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.”



Steph S · January 19, 2013 at 4:52 pm

In response to: “Powerful People are better at shaking off rebuff”

The results found from this study make sense for my personal standpoint. There could be many reasons for the correlation the research found. One could be because the more powerful someone is the more confidence and self-esteem they have. Therefore when someone threatens them socially they are able to recover better. If someone is in a not so powerful position there self-esteem and confidence already starts at a lower level and therefore is easier to break down and affect the person more. Powerful people have a thicker wall protecting themselves for social pressures and therefore can cope better. I think the type of person that usually gains power should also be examined. Does one usually have to have thick skin to be powerful or could one be powerful without thick skin? How long would they stay in power without thick skin?

mlauth · January 21, 2013 at 12:38 am

In the article entitled “Mouse research links adolescent stress and severe adult mental illness”, the correlation determined by the amount of cortisol levels in adolescents and the permanent physiology changes in the brain was quite interesting. The fact that the genetics is not the only contributor to a mental disorder, but also the environmental factors, allows researchers to bring up the argument that “nature and nurture” together play huge factors in mental illness. The main thing, however, that I disagreed with in this study is the correlation between rats swimming and depression of the rat. This part of the study is completely arbitrary. This study does show that the amount of stress that a child/adolescent has in their life affects the outcome of their adult life. There should be a greater amount of focus on reducing the stress of children with the predisposition for severe mental disorder so that these young individuals can live happy and healthy lives in the future.

mlauth · January 21, 2013 at 12:39 am

Everyday employees worry about what their bosses think about them and how they should act in order to optimize their persona to that “high” position individual. But these high position individuals do not really care how their employees really think of them. In the article entitled “Powerful people better at shaking off rebuffs, bonding with others”, Dr. Maya Kuehn shows that powerful individuals are “unfazed” by rejection from low-level individuals and actually seek out social bonding with their coworkers at a later time. This situation does, however, show that the people with higher power do actually care and are interested in what their employees think. I believe Kuehn shows how admiration of individuals (like someone’s boss or mentor) affects a person’s sensitivity to rejection and/or acceptance. The high-level individuals possibly have less admiration for these low-level individuals and therefore are less sensitive to rejection. Keuhn also observed this same type of relationship in couples. With these interactions, the higher-level individual of the couple had a more positive outlook when working with his or her partner.

bradyhiob · January 21, 2013 at 12:45 pm

I personally have been on a low-carb, low sugar diet for the past year or so. I have found this diet to be very beneficial to my mental health and physical health. As I am a healthy nineteen-year-old, I dont have weight problems or anything. I wanted to start a low-carb diet in order to take a preventative stance on diseases. The article, “Sugar Fight!” just engrained my fear more and gave me more evidence in my battle against sugars. Not only can sugar trick your brain into thinking that you are not yet full, but it can cause deadly diseases down the road in life. Alzheimers and Dementia have both been linked with sugar consumption. I think people should be smarter shoppers and avoid cheap, high carb, highly processed foods–they are convenient but will eventually kil you. Simply watching sugar consumption can lead to a healthier life.

SarahPeterson93 · January 22, 2013 at 12:14 pm

In response to “How Thick Is Your Skin???”:

It makes complete sense that people in power recover more quickly from mild rejection than employees that do not hold a more powerful position. Typically, individuals that hold more power in a workplace have been more successful in thir endevors, thus minor blows to their ego seem smaller to them. Other individuals that have not been as successful in their work place may put a greater importance on other oppourtunities in which they may have been rebuffed.

Sarah Peterson

shelbyromuk · January 24, 2013 at 10:53 pm

In response to: “Sugar fights still simmer as new brain study finds fructose might stimulate appetite”

I am not very surprised to hear that there are negative aspects to a substance that is added into our foods for better taste. It is a scary world we live in where there is a fast food restaurant in on just about every corner and where obesity is on the rise in a country so full of delusion on what constitutes healthy eating. I think that it makes a lot of sense that this substance would not create the feeling of being full for people who eat it. But I too am skeptical about the particular study, because as the article stated, we do not typically go around eating plain pure fructose.

I think it is very important that healthy eating and the fight against obesity become more popular. Personally, I strive to eat a diet that is devoid of unnatural or chemically tampered with foods. In the last year I have begun the challenging journey to eat gluten-free. The effect it has had on my body is almost inconceivable. It’s a very difficult diet to maintain (pricey too) and since I do not in fact have celiac disease, I admit I do cheat. But compared to the days when, despite being a very active athlete as a swimmer and water polo player, I would eat anything that I wanted – no exaggeration, I constantly feel lighter and mentally sharper. Overall healthier! It is important to educate people on the stuff they are putting into their bodies! I view obesity as a choice, and choosing to no longer be a slave to eating the grossly unhealthy things we are faced with everyday is one too.

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