Self Driving Cars Can Be Programmed To Make Moral Decisions

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Leon Sütfeld
The Institute of Cognitive Science
University of Osnabrück 

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

Response: Self-driving cars, and especially future fully autonomous cars, pose a number of ethical challenges. One of these challenges is making the “right” decision when it comes to a so-called dilemma situation, in which a collision is unavoidable (or highly probable), but a decision can be made as to which of multiple different collisions to choose. Our study assesses the behavior of human participants in such dilemma situations and evaluates algorithmic models that are trained on this data to make predictions.

Our main findings are that in a controlled virtual reality environment, the decisions of humans are fairly consistent and can be well described by simple value-of-life models.

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More Education Means Lowers Cardiovascular Risk, Regardless of Income

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Yasuhiko Kubota, MD, MPH Visiting Scholar Division of Epidemiology and Community Health School of Public Health University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

Dr. Kubota

Yasuhiko Kubota, MD, MPH
Visiting Scholar
Division of Epidemiology and Community Health
School of Public Health
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

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

Response: Educational inequality is one of the most important socioeconomic factors contributing to cardiovascular disease. Since education is usually completed by young adulthood, educational inequality may affect risk of cardiovascular disease early in the life course. We thought it would be useful to calculate the lifetime risk of cardiovascular disease according to educational levels in order to increase public awareness of the importance of education.

Thus, our aim was to evaluate the association of educational attainment with cardiovascular disease risk by estimating the lifetime risks of cardiovascular disease using a US. biracial cohort. Furthermore, we also assessed how other important socioeconomic factors were related to the association of educational attainment with lifetime risk of cardiovascular disease.

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Income Disparities Persist In Cardiovascular Risk Factors in the US

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Ayodele Odutayo MD MSc DPhil(pending) Centre For Statistics in Medicine, University of Oxford Resident Physician (PGY1), Post-Doctoral Fellow, Applied Health Research Centre St. Michael’s Hospital, University of Toronto

Dr. Odutayo

Dr. Ayodele Odutayo
MD MSc DPhil(pending)
Centre For Statistics in Medicine,
University of Oxford
Resident Physician (PGY1), Post-Doctoral Fellow,
Applied Health Research Centre
St. Michael’s Hospital,
University of Toronto

 

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

Response: Previously published studies have reported increasing gaps in life expectancy among adults belonging to different socioeconomic strata and suggested that much of this gap was mediated through behavioural and metabolic risk factors.

In this study, we found that from 1999-2014, there was an increasing gap in the control of cardiovascular risk factors between high income adults compared to adults with incomes at or below the poverty line. The proportion of adults at high cardiovascular risk (predicted risk of a cardiovascular event ≥20%), the mean systolic blood pressure and the percentage of current smokers decreased for high income adults but did not change for adults with incomes at or below the poverty line. Notably, the income disparity in these cardiovascular risk factors was not wholly explained by access to health insurance or educational attainment. Trends in the percentage of adults with diabetes and the average total cholesterol level did not vary by income.

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Asthma Outcomes Worse in Low Income Groups

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Wanda Phipatanakul, MD, MS Associate Professor of Pediatrics Harvard Medical School Director, Asthma Clinical Research Center Boston Children's Hospital Asthma, Allergy and Immunology Boston, MA 02115

Dr. Phipatanakul

Wanda Phipatanakul, MD, MS
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Harvard Medical School
Director, Asthma Clinical Research Center
Boston Children’s Hospital
Asthma, Allergy and Immunology
Boston, MA 02115

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

Response: Observational studies have limitations in their ability to examine disparities in asthma, as these studies have relied on self-reported measures of medication use, asthma diagnosis, severity, outcomes, and access to care.

Using data collected from a randomized controlled trial, we found that subjects with lower income had a significantly higher number of asthma treatment failures and asthma exacerbations, independent of race, BMI, education, perceived stress, baseline lung function, hospitalizations, inhaled corticosteroid adherence, inhaled corticosteroid dose, environmental allergen sensitization, and second-hand smoke exposure.

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People Prefer Familiar Faces

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Carlota Batres PhD Postdoctoral fellow at Gettysburg College

Dr. Batres

Carlota Batres PhD
Postdoctoral fellow at Gettysburg College

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

Response: The background for this study is that previous research has found that individuals from rural areas prefer heavier women than individuals from urban areas. Several explanations have been proposed to explain these preference differences: media exposure, differing optimal weights for different environments, and urbanization. In this study, we investigated familiarity as a possible explanation by examining participants’ face preferences while also examining the facial characteristics of the actual participants.

The main finding of this study is that familiarity appears to be contributing to our facial preferences.

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Everybody Does It! Rich and Poor Eat Fast Food

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jay L. Zagorsky

Center for Human Resource Research
The Ohio State University and
Patricia K. Smith PhD
Department of Social Sciences
University of Michigan-Dearborn

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

Response: The prevalence of adult obesity in the U.S. has risen substantially, from about 13% in the early 1960s to nearly 38% now.  Obesity is associated with a variety of illnesses and imposes significant costs on individuals and society.

Socioeconomic (SES) gradients in health and the prevalence of disease, including obesity, have been documented: health improves and disease prevalence falls as we move up each step of the SES ladder.  Differences in nutrition could help explain these health gradients and Americans commonly think the poor eat fast food more often than those in the middle and upper classes. Policy based on this notion has been proposed.  For example, in 2008 Los Angeles placed a moratorium on new fast-food restaurants in poor neighborhoods.

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Retirement Lowers Stress But Only For Those Retiring From Executive Jobs

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Tarani Chandola</strong> Professor of Medical Sociology Social Statistics Disciplinary Area of the School of Social Sciences University of Manchester

Prof. Chandola

Tarani Chandola
Professor of Medical Sociology
Social Statistics Disciplinary Area of the School of Social Sciences
University of Manchester

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

Response: We (the authors) were particularly interested in examining evidence for the common perception that people at the top of the occupational hierarchy are the most stressed. And also what happens to people’s stress levels when they retire. We had assumed that people with poorer quality work to have decreased levels of stress when they retired. There have been other studies on this topic before, but none that have used salivary cortisol to measure physiological stress responses. We analysed changes in people’s stress levels before and after retirement, in a follow up study of over 1,000 older workers in the British civil service. Stress levels were measured by taking salivary cortisol samples across the day, from awakening until bedtime.

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Support Required To Encourage Patients With End Stage Kidney Disease To Return to Work

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Wendy Tan Senior Medical Social Worker Medical Social Work The National Kidney Foundation

Wendy Tan

Wendy Tan
Senior Medical Social Worker
Medical Social Work
The National Kidney Foundation

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

Response: End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) patients experience significant changes to their daily routine and lifestyle. Their time and attention were often centred solely on their sickness whilst receiving treatment accentuating the employment isolation.

This study determined the need for extra support to assist patients adjust (e.g. learning about their psychological wellbeing, change of role and mindset, suitable work conditions and employment support) in returning to work. It also sheds light on how individuals perceive the particular situations they are facing, how they are making sense of their health conditions and the society at large in relations to seeking continued employment.

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Food Costs Can Lead To Less Protein and Phosphorous in Indigent Kidney Transplant Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ms. Shifra Mincer Medical Student in the class of 2019 SUNY Downstate Medical School

Shifra Mincer

Ms. Shifra Mincer
Medical Student in the class of 2019
SUNY Downstate Medical School

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

Response: Hypophosphatemia is commonly encountered in the post-transplant setting. Early post-transplant hypophosphatemia has been ascribed to excess FGF23 and hyperphosphaturia.

Many patients remain hypohosphatemic months or even years after their transplant and the mechanism was assumed to be the same, however, our group recently reported that patients with late post-transplant hypophosphatemia had very little phosphorous in their urine (Wu S, Brar A, Markell, MS. Am J Kidney Dis. 2016,67(5): A18). We hypothesized that they were not eating enough phosphorous to compensate for the acute phosphorous losses they experienced immediately post-transplant.

In this study, using both 3-day diet journals and 24-hour diet recall questionnaires, we found that mean intake of phosphorous and protein was barely at the Recommended Daily Allowance, and that despite 70% of the patients using EBT, 30% of those patients still reported concerns regarding food security. Patients who reported that the cost of food influenced their dietary choices ate 43% less protein (average 48,5 gms vs. 85.8 gms) and 29% less phosphorous (average 887 mg vs 1257 mg). When ability to rise from a chair over a 30 second period was evaluated, only patients who expressed food cost concerns were unable to complete the test.

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When Choosing A Mate, Women Choose Looks Over Personality

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Madeleine A. Fugère, Ph.D. Professor of Psychology Eastern CT State University Willimantic, Connecticut

Dr. Fugère

Madeleine A. Fugère, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology
Eastern CT State University
Willimantic, Connecticut

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

Response: Previous research has shown that both daughters and their parents rate many traits as more important than physical attractiveness in a potential mate (for daughters), including traits such as respectfulness, honesty, and trustworthiness. Previous research also shows that women rate physical attractiveness as more important in a mate for themselves than parents do in a mate for their daughters.

In our research project, we experimentally manipulated the physical attractiveness of male targets (using photographs) and we experimentally manipulated the traits associated with each male target. The trait profiles included the “respectful” trait profile which consisted of the traits respectful, honest, and trustworthy, the “friendly” trait profile which included the traits friendly, dependable, and mature, and the “pleasing” trait profile which contained the traits pleasing disposition, ambitious, and intelligent.

We found that both women and their mothers were strongly influenced by the physical attractiveness of the men and preferred the attractive and moderately attractive targets. Both women and their mothers rated the attractive and moderately attractive men most favorably, especially when they were paired with the most positive trait profile (the “respectful” trait profile).

However, the unattractive man was never rated more positively than his more attractive counterparts even when he possessed the most favorable trait profile.

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