One morning, a lawyer is found dead atop a parked car below the terrace of his apartment, an alleged suicide. Three months later, Martina — a nurse who seeks to live closer to work — rents the now vacant apartment without knowing its dark history. Accompanied by her loyal dog “Scheggia,” Martina has a flair for mysteries. Though unaware of the danger that comes with solving them, she and her new friend Antonio, a local music teacher, set out to solve the mystery of the suicide. Follow them both, as they delve deeper and deeper Into the Void.
Susanna Casubolo is an Italian writer with several books write ranging from psychology to detective novels. Fall into the void is coming out these days in all international sales channels. This is the translation of “Nel vuoto” a thriller in Italian language published by Hoffmanna & Hoffmann in 2018. Translated by Dave Master, the book tells of a girl who, with the help of her faithful dog, finds herself, (for a series of circumstances) investigating the case of a suicidal man. In the story, love and disappointment cross, mysteries and tenderness, wrapped in the nice and affectionate compaction of “Scheggia” the faithful dog that will help Martina in the investigation. A fantastic gift for Christmas, in hardcover or ebook format for a quick read in place.
A new paper in the Journal of Neuropathology & Experimental Neurology finds a gene that may help explain a large part of the genetic risk for developing Alzheimer disease.
Late-onset Alzheimer disease, the most common form of the illness, is a devastating neurological condition with aspects of heritable risk that are incompletely understood. Unfortunately, the complexity of the human genome and shortcomings of earlier research are limiting factors, so that some genetic phenomena were not surveyed completely in prior studies. For example, there are many incompletely mapped genomic regions, and areas with repetitive sequences, that could not be studied previously.
Although Alzheimer’s is known to be largely heritable, a substantial proportion of the actual genetic risk for the disease has remained unexplained, despite extensive studies. This knowledge gap is known to researchers are the “missing (or hidden) heritability” problem. For example, while heritability explained 79% of late-onset Alzheimer disease risk in a Swedish twin study, common risk variants identified by pervious genetic studies explained only 20% to 50% of late-onset Alzheimer disease. In other words, a relatively large amount of genetic influence on late-onset Alzheimer disease risk was not explained by prior genetic studies.
Recent advances in sequencing technologies have enabled more comprehensive studies. Such developments allow for more precise and accurate identification of genetic material than was available in earlier gene variant studies.
In the present study, researchers analyzed Alzheimer’s Disease Sequencing Project data derived from over 10,000 people (research volunteers who agreed to have their genetic data evaluated in combination with their disease status), with the goal of identifying genetic variation associated with late-onset Alzheimer disease.
Preliminary results found evidence of late-onset Alzheimer disease -linked genetic variation within a segment of a gene called Mucin 6. Although the underlying mechanisms are mostly still unknown, researchers here believe that it’s possible to draw credible and testable hypotheses based on these results. For example, the genetic variant that was associated with Alzheimer’s disease risk may implicate a biochemical pathway in the brain that then represents a potential therapeutic target, a topic for future studies.
Corresponding authors were Yuriko Katsumata and Peter Nelson, both from the University of Kentucky. Dr. Nelson said of this study, “Our findings were made in a group of patients that is relatively small for a genetics study–some recent studies included hundreds of thousands of research subjects! That small sample size means two things: first, we should exercise caution and we need to make sure the phenomenon can be replicated in other groups; and second, it implies that there is a very large effect size–the genetic variation is strongly associated with the disease.”
The paper, “Alzheimer Disease Pathology-Associated Polymorphism in a Complex Variable Number of Tandem Repeat Region Within the MUC6 Gene, Near the AP2A2 Gene,” is available to the public on November 21, at one minute after midnight EST.
Findings may lead to clues for possible treatments for autism spectrum disorders and schizophrenia
Lin Mei, the Allen C. Holmes Professor of Neurological Diseases and chair of the Department of Neurosciences at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
CLEVELAND—Researchers at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have identified that a gene critical to clearing up unnecessary proteins plays a role in brain development and contributes to the development of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and schizophrenia.
The discovery, published today in Neuron (embargo lifts online Nov. 25 at 11 a.m.), provides important insight into the mechanism of both diseases—a possible step toward finding how to treat the disorders.
Cullin 3 is a core component of an E3 ubiquitin ligase responsible for the cell’s clearance of proteins. Mutations of its gene CUL3 have been associated with autism and schizophrenia. However, pathologic mechanisms of CUL3 deficiency have been unclear.
“CUL3 is abundant in the brain, yet little is known of its function,” said Lin Mei, the Allen C. Holmes Professor of Neurological Diseases and chair of the Department of Neurosciences at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. “Here, we show that CUL3 is critical for brain development and communication between cells in the brain.”
Mei, also director of the Cleveland Brain Health Initiative, is the principal investigator with research assistants Zhaoqi Dong and Wenbing Chen. (The published research is titled “CUL3 deficiency causes social deficits and anxiety-like behaviors by impairing excitation-inhibition balance through the promotion of Cap-dependent translation.”)
ASD is a complicated condition that includes difficulty with communication and social interaction, obsessive interests and repetitive behaviors. It affects 1 in 59 children in the United States, according to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control. Schizophrenia affects about 1 in 100 people worldwide. However, autism and schizophrenia remain among the most mysterious disorders.
Mei and his team studied how CUL3 mutation impacts the brain in mouse models. The researchers were able to demonstrate that altering the gene in mouse models can cause similar social problems that appear in people with these disorders.
Normal mice would spend more time with a mouse over an inanimate object, Mei said. But CUL3-mutant mice couldn’t differentiate between a mouse and an inanimate object, showing a problem with social preference.
In another test, normal mice would spend more time with an unfamiliar mouse over a familiar one. But CUL3-mutant mice couldn’t remember seeing a familiar mouse, suggesting a problem of social memory. Also, CUL3-mutant mice were more anxious than normal mice.
Researchers at Beijing Normal University and the Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center contributed to the research.
Case Western Reserve University is one of the country’s leading private research institutions. Located in Cleveland, we offer a unique combination of forward-thinking educational opportunities in an inspiring cultural setting. Our leading-edge faculty engage in teaching and research in a collaborative, hands-on environment. Our nationally recognized programs include arts and sciences, dental medicine, engineering, law, management, medicine, nursing and social work. About 5,100 undergraduate and 6,700 graduate students comprise our student body. Visit case.edu to see how Case Western Reserve thinks beyond the possible.
It can be hard to resist a spread of decadent food over the holidays. But as much as you might prepare for gorging by dieting in advance, Natalia Groat, a registered dietitian at Harborview Medical Center, says that plan can backfire.
Dieting causes your body to think it’s starving, so it slows down your metabolism to hold on to nutrients of whatever you do eat. That means you could end up gaining weight when you stop dieting.
The best way to eat guilt-free? Groat advises mindfulness. Eat the foods you like, just in smaller portions, and be conscious of how your body feels and what it needs. In between holiday meals and parties, adhere to your normal routine of what you eat that makes you feel good.
What happens when a black hole has a star for dinner?
In this new video, Melissa Hoffman of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory takes us on a tour of one of the most disruptive events in Universe: a black hole ripping apart a nearby star.
Astronomers call these stellar deaths tidal disruption events, and only a few of them have been observed.
Using radio and infrared telescopes, including the National Science Foundation’s Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), in 2018 an international team of astronomers witnessed this event in a pair of colliding galaxies called Arp 299.
A method with roots in AI uncovers how humans make choices in groups and social media
The choices we make in large group settings — such as in online forums and social media — might seem fairly automatic to us. But our decision-making process is more complicated than we know. So, researchers have been working to understand what’s behind that seemingly intuitive process.
Now, new University of Washington research has discovered that in large groups of essentially anonymous members, people make choices based on a model of the “mind of the group” and an evolving simulation of how a choice will affect that theorized mind.
Using a mathematical framework with roots in artificial intelligence and robotics, UW researchers were able to uncover the process for how a person makes choices in groups. And, they also found they were able to predict a person’s choice more often than more traditional descriptive methods. The results were published Wednesday, Nov. 27, in Science Advances.
“Our results are particularly interesting in light of the increasing role of social media in dictating how humans behave as members of particular groups,” said senior author Rajesh Rao, the CJ and Elizabeth Hwang professor in the UW’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering and co-director of the Center for Neurotechnology.
“In online forums and social media groups, the combined actions of anonymous group members can influence your next action, and conversely, your own action can change the future behavior of the entire group,” Rao said.
The researchers wanted to find out what mechanisms are at play in settings like these.
In the paper, they explain that human behavior relies on predictions of future states of the environment — a best guess at what might happen — and the degree of uncertainty about that environment increases “drastically” in social settings. To predict what might happen when another human is involved, a person makes a model of the other’s mind, called a theory of mind, and then uses that model to simulate how one’s own actions will affect that other “mind.”
While this act functions well for one-on-one interactions, the ability to model individual minds in a large group is much harder. The new research suggests that humans create an average model of a “mind” representative of the group even when the identities of the others are not known.
To investigate the complexities that arise in group decision-making, the researchers focused on the “volunteer’s dilemma task,” wherein a few individuals endure some costs to benefit the whole group. Examples of the task include guarding duty, blood donation and stepping forward to stop an act of violence in a public place, they explain in the paper.
To mimic this situation and study both behavioral and brain responses, the researchers put subjects in an MRI, one by one, and had them play a game. In the game, called a public goods game, the subject’s contribution to a communal pot of money influences others and determines what everyone in the group gets back. A subject can decide to contribute a dollar or decide to “free-ride” — that is, not contribute to get the reward in the hopes that others will contribute to the pot.
If the total contributions exceed a predetermined amount, everyone gets two dollars back. The subjects played dozens of rounds with others they never met. Unbeknownst to the subject, the others were actually simulated by a computer mimicking previous human players.
“We can almost get a glimpse into a human mind and analyze its underlying computational mechanism for making collective decisions,” said lead author Koosha Khalvati, a doctoral student in the Allen School. “When interacting with a large number of people, we found that humans try to predict future group interactions based on a model of an average group member’s intention. Importantly, they also know that their own actions can influence the group. For example, they are aware that even though they are anonymous to others, their selfish behavior would decrease collaboration in the group in future interactions and possibly bring undesired outcomes.”
In their study, the researchers were able to assign mathematical variables to these actions and create their own computer models for predicting what decisions the person might make during play. They found that their model predicts human behavior significantly better than reinforcement learning models — that is, when a player learns to contribute based on how the previous round did or didn’t pay out regardless of other players — and more traditional descriptive approaches.
Given that the model provides a quantitative explanation for human behavior, Rao wondered if it may be useful when building machines that interact with humans.
“In scenarios where a machine or software is interacting with large groups of people, our results may hold some lessons for AI,” he said. “A machine that simulates the ‘mind of a group’ and simulates how its actions affect the group may lead to a more human-friendly AI whose behavior is better aligned with the values of humans.”
Co-authors include Seongmin A. Park, Center for Mind and Brain at UC Davis and Institut des Sciences Cognitives Marc Jeannerod, France; Saghar Mirbagheri, Department of Psychology, New York University; Remi Philippe, Mariateresa Sestito and Jean-Claude Dreher at the Institut des Sciences Cognitives Marc Jeannerod.
This research was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, National Science Foundation, and the Templeton World Charity Foundation.
Don’t fall victim to the holiday hustle— Here’s advice to make the holidays more healthy and less stressful.
Francoise Adan, MD, ABIHM, Director, University Hospitals Connor Integrative Health Network, offers these tips for a healthy holiday season.
The holidays are meant to be a time of celebration and quality time with family and friends. However, when trying to manage our families and navigate all of the festivities, this season is often a catalyst for a lot of stress and anxiety. Not to mention that many of us let go of the healthy habits we have been fostering all year.
With the added emotional strain, skipping regular exercise and overloading on food and alcohol makes us even more susceptible to holiday blues. This year, instead of falling victim to the holiday hustle—set the tone you want for this season. Be the change you wish to see and influence those around you to do the same!
Holiday Eating: This season it is not about feeling guilty or “derailing your diet.” Think portion control. Be intentional about eating healthy during non-holiday meals. Try eating a light healthy snack before going to holiday events. This way you will have more control when it is time for the main course, without depriving yourself of your holiday favorites. Moderation is key—but enjoy yourself!
Time Management: It’s hard not to feel pulled in too many directions this time of year. With all of the to-do lists and planning ahead, when do you find time to actually absorb the meaning of all of it? This year, be more selective with your priorities and let go of impossible expectations. Simplify holiday traditions and commitments and do not overschedule yourself. Talk to your family about which traditions are most important. Make a list of your holiday commitments and say no to any unnecessary stressors.
Holiday Shopping: Just thinking of holiday lines and chaos can elicit feelings of overwhelm. And even if you elect to shop online, it can still be worrisome trying to find the “perfect” gifts for our loved ones. One idea is to take the pressure off by simply asking what they want. However, that sort of takes the fun out of things. Gift cards are always safe, but when possible, giving personalized gifts is a nice touch. Chances are your friends and family are just as wound up during the holidays as you. Let them know you care about their well-being. Think about gifting them relaxation with a massage session or yoga class.
Self-Care: Do not forget to manage your own well-being. Instead of resisting all that comes with the holidays, acknowledge that stress is a healthy reaction to things we perceive as threatening. This season, be intentional about managing your stress so that it does not become detrimental your health and holiday spirit. As you are thinking of making things perfect for everyone else, remember to take time for yourself. Set the tone for the New Year and stop putting off that me-time you always plan to schedule eventually. Take a deep breath—try meditation for the first time or buy yourself a massage when you purchase them for others. Add at least one gift for yourself on that long list of things to do for everyone else.
University Hospitals has a digital broadcast studio available for interviews.
Overstimulation, demanding social events and disrupted schedules can wreak havoc on the holidays for people on the autism spectrum. This story provides tips for better managing the holidays.
For people on the autism spectrum, the festive trappings and traditions of the holiday season are potential pitfalls. Glaring lights, blaring music and bustling crowds can easily become stimulation overload, while changes in routine schedules can be disorienting.
And then there are parties.
“Having to go to a social event and being ‘on’ is a breeding ground for a breakdown,” says Judy Bagley, who works with young people with autism and other special needs as director of the Student Office of Accessibility Resources at Furman University.
People with autism “process 100 percent of external stimuli, all the sounds and visual cues,” says Kelsey Davis, director of academic success at Furman. “It’s harder for them to remain focused or to be on point all the time to what’s socially acceptable.”
Roughly one in 58 people is on the autism spectrum, but there’s still a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding, thanks in part to caricatures in popular culture. Peers, extended family or new acquaintances might not recognize or understand when someone with autism responds to holiday stimuli or withdraws from social events.
“If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism,” Bagley says.
Bagley and Davis spend a lot of time coaching and assisting students through rough spots. They offer these suggestions to help people with autism, their friends or family navigate the holidays.
Executive functions, like planning ahead, aren’t at the fore for someone with autism. “All those things we instinctively ask ourselves aren’t instinctive for someone on the spectrum,” Davis says.
If-then journals are helpful, especially for traveling. Davis helps students plan for uncertainties. If the plane is delayed, then ….; If the flight is cancelled, then …. If my ride home is late ….
Talk about changes in schedules and do practice runs to become familiar with change.
Make lists – things to travel with, things to do – and leave the lists somewhere conspicuous.
College students going home for the first time might be going home to more rules or unstructured time. Make plans for filling time.
Preparing for events
People with autism should feel comfortable declining invitations, even if it’s shopping with Mom.
Discuss grooming and choose clothes that are comfortable and appropriate.
Find a safe space to escape overwhelming stimuli. Bathrooms make great retreats, Bagley says.
“You can close the door and no one will question why you were in the bathroom for half an hour,” she says.
Have an item to focus on, a phone or a book, if you get uncomfortable. “One student looked at maps during dinner,” Bagley says.
Script small talk, like comments about sports or current events, and discuss avoiding what’s not acceptable to say.
For the host
Including people with autism in holiday parties “means so much to families,” Bagley says. It shows “that you want their loved one there and you’re willing to change things a little bit to make them feel welcome and comfortable.”
Have low-sensory options, let people opt in or out of activities and have a variety of foods.
Give low-stimulation bags as party favors with ear plugs or headphones, squishy toys and pre-approved snacks.
Be respectful if someone declines an invitation.
The bottom line, Bagley says, is that when any event or holiday display is planned with accessibility in mind, “everyone wins.”
Handwriting skills are crucial for success in school, communication, and building children’s self-esteem.
The first study to examine handwriting quality in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) has uncovered a relationship between fine motor control and poor quality of handwriting in children with ASD, according to research published in the November 10, 2009, issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The study, conducted by researchers at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, compared handwriting samples, motor skills, and visuospatial abilities of children with ASD to typically developing children. The researchers found that overall, the handwriting of children with ASD was worse than typically developing children. Specifically, children with ASD had trouble with forming letters, however in other categories, such as size, alignment, and spacing, their handwriting was comparable to typically developing children. These findings build on previous studies examining motor skills and ASD conducted in 2009 by Kennedy Krieger researchers.
of children with ASD are often the first ones to observe their child’s
poor handwriting quality. This study identifies fine motor control as a
root source of the problem and demonstrates that children with ASD may
not experience difficulties across all domains, just forming letters. By
identifying handwriting as a legitimate impairment, parents, teachers
and therapists will now be able to pursue techniques that will improve
“The ability to keep up in classes and
convey ideas through handwriting is fundamental to life,” said Christina
Fuentes, lead study author and researcher at the Kennedy Krieger
Institute. “Knowing the causes of impairment allows us to strategically
identify techniques that will help children with ASD improve their
handwriting. Our study suggests that teaching children how to form
letters, in combination with general training of fine motor control
through techniques that include stabilizing the arm and the use of
proper writing utensils, may be the best direction for improving
About the studyResearchers administered a
total of three tests to 14 children with ASD and 14 typically
developing children. The handwriting samples were scored on legibility,
form, alignment, size and spacing. The children’s motor skills were then
assessed using the Revised Physical and Neurological Examination for
Subtle Sign (PANESS). The PANESS consisted of multiple categories such
as gait tasks (heel walking), balance tasks (hopping on one foot) and
timed movements (repetitive and patterned movements). Lastly, the
children’s visuospatial skills were assessed using the Block Design test
in which they were timed to reconstruct large designs by properly
assembling a set of blocks.
With no significant difference
between the typically developing children and children with ASD groups
in age, perceptual reasoning IQ, and the Block Design scores, a
significant difference was found for performance on the PANESS, with the
typically developing children performing better. Researchers found
children with ASD’s total handwriting scores were lower than typically
developing children due to the quality of their letter formation.
Researchers also found that motor ability, specifically for timed
movements, was a strong predictor of handwriting performance in children
with ASD as opposed to age, intelligence, and visuospatial abilities.
this fine motor deficiency in handwriting provides important insight
about ASD,” said Dr. Amy Bastian, corresponding study author and
Director of the Motion Analysis Laboratory at the Kennedy Krieger
Institute. “It provides another example of motor skill problems that may
give us cues for other deficits with socialization and communication.
Furthermore, occupational therapists and teachers can now take the
information from this study and apply it to the students they see on a
This study was sponsored by Autism Speaks and the National Institutes of Health.
AutismAutism spectrum disorders (ASD) is the nation’s fastest growing
developmental disorder, with current incidence rates estimated at 1 in
100 children. This year more children will be diagnosed with autism than
AIDS, diabetes and cancer combined, yet profound gaps remain in our
understanding of both the causes and cures of the disorder. Continued
research and education about developmental disruptions in individuals
with ASD is crucial, as early detection and intervention can lead to
improved outcomes in individuals with ASD.
About the Kennedy
Krieger InstituteInternationally recognized for improving the lives of
children and adolescents with disorders and injuries of the brain and
spinal cord, the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, MD serves more
than 13,000 individuals each year through inpatient and outpatient
clinics, home and community services and school-based programs. Kennedy
Krieger provides a wide range of services for children with
developmental concerns mild to severe, and is home to a team of
investigators who are contributing to the understanding of how disorders
develop while pioneering new interventions and earlier diagnosis. For
more information on Kennedy Krieger Institute, visit www.kennedykrieger.org.
Here are five best practices that can help reduce the chances of abduction:
Always have your keys in-hand.
Moak suggests getting your keys ready prior to leaving the inside of a
building in case you need to quickly access the inside of your vehicle.
Do not stand next to your vehicle in the dark fumbling through your bags.
“You are vulnerable to the element of surprise in that situation,” Moak
said. “Avoid going places alone after dark, especially if you are in a
place that is not familiar to you.”
Look inside your vehicle before you get in, especially when it has been parked in a parking terminal or lot.
Moak says this is a great practice and encourages everyone to be aware
of their surroundings when leaving a mall or grocery store.
Teach your children danger signs.
“As for parents of young children, it is impossible to be with your
child every second of every day, but teaching them danger signs — like
do not talk to adults you do not know in the park or on the playground —
can make a big difference in helping to avoid abduction,” Moak said.
“Teach your children to not accept candy or gifts from someone they do
not know. These are all standard tips that we have heard over and over,
but they still remain true today. If you are unable to supervise your
child, make sure another adult is available or in reach of your child.”
Do not leave your children in public parks or playgrounds unattended.
Moak says parents have so many responsibilities, mostly due to work
schedules that do not always align with school schedules. That is when
community support can be vital. “As a community, we need to support each
other to make parenting easier,” Moak said. “We don’t seem to honor the
ideal that it takes a village to raise a child. It is always easier to
judge than to support, but that will not address the problem in our
Moak emphasizes that people should pay close attention to their surroundings when in public every day.
what is going on around you,” Moak said. “That’s the fastest way to
ward off a potential criminal — by looking them in the eyes. Most
would-be offenders will alter their course of action if they fear they
can be identified by someone.”
Most importantly, being aware of
what is happening around you — and not ignoring things that seem out of
sorts — is a critical crime-prevention tool.
About UAB Known
for its innovative and interdisciplinary approach to education at both
the graduate and undergraduate levels, the University of Alabama at
Birmingham is an internationally renowned research university and
academic medical center, as well as Alabama’s largest employer, with
some 23,000 employees, and has an annual economic impact exceeding $7
billion on the state. The five pillars of UAB’s mission include
education, research, patient care, community service and economic
development. UAB is a two-time recipient of the prestigious Center for Translational Science Award. Learn more at www.uab.edu. UAB: Powered by will.
Case Western Reserve University researchers examine needs, services for youth with autism and their family caregivers
New research at Case Western Reserve University found big gaps in
services and continued care for children with autism—and their
families—as they transition from adolescence to adulthood.
families need more support, including improved job training, access to
services and transportation, according to research from the university’s
Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences.
surveyed 174 families from Northeast Ohio to examine the needs and
barriers to services for youth with autism—from 16 to 30 years old—and
their family caregivers.
Examining the issues
were recruited from 28 public and private agencies and organizations.
The survey asked about services—both received and needed—as well as top
concerns. Chief among them: limited access to information, reported by
51% of the respondents. Other issues include waiting lists or services
not being available (44%), location (39%) and cost (37%).
also examined the quality of the services provided. They found that
often families don’t know where to turn for service, or what services
“The number one thing we heard from parents was that they
weren’t aware of the services available to them,” said Karen Ishler, a
senior research associate at the Mandel School and co-director of the
project. “How do you know what you don’t know? Who do they talk to?”
Biegel, the Henry L. Zucker Professor of Social Work Practice at the
Mandel School and one of the project’s co-directors. said there were
some positives learned from the research, too. More than 60% said they
“see eye-to-eye” with their spouse/partner regarding care, and more than
65% of the caregivers reported other positive aspects of care.
spectrum disorder (ASD) affects the entire family,” said Biegel, “Many
young people with ASD are at risk for reduced quality of life in
adulthood. Additionally, families of adolescents and young adults with
ASD face all kinds of stressors—especially during those critical
Take, for example, finding a job. Children with
autism are allowed to stay in public schools until age 22. When they
finish, though, employment training and support dries up, according to
“What happens when they age out? It’s a growing
concern,” Ishler said. “We have to look at the service delivery, because
we know there are many unmet needs.”
In 2004, one in 166 children nationally were diagnosed with autism; in 2018, that ratio was one in 59.
lot of these kids diagnosed at 4, 5 and 6 years old are now becoming
young adults,” Biegel said. “It’s putting new pressures on them, and
particularly their families, as they age out of school-based services.”
caregiver’s response about his or her daughter summed up the problem:
“Don’t assume that just because she is highly intellectually functioning
that she doesn’t need support and acceptance socially.”
and Ishler found that 82% of those with autism live with their parents
into adulthood. “This confirms what we already know: families shoulder
the burden of autism,” Biegel said. The study found that 28% family
members had elevated anxiety and 35% had elevated symptoms of
“We tend to emphasize the people who aren’t doing
well,” he said. “We knew there were going to be issues. But some
families are doing just fine—they’ve figured out how to navigate the
system. However, here is also a significant number of families that have
major concerns and needs. Our hope is that these results stimulates
discussion and awareness.”
The study was funded by the
International Center for Autism Research and Education (ICARE) through a
Mt. Sinai Foundation catalytic grant.
As preparations begin for the Thanksgiving holiday, experts from the Cornell Craft Beverage Institute offer beverage pairings for the food feast, as well as delicious drinks for cooking, watching football and even those sometimes-challenging conversations with family.
Brewing expert Kaylyn Kirkpatrick supervises the
Cornell Craft Beverage Institute’s Hops Analysis Lab and brewery pilot
plant, scheduled to open in early 2020. She helps brewers across New
York state test ingredient quality. Kirkpatrick offers beer pairings for
the upcoming holiday.
you’re cooking and watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in the
background, opt for a German Kristalweizen, a South German-style
sparkling clear wheat beer. It’s similar to a hefeweizen but without the
haze and palate fullness.
“A gose, another German-style beer,
would be great paired with smoked turkey and stuffing. This wheat beer
has a lemon-like sour characteristic from the souring organism
lactobacillus and is slightly salty from the water formulation.
“A Belgian dark strong ale is an excellent pairing with pecan pie and other desserts, delivering a strong malt character with rich aromatic notes of dark fruit from extended aging and perfumey alcohol.”
Associate professor of enology Anna Katharine Mansfield works with New York state wineries and focuses on practical challenges facing small, local wineries. She also conducts research that aims to answer pressing questions facing the wine industry as a whole. Mansfield offers regional wine and spirit pairings for sipping during Thanksgiving.
“For post-prandial sipping, or for making warming cocktails, one of the several applejacks produced in the Hudson Valley would be a great choice. Applejack was one of the first American spirits, after all!
Christopher Gerling, an enologist and craft-beverage expert, is the Cornell Craft Beverage Institute’s expert who handles wine, cider and spirits. Recently he’s been spending his time working on fermentation formulations with New York state cideries. Gerling suggest cider pairings for holiday festivities.
“For watching football, parades, or unpleasant family conversations, New York state ciders made from culinary apples will fit the bill. Found in cans or 12 oz. bottles, these ciders come in a variety of sweetness levels and seasonal flavors and make for a great gluten-free match with appetizers.
“For pairing with a turkey dinner, ciders made from traditional cider apples can work with just about any food. Often found in 750 ml bottles (like wine), these ciders can stand up to sauces, casseroles and a variety of veggies. Classic high-tannin ciders are also exceptionally enjoyable with cheeses.
“For pumpkin and apple pie, a pommeau will make any special occasion memorable. Made with a combination of apple brandy and apple juice, pommeau can be easier to enjoy than brandy and is far rarer than port.”Cornell University has dedicated television and audio studios available for media interviews supporting full HD, ISDN and web-based platforms.
Discovery provides valuable insight into evolution of theropod dinosaurs around the world
A small, feathered theropod dinosaur, Saurornitholestes langstoni was long thought to be so closely related to Velociraptor mongoliensis that some researchers called it Velociraptor langstoni — until now.
The discovery of a nearly complete dromaeosaurid Saurornitholestes langstoni specimen
is providing critical information for the evolution of theropod
dinosaurs, according to new research by a University of Alberta
The 76-million-year-old species was long thought
to be so closely related to Velociraptor from Mongolia that some
researchers even called it Velociraptor langstoni–until now.
landmark discovery was made by world-renowned paleontologists Philip
Currie and Clive Coy from the University of Alberta and David Evans,
James and Louise Temerty Endowed Chair of Vertebrate Palaeontology at
the Royal Ontario Museum. The research illustrates how Saurornitholestes
differs from Velociraptor. Importantly, the research also identifies a
unique tooth evolved for preening feathers and provides new evidence
that the dromaeosaurid lineage from North America that includes
Saurornitholestes is distinct from an Asian lineage that includes the
“Palaeontology in general is a gigantic
puzzle where most of the pieces are missing. The discovery and
description of this specimen represents the recovery of many pieces of
the puzzle,” said Currie, professor in the Department of Biological
Sciences and Canada Research Chair in Dinosaur Paleobiology. “This ranks
in the top discoveries of my career. It is pretty amazing.”
Another piece of the puzzle
is a small, feathered carnivorous dinosaur within the dromaeosaurid
family (also known as “raptors”) that was previously known from
fragmentary remains. Discovered by Coy in Dinosaur Provincial Park in
2014, the new skeleton is remarkably complete and exquisitely preserved,
with all the bones (except for the tail) preserved in life position.
The new research, which focuses on the skull, shows that the North
American form has a shorter and deeper skull than the Velociraptor. At
the front of the skull’s mouth, the researchers also discovered a flat
tooth with long ridges, which was likely used for preening feathers. The
same tooth has since been identified in Velociraptor and other
“Because of their small size and delicate bones,
small meat-eating dinosaur skeletons are exceptionally rare in the
fossil record. The new skeleton is by far the most complete and
best-preserved raptor skeleton ever found in North America. It’s a
scientific goldmine,” said Evans.
The study also establishes a
distinction between dromaeosaurids in North America and Asia. “The new
anatomical information we have clearly shows that the North American
dromaeosaurids are a separate lineage from the Asian dromaeosaurids,
although they do have a common ancestor,” said Currie. “This changes our
understanding of intercontinental movements of these animals and
ultimately will help us understand their evolution.”
research will investigate the remainder of the skeleton as well as
additional analyses on the relationships between dromaeosaurids.
The paper, “Cranial Anatomy of New Specimens of Saurornitholestes langstoni (Dinosauria, Theropoda, Dromaeosauridae) from the Dinosaur Park Formation (Campanian) of Alberta,” was published in The Anatomical Record (doi: 10.1002/ar.24241).
Many parents permit their adolescent children to drink alcohol,
believing this helps teach them responsible use and avoids the appeal of
‘forbidden fruit’. In research studies, greater parental permissibility
for alcohol has been linked to earlier and heavier drinking in
adolescence. However, it is not clear whether parents allowing
adolescents to drink is itself to blame, or if this kind of
permissibility is simply a marker for other factors (relating to the
family, parents or child) that increase the risk of problem alcohol use
among adolescents. For example, parents’ own heavy drinking, family
sociodemographics, and adolescents’ friends’ use of alcohol can all
affect the likelihood of alcohol misuse among adolescents, and each of
these risk factors might also be underlying causes of parents allowing
drinking. In a new report published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research,
researchers from Pennsylvania State University have used
intergenerational data from a contemporary UK study to examine whether
parents allowing adolescents to drink is itself associated with risky
drinking in adolescence, beyond other such risk factors.
Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) has collected data from over eleven
thousand parents and children from infancy through to 14 years, using
regular interviews. Children were asked questions about their alcohol
use when they were aged 11 and 14 years; the data showed that by age 14,
half had drunk more than a few sips of alcohol, around 10% had drunk
heavily, and 3% had drunk heavily at least 3 times in the past year.
Seven percent had made a rapid transition to heavy drinking, defined as
escalating to having at least five drinks at a time, within a year of
having their first drink.
Parents of 14-year olds were asked if
they permitted their child to use alcohol, with about 16% of parents
indicating that they did allow this. Using a series of statistical
analyses, the researchers found that these teenagers faced an elevated
risk of heavy alcohol use at age 14, even after accounting for a large
host of other risk factors measured earlier when children were age 11.
Specifically, children who were permitted to drink alcohol had over
twice the odds of engaging in heavy or frequent heavy drinking by age
14, and almost double the risk of a rapid transition to heavy drinking,
than those whose parents did not permit alcohol use.
findings do not support the idea that allowing children to drink alcohol
inoculates them against alcohol misuse, and will help to target
prevention and screening efforts to reduce underage drinking. However,
the researchers note that because adolescent heavy drinking and parental
permissiveness about alcohol were measured at the same point in the
survey (at around age 14), the findings represent an association rather
than cause and effect; further research will be needed to establish
whether parental permissiveness leads to adolescent heavy drinking, or
whether adolescent drinking over time leads parents to become more
Parents Allowing Drinking is Associated with Adolescents’ Heavy Alcohol Use. J. Staff, J. Maggs (pages xxx).
The shark is estimated to be nearly 17 feet or over 5 meters long
CHICAGO — A 91-million-year-old fossil shark newly named Cretodus houghtonorum
discovered in Kansas joins a list of large dinosaur-era animals.
Preserved in sediments deposited in an ancient ocean called the Western
Interior Seaway that covered the middle of North America during the Late
Cretaceous period (144 million to 66 million years ago), Cretodus houghtonorum
was an impressive shark estimated to be nearly 17 feet or slightly more
than 5 meters long based on a new study appearing in the Journal of
The fossil shark was discovered and
excavated in 2010 at a ranch near Tipton, Kansas, in Mitchell County by
researchers Kenshu Shimada and Michael Everhart and two central Kansas
residents, Fred Smith and Gail Pearson. Shimada is a professor of
paleobiology at DePaul University in Chicago. He and Everhart are both
adjunct research associates at the Sternberg Museum of Natural History,
Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas. The species name houghtonorum is in honor of Keith and Deborah Houghton, the landowners who donated the specimen to the museum for science.
Although a largely disarticulated and incomplete skeleton, it represents the best Cretodus
specimen discovered in North America, according to Shimada. The
discovery consists of 134 teeth, 61 vertebrae, 23 placoid scales and
fragments of calcified cartilage, which when analyzed by scientists
provided a vast amount of biological information about the extinct
shark. Besides its estimated large body size, anatomical data suggested
that it was a rather sluggish shark, belonged to a shark group called
Lamniformes that includes modern-day great white and sand tiger sharks
as distant cousins, and had a rather distinct tooth pattern for a
lamniform shark, the researchers said.
“Much of what we know about
extinct sharks is based on isolated teeth, but an associated specimen
representing a single shark individual like the one we describe provides
a wealth of anatomical information that in turn offers better insights
into its ecology,” said Shimada, the lead author on the study.
important ecological components in marine ecosystems, understanding
about sharks in the past and present is critical to evaluate the roles
they have played in their environments and biodiversity through time,
and more importantly how they may affect the future marine ecosystem if
they become extinct,” he said.
During the excavation, Shimada and Everhart believed they had a specimen of Cretodus crassidens,
a species originally described from England and subsequently reported
commonly from North America. However, not even a single tooth matched
the tooth shape of the original Cretodus crassidens specimen or any other known species of Cretodus, Shimada said.
“That’s when we realized that almost all the teeth from North America previously reported as Cretodus crassidens belong to a different species new to science,” he noted.
growth model of the shark calibrated from observed vertebral growth
rings indicates that the shark could have theoretically reached up to
about 22 feet (about 6.8 meters).
“What is more exciting is its
inferred large size at birth, almost 4 feet or 1.2 meters in length,
suggesting that the cannibalistic behavior for nurturing embryos
commonly observed within the uteri of modern female lamniforms must have
already evolved by the late Cretaceous period,” Shimada added.
Furthermore, the Cretodus houghtonorum fossil intriguingly co-occurred with isolated teeth of another shark, Squalicorax, as well as with fragments of two fin spines of a yet another shark, a hybodont shark, the researchers said.
“Circumstantially, we think the shark possibly fed on the much smaller hybodont and was in turn scavenged by Squalicorax after its death,” said Everhart.
like this would not be possible without the cooperation and generosity
of local landowners, and the local knowledge and enthusiasm of amateur
fossil collectors, according to the authors.
“We believe that
continued cooperation between paleontologists and those who are most
familiar with the land is essential to improving our understanding of
the geologic history of Kansas and Earth as a whole,” said Everhart.
new study, “A new large Late Cretaceous lamniform shark from North
America with comments on the taxonomy, paleoecology, and evolution of
the genus Cretodus,” will appear in the forthcoming issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology and is online at https://doi.org/10.1080/02724634.2019.1673399.
A study participant at Emory University School of Medicine watches a video while an eye tracker records when and where she looks at the screen.
Researchers from the Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center and the Marcus
Autism Center at Emory University School of Medicine are partnering to
study musical rhythm synchronization as a part of social development and
how it’s disrupted in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in
hopes of developing music interventions for improving social
The study is part of the Sound Health Initiative, a
series of research projects aimed at advancing understanding of music’s
mechanism in the brain and how it may be applied more broadly to treat
symptoms of disorders. The initiative is a partnership between the
National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the John F. Kennedy Center for
the Performing Arts, in association with the National Endowment for the
Using eye tracking technology, the project will examine how
toddlers with ASD and typically developing children focus their visual
attention in response to social musical interactions. The children will
watch a series of videos that use infant-directed singing — a type of
musical interaction often used by caregivers that emphasizes rhythm and
predictability — to track where and when they look at the screen.
of the videos will use natural infant-directed singing while others
will have a disrupted rhythmic structure to examine how the child’s
viewing behavior is impacted when the video’s predictability is
Preliminary data from the researchers’ prior studies
suggests that when a caregiver sings to a child, children are more
likely to attend to the eyes of the singer during the predictable,
rhythmically important moments of the song. Singers are also
particularly expressive during those moments, and the combined
expressions and predictability modulate looking behaviors in children.
look at others’ eyes to socially connect with them, as a window into
how they’re feeling and to see if they’re trying to direct our
attention,” said Miriam Lense, PhD, assistant professor of
Otolaryngology at VUMC and principal investigator for the study. “We
also know that children with autism have reduced attention to the eyes
of other people starting early in life.”
interventions for children with ASD rely on predictability to help the
child learn how to react to specific interactions. Lense and her
collaborators, which include Stephen Camarata, PhD, professor of Hearing
and Speech Sciences, and co-principal investigator Warren Jones, PhD,
of Emory, believe musical interaction may enhance the predictability
that is already inherent in evidence-based practices for children with
“We all are helped by predictability — when we know what’s
expected of us and how to act — so social musical interactions may
create a potential platform for practicing various social skills,” said
Lense. “We’re taking principles we already know to be meaningful for
children with autism and using them to understand the mechanisms by
which these interventions may work.”
Lense believes if rhythm is
differentially impacting children with autism’s gaze behavior, it may
lead to a better understanding of autism while also allowing for new
therapeutic interventions that support children’s attention.
are many music-based treatments for ASD, and many people with ASD seem
drawn to music. But there is a crucial need to test — and refine — these
treatments,” said Camarata. “Dr. Lense’s work will help inform clinical
trials and, ultimately, provide better treatment for children with
“Such a combination of talented researchers leveraging the
culture of Music City, the depth of Vanderbilt and the unique strengths
of the Bill Wilkerson Center is rare and remarkable. We are excited for
the journey using music as a special tool for these patients and
families,” said Roland Eavey, MD, Guy M. Maness Professor and chair of
Otolaryngology and director of the Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center.
Invisible footprints hiding since the end of the last ice age – and what lies beneath them – have been discovered by Cornell University researchers using a special type of radar in a novel way.
fossilized footprints reveal a wealth of information about how humans
and animals moved and interacted with each other 12,000 years ago.
never thought to look under footprints,” said Thomas Urban, research
scientist at Cornell and lead author on the study. “But it turns out
that the sediment itself has a memory that records the effects of the
animal’s weight and momentum in a beautiful way. It gives us a way to
understand the biomechanics of extinct fauna that we never had before.”
researchers examined the footprints of humans, mammoths and giant
sloths in the White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. Using
ground-penetrating radar (GPR), they were able to resolve 96% of the
human tracks in the area under investigation, as well as all of the
larger vertebrate tracks.
“But there are bigger implications than
just this case study,” Urban said. “The technique could possibly be
applied to many other fossilized footprint sites around the world,
potentially including those of dinosaurs. We have already successfully
tested the method more broadly at multiple locations within White
While these “ghost” footprints can become invisible for a
short time after rain and when conditions are just right, “now, using
geophysics methods, they can be recorded, traced and investigated in 3D
to reveal Pleistocene animal and human interactions, history and
mechanics in genuinely exciting new ways,” said co-author Sturt Manning, archaeology professor.
is a nondestructive method that allows researchers to access hidden
information without the need for excavation. The sensor – a kind of
antenna – is dragged over the surface, sending a radio wave into the
ground. The signal that bounces back gives a picture of what’s under the
In addition to this biomechanical treasure trove of
data, the GPR technique gives researchers a way to learn about what
early humans did when they were not at a campsite or kill site, the two
types of archaeological sites best known for this time period.
AMES, Iowa – Well, Doug Jacobson acknowledged, the Cyber Defense
Competitions at Iowa State University aren’t exactly lessons from a
“They’re a party,” said Jacobson, a University
Professor of electrical and computer engineering, the director of Iowa
State’s Information Assurance Center and the holder of three degrees
from Iowa State. “They’re a two-day party. There’s food. It’s loud.
Students are all together. And it’s chaotic.”
It’s also challenging.
latest version of the campus cybersecurity experience, contested on
Oct. 12, asked Iowa State students to protect the computer servers and
applications of the “Chris and Doug Construction Co.”
worked to protect the company’s information, electronically monitor the
company’s cranes and other equipment, take care of the time clock
application and run the company’s website.
All the while, attackers tried to bring the systems down.
these attackers were motivated: “Our next client has caught some flak
from internet forums for its recent work on data analysis and has been
receiving large amounts of attacks on its infrastructure,” said the
contest’s written scenario. “As such, we need to make sure we are up to
spec and protected before we move equipment over and get set up.”
up the construction company’s information systems and protecting them
for eight hours was a unique experience for students.
competitions really offer students a “moment,” said Nate Evans, an Iowa
State graduate – undergrad and doctorate – a former Cyber Defense
Competition director when he was a student, and the current
cybersecurity program manager at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne
National Laboratory near Chicago and lead developer of Argonne’s own
Cyber Defense Competition.
Evans believes a few special, hands-on moments can inspire and influence students.
excitement of defending in a Cyber Defense Competition,” he said, “is a
moment that gets students excited about working in cybersecurity.”
launched Iowa State’s Cyber Defense Competitions in 2005 – “That was an
era when people didn’t know about cybersecurity” – after learning how
the military was running information-security exercises. He decided to
make the contests a little more fun and, to date, nearly 2,000 Iowa
State students have competed in 20 contests.
(Another 1,588 Iowa
high school students, 967 community college students and 918 students
from Midwestern colleges and universities have also participated in
contests at Iowa State.)
And, the best estimate says Jacobson’s tradition of making breakfast on contest Saturdays has resulted in about 15,000 pancakes.
Why go to all the trouble?
First, Jacobson said, the competitions are great for teaching and learning.
“Learning how to detect, mitigate and report attacks in real time and under pressure – I can’t lecture on that skill,” he said.
they’re a great way to introduce students to real jobs in
cybersecurity. That includes introductions to industry professionals who
often come to campus to play the role of the competitions’ hackers.
of headlines about cybersecurity failures, “students now know what
cybersecurity is,” Jacobson said. “But they don’t know what it is from a
Learning at the cyberparty
With nearly 2,200 students, Waukee High School just west of Des Moines is the second largest high school in the state.
has a HyperStream Technology Club that has had as many as 80 students.
It has an APEX Program offering work-based learning opportunities for
600-plus students interested in business or technology.
But, even with its size and resources, it’s not able to offer a cybersecurity curriculum.
so the district has turned to the programs Jacobson and his team have
developed. Schools across the state are offered a year-long curriculum –
including books, videos and access to faculty. Plus, there are trips to
campus for Cyber Defense Competitions and IT-Olympics.
competitions are where students get hands-on experience with
cybersecurity,” said Michelle Hill, the director of Waukee High School’s
APEX Program and adviser to the technology club. “They’re also able to
meet with business partners who do that for a living. That is so
valuable to students.”
Plus, there are opportunities to visit a
research university, listen to expert speakers, win scholarships and,
for girls, be inspired by the success stories of women in the field.
“I wouldn’t miss it,” Hill said.
That’s another reason he’s doing these outreach programs, Jacobson said.
of course, he has other things to do. There are research projects to
manage, such as the $3.5 million Internet-Scale Event and Attack
Generation Environment he developed to study cyber defense. There’s also
helping with Iowa State’s new major in cyber security engineering.
he’s at the Cyber Defense Competitions on several Fridays and Saturdays
a semester, flipping pancakes, talking to students, visiting with
corporate partners and making sure everything is on track.
“This has a great impact – on society and on the students we bring in,” Jacobson said.
it’s still a party with a purpose: “It’s just as much of an educational
component as a competitive one,” he said. “I hate to use the word
competitions. We want it to be fun.
Social media users who post a high percentage of selfies have lower perceived likability
“A new Baylor University study published in the journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture looks at the value that outside observers place on social media cues (followers, likes, etc.) and measures the perceived likability of the people whose profiles were viewed. “
Maybe you think your Facebook posts are hilarious. Or you might think that Instagram selfie of you at the beach is picture-perfect. And that clever Tweet? You nailed it! But what do other people – your “friends,” “followers” and anyone else who might stumble across your profile – think of you based on your social media presence? Do they really like you?
A new Baylor University study published in the journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture
looks at the value that outside observers place on social media cues
(followers, likes, number of selfies, etc.) and measures the perceived
likability of the people whose profiles were viewed. The experimental
study generated 873 decision responses from 72 experienced social media
users who were asked to look at differing social media profiles and
posts and then assess the likeability of the social media user.
are many studies of individuals’ self-perception through social media
use. We are turning that around and looking at the audience’s
perspective,” said the study’s lead author, Steven W. Bradley, Ph.D., associate professor of entrepreneurship in Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business.
study shows that “perceived likability” – a combination of perceived
friendliness, relevance, empathy and realness – differed among men and
women. Individual cue patterns confirmed several commonly held
assumptions while combinations of social cues produced more intriguing
findings, Bradley said. Researchers found:
Social media users
who amass a larger number of friends and garner high numbers of likes
on their posts have a higher perceived likability
Social media users who are considered physically attractive have higher perceived likability
Social media users who post a high percentage of selfies – photos featuring only themselves – have lower perceived likability
Males tend to value attractiveness more than females in assessing likability
Females tend to base perceived likability on numbers of followers, likes and percentage of selfies
the number of followers and likes are twice as important as
attractiveness in predicting likeability, Bradley said. Alternatively,
social media users with a higher percentage of selfies are considered
1.5 times less likeable by outside observers.
that users who were rated “low in attractiveness” gained more
likability points, per se, if they had a large number of followers and
likes. When social media users are viewed as “higher in attractiveness,”
a change in the followers and likes from low to high increases
perceived likeability by 20 percent. In contrast, for social media users
who are perceived as lower in attractiveness, the difference in rated
likeability between low and high followers and likes is 64 percent.
other words, numbers of followers and likes may be used by an observer
to ‘make up’ for more obvious indicators like attractiveness when
assessing likability,” the researchers wrote. “Most observers suggest
that attractive people are likable due to associated attributes like
social ease and confidence. A less attractive person with a high number
of followers and likes suggest that other features – perhaps
friendliness, relevance, empathy and realness – are the source of their
social network, which also increase perceptions of likability.”
for selfies? The researchers found that observers use their experience
with cues regarding selfies to evaluate whether an authentic or
manufactured self is presented.
“Too many selfies suggest the page owner is overly narcissistic and not a good friend candidate,” said study co-author James A. Roberts, Ph.D., The Ben H. Williams Professor of Marketing in Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business.
Likability diminished even when other social media status cues of followers or attractiveness were high.
hypothesized and found that a high percentage of selfies is a cue that
may indicate less reciprocity and group benefit, focusing
narcissistically on oneself relative to others,” the researchers wrote.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.
ABOUT HANKAMER SCHOOL OF BUSINESS
University’s Hankamer School of Business provides a rigorous academic
experience, consisting of classroom and hands-on learning, guided by
Christian commitment and a global perspective. Recognized nationally for
several programs, including Entrepreneurship and Accounting, the school
offers 24 undergraduate and 13 graduate areas of study. Visit
http://www.baylor.edu/businessand follow on Twitter at
Bill Nelson Edges Ahead of Rick Scott in U.S. Senate Race
In the wake of a mass shooting that took the lives of 17 students and
teachers at a South Florida high school, a vast majority of Floridians
support stricter gun laws, including a ban on assault-style rifles,
universal background checks and raising the minimum age for gun
purchasers, according to a statewide survey by the Florida Atlantic
University Business and Economics Polling Initiative (FAU BEPI).
the political front, Florida Gov. Rick Scott has lost ground to Sen.
Bill Nelson in a U.S. Senate race hypothetical matchup. Although Scott
has not officially declared his candidacy for the seat currently held by
Nelson, the latest poll shows Nelson with a two-point lead over Scott,
40 to 38 percent. A poll FAU BEPI conducted at the beginning of February
showed Scott leading Nelson by 10 points.
“The bad news for Scott
is his A+ rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA) makes 44
percent of voters less likely to vote for him and only 26 percent more
likely,” said Monica Escaleras,
Ph.D., director of the BEPI. “A deeper dive into these numbers also
finds Independents less likely to vote for Scott, 43 to 17 percent,
because of his NRA rating.”
Additionally, Floridians disapprove of
U.S. President Donald Trump’s response to the recent mass shooting 49
to 34 percent. Republicans approve 62 to 20 percent, while Democrats
disapprove 73 to 16 percent, and Independents disapprove 53 to 23
Seven out of 10 voters want stricter gun laws while only
11 percent said laws should be less strict and 19 percent said laws
should be left as is. A majority of voters of every party affiliation
want stricter gun laws, with Democrats most in support at 84 percent,
followed by Independents at 69 percent and Republicans at 55 percent.
background checks for all gun buyers are supported by 87 percent of
voters, and there is no statistical difference based on party
affiliation. Nearly 4 of 5 voters (78 percent) support raising the
minimum age to purchase a gun from 18 to 21, while 69 percent support a
ban on assault-style rifles, with 23 percent opposed. A proposal to arm
teachers is opposed by 56 percent of voters and supported by only 31
percent, with Democrats opposing by a 74 to 16 percent margin,
Independents opposing 57 to 26 percent and Republicans supporting the
proposal 53 to 37 percent.
“Gun control may turn out to be a
pivotal issue in the midterm elections and could well be the difference
in a close race for the Senate between Rick Scott and Bill Nelson,” said
Ph.D., professor of political science at FAU and a research fellow of
the Initiative. “While large majorities of Floridians support background
checks and an increase in the age requirement, it is not at all clear
that there is sufficient support for these measures in the Florida
legislature. As we are already late in the session, it will take a
serious push by Gov. Scott to pass any of these reforms this year.”
survey also found that 27 percent of voters have either been a victim
of gun violence themselves or know someone who has. Among African
American voters this number jumps to 51 percent, while only 22 percent
of whites and 24 percent of Hispanics have had this experience. Younger
voters are also more likely to have been a victim or know a victim of
gun violence, with 36 percent of voter’s age 18-34, 30 percent of age
35-54, 23 percent of age 55-74 and 9 percent of those over 75.
asked what they believe is the major contributor to mass shootings, the
availability of guns came in first with nearly 4 of 10 voters (39
percent), while 24 percent selected a lack of mental healthcare. Violent
themes on TV and video games came in third at 18 percent, while 14
percent said it’s something else. One-third of Republicans (33 percent)
said the lack of mental healthcare was a major contributor of gun
violence, while availability of guns was ranked as the major contributor
by Democrats (56 percent) and Independents (42 percent).
than 4 of 10 (41 percent) of voters in the survey own a gun. Republicans
(52 percent) are more likely to own a gun than Democrats (36 percent)
and Independents (33 percent).
“Independent voters are closer to
the Democrats than the Republicans on some of these gun control issues
in our poll. That could be a problem for Republicans in the fall,”
The survey, which polled 800 Florida registered voters Feb. 23-25, was conducted using an online sample supplied by Survey Sampling International using online questionnaires and via an automated telephone platform (IVR) using registered voter lists supplied by Aristotle, Inc.
The survey has a margin of error of +/- 3.6 percentage points.
Responses for the entire sample were weighted to reflect the statewide
distribution of the Florida population. The polling results and full
cross-tabulations are available at www.business.fau.edu/bepi.
– FAU –
About FAU BEPI: The
Florida Atlantic University Business and Economic Polling Initiative
conducts surveys on business, economic, political and social issues with
a focus on Hispanic attitudes and opinions at regional, state and
national levels via planned monthly national surveys. The initiative
subscribes to the American Association of Public Opinion Research and is
a resource for public and private organizations, academic research and
media outlets. In addition, the initiative is designed to contribute to
the educational mission of the University by providing students with
valuable opportunities to enhance their educational experience by
designing and carrying out public opinion research.
About Florida Atlantic UniversityFlorida
Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors
in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the
University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more
than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its
six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class
teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the
Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business,
the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education,
the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College,
the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of
Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E.
Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity
institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of
critical areas that form the basis of its strategic plan: Healthy aging,
biotech, coastal and marine issues, neuroscience, regenerative
medicine, informatics, lifespan and the environment. These areas provide
opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing
strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit www.fau.edu.
“Sorry Virginia, U.S. History Isn’t All About You!”
As the United States celebrates its founding on July 4, new research
on “collective narcissism” suggests many Americans have hugely
exaggerated notions about how much their home states helped to write the
“New research on collective narcissism suggests that residents of many American states, including Texas, have an inflated sense of their home state’s role in U.S. history. “
map of residents’ ratings of their state’s contributions to U.S.
history. Darker colors and higher percentages represent a larger
estimated contribution to U.S.
“Our study shows a massive narcissistic bias
in the way that people from the United States remember the contributions
of their home states to U.S. history,” said Henry L. “Roddy” Roediger,
professor of psychological and brain sciences in Arts & Sciences at
Washington University in St. Louis and senior author of the study.
The study, published June 24 in the journal Psychological Science,
is based on a national survey of nearly 4,000 U.S residents, including
about 50-60 respondents from each of the nation’s 50 states.
to estimate their home state’s contribution to U.S. history,
participants routinely gave their home state higher scores than those
provided by non-residents of the state.
“As we originally
hypothesized, the original 13 colonies, Texas and California showed high
levels of narcissism, but there were also some surprises,” said Adam
Putnam, the study’s first author and assistant professor of psychology
at Furman University in South Carolina. “For example, people from Kansas
and Wyoming thought much more of their state than nonresidents.”
narcissism — a phenomenon in which individuals show excessively high
regard for their own group — has been studied extensively in smaller
social circles, such as workplaces and communities. Psychologists have
explored the idea that people over-claim responsibility for shared tasks
for a long time, but this study is among the first to research its
effects among huge virtual groups of loosely connected individuals
scattered across entire states.
While it is difficult for anyone
to accurately estimate an individual state’s contribution to the
nation’s history, it is mathematically reasonable to expect the sum
total of individual state contributions to add up to a figure in the
vicinity of 100 percent.
Instead, the average percentage
contributions estimated by residents of each state in this study added
up to a staggering 907 percent, more than nine times higher than logic
Roediger grew up in Virginia and was not surprised that
his home state was on the high end of the continuum, claiming
responsibility for 41 percent of the nation’s history.
study U.S. history one year, then Virginia history the next. Many of the
events are the same: Jamestown, the Revolution, four of the first five
presidents being from Virginia, all the Civil War battles,” he recalls.
people in other states were asked about Virginia’s percentage
contribution to U.S. history, they also gave a high number: 24 percent.
an effort to see if state narcissism could be reduced by exposure to
the realities of U.S. history, researchers divided the sample into two
groups, requiring half to take a quiz designed to remind them of the
true breadth of U.S. history before they answered the relevant question.
The other half answered the question first, before they took the quiz.
However, placement of the question about how much the person’s state
contributed did not matter. The average across the 50 states was 18.1
percent whether the question was posed first or was placed last.
responses are even more amazing because we explicitly tell people in
the question that there are 50 states and the total contribution of all
states should equal 100 percent — even with that reminder Americans give
really high responses,” Putnam said. “Being reminded about the scope of
U.S. history before making the estimate doesn’t seem to lower the
Putnam, who earned a doctorate in psychology from
Washington University in 2015, has worked with Roediger on other studies
of collective narcissism, including a just-published paper that applies the same methodology to 35 nations around the globe.
study, which found that residents of Malaysia considered themselves
responsible for 39 percent of world history, has important implications
for how residents of these countries view one another and interact on
the world stage.
Roediger and Putnam offer several explanations
for the skewed perceptions uncovered in the study of collective
narcissism among residents of American states.
State of the union’s perception
Most humble states, according to the Narcissism Index: 1. Washington. Less than 1 percent (Tie) 2. Colorado. 1 percent Iowa Kentucky Mississippi 6. Arizona. 2 percent (T) 7. Alabama. 3 percent Maine Texas Utah (T) 11. Missouri, with 6 others. 4 percent
Most immodest states: (T) 1. Delaware, Virginia. 18 percent 3. Georgia. 15 percent (T) 4. Kansas. 12 percent Massachusetts Wyoming (T) 7. Idaho. 11 percent Louisiana New Jersey (T) 10. Rhode Island, Hawaii. 10 percent
starters, people know a lot more about their home state than other
states: they study state history in school, visit museums and so on. All
of this information comes to mind quickly and easily compared to
information about other states (a phenomenon known as the availability
A second factor is that social psychology research has
clearly shown that people like to associate with successful groups and
think of themselves as being slightly above-average on a variety of
Finally, people might not be particularly good at making quantitative estimates about small numbers.
most important take away from this research is that people may appear
to be egocentric or narcissistic about their own groups, but there isn’t
necessarily anything malicious or evil about it — it is just the way we
view the world,” Putnam said. “There is certainly concern about
tribalism in today’s culture, so this project is a nice reminder to try
and think about how people from different backgrounds see things.”
BINGHAMTON, NY – Children with autism spectrum disorder
(ASD) are more likely to experience bullying than children without ASD
and this bullying gets worse with age, according to new research from
Binghamton University, State University of New York.
Morton, a graduate student in the clinical psychology PhD program at
Binghamton University, aimed to conceptualize bullying in children with
ASD in order to specifically identify different bullying and behavior
types. Her research also emphasizes the need to establish better
definitions of bullying behaviors.
“This research is
important because it contributes to our understanding of how bullying is
nuanced,” said Morton. “This variability means it is crucial to
establish a definition for bullying and have standard assessments to
know when and what types of bullying are occurring.”
along with Binghamton psychologists Jennifer Gillis, Richard Mattson
and Raymond Romanczyk, focused this study on teachers and parents of
children with ASD, and community members without an ASD child.
Participants took a survey containing 80 scenarios of interactions
between two school-aged children. The scenarios varied from children
ages four to fifteen. Sixty-four of these scenarios contained a type of
bullying behavior (i.e. physical, verbal, interpersonal and cyber). The
participants were randomly presented with 16 scenarios, and were asked
to rate the severity of the interaction between the two children, as
well as indicate which types of bullying were present.
showed that a child’s increased age predicted higher bullying severity
ratings. The findings also showed that bullying among older children
with ASD is viewed as especially problematic by their parents, and that perceived
bullying severity differed according to the type of bullying behavior
(i.e., physical, verbal, interpersonal, and cyber).
paper emphasizes that bullying is a really broad construct,” said
Morton. “What any two people might be referring to when they use the
term ‘bullying’—regardless if they are parents, teachers, researchers,
etc.— likely differs, and perhaps in subtle ways.”
plans to further her research on this topic by focusing specifically on
the bullying behaviors that children with ASD experience compared to
children without ASD.
This research was conducted
through Binghamton University’s Institute for Child Development, which
offers early intervention services, speech services and more to children
and families in the Binghamton region.
Specialized driving instructors stress life skill development, parent-supervised practice, and individualized training to enhance learning and independence
Autistic adolescents need the support of their parents or guardians
to prioritize independence so that they are prepared for learning to
drive, according to a study of specialized driving instructors who have
worked specifically with young autistic drivers. These findings were
compiled by researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and recently published in the journal Autism in Adulthood.
instructors also emphasized the need to develop and refine best
practices to guide assessment and delivery of highly individualized
instruction for autistic adolescents.
“Through our interviews with specialized
driving instructors, we learned they believe parents are a critical
partner in preparing for and undertaking independent driving,” said Rachel K. Myers, PhD,
lead author of the study and scientist at the Center for Injury
Research and Prevention at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).
“Instructors recommend that parents help their children develop
independent life skills, including the use of alternative forms of
transportation such as bicycling or mass transit, and to practice
pre-driving skills, such as navigation, before undertaking on-road
Driving instructors are an important resource
for families, especially for those with autistic adolescents learning to
drive. However, because not much is known about the specific experience
of teaching autistic adolescents how to drive, this limits the ability
to provide adolescents and families with proper guidance preparing for
the learning-to-drive process. To help bridge this gap, researchers
conducted in-depth interviews with specialized driving instructors who
had experience working with autistic adolescents and young adults. This
is the first study to examine the process and experience of driving
instructors who provide behind-the-wheel training specifically for this
The study revealed a set of common themes that
underscored the importance of parents of autistic adolescents in
preparation for the learning-to-drive process, with driving instructors
viewing parents as essential partners in supporting their efforts in
teaching driving skills and promoting independence. Participating
instructors said parents can support and prioritize independence by
encouraging their autistic adolescents to develop life skills, such as
mowing the lawn, cooking, and taking public transportation, before
learning to drive.
Although the driving instructors identified a
need to develop and refine best practices for assessment and
instruction, they recognized that specific approaches must be tailored
to meet the unique needs of each autistic adolescent driver, reflecting
the spectrum that affects each adolescent differently. Other suggestions
from the instructors involved in this study included using of
state-level vocational rehabilitation services to provide financial
support for instruction, identifying and promoting prerequisite life
skills prior to undertaking driving, parent-supervised driving
instruction in partnership with professional driving instruction, and
tailoring instruction to address the particular needs of learner
“What these specialized driving instructors told us about
the disconnect between driving and other life skills was surprising,”
said Benjamin E. Yerys, PhD,
study author and psychologist at the Center for Autism Research at
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “Some parents may not let their
autistic adolescents use a stovetop oven, but are asking if their teens
are ready to drive. Whether or not their children decide to drive,
parents should encourage greater independence by encouraging them to get
around on their own. Traveling independently by driving or other modes
of transportation is key to continuing their education, working, and
staying connected with friends and family.”
Obtaining a driver’s
license is a major milestone in the transition to adulthood. This
milestone increases the independence and mobility of adolescents, which
can potentially lead to improved access to educational, occupational
training, social, and community engagement opportunities. According to previous CHOP research,
nearly one-third of autistic adolescents obtain a driver’s license by
the time they are 21 years old, which may improve their ability to
transition into independent adulthood.
This work was supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the
National Institutes of Health awards R01HD079398 and R01HD096221.
Myers et al, “Teaching Autistic Adolescents and Young Adults to Drive: Perspectives of Specialized Driving Instructors.” Autism in Adulthood, online May 22, 2019. doi.org/10.1089/aut.2018.0054.
About Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: Children’s
Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the nation’s first
pediatric hospital. Through its long-standing commitment to providing
exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric
healthcare professionals, and pioneering major research initiatives,
Children’s Hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited
children worldwide. Its pediatric research program is among the largest
in the country. In addition, its unique family-centered care and public
service programs have brought the 564-bed hospital recognition as a
leading advocate for children and adolescents. For more information,
In ancient Egypt, Sacred Ibises were collected from their natural
habitats to be ritually sacrificed, according to a study released
November 13, 2019 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Sally Wasef of
Griffith University, Australia and colleagues.
are famously filled with the mummified bodies of Sacred Ibises. Between
around 664BC and 250AD, it was common practice for the birds to be
sacrificed, or much more rarely worshipped in ritual service to the god
Thoth, and subsequently mummified. In ancient sites across Egypt, these
mummified birds are stacked floor to ceiling along kilometers of
catacombs, totaling many millions of birds. But how the Egyptians got
access to so many birds has been a mystery; some ancient texts indicate
that long-term farming and domestication may have been employed.
this study, Wasef and colleagues collected DNA from 40 mummified Sacred
Ibis specimens from six Egyptian catacombs dating to around 2500 years
ago and 26 modern specimens from across Africa. 14 of the mummies and
all of the modern specimens yielded complete mitochondrial genome
sequences. These data allowed the researchers to compare genetic
diversity between wild populations and the sacrificed collections.
the birds were being domesticated and farmed, the expected result would
be low genetic diversity due to interbreeding of restricted
populations, but in contrast, this study found that the genetic
diversity of mummified Ibises within and between catacombs was similar
to that of modern wild populations. This suggests that the birds were
not the result of centralized farming, but instead short-term taming.
The authors suggest the birds were likely tended in their natural
habitats or perhaps farmed only in the times of year they were needed
The authors add: “We report the first complete
ancient genomes of the Egyptian Sacred Ibis mummies, showing that
priests sustained short-term taming of the wild Sacred Ibis in local
lakes or wetlands contrary to centralised industrial scale farming of
S, Subramanian S, O’Rorke R, Huynen L, El-Marghani S, Curtis C, et al.
(2019) Mitogenomic diversity in Sacred Ibis Mummies sheds light on early
Egyptian practices. PLoS ONE 14(11): e0223964. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0223964
Frontier Science is acknowledged for financial support in the form of a
grant to DL, SI, BH, and EW(RGP0036/2011). SW thanks Griffith
University for a PhD scholarship. The funders had no role in study
design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or
preparation of the manuscript.
Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
In a warming world, glacier scientists have to keep going higher.
An expedition to Peru captures climate history trapped in ice – before it is gone.
From the summit of Huascarán, the highest mountain in Earth’s
tropics, the valleys of the western Andes look placid and peaceful –
calming, even. The signs of climate change – of the melting glaciers
throughout the Andes, of the changes to the local villages’ water
supplies – are not immediately evident.
But the scientific crew on top of the mountain knows those changes are there.
part of why they’ve traveled so far, from the United States, Mexico,
Italy, Peru, France and Russia, and tackled this harrowing climb to more
than 22,000 feet: to visit the glaciers at the top and to drill columns
of glacier ice to send back to The Ohio State University for analysis.
The ice holds many clues to what has happened in Earth’s atmosphere and
in the climate of the region over the last 20,000 years. And, if Earth
keeps warming, the glacier might not be there for much longer.
“I’ve worked in Peru for 44 years, and have visited some of the ice fields 25 times,” said Lonnie Thompson, distinguished university professor in the School of Earth Sciences and senior research scientist at the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center.
“And I’ve been able to document the increase in temperature and the
melting that is taking place on the summits of many of these glaciers.”
is a peak in the Cordillera Blanca range in northern Peru. Thompson has
been here before, in 1980, 1992, 1993, 2016, and in the summer of 2019
he led a group of scientists back to see how the glacier had changed and
to collect new ice samples.
Because of its altitude, Huascarán is
one of the more challenging and dangerous peaks on which Thompson and
his crew have drilled. But that altitude also protects the ice.
Currently glaciers at lower altitudes, where it is warmer, are melting
rapidly and Huascarán’s glacier will eventually melt, too, but for now,
it is likely one of the few remaining intact tropical glaciers in the
“It is our belief that this mountain is the only one in
Peru that still has a largely unaltered ice record, both in the col (the
flat glacier area between the North and South Peaks) and on the higher
South Peak,” Thompson said. “And this makes it ideal for certain types
of gas measurements that have not been made in the low latitudes before –
if there’s any tropical place on Earth where gases like methane can be
measured, this will be it.”
Though they ran into some local political tensions
during the expedition, the drilling process went smoothly – more
smoothly, Thompson said, than any of the past 80-plus similar excursions
he has led.
Extracting ice from glaciers in the Tropics can be
harrowing. The climbs are often dangerous – in the case of Huascarán,
avalanches required the team’s mountaineers to create an entirely new
route to the summit. (Mountain climbers are known for naming their
routes; they christened this one “the Lonnie Thompson route” in
Thompson’s honor.) The air gets thinner the higher up a person climbs;
high-altitude sickness is a real threat. The symptoms, which include
shortness of breath, can also go unnoticed or may begin as low as 8,000
feet. At 22,000 feet, the air is so thin that the scientific team
traveled with “backup” oxygen tanks and a Gamow bag, a portable
hyperbaric chamber that can be pressurized to sea level values.
Fortunately, neither had to be used.
“It’s that high elevation
that preserves the record in the ice cores – if you didn’t have those
cold temperatures, you wouldn’t have the record,” Thompson said. “We’ve
done dozens and dozens of expeditions, and the result of climate change
is that we keep having to go higher on the glaciers. And that becomes an
issue, because – well, I’m getting older, for one. And we are strict
about acclimatizing – we go up four or five thousand meters on hikes and
then come back down and sleep at lower altitudes. But it can wear on
the work is necessary, Thompson and the other scientists believe:
Because of their ice core work, climate scientists around the world now
know that climate change could have devastating effects
on vulnerable people in the Andes Mountains and the Tibetan Plateau
region. Their research has shown that glaciers in both parts of the
world are melting more rapidly than at any point in the past 6,000
years, which could have serious repercussions for the water supply in
parts of Peru, Pakistan, China, India and Nepal.
On this most
recent trip, they drilled more than 471 meters of glacial ice cores –
long columns of ice that had been frozen since the last Ice Age. Work to
analyze them is already underway – Thompson calls them “some of the
best cores we’ve ever drilled.”
They hope to begin publishing
their findings from the cores soon. The cores will be analyzed for
mineral dust to detect droughts; isotopes that indicate temperature
changes; black carbon and trace elements to determine whether fires like
the ones burning in the Amazon this year are part of the historical
record; greenhouse gases to see how their concentrations in the
atmosphere have changed over time; pollen to track vegetation changes;
and microbes to determine how they have evolved over the last 20,000
In the meantime, Thompson and the team are contemplating
their next excursion. There are glaciers in Peru and Tibet they would
like to revisit, and there are more analyses to be made on ice they’ve
already collected from other parts of the world. He wants to be sure
he’s helping the next generation of scientists understand how to do this
kind of field work.
“These are difficult expeditions – there is
the risk of avalanches; there is always the potential for injuries,
inflections and various high altitude issues,” he said. “But if you
overcome these, you realize the potential of which you’re capable. Some
of our younger members just take to it like a duck to water. But the
only way they are going to get that experience is to go to the field –
first on lower elevation glaciers and then to the higher, more
challenging glaciers like those on Huascarán.”
If you want a better business, make sure your employees are happy. If
you want to be a more successful employee, make sure not to neglect
your own happiness.
That’s the advice of Raj Raghunathan,
professor of marketing at the McCombs School of Business at The
University of Texas at Austin. Raghunathan studies happiness and shares
his insights in both his in-person classes at McCombs and in his
award-winning online Coursera class that has been taken by more than
260,000 people in 196 countries since it launched in 2015.
Raghunathan is offering a new online class aimed at making workplaces
better for employers, employees, clients and customers. Happier Employees and Return on Investment, an open-access four-week course offered by McCombs through edX, is now open for enrollment.
course explores five critical issues: why happiness at work matters;
what the five most important determinants of happiness at work are; what
holds people back from feeling happy and fulfilled at work; what people
can do to enhance their own happiness levels at work; and what they can
do to enhance the happiness of coworkers.
“When employees are
happy on the job, they are more productive for their company and earn
more for themselves, said Raghunathan. “They take fewer sick days, are
more collegial, perform better in teams, are more creative and
objective, and make better decisions.”
There are no prerequisites
for the course. It is open to anyone who wishes to register. The online
video lectures can be started and stopped on whatever timeline is
convenient for each student. And the course is supported by an
interactive website with resources, exercises and communication portals.
spend so much of our lives at work,” said Raghunathan. “It makes sense
for us to do everything we can to maximize how happy we are in our
This is the first online course that McCombs is offering in collaboration with edX, with a number of others soon to be launched.
is the Zale Centennial Professor of Business at the McCombs School of
Business at The University of Texas at Austin. His work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, Fortune, Forbes, Harvard Business Review, Inc., and Fast Company. He writes about happiness and leadership in a blog for Psychology Today called Sapient Nature. His book, If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy? was
published in 2016 and has been translated into 13 languages. His TED
Talk has been viewed by more than 17 million people worldwide.
Graduate students Mostafa Alizadeh, left, and Hajar Abedi position a doll, modified to simulate breathing, in a minivan during testing of a new sensor.
A small, inexpensive sensor could save lives by triggering an alarm when children or pets are left alone in vehicles.
new device, developed by researchers at the University of Waterloo,
combines radar technology with artificial intelligence (AI) to detect
unattended children or animals with 100-per-cent accuracy.
enough to fit in the palm of a hand at just three centimetres in
diameter, the device is designed to be attached to a vehicle’s rear-view
mirror or mounted on the ceiling.
It sends out radar signals that
are reflected back by people, animals and objects in the vehicle.
Built-in AI then analyzes the reflected signals.
“It addresses a
serious, world-wide problem,” said George Shaker, an engineering
professor at Waterloo. his system is so affordable it could become
standard equipment in all vehicles.”
Development of the wireless,
disc-shaped sensor was funded in part by a major automotive parts
manufacturer that is aiming to bring it to market by the end of 2020.
by the device determines the number of occupants and their locations in
a vehicle. That information could be used to set rates for ride-sharing
services and toll roads, or to qualify vehicles for car-pool lanes.
primary purpose, however, is to detect when a child or pet has been
accidentally or deliberately left behind, a scenario that can result in
serious harm or death in extremely hot or cold weather.
cases, the system would prevent vehicle doors from locking and sound an
alarm to alert the driver, passengers and other people in the area that
there is a problem.
“Unlike cameras, this device preserves privacy
and it doesn’t have any blind spots because radar can penetrate seats,
for instance, to determine if there is an infant in a rear-facing car
seat,” said Shaker, a cross-appointed professor of electrical and
computer engineering, and mechanical and mechatronics engineering.
low-power device, which runs on a vehicle’s battery, distinguishes
between living beings and inanimate objects by detecting subtle
Researchers are now exploring the use of that capability to monitor the vital signs of drivers for indications of fatigue, distraction, impairment, illness or other issues.
Shaker supervised graduate students Mostafa Alizadeh and Hajar Abedi on the research.
A paper on their project, Low-cost low-power in-vehicle occupant detection with mm-wave FMCW radar, was recently presented at an international conference in Montreal.
A video of professor Judith Peraino discussing the discovery can be viewed here. A 30-second clip of one of the songs can be listened to here. Photos of Lou Reed and the video can be downloaded here.
ITHACA, N.Y. – Twelve previously unreleased songs by Hall of Fame artist Lou Reed have been discovered on a cassette tape from 1975, stored in the archives of the Andy Warhol Museum.
The songs, which
are on one side of the cassette, are based on Warhol’s book, “The
Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again).”
“It sounds like he recorded them in his apartment with an open-air microphone, just voice and acoustic guitar,” said Judith Peraino,
professor of music at Cornell University, who discovered the tape while
doing archival research at the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.
labeled side 2 of the tape “The Philosophy Songs (From A to B and
Back).” Side 1 of the cassette consists of songs dubbed from soundboard
recordings of Reed’s 1975 concerts.
Peraino said her first
reaction to discovering the cassette was “disbelief and uncertainty.”
When one Warhol Museum staffer commented that Peraino had found an
unreleased Lou Reed album, “that’s when the excitement really hit.”
sound of Reed’s voice on ‘The Philosophy Songs’ is very different from
his live concert performances on side 1,” she said. “Such a discovery is
rare, and it is certainly a highlight of my career.”
came to the Warhol Museum as one of almost 3,500 audiotapes, part of
the extensive collection Warhol assembled of the sounds of his life.
Another important source for Peraino’s research was Bruce Yaw, the bass
player who toured with Reed in 1975 and ’76. Yaw lived until his death
in September near Cornell University in upstate New York.
makes this rare is the gift aspect of the tape – that Lou Reed
intentionally created both a curated set of songs and a composed set of
songs on tape meant only for Warhol,” she said. “This is a harbinger of
the mixtape culture and gift-giving that flourished in the 1980s and
A drug commonly given to autistic children to reduce repetitive
behaviors is ineffective compared to placebo and, in some children, may
actually increase repetitive behaviors, the largest study of autistic
children to date has found.
“What we found, much to our surprise,
is that there was no significant difference in positive response between
kids treated with citalopram and kids who received the placebo. And the
kids treated with citalopram tended to have more side effects,” said
Linmarie Sikich, M.D., a co-author of the study and associate professor
of psychiatry in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School
“I cannot emphasize this enough: This was not at all what we expected to see,” Sikich said.
of the study, a randomized controlled clinical trial of the drug
citalopram, are published in the June 29, 2009 issue of Archives of General Psychiatry.
It was funded by the National Institutes of Health and took place at
six academic medical centers across the country. Principal investigator
and lead author of the study is Bryan H. King, M.D., who began the study
at Dartmouth and continued to oversee it there after he moved to the
University of Washington, where he is currently director of psychiatry
and behavioral medicine at Seattle Children’s Hospital.
which is sold under the brand name Celexa, is one of a class of
antidepressant drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or
SSRIs. SSRIs are the most frequently used medications for children with
autism. They are also used to treat depression, anxiety and obsessive
compulsive disorder in both adults and children. Prior to this study
there was very little scientific evidence to support the use of SSRIs in
autistic children, but some preliminary studies showed promising
results for citalopram, Sikich said.
Hypothesizing that citalopram
would improve the overall functioning of autistic children and
adolescents by reducing repetitive behavior, Sikich and colleagues
recruited 149 children ages 5 to 17 to take part in the 12-week trial.
Seventy-three received daily doses of liquid citalopram while 76
received daily doses of liquid placebo. Researchers measured the
children’s’ response to treatment using the Clinical Global
Impression-Improvement scale (CGI-I). They also recorded measures of
repetitive behavior and side effects.
At the end of the trial,
some children in both groups showed a positive response. However, there
was no significant difference between the groups: the positive response
in the citalopram group was 32.9 percent versus 34.2 percent in the
placebo group. In addition, children in the citalopram group were
significantly more likely to experience adverse side effects such as
increased energy level, impulsiveness, decreased concentration,
hyperactivity, increased repetitive movements and behaviors, diarrhea,
insomnia, and dry itchy skin.
The researchers concluded that
citalopram “is not an effective treatment” for autistic children with
repetitive behaviors. In addition, they wrote, this trial shows that the
use of SSRIs in autistic children “is not without risk” and “at
present there is insufficient research evidence to merit a clear
recommendation regarding the use of SSRIs as a class” for the treatment
of repetitive behavior in children with autism spectrum disorders.
obvious short term message is, this treatment didn’t work. And that
surprised us a great deal,” Sikich says. “But the really important
take-home message is that we have to do large, scientifically-sound
comparative studies like this to really know whether a specific
treatment works and is safe. Simply relying on doctors’ and families’
impressions often leads us to use medications that really don’t work and
may do more harm than good” says Sikich.
Safe and effective
medication and behavioral treatments are desperately needed to help
children with autism realize their potentials and keep from harming
themselves or others, Sickish says.
“Well-done studies, using
methods like the ones in this study, have shown that another drug,
risperidone, is useful in reducing irritability and aggression in
children with autism,” she says. “Thus, this study shouldn’t be
interpreted as saying all medications don’t help people with autism and
are harmful. Instead it says that citalopram doesn’t help most children
with autism and is harmful to some children. Clearly we need more
research to develop and test other interventions for this important
People with autism are severely impaired by the
disorder and experience major problems with highly repetitive behaviors,
often including self-injurious behaviors, communicating and interacting
appropriately with others. Frequently the repetitive behaviors keep
children with autism from learning in school or participating in age
appropriate activities. When it is time to stop the repetitive behavior
and begin a new, functional activity, many children with autism become
distraught and aggressive. These repetitive behaviors also contribute to
the difficulties that make it hard for most people with autism to live
independently or work as adults, Sikich says.
In addition to UNC,
academic medical centers taking part in the study were Mt. Sinai School
of Medicine, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, Dartmouth,
UCLA and Yale University.
The study was conducted as part of the NIH-sponsored Studies to Advance Autism Research and Treatment network.
By creating protocells in hot, alkaline seawater, a UCL-led research
team has added to evidence that the origin of life could have been in
deep-sea hydrothermal vents rather than shallow pools.
experiments had failed to foster the formation of protocells – seen as a
key stepping stone to the development of cell-based life – in such
environments, but the new study, published in Nature Ecology & Evolution, finds that heat and alkalinity might not just be acceptable, but necessary to get life started.
are multiple competing theories as to where and how life started.
Underwater hydrothermal vents are among most promising locations for
life’s beginnings – our findings now add weight to that theory with
solid experimental evidence,” said the study’s lead author, Professor
Nick Lane (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment).
the Earth’s seas, there are vents where seawater comes into contact with
minerals from the planet’s crust, reacting to create a warm, alkaline
(high on the pH scale) environment containing hydrogen. The process
creates mineral-rich chimneys with alkaline and acidic fluids, providing
a source of energy that facilitates chemical reactions between hydrogen
and carbon dioxide to form increasingly complex organic compounds.
Some of the world’s oldest fossils, discovered by a UCL-led team, originated in such underwater vents.
researching the origins of life have made great progress with
experiments to recreate the early chemical processes in which basic cell
formations would have developed. The creation of protocells has been an
important step, as they can be seen as the most basic form of a cell,
consisting of just a bilayer membrane around an aqueous solution – a
cell with a defined boundary and inner compartment.
experiments to create protocells from naturally-occurring simple
molecules – specifically, fatty acids – have succeeded in cool, fresh
water, but only under very tightly controlled conditions, whereas the
protocells have fallen apart in experiments in hydrothermal vent
The study’s first author, Dr Sean Jordan (UCL
Genetics, Evolution & Environment), said he and his colleagues
identified a flaw in the previous work: “Other experiments had all used a
small number of molecule types, mostly with fatty acids of the same
size, whereas in natural environments, you would expect to see a wider
array of molecules.”
For the current study, the research team
tried creating protocells with a mixture of different fatty acids and
fatty alcohols that had not previously been used.
found that molecules with longer carbon chains needed heat in order to
form themselves into a vesicle (protocell). An alkaline solution helped
the fledgling vesicles keep their electric charge. A saltwater
environment also proved helpful, as the fat molecules banded together
more tightly in a salty fluid, forming more stable vesicles.
the first time, the researchers succeeded at creating self-assembling
protocells in an environment similar to that of hydrothermal vents. They
found that the heat, alkalinity and salt did not impede the protocell
formation, but actively favoured it.
“In our experiments, we have
created one of the essential components of life under conditions that
are more reflective of ancient environments than many other laboratory
studies,” Dr Jordan said.
“We still don’t know where life first
formed, but our study shows that you cannot rule out the possibility of
deep-sea hydrothermal vents.”
The researchers also point out that deep-sea hydrothermal vents are not unique to Earth.
Lane said: “Space missions have found evidence that icy moons of
Jupiter and Saturn might also have similarly alkaline hydrothermal vents
in their seas. While we have never seen any evidence of life on those
moons, if we want to find life on other planets or moons, studies like
ours can help us decide where to look.”
The study involved researchers from UCL and Birkbeck, University of London, and was funded by the BBSRC and bgC3.
Chile has seen several weeks of unrest, including street protests, riots, and vandalism, that has so far killed twenty people and injured more than one thousand others.
turmoil began on October 18 with student-led protests over a metro fare
increase. It soon escalated as rioters burned buses and metro stations,
looted businesses, and clashed with security forces. Most
demonstrations have been peaceful, though, with one drawing more than a million people—the largest protest in Chilean history.
How has the government responded?
conservative president, Sebastian Pinera, initially cracked down,
declaring “a state of war” and deploying ten thousand troops to the
streets. Security forces unleashed tear gas, rubber bullets, and water
cannons on civilians. Human rights groups have alleged abuses by police and soldiers.
has since softened his stance, reversing the fare hike and unveiling
reforms, including a minimum wage increase and higher taxes on the
wealthy, that require approval by lawmakers. He also reshuffled his
cabinet, saying “Chile changed and the government also has to change.”
What’s driving the protests?
immediate trigger—the equivalent of a four-cent rise in metro
fare—struck a nerve among many Chileans, who say income growth has not
kept pace with rising education, housing, and health-care costs.
Chile has been held up as a model for
development in the region, with its strong economic growth, falling
poverty, and stable political system since the end of Augusto Pinochet’s
rule in 1990. But it remains one of the most unequal countries in the
world; the United Nations estimates that the richest 1 percent of citizens earn one-third of national wealth.
Experts say middle- and working-class Chileans have many complaints.
These include: a low minimum wage and slow wage growth, weak union
protections, a privatized pension system, a stratified education system
that leaves poorer students in debt, unaffordable housing and health
care, a constitution that retains vestiges of military rule, and a political class beset by corruption scandals.
Public frustration over these issues is not new. Chileans have repeatedly protested over the education and pension systems, including in 2006, 2011, and 2016.
What’s the international context?
is an open, trade-based economy that is highly dependent on global
commodity prices, especially that of copper. As copper prices have fallen in recent years, Chile’s growth has slowed—a dynamic exacerbated by the U.S.-China trade war.
But some have cast blame further afield, alleging interference by
socialist governments after Chilean police identified Venezuelan and
Cuban nationals among the rioters. Pinera is a staunch opponent of
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who has celebrated the protests,
though many analysts question how large a role Caracas could
realistically play in the mass movement.
The United Nations sent a team to investigate allegations of
human rights abuses by security forces, which have sparked memories of
brutal practices under the Pinochet dictatorship. The three-person
investigative team was sent by former Chilean President Michelle
Bachelet, who is now the UN high commissioner for human rights.
The United States, which backed the Pinochet regime, has remained largely silent. Washington has not had an ambassador to Chile since January.
The ongoing unrest led Pinera to cancel next
month’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, where U.S.
President Donald J. Trump was expected to meet with Chinese President Xi
Jinping to discuss a bilateral trade deal. Pinera also pulled out of
hosting the next major UN climate conference, planned for Santiago in
What’s next for Chile?
Demonstrators have so far rejected Pinera’s moves. They demand his resignation and broader reforms, and some call for a new constitution. But the decentralized nature of the movement has created confusion about protesters’ demands, which activists worry will weaken their negotiating power.
Observers say that if Pinera survives calls to step down, he faces an uphill battle. His approval rating has fallen to 14 percent and
the opposition controls the National Congress, making political
gridlock likely, at least until the next national election in 2021.
Charlie Brown might have said it best as he opined to his pal, Linus: “Christmas is coming, but I’m not happy. I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel.”
Yes, the holiday season can foster moments of great joy, but it can also at times be a source of distress.
you’re worried about purchasing the right mix of decorations to create
the perfect atmosphere for a Thanksgiving meal, or finding a way to
connect with family members who live on the opposite coast, the holidays
can be tricky to navigate.
difficult to tear ourselves away from constant messages of what they’re
doing and what we’re, in turn, not doing,” Paul said.
pies bake, and grocery stores line their shelves with
peppermint-flavored treats, Paul explained the sources of holiday blues
that can sometimes affect us, and shared some practical ways to greet
this time of year.
What causes holiday stress?
are a number of things about the holidays that can potentially be
sources of distress. For each person it’s going to be different, but
there are some general themes that we can reliably predict.
Loss of a loved one:
If someone has lost a loved one, that loss can be made all the more
poignant, and experienced more deeply, around the holidays. The holidays
generally represent a time where family and friends get together, and
enjoy each other’s company, so having lost someone can create distress.
In our culture, the holidays represent a focus on having gifts and
possessions. There is marketing around how the Thanksgiving table
‘should’ be set, and how the holiday decorations inside and outside of
our homes ‘should’ appear. However, not everyone has the means to make
extra purchases, setting the stage for comparing and judging others or
ourselves negatively for ‘failing’ to keep up.
Hustle and bustle:
Rushing to make sure I have the right groceries, the perfect gift for
that someone special, and the best decorations, is magnified during the
holidays. It’s difficult to find a balance around celebrating in a way
that’s meaningful, and not getting caught up in a long to-do list.
Unrealistic Expectations: If
your circumstances don’t match the cultural ideal of a Norman Rockwell
painting, your mind tends to go to a place of judgment. And with
judgment comes shame. You start thinking, ‘What’s wrong with me that I
can’t have it the way they do?’
How does social media contribute to holiday stress?
media is supposed to help us connect. But the unintended consequences
of social media include increased stress, isolation, and a decreased
sense of belonging. It’s had this weird, paradoxical effect of giving us
this ongoing, never-ending opportunity to look in the mirror and
compare ourselves to others. We’re constantly bombarded through our
phones, with young people being particularly vulnerable to the pressures
of social media.
As an adolescent, you’re figuring out who you
are and where you fit in. It’s a time when friendships are very
important and meaningful, and you begin to build relationships outside
of your family. Today, teens are also being asked to manage these social
media messages about what is cool and not cool, and you can’t get away
from it. You could escape it 40 years ago. You could go home and take a
break from whatever drama was going on at school, or what a classmate
wore to class and what you didn’t.
As human beings, we naturally
want to find where we feel in, instead of out, where we belong and feel
connected. The holidays add another layer of that, with strong messages
that circulate around us for months in advance.
What are some tips that can help people cope with these and other holiday stressors?
Determine your values:
Step back and think intentionally about what you want the holidays to
represent. Who do you want to be in relation to the holidays? What kind
of values do you want to connect to? Once you make that determination,
you can behave in accordance with those values.
Act on your values:
Behaving in ways that are consistent with your values is more important
than making comparisons or judgments. Thanksgiving, for example, is all
about being thankful for what you have. And there are lots of
activities around Thanksgiving that wouldn’t require spending a ton of
money. Maybe on that day, you can take a walk in nature in order to
contemplate or spend time appreciating what you have. If you’re missing
family members, why not do a Friendsgiving? Enjoy food and company and
embrace the fact that you’re a ragtag team of people spending time
together. Or, go out and volunteer. If you’re feeling that you’re not
receiving, why not do the opposite and do some giving?
Avoid compare and despair: Have
self-compassion. You can compare, but you don’t have to add in the
layer of judgment. If someone’s reality is different than yours, that’s
OK! Stop “shoulding” all over yourself, and stop using damaging or
punishing language. Instead of saying, ‘I should do this,’ or ‘I must do
that,’ you could try, ‘I preferably should.’ Be mindful of your own
mental chatter and the automatic tendency to go toward punishing
Make connections: Focus on creating
space for belonging or acceptance. Find places where you can receive
support, but also give support in return. Reach out to others. Think
about worth, value, and appreciation versus the enemies of comparison,
judgment, shaming, blaming, and pushing people away.
Take an inventory of what your individual sources of stress are because
it’s different for everybody. Ask yourself: If I could change one or
two things to feel better, what would they be? Do some active problem
solving. If you lost a loved one, for example, celebrate that person’s
life, or change up what might have been a holiday routine with that
person. Make room for it to not be a happy time — it’s OK if it’s not a
Seek help: If you’re really
feeling that you can’t cope with the stressors around you, it’s
perfectly reasonable to reach out to others, or even a mental health
professional. Sometimes we get muddled in our own brains, and an outside
perspective from a trusted mental health practitioner can help provide
you with clarity and relief.
About The PRACTICE
PRACTICE is a UNLV mental health clinic that offers counseling and
other services to campus and community members. Faculty experts in
clinical and school psychology and mental health counseling train and
supervise advanced graduate students in high-quality mental and
behavioral health care. Faculty and student clinicians work together to
provide evidence-based care, drawing upon the most up-to-date research
and knowledge available.
“I would like to point out that this is not an article to blame mothers but a simple (non-technical) analysis, the result of personal experiences, therefore to be read in a narrative and non-scientific way, on the other hand I would not have the necessary qualifications.”
I am the father of three splendid boys, two of those born of a second marriage. One of the two youngest will turn twelve in four days, diagnosed in autism spectrum when he was 3 years old. The mother, never diagnosed (also because she refuses every test) in my opinion with deep teenage borderline wounds.
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
Is a condition characterized by difficulties regulating emotion. This means that people who experience BPD feel emotions intensely and for extended periods of time, and it is harder for them to return to a stable baseline after an emotionally triggering event.
This difficulty can lead to impulsivity, poor self-image, stormy
relationships and intense emotional responses to stressors. Struggling
with self-regulation can also result in dangerous behaviors such as
self-harm (e.g. cutting).
It’s estimated that 1.4% of the adult U.S. population experiences BPD. Nearly 75% of people diagnosed with BPD are women. Recent research suggests that men may be equally affected by BPD, but are commonly misdiagnosed with PTSD or depression.
Autism is related to emotional disorder
I lived for more than 10 years with the mother of my 2 children and after the first apparently “normal” times, the borderline personality manifested itself. This led me to try to understand the reasons and the causes of all this, reading and informing myself, about this type of disorder that destroyed the relations of this woman at the same speed as everyone could fall in love with her.
Over time, I learned to recognize this kind of personality and at the same time for obvious reasons, I met parents of other autistic children. The thing that struck me at the beginning was that, the most part of the parents were single parents and those that were not, presented with evidence the presence of the man, subordinate to the woman. Clearly in the rare cases of couples, the man appeared as a second-rate figure. I wouldn’t want to bore you too much with this story, I promise you I’ll follow up on the next posts. Follow me!
As adults, individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can be
highly dependent on family members or assistance programs for their
day-to-day living needs. It has been reported that following high school
and up to eight years after, only 17 percent of adults with ASD live
independently. Developing skills like cooking, getting dressed and
cleaning are essential to promoting autonomy and self-determination and
improving quality of life. For some individuals with ASD, completing
daily tasks can be challenging because they often involve sequential
Research has shown that people with ASD are strong visual
learners. With technological advances, devices such as smartphones and
tablets have become more portable and ultimately, accessible to
caregivers. However, few studies have examined whether parents can learn
to effectively deliver evidence-based practices using portable,
mainstream devices like an iPad.
Researchers from Florida Atlantic University
and collaborators conducted a small, novel study to examine whether
video prompting interventions using an iPad could be effective in
increasing parents’ competence and confidence to use mobile devices to
interact with their adolescent children with ASD. The objective was to
evaluate the effects of behavior skills training with follow-along
coaching to instruct parents to deliver video prompting with an iPad to
teach daily living skills to their children. What makes this study
unique is that parents of adolescents were coached and learned to use an
iPad in their own homes. While other studies have been successful in
teaching parents to implement evidence-based practices, they largely
targeted parents of young children.
For the study, published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, researchers
targeted parents of adolescents with ASD who would be transitioning
into adulthood in the near future and who needed to cultivate
independent living skills to decrease dependency on others, while
improving self-esteem and confidence. Each child, between the ages of 12
and 17 years old, had to complete a skill selected by the parents: make
a bed, cook pasta or tie shoelaces. Parents received guidance on using
an iPad and implementing the intervention. They learned how to guide
their child to watch the instructional video, imitate what they viewed,
and then provide appropriate feedback.
Depending on the outcome,
parents were asked to provide praise, correct the errors or demonstrate
the step themselves if the child made two or more consecutive errors on
the same task step. Lead researcher of the study Elisa Cruz-Torres, Ed.D., in the Department of Exceptional Student Education in FAU’s College of Education,
visited families’ homes three times a week for one hour for each
family’s intervention, which lasted between five to seven weeks.
of the study showed that all of the children substantially improved
correct and independent completion of their daily living skills, which
validates that video prompting procedures are effective in ameliorating
While parents were successful in implementing
the video prompting preparation and procedures, they were inconsistent
with the consequence strategies such as social praise and error
correction. None-the-less, the children still mastered their skills and
maintained the skill three weeks after the end of the intervention.
findings show that video prompting interventions produced both
immediate and lasting effects for children with autism spectrum disorder
and that parents can be powerful delivery agents to increase
independence in their children,” said Cruz-Torres. “While it is
desirable that parents follow steps exactly, we learned that even with
slight variations in parent delivery, the teens still mastered the
Data from this study also revealed that none of
the children required more than 17 interventions to reach mastery
criteria. In addition, this study draws attention to the importance of
evidence-based practices for families of older children with ASD.
when I’m working with my son to learn a new skill or even talk about a
new skill, because of this study I have learned to break it down into
smaller pieces rather than asking him to do the whole thing. We use this
concept for other things like doing laundry. I’ve also learned that he
is very responsive to praise,” said Susan Freeman, a parent in the
study. “John is a very visual learner so being able to see what each
step should look like enables him to complete the task. He’s still
making his bed and we’re working on changing the sheets, which is a new
skill. I don’t have to make his bed anymore.”
Johnathon “John” DiFusco also is pleased with this instructional method,
which makes him feel good about himself as well as proud.
“Now, I can be on time for school and I also know how to vacuum,” said DiFusco.
Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors
in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the
University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more
than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its
six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class
teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the
Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business,
the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education,
the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College,
the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of
Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E.
Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity
institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of
critical areas that form the basis of its strategic plan: Healthy aging,
biotech, coastal and marine issues, neuroscience, regenerative
medicine, informatics, lifespan and the environment. These areas provide
opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing
strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit www.fau.edu.
“The gods,” the artist said, “pleasure themselves with men by rummaging through their lives, wounding their bodies with their darts of pain, denying man the ability to be near them, yet they still make us love them and feel the thrill of immortality.”
It is the story of life, the metaphor of human pettiness and the reactions linked to them. A journey along the short but intense parabola of an artist painter who finds himself projected (by chance) into a world of lights and lust. Checkpoint Charlie is the limit, the line that not everyone wants to cross, where there is no return except after selling the soul to the devil.
“What is your job?” The artist asked. “Undertaker” he said. Twenty-five years of work, and he’d certainly buried a lot of people. He dug the grave and if necessary, undressed and redressed the body. They pay for everything. “Do the dead stink?” “Yes, a great deal.” “Animals don’t have cemeteries. Why is it that, in your opinion?”
Michele Iacono offers us reasons to reflect, on the limits that the common moral sense imposes. It retraces Italy in its most beautiful cities telling us the limits that some of us have decided or have been forced to face. The Artist presents itself as new air on the American market after its release in Italian under the title Checkpoint Charlie. Published by Hoffmann & Hoffmann and distributed by Ingram.
This Halloween, Americans are expected to spend a near-record amount of $8.8 billion
on costumes and other decorations. While the holiday traditionally
attracts a core of committed fans, many are also peer-pressured to jump
into the festivity’s spending.
professor of applied economics at Cornell University’s SC Johnson
College of Business, is an expert on consumption and studies the
psychological, social and cultural aspects of economic behavior. Heffetz
says that when it comes to celebrations, Halloween has become the
holiday to show off one’s status.
a consumer-economics point-of-view, Halloween is unique in at least two
ways relative to other holidays. First, in addition to home
decorations, which can be reused from year to year (say, like Christmas
decorations), Halloween is much more about the costumes. Reusing
decorations is relatively easy, but reusing costumes is more difficult,
because our children grow fast, and because costumes are often less
durable, and kids destroy them quickly.
“Second, wearables are
among the most socially visible items a family could spend on. This
unsurprising observation is confirmed and quantified in my research on
expenditure visibility. This could make costumes a child’s membership
card into some social circles, and the right costume can be an
opportunity to display one’s status within a group.
“Even if we
gave up on the costumes and stuck to decorations, while a family’s
Christmas tree and many of the related decorations are only visible to
those guests who are invited to visit inside the home, Halloween
decorations are visible to anyone driving down the street.
short, in both decorations and costumes, Halloween is the
expenditure-visibility holiday! For some parents this could be a
not-to-be-missed opportunity for public display. Other parents may feel
that they are reluctantly dragged into this race, or they risk
disappointing their children.”
For interviews contact: Rebecca Valli office: 607-255-6035 cell: 607-793-1025 email@example.com
University has dedicated television and audio studios available for
media interviews supporting full HD, ISDN and web-based platforms.
Papageorgiou explains: “Narcissism is part of the ‘Dark Tetrad’ of
personality that also includes Machiavellianism, Psychopathy and Sadism.
There are two main dimensions to narcissism – grandiose and vulnerable.
Vulnerable narcissists are likely to be more defensive and view the
behaviour of others as hostile whereas grandiose narcissists usually
have an over inflated sense of importance and a preoccupation with
status and power.”
He adds: “Individuals high on the spectrum of
dark traits, such as narcissism, engage in risky behaviour, hold an
unrealistic superior view of themselves, are overconfident, show little
empathy for others, and have little shame or guilt.
this research has questioned is – if narcissism, as an example of the
dark tetrad, is indeed so socially toxic, why does it persist and why is
it on the rise in modern societies?”
The papers include three
independent studies each involving more than 700 adults in total and
highlights some positive sides of narcissism, such as resilience against
symptoms of psychopathology.
A key finding of the research was
that grandiose narcissism can increase mental toughness and this can
help to offset symptoms of depression. It also found that people who
score high on grandiose narcissism have lower levels of perceived stress
and are therefore less likely to view their life as stressful.
research is a fresh approach to the study of personality and
psychopathology, highlighting that there are some positives to be found
in terms of potential societal impact.
Dr Papageorgiou comments:
“The results from all the studies that we conducted show that grandiose
narcissism correlates with very positive components of mental toughness,
such as confidence and goal orientation, protecting against symptoms of
depression and perceived stress.
“This research really helps to
explain variation in symptoms of depression in society – if a person is
more mentally tough they are likely to embrace challenges head on,
rather than viewing them as a hurdle.
Dr Papageorgiou says: “While of course not all dimensions of narcissism are good, certain aspects can lead to positive outcomes.
work promotes diversity and inclusiveness of people and ideas by
advocating that dark traits, such as narcissism, should not be seen as
either good or bad, but as products of evolution and expressions of
human nature that may be beneficial or harmful depending on the context.
move forward may help to reduce the marginalisation of individuals that
score higher than average on the dark traits. It could also facilitate
the development of research-informed suggestions on how best to
cultivate some manifestations of these traits, while discouraging
others, for the collective good.”
First-line health professionals must vastly improve their
communication and engagement with parents if they are to help address
the growing prevalence of autism among children, say researchers from
the University of South Australia.
Undertaking a meta-synthesis of 22 international studies,
researchers consolidated the voices of 1178 parents advocating for
their children with autism, finding that parents feel ignored and
dismissed by medical practitioners as they navigate initial concerns for
their child, further investigations, and finally, a formal diagnosis of
Researchers say that medical practitioners need to adopt a
family-focused approach to ensure that parents’ concerns, perspectives
and observations are taken seriously so that their child has appropriate
and timely access to early intervention services.
Autism spectrum disorder
(ASD) is a persistent developmental disorder characterised by social
difficulties, restricted or repetitive patterns of behaviour, and
impaired communication skills. The symptoms can range from mild to
severe, with early signs often evident from early childhood.
UniSA lead researcher, Dr Kobie Boshoff, says the parent advocacy role is critical and must be taken more seriously by medical practitioners.
are natural advocates for their child, making them an invaluable source
of information when it comes to complex diagnoses for invisible
disabilities like autism,” Dr Boshoff says.
“Yet parents are increasingly finding the diagnosis process overly stressful and complicated.
this study, parents commonly reported their concerns for their child
were not being heard or taken seriously by medical professionals. They
said they felt confused, stressed and frustrated at the lack of support
“They also reported lengthy delays in receiving
a diagnosis for their child, as well as a variety of unsatisfactory
explanations as alternatives to autism. As access to early intervention
services is essential for improving the development outcomes of children
with autism, this too is unacceptable.”
Dr Boshoff says
first-line medical professionals and service providers must recognise
both the role of parents as advocates for their child, and the
importance of the parent-practitioner role, which can significantly
impact future relationships with other professionals.
She says to build trust medical practitioners must reassess the way they talk and engage with parents.
line health professionals and diagnostic services must ensure emotional
support is provided to parents throughout the diagnosis process,
engaging parents as partners and taking their concerns seriously,” Dr
“Autism spectrum disorder is a lifelong
developmental condition. A positive experience in the early stages of
diagnosis can deliver better relationships with future professionals,
and most importantly, secure better outcomes for the children.”
Halloween is a dicey time of year for managers and employees alike. A
well-planned celebration can boost morale, energize the staff, and help
to build connections between co-workers. But an inappropriate costume,
or a party that goes off the rails, can damage reputations and even lead
to terminations and legal problems.
should only wear a Halloween costume if company leadership has clearly
communicated an invitation to do so. If you have recently joined the
company and you are not yet familiar with its culture and policies, ask
multiple sources for advice (including your boss). Don’t rely on just
one co-worker for guidance. An office jokester may try to trick you into
dressing up when no one else does.
If you do wear a costume,
bring a change of clothes to work if you expect to have any meetings or
videoconferences with external stakeholders. If you know the client
personally and you have established an informal relationship, the
costume could be appropriate and funny. But meeting a new client dressed
as the Charlie Chaplin might not set the most professional tone.
Which costumes are too risqué for the office?
employees see dressing up as an opportunity to “bring their whole
selves to work”—a chance to express an aspect of their identity
typically left at home. But this can be tricky.
and HR managers should communicate their policy on costumes and props
(including fake guns and knives). Generally speaking, avoid anything
that may be interpreted as too revealing, provocative,
politically-charged, or inappropriate for a professional setting. Not
sure? Check with HR.
Beyond what you wear to the office, it’s also
important to think about what you post on social media. We often forget
how much our professional contacts can see about us online. Posting a
picture of yourself wearing a risqué costume can blur personal and
What are the consequences for going overboard?
an inappropriate costume can damage your professional image. In extreme
cases, it could even pose legal and safety risks.
violence is a very real issue today. If your costume includes a weapon
and you joke about hurting people, your co-workers may disagree with the
humor and find it threatening. They could take legal action against the
organization for allowing a hostile work environment.
provocative or revealing costume raises concerns about sexual
harassment, especially in the heightened awareness of the #MeToo era.
You could be disciplined if your outfit violates company guidelines.
Co-workers who make sexually-explicit remarks, or engage in other
harassing behaviors toward you, could face serious consequences
Importantly, companies must be careful not
to victim-blame. Discipline should not be framed as though the employee
wearing the revealing costume “invited” the comments or was at fault for
being on the receiving end.
The bottom line? HR must enforce
costume guidelines consistently across the workforce and the discipline
should always fit the infraction.
Is there an upside for employers?
Absolutely. Despite these risks, there is a good business case for throwing Halloween celebrations and welcoming costumes.
implemented strategically, they can strengthen the company’s culture,
reinforce its emphasis on fun, improve employee relationships, and even
boost employee well-being and productivity. Celebrations give employees a
chance to recharge, which also spills over into improved life and
family satisfaction. In the long run, these types of celebrations, and a
“fun” organizational culture, can help attract new employees, improve
employee commitment, and reduce turnover rates.
However, it is important to align these celebrations with the organizational culture. A fun work environment is defined by consistent access
to workplace activities, games, and group outings. If a Halloween
celebration is an isolated event, it might be perceived as a superficial
attempt at engaging employees.
New Brunswick, N.J. (Oct. 24, 2019) – Rutgers scholar Colin Williamson is available to discuss the scientific inspirations behind some of Walt Disney’s most iconic films including Fantasia, which celebrates its 79th anniversary Nov. 13.
“Fantasia’s Nutcracker Suite and Rite of Spring
sequences, with their animations of plant and animal life, were shaped
by Disney’s interests in evolutionary biology, natural history, and
environmental conservation. The studio’s animators developed the art
for Fantasia in collaboration with scientists and naturalists in fields ranging from astronomy to botany,” Williamson said.
“It’s not coincidental that Fantasia’s dancing flowers resemble time-lapse films of plants. In fact, the famous pumpkin-to-carriage transformation in Disney’s Cinderella was
reportedly modeled on time-lapse film of a growing pumpkin created by
biologist John Ott. These connections invite us to think differently
about Fantasia, and the place Disney holds in the history of art and science,” Williamson continued.
an assistant professor in Rutgers University–New Brunswick’s Department
of American Studies and the Program in Cinema Studies, is an expert on
early cinema and media archaeology, film theory, animation, and the
history of science. He is the author of Hidden in Plain Sight: An Archaeology of Magic and the Cinema.
Rutgers University–New Brunswick has broadcast-quality TV and radio
studios available for remote live or taped interviews with Rutgers
experts. For more information,
ABOUT RUTGERS—NEW BRUNSWICK
University–New Brunswick is where Rutgers, the State University of New
Jersey, began more than 250 years ago. Ranked among the world’s top 60
universities, Rutgers’s flagship university is a leading public research
institution and a member of the prestigious Association of American
Universities. It is home to internationally acclaimed faculty and has 12
degree-granting schools and a Division I Athletics program. It is the
Big Ten Conference’s most diverse university. Through its community of
teachers, scholars, artists, scientists, and healers, Rutgers is
equipped as never before to transform lives.
New study says we’ll listen to virtual agents except when goings get tough
We may listen to facts from Siri or Alexa, or directions from Google
Maps or Waze, but would we let a virtual agent enabled by artificial
intelligence help mediate conflict among team members? A new study says
not just yet.
Researchers from USC and the University of Denver
created a simulation in which a three-person team was supported by a
virtual agent avatar on screen in a mission that was designed to ensure
failure and elicit conflict. The study was designed to look at virtual
agents as potential mediators to improve team collaboration during
Confess to them? Yes. But in the heat of the moment, will we listen to virtual agents?
some of researchers (Gale Lucas and Jonathan Gratch of the USC Viterbi
School Engineering and the USC Institute for Creative Technologies who
contributed to this study), had previously found that one-on-one human
interactions with a virtual agent therapist yielded more confessions, in
this study “Conflict Mediation in Human-Machine Teaming: Using a
Virtual Agent to Support Mission Planning and Debriefing,” team members
were less likely to engage with a male virtual agent named “Chris” when
Participating members of the team did not
physically accost the device (as we have seen humans attack robots in
viral social media posts), but rather were less engaged and less likely
to listen to the virtual agent’s input once failure ensued and conflict
arose among team members.
The study was conducted in a military
academy environment in which 27 scenarios were engineered to test how
the team that included a virtual agent would react to failure and the
ensuring conflict. The virtual agent was not ignored by any means. The
study found that the teams did respond socially to the virtual agent
during the planning of the mission they were assigned (nodding, smiling
and recognizing the virtual agent ‘s input by thanking it) but the
longer the exercise progressed, their engagement with the virtual agent
decreased. The participants did not entirely blame the virtual agent for
“Team cohesion when accomplishing complex tasks
together is a highly complex and important factor,” says lead author,
Kerstin Haring, an assistant professor of computer science at the
University of Denver.
“Our results show that virtual agents and
potentially social robots might be a good conflict mediator in all kinds
of teams. It will be very interesting to find out the interventions and
social responses to ultimately seamlessly integrate virtual agents in
human teams to make them perform better.”
Study co-author, Gale
Lucas, Research Assistant Professor of Computer Science at USC, and a
researcher at the Institute for Creative Technologies, adds that some
feedback from study participants indicates that they perceived virtual
agents to be neutral and unbiased. She would like to continue the work
to see if virtual agents can be applied “to help us make better
decisions” and press “what it takes to have us trust virtual agents.”
this study was conducted in a military academy with particular
structures, the researchers are hoping to develop this project to
improve team processes in all sorts of work environments.
Self-deception like this seems very human. Now, thanks to a recent
study led by an Arizona State University biologist, for the first time
we know that it happens in the animal kingdom, too.
some of the most aggressive creatures on earth. They fight with big
claws capable of doing real damage. But sometimes there’s not much
muscle under the bravado.
“What males are doing is making as little crappy muscle as possible, which is energetically saving,” said Michael Angilletta, a biology professor in the School of Life Sciences.
like buying designer knockoffs. You save a lot of money, and most
people can’t tell the difference. In the case of crayfish, you make a
big claw without much muscle, and you put crappy muscle on it to boot.
Everyone sees you wave your big claw and they presume that you’re a
“Since they signal to each other before
fighting, this is a way they can convince someone to back down without
fighting,” Angilletta said. “Importantly, this only works if there’s
enough crayfish out there that have big claws that are actually strong.
If you accidentally fight one of those and call a bluff, you’re going to
lose a claw.”
In the crayfish world, losing a claw is a disaster:
It takes up to two years for a claw to regenerate. In the meantime, no
one is mating with anyone who has a puny claw.
Angilletta and his
co-authors have been studying self-deception in crayfish for about 10
years. In 2006 they accidentally discovered that many crayfish with big
claws were quite weak. There was about a tenfold variation.
would go, ‘Oh, this (pinch) is going to hurt,’ but it doesn’t hurt at
all,” Angilletta said. “The question is are they not trying, or are they
really not strong? And it’s repeatable from day after day with the same
They combined mathematical modeling with an
experiment to show that crayfish meet the criteria for self-deception.
This approach opens up the possibility of studying self-deception in
nonhuman animals, without being able to talk to them. They used 97 adult
males, staging fights between 20 select crayfish and 77 opponents.
do we know what a crayfish would do if it knows whether it’s weak or
it’s strong?” Angilletta asked. “If it knows that (it has a weak claw),
it should actually be less aggressive.”
It might escalate up to
the point of a fight, and then run away. The probability that a crayfish
engaged in a fight depended on two factors: the relative size of its
claws and the expected difference in force. How do they know how strong
(or not) they are? Crayfish use claws to deter predators, defend
territory and capture prey. They have a pretty good idea of how strong
their own claws are. They’re also skilled at assessing their size versus
an opponent’s. They can even recognize previous opponents.
natural selection has given them an ability to detect size and identity.
Given that they have those abilities, it naturally follows that they
have an ability to gauge strength when knowing it will improve
“In our population of crayfish, deceptive signalers
largely ignored their own strength when escalating or evading
aggression,” Angilletta said. “If this benefit of heightened aggression
outweighs any long-term cost, natural selection should favor individuals
who escalate aggression through self-deception.”
In other words,
they buy into their own bluff. Angilletta teaches a biology course on
human behavior called “Why people steal, cheat, and lie,” which explores
the ecological and evolutionary causes of selfishness and cooperation
in human societies.
“What’s new about this study is that if you’re
ever in a situation where I’m lying to you, there’s also a possibility
I’m selling my lie exceptionally well because I’ve convinced myself that
it’s true,” he said. “That’s because of self-deception. It’s very
common in psychology but it’s not really that much in biology because
we’re usually thinking about nonhuman animals and we don’t know what
they’re thinking. We have a hard time understanding what they know and
Arizona State University has developed a new model for the American Research University, creating an institution that is committed to access, excellence and impact. ASU measures itself by those it includes, not by those it excludes. As the prototype for a New American University, ASU pursues research that contributes to the public good, and ASU assumes major responsibility for the economic, social and cultural vitality of the communities that surround it.
Unity Consortium is thrilled to welcome newest member, Ethan Lindenberger, a 19-year oldAmerican activist known for his opposition to vaccine misinformation efforts. Ethan will be featured in a number of resources as part of Unity’s Voice of AYA (Adolescents and Young Adults) campaign.
Ethan grew up being told that vaccines cause
autism, brain damage, and do not benefit the health and safety of
society despite the fact such opinions have been debunked numerous times
by the scientific community. Through his own research, and relying on
scientific evidence, he learned that vaccinations are proven to be a
medical miracle, stopping the spread of numerous diseases and therefore
saving countless lives. Ethan was dismayed that stories often spread
through social media based on skepticism and falsities and were putting
lives at danger.
“We all need to follow the CDC’s recommendations
and be protected from all vaccine-preventable diseases,” noted
Lindenberger. “I felt a connection with Unity and jumped at the
opportunity to become a member because they understand the value of teen
and young adult involvement and our ability to be proactive and make
the best decisions for ourselves based on decades of research.”
goal of the campaign is to encourage young adults and teens to get
up-to-date with recommended vaccinations and to teach them how to spot
vaccine-related misinformation on the internet. With new outbreaks in
diseases, such as the measles epidemics that have hit multiple states in
the US, it’s important to spread the word about the importance of
vaccinations. A Unity survey conducted by Harris poll found that 4 in
10 parents and nearly 6 in 10 teens believe teens should only see a
doctor for an illness, which likely reduces opportunities for physicians
to discuss preventive health measures, such as vaccination. Similarly,
the survey showed that 1 in 4 parents and teens believe that vaccines
are for babies and not as important for teens.
focus on educating teens, young adults and parents with evidence based
vaccine information. It is done in a way that is grounded in science and
with respect to his generation so that teens and young adults feel
empowered to make decisions for themselves.
Outcome Health, a
technology company providing health education at the moment of care,
partnered with Unity to produce video spots featuring Ethan. Dr. Laura
Offutt a physician and teen health advocate is also featured in the
spots as an expert source. Since 2018, Outcome Health has delivered
Unity’s vaccination and preventative healthcare messages across its
nationwide point-of-care platform; this is the first time the
organizations have collaborated on a joint video campaign. Outcome
Health will run the videos on their screens in tens of thousands of
doctors’ offices across the country. Ethan will also post a number of
blogs about AYA vaccination over the coming months.
adolescents and young adults in the U.S. are not fully vaccinated and
not even aware that they’re missing recommended vaccines,” said Judy
Klein, President of Unity Consortium. “We are working with Ethan to
amplify his voice. He is all about galvanizing teens to do their
homework on the power of vaccination to protect themselves against
preventable diseases, and the imperative of being caught up on all
missing immunizations. Outcome Health is a valued and exceptional
partner in broadly disseminating this message.”
developed a first-of-its-kind campaign (VAX@16) emphasizing the
16-year-old well-visit and the vaccines that can help protect teens as
they head into adulthood. Unity’s VAX@16 campaign aims to increase
awareness among parents, teens, and health care providers of the
vaccinations recommended for 16-year-olds, including Meningococcal ACWY
(MenACWY), Meningococcal B (MenB), and flu (seasonally).
commented, “We each have the power to protect ourselves from serious and
potentially dangerous illnesses like meningitis and the measles. We
grew up learning to wear a helmet when we rode a bike in case we fall and to wear a seat belt in casewe are in an accident. What about getting a vaccine in casewe are exposed to a lethal illness?”
The Voices of AYA campaign featuring Ethan Lindenberger resourcesare available on Unity’s website and include videos that feature Ethan and Dr. Laura Offutt, Lead for Unity’s Teen Advisory Council.
About Unity Consortium
Consortium is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that brings together
diverse groups that share a common and passionate interest in
maintaining life-long health, with a focus on adolescent and young adult
preventive healthcare and immunization.Unity members and liaisons
represent professional/trade organizations, coalitions/educational
organizations, public health, providers, technology and communications
organizations, and vaccine manufacturers.
Rutgers Expert Available to Discuss the Religious Convictions Behind Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood Ahead of Tom Hanks-Starring Biopic
New Brunswick, N.J. (Oct. 18, 2019) – Rutgers scholar Louis Benjamin Rolsky is available to discuss the religious and spiritual convictions that infused the life of Fred Rogers and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. The film A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, starring Tom Hanks as Rogers, is scheduled for release next month.
Rogers, who became an ordained minister in 1963, challenged the culture of his time by addressing topics like divorce, war, and racism in Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. He exemplified an understanding of religion-as-service, and sought its application in American public life and to children’s programming. The episode in which Rogers introduced an African-American police officer, followed by the cooling and washing of feet together in a small pool in the name of friendship and mutual understanding, challenged many racist assumptions at the time and embodied Rogers’ theological commitment to treating others as he would like to be treated. Rogers understood television less as a passive instrument of pure reception, and more as an interactive medium that could shape individuals in real time, especially children, Rolsky said.
Researchers will look at how CBD might help remedy schizophrenia, rheumatoid arthritis, insomnia, alcohol dependence and anorexia anxiety
The Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR) at University of
California San Diego School of Medicine, the nation’s oldest research
center for scientific inquiry into the safety and efficacy of cannabis,
has announced $3 million in research grants to explore new applications
of cannabis for a number of novel medical applications.
cannabis plant produces a number of compounds called cannabinoids, the
most widely known of which are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), its principle
psychoactive agent, and cannabidiol (CBD), which has been linked to
reduced pain, anxiety and inflammation in previous studies. The five new
studies all focus on CBD.
“Within the medical community, there
is a lot of interest in the role of medical cannabis and CBD,” said Igor
Grant, MD, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and
CMCR director. “There is a hope that it could be yet another useful
agent in some of these conditions, which are difficult to treat or
The five grants are funded by California Proposition
64, which was passed on the November 8, 2016 ballot and legalized
recreational marijuana in the state. The measure allocated tax revenue
for research on potential new drugs, treatment and health and safety
programs related to marijuana and medical cannabis.
marks CMCR’s first such funding. All five grants are for
proof-of-principle studies that would seek to establish the basis for
Effects of Cannabidiol versus Placebo as an Adjunct to Treatment in Early Psychosis
$825,000 grant was awarded to Kristin Cadenhead, MD, professor of
psychiatry at UC San Diego School of Medicine, and colleagues, who will
explore whether medical cannabis could serve as an alternative treatment
for patients facing early psychosis, a time when traditional
treatments, such as antipsychotic medications, are moderately effective
but produce debilitating side effects.
Therapeutic Response of Cannabidiol in Rheumatoid Arthritis
$825,000 grant was awarded to Veena Ranganath, MD, a rheumatologist at
UCLA Medical Center. Ranganath’s research focuses on CBD’s use an
anti-inflammatory agent, an application she hopes to exploit in treating
rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic autoimmune condition that affects an
estimated 1.5 million persons in the United States.
Cannabidol for Sedative/Hypnotic-sparing Management of Insomnia in Adults
$825,000 grant was awarded to Mariana Cherner, PhD, professor of
psychiatry at UC San Diego School of Medicine, and colleagues, who will
investigate whether CBD might be a viable alternative for sleeping pills
among patients with chronic sleep disorders.
are moderately safe but they can also be habit-forming and they do have
side effects, particularly in older people,” said Grant. “So many people
are prescribed sleeping pills so there’s good reason to look for
something that might be safer and not have that side effect profile.”
Cannabidiol as a Strategy to Treat Alcohol Dependence
$300,000 grant was awarded to Giordano de Guglielmo, PhD, assistant
adjunct professor in the UC San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy and
Pharmaceutical Sciences, and colleagues. This study is the only one of
the five using an animal model. It will look at the role CBD might play
in reducing alcohol cravings and withdrawal syndromes among
alcohol-addicted rats, with findings perhaps applicable to future human
The Role of Cannabidiol in Regulating Meal Time Anxiety in Anorexia Nervosa
$300,000 grant was awarded to Emily Gray, MD, associate clinical
professor of psychology at UC San Diego School of Medicine, and
colleagues, who will explore whether CBD can help reduce a core symptom
of anorexia — anxiety about food — and whether or not that reduction
helps patients also reduce their food aversions overall.
A second round of CMCR grants is scheduled for 2020.
When people become stressed, their bodies can respond by sweating.
Now, researchers at the University of Missouri are monitoring how much
adolescents severely affected by autism sweat in order to better
understand when behavioral issues, such as aggression, are likely to
Bradley Ferguson analyzed the stress levels of eight
adolescents who are severely affected by autism spectrum disorder at The
Center for Discovery, a residential facility in New York that provides
advanced care and research for individuals with complex conditions.
Using wrist and ankle monitors, Ferguson found that there was a rise in
the body’s electrodermal activity – which results from increased levels
of sweat – 60% of the time before an individual showed behavioral
“A spike in electrodermal activity is telling us that the
individual’s body is reacting physiologically to something that is
stressful, which could be their internal state, something in the
environment, or a combination of the two,” said Ferguson, assistant
research professor in the departments of health psychology, radiology
and the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders. “If
parents or caregivers are notified ahead of time that their child’s
stress levels are rising, they might have a chance to intervene and
de-escalate the situation before problem behaviors occur.”
explained that possible intervention methods could include removing the
child from the environment or activity that is causing the stress, as
well as providing access to an item that the child enjoys interacting
with in an effort to calm them.
“Individuals who are severely
affected by autism spectrum disorder are often unable to verbally
communicate their discomfort when they become stressed,” Ferguson said.
“However, their body still responds to stressors just like anyone else.
Therefore, being alerted of increases in electrodermal activity can
allow parents and caregivers to intervene prior to engagement in problem
behavior with the goal of ensuring the health and safety of those
Ferguson collaborated on the study with David
Beversdorf, a professor of radiology, neurology and psychology in the MU
College of Arts and Science as well as principal investigator of the
Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory in the MU School of Medicine. Ferguson
also collaborated with Theresa Hamlin, Johanna Lantz, and Tania
Villavicencio at The Center for Discovery, and John Coles at
Calspan-University of Buffalo Research Center and The State University
of New York at Buffalo.
“Important work is being done to try to
identify predictors for when a person with autism is at greatest risk of
having a behavioral episode,” Beversdorf said. “This research
highlights the individual variability in this response that must be
considered, and may also have implications for individualized treatment
approaches moving forward.”
the association between electrodermal activity and problem behavior in
severe autism spectrum disorder: A feasibility study,” was published in Frontiers in Psychiatry.
study was funded by the New York State Center of Excellence, New York
State Department of Health and Office for People with Developmental
Disabilities, as well as private monies donated to The Center for
Discovery. The content is solely the responsibilities of the authors and
does not necessarily represent the official views of the funding
The Department of Health Psychology is in the MU School
of Health Professions, and the Department of Radiology is in the MU
School of Medicine.