Touch in infancy is important for healthy brain development

by Harriet Dempsey-Jones Added 25.03.2017
Touch underpins our social world and, evidence suggests, it may even help to reduce anxiety and provide pain relief. But can touch shape the actual organisation of our brains? Research is now revealing that experiences with touch – especially in infancy – do indeed shape brain development. This was recently demonstrated by a team of researchers, led by Nathalie Maitre, at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. The researchers...

How the right diet can control diabetes and reduce its massive economic costs

by Chris Proud, Grant Brinkworth and Manny Noakes Added 24.03.2017
More than 350 million people worldwide suffer from type 2 diabetes. The condition is already rampant in several Western countries and numbers are now rising fast in emerging economies, such as India and China. But the right kind of dietary changes could dramatically reduce the impact of the illness on both patients and economies. Alongside the impact of the disease and its associated complications on the lives of patients and their families,...

Sugar isn't just empty, fattening calories -- it's making us sick

by Robert Lustig Added 24.03.2017
Children are manifesting increased rates of adult diseases like hypertension or high triglycerides. And they are getting diseases that used to be unheard of in children, like Type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease. So why is this happening? Everyone assumes this is the result of the obesity epidemic – too many calories in, too few out. Children and adults are getting fat, so they’re getting sick. And it is generally assumed that no one...

Wisdom and Creativity

by David Galenson Added 22.03.2017
Academic psychologists have promulgated the myth that wisdom hinders creativity. Robert Sternberg, for example, contended that “the kinds of thinking required to be creative and wise are different.” In his opinion, “Creative thinking is often brash whereas wise thinking is balanced.” He agreed with Harvey Lehman, who had earlier recognized that “the old usually possess greater wisdom and erudition,” but believed that these were accompanied...

Wilders vs. Spinoza

by Steven Nadler Added 18.03.2017
MADISON – A Dutch demagogue stirs up his followers in a campaign against immigrants. Appealing to the public’s fears and nativist passions, he declares the culture of the immigrants antithetical to Dutch values and denounces their religion, which “scandalizes Christians,” as a kind of infectious disease. In speeches and essays, he claims that the faith of these immigrants, while perhaps sincerely held, “does not have God as its source.” If...

Gut bacteria play a role in long-term weight gain

by Ana Valdes Added 18.03.2017
Weight gain happens when we consume more food than we can burn, and weight loss happens when we burn more energy than we consume. But why do some people seem to eat whatever they want and not gain weight, and others appear to gain weight even if they eat reasonable amounts of food? The answer, at least in part, may be found in the bacteria that live in our guts. Our latest research, published in the International Journal of Obesity, shows...

A Life that Mattered

by Peter Singer Added 15.03.2017
PRINCETON – On January 1, Derek Parfit, one of the greatest philosophers of my generation, died. Just a year earlier, in a poll on a leading philosophy website, Parfit had been voted the most important living Anglophone philosopher. Of all the philosophers I have known since I began to study the subject more than 50 years ago, Parfit was the closest to a genius. Getting into a philosophical argument with him was like playing chess with a...

Is there a link between diet, obesity and Alzheimer’s?

by Catherine Itsiopoulos Added 11.03.2017
Alzheimer’s disease is more common among older people but it’s not a normal part of ageing. And as the global population ages, the rate of Alzheimer’s is expected to rise – from 36 million to 115 million sufferers by 2050. The definitive cause of Alzheimer’s disease is still unknown. What we do know is that the brain of an Alzheimer’s sufferer develops abnormal protein build-up that interferes with neurological signals. This causes brain...

Exercise changes the way our bodies work at a molecular level

by Andrew Thomas Added 09.03.2017
Exercise is good for you, this we know. It helps build muscle, burn fat and make us all into happier, healthier people. But long before you start looking the way you want, there are other hidden, more immediate, molecular and immunological changes taking place inside your cells. Changes which could be responsible for protecting us from heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes – and even stave off old age and cancer. You may think...

Trumpism And Anti-Semitism

by Sam Ben-Meir Added 06.03.2017
The United States is witnessing a disturbing rise in anti-Semitic acts, which are sweeping over the country in wave after wave. In St. Louis, more than a hundred tombstones were tipped over; similar hate crimes have taken place in Philadelphia and New York. Attacks are taking place not only in cities across the country, but also in small towns. In Scottsburg, Indiana (a community with less than ten thousand residents), the gravestones of a...

It’s not the CEO’s choices that matter, it’s yours

by Vivek Wadhwa Added 04.03.2017
What is the likelihood that the people building Uber’s self-driving technologies did not know that their software was highly imperfect and could endanger lives if the cars were let loose on public streets? Or that employees of Theranos did not know that their equipment would produce inaccurate diagnostics? San Francisco has had some close calls with the self-driving Uber vehicles, though no damage has resulted. But Theranos did negatively...

The next scientific breakthrough could come from the history books

by Giles Gasper, Hannah Smithson and Tom McLeish Added 04.03.2017
The idea that science isn’t a process of constant progress might make some modern scientists feel a bit twitchy. Surely we know more now than we did 100 years ago? We’ve sequenced the genome, explored space and considerably lengthened the average human lifespan. We’ve invented aircraft, computers and nuclear energy. We’ve developed theories of relativity and quantum mechanics to explain how the universe works. However, treating the history...

Warren Buffett's latest stock play is a clue for reading the Trump-era economy

by Hassaan Khan Added 24.02.2017
While political analysts and journalists obsess about President Donald Trump’s executive orders and their constitutional significance, the investor Warren Buffett has made his judgement clear on how the economy could look during the Trump years. In a massive stockmarket move, he has dumped nearly a billion dollars of long-held shares in retailer Walmart in favour of tech and airline stocks. This demonstrates an astonishing change of heart...

Job insecurity cuts to the core of identity and social stability – and can push people towards extremism

by Eva Selenko and Chris Stride Added 22.02.2017
“Will I lose my job in the near future?” For most people this is an unpleasant scenario to ponder, and for many it is a real and pressing concern. Since the financial crisis, more than half of all jobs created in the European Union have been through temporary contracts. Eva Selenko This high level of job insecurity doesn’t just have an economic effect on people, making financial planning extremely difficult. Our research shows how the...

David Bowie - Changes

by David Galenson Added 19.02.2017
Britain’s Royal Mail has announced it will honor the late David Bowie with a set of 10 stamps – the first time it has dedicated a set of stamps to a single musician. A spokesman explained that the issue will honor Bowie’s “many celebrated personas.” David Bowie, 1967 Joyce Carol Oates once mused that Bob Dylan “went through so many transformations, emotionally and musically and even physically, that he must be a fictional character.” Her...

Trump's America and the rise of the authoritarian personality

by Magnus Linden Added 18.02.2017
Since the horror of Hitler’s Holocaust, psychologists have investigated why certain individuals appear more prone to follow orders from authority figures, even if it means that they have to sacrifice humanitarian values while doing so. Apart from the Nazi regime, this issue is central to military atrocities such as the massacre in My Lai during the Vietnam war, and the systematic abuse of detainees in Abu-Ghraib prison in post-invasion Iraq....

The Politics of Business, and the Business of Politics, in the World of Donald J. Trump

by David Coates Added 18.02.2017
The Chinese curse, “may you live in interesting times,” has a renewed resonance this side of January 20th. As we now all presumably realize, there is never a dull day in American politics with Donald J. Trump in the White House, and there is never likely to be one. Oh, that there was. And because there is not, miles and miles of printed commentary chase each daily absurdity in turn, running the risk as they do so both of exhausting their...

Dear White, Christian Trump Supporters: We Need To Talk

by Susan M. Shaw Added 13.02.2017
Plenty of pundits keep telling us progressives that we didn’t listen to them in the heartland ― to you of the white working class, to you of conservative Christianity. Actually, I grew up as one of you. I’ve listened to you my whole life, but I don’t think I know how to understand you at all. I suppose now you’d consider me part of the so-called liberal elite. I’m a west coast university professor with a Ph.D. and almost 30 years of teaching...

Why cancer rates are increasing disproportionately in women – and what we can do about it

by Sarah Allinson Added 12.02.2017
Recent reports that cancer rates in UK women are set to rise six times faster than in men over the next two decades will have alarmed many. It is likely to be a similar story across the western world. In the US, cancer rates have been steadily decreasing in men but not in women. And although it is still the case that more men than women get cancer, the gap is narrowing. The new prediction of future trends for cancer in women by Cancer...

Murdoch's access to British prime minister shows media power still in hands of the few

by Des Freedman and Justin Schlosberg Added 10.02.2017
In 1996, when the web was in its infancy, the American technology writer Nicholas Negroponte predicted that the coming digital revolution would facilitate a “cottage industry of information and entertainment providers”. Twenty years on and the story of “fake news”, which had wide currency during the US election, and was found emanating from basements, cafes and computer labs in the small Macedonian city of Veles would appear to prove...
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