Five days at outdoor education camp without screens improves preteen skills with nonverbal emotion cues
Computers in Human Behavior. Volume 39, October 2014, 387–392
Yalda T. Uhls
• Preteens spent five days in a nature camp without access to screens and were compared to controls.
• Both groups took pre- and post-tests regarding nonverbal emotional cues.
• The experimental group’s recognition of cues improved significantly over the control.
• Time away from screen media, with increased social interaction, may improve comprehension of nonverbal emotional cues.
embarrassing generalities: people naturally tell stories; our brains are wired for stories; stories rewire out brains; stories can get us into trouble; and forms of storytelling change, so no need to worry about the demise of novels, because fiction persists in video games.
Michael Gazzaniga’s split-brain experiments and the discovery of “the tale-spinning homunculus who resides in the left brain” (103). Summarizing Gazzaniga’s research, Gottschall draws an interesting and potentially provocative conclusion: “The storytelling mind is allergic to uncertainty, randomness, and coincidence. It is addicted to meaning. If the storytelling mind cannot find meaningful patterns in the world, it will try to impose them. In short, the storytelling mind is a factory that churns out true stories when it can, but will manufacture lies when it can’t”.
That quotation exemplifies Gottschall at his best, but it does not lead into an argument about how humans should live with this storytelling mind; how we might avoid its dangers and capitalize on its capacities.
how Richard Wagner’s operas influenced Hitler: “Hitler ‘lived’ Wagner’s work, he believed himself to be a Wagnerian hero,”
Thrombolysis for acute ischemic stroke
Database of Systematic Reviews 2014, Issue 7. Art. No.: CD000213
Most strokes are due to blockage of an artery in the brain by a blood clot. Prompt treatment with thrombolytic drugs can restore blood flow before major brain damage has occurred and improve recovery after stroke in some people. Thrombolytic drugs, however, can also cause serious bleeding in the brain, which can be fatal.
One drug, recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rt-PA), is licensed for use in selected patients within 4.5 hours of stroke in Europe and within three hours in the USA. There is an upper age limit of 80 years in some countries, and a limitation to mainly non-severe stroke in others. Forty per cent more data are available since this review was last updated in 2009.
Thrombolytic therapy given up to six hours after stroke reduces the proportion of dead or dependent people. Those treated within the first three hours derive substantially more benefit than with later treatment. This overall benefit was apparent despite an increase in symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage, deaths at seven to 10 days, and deaths at final follow-up (except for trials testing rt-PA, which had no effect on death at final follow-up).
Further trials are needed to identify the latest time window, whether people with mild stroke benefit from thrombolysis, to find ways of reducing symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage and deaths, and to identify the environment in which thrombolysis may best be given in routine practice.
Plain language summary: …
an instance of technical jargon:
Unary splits (11:59)
Pharmacological interventions for sleepiness and sleep disturbances caused by shift work
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2014, Issue 8. Art. No.: CD009776
Shift work results in sleep-wake disturbances, which cause sleepiness during night shifts and reduce sleep length and quality in daytime sleep after the night shift. In its serious form it is also called shift work sleep disorder. Various pharmacological products are used to ameliorate symptoms of sleepiness or poor sleep length and quality.
Hypnotic medication, zopiclone, did not result in significantly longer daytime sleep length compared to placebo in one low quality trial and we could not use the data from the study on lormetazepam.
There is low quality evidence that melatonin improves sleep length after a night shift but not other sleep quality parameters.
Both modafinil and armodafinil increase alertness and reduce sleepiness to some extent in employees who suffer from shift work sleep disorder but they are associated with adverse events.
Caffeine plus naps reduces sleepiness during the night shift, but the quality of evidence is low.
Based on one low quality trial, hypnotics did not improve sleep length and quality after a night shift.
We need more and better quality trials on the beneficial and adverse effects and costs of all pharmacological agents that induce sleep or promote alertness in shift workers both with and without a diagnosis of shift work sleep disorder.
We also need systematic reviews of their adverse effects.
Lifestyle intervention for improving school achievement in overweight or obese children and adolescents.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014 Mar 14;3:CD009728.
Martin A1, Saunders DH, Shenkin SD, Sproule J.
The prevalence of overweight and obesity in childhood and adolescence is high.
Excessive body fat at a young age is likely to persist into adulthood and is associated with physical and psychosocial co-morbidities, as well as lower cognitive, school and later life achievement.
Lifestyle changes, including reduced caloric intake, decreased sedentary behaviour and increased physical activity, are recommended for prevention and treatment of child and adolescent obesity.
Evidence suggests that lifestyle interventions can benefit cognitive function and school achievement in children of normal weight.
Similar beneficial effects may be seen in overweight or obese children and adolescents.
To assess whether lifestyle interventions (in the areas of diet, physical activity, sedentary behaviour and behavioural therapy) improve school achievement, cognitive function and future success in overweight or obese children and adolescents compared with standard care, waiting list control, no treatment or attention control.
Despite the large number of childhood obesity treatment trials, evidence regarding their impact on school achievement and cognitive abilities is lacking.
Existing studies have a range of methodological issues affecting the quality of evidence.
Multicomponent interventions targeting physical activity and healthy diet could benefit general school achievement, whereas a physical activity intervention delivered for childhood weight management could benefit mathematics achievement, executive function and working memory.
Although the effects are small, a very large number of children and adolescents could benefit from these interventions. Therefore health policy makers may wish to consider these potential additional benefits when promoting physical activity and healthy eating in schools.
Future obesity treatment trials are needed to examine overweight or obese children and adolescents and to report academic and cognitive as well as physical outcomes.
Influence of a lifestyle intervention in preschool children on physiological and psychological parameters (Ballabeina): study design of a cluster randomized controlled trial.
BMC Public Health. 2009 Mar 31;9:94.
Niederer I1, Kriemler S, Zahner L, Bürgi F, Ebenegger V, Hartmann T, Meyer U, Schindler C, Nydegger A, Marques-Vidal P, Puder JJ.
Childhood obesity and physical inactivity are increasing dramatically worldwide.
Children of low socioeconomic status and/or children of migrant background are especially at risk.
In general, the overall effectiveness of school-based programs on health-related outcomes has been disappointing.
A special gap exists for younger children and in high risk groups.
This paper describes the rationale, design, curriculum, and evaluation of a multicenter preschool randomized intervention study conducted in areas with a high migrant population in two out of 26 Swiss cantons. Twenty preschool classes in the German (canton St. Gallen) and another 20 in the French (canton Vaud) part of Switzerland were separately selected and randomized to an intervention and a control arm by the use of opaque envelopes.
The multidisciplinary lifestyle intervention aimed to increase physical activity and sleep duration, to reinforce healthy nutrition and eating behavior, and to reduce media use.
According to the ecological model, it included children, their parents and the teachers.
The regular teachers performed the majority of the intervention and were supported by a local health promoter. The intervention included physical activity lessons, adaptation of the built infrastructure; promotion of regional extracurricular physical activity; playful lessons about nutrition, media use and sleep, funny homework cards and information materials for teachers and parents. It lasted one school year. Baseline and post-intervention evaluations were performed in both arms. Primary outcome measures included BMI and aerobic fitness (20 m shuttle run test).
Secondary outcomes included total (skinfolds, bioelectrical impedance) and central (waist circumference) body fat, motor abilities (obstacle course, static and dynamic balance), physical activity and sleep duration (accelerometry and questionnaires), nutritional behavior and food intake, media use, quality of life and signs of hyperactivity (questionnaires), attention and spatial working memory ability (two validated tests). Researchers were blinded to group allocation.
The purpose of this paper is to outline the design of a school-based multicenter cluster randomized, controlled trial aiming to reduce body mass index and to increase aerobic fitness in preschool children in culturally different parts of Switzerland with a high migrant population.
The CON group continued to follow their usual school curriculum which included one 45 min physical education lesson taught by the classroom teachers and one 45 min rhythmic lesson (given by a rhythmic specialist)
… PA lessons were given four times a week including 40 min lessons and 5 min cool down.
…Results of the intervention will be available in 2010.