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Fri, 22 Nov 2019
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Study notes decline in male births in the US and Japan

A study published in this week's online edition of Environmental Health Perspectives reports that during the past thirty years, the number of male births has decreased each year in the U.S. and Japan.

Ambulance

Child nearly dies from smallpox vaccine infection

A 2-year-old Indiana boy who contracted a rare and life-threatening infection from his soldier father's smallpox vaccination is recovering, a hospital spokesman said.

Health

Child Recovering From Vaccine Infection

A 2-year-old Indiana boy who contracted a rare and life-threatening infection from his soldier father's smallpox vaccination is recovering, a hospital spokesman said.

Doctors have relied on some untested measures to save the boy's life, including skin grafts and an experimental drug that has never been used to treat a human patient, officials said. The boy's pox lesions left him with the equivalent of second-degree burns, requiring grafts to let the underlying skin heal.

"Everyone has been a little bit astonished that he has recovered as well as he has," hospital spokesman John Easton said Saturday. The boy should be should be upgraded to serious from critical condition soon, he added.

Health

Antibiotics lose power

Doctors wary of medicating ear infections

Lucas Madrid was feverish and miserable in January. The 7-month-old pulled at his infected ear and woke up crying night after night. After more than a month and three courses of antibiotics, the Denver boy's ear finally cleared and he perked up, said his mother, Sara Madrid.

Question

Bedbugs bounce back: Outbreaks in all 50 states

Walter has stopped hugging his friends. He is throwing out his clothes and furniture, and he rarely comes out of his Tenderloin hotel room anymore.

Magic Wand

Fact or Fiction?: Waking a Sleepwalker May Kill Them

Sleepwalkers do the strangest things. Many accounts attest to a somnambulist leaving their house clad only in underpants, or rising to cook a meal and returning to bed without so much as tasting it. A stern warning is frequently tacked onto these tales: waking a sleepwalker could kill them. The chances of killing a sleepwalker due to the shock of sudden awakening, however, is about as likely as somebody expiring from a dream about dying.

While it is true that waking a sleepwalker, especially forcefully, may distress them, it is an absolutely false statement that someone would die from shock, says Michael Salemi, general manager at the California Center for Sleep Disorders. "You can startle sleepwalkers, and they can be very disoriented when you wake them up and they can have violent, or confused reactions, but I have not heard of a documented case of someone dying from being woken up." Sleepwalking's hazard is more closely linked to what the sleepwalker may encounter when roaming about in a nocturnal reverie.

Bulb

TV Show Reveals Eye Contact is Top Cop Tactic

Cops might want to put down the billy club and forget about psychology, new research suggests. An analysis of the TV show "COPS" reveals that the best way for police to calm down hysterical citizens is to look them straight in the eyes.

Gaze is important to everyday face-to-face interactions, and eye contact can be even more critical for police officers trying to gain compliance and calm hysterical individuals, said researcher Mardi Kidwell of the University of New Hampshire.

"A great deal of police work involves encountering people who are in crisis, people who are distraught, agitated and sometimes hysterical over the circumstances that have necessitated a police response," Kidwell said.

Her past research showed that when children refuse to obey adults they tend to avert their gaze, while adults attempting to get children to comply will try to get kids to look at them. Police officers, as well, interpret a person's looking away as a sign of resistance and will continue to pursue the individual's gaze to gain compliance.

Sheeple

Study demonstrates remarkable power of social norms

Most people want to be normal. So, when we are given information that underscores our deviancy, the natural impulse is to get ourselves as quickly as we can back toward the center.

Marketers know about this impulse, and a lot of marketing makes use of social norms. This is especially true of campaigns targeting some kind of public good: reducing smoking or binge drinking, for example, or encouraging recycling. The problem with these campaigns is that they often do not work. Indeed, they sometimes appear to have the opposite of their intended effect.

Why would this be? Psychologist Wesley Schultz of California State University, San Marcos believes that despite the fact that we want to be normal, most people are very bad at estimating what normal human behavior really looks like. For example, many people probably think it's typical to spew 11 tons of carbon into the world every year, while others might think that a couple tons is probably closer to the mark. But, when Al Gore tells us that the national average is in fact 7.5 tons, he likely is sparking two very different reactions: Some feel guilty for being so gluttonous. But others probably react: whew, did something right for a change.

Arrow Down

Dieting does not work

Will you lose weight and keep it off if you diet? No, probably not, UCLA researchers report in the April issue of American Psychologist, the journal of the American Psychological Association.


"You can initially lose 5 to 10 percent of your weight on any number of diets, but then the weight comes back," said Traci Mann, UCLA associate professor of psychology and lead author of the study. "We found that the majority of people regained all the weight, plus more. Sustained weight loss was found only in a small minority of participants, while complete weight regain was found in the majority. Diets do not lead to sustained weight loss or health benefits for the majority of people."

Magic Wand

Genetic Mutation Boosts Memory

Canadian researchers have discovered a gene mutation that actually improves long-term memory and could eventually lead to a memory-enhancing pill.

Working with mice, lead researcher Mauro Costa-Mattioli, a postgraduate fellow at McGill University in Montreal, and colleagues found that rodents that had a defective version of a gene that produces a memory-blocking protein could learn and remember tasks faster than normal mice.

"We discovered a protein that is called eIF2a that, when mutated, mice have an enhanced memory," Mattioli said. "We hope that this could be a good target to develop a compound that will mimic this mutation, and we can enhance memory in humans," he said.