Saturday, November 30, 2013

Players of Violent Video Games Experience Behavioral Issues, Both Genders Affected, Study Suggests

My opinion:  I'm glad that this is finally being researched.  People often assume that things like toy guns or violent video games may be malevolent, but it it is important to investigate before coming up with a more firm conclusion.  That being said, though I like most of the methods used in the study, I have a problem with one.  We don't know whether the students tested are or aren't already players of violent video games.  If so, this could potentially skew the results.  Also, even if this is not an issue, we still don't know the long term effects.  On another note, one of my favorite parts of the study shows that girls and boys respond similarly to these games, although the affect on the boys is greater.  It would be interesting to see the affect on different races, if there is any.  Questions?  Feel free to comment. 

Violent video games reduce teens' self-control, study shows

Friday 29 November 2013 - 12am PST


Gone are the days of teenagers being content with climbing trees and playing basketball in their free time. Nowadays, they are more likely to be found playing video games. But new research suggests that teenagers who play violent video games are more likely to cheat, experience increased aggression and have reduced self-control.

From: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/269400.php 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thanksgiving: Gaining Weight from Political Correctness?

My opinion:  The take home point of this article seems to be that if you are serving for yourself and someone else, you are more likely to put the same type and amount of food on both plates.  For example, if you are getting food for yourself and someone who is overweight, you might like to give healthy food to your guest, but if the guest saw you eating unhealthy food, it might make him or her jealous.  Therefore, you may want to choose healthy food for yourself.  Similarly, if you choose unhealthy food for your guest, he or she might feel uncomfortable eating it unless everyone else is doing the same, so you would give yourself the unhealthy food.  

I think this could be avoided by asking the guests to go get food for themselves, or, if one of them is unable to stand, they may be asked exactly what they want and how much of it.  I know that at my family gatherings, if someone else is getting food, the guests usually ask for certain portion sizes.  So does this study apply to all families?  Can you think of any example of this effect?  Feel free to comment.

Political Correctness Could Affect Holiday Weight Gain

Nov. 22, 2013 — It's that time of year when Americans start focusing on holiday celebrations, many of which will involve high-caloric food. As the festivities proceed, so do countless tips for keeping off extra weight this season.

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But, there is one factor most people likely won't consider -- political correctness.
Research from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business suggests you could be choosing unhealthy options to serve your guests because you don't want to offend someone else.
Marketing doctoral student Peggy Liu and Fuqua marketing professor Gavan Fitzsimons led a team that conducted multiple experiments into how people choose between healthy and unhealthy food options when they are picking for both themselves and another person.
"We wanted to understand if food choices would change if they were picking a dish or snack for themselves and an average-sized person versus themselves and an overweight person," Liu said.
Their findings, "Matching Choices to Avoid Offending Stigmatized Group Members," are published in the November 2013 issue of the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131122115803.htm

Saturday, November 16, 2013

What Aging Population? More People Are Capable of Living Independently, Study Suggests

My opinion:  In the medical industry, as well as many others, there may always be differences in statistical studies.  Actually, relatively often, I read articles that refute previous studies entirely, even if those were very well established.  Perhaps we may never know which statistical method is the best, but one thing is for sure about this article - I now understand how these calculations are performed, rather than simply understanding the result of them.  I think that, as news readers, if we looked more closely at the actual process than just the answers, we would have better opinions of the statistics.  Furthermore, it would also be a good idea to look at the definitions.  According to this article, the number of predicted people over 65 wouldn't change, but their ability to take care of themselves would.  Hence, while the demographic numbers may always have been correct, the affect of the elderly on the economy changes with this study, which is perhaps the most important information to consider.  Any other thoughts?  Feel free to comment.   

Standard aging indicator 'inaccurate'

But the researchers say that we should not "assume" increases in population aging will have such a detrimental impact, adding that the standard indicator of the aging population is "inaccurate."
At present, population aging and its impact is estimated using the old age dependency ratio (OADR). This model looks at the number of people who are deemed as "dependent" (aged 65 and over) and those classed as "economically productive" (aged between 20 and 64).
The dependent population is then divided by the economically productive population, and it is estimated how many older people there are relative to the number of younger people who have to pay for them.
Explaining the "inaccuracy" of the OADR model, the researchers say it deems all people aged 65 and over as dependent, not taking into consideration their economic, social or medical circumstances.
They say that this means the model "overlooks" the fact that the increasing life expectancy means older people are now healthier and fitter, compared with older people included in previous cohorts. For example, in 1900, a 65-year-old woman in England and Wales would have an average life expectancy of 11 years, compared with 21 years today, they add.

New calculations reveal 'population is getting younger'

Because of these "flaws" the researchers found in the OADR, they decided to calculate the aging population using a new model - the real elderly dependency ratio.
This model uses the sum of men and women with a remaining life expectancy of up to 15 years. This number is then divided by the number of people in employment, regardless of their age.
From this, the study authors found that the number of older people classed as dependent in the UK have reduced by one-third over the past 40 years. Furthermore, they found that old age dependency is likely to stabilize at the current level, and this was the same in many other countries.

From: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/268684.php 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Engineeringcare? New IDEA Fosters Interaction with Healthcare and Engineering

My opinion:  Though I don't have anywhere near as much engineering experience as many of my peers, from the few engineering classes I have taken, I must say this is a simple, yet very much needed forum.  One of the hardest parts about engineering is figuring out where the faults are.  Without knowing this, nothing can be accomplished.  But since engineers aren't actively in medical facilities, it is probably difficult for them to perceive what these problems are.  Perhaps they find out from reading articles and asking around, but there may still be some problems that evade the engineers.  Ultimately, this program accelerates the engineering process, if not enhancing it altogether.  I wonder if the medical industry could do similar forums with other groups.  For example, they could get feedback from people who lack healthcare access, or doctors from other departments.  Any more ideas?  Feel free to comment.

IDEA Labs bridges medical, engineering gap

Students, faculty work together to solve clinical problems
By Allison Braun

Allison Braun
Chien-Huan Chen, MD, PhD, talks with students interested in devising new technology to help explore the small intestine. He discussed concerns with current tools at IDEA Labs’ inaugural “Problem Day” earlier this month.


One doctor wants a better chair to position patients during lumbar puncture procedures. Another wants a more accurate tool for small bowel exploration. And another wants to access patients’ medical information with the swipe of a card. These were among about 20 ideas presented by faculty during IDEA Labs’ inaugural “Problem Day” Oct. 11 in hopes that the 83 undergraduate, medical and graduate students who attended might be able to devise solutions.
IDEA Labs is a bioengineering design incubator founded last fall at Washington University in St. Louis as a joint venture of the schools of Medicine and Engineering & Applied Science and the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences (DBBS). The program’s goal is to tackle unmet needs in health-care delivery and clinical medicine by fostering collaboration between students and faculty.

From: http://news.wustl.edu/news/Pages/26058.aspx

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Researchers Can Re-Create Sense of Touch

My opinion:  Though I think this is great for people who have lost their sensory abilities, I'd also like to look at some of the alternative consequences of this researchers.  Does this also mean that scientists are on their way to making robots that can actually have senses?  Though this is an issue that may be a while off, I can see some people discouraging this kind of research because they would prefer to keep robots lesser than human.  Also, why were monkeys used in this study?  Perhaps they are the most similar to humans, but the article doesn't say exactly how the electrodes were implanted in their brains and what the consequences were.  It is unlikely that this was safer in the monkeys, so I'm guessing that some of them may have become ill or disabled afterward.  The most important question may be: Is there some way to do this without going through rigorous surgery?  Maybe with time, the electrodes will become smaller and this issue will be resolved.  Any thoughts?  Feel free to comment.

Researchers fake sense of touch in monkey brains, hope to build a better prosthetic


Medical prosthetics have come a long way in recent years, but with a few exceptions, artificial limbs still lack the tactility of their fleshy counterparts. Scientists at the University of Chicago are looking to plug those sensory gaps by researching how to simulate touch sensations within the brain, via electrical impulses. By implanting electrodes into the area of the brain that governs the five senses, scientists used electrical stimulation to artificially create feelings of touch and pressure in test monkeys. The Phoenixes posit that this could increase the dexterity of upper-limb neuroprosthetics without extensive patient training and that this is an important step toward restoring touch to those who've lost it, like those with spinal cord injuries. While the scientists realize these operations require incredibly invasive surgery, they believe the procedure's potential could eventually justify the risk for those who don't have other options.

From: http://www.engadget.com/2013/10/15/university-of-chicago-neuroprosthesis-touch/