Okay, I took a little break from this year's National Institute for the Teaching of Psychology! Tampa was wonderful this year!

Okay, I took a little break from this year’s National Institute for the Teaching of Psychology! Tampa was wonderful this year!

Here is what I am reading today:


“Genetics researchers have identified 25 additional copy number variations (CNVs)—missing or duplicated stretches of DNA—that occur in some patients with autism. These CNVs, say the researchers, are “high impact”: although individually rare, each has a strong effect in raising an individual’s risk for autism. “Many of these gene variants may serve as valuable predictive markers,” said the study’s corresponding author, Hakon Hakonarson, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Center for Applied Genomics at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “If so, they may become part of a clinical test that will help evaluate whether a child has an autism spectrum disorder.””


“Fructose, a sugar much maligned in recent years, recently took another hit when a preliminary study by Yale University found that it might stimulate appetite more than other sugar types. The results came as no surprise to Robert Lustig, MD, a pediatric endocrinologist at the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital who’s made headlines for years with his public health crusade against excess sugar consumption.”


“Exposing pregnant mice to low doses of the chemical tributyltin – which is used in marine hull paint and PVC plastic – can lead to obesity for multiple generations without subsequent exposure, a UC Irvine study has found. After exposing pregnant mice to TBT in concentrations similar to those found in the environment, researchers saw increased body fat, liver fat and fat-specific gene expression in their “children,” “grandchildren” and “great-grandchildren” – none of which had been exposed to the chemical. These findings suggest that early-life exposure to endocrine-disrupting compounds such as TBT can have permanent effects of fat accumulation without further exposure, said study leader Bruce Blumberg, UC Irvine professor of pharmaceutical sciences and developmental & cell biology. These effects appear to be inherited without DNA mutations occurring.”


“… Yudof said that within two months he will announce an incentive program for UC professors to develop online classes, focusing on introductory and other high-enrollment courses that can be difficult to get into because they fill up quickly. UC will establish a system to let students on one campus take online courses at other campuses for credit, Yudof said, envisioning a day when 10 percent to 15 percent of all undergraduate courses are taken online….”


“Working with mice, Johns Hopkins researchers have established a link between elevated levels of a stress hormone in adolescence—a critical time for brain development—and genetic changes that, in young adulthood, cause severe mental illness in those predisposed to it. The findings, reported in the journal Science, could have wide-reaching implications in both the prevention and treatment of schizophrenia, severe depression and other mental illnesses. “We have discovered a mechanism for how environmental factors, such as stress hormones, can affect the brain’s physiology and bring about mental illness,” says study leader Akira Sawa, M.D., Ph.D”


“Employees often tiptoe around their bosses for fear of offending them. But new research from the University of California, Berkeley, shows people in power have thicker skin than one might think. A UC Berkeley study has found that people in authority positions – whether at home or in the workplace – are quicker to recover from mild rejection, and will seek out social bonding opportunities even if they’ve been rebuffed. “Powerful people appear to be better at dealing with the slings and arrows of social life, they’re more buffered from the negative feelings that rejection typically elicits,” said Maya Kuehn, a doctoral student in psychology at UC Berkeley and lead author of the study. She will present her findings this Friday, Jan. 18, at the annual conference of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology in New Orleans.”