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Gentler heart surgery remains without signs of dementia Aortic valve stenosis is the most frequent heart valve defect of older people in Europe. In patients at high and excessive risk, conventional cardiac surgery is often no therapeutic option, leaving only transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) as an option. However, this procedure has major side effects. A long-term study shows that clinicians are able to exclude significant cognitive impairment for the majority of patients undergoing TAVI.
Recurring memory traces boost long-lasting memories While the human brain is in a resting state, patterns of neuronal activity which are associated to specific memories may spontaneously reappear. Scientists performed a memory test on a series of persons while monitoring their brain activity by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The experimental setup comprised several resting states including a nap inside a neuroimaging scanner. The study indicates that resting periods can generally promote memory performance.
Brain shape affects children's learning capacities The anatomy of the brain affects cognitive control, an essential skill for learning and academic success. Scientists in this study showed that an asymmetry of the two brain hemispheres relative to a particular pattern of a cortical region could partly explain the performance of 5-year old children during a task designed to measure cognitive control. According to the research team, and depending on the characteristics of their brains, children may have different pedagogical requirements in terms of learning cognitive control.
Alcohol in pregnancy causes children to have impaired social skills A recent study has found that drinking alcohol while pregnant means your child is more likely to develop issues with social skills as they grow older.
Teen sleep problems: Social ties more important than biology Medical researchers point to developmental factors, specifically the decline of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, as an explanation for why children get less sleep as they become teenagers. But a new study suggests that social ties, including relationships with peers and parents, may be even more responsible for changing sleep patterns among adolescents.
Blacks happier at work than whites despite fewer friends, less autonomy Despite working in more routine and less autonomous jobs, having fewer close friends at work, and feeling less supported by their coworkers, blacks report significantly more positive emotions in the workplace than whites, according to a new study.
Are You a Slacktivist? There are better ways to motivate givingread more
Why singing in a choir is good for you Singing in a choir can be good for our psychological well-being. Researchers set up an online study asking 375 people who sang in choirs, sang alone or were members of sports teams about their experience of these activities. All three leisure activities yielded high levels of well-being, but the analysis of the results revealed statistically significant, evidence of higher reported well-being in people who sang with a choir compared to those who sang alone.
The challenge of being a new student New undergraduates can experience symptoms of both anxiety and depression during the transition to university life.
Multi-dog study points to canine brain's reward center After capturing the first brain images of two alert, unrestrained dogs last year, researchers have confirmed their methods and results by replicating them in an experiment involving 13 dogs. The research showed that most of the dogs had a positive response in the caudate region of the brain when given a hand signal indicating they would receive a food treat, as compared to a different hand signal for "no treat."
Youthful suicide attempts a marker for lifelong troubles Against a backdrop of rising youth suicide attempts during the global recession, a longitudinal study has found that people who had attempted suicide before age 24 are plagued by more health and psychiatric issues and had more economic difficulties than their peers when they reach their mid-30s. Youthful suicide attempt doesn't cause these problems, but can be a clue to provide more care to these individuals.
Estrogen: Not just produced by ovaries A research team reports today that the brain can produce and release estrogen "” a discovery that may lead to a better understanding of hormonal changes observed from before birth throughout the entire aging process.
High quality preschool narrows gap between high-risk kids, higher achievers, study finds A new study found that children's readiness in language, math and logic improved significantly by the programs offered at 24 pilot universal prekindergarten pilot program (UPK) sites in Greater Cleveland.
Study gives new meaning to 'let your fingers do the walking' A psychological study has found that skilled typists can't identify the positions of many of the keys on the QWERTY keyboard and probably didn't memorize them even when they first learned to type.
What Is Knowledge? A Brief Primer We are so used to be operating on our knowledge that we often forget to think about what exactly knowledge is. This post offers folks a brief primer on the major issues philosophers have delineated when considering knowledge. read more
Photos show scale of North Korea's repressive prison camps A recent United Nations inquiry highlighted "unspeakable" and "widespread" atrocities in camps.
Death of adult son increases depressive symptoms in mothers, but not fathers Mothers -- but not fathers -- exhibited more depressive symptoms and experienced a decline in overall health after the death of an adult son, while the death of a daughter had no such effect on either parent, according to one of the first studies to examine the impacts of the death of an adult child on parents aged 65 and older.
Data on people's self-reported 'experienced' well-being could help inform policies Gathering survey data on "experienced" well-being – the self-reported levels of contentment, joy, stress, frustration, and other feelings people experience throughout the day and while engaged in various activities -- would be valuable to inform policies, says a new report.
Important discovery related to anxiety disorders, trauma A team of researchers discovered that the protein PC7 plays a critical role in the brain by affecting certain types of cognitive performance such as anxiety, learning and emotional memory. Their results could have a significant impact on regulating behavior related to anxiety disorders and trauma.
The only shameful thing about sex is justifying outdated views with 'science' | Jill Filipovic A study argues evolution is why women are more likely to regret casual sex. It ignores the cultural norms we're enshrouded inThe "walk of shame" is a Sunday morning ritual on college campuses (and sometimes beyond) across the United States: young women, hair matted and still in last night's skirt and heels, trudge home post-hook-up. It's a uniquely female ritual, and the term itself evokes a singularly female image. While men also have to go home after sex, often disheveled and exhausted, there's no shame attached to their commute. In a culture that imbues sexual activity in women with shame and judgment while applauding sexual prolificacy in men, it will surprise no one that women are more likely than men to report regretting sexual encounters. But according to a new study, it's not cultural views of female sexuality that saddle women with regret; it's evolution.The research team found that college-age women are more likely to regret a one-time sexual encounter, whereas men are more likely to regret not taking a sexual opportunity. Women's biggest sexual regrets are losing their virginity to the wrong partner, cheating on a partner or moving too fast sexually. Men, on the other hand, regretted not making a move on a potential partner, and a lack of sexual adventurousness in their younger or single days. Similar patterns held among gay men and lesbians – women were more likely to regret sexual activity, while men were more likely to regret chances not taken.Martie Haselton, a UCLA social psychology professor on the research team, said: One thing that is fascinating about these emotional reactions in the present is that they might be far removed from the reproductive consequences of the ancestral past. For example, we have reliable methods of contraception. But that doesn't seem to have erased the sex differences in women's and men's responses, which might have a deep evolutionary history.Or a deep cultural one. While evolutionary biology traffics in real, science-backed facts, evolutionary psychology is largely a project of backward-looking guesswork, and often an attempt to chalk up complex social phenomenon to evolution. That's wildly appealing, because people love having their biases confirmed, and because alleged scientific confirmation of an "evolutionary" reason for social inequity handily gives us an out for having to deal with injustice. If women have actually emotionally evolved to feel sexual shame absent social context, then what's the point of pushing back on a social context that sexually shames women?In reality, our emotional and psychological responses to interactions with other human beings are shaped by culture and socialization at least as much as biology. But as sexual mores continue to shift – perhaps more rapidly than many folks are comfortable with – it's comforting to believe that some evolutionary fact underlies our unease. Human sexual expression has long been widely variable, and social institutions have struggled to reign it in through a variety of mechanisms (outlawing same-sex relationships or premarital sex; valorizing female chastity and reproduction within marriage) for a variety of reasons (economic stability based on a nuclear family model; continuance of male social, political and economic dominance). We are complicated animals, and even as we study our own motivations and feelings, we are operating within a set of cultural assumptions and values that – being thickly swaddled in them – we cannot fully see. Which helps psychologists who fancy themselves evolution experts to conclude that their own personal preferences, or the current norms of their culture, are universal and explicable by evolution alone.As cultural norms change, so do sexual behaviors and our responses to them. A recent UK survey found that more women than ever before have had same-sex sexual experiences – four times as many women as two decades ago. And while the vast majority of respondents had sex before marriage, majorities nonetheless said sex before marriage was wrong. That disconnect between a cultural ideal – that sex is best within the confines of marriage – and the biological and social reality – that human beings physically desire sex and that we have had sex outside of the confines of marriage for all of human history – is perhaps a better explanation of any attendant negative emotions attached to premarital sex than an evolutionary guessing game.The UK survey also found that women bear the brunt of negative sexual experiences, whether that's sexual assault, sexually transmitted infections or unintended pregnancy. Women will of course feel less positive about sexual experiences that are tainted by assault or fear. And women will of course feel less positive about sexual experiences in a culture that attaches negative attributes to sexually active women.That so many women are making sexual choices shrouded in shame and regret is a public health problem that policy-makers have an obligation to take on, not just a moral issue suited to public debate and Sunday sermons. Shame and fear are bad positions from which to make healthy, affirming choices – if women believe that one-time sexual encounters are often regretful, there's little incentive to prepare for them or to negotiate one's needs within them. Why bring condoms along on a night out if you believe having casual sex is wrong? Easier to just allow yourself a hormonal or drunken lapse. Why support abortion rights if everyone agrees unintended pregnancy is a deserved consequence of regrettable sex, rather than a relatively common but relatively preventable aspect of the human experience? If men believe that women who have casual sex aren't worthy of respect and that drunk women are sexually available, it's easier for everyone else to look the other way or blame women for their own victimization when sexually assaulted. Women are also much less likely than men to orgasm during casual sex. This is partly biological since more women report having trouble orgasming generally than men, but is also partly cultural and social. It's not that women need to have commitment to orgasm as much as it's that we culturally center sex around the male experience: starting with an erection and ending with ejaculation. A female orgasm also often takes more direction and communication, which women may not feel comfortable asserting in a one-time hook-up. Men, too, may simply be sexually selfish in short-term situations, buying the dominant cultural narrative that sex is something women give to men and is fundamentally about male pleasure.Sexual regret isn't about sex itself. It's about all the ideas we attach to sex, and particularly to sexual women. We'd be much better off squaring our sexual ideals with reality rather than pushing a set of social mores that not only put our physical and mental health at risk, but mean too many of us are having bad sex and regretting what should be one of the most fundamentally pleasurable activities.SexGenderUnited StatesEvolutionPsychologyBiologyJill Filipovictheguardian.com © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds