzberg 1999).
At least one-half of all violent crimes involve alcohol consumption by the perpetrator, the victim, or both (Collins and Messerschmidt 1993). Sexual assault fits this pattern. Thus, across the disparate populations studied, researchers consistently have found that approximately one-half of all sexual assaults are committed by men who have been drinking alcohol. Depending on the sample studied and the measures used, the estimates for alcohol use among perpetrators have ranged from 34 to 74 percent (Abbey et al. 1994; Crowell and Burgess 1996). Similarly, approximately one-half of all sexual assault victims report that they were drinking alcohol at the time of the assault, with estimates ranging from 30 to 79 percent (Abbey et al. 1994; Crowell and Burgess 1996). It is important to emphasize, however, that although a woman’s alcohol consumption may place her at increased risk of sexual assault, she is in no way responsible for the assault. The perpetrators are legally and morally responsible for their behavior.
sexual_assault  rape  alcohol  research 
may 2014 by Quercki
Facts are Cool
“[B]lack males receive [prison] sentences that are approximately 10% longer than comparable white males with those at the top of the sentencing distribution facing even larger disparities.” -Racial Disparity in Federal Criminal Charging and Its Sentencing Consequences, 2012.

“The ratio of women’s and men’s median annual earnings was 77.0 for full-time, year-round workers in 2009 … African American women earned on average only 61.9 cents for every dollar earned by white men, and Hispanic women earned only 52.9 cents for each dollar earned by white men.” -The Gender Wage Gap: 2009.

Poverty rates in 2009, from Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States (2009).

For non-Hispanic Whites: 9.4%
For Asians: 12.5%
For Blacks: 25.3%
Hate Crimes in 2010, from the U. S. Department of Justice Hate Crime Statistics.

Race: 69.8% were motivated by anti-black bias, compared to 18.2% that stemmed from anti-white bias.
Religion: 65.4% were anti-Jewish and 13.2% were anti-Islamic.
At birth, the average life expectancy of a white baby in the United States is four years longer than the average life expectancy of a black baby. -U. S. Census Bureau, Life Expectancy by Sex, Age, and Race: 2008.

“30.4% of Hispanics, 17% of blacks, and 9.9% of whites do not have health insurance.” -Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Nearly 1 in 5 women in the United States has been raped in her lifetime (18.3%) … Approximately 1 in 71 men in the United States (1.4%) reported having been raped in his lifetime.” -National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (2010).
statistics  privilege  race  sex  links  research 
may 2014 by Quercki
Cholesterol Guidelines and CV Risk Calculator Clarifications
will refer readers to our title, which is "The Treatment of Blood Cholesterol to Reduce Atherosclerotic Risk in Adults." It's about reducing heart attacks and strokes and deaths from those conditions.
Dr. Robinson: We were convened in 2008 by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) as a panel of experts that included all sorts of experts, such as family practitioners; we tried to involve a broad range of people. We used the model that is now advocated by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) for state-of-the-art guidelines, which is to have a series of critical questions. Then you define a priori the inclusion and exclusion criteria for the trials that are involved. We limited ourselves to randomized controlled trials. We did not consider epidemiologic evidence or observational studies.

Dr. Yancy: Let's pause on that for a moment. Bob, you and I have been involved in the American College of Cardiology (ACC) guideline process for years. Typically in the ACC/AHA guideline construct, we start with a set of recommendations and then seek evidence to support those recommendations. This is a very different process.

Dr. Harrington: This is a much more rigorous process,
heart  statins  cholesterol  guidelines  research 
may 2014 by Quercki
Waterlogged? | BMJ "Health Marketing" (eight glasses of water a day)
Water, water everywhere. Should doctors be telling people to drink more water as a public health issue? Hydration for Health, an initiative to promote drinking more water, held its annual scientific meeting in Evian, France, last week. The initiative has shown its fervour for water with recent adverts in the medical press, including the BMJ. The website states that its mission is “to establish healthy hydration as an integral part of public health nutritional guidelines and routine patient counselling so people can make informed choices.” It believes that “Healthcare professionals should be encouraged to talk with patients about the calorific content of SSBs [sugar sweetened beverages] when discussing lifestyle modification to manage overweight and/or obesity . . . Consumption of water in preference to other beverages should be highlighted as a simple step towards healthier hydration.” And healthier hydration is? “recommending 1.5 to 2 litres of water daily is the simplest and healthiest hydration advice you can give.”

Hydration for Health has a vested interest: it is sponsored and was created by French food giant Danone. This company produces Volvic, Evian, and Badoit bottled waters. The initiative’s website is bold and strident. Under a section entitled “We don’t drink enough water,” it states, “many people, including children, are not drinking enough . . . Children can be at greater risk than adults of feeling the effects of not drinking enough because of their smaller size . . . Elderly people often have a decreased sensation of thirst, which can lead to a higher risk of dehydration [and] evidence is increasing that even mild dehydration plays a role in the development of various diseases.”1
Drinking eight glasses of water a day is recommended by all kinds of organisations, including the NHS, which says on the NHS Choices website: “Try to drink about six to eight glasses of water (or other fluids) a day to prevent dehydration.”2 This is not only nonsense, but is thoroughly debunked nonsense. In 2002, Heinz Valtin published a critique of the evidence in the American Journal of Physiology. He concluded that “Not only is there no scientific evidence that we need to drink that much, but the recommendation could be harmful, both in precipitating potentially dangerous hyponatremia and exposure to pollutants and also in making many people feel guilty for not drinking enough.”3 In 2008, an editorial in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology reached much the same conclusion, stating that “There is no clear evidence of benefit from drinking increased amounts of water.
water  science  research 
may 2014 by Quercki
“Drink at least eight glasses of water a day.” Really? Is there scientific evidence for “8 × 8”? | Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology

Despite the seemingly ubiquitous admonition to “drink at least eight 8-oz glasses of water a day” (with an accompanying reminder that beverages containing caffeine and alcohol do not count), rigorous proof for this counsel appears to be lacking. This review sought to find the origin of this advice (called “8 × 8” for short) and to examine the scientific evidence, if any, that might support it. The search included not only electronic modes but also a cursory examination of the older literature that is not covered in electronic databases and, most importantly and fruitfully, extensive consultation with several nutritionists who specialize in the field of thirst and drinking fluids. No scientific studies were found in support of 8 × 8. Rather, surveys of food and fluid intake on thousands of adults of both genders, analyses of which have been published in peer-reviewed journals, strongly suggest that such large amounts are not needed because the surveyed persons were presumably healthy and certainly not overtly ill. This conclusion is supported by published studies showing that caffeinated drinks (and, to a lesser extent, mild alcoholic beverages like beer in moderation) may indeed be counted toward the daily total, as well as by the large body of published experiments that attest to the precision and effectiveness of the osmoregulatory system for maintaining water balance. It is to be emphasized that the conclusion is limited to healthy adults in atemperate climate leading a largely sedentaryexistence, precisely the population and conditions that the “at least” in 8 × 8 refers to. Equally to be emphasized, lest the message of this review be misconstrued, is the fact (based on published evidence) that large intakes of fluid, equal to and greater than 8 × 8, are advisable for the treatment or prevention of some diseases and certainly are called for under special circumstances, such as vigorous work and exercise, especially in hot climates. Since it is difficult or impossible to prove a negative—in this instance, the absence of scientific literature supporting the 8 × 8 recommendation—the author invites communications from readers who are aware of pertinent publications.
water  health  research  science 
may 2014 by Quercki
Statistic Brain | Numbers  |  Percentages  |  Financials  |  Rankings | Statistic Brain
Business Company Crime Demographic Education Entertainment Financial Food Geographic Government Health People Sports Tech
statistics  data  research 
april 2014 by Quercki
Like a virgin (mother): analysis of data from a longitudinal, US population representative sample survey | BMJ
Objective To estimate the incidence of self report of pregnancy without sexual intercourse (virgin pregnancy) and factors related to such reporting, in a population representative group of US adolescents and young adults.

Design Longitudinal, population representative sample survey.

Setting Nationally representative, multiethnic National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, United States.

Participants 7870 women enrolled at wave I (1995) and completing the most recent wave of data collection (wave IV; 2008-09).

Main outcome measures Self reports of pregnancy and birth without sexual intercourse.

Results 45 women (0.5%) reported at least one virgin pregnancy unrelated to the use of assisted reproductive technology. Although it was rare for dates of sexual initiation and pregnancy consistent with virgin pregnancy to be reported, it was more common among women who signed chastity pledges or whose parents indicated lower levels of communication with their children about sex and birth control.

Conclusions Around 0.5% of women consistently affirmed their status as virgins and did not use assisted reproductive technology, yet reported virgin births. Even with numerous enhancements and safeguards to optimize reporting accuracy, researchers may still face challenges in the collection and analysis of self reported data on potentially sensitive topics.
virgin  birth  research  science  religion  sex 
april 2014 by Quercki
What If Everything You Knew About Poverty Was Wrong? | Mother Jones
"Everyone cheats," she said. Jencks perked up and said, "Can you prove it?"

Edin spent the next six years taking a deep dive into welfare home economics, pestering poor mothers in Chicago, Boston, San Antonio, and Charleston about how they managed to survive on benefits that averaged $370 a month. In 1997, she published her findings in a book called Making Ends Meet: How Single Mothers Survive Welfare and Low-Wage Work. It came on the heels of the Clinton-era welfare reform that overhauled the entitlement system to force single mothers into the workplace.

But Edin documented that most moms on welfare were already working under the table or in the underground economy, and that lovers, friends, family, and the fathers of their children were pitching in to help. They didn't get legal jobs because of a straightforward economic calculus: Low wages drained by child care, transportation, and other expenses would have left them poorer than they were on welfare.

In a foreword to the book, Jencks notes that this simple math had been kept out of the political debate for years, as conservatives refused to admit that welfare benefits couldn't support a family, and liberals were reluctant to acknowledge the extent of the deceptions. Edin's work forced that discussion out into the open. "I don't think we realize how difficult it is for low-income families living on minimum wage or less than minimum wage to survive," says William Julius Wilson. "That's why that book was so important—it documented what we should have known."
poverty  research 
march 2014 by Quercki
What If Everything You Knew About Poverty Was Wrong? | Mother Jones
they spent several years canvassing Camden in search of dads to interview. They stopped men on the street and asked if they'd talk—sometimes right there on the spot. They put up flyers and worked with nonprofit groups and eventually knit together a sample of equal parts black and white men they interviewed at length over the better part of a decade.

"At every turn an unmarried man who seeks to be a father, not just a daddy, is rebuffed by a system that pushes him aside with one hand while reaching into his pocket with the other."
Again, what they discovered surprised them. Rather than viewing unplanned fatherhood as a burden, the men almost uniformly saw it as a blessing. "It's so antithetical to a middle-class perspective," Edin says. "But it finally dawned on us that these guys thought that by bringing children in the world they were doing something good in the world." Everything else around them—the violence, the poverty, their economic prospects—was so negative, she explains, a baby was "one little dot of color" on a black-and-white canvas.
poverty  research  fathers 
march 2014 by Quercki
Males and Females Differ in Specific Brain Structures | LabRoots | Read Science News, Articles and Current Events
Specifically, males on average had larger volumes and higher tissue densities in the left amygdala, hippocampus, insular cortex, putamen; higher densities in the right VI lobe of the cerebellum and in the left claustrum; and larger volumes in the bilateral anterior parahippocampal gyri, posterior cingulate gyri, precuneus, temporal poles, and cerebellum, areas in the left posterior and anterior cingulate gyri, and in the right amygdala, hippocampus, and putamen.

By contrast, females on average had higher density in the left frontal pole, and larger volumes in the right frontal pole, inferior and middle frontal gyri, pars triangularis, planum temporale/parietal operculum, anterior cingulate gyrus, insular cortex, and Heschl's gyrus; bilateral thalami and precuneus; the left parahippocampal gyrus, and lateral occipital cortex.

The results highlight an asymmetric effect of sex on the developing brain. Amber Ruigrok, who carried out the study as part of her PhD, said: "For the first time we can look across the vast literature and confirm that brain size and structure are different in males and females. We should no longer ignore sex in neuroscience research, especially when investigating psychiatric conditions that are more prevalent in either males or females."
male  female  brain  sex  difference  science  research 
february 2014 by Quercki
Home -
A service of the U.S. National Institutes of Health is a registry and results database of publicly and privately supported clinical studies of human participants conducted around the world. Learn more about clinical studies and about this site, including relevant history, policies, and laws.
health  medical  research 
december 2013 by Quercki
Bibliography - Publications and Paper Proposals (Excel)
WHI ​Publications and Paper Proposals (Excel)

This page provides an Excel-based view of all publications and approved paper proposals, updated 7/15/13, which should be compatible with most browser and operating system platforms.  This view allows you to perform basic sorting and filtering by column.  You can subsequently download the results to your desktop version of Excel (by clicking "Save a Snapshot," under "File") for subsequent manipulation and usage.

SharePoint sign-in is not required to access WHI Publications and Paper Proposals (Excel). However, SharePoint sign-in with manuscript-viewing privileges is required to view full-text papers and proposals.
women  health  research  *** 
december 2013 by Quercki
WHI - Home
An editorial, written by Dr. Elizabeth Nabel, President of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and Former Director of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, accompanied the WHI report.  Entitled “The Women’s Health Initiative—A victory for women and their health”, Dr. Nabel briefly recounted the history of the program and the many lessons learned.  “The history of medicine abounds with dogmas assumed and later overcome.  Nowhere is that dynamic more evident than in women’s health,  ”  she states.  In fact, “Twenty-two years following its inception, the WHI is a model for publicly funded rigorous, thorough, and objective clinical trials that have broadly affected human health. “

On October 29, WHI will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first woman to be enrolled in WHI.  This compendium of data, one of the largest papers every published by JAMA, is a wonderful tribute to our participants and provides an opportunity to acknowledge again the 160 000 women of WHI who gave so much to help data triumph overcome dogma.  

More information is available by viewing the Executive Summary and Questions and Answers. 
women  health  research  menopause  older 
december 2013 by Quercki
NHLBI Women's Health Initiative, Observational Study Fact Sheet

The WHI observational study (OS) had several goals. These goals included:

To give reliable estimates of the extent to which known risk factors to predict heart disease, cancers and fractures;
To identify "new" risk factors for these and other diseases in women;
To compare risk factors, presence of disease at the start of the study, and new occurrences of disease during the WHI across all study components; and
To create a future resource to identify biological indicators of disease, especially substances and factors found in blood.

The observational study enlisted 93,676 postmenopausal women between the ages of 50 to 79. The health of OS participants was tracked over an average of eight years.

Women who joined this study filled out periodic health forms and also visited the clinic three years after enrollment. OS participants were not required to take any medication or change their health habits. It did, however, follow a woman's health over a long period of time.

The OS provided information that complemented that obtained in the CT.
women  research  health  menopause  older 
december 2013 by Quercki
Association of Nut Consumption with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality — NEJM
During 3,038,853 person-years of follow-up, 16,200 women and 11,229 men died. Nut consumption was inversely associated with total mortality among both women and men, after adjustment for other known or suspected risk factors. The pooled multivariate hazard ratios for death among participants who ate nuts, as compared with those who did not, were 0.93 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.90 to 0.96) for the consumption of nuts less than once per week, 0.89 (95% CI, 0.86 to 0.93) for once per week, 0.87 (95% CI, 0.83 to 0.90) for two to four times per week, 0.85 (95% CI, 0.79 to 0.91) for five or six times per week, and 0.80 (95% CI, 0.73 to 0.86) for seven or more times per week (P<0.001 for trend). Significant inverse associations were also observed between nut consumption and deaths due to cancer, heart disease, and respiratory disease.
Full Text of Results...
In two large, independent cohorts of nurses and other health professionals, the frequency of nut consumption was inversely associated with total and cause-specific mortality, independently of other predictors of death. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research and Education Foundation.)
research  nuts  heart  death  cancer  respiratory  lung  health  cholesterol 
december 2013 by Quercki
Nut consumption reduces risk of death | Harvard Gazette
“The most obvious benefit was a reduction of 29 percent in deaths from heart disease — the major killer of people in America,” said Charles S. Fuchs, director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Treatment Center at Dana-Farber, who is the senior author of the report and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

“But we also saw a significant reduction — 11 percent — in the risk of dying from cancer,” added Fuchs, who is also affiliated with the Channing Division of Network Medicine at Brigham and Women’s.

Whether any specific type or types of nuts were crucial to the protective effect could not be determined. However, the reduction in mortality was similar both for peanuts (a legume, or ground nut) and for tree nuts — walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamias, pecans, pistachios, and pine nuts.

Several previous studies had found an association between increasing nut consumption and a lower risk of diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, gallstones, and diverticulitis. Higher nut consumption also has been linked to reductions in cholesterol levels, oxidative stress, inflammation, adiposity, and insulin resistance. Some small studies have linked an increase of nuts in the diet to lower total mortality in specific populations. But no previous research studies had looked in such detail at various levels of nut consumption and their effects on overall mortality in a large population that was followed for more than 30 years.
heart  cancer  cholesterol  nut  almond  health  medicine  research 
december 2013 by Quercki
Problems with scientific research: How science goes wrong | The Economist
Ideally, research protocols should be registered in advance and monitored in virtual notebooks. This would curb the temptation to fiddle with the experiment’s design midstream so as to make the results look more substantial than they are. (It is already meant to happen in clinical trials of drugs, but compliance is patchy.) Where possible, trial data also should be open for other researchers to inspect and test.

Watch an animated explanation here
The most enlightened journals are already becoming less averse to humdrum papers. Some government funding agencies, including America’s National Institutes of Health, which dish out $30 billion on research each year, are working out how best to encourage replication. And growing numbers of scientists, especially young ones, understand statistics. But these trends need to go much further. Journals should allocate space for “uninteresting” work, and grant-givers should set aside money to pay for it. Peer review should be tightened—or perhaps dispensed with altogether, in favour of post-publication evaluation in the form of appended comments. That system has worked well in recent years in physics and mathematics. Lastly, policymakers should ensure that institutions using public money also respect the rules.

Science still commands enormous—if sometimes bemused—respect. But its privileged status is founded on the capacity to be right most of the time and to correct its mistakes when it gets things wrong.
science  research  error  solutions  replication 
november 2013 by Quercki
Unreliable research: Trouble at the lab | The Economist
With this in mind, consider 1,000 hypotheses being tested of which just 100 are true (see chart). Studies with a power of 0.8 will find 80 of them, missing 20 because of false negatives. Of the 900 hypotheses that are wrong, 5%—that is, 45 of them—will look right because of type I errors. Add the false positives to the 80 true positives and you have 125 positive results, fully a third of which are specious. If you dropped the statistical power from 0.8 to 0.4, which would seem realistic for many fields, you would still have 45 false positives but only 40 true positives. More than half your positive results would be wrong.
science  research  statistics  error  medicine  solutions 
november 2013 by Quercki
Polywater history and science mistakes: The U.S. and USSR raced to create a new form of water.
In 1961 another Soviet scientist picked the work up again and isolated for the first time the substance that would eventually be known as polywater. This time, Nicolai Fedyakin, a chemist at the Institute of Light Industry in Kostroma (a scientific hinterland some 400 miles northeast of Moscow), made a key experimental change: Instead of simply trapping water in a tube, he forced it to condense in one, ensuring its purity. As part of his experiments, he piled hair-thin glass capillary tubes horizontally in a sealed chamber with an inch or two of water at the bottom. With a vacuum pump, he lowered the pressure in the chamber, forcing the water to evaporate, and then allowed it to condense inside the tubes. Over the course of a few hours, at either end of the water inside the tubes grew tiny amounts of a mysterious oily substance.

Polywater formed at the ends of thin glass tubes.
Courtesy of the National Bureau of Standards

Fedyakin called it “offspring water.” Further experiments only deepened the mystery. He calculated that it was 10 times more viscous than normal water and 40 percent denser. In addition to the anomalous freezing and boiling points, it failed to expand when it froze, as normal water does, but instead became even denser. Most importantly, he’d conducted the experiments with sterilized quartz glass tubes and water vapor. The simplest explanation was that he’d created a new form of water out of thin air.
science  history  research  error 
november 2013 by Quercki
PLOS ONE: Perceived Weight Discrimination and Obesity
Weight discrimination is prevalent in American society. Although associated consistently with psychological and economic outcomes, less is known about whether weight discrimination is associated with longitudinal changes in obesity. The objectives of this research are (1) to test whether weight discrimination is associated with risk of becoming obese (Body Mass Index≥30; BMI) by follow-up among those not obese at baseline, and (2) to test whether weight discrimination is associated with risk of remaining obese at follow-up among those already obese at baseline. Participants were drawn from the Health and Retirement Study, a nationally representative longitudinal survey of community-dwelling US residents. A total of 6,157 participants (58.6% female) completed the discrimination measure and had weight and height available from the 2006 and 2010 assessments. Participants who experienced weight discrimination were approximately 2.5 times more likely to become obese by follow-up (OR = 2.54, 95% CI = 1.58–4.08) and participants who were obese at baseline were three times more likely to remain obese at follow up (OR = 3.20, 95% CI = 2.06–4.97) than those who had not experienced such discrimination. These effects held when controlling for demographic factors (age, sex, ethnicity, education) and when baseline BMI was included as a covariate. These effects were also specific to weight discrimination; other forms of discrimination (e.g., sex, race) were unrelated to risk of obesity at follow-up. The present research demonstrates that, in addition to poorer mental health outcomes, weight discrimination has implications for obesity. Rather than motivating individuals to lose weight, weight discrimination increases risk for obesity.

Citation: Sutin AR, Terracciano A (2013) Perceived Weight Discrimination and Obesity. PLoS ONE 8(7): e70048. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0070048
obesity  research  fat  discrimination 
october 2013 by Quercki
Cancer research in crisis: Are the drugs we count on based on bad science? -
Lastly, it is also important that scientific journals address the issue of reproducibility. One of the most common and also most heavily criticized metrics for the success of a scientific journal is its “impact factor,” an indicator of how often an average article published in the journal is cited. Even irreproducible scientific papers can be cited thousands of times and boost a journal’s “impact.”

If a system tracked the reproducibility of scientific papers, one could conceivably calculate a reproducibility score for any scientific journal. That way, a journal’s reputation would not only rest on the average number of citations but also on the reliability of the papers it publishes. Scientific journals should also consider supporting reproducibility initiatives by encouraging the publication of papers that attempted to replicate previous papers — as long as the reproducibility was tested in a rigorous fashion and independent of whether or not the replication attempts were successful.

There is no need to publish the 20th replication study that merely confirms what 19 previous studies have previously found, but publication of replication attempts is sorely needed before a consensus is reached regarding a scientific discovery. The journal PLOS One has partnered up with the Reproducibility Initiative to provide a forum for the publication of replication studies, but there is no reason why other journals should not follow.
medicine  science  research  data  method 
october 2013 by Quercki
How to check out a nonprofit, part two | Kristin King
Who funds it?

The National PTA is funded partly by its members and partly by its sponsors. It’s accountable to both its members and its sponsors. By and large, the sponsors support privatization, and that’s enough to tip the balance. The sponsors are:

AXA Equitable
Jamba Juice
Two jump out. Promethean is “a leading education company committed to developing interactive learning technologies that inspire teachers and engage students.” They have a business interest in big data.

And then there’s Target. I shop there sometimes. I see the big sign that says it gives back 5 percent of its income to local communities. It doesn’t say that it gets power and influence by doing so. Now, didn’t we see Target somewhere before? Oh yes, they are also a funder of DQC, which coincidentally authored the white paper with the PTA.

Who’s on the board of directors?

Looking at the board of directors, I see a lot of people doing a lot of good. Big shout-out to Laura Bay, who as head of the Washington PTA supported the “Simple Majority” initiative, which made it easier for local communities to pass school levies.
nonprofit  research 
september 2013 by Quercki
How to check out a nonprofit | Kristin King
In yesterday’s post I asked the question “Are Nonprofits our Frenemies?” That is to say, are there any social benefit nonprofits that are also working behind our backs — for example, to close our neighborhood schools? And I explained how to find out. To recap:

1. Look at their board of directors.

2. Look at their funders.

Now let’s look at another example. I’ve been investigating problems with student data privacy, and I’ve learned that federal privacy laws were recently weakened and that very detailed, personally identifiable data, is being given out to a wide range of researchers. The national PTA has been looking into it as well, and they’ve very considerately put out a press release and guide on questions parents should be asking about data privacy. Strangely, though, it’s missing some of the key questions that parents really ought to be asking, and instead it has vague reassurances that “federal laws protect privacy” and what might just be an outright lie, that the vendors who get student information “can’t sell the data or let anyone else access it.”

Why might that be?

Well, the PTA didn’t put this out alone. They paired up with a nonprofit to write this guide: the Data Quality Campaign. The DQC is pushing for state and federal legislation that set up longitudinal (long term) databases. It also creates “public demand and discourse” for better education data. That is, it does PR.

So let’s check out the DQC.
nonprofit  research 
september 2013 by Quercki
Are nonprofits our frenemies? | Kristin King
The lesson to take away is that 501c3 nonprofits make good frenemies. They can have a beautiful awe-inspiring mission statement. They can have lovely documentaries on PBS and Univision. And they can still be acting against you.


It’s because of what 501c3 nonprofits are. They’re organizations that claim to have a social benefit, and maybe they do or maybe they don’t. They’re tax-exempt because of that supposed benefit. Donations made to them are tax-deductible, making them a playground for the ultra-rich with their charitable foundations. And they live or die by their funders. That means their funders have to like the work they do in some way, shape, or fashion. The board of directors is responsible for making sure that a nonprofit follows its mission statement, and even more importantly, pleases the funders.
nonprofit  research 
september 2013 by Quercki
A gut infection can keep mice lean | Nutrition | Science News
Skinniness could be contagious. Gut bacteria from thin people can invade the intestines of mice carrying microbes from obese people. And these invaders can keep mice from getting tubby, researchers report in the Sept. 6 Science.

“It’s very surprising,” says molecular microbiologist Andreas Schwiertz of the University of Giessen in Germany, who was not involved in the work. “It’s like a beneficial infection.”

But the benefits come with a catch. The invading microbes drop in and get to work only when mice eat healthy food. Even fat-blocking bacteria can’t fight a bad diet, suggests study leader Jeffrey Gordon, a microbiologist at Washington University in St. Louis.

In recent years, researchers have collected clues that suggest that gut microbes can tweak people’s metabolism. Fat and thin people have different microbes teeming in their intestines, for example. And normal-weight mice given microbes from obese mice pack on extra fat, says coauthor Vanessa Ridaura, also of Washington University.

These and other hints have led researchers to experiment with fecal transplants to flush out bad gut microbes and dump in good ones. The transplants can clear up diarrhea and may even help some obese people regain insulin sensitivity. But feces can house dangerous microbes as well as friendly ones.
diet  obesity  microbes  research 
september 2013 by Quercki
What We Can Learn From The Largest International Study On Rape That's Been Conducted So Far | ThinkProgress
United Nations researchers just published a sweeping study on the roots of sexual violence, spanning six countries and two years. The survey, which they say represents the world’s largest scientific project into the subject so far, aimed to investigate the “under-researched” area of male-perpetrated rape. On average, about one in ten men living in the region included in the study said they had raped someone at some point in their lives.
The UN study included over 10,000 men from Bangladesh, China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Sri Lanka.
rape  research 
september 2013 by Quercki
Busting Myths About Feminism With SCIENCE! » Brute Reason
Paper 1: Do feminists hate men?!

Did you know that there’s a psychological measure called the Ambivalence toward Men Inventory (AMI)? Well, now you do. Anderson, Kanner, and Elsayegh (2009) administered it to a sample of nearly 500 college students to see if there’s any truth to the constantly-trotted-out stereotype that feminists hate men.
feminism  research  man  hate 
september 2013 by Quercki
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