henry copeland @hc

having fun with people and pixels, via racery, pullquote, twiangulate, improv, running

Recent quotes:

Diet changes outperform probiotics

Overall, 11 of the 21 studies showed a positive effect on anxiety symptoms by regulating intestinal microbiota, meaning that more than half (52%) of the studies showed this approach to be effective, although some studies that had used this approach did not find it worked. Of the 14 studies that had used probiotics as the intervention, more than a third (36%) found them to be effective in reducing anxiety symptoms, while six of the remaining seven studies that had used non-probiotics as interventions found those to be effective -- a 86% rate of effectiveness. Some studies had used both the IRIF (interventions to regulate intestinal microbiota) approach and treatment as usual. In the five studies that used treatment as usual and IRIF as interventions, only studies that had conducted non-probiotic ways got positive results, that showed a reduction in anxiety symptoms.

After GWAS studies, how to narrow the search for genes? -- ScienceDaily

Borrowing the machine-learning concept of "cross-validation," Benchmarker enables investigators to use the GWAS data itself as its own control. The idea is to take the GWAS dataset and single out one chromosome. The algorithm being benchmarked then uses the data from the remaining 21 chromosomes (all but X and Y) to make predictions about what genes on the single chromosome are most likely to contribute to the trait being investigated. As this process is repeated for each chromosome in turn, the genes that the algorithm has flagged are pooled. The algorithm is then validated by comparing this group of prioritized genes with the original GWAS results. "You train the algorithm on the GWAS with one chromosome withheld, then go back to that chromosome and ask whether those genes were actually associated with a strong p-value in the original GWAS results," explains Fine. "While these p-values don't represent the exact 'right answers,' they do tell you roughly where some true genetic associations are. The end product is an evaluation of how each algorithm performed."

Exercise: Psych patients' new primary prescription -- ScienceDaily

Tomasi, in collaboration with UVMMC's Sheri Gates and Emily Reyns, built a gym exclusively for roughly 100 patients in the medical center's inpatient psychiatry unit, and led and introduced 60-minute structured exercise and nutrition education programs into their treatment plans. The psychotherapists surveyed patients on their mood, self-esteem and self-image both before and after the exercise sessions to gauge the effects of exercise on psychiatric symptoms. Patients reported lower levels of anger, anxiety and depression, higher self-esteem, and overall improved moods. Tomasi, Gates and Reyns found an average of 95 percent of patients reported that their moods improved after doing the structured exercises, while 63 percent of the patients reported being happy or very happy, as opposed to neutral, sad or very sad, after the exercises. An average of 91.8 of patients also reported that they were pleased with the way their bodies felt after doing the structured exercises.

Insulin under the influence of light -- ScienceDaily

To better assess the effect of light on tissue sensitivity to insulin, researchers measured insulin-induced glucose absorption. It turns out that a small disturbance in photic inputs (e.g. an hour of light exposure in the middle of the dark cycle, or light removal for 2 days) is enough to cause a negative effect. Indeed, increased or decreased light exposure can profoundly influence the sensitivity of tissues to insulin and the alteration, however minimal, of this mechanism is sufficient to significantly disrupt metabolic homeostasis. This would explain why people exposed to light at the wrong time -- workers in shift patterns, for example -- are more likely to develop metabolic diseases (e.g. diabetes).

Multiple brain regions moderate and link depressive mood and pain -- ScienceDaily

"We were very surprised about the expansive roles of these regions," said Zeidan. "Brain regions involved in facilitating pain were also associated with lower pain and depression. Brain regions involved in regulating pain where also associated with increasing depression. Perhaps it's not surprising after seeing the results. Why shouldn't specific aspects of the brain perform multiple roles?"

I Have a James Beard Award and I Think You Are So Great. – The Everywhereist

I published my essay about Mario Batali and his shitty cinnamon roll apology on this site because I assumed that no publication would want it. It ended up getting a James Beard nomination for Journalism in the Personal Essay category. And then it won. This doesn’t fall into the schema of dreams coming true, because this was never a dream I’d had. It’s not something I thought was in the realm of possibility. […]My blog was up against publications whose editors don’t even reply to my emails.

Harvard failing students by having them live in fantasy world

No one at Harvard batted an eye to learn that Sullivan has represented an actual murderer. But they lost their minds when Sullivan was hired by Harvey Weinstein. Harvard capitulated to a small band of protesters and announced that Sullivan and his wife, Stephanie Robinson, would no longer serve as faculty deans of Winthrop House, one of Harvard’s residential units. The unofficial leader of the student hysterics, Danu Mudannayake, doesn’t even live in Winthrop House and yet claimed it was “deeply trauma-inducing” to know that Sullivan represented Weinstein, which somehow proved Sullivan “does not value the safety of students he lives with in Winthrop House.” If these ding-dongs and the spineless, craven ding-dong enablers running Harvard had simply found some smelling salts and taken a few deep breaths, they would soon have learned that Sullivan was off the Weinstein case anyway: The law professor was expecting to work on the matter during his summer break, but a judge pushed the trial back to the fall, when Sullivan’s Harvard teaching duties would have precluded his representing Weinstein.

Harvard failing students by having them live in fantasy world

In the softest and most spoiled generation of humanity ever to exist (they feel threatened by Halloween costumes and the existence of Ben Shapiro; their forebears endured World War II and Vietnam and even riding bikes without helmets), the softest and most spoiled corner must be the Harvard student body, those little princelings and princesslings who have more expectations about how the world should accommodate their whims than Louis XIV. Last week, a handful of these toddler-brained undergrads got a distinguished Harvard dean fired for doing his job.

Adult-born hippocampal neurons bidirectionally modulate entorhinal inputs into the dentate gyrus | Science

Young adult-born granule cells (abGCs) in the dentate gyrus (DG) have a profound impact on cognition and mood. However, it remains unclear how abGCs distinctively contribute to local DG information processing. We found that the actions of abGCs in the DG depend on the origin of incoming afferents.

Allen Neuringer's Many Decades of Self-Experimentation - Quantified Self

Allen proceeded to test the effects of movement on his cognitive abilities. He tested memory at first. He had flashcards with faces on one side and names on the other. His A condition would be to run two miles or swim 20 laps and then review 20 of the cards recording how many he got right. The B condition would be to spend the same amount of time working at his desk before reviewing the cards. The effect was clear. His ability to memorize was better after activity. But how does one test idea generation? Allen’s method was to spend 15 minutes moving around in a “quasi-dance” manner and noted any ideas he had on a notecard, writing the date and the condition on the back side, in this case, “move”. He then compared those cards to ones generated during a 15 minute period sitting at a desk. He repeated these AB intervals over the course of weeks, accumulating piles of cards. Months later he went through the cards and evaluated the quality of the ideas, looking at whether or not they were good and how creative they were. He didn’t know which conditions they were, since “sit” and “move” were written on the back side. He calculated the number of subjectively judged “good” ideas for each condition. Again, he noticed there were clear differences. Movement helped. Movement also helped with reading. Allen rigged a book holder out of an old backpack and through his testing found out that he surprisingly reads faster while moving and retains more. But was moving always better? Allen looked at his problem solving abilities in the move and sit conditions, using a similar method that he used for testing idea generation. He found that moving tended to make problem solving easier, with one significant exception: problems involving mathematical reasoning were more difficult to do while moving.

Or was it the "speed"?

The rates of traffic and moving violations were also significantly higher among young drivers with ADHD as compared to those without ADHD. Among these drivers, nearly 37 percent were issued a traffic violation and nearly 27 percent a moving violation within their first year of driving, compared to 25 percent and 18 percent respectively among their peers without ADHD. Drivers with ADHD had higher rates of alcohol or drug violations and moving violations (including speeding, nonuse of seat belts, and electronic equipment use). Their rate was 3.5 times that of young drivers without ADHD in the first year of driving and 1.5 times that of young drivers without ADHD in the first four years of driving.

People in higher social class have an exaggerated belief that they are better than others: Overconfidence can be misinterpreted by others as greater competence, perpetuating social hierarchies, study says -- ScienceDaily

Applicants were also required to complete a psychological assessment that would be used to assess their credit worthiness. Part of that included a flashcard game, a cognitive test where participants are shown an image that goes away after they press a key and is replaced by a second image. They then have to determine whether the second image matches the first. After completing 20 trials, applicants were asked to indicate how they performed in comparison with others on a scale of 1 to 100. When the researchers compared the actual scores with applicants' predictions, they found that people with more education, more income and a higher perceived social class had an exaggerated belief that they would perform better than others, compared with their lower-class counterparts. Another two investigations involving more than 1,400 online participants found a similar association between social class and overconfidence. In one, the researchers gave participants a trivia test. Those from a higher social class thought that they did better than others; however, when the researchers examined actual performance, it was not the case. For the final investigation, the researchers recruited 236 undergraduate students, had each answer a 15-item trivia quiz and asked them to predict how they fared compared with others. They also asked them to rate their social class and for their families' income and their mothers' and fathers' education levels. A week later, the students were brought back to the lab for a videotaped mock hiring interview. More than 900 judges, recruited online, each watched one of the videos and rated their impression of the applicant's competence.

When Do We Fall in Neural Synchrony With Others?

Compared to dyads between real participants and confederates, real-participant pairings showed greater cooperation behavior and IBS between bilateral dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. And, IBS and cooperation increased over time in real-participant pairings, whereas they remained low and constant in dyads with the confederate. These findings indicate that IBS occurs between individuals engaging in interpersonal interaction during a collaborative task, during which both IBS and cooperatively interpersonal interaction tend to increase over time.

Gamma wave - Wikipedia

A number of experiments conducted by Rodolfo Llinás supports a hypothesis that the basis for consciousness in awake states and dreaming is 40-Hz oscillations throughout the cortical mantle in the form of thalamocortical iterative recurrent activity. In two papers entitled "Coherent 40-Hz oscillation characterizes dream state in humans” (Rodolfo Llinás and Urs Ribary, Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 90:2078-2081, 1993) and "Of dreaming and wakefulness” (Llinas & Pare, 1991), Llinás proposes that the conjunction into a single cognitive event could come about by the concurrent summation of specific and nonspecific 40-Hz activity along the radial dendritic axis of given cortical elements, and that the resonance is modulated by the brainstem and is given content by sensory input in the awake state and intrinsic activity during dreaming. According to Llinás’ hypothesis, known as the thalamocortical dialogue hypothesis for consciousness, the 40-Hz oscillation seen in wakefulness and in dreaming is proposed to be a correlate of cognition, resultant from coherent 40-Hz resonance between thalamocortical-specific and nonspecific loops. In Llinás & Ribary (1993), the authors propose that the specific loops give the content of cognition, and that a nonspecific loop gives the temporal binding required for the unity of cognitive experience.

Why visual stimulation may work in fight against Alzheimer's: Mouse study - Neuroscience News

Tsai’s original study on the effects of flickering light showed that visual stimulation at a frequency of 40 hertz (cycles per second) induces brain waves known as gamma oscillations in the visual cortex. These brain waves are believed to contribute to normal brain functions such as attention and memory, and previous studies have suggested that they are impaired in Alzheimer’s patients. Tsai and her colleagues later found that combining the flickering light with sound stimuli — 40-hertz tones — reduced plaques even further and also had farther-reaching effects, extending to the hippocampus and parts of the prefrontal cortex. The researchers have also found cognitive benefits from both the light- and sound-induced gamma oscillations. In their new study, the researchers wanted to delve deeper into how these beneficial effects arise. They focused on two different strains of mice that are genetically programmed to develop Alzheimer’s symptoms. One, known as Tau P301S, has a mutated version of the Tau protein, which forms neurofibrillary tangles like those seen in Alzheimer’s patients. The other, known as CK-p25, can be induced to produce a protein called p25, which causes severe neurodegeneration. Both of these models show much greater neuron loss than the model they used for the original light flickering study, Tsai says. The researchers found that visual stimulation, given one hour a day for three to six weeks, had dramatic effects on neuron degeneration. They started the treatments shortly before degeneration would have been expected to begin, in both types of Alzheimer’s models. After three weeks of treatment, Tau P301S mice showed no neuronal degeneration, while the untreated Tau P301S mice had lost 15 to 20 percent of their neurons. Neurodegeneration was also prevented in the CK-p25 mice, which were treated for six weeks.

Owning a dog is influenced by our genetic make-up -- ScienceDaily

"We were surprised to see that a person's genetic make-up appears to be a significant influence in whether they own a dog. As such, these findings have major implications in several different fields related to understanding dog-human interaction throughout history and in modern times. Although dogs and other pets are common household members across the globe, little is known how they impact our daily life and health. Perhaps some people have a higher innate propensity to care for a pet than others." says Tove Fall, lead author of the study, and Professor in Molecular Epidemiology at the Department of Medical Sciences and the Science for Life Laboratory, Uppsala University.

Finding the 'Goldilocks' level of enthusiasm for business pitches -- ScienceDaily

They found that, generally speaking, the higher the peak level of enthusiasm, the more likely the entrepreneur was to receive funding, after controlling for differences in the products and business ideas. But there was a bell curve in the results, where the likelihood of funding tended to fall as "peak joy" levels went on for too long. "Although a higher level of peak joy displayed by entrepreneurs during their pitches leads to better funding performance over time, prolonged display of peak joy seemed to undermine funding performance," Liu said. "Another possible interpretation is that investors may believe the entrepreneur is acting and the pitch is manipulative. Maybe they feel the entrepreneur is using his or her excitement to manipulate the investors' perceptions in hopes of increasing the odds of getting funding."

New doctors' DNA ages six times faster than normal in first year: Long work hours of intern year associated with accelerated shortening of telomere regions of chromosomes -- ScienceDaily

Published online in the journal Biological Psychiatry, the new study is the first to measure telomere length before and after individuals faced a common prolonged intense experience. It involved 250 interns from around the country who volunteered for the Intern Health Study, based at the University of Michigan, and a comparison group of college students from U-M. "Research has implicated telomeres as an indicator of aging and disease risk, but these longitudinal findings advance the possibility that telomere length can serve as a biomarker that tracks effects of stress, and helps us understand how stress gets 'under the skin' and increases our risk for disease," says Srijan Sen, M.D., Ph.D., the U-M neuroscientist and psychiatrist who is the study's senior author and heads the Intern Health Study. He adds, "It will be important to study how telomere changes play out in larger groups of medical trainees, and in other groups of people subjected to specific prolonged stresses such as military training, graduate studies in the sciences and law, working for startup companies, or pregnancy and the first months of parenting."

Memories are strengthened via brainwaves produced during sleep, new study shows: Researchers use medical imaging to map areas involved in recalling learned information while we slumber -- ScienceDaily

The researchers found that during spindles of the learning night, the regions of the brain that were instrumental in processing faces were reactivated. They also observed that the regions in the brain involved in memory -- especially the hippocampus -- were more active during spindles in the subjects who remembered the task better after sleep. This reactivation during sleep spindles of the regions involved in learning and memory "falls in line with the theory that during sleep, you are strengthening memories by transferring information from the hippocampus to the regions of the cortex that are important for the consolidation of that specific type of information," he says.

Unexplored neural circuit modulates memory strength -- ScienceDaily

"We know with flies, just like in mammals, there are neurons involved in positive reinforcement, there are neurons involved in negative reinforcement -- the valence neurons -- and then there are this third set," Tomchik says. "Nobody really knew what they did." The fruit fly brain contains eight groups of neurons that produce dopamine. Three of them can be found in what's known as the fly brain's "mushroom body." Humans don't have an exact analogous brain section, but other brain regions perform similar functions. In Drosophila melanogaster, aka the fruit fly, the mushroom body is an area highly responsive to odors. Past fly brain studies have shown that one of the dopamine-producing groups projecting into the mushroom body handles desire-inducing memories connected to odors. ("Mmmm, rotten bananas!") while another guides avoidant behavior related to negative experiences. ("Yikes, dangerous banana smell!") To find out the role of the third group, referred to as PPL2, research associate and first author Tamara Boto, PhD, trained the flies with an experiment that involved exposing them to fruit-like odors while simultaneously giving them a mild electric shock. Their conditioned response could be visualized under a microscope by adding a green fluorescent protein that releases light upon reacting to calcium. Calcium ions are released when neurons communicate. Stimulating the PPL2 neurons during the odor experiments changed the brightness of the fluorescence when presented with the odor, an indication that the structures involved in learning and memory had altered the degree of response. "When we activated this PPL2 set of neurons, it would actually modulate the strength of that memory," Tomchik says. "So we see there are dopaminergic neurons that encode the aversive stimulus itself, and then there is this additional set that can turn the volume up or down on that memory."

'Extraordinary' 500-year-old library catalogue reveals books lost to time | Books | The Guardian

“It’s a discovery of immense importance, not only because it contains so much information about how people read 500 years ago, but also, because it contains summaries of books that no longer exist, lost in every other form than these summaries,” said Wilson-Lee. “The idea that this object which was so central to this extraordinary early 16th-century project and which one always thought of with this great sense of loss, of what could have been if this had been preserved, for it then to just show up in Copenhagen perfectly preserved, at least 350 years after its last mention in Spain …”

Dead zones in circadian clocks -- ScienceDaily

One of the important properties of circadian clocks is the response to light signals, which enables organisms to become entrained to the 24-hour light-dark cycle on Earth. It has been shown that circadian clocks respond to light signals during the night, whereas they do not respond to such signals during the daytime. This holds true even when an organism is kept in complete darkness; a short light pulse does not change the time of the circadian clock when body time of the individual is at daytime. The time period in which the circadian clock is insensitive to light signals is referred to as the "dead zone." Previous studies have indicated that the presence of a dead zone improves the robustness of the clock. However, the mechanism underlying its generation is unclear.

Whole grain can contribute to health by changing intestinal serotonin production - ScienceBlog.com

The consumption of wholegrain rye led to, among other things, significantly lower serotonin concentrations when compared to consumption of low-fibre wheat bread. The researchers also tested in mice whether the addition of cereal fibre to the diet changes serotonin production in the intestine. The diet of the mice was supplemented for nine weeks with rye bran, wheat bran or cellulose flour. The mice receiving rye or wheat bran had significantly lower serotonin in their colon. Serotonin is best known as a neurotransmitter in the brain. However, serotonin produced by the intestines remains separated from the brain, serving various peripheral functions including modulation of gut’s motility. Increased blood serotonin has also been associated with high blood glucose levels.

Bernard-Henri Lévy Interviews Viktor Orbán - The Atlantic

“You can’t talk like that. I have the best relations in the world with Israel.” “Fine. But with Jews?” “The same. Let me tell you something. There was a time in Hungary’s history when we didn’t have enough farm labor and had to bring in Czechs, Ruthenians, Roma, and so on. So that by the middle of the 19th century, the Magyars were becoming a minority. And do you know how we settled that? Through a grand alliance between Magyars and Jews, which together made up a little more than 50 percent of the population.” He speaks of this alliance in the manner of a captain of industry describing a shift in the majority of the board of directors. And when I ask him about the source of the Magyar strain of anti-Semitism, which was, after all, one of Europe’s deadliest, he counters with this astonishing response. “Béla Kun.” Kun was a Lenin ally who, in 1918, founded the short-lived Hungarian Soviet Republic. “Yes,” he insists. “Béla Kun. The Jews played a large role—an unfortunate fact, but a fact nonetheless—in his abortive attempt at a Communist revolution. And that is what undid the fine alliance in Budapest between the Jewish and Magyar people.”

Game Of Thrones brutally asserts that the game in question will have no winner (experts)

It’s not that the final season is failing to live up to my specific expectations of what was supposed to happen, which I avoided having for that reason. It’s that the final season is failing to live up to what I believe a final season should do: enriching the show that came before it. And while the notion that power corrupts has always been at the heart of this story, the way it manifests here feels like a simplification of the show and its ideas, as opposed to a culmination of its larger journey.

Agnotology and Epistemological Fragmentation – Data & Society: Points

Epistemology is the term that describes how we know what we know. Most people who think about knowledge think about the processes of obtaining it. Ignorance is often assumed to be not-yet-knowledgeable. But what if ignorance is strategically manufactured? What if the tools of knowledge production are perverted to enable ignorance? In 1995, Robert Proctor and Iain Boal coined the term “agnotology” to describe the strategic and purposeful production of ignorance. In an edited volume called Agnotology, Proctor and Londa Schiebinger collect essays detailing how agnotology is achieved. Whether we’re talking about the erasure of history or the undoing of scientific knowledge, agnotology is a tool of oppression by the powerful.