By Claire Wiggins
The University of Sussex recently published their findings in Scientific Reports, describing how people can learn to associate letters with colors in a synesthetic manner, and that this type of training may boost the individual’s IQ score. The study was initially inspired by the neurological condition Synesthesia, which causes an individual to experience overlaps in their five senses. For example, they may “see” a sound, or “taste” a shape or color. Although this condition is fairly common (about 1 in 23), scientists are unsure if it genetically inherited, if it is learned from environmental influences, or a combination of both.
In the study, participants were not only able to pass tests of color-letter association, but often associated personas or moods with the letters as well. Interestingly, those who participated in this association training had an average of 12 points added to their IQ score compared to those who did not participate in any such training.
Co-author of the study, Dr. Daniel Bor, commented, “The main implication of our study is that radically new ways of experiencing the world can be brought about simply through extensive perceptual training. The cognitive boost, although provisional, may eventually lead to clinical cognitive training tools to support mental function in vulnerable groups, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity (ADHD) children, or adults starting to suffer from dementia."
By Saara Mohammed
Leafing through the National Association of Social Work Standards for Social Work Practice in Palliative and End of Life Care, I recognized a lot of values and roles outlined that I had observed when shadowing a social worker last year. I shadowed a social worker working in the University of Michigan hospital, who, during the day I spent with her, dealt with a patient with sepsis whose family members refused to meet and come to a conclusion about continuation of care, as well as treatments prescribed by a physician that did not align with the social worker’s goals.
This is the part that truly struck me. I remember the social worker mentioning all the health care professionals that she collaborated with in order to do her job well: two attending physicians, two registered nurses, one other social worker, as well as an intern. As I remember from my day, all of the aforementioned caregivers met to discuss all areas of a patient’s care.
It seems that the collaboration between health care professionals is not the lacking piece that is making end-of-life care such a difficulty to handle. All health care professionals, from the interaction between techs and nurses to those between primary care physicians and specialists, are vital to the ability to help a patient. It wouldn’t make sense that a lack of interaction or collaboration is what is leading to the lack of quality care for patients at the end of life.
So it might be that those interactions are lacking in respect to the professionals’ willingness to understand each other’s roles and goals, and that idea is scary. The idea is that hours of time have been spent in meetings aimed at helping the patient, without an understanding the necessity of a treatment over a lack of treatment, or the value of pulling back on treatments over pushing harder.
If there are prejudices about the place or role of either professional or a lack of understanding in these interactions, then both health care professionals are failing their patients.
By Trishanya Raju
While I’m a proponent of almost anything that brings the movie world to real life, this I’m a little skeptical of. Remember the Spray-on-Shoes from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs? Well, it looks like scientists have channeled their inner Flint Lockwood to produce canned clothing.
Yes, I said canned clothing. As if it weren’t already mass-produced enough.
The formula is comprised of short fibers bound to polymers and a solvent that dispenses the fabric in the form of a liquid. The product is sprayed onto a person’s skin, and dries almost instantly. This makes it easy for the “clothes” to be peeled off, because the polymers wouldn’t bind to skin.
A big plus is the fact that these clothes can apparently be recycled by simply cutting them up and dissolving them in a solution. The features of the material depend on the type of fibers mixed into the solution. This means that types of fibers could range from natural fibers such as wool, cotton, or silk as well as synthetic fibers such as nylon.
The team that invented this product is trying to adapt the technology to create spray on, lightweight, waterproof casts alongside military staff, to help those who have lost limbs in combat, displaying the many potential uses this product could have in different aspects of society. However, my guess is that it will be largely monopolized by the fashion industry.
I, for one, am scared to be too hopeful about this technology. While I think it could revolutionize fields like emergency care (instant, sterile, canned bandages), it is very likely that this technology could be misappropriated into more commercial industries.
This video highlights what I’m afraid the future of this technology looks like:
By Anna Cook
Geek, Dweeb, Nerd, Dork, in America, these are terms used slightingly to refer to unique and often academically inclined individuals. But is one’s “nerdiness” such a bad thing? According to a sociology study examining a self-identifying social group, “‘Nerds’ seem to be more intellectually motivated, valuing science, math, and studiousness" (1). 50 years ago, no one was calling themselves a nerd; it was used to label and belittle others. I am suggesting an enlistment of nerd ownership.
***Disclaimer: I am not endorsing the negative perpetuation of stereotypes or bully tactics but rather the takeover and a connotative shift of the title “Nerd”.
Problems with Women’s Progress
In today’s society, women make up almost half of the workforce, yet represent only a small fraction of science, engineering and political occupations. Only a fifth of physics Ph.D.’s are awarded to women, and only about half of those women are American (2). At this rate of governmental and educational progress, it is projected, “women will not achieve fair representation for nearly 500 years,” says Cynthia Terrell, in the “Representation 2020” project (3). If you do not plan to personally run for government office or obtain a physics Ph.D., what can you do? Be a nerd.
Someone Needs You
Developmental studies have shown, that kindergarten boys and girls equally express a want to be the president when they grow up. Years later, when asked again, many boys still maintain a desire to be president, while the proportion of aspiring girls astronomically drops. Why? In early childhood, children undergo a process referred to as “Gender Socialization”, during which they look to adults of the same sex and begin to model their behaviors. Dismally, young girls begin to look at current and past presidents and realize they aren’t “what a president looks like”. The same occurs for many aspiring rocket scientists, chemical engineers, and CEOs. If we want our youth to reach for greatness, we must first grasp our own inner greatness.
Be a Nerd
Be a nerd because one of the primary ways nerds differ from other groups is through the high value they place on individuality (1). Because you have the power to inspire the next Marie Curie, Emilia Earhart, or Emily Dickinson. Because exploring outer space is cool. Because for ethnically diverse nations, having a woman in top national leadership was correlated with a 6.8% greater increase in GDP growth in comparison to nations with a male leader (3). Because gifted girls, even more so than boys, usually camouflage their mathematical talent to fit in well with their peers (4). Because I’ll be the first to say it, I would rather watch jeopardy over any hit TV drama, I have an extreme ardor for all things Abraham Lincoln, and running reactions in my research lab gives me more gratification than most social accomplishments.
One day someone is going to look at you with young, questioning eyes for the signal, make sure you have your nerd flag ready to fly. As Gandhi once said, “Be the nerd that you wish to see in the world”…or something like that.
By Angie Miller
Good with people? Calm under pressure? Love animals?
Veterinarians are a branch within the life sciences field. The job growth for veterinarians in the next 10 years is high in demand at 21% or more. The median salary of a veterinarian in the United States is $82,900. From preventing to diagnosing and treating health problems in all types of animals, healthcare depends on veterinarians.
Work environment for veterinarians is usually comprised of long hours on evenings, nights, or weekends. Mainly veterinarians perform clinical work in the setting of private practices. Veterinarians in nonclinical areas such as research have 40-hour work weeks similar to normal research jobs. Generally veterinarians examine injuries or diseases, treat sick animals, utilize diagnostic equipment, provide education to public, conduct tests, and determine effects of drugs on animals.
Education is focused on classes with a strong emphasis on natural science such as biology, chemistry, and physics with importance of mathematics as well. Veterinarians usually obtain bachelor’s degrees usually in biology, animal science, or other science fields. A four-year professional degree or Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine (DMC) is required along with passing a state-licensing exam before being able to practice. Having formal training or experience with other veterinarians or scientists in clinics is a key marketing strategy to getting accepted into veterinary school.
Personality skills that are important for veterinarians include patience, being able to communicate well, and high attention to detail.
Similar careers to veterinarians are anesthesiologists, medical and clinical laboratory technicians, and podiatrists.
By Cameron Goodman
It’s everyone’s least favorite time of the year here in Michigan, (no not winter) but flu season. The busy college life that most students lead with little amounts of sleep and high volumes of stress definitely takes a toll on the human body, and when you mix in the possibility of getting the flu, well that’s when all hell breaks loose.
Here are some reasons why everyone should jump on the flu shot bandwagon:
· The flu is not just a normal cold!
· Over the counter antibiotics will not save the day on this one. They only fight bacterial infections, and the flu is a viral infection
· Flu season is October to May, so there is still time/hope for you to get vaccinated
· The easiest places to catch the flu are when you are in close proximity to many people, especially in school environments
· You could catch it if you touch anything that has been sneezed/coughed on by someone with the flu, so if you aren’t a recluse you could be at risk
· The flu strands change each season, so it isn’t enough to get a flu shot every couple years. Prepare and protect yourself for each season
· You could contaminate people near you who are prone to illness, which could cause them to be extremely sick if they got the flu
· The myth of the flu shot not working is false. It is most definitely the best protection and reduces risk of other health issues
· For those afraid of getting a shot there is also a nasal spray option
· There are many convenient locations near most anyone where you can receive a flu
shot. Local drug stores like CVS and Walgreens offer them, along with the standard doctors offices, and much more.
So if you don’t want to have to spend your days with a runny, raw, red nose or coughing onto the people next to you in your lecture hall, do yourself a favor and get a flu shot (for all of us).
For more flu vaccine information visit: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/keyfacts.htm
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