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Wed, 25 Nov 2020
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Red Flag

Thinking straight while seeing red?

Anger is that powerful internal force that blows out the light of reason. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Anger is appropriately blamed for flawed thinking since it tends to alter perception of risk, increase prejudice, and trigger aggression. But is anger always destructive" Three recent experiments published in the latest issue of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, an official publication of The Society for Personality and Social Psychology suggest it's not. Anger can actually prompt more careful and rational analysis of another person's reasoning.

Bomb

Wide range of sleep-related disorders associated with abnormal sexual behaviors, experiences

A paper published in the June 1st issue of the journal SLEEP is the first literature review and formal classification of a wide range of documented sleep-related disorders associated with abnormal sexual behaviors and experiences. These abnormal sexual behaviors, which emerge during sleep, are referred to as "sleepsex" or "sexsomnia".

"It seems that more and more reports are surfacing of abnormal sexual behaviors emerging during sleep," said Carlos H. Schenck, MD, a senior staff psychiatrist at the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center in Minneapolis and the lead author of the review. "While people may think this type of behavior is humorous, in reality it can be disturbing, annoying, embarrassing and a potentially serious problem for some individuals and couples. Despite their awareness of the condition, many sufferers often delay seeking help, either because they don't know that it's a medical disorder or for fear that others will instead judge it as willful behavior. This paper highlights the expanding set of sleep disorders and other nocturnal disorders known to be associated with abnormal sexual behaviors and experiences, or the misperception of sexual events. The legal consequences are also described and discussed."

Key

Expertise improves shoot,no-shoot decisions in police officers and lessens potential for racial bias

From three experiments of video simulations of shoot-no shoot decision scenarios with police officers, community members and college students, researchers from the University of Chicago, the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Denver determined that training and experience is effective in minimizing decisions based on stereotyped views.

This finding is reported on in the June issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association (APA).

The research, which was funded by the Russell Sage Foundation, shows that police officers' decisions about whether to shoot or not to shoot a suspect are less susceptible to racial bias than decisions of community members. The authors say that an officers' training/expertise yields faster responses, greater sensitivity to the presence of a weapon and reduced tendencies to shoot a suspect because of his or her race. At the same time, suspect race did affect the speed with which both police officers and community members could formulate their decisions.

Using a video simulation of a shoot/don't shoot task, the first experiment compared the speed and accuracy of 113 officers from around the United States, 124 Denver police officers and 135 community members from Denver. The simulation involved armed and unarmed White and Black men appearing in a variety of background images. Participants were instructed to respond to armed targets with a shoot response and to unarmed targets with a don't shoot response as quickly as possible.

Health

The Age of Autism: Quite the coincidence

It's amazing the coincidences one comes across while reporting about autism:

The autism rate rises in tandem with increasing numbers of vaccines that contain a known neurotoxin, ethyl mercury.

Public health authorities say that's coincidence.

Parents say their children became autistic after receiving mercury-containing vaccinations, sometimes several shots in one day.

Pediatricians call that coincidence, too.

Magnify

Manipulation Alert!!! Border Agent Allowed TB Patient in U.S.

ATLANTA - A globe-trotting Atlanta lawyer with a dangerous strain of tuberculosis was allowed back into the U.S. by a border inspector who disregarded a computer warning to stop him and don protective gear, officials said Thursday. The inspector has been removed from border duty.

Attention

Big Pharma's Deadly Experiments

A newly surfaced report alleges that in 1996, drug monolith Pfizer gave an unproven drug to Nigerian children and infants suffering from meningitis -- without the authorization of the Nigerian government.

Completed five years ago and coming to light in a May 7 Washington Post investigation, the confidential report, written by a panel of Nigerian health experts, concluded that administering the drug Trovan to 100 patients suffering a deadly strain of meningitis was "an illegal trial of an unregistered drug." The drug was ultimately shown to be ineffective. A lawsuit against Pfizer claims some of the children in the trial died and others suffered brain damage.

Vader

Drugs giant faces criminal charges over clinical trial

The US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has been slapped with criminal charges in Nigeria over a notorious clinical trial it conducted on children during a meningitis epidemic a decade ago. Patients became unwitting guinea pigs for a new, untested antibiotic and many of them either died or were left with permanent disabilities.

Pfizer and its representatives will be called to account at hearings due to begin next month in the Nigerian state of Kano, where public anger over the clinical trial - and the assurances of any pharmaceutical company - remains so high that the local population won't even trust the Nigerian government to immunise their children against polio.

The episode, which has already led to one unsuccessful suit in the US courts, was the inspiration for John Le Carre's novel The Constant Gardener and is frequently held up as an instance of scientific inquiry gone shockingly awry.

Magic Wand

Genes May Influence Language Learning, Study Suggests

If you get tongue-tied when trying to learn a new language, your genes may be to blame, a new study suggests.

While there is no gene yet found that is responsible for preprogramming a person with a given language, there does appear to be a link between types of two genes and the languages people speak.

The new findings could be the first sign of a subtle effect in which people's DNA could bias them toward learning a particular set of languages.

Robert Ladd and Dan Dediu at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland noticed the possible link while studying the genes dubbed Microcephalin and ASPM.

These genes play a role in brain development and appear to still be evolving in humans.

Stop

Cyber Life: No escape from the bullies

It happens in school, at work, physically, verbally, even by email and text - now researchers at The University of Nottingham say there's no escape in the virtual world.

Researchers are examining the worrying appearance of bullying in the virtual world. Citizens (avatars) of Second Life say targets are likely to be individuals who are new to the virtual world.

With the permission of Linden Lab, the makers of Second Life, researchers from Nottingham University Business School, The Institute of Work, Health and Organisations and The School of Computer Science and Information Technology, took the extraordinary step of setting up a cyber-based focus group to discuss the problem directly with residents.

One resident described what happened when they first experienced Second Life "When I was newbie, there was group of 4, two girls and 2 boys they would throw me around." They destroyed her first house and fired guns at her.

Other behaviours observed by the researchers which can be seen as bullying (griefing) were people shooting others, hitting them with swords, nudity, annoying noisy objects that followed people around and lots of swearing. In some "safe areas" these behaviours are deemed acceptable, whilst in others they are deemed as abusive.

Magic Wand

Protein senses cold. Single receptor responds to cold and menthol.

As an ice cream melts in your mouth this summer, take a moment to contemplate the protein that may be bringing you that sense of cool relief - and numbing your tongue. Researchers have pinned down that particular protein in mice, and think that a similar one in humans does the same job.

Three papers, two published recently in Neuron and the third in this week's issue of Nature, have shown that mice rely on a single protein, called TRPM8, to sense both cold temperatures and menthol, the compound that gives mints their cool sensation.

The sensor also controls the pain-relieving effect of cool temperatures, but does not seem to play an important role in the response to painfully cold temperatures below 10 °C