Physician MOC Status Linked To Better Diabetes Performance Measure

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Bradley Gray, PhD
Senior Health Services Researcher
American Board of Internal Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: This study is part of an ongoing effort to improve and validate ABIM’s MOC process through the use of real data that is ongoing here at ABIM.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? 

Response: The paper examines the association between MOC status and a set of HEDIS process quality measures for internists twenty years past the time they initially certified. An example of one HEDIS performance measure we looked at was percentage of patients with diabetes that had twice annual HbA1c testing. The key findings of the paper are that physicians who maintained their certification had better scores on 5 of 6 HEDIS performance measures than similar physicians who did not maintain their certification.

Continue reading

Is More Supervision of Medical Residents Always Better for Patient Care?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Kathleen M. Finn MD, MPhil
Christiana Iyasere MD, MBA
Division of General Internal Medicine
Department of Medicine
Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: While the relationship between resident work hours and patient safety has been extensively studied, little research evaluates the role of attending supervision on patient safety. Beginning with the Bell Commission there have been increased calls for enhanced resident supervision due to patient safety concerns. At the same time, with the growth of the hospitalist movement more faculty physicians join daily resident work rounds under the assumption that increased supervision is better for patient safety and resident education. However, we know that supervision is a complex balancing act, so we wanted to study whether these assumptions were true. On the one hand patient safety is important, but on the other adult learning theory argues residents need to be challenged to work beyond their comfort level. Importantly, being pushed beyond your comfort level often requires appropriate space between teacher and learner. To investigate the role of attending supervision on patient safety and resident learning we studied the impact of two levels of physician supervision on an inpatient general medical team.

Twenty-two teaching faculty were randomized to either direct supervision of resident teams for patients previously known to the team vs usual care where they did not join rounds but rather discussed the patients later with the team. Faculty participated in both arms of the study, after completing the first arm they then crossed over to the other arm; each faculty member participated in the study for a total of 4 weeks.

Continue reading

Female Residents Do Not Perceive Cardiology As Conducive To Work-Family Balance

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Pamela S. Douglas, MD, MACC, FASE, FAHA Ursula Geller Professor of Research in Cardiovascular Disease Duke University School of Medicine  Durham, NC 27715   

Dr. Douglas

Pamela S. Douglas, MD, MACC, FASE, FAHA
Ursula Geller Professor of Research in Cardiovascular Disease
Duke University School of Medicine
Durham, NC 27715    

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: For any profession to succeed, it needs to attract top talent. We surveyed internal medicine residents to find out what they valued most in their professional development, how they perceived cardiology as field and how these two areas are associated with  their choosing a career in cardiology or another specialty.

We found that trainees were seeking careers that had stable hours, were family friendly and female friendly, while they perceived cardiology to  have adverse work conditions, interfere with family life and to not be diverse. We were able to predict career choice with 89-97% accuracy from these responses; the predictors are mix of things that attract to cardiology and those that are deterrents.

For men, the attractors outnumber the deterrents, for women its just the opposite.

Continue reading

Allergic Rhinitis Can Impair Adolescent Sleep and School Performance

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Michael S. Blaiss, MD, FACAAI Executive Medical Director American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Arlington Heights, IL 60005

Dr. Blaiss

Michael S. Blaiss, MD, FACAAI
Executive Medical Director
American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
Arlington Heights, IL 60005

MedicalResearch.com: Is this research important? Why or why not?

Response: There has not been a comprehensive review of how allergic rhinitis impacts the adolescent population. Most studies put adolescents in with children and yet we know that how disease affects adolescents may be dramatically different than children. Adolescents is a difficult enough time with a chronic condition

MedicalResearch.com: What is the key take-home message?

Response: The symptoms associated with nasal and eye allergies can be different in adolescents compared with adults and children and lead to poor quality of life and impair learning in school. Adolescents with AR/ARC may experience difficulties falling asleep, night waking, and snoring, and generally have poorer sleep. Therefore health care providers need to aggressively control the adolescent’s allergic rhinitis.  Continue reading

SKINDER App Teaches Intuitive Visual Diagnosis of Melanoma

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

SKINDER APP

Image from SKINDER APP

Michael SKolodneyMD, PhD
Section of Dermatology, Department of Medicine
West Virginia University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Melanoma is easily curable if recognized early.   Dermatologists are good at spotting melanomas because they develop an innate sense of how melanomas appear after examining thousands of malignant and benign lesions.  In contrast, most medical students are relatively disadvantaged by their limited dermatology exposure. We felt that too little experience, rather than lack of knowledge of the rules, is the primary barrier to development of pattern-recognition and intuition as a reliable tool for melanoma diagnosis in non-experts.  To remedy this problem, we developed a novel web-based application to mimic the training of a dermatologist by teaching medical students intuitive melanoma diagnosis in a highly condensed period of time.

Our application, which we call Skinder, teaches intuitive visual diagnosis of melanoma by quickly presenting the learner with thousands of benign and malignant skin lesions.  The user makes rapid binary decisions, by swiping right for benign or left for malignant, and receives instant feedback on accuracy. With this application, the learner can amass a mental repository of diagnostic experience in a short amount of time. To determine if intuitive visual diagnosis training is superior to a traditional rule-based approach, we compared our web-based application to a rules based approach, the publicly available INFORMED Skin Education Series.

Medical students were tested on the ability top differentiate melanomas from benign pigmented lesions before and after training with either Skinder of the Informed Skin Education Series. The pre-test mean for the Skinder group was 75% correct, compared to 74.7% correct for the INFORMED group. The post-test mean for the skinder application group was 86.3% correct, compared to 77.5% correct for the INFORMED group which was highly signifcant.

Continue reading

When Do Organized Activities for Kids Become Too Much?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Sharon Wheeler PhD

Dr Sharon Wheeler PhD Lecturer in Sport, Physical Activity and Health Department of Sport and Physical Activity Faculty of Arts and Sciences Edge Hill University Lancashire

Dr. Wheeler

Lecturer in Sport, Physical Activity and Health
Department of Sport and Physical Activity
Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Edge Hill University
Lancashire

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: It is well-known that family background and parents’ investment in their children has a big impact on a number of outcomes, including how well people do at school, the jobs they get, and how they spend their leisure time. It is also known that it is middle-class parents who tend to work particularly hard to make sure their children get on in life.

This research starts to question whether parents’ investment in their children’s organised activities is having the desired impact. Parents initiate and facilitate their children’s participation in organised activities as it shows that they are a ‘good’ parent and they hope such activities will benefit their children in both short-term (keeping fit and healthy, developing friendship groups) and long-term ways (getting jobs, having lots of opportunities in the future).

The reality, which has been highlighted in this research, is that while children might experience some of these benefits, a busy organised activity schedule can put considerable strain on parents’ resources and families’ relationships, as well as potentially harm children’s development and well-being.

Continue reading

Variety of Interventions Can Improve Childhood Self-Regulation Skills

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Children Playing at Swyalana Lagoon” by Doug Hay is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr Anuja Pandey

Population, Policy and Practice Programme,
UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health
London UK 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Evidence from longitudinal studies suggests that self-regulation skills can be a powerful predictor of positive health, educational, financial and social outcomes. Hence, self-regulation has received interest as an intervention target and a number of interventions have been evaluated in children and adolescents.

Our study summarised the evidence from 50 rigorously evaluated self-regulation interventions in children and adolescents including 23098 participants. We found that while most interventions were successful in improving self-regulation (66%), some of them did not produce a noticeable change (34%).Curriculum based approach was most commonly used to deliver interventions, and this involved training teachers, who implemented these interventions.  Continue reading

Grouping Students By Abilities Fosters Dependence and Caps Opportunities for Learning

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Classroom” by frankjuarez is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr Anna Mazenod

Institute of Education
University of London
UK

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: In this paper we report baseline findings from a large study of grouping practices in state-funded secondary schools in England. The study seeks to improve our understanding of how students are grouped for their English and mathematics classes, and the potential impact of different grouping practices on student outcomes and experiences of schooling. This paper draws on a survey of 597 teachers and 34 teacher interviews in schools where students are grouped by their attainment for the subject. It focuses on teacher perspectives on teaching and learning in the lower attainment groups.

We found that students in the lower attainment groups were typically constructed as learners who benefit from specific approaches to learning justified through discourses of nurturing and protection. Most teachers felt that students in the lower attainment groups were not able to access learning independently from their teachers in comparison with their peers in the higher attainment groups. Some teachers for example described students in the lower attainment groups as ‘more dependent on people’ and students in the higher attainment groups as ‘independent learners.’

Continue reading

Physicians Passage of MOC Exam Linked to Fewer State Disciplinary Actions

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Furman S. McDonald MD MPH Lead author of the research and  Senior Vice President for Academic and Medical Affairs American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM)

Dr. McDonald

Dr. Furman S. McDonald MD MPH
Lead author of the research and
Senior Vice President for Academic and Medical Affairs
American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM)

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain how the MOC examination works?

Response: To earn Board Certification from the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM), doctors take an exam after completing a medical education training program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education to demonstrate they have the knowledge to practice in a specialty. Previously, ABIM conducted research that showed that physicians who passed a certification exam were five times less likely to be disciplined by a state licensing board than those who do not become certified.

After becoming board certified, physicians can participate in ABIM’s Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program, which involves periodic assessments and learning activities to support doctors in staying current with medical knowledge through their careers. ABIM has been in conversations across the medical community and many people have expressed interest in whether performance on the MOC exams doctors take is also associated with important outcomes relevant to patients.

For this study, my ABIM colleagues and I studied whether there was any association between Internal Medicine MOC exam performance and disciplinary actions by state licensing boards. We studied MOC exam results and any reported disciplinary actions for nearly 48,000 general internists who initially certified between 1990 and 2003.  Continue reading

Dark Skin Tones May Be Underrepresented in Medical Textbooks

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Patricia Louie, MA PhD Student, Department of Sociology University of Toronto Toronto, ON, Canada

Patricia Louie

Patricia Louie, MA
PhD Student, Department of Sociology
University of Toronto
Toronto, ON, Canada 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

 

Response: While most physicians believe that they treat patients equally, research shows that racial inequality pervades the U.S. health care system (Feagin and Bennefield 2014; Williams 2012). Because these inequities persist even after demographic and other socio-economic differences are taken into consideration scholars have started to look at the representation of race in the medical curriculum. The idea is that medical curriculum creates both implicit and explicit connections between race and disease. We build on this body of work by investigating the representation of race (White, Black and Person of Color) and skin tone (light, medium and dark) in the images of four preclinical anatomy textbooks – Atlas of Human AnatomyBates’ Guide to Physical Examination & History Taking, Clinically Oriented Anatomy, and Gray’s Anatomy for Students.  Skin tone is important.

The majority of medical imagery consists of decontextualized images of body parts where skin tone, which may be related to disease presentation, is the only phenotypical marker. If doctors associate light skin tones with White patients, this may also influence how doctors think about who is a “typical” patient, particularly for the type of disease that is shown in that image.

Continue reading

Kids with Kidney Disease Likely To Experience Lower IQ and Educational Outcomes Into Adulthood

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

L-R: Kerry Chen, Anita van Zwieten, Madeleine Didsbury, Germaine Wong

L-R: Kerry Chen, Anita van Zwieten, Madeleine Didsbury, Germaine Wong

Dr. Kerry Chen
Centre for Kidney Research, The Kids Research Institute
The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Sydney School of Public Health,
The University of Sydney
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Chronic kidney disease is a major public health issue, with end-stage disease often requiring a combination of complex medication regimens, dialysis and/or transplant surgery. In children, the major causes of CKD are genetic and congenital. The consequences of CKD in children can be long-term and debilitating especially as they transition into adulthood, affecting their physical, intellectual and emotional well-being.

To better understand these changes, the Kids Health and Wealth Study (KCAD) is the largest longitudinal cohort study of children and adolescents with CKD in Australia and New Zealand. Spread across 5 paediatric nephrology centres so far, the KCAD Study takes a life-course approach to collecting and analysing data pertaining to the interactions between reduced renal function and associated clinical, socio-economic, quality of life, psychological, cognitive and educational outcomes in children, especially as they progress in CKD stage and also as they transition into adulthood.

Continue reading

Repeated Less Serious Infections Do Not Affect Children’s School Performance

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ole Köhler-Forsberg, PhD Student Department of Clinical Medicine - Psychosis Research Unit Aarhus University

Ole Köhler-Forsberg

Ole Köhler-Forsberg, PhD Student
Department of Clinical Medicine – Psychosis Research Unit
Aarhus University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Prior studies have demonstrated that serious illnesses, for example severe infections such as measles, rubella or meningitis, which we vaccinate against, affect the brain and thereby the child’s ability to learn. From this we know that illnesses and in particular infections to some degree have an influence on our brains.

In this study, we decided to look at how children perform following the less severe infections that many of them frequently experience during their childhood. After all, this is the largest group of children, but this has not been studied previously in such a large population.

Basically, we found that among 598,553 Danes born 1987-1997, the less severe infections treated with anti-infective agents during childhood did not affect the child´s ability to perform well in school, nonetheless whether 5, 10 or 15 prescriptions had been prescribed.

On the other hand, we found that children who had been admitted to hospital as a result of severe infections had a lower chance of completing 9th grade. The decisive factor is therefore the severity of the disease, but not necessarily the number of sick days.  

Continue reading

Women Obtain Fewer STEM Degrees in Gender Equal Societies

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

David C. Geary, Ph.D. Curators' Distinguished Professor  Thomas Jefferson Fellow Department of Psychological Sciences Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program University of Missouri Columbia, MO 65211-2500

Dr. Geary

David C. Geary, Ph.D.
Curators’ Distinguished Professor
Thomas Jefferson Fellow
Department of Psychological Sciences
Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program
University of Missouri
Columbia, MO 65211-2500 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

 

Response:   We were interested in international variation in the percentage of women who obtain college degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, focusing on degrees in inorganic areas, such as physics and computer science (topics that do not deal with living things).  There is no sex difference in the life sciences, but there is in these fields. The gap is about 3 to 1 in the U.S. and has been stable for decades.

We wanted to link international variation in these degrees to student factors, including their best subject (e.g., science vs. reading) and their interests in science, as well as to more general factors such as whether the country provided strong economic opportunities and its rating on gender equality measures.

Continue reading

Paid Family and Childbearing Leave Policies at Top US Medical Schools Found Lacking

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Christina Mangurian, MD, MAS Associate Professor of Psychiatry Vice Chair for Diversity, Department of Psychiatry, UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences Director, UCSF Public Psychiatry Fellowship at ZSFG Core Faculty, UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations

Dr. Mangurian

Christina Mangurian, MD, MAS
Associate Professor of Psychiatry
Vice Chair for Diversity, Department of Psychiatry
UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences
Director, UCSF Public Psychiatry Fellowship at ZSFG
Core Faculty, UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We examined paid family and childbearing leave policies at top-10 medical schools across the US. Despite recommendation from national medical societies for 12 weeks paid childbearing leave because of the benefits to both infant and mother, the average leave at these top schools of medicine was only around 8 weeks. In addition, most policies are very difficult to understand, and are at the discretion of departmental leadership – both of which put women at a disadvantage at getting leave they deserve. Additionally, family leave was only available to the parent that identifies as the “primary caregiver” at five universities, disallowing cooperative parenting.

Continue reading

School Based Healthy Lifestyle Program Did Not Bend Childhood Obesity Curve

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Lt. Governor Brown Visits Hamilton Elem_Mid School to Highlight Summer Meals Program” by Maryland GovPics is licensed under CC BY 2.0Peymané Adab, MD

University of Birmingham in England

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Childhood obesity is an increasing problem worldwide. In the UK, the proportion of children who are very overweight doubles during the primary school years. Furthermore during this period inequalities emerge. At school entry there is little difference in the likelihood of being overweight between groups. However on leaving primary school, children from minority ethnic groups and those from more deprived, compared to more affluent backgrounds are more likely to be overweight. Excess weight in children is linked with multiple health, emotional and social problems.  As children spend a lot of time at school, it seems intuitive that they are an ideal setting for prevention interventions.

Although a number of studies have investigated the evidence for school obesity prevention programmes, the results have been mixed and methodological weaknesses have prevented recommendations being made. As a result we undertook a major high quality trial to evaluate an intervention that had been developed in consultation with parents, teachers and the relevant community. The 12 month programme  had four components. Teachers at participating schools were trained to provide opportunities for regular bursts of physical activity for children, building up to an additional 30 minutes each school day. There was also a workshop each term, where parents came in to cook a healthy meal (breakfast, lunch of dinner) with their children. In conjunction with a local football club, Aston Villa, children participated in a six-week healthy eating and physical activity programme. Finally, parents were provided with information about local family physical activity opportunities.

We involved around 1500 year 1 children (aged 5-6 years) from 54 state run primary schools in the West Midlands. At the start of the study, we measured their height and weight and other measures of body fat, asked the children to complete a questionnaire about their wellbeing, to note everything they ate for 24 hours, and to wear an activity monitor that recorded how active they were. After this, the schools were randomised to either receive the programme or not. We then repeated the measures 15 and 30 months later.

Continue reading

Multiple Brain Centers Involved in Learning a Language

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Learning a New Language” by Joel Penner is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Phillip Hamrick, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor || Second Language Acquisition
Principal Investigator
TESL Program Chair Department of English
Kent State University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: For a long time, language scientists (e.g., linguists, psychologists, neuroscientists) have debated the degree to which language relies on unique brain systems (those that are used for language and nothing else) or more general-purpose brain systems that we use for other things (e.g., memory, controlling attention, categorization, etc.).

Our study quantitatively synthesized the results of several other studies using a technique called meta-analysis. We found that declarative and procedural memory abilities, which are fundamental for learning lots of different things (e.g., anything from facts about geography to how to play a musical instrument), are linked to language in specific ways.

Importantly, these findings held up in both children learning their first language and adults learning second languages. Continue reading

Longer Early Childhood Intervention Linked To Greater Post-Secondary Attainment

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“preschool joy” by kristin :: prairie daze is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Arthur J. Reynolds, PhD
Institute of Child Development
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  

Response: Educational attainment is the leading social determinant of health. Higher attainment measured by years of education or postsecondary attainment is linked to lower cardiovascular disease risk; lower rates of smoking, diabetes, and hypertension; and higher economic well-being.

Evidence on the long-term effects of early childhood programs on educational attainment is mixed. Some studies show impacts on high school graduation but not college attainment, the reverse pattern, or no measurement into adulthood. No studies of large-scale public programs have assessed impacts beyond young adulthood. Whether duration of participation over ages 3 to 9 is linked to mid 30s attainment also has not been investigated. Continue reading

Genetic Expression of Intelligence Influenced By Environment, Especially in Childhood

“Reading is fun!” by Isaac Wedin is licensed under CC BY 2.0MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Bruno Sauce, PhD and
Louis D. Matzel, PhD
Department of Psychology, Program in Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience
Rutgers University
New Jersey, USA 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Scientists have known for decades that intelligence has a high heritability, which means that much of the individual differences in IQ we see in people are due to genetic differences. Heritability is a value that ranges from 0.0 (meaning no genetic component) to 1.0 (meaning that the trait is completely heritable). For example, the heritability of breast cancer is estimated at 0.27; the heritability of body mass index is 0.59; and the heritability of major depression is 0.40. In comparison, the heritability of IQ is estimated to be as high as 0.8 – quite a high value!

More recently, however, there have been studies showing that intelligence has a high malleability: the studies cover cognitive gains consequent to adoption/immigration, changes in IQ’s heritability across life span and socioeconomic status, gains in IQ over time from societal and scientific progress, the slowdown of age-related cognitive decline, the gains in intelligence from early education, differences in average IQ between countries due to wealth and development, and gains in intelligence that seem to happen from working memory training.

Intelligence being both highly heritable and highly malleable is seemingly paradoxical, and this paradox has been the source of continuous controversy among scientists.

Why does it matter? Because IQ predicts many important outcomes in life, such as academic grades, income, social mobility, happiness, marital stability and satisfaction, general health, longevity, reduced risk of accidents, and reduced risk of drug addiction (among many other outcomes). A clear understanding of the genetic and environmental causes of variation in intelligence is critical for future research, and its potential implications (and applications) for society are immense.

Continue reading

Majority of Middle and High School Students Do Not Get Enough Sleep on School Nights

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“He isn't sleeping, he is mad. When we don't get our way pouting always works (okay.. It's worth a try at least!) #kids #dad #father #family #funny #like #parenting #photooftheday #instaphoto #instacute” by dadblunders is licensed under CC BY 2.0Anne G. Wheaton, Ph.D.
Epidemiologist
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Division of Population Health
Epidemiology and Surveillance Branch
Atlanta, GA  30341-3717

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Insufficient sleep among children and adolescents is associated with an increased risk for obesity, diabetes, injuries, poor mental health, and attention and behavior problems.

In previous reports, CDC had found that, nationwide, approximately two thirds of U.S. high school students report sleeping <8 hours per night on school nights. CDC conducted this study to provide state-level estimates of short sleep duration on school nights among middle school and high school students using age-specific recommendations from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). AASM has recommended that children aged 6–12 years should regularly sleep 9–12 hours per 24 hours and teenagers aged 13–18 years should sleep 8–10 hours per 24 hours for optimal health.

Continue reading

Students Expect More Special Favors From Female Professors

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Prof. Amani El-Alayli PhD Eastern Washington University

Prof. Amani El-Alayli

Prof. Amani El-Alayli PhD
Eastern Washington University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: This research was conducted on the premise that people tend to view women as more nurturing, and also set higher standards for women to behave in a nurturing manner. The same pattern has been observed in past research examining how students view their female professors.  Female professors are expected to be more nurturing, such as being more available outside of the classroom, as compared to their male professors.  In the present research, we investigated whether these higher expectations of nurturing behavior would cause students to be more likely to ask things of their female professors, consequently placing higher work demands on them.  In our survey of male and female professors across the country, we indeed found that female professors received more requests for standard work demands (e.g., office hours visits or assistance with course-related matters), as well as special favor requests (e.g., requests to re-do an assignment for a better grade or asking for some form of exception, extended deadline, or alternative assignment), compared to male professors.

Continue reading

Dad’s Reading To Children Associated With Better Language Outcomes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Reading” by Kate Ter Haar is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr. Jon Quach, PhD

Postdoctoral research fellow
Royal Childrens Hospital’s Centre for Community Child Health
Murdoch Children’s Research Institute 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: The reading practices of mothers and fathers was assessed in 405 families in Melbourne when children were 2, and child had their language and literacy skills assessed when they were 4 years old.

We found fathers reading practices were associated with better language outcomes 2 years later, even after accounting for mothers reading and key family demographics  Continue reading

Program Encouraging Shared Bookreading Improved Vocabulary, Memory and IQ

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Adriana Weisleder, PhD Research scientist, Department of Pediatrics NYU Langone Medical Center

Dr. Weislander

Adriana Weisleder, PhD
Research scientist, Department of Pediatrics
NYU Langone Medical Center
New York 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: An estimated 250 million children in low- and middle-income countries do not reach their developmental potential due to poverty. Many programs in the US, such as Reach Out and Read and Video Interaction Project, have shown success in reducing poverty-related disparities in early child development by promoting parent-child interactions in cognitively stimulating activities such as shared bookreading.

This randomized study sought to determine whether a program focused on supporting parent-child shared bookreading would result in enhanced child development among 2- to 4-year-old children in a low-resource region in northern Brazil. Families in the program could borrow children’s books on a weekly basis and could participate in monthly parent workshops focused on reading aloud.

Findings showed that participating families exhibited higher quantity and quality of shared reading interactions than families in a control group, and children showed higher vocabularies, working memory, and IQ.

Continue reading

Does the Working Class Handle Interpersonal Conflicts Better Than The Middle Class?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“working class” by arileu is licensed under CC BY 2.0Igor Grossmann, Ph.D
.
Director, Wisdom and Culture Laboratory
Associate Professor of Psychology
University of Waterloo, Canada
Associate Editor, Emotion

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Our Wisdom & Culture laboratory studies the concepts of wisdom and cultural factors. For wisdom, we specifically focus on pragmatic reasoning that can help people to better understand and navigate uncertain contexts – strategies that philosophers for millennia discussed as “epistemic virtues.” In our prior work, my colleagues and I have observed that wisdom tends to be lower in situations when self-interests are salient, and higher when one adopted an socially-sensitive interdependent mindset. In other work by myself and several other labs, consistent finding emerged showing that lower social class tends to be more socially interdependent, whereas middle class (both in the US, Russia, and even China) tends to be more self-focused.

This led to the present research, which combines prior insights to examine how wise reasoning varies across social classes. Because lower class situation involves more uncertainty and more resource-scare life circumstances, we questioned whether these situations would also evoke more wise reasoning from people who are in them. Higher class situations are assumed to provide conditions that benefit people in every way. But in so doing, they may also encourage entitlement, self-focus and thereby intellectual humility and open-mindedness – key features of a wise thought. As such, our studies show that it turns out that middle class conditions are not beneficial in at least one way – they may discourage reasoning wisely.

Continue reading

Babies’ Brain Responses Predict Dyslexic Reading Skills in School

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Kaisa Lohvansuu, PhD
Postdoctoral Researcher
Jyväskylä Centre for Interdisciplinary Brain Research
Department of Psychology
University of Jyväskylä 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Developmental dyslexia, a specific reading disability, has a strong genetic basis: The risk of having developmental dyslexia at school age is eight times higher than usual if either of the parents has reading difficulty. It has been known that dyslexia and also family risk for dyslexia are strongly associated with a speech perception deficit, but the underlying mechanism of how the impaired speech processing leads to reading difficulties has been unclear.

Continue reading

More Evidence That Higher Education May Lower Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Susanna C. Larsson, PhD Associate Professor, Karolinska Institutet, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Stockholm, Sweden

Dr. Larsson

Susanna C. Larsson, PhD
Associate Professor, Karolinska Institutet,
Institute of Environmental Medicine,
Stockholm, Sweden

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The causes of Alzheimer’s disease are largely unknown and there are currently no medical treatments that can halt or reverse its effects. This has led to growing interest in identifying risk factors for Alzheimer’s that are amenable to modification. Several observational studies have found that education and various lifestyle and vascular risk factors are associated with the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, but whether these factors actually cause Alzheimer’s is unclear.

We used a genetic epidemiologic method known as ‘Mendelian randomization’. This method involves the use of genes with an impact on the modifiable risk factor – for example, genes linked to education or intelligence – and assessing whether these genes are also associated with the disease. If a gene with an impact on the modifiable risk factor is also associated with the disease, then this provides strong evidence that the risk factor is a cause of the disease.

MedicalResearch.com:  What are the main findings?

Response: Our results, based on aggregated genetic data from 17 000 Alzheimer’s disease patients and 37 000 healthy controls, revealed that genetic variants that predict higher education were clearly associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. A possible explanation for this link is ‘cognitive reserve’, which refers to the ability to recruit and use alternative brain networks or structures not normally used to compensate for brain ageing. Previous research has shown that high education increases this reserve.

We found suggestive evidence for possible associations of intelligence, circulating vitamin D, coffee consumption, and smoking with risk of Alzheimer’s disease. There was no evidence for a causal link with other modifiable factors, such as vascular risk factors.

Continue reading