The New Science of Mind - NYTimes.com: " . . . Consider the biology of depression. We are beginning to discern the outlines of a complex neural circuit that becomes disordered in depressive illnesses. Helen Mayberg, at Emory University, and other scientists used brain-scanning techniques to identify several components of this circuit, two of which are particularly important.
One is Area 25 (the subcallosal cingulate region), which mediates our unconscious and motor responses to emotional stress; the other is the right anterior insula, a region where self-awareness and interpersonal experience come together. . . ." (read more at link above)
Bacteria from slim people could help treat obesity, study finds | Society | The Guardian: "Bugs that lurk in the guts of slim people could be turned into radical new therapies to treat obesity, according to a new study.
The claim follows a series of experiments which found that the different populations of bacteria that live in lean and overweight people caused mice to lose or gain weight.
The findings build on a growing body of work that gives the millions of microbes that live in the gut a major role in weight control." (read more at link above)
Make Time for the Work That Matters - Harvard Business Review: "We’ve spent the past three years studying how knowledge workers can become more productive and found that the answer is simple: Eliminate or delegate unimportant tasks and replace them with value-added ones. Our research indicates that knowledge workers spend a great deal of their time—an average of 41%—on discretionary activities that offer little personal satisfaction and could be handled competently by others. So why do they keep doing them? Because ridding oneself of work is easier said than done. We instinctively cling to tasks that make us feel busy and thus important, while our bosses, constantly striving to do more with less, pile on as many responsibilities as we’re willing to accept." (read more at link above)
Our society no longer values the integrity of scientific fact -- but did it ever?Welcome to the Age of Denial - NYTimes.com: "Today, however, it is politically effective, and socially acceptable, to deny scientific fact. Narrowly defined, “creationism” was a minor current in American thinking for much of the 20th century. But in the years since I was a student, a well-funded effort has skillfully rebranded that ideology as “creation science” and pushed it into classrooms across the country. Though transparently unscientific, denying evolution has become a litmus test for some conservative politicians, even at the highest levels." (read more at link above) more news below Follow @nothinnormal
A Quest for Even Safer Drinking Water - NYTimes.com: "Water drawn from the faucet is markedly different from the water that leaves the system’s treatment facility. “The ecology,” Dr. Pace said, “is the distribution system.” Bacteria can evade disinfectant by slipping into an amoeba’s digestive system or inside protozoan cysts, persisting there for up to a hundred years. But many species survive in so-called biofilms — a sticky polymer made of DNA, proteins, and carbohydrates clinging to pipes like plaque. Back at the lab, Dr. Pace’s team is sequencing DNA in the water samples and finding evidence that this slime may be knocked loose, carrying organisms throughout a water distribution system." (read more at link above) more news below Follow @nothinnormal
How to Charge $546 for Six Liters of Saltwater - NYTimes.com: "Some of the patients’ bills would later include markups of 100 to 200 times the manufacturer’s price, not counting separate charges for “IV administration.” And on other bills, a bundled charge for “IV therapy” was almost 1,000 times the official cost of the solution.
It is no secret that medical care in the United States is overpriced. But as the tale of the humble IV bag shows all too clearly, it is secrecy that helps keep prices high: hidden in the underbrush of transactions among multiple buyers and sellers, and in the hieroglyphics of hospital bills.
At every step from manufacturer to patient, there are confidential deals among the major players, including drug companies, purchasing organizations and distributors, and insurers. These deals so obscure prices and profits that even participants cannot say what the simplest component of care actually costs, let alone what it should cost.
And that leaves taxpayers and patients alike with an inflated bottom line and little or no way to challenge it." (read more at link above)
Wait, What's That? The Science Behind Why Your Mind Keeps Wandering | Fast Company | Business + Innovation: "If you've ever tried mindfulness meditation--and you have by now, given our opening paragraph--this news won't be entirely surprising. Our minds tend to wander (and a wandering mind can be dangerous--like if you're contemplating your way in a moving car. The key, as Killeen explains, is to cooperate with mental movements.
One of the first keys, he says, is to recognize that you have a finite attentional window--and structure your workflow to be congruent with that capacity. This speaks to how we've talked about how work is a series of sprints--and to be our most productive and most creative, we need to unplug throughout our workdays." (read more at link above)
MIAMI: Boy with rare brain infection on ventilator - Nation Wires - MiamiHerald.com: " . . . Infections from the amoeba are rare. Florida officials cited federal statistics showing that 28 infections were reported in the U.S. from 2003 to 2012, mostly from exposure to contaminated recreational water. A person cannot be infected with the amoeba by drinking contaminated water, state officials said, and the amoeba is not found in salt water.
Victims typically are exposed to the bug while swimming or doing water sports in warm ponds, lakes, rivers and canals during the hot summer months, mostly in the South." (read more at link above)
How caregivers present and administer treatments has a powerful effect on clinical outcomes --
A Powerful Tool in the Doctor's Toolkit - NYTimes.com: " . . . Suddenly there was a plausible pharmacological mechanism for how placebos work and research in the field flowered. In June, Harvard Medical School and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation held an international medical conference devoted entirely to placebo science. Dr. Kaptchuk describes placebos as not just the traditional sugar pill, but also “everything that surrounds a medical treatment”: how caregivers describe the medication, how they administer it, the expectations they have for the medicine, their tone of voice, their strength of eye contact. In short, everything that doctors and nurses do in an interaction with a patient. This is not especially surprising. Healers and shamans have known intuitively about the importance of this interaction since the dawn of time. . . . "
How to Avoid an Estate Battle After You Die - NYTimes.com: " . . . Contesting a will is costly, time-consuming and emotional. One way to ensure that doesn’t happen is to make the downside of losing a risk too severe to take. Long before death, when a will is filed and takes effect, people can put their assets into a revocable trust. They still have access to the money during their lifetime and can keep those assets out of the probate process. The trust could also act as a substitute for a will by naming other beneficiaries. “The disappointed family member doesn’t have a legal right to challenge it,” Mr. Rothschild said. “They’d have to go to the court and say, ‘Even though it’s been in existence for many years, mother wasn’t competent to put it together.’ ”When it comes to a will, one way to reduce the chances of a challenge is to put in a no-contest clause. In doing so a parent would leave a little to the otherwise disinherited children, but if they contest the will they get nothing." (read more at link above)
Why Long Marriages End - Marriage, Divorce, Break Up, Separation - AARP: "The answer is longevity. We live so much longer now. Half a century ago, an unhappy couple in their mid-60s might have stayed together because they thought it wasn't worth divorcing if they had only a few years left to live. Now, 65-year-olds can easily envision at least 20 more active years — and they don't want them to be loveless, or full of frustration or disappointment."
For New Doctors, 8 Minutes Per Patient - NYTimes.com: " . . . . While more research still needs to be done, augmenting federal support of residency training programs to increase the number of trainees, decrease resident workload and make the current restrictions on hours more flexible, could help alleviate some of the pressures young doctors now face and allow them to spend more time with patients. “There is just no substitute for time in doctor-patient relationships,” Dr. Fletcher said. “Efficiency is important but it isn’t the end of the story.”"