My Presentation "Be the Scientist" at the Western Psychological Association Conference in Reno, Nevada this past weekend! So many interesting young scholars!

My Presentation “Be the Scientist” at the Western Psychological Association Conference in Reno, Nevada this past weekend! So many interesting young scholars!

Here is what I am reading today:

“Senior author Harvey Kliman, M.D., research scientist in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences at the Yale School of Medicine, and research collaborators at the MIND Institute at the University of California, Davis, have found that abnormal placental folds and abnormal cell growths called trophoblast inclusions are key markers to identify newborns who are at risk for autism.”

“”The injury recovery process is complex,” said senior author Chay T. Kuo, M.D., PhD, George W. Brumley Assistant Professor of Cell Biology, Pediatrics and Neurobiology at Duke University. “There is a lot of interest in how new neurons can stimulate functional recovery, but if you make neurons without stopping the bleeding, the neurons don’t even get a chance. The brain somehow knows this, so we believe that’s why it produces these unique astrocytes in response to injury.””

“Prof. Michael E. McCullough discussed the research he and his colleagues, Eric J. Pedersen and Dr. Robert Kurzban, conducted. “As a psychologist who does a fair amount of laboratory experimentation,” McCullough tells, “I was rather surprised by some of the inferential holes in the studies that others were holding up as ‘proof’ for the existence of altruistic punishment. For starters, much of the most widely-touted work had been conducted in such a fashion that subjects were simply asked, in advance of interacting with a stranger, whether they would punish that the stranger if the stranger were to harm, help, or treat indifferently the participant. Generally,” he notes, “I think we can all agree that we expect the behavioral effects of life’s slings and arrows to come after those slings and arrows, but the economic third-party punishment games that are so important for the claim that altruistic punishment exists shine a spotlight on behaviors that occurred before their supposed causes had even happened. It was easy to design an experiment that solved this problem – and actually, I was also surprised to discover that no one had conducted this experiment before us.””

“”The mechanisms that control the expansion and folding of the brain during fetal development have so far been mysterious,” says Professor Magdalena Götz, a professor at the Institute of Physiology at LMU and Director of the Institute for Stem Cell Research at the Helmholtz Center Munich. Götz and her team have now pinpointed a major player involved in the molecular process that drives cortical expansion in the mouse. They were able to show that a novel nuclear protein called Trnp1 triggers the enormous increase in the numbers of nerve cells which forces the cortex to undergo a complex series of folds. Indeed, although the normal mouse brain has a smooth appearance, dynamic regulation of Trnp1 results in activating all necessary processes for the formation of a much enlarged and folded cerebral cortex.”

“People who may feel forced to exercise could include high school, college and professional athletes, members of the military or those who have been prescribed an exercise regimen by their doctors, said Benjamin Greenwood, an assistant research professor in CU-Boulder’s Department of Integrative Physiology.

“If exercise is forced, will it still produce mental health benefits?” Greenwood asked. “It’s obvious that forced exercise will still produce peripheral physiological benefits. But will it produce benefits to anxiety and depression?””

“Overweight or obese women were randomly allocated to one of two study groups an intervention group and a control group. The intervention group received an MRP Support app. The control group received a static app based on the information available with the MRP. A total of 58 adult women) participated in the 8-week trial.”

“Looking at the results from twenty overweight and obese individuals after 3 months of a weight loss program at a weekly clinic delivered via face-to-face or virtual reality and then 6 months of weight maintenance delivered via virtual reality, the investigators found virtual reality compares favorably with face-to-face for weight loss and may facilitate greater weight maintenance. Debra Sullivan, lead investigator, adds, “Although we found weight loss was significantly greater for face-to-face compared to virtual reality, weight maintenance was significantly better for virtual reality.””