Education Using VR Can Encourage Patients To Get Colon Cancer Screening

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Nathaniel Ernstoff, MD University of Miami

Dr. Ernstoff

Nathaniel Ernstoff, MD
University of Miami

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

Response: Despite the best efforts of all healthcare providers, colon cancer screening is underutilized with screening rates ranging anywhere from 58-76% based on the state (American Cancer Society 2017). At best we are still failing to screen 25% of the population.  Patients have serious concerns about colorectal cancer (CRC) screening with the most common barriers to screening being fear of colonoscopy and of the bowel preparation, amongst others. These barriers coupled with the lack of understanding of the risks, benefits, and the efficacy of screening contribute to our inadequate screening.

This study aims to prove that through education, and most importantly comprehension, patients will choose one of the 6 recommended colorectal cancer screening tests that best fits their preferences. In this study we had 24 patients who previously refused colonoscopy on 3 separate occasions, and had no other CRC screening, undergo a virtual reality (VR) demonstration, created by TheBodyVR, to see if education would improve the uptake of screening. Prior to the virtual reality demonstration, the patients completed a 5-item questionnaire which evaluated their baseline knowledge of CRC risk, polyps and screening as well as determining barriers to prior screening. The patient then viewed the VR demonstration which starts with an overview of colorectal cancer, followed by a tour through a virtual colon explaining and showing the viewer polyps and cancer.

Finally, the demonstration reviews and compares the strengths and weaknesses of all USPSTF-recommended CRC screening tests.  After the study, the patients complete the same questionnaire, and in this study there was a statistically significant improvement in knowledge in all questions.  Ultimately, 23 of 24 patients who previously refused colorectal cancer screening on 3 separate occasions chose to undergo screening after the VR demonstration, and about 50% have performed the screening 60 days out from the study’s completion.

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Children with Emotional and Behavioral Issues May Benefit From Drumming Lessons

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Marcus Smith PhD Reader in Sport and Exercise Physiology University of Chichester Co-founder, Clem Burke Drumming ProjectDr. Marcus Smith PhD

Reader in Sport and Exercise Physiology
University of Chichester
Co-founder, Clem Burke Drumming Project

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

Response: The research group first started to examine rock drumming from a scientific perspective in 1999 through collaboration with Clem Burke, drummer with the iconic band ‘Blondie’. In 2008 the Clem Burke Drumming Project (CBDP) was formed (visit clemburkedrummingproject.org for further information) where academics from different disciplines came together to not only explore the physiological demands of rock drumming but also the potential use of rock drumming as an intervention in research studies. Rock drumming is attractive to the scientist in that it is a unique activity that requires the coordination of multiple limbs to produce the required drumming pattern. Inherent demands relating to timing, tempo and volume must also be met. Therefore, the ability to manipulate these facets of drumming performance in a research setting is very appealing. In relation to potential research populations drumming has a universal fascination regardless of age, gender, culture, language competency and ethnicity. Anecdotal evidence suggests that drumming is a ‘cool’ activity that has a unique ‘language currency’ in terms of stimulating communication within and between those who can and cannot play the drums.

The impetus for our research study came from parents of autistic children contacting us to express their belief that drumming was having a positive effect on their child’s physical and psychological behaviour. A review of the literature showed a range of anecdotal evidence in support of such statements (Freidman 2000) and an increase in empirical drumming based research being undertaken (Bungay 2010). More recent studies have reported psychosocial benefits such as enhanced communication (Maschi et al. 2010; 2012), emotional processing and tension reduction (Flores et al. 2016; Maschi et al. 2010; 2012), group cohesion and connectedness (Blackett et al. 2005), concentration, psychomotor coordination and posture (Chen et al. 2017). The majority of this work was undertaken with adolescents with very little work focused on younger age groups. Continue reading

Helping Soccer Coaches Teach How To ‘Read The Field’

“Girl Playing Soccer” by Bold Content is licensed under CC BY 2.0MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Craig Pulling. MSc, PGCE, BA (Hons), FHEA
Head of Physical Education
University of Chichester

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

Response: Successful perceptual-cognitive skill in team-sports such as football requires players to pick up task-relevant information during the control of action in complex and dynamic situations. It has been proposed that players could perform visual exploratory activity (VEA) to be able to recognise important cues in the playing environment. VEA is defined as:

“A body and/or head movement in which the player’s face is actively and temporarily directed away from the ball, seemingly with the intention of looking for teammates, opponents or other environmental objects or events, relevant to perform a subsequent action with the ball” (Jordet, 2005, p.143).

Research has suggested that VEA is an important facet of skilled performance in youth and adult football. However, it is currently unknown whether such evidence is commensurate with the views of coaches and whether coaching practices are utilised to develop VEA in training.

In order to further current understanding on VEA and coaching practices, the present study developed an online survey to examine:
(i) when VEA should be introduced in coaching;
(ii) how VEA is delivered by coaches and
(iii) how coaches evaluate VEA.

Further, this study aimed to explore whether distinct groups of football coaches existed who differed in their approach to the delivery of VEA training and, if so, whether there were differences in the demographics of the coaches across these differentiated groups.

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How Do Students Choose Where To Sit in a Classroom?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Lecture Hall” by Sholeh is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr. David P. Smith, NTF, BSc, PhD, SFHEA

Senior Lecturer in Biochemistry / Course Leader MSc Molecular and Cellular Biology and National Teaching Fellow
Sheffield Hallam University, in the UK

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

Response: Lectures are not going to go away, when done well they can be an effective method for teaching large groups of students. To make the lecture experience more effective we wanted to find out why students chose to sit in a given location such that we can better interact with them during taught sessions. We also wanted to find out the reasons they made this choice and if this choice of location had an effect on finial attainment (marks).  Continue reading

Most Pediatricians are Women, But Men’s Opinions are Valued More

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Julie Silver, MD Associate Professor and Associate Chair Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School and staff physician at Massachusetts General Brigham and Women’s and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospitals

Dr. Silver

Julie Silver, MD
Associate Professor and Associate Chair
Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School and
Staff physician at Massachusetts General
Brigham and Women’s and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospitals 

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

Response: There are many documented disparities for women in medicine that include promotion and compensation. For physicians in academic medicine, both promotion and compensation may be directly or indirectly linked to publishing. Similarly, opportunities that stem from publishing such as speaking engagements, may be affected by a physician’s ability to publish.

For more than twenty years, there have been reports of women being underrepresented on journal editorial boards and gaps in their publishing rates. For example, a report titled “Is There a Sex Bias in Choosing Editors?” by Dickersin et al was published in JAMA in 1998 and made a compelling case for bias. Moreover, the authors noted that “a selection process favoring men would have profound ramifications for the professional advancements and influence of women”. Despite a steady stream of reports over the years, gaps have not been sufficiently addressed, and in 2014 Roberts published an editorial in Academic Psychiatry titled “Where Are the Women Editors?”. The 2017 review by Hengel titled “Publishing While Female” highlights many of the gaps, disparities and barriers for women in medicine.

Conventional reasons for disparities, such as there are not enough women in the pipeline or women do not want to conduct research or pursue leadership positions, are simply not valid. Therefore, it is important to look at other barriers, such as unconscious (implicit) bias that may affect the editorial process.

In this study, we analyzed perspective type articles from four high impact pediatric journals. We selected pediatrics, because most pediatricians are women, and therefore there are plenty of highly accomplished women physicians. We found that women were underrepresented among physician first authors in all of the journals (140 of 336 [41.7%]).

We also found that underrepresentation was more pronounced in article categories that were described as more scholarly (range, 15.4%-44.1%) versus narrative (52.9%-65.6%).  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.’

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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.  

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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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Kids Who Have Difficulty Spelling Can Have Trouble Writing As Well

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Sonia Kandel PhD
Professor at the GIPSA-Lab
Université Grenoble Alpes 

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

Response: How do we recall a word’s spelling from memory? How do we execute the movements to produce letters? A series of studies conducted by Professor Sonia Kandel at the GIPSA-Lab/University of Grenoble Alpes in France provide evidence indicating that writing is a linguistic process that affects the way we execute the manual movements when we write. For example, the movements involved in writing T-H-R are easier to execute in a word that is pronounced as it is spelled, (e.g. “thrill”) than in a word that is orthographically irregular (e.g. “through”). What happens with writing when spelling processes are impaired like, in dyslexia and dysgraphia?

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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Associated With Educational Underachievment

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ana Pérez-Vigil MD Department of Clinical Neuroscience Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Research Center Karolinska Institutet

Dr. Perez-Vigil

Ana Pérez-Vigil MD
Department of Clinical Neuroscience
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Research Center
Karolinska Institutet

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

Response: Everyone who regularly works with persons who have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has seen that their patients often struggle with school work. It is not uncommon for these individuals to have poor school attendance and severe patients can be out of the education system altogether. This applies to persons of all ages, from school children to young adults who may be at university.

On the other hand there is a group of patients who, against all odds, working 10 times as hard as everybody else, manage to stay in education and eventually get a degree. So we have long suspected that OCD has a detrimental impact on the person’s education, with all the consequences that this entails (worse chances to enter the labour market and have a high paid job). But we did not really know to what extent OCD impacts education. So we wanted to know what is the actual impact of OCD on educational attainment using objectively collected information from the unique Swedish national registers. Previous work had been primarily based on small clinical samples from specialist clinics, using either self or parent report and cross-sectional designs. Previous work also tended not to control for important confounders such as psychiatric comorbidity or familial factors (genetic and environmental factors that could explain both OCD and the outcomes of interest).

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More Lab Tests Ordered At Teaching vs Non-Teaching Hospitals

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Victoria Valencia, MPH Assistant Director for Healthcare Value Dell Medical SchoolThe University of Texas at Austin

Victoria Valencia

Victoria Valencia, MPH
Assistant Director for Healthcare Value
Dell Medical SchoolThe University of Texas at Austin

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

Response: We were surprised to find that despite the common anecdote that resident physicians in teaching environments order more lab tests, there was a lack of empirical data to support the claim that more lab tests are ordered for patients at teaching hospitals than at non-teaching hospitals. Our study of 43,329 patients with pneumonia or cellulitis across 96 hospitals  in the state of Texas found that major teaching hospitals order significantly more lab tests than non-teaching hospitals.  We found this to be true no matter how we looked at the data, including when restricting to the least sick patients in our dataset. We also found that major teaching hospitals that ordered more labs for pneumonia tended to also more labs for cellulitis, indicating there is some effect from the environment of the teaching hospital that affects lab ordering overall.

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Children Can Save Lives By Learning CPR in School

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Young girl learning Hands-Only CPR at the American Heart Association Hands-Only CPR training kiosk at Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport. copyright American Heart Association 2017 Photos by Tommy Campbell Photography
Mimi Biswas M.D., MHSc
University of California Riverside School of Medicine and
Riverside Community Hospital 

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

Response: This started as  My son’s science project. He wanted to make a video game to teach CPR based on a science fair website. It grew to teaching the whole 6th grade using the AHA CPR training kit alone vs adding the video game or music, staying alive, to help with compression rate.  We found that a 12 year can easily learn the basic concepts of calling for help and starting hands only CPR and they can physically perform effective CPR at this age.

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Montessori Education Has Potential To Equalize Performance For Low Income School Children

“Tempura Finger Paint Grand Rapids Montessori School” by Steven Depolo is licensed under CC BY 2.0

“Tempura Finger Paint Grand Rapids Montessori School” by Steven Depolo

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Angeline Lillard PhD

Professor of Psychology
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA

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

Response: Montessori education was developed in the first half of the last century, but has been subject to little formal research. Prior research on its outcomes was problematic in using poor control groups, very small samples, demographically limited samples, a single school or classroom, or poor quality Montessori, or data from just a single time point and limited measurements.

This study addressed all these issues: it collected data 4 times over 3 years from 141 children, experimental children were in 11 classrooms at 2 high quality Montessori schools at which the control children were waitlisted and admission was done by a randomized lottery, family income ranged from $0-200K, groups were demographically equivalent at the start of the study, and many measures were taken.

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Gay and Bisexual Men With Less Education and Income At Greater Risk of Suicide

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Oliver Ferlatte PhD

Men’s Health Research Program
University of British Columbia
Vancouver , British Columbia , Canada

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

Response: Suicide, like many other health inequities, is unevenly distributed among the population, with marginalized groups being most affected. In Canada, suicide has been found to particularly affect gay and bisexual men, aboriginal people and people living in rural and remote communities.

While the populations affected by suicide are not mutually exclusive – for example someone can be a bisexual Aboriginal man living in a remote community – much of the suicide prevention literature tends to treat these groups as such. Moreso, very little attention is given in suicide prevention research to diversity within groups: for example, we know very little about which gay and bisexual men are most at risk of attempting suicide. This situation creates a vacuum of knowledge about suicide among gay and bisexual and deprives us of critical information for the development of effective suicide prevention activities.

We therefore investigated in a survey of Canadian gay and bisexual men (Sex Now Survey), which gay and bisexual men are at increased risk of reporting a recent suicide attempt. The large sample of gay and bisexual men with 8493 participants allows for this unique analysis focused on the multiple, intersecting identities of the survey participants.

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Healthy Behaviors and Academic Success Go ‘Hand in Hand’

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Catherine N. Rasberry, PhD Health Scientist, Division of Adolescent and School Health CDC Atlanta

Dr.Raspberry

Catherine N. Rasberry, PhD
Health Scientist, Division of Adolescent and School Health
CDC Atlanta

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

Response: For many years, researchers have documented links between health-related behaviors and educational outcomes such as letter grades, test scores, and other measures of academic achievement. However, many of those studies are becoming out-of-date or have used samples that were not nationally representative. The aim of this study was to see if previous findings held in a current, national sample of high school students.

Consistent with previous studies, our findings revealed that regardless of sex, race/ethnicity and grade-level, high school students who received mostly A’s, mostly B’s, or mostly C’s had higher levels of most protective health-related behaviors and lower levels of most health-related risk behaviors. For example, we found that:

  • Students who reported receiving mostly Ds and Fs, were nine times more likely than students who received mostly As to report having ever injected any illegal drugs.
  • Also, students who reported receiving mostly Ds and Fs were more than four times more likely than students who received mostly As to report that they had four or more sexual partners.
  • Conversely, students who reported receiving mostly As were twice as likely as students who received mostly Ds and Fs to report eating breakfast every day in the past week.

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More Time in School Associated With Less Cardiovascular Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Julien Vaucher  Physician and clinical research fellow (joint first author) Department of Internal Medicine Lausanne University Hospital Lausanne, Switzerland

Dr. Vaucher

Dr. Julien Vaucher 
Physician and clinical research fellow (joint first author)
Department of Internal Medicine
Lausanne University Hospital
Lausanne, Switzerland

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

Response: Since the sixties, traditional studies have found that people who stay longer in the educational system subsequently develop less coronary heart disease. However, whether this association is causal is not clear, partly because randomised controlled trials are practically infeasible in this area. In our study, we used a genetic approach, called Mendelian randomization, that represents the next best thing to do.Based on genetic variants randomized by nature, we were able to randomize individuals according to 162 genetic markers that associate with more or less education. In other words, we used genetic markers, free from condounding factors, as proxies of education to reproduce the conditions of a trial. Then, if the genetic markers also associate together with coronary heart disease, the association between education and coronary heart disease is likely to be causal.

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Despite Sleep Benefits To Teens, Only Half of Parents Support Later School Start Times

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Galit Dunietz, Ph.D., MPH Doctor of Philosophy Department of Neurology University of Michigan  Ann Arbor MI

Dr. Dunietz

Galit Dunietz, Ph.D., MPH
Epidemiologist, Sleep Disorders Center
Department of Neurology
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor MI

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

Response: Insufficient sleep has a negative impact on health, cognition and mood and is linked to motor vehicle accidents. However, sleep loss in adolescents has become an epidemic and arises in part from biological processes that delay sleep and wake timing at the onset of puberty. This biology does not fit well with early school start times (before 8:30 a.m.). Despite recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine to delay school start times, most schools in the U.S. have current start times before 8:30 a.m.

In this nationally representative study of US parents of teens, we examined whether parents supported or opposed later school start times (after 8:30 a.m.). We also examined what may have influenced their opinions.

We found that only about half of surveyed parents of teens with early school start times supported later school start times. Opinions appeared to depend in part on what challenges and benefits were expected to result from the change.

For example, parents who expected an improvement in their teen’s academic performance or sleep quantity tended to support the change, whereas parents that expected negative impact on afterschool activities or transportation opposed delays in school start times.  We also found that parents had misconception about sleep needs of their adolescents, as the majority perceived 7-7.5 hours of sleep as sufficient, or possibly sufficient even at this young age when 8-10 hours are typically recommended.

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“Positive Manifold” : Vocabulary and Reasoning Skills Reinforce Each Other In Adolescents

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Rogier Kievit PhD Cambridge Neuroscience

Dr. Kievit

Dr Rogier Kievit PhD
Cambridge Neuroscience

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

Response: One of the most robust findings in psychology is the so-called ‘positive manifold’ – The fact that people who are better at cognitive task A are, on average, also better at task B (and C, D etcetera). Despite over a hundred years of empirical investigations, we don’t really know why this is the case. Here, we aimed to investigate the mechanisms that underlie the positive manifold. To do so, we studied almost 800 adolescents and young adults from Cambridge and London (the NSPN study; Www.nspn.org

We measured both their abstract reasoning skills (e.g. solving a puzzle) and vocabulary knowledge (e.g. example) on two occasions, about 1.5 years apart.

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

Response: Our main finding was that abstract reasoning skills and vocabulary knowledge seem to reinforce each other during development. In other words, the adolescents who started out with higher vocabulary abilities had largest increases in reasoning skills, and those with better reasoning skills gained more vocabulary knowledge. This is exciting as we know mathematically that such a process can (at least partially) help explain the emergence of the positive manifold.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: That cognitive abilities interact with each other during development. It is tempting (also for scientists!) to think about skills like memory, reading and as separate domains. However, in reality they are part of a larger network of cognitive, mental and emotional processes that interact throughout the lifespan. We simple can’t fully understand humans as psychological agents by taking only ‘snapshots’.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: The field of psychology has recently realized it needs to increase sample sizes to gain robust knowledge about human behaviour and mental processes. I think the next step is realizing the importance of studying development (i.e. testing people on multiple occasions) as a way to look at longstanding questions in new and exciting ways. Secondly, we find that that mathematical models are a very exciting way to translate theories into directly testable propositions – Although such models are always oversimplifications, they often move scientific debates forward.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: With the emergence of experience sampling methods (e.g. performing cognitive tests on smartphones), ideally combined with longitudinal brain imaging, I think the next two decades will prove an incredibly exciting time for understanding human cognition.

Disclosures: The Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit is part of the University of Cambridge, funded through a strategic partnership between the MRC and the University.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation:

Rogier A. Kievit et al, Mutualistic Coupling Between Vocabulary and Reasoning Supports Cognitive Development During Late Adolescence and Early Adulthood, Psychological Science (2017). DOI: 10.1177/0956797617710785

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

USPSTF: Behavioral Counseling to Promote a Healthful Diet and Physical Activity for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention in Adults Without Cardiovascular Risk Factors

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Carol M. Mangione, MD, MSPH, FACP Barbara A. Levey, MD, and Gerald S. Levey, MD Endowed chair in medicine David Geffen School of Medicine University of California, Los Angeles Professor of public health at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

Dr. Mangione

Carol M. Mangione, MD, MSPH, FACP
Barbara A. Levey, MD, and Gerald S. Levey, MD
Endowed chair in medicine
David Geffen School of Medicine
University of California, Los Angeles
Professor of public health at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

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

Response: Americans can experience several health benefits from consuming healthy foods and engaging in physical activity. The Task Force recommends that primary care professionals work together with their patients when making the decision to offer or refer adults who are not obese and do not have hypertension, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, or diabetes to behavior counseling to promote healthful diet and physical activity. Our focus was on the impact of a healthful diet and physical activity on cardiovascular risk because this condition is the leading cause of premature morbidity and mortality. The Task Force evaluates what the science tells us surrounding the potential benefits and harms of a particular preventive service. In this case, the Task Force found high quality evidence focusing on the impact a healthful diet and physical activity can have on a patient’s risk of cardiovascular disease. Relying on this evidence, the Task Force was able to conclude that there is a positive but small benefit of behavioral counseling to prevent cardiovascular disease.

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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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