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Wed, 25 Nov 2020
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Technology used to measure empathy

Researchers in Boston used technology to measure empathy between psychotherapists and their patients.

"To our knowledge, this is the first study of the physiology of shared emotions during live psychotherapy sessions," said Carl Marci, the Harvard psychiatrist who led the study. "We were pleased to find evidence for a biological basis of empathic connections. Our results suggest that therapists perceived as being more empathic have more positive emotional experiences in common with patients."

Marci said research has shown that lack of empathy is the biggest predictor of a poor outcome for patients in psychotherapy. Still, empathy isn't everything, he said.

Wolf

They love to make you mad

Some people find angry looks from others so rewarding they go out of their way to encourage them, Michigan researchers said.

"It's kind of striking that an angry facial expression is consciously valued as a very negative signal by almost everyone, yet at a non-conscious level can be like a tasty morsel that some people will vigorously work for," said Oliver Schultheiss, University of Michigan associate professor of psychology.

His study may explain why some people like to tease each other, he said.

Recycle

Dog, cat food recalled after pet deaths

WASHINGTON - A major manufacturer of pet foods sold throughout North America under dozens of store names is recalling millions of containers of its products while working to determine what caused kidney failure and some deaths of cats and dogs.

Menu Foods said Saturday it is recalling dog food sold under 46 brands and cat food sold under 37 brands and distributed throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. The pet foods were sold by major retailers, including Wal-Mart, Kroger and Safeway.

Stop

Antidepressant may not ease compulsive shopping urges

An antidepressant thought to be effective in treating compulsive buying has yielded inconclusive results in a recent study, leaving researchers to suggest the disorder may have more complex biological roots than suspected.

Health

Number of Kazakh Children With HIV 96

ALMATY, Kazakhstan - The number of children who contracted HIV in southern Kazakhstan in an outbreak blamed on doctors' negligence has reached 96, health authorities said Thursday. The two most recent victims, aged 3 and 4, were diagnosed with HIV in the Sairam district and the city of Turkestan respectively, said regional health department spokeswoman Ayzhan Umarova.

Health

Town votes to remove fluoride from drinking water

MOUNT DESERT, Maine --The Maine Dental Association expressed disappointment after residents voted to remove fluoride from the local drinking water, making Mount Desert the state's first community to make such a change.

The decision came after the Mount Desert Water District said studies conducted during the past few years call into question the safety of fluoridation. The vote in last week's referendum was 229-to-42 to remove fluoride.

Health

Oscar Meyer recalls 2.8m pounds of chicken

The threat of potentially fatal disease contained in Oscar Meyer/Louis Rich chicken products here and in other countries prompted the recall, and all tainted meat products will be destroyed, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The recall totals more than 2.8 million pounds of chicken.

Coffee

Common Chemicals May be Feeding Obesity Epidemic

Exposure to a class of chemicals commonly found in soap and plastics could be fueling the obesity epidemic by contributing to abdominal obesity and insulin resistance in men, a new study suggests.

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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."