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Wed, 16 Oct 2019
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Human Perceptual Learning As a Two-stage Process

Using advanced brain imaging techniques, researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center have watched how humans use both lower and higher brain processes to learn novel tasks, an advance they say may help speed up the teaching of new skills as well as offer strategies to retrain people with perceptual deficits due to autism.

In the March 15 issue of Neuron, the research team provides the first human evidence for a two-stage model of how a person learns to place objects into categories discerning, for example, that a green apple, and not a green tennis ball, belongs to "food." They describe it as a complex interplay between neurons that process stimulus shape ("bottom-up") and more sophisticated brain areas that discriminate between these shapes to categorize and "label" that information ("top-down").

Document

Schizophrenia Much More Common In Certain Localities

Research by the World Health Organization (WHO) has suggested that the course and symptomatic expression of schizophrenia is relatively more benign in developing societies.

However, a new study from Current Anthropology challenges this assumption, comparing biological and cultural indicators of schizophrenia in urban, Western societies with study data from the island of Palau, which has one of the highest rates of schizophrenia diagnosis in the world today.

"A 1% average worldwide population prevalence of schizophrenia is routinely interpreted in the medical literature as implying a uniform distribution," write Roger J. Sullivan (California State University, Sacramento), John S. Allen (University of Southern California), and Karen L. Nero (University of Canterbury, New Zealand). "In this sense, the 1% figure is a myth that conceals considerable variability in actual prevalence between settings."

Magic Wand

Level of communication governs how opinions evolve in social networks

Boffins in Europe have developed a computer model that shows how opinions evolve in social networks.

And, the scientific analysis showed that the key to forming opinions lay in how well people can communicate with each other.

As a part of their experiment, researchers led by physicist Renaud Lambiotte of the University of Liege in Belgium used two groups of people.

After initially isolating the two groups from each other, they were gradually brought into contact.

The researchers found that though initially the two groups continued to form opinions independently, when communication gradually increased between them, the final opinions of the two groups were always identical.

Health

CDC's Vaccine Committee Whitewashed Toxic Vaccine Component, Says National Autism Association (NAA)

Parents and health advocates are expressing outrage over the recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP) that pregnant women, infants and children continue to be exposed to mercury contained in the flu vaccine despite recommendations from the Institute of Medicine that mercury not be injected into these sensitive populations since 2001.


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Propaganda! The Genetics of Nicotine Addiction

Researchers at the University of Iowa have identified certain genetic profiles that may be linked to a person's risk for developing nicotine addiction and other psychological behaviors. Using a genome-wide scan, scientists analyzed blood samples from smokers versus nonsmokers and found similar genetic patterns among smokers that may one day be used as a genetic test to determine who may be more vulnerable to nicotine addiction.

Comment: On the other hand, there is Aliens Don't Like to Eat People Who Smoke!


Magic Wand

Nanocosmetics: Buyer Beware

There's a lovely jar of night cream that's been sitting on my dresser for a month. According to the salesperson who spent a half-hour on the phone with me extolling its virtues, the cream will dig up the gunk that's clogging my pores, soak up excess oil, and "teach" my cells to make less of it.

Sounds fantastic, doesn't it? Too bad I'm too scared to use it.

Attention

Sleep Disorders Can Impair Children's IQs As Much As Lead Exposure

Three decades ago, medical investigators began sounding the alarm about how lead exposure causes IQ deficits in children. Today, researchers at the University of Virginia Health System say children with sleep disorders can face similar risks of intellectual impairment.

UVa researchers have been studying sleep disturbances in children with enlarged tonsils and adenoids for the past seven years. In a recent study, they discovered that youngsters who snore nightly scored significantly lower on vocabulary tests than those who snore less often.

"Vocabulary scores are known to be the best single predictor of a child's IQ and the strongest predictor of academic success," explains Dr. Paul M. Suratt, a pulmonologist who directs the UVa Sleep Laboratory.

Laptop

Office workers 'risk blood clots'

Workers who spend excessive amounts of time at their desk could be putting their lives at risk, research suggests.
The Medical Research Institute in New Zealand found they may have a higher risk of developing potentially fatal blood clots.

The researchers found a third of patients admitted to hospital with deep vein thrombosis (DVT) were office workers who spent hours at a computer.

The study will be published in the New Zealand Medical Journal.


Comment: I wonder why the article makes the point that it is the people sitting at their desks in front of the computer who are at risk. Why not the people sitting infront of the TV or the playstation?


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GMO corn causes liver, kidney problems in rats: study

Paris - Environmental group Greenpeace launched a fresh attack on genetically modified maize developed by U.S. biotech giant Monsanto, saying on Tuesday that rats fed on one version developed liver and kidney problems.

Greenpeace said a study it had commissioned that was published in the journal Archives of Environmental Contamination and Technology showed rats fed for 90 days on Monsanto's MON863 maize showed "signs of toxicity" in the liver and kidneys.

Attention

New Girl Scout Cookies Still Have Trans Fats

Yet who Knows the Truth and Calls it a Lie, is a Criminal." -
In "Galileo Galilei" by Berthold Brecht (1898-1956)
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Despite all the public uproar about trans fats that's pushed American cities to ban them along with fast-food restaurant chains, Girl Scout cookies still have them, even after changes to their recipes.