Growing Up Surrounded by Books Could Have Powerful, Lasting Effect on the Mind

The study, published recently in Social Science Research, assessed data from 160,000 adults from 31 countries, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Turkey, Japan and Chile. Participants filled out surveys with the Programme for the International Assessment of Competencies, which measures proficiency in three categories: literacy, numeracy (using mathematical concepts in everyday life) and information communication technology, (using digital technology to communicate with other people, and to gather and analyze information).

Respondents, who ranged in age from 25 to 65, were asked to estimate how many books were in their house when they were 16 years old. The research team was interested in this question because home library size can be a good indicator of what the study authors term “book-oriented socialization.” Participants were able to select from a given range of books that included everything from “10 or less” to “more than 500.”

The effects were most marked when it came to literacy. Growing up with few books in the home resulted in below average literacy levels. Being surrounded by 80 books boosted the levels to average, and literacy continued to improve until libraries reached about 350 books, at which point the literacy rates leveled off. The researchers observed similar trends when it came to numeracy; the effects were not as pronounced with information communication technology tests, but skills did improve with increased numbers of books.

Interesting research findings.  Read the source article here.

Only two percent of teens read newspaper, one-third have not read book for pleasure in last year.  We. Are. Doomed.

Advertisements

Amazon patents Alexa tech to tell if you’re sick, depressed

The patent, titled “Voice-based determination of physical and emotional characteristics of users,” was issued on Tuesday this week; Amazon filed the patent application in March 2017.

Way. Too. Creepy.

HT – naked capitalism.

Read the article here.

20 Things Patients Can Do to Stay Out of My ER

When you’re arguing, do NOT tell your significant other that your life is no longer worth living just to make them feel bad. If they call 911, EMS will bring you to me. I’ll keep you until you’re legally sober, even if it takes a week. I’ll sedate you or tie you down if I have to. Afterwards, you’ll get a mental health evaluation, and we’ll let you go home. By that time, your significant other has thoroughly enjoyed life without you. Speak wisely.

Priceless!

Read the list at this link.

HT – nakedcapitalism.com

Longer daily fasting times improve health and longevity (in mice)

The scientists randomly divided 292 male mice into two diet groups. One group received a naturally sourced diet that was lower in purified sugars and fat, and higher in protein and fiber than the other diet. The mice in each diet group were then divided into three sub-groups based on how often they had access to food. The first group of mice had access to food around the clock. A second group of mice was fed 30 percent less calories per day than the first group. The third group was meal fed, getting a single meal that added up to the exact number of calories as the round-the-clock group. Both the meal-fed and calorie-restricted mice learned to eat quickly when food was available, resulting in longer daily fasting periods for both groups.

The scientists tracked the mice’s metabolic health through their lifespans until their natural deaths and examined them post-mortem. Meal-fed and calorie-restricted mice showed improvements in overall health, as evidenced by delays in common age-related damage to the liver and other organs, and extended longevity. The calorie-restricted mice also showed significant improvement in fasting glucose and insulin levels compared to the other groups. Interestingly, the researchers found that diet composition had no significant impact on lifespan in the meal fed and calorie restricted groups.

Source article here.

One of my neighbors is a mouse researcher.  I bet he’s really excited this weekend.

The NIH webpage on caloric restriction and fasting diets is here.

What the News Left Out About K2

As a psychiatrist, I have encountered countless individuals in the emergency room who come through and do not want help. “What K2? I don’t use that stuff.” They will deny it, laugh it off, or scoff at me. They threaten to commit suicide if I don’t let them stay the night, and demand extra sandwiches and clothes. These individuals have the ability to decipher their options.  If the person’s thinking suddenly clears and there is no sign of physical instability, he or she can just walk out the emergency room almost minutes after presenting. In the dead of night, I’ve had unconscious patients who wake up abruptly only to demand to leave. I have no choice but to discharge them “home” to no particular address, since none are listed.

Here’s the link to the full article.

 

Only two percent of teens read newspaper, one-third have not read book for pleasure in last year

“Think about how difficult it must be to read even five pages of an 800-page college textbook when you’ve been used to spending most of your time switching between one digital activity and another in a matter of seconds,” she added. “It really highlights the challenges students and faculty both face in the current era.”

My source article

My random thoughts:

  • ADHD
  • Bad parenting
  • Technology addiction
  • Social media is not social
  • Social media is evil
  • The slow agonizing death of newspapers
  • Colleges and universities will be challenged
  • Put the cellphone down and keep your hands where I can see them.

There is a link to the full study in the source article.

Fewer U.S. teens smoking, doing drugs, and drinking milk

Kids have shifted from a dairy product rich in calcium and vitamin D to beverages laden with sugar and caffeine, which is likely contributing to the nation’s obesity problem, said Barry Popkin, a University of North Carolina researcher who studies how diets change.

“This is not a healthy trend for our long-term health,” he said.

Read the AP source article here.