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March 07, 2012

Study suggests kids are diagnosed with ADHD because they are young for their class

Are kids being diagnosed with ADHD just for being young?
According to a new Canadian study, it might just be because they're younger than their peers. In British Columbia, the age cutoff date for entering each grade is December 31st of whatever year — making those born in December the youngest in the class, and those born in January the eldest. Examining a cohort of more than 900,000 students, the researchers found a significant correlation between birth month and ADHD diagnosis. In fact, children born in December were 39% more likely to be diagnosed and 48% more likely to be treated with medication for ADHD than those born in January. The situation was even worse for young girls, where the December-born were 70% more likely to be diagnosed. This research paints a picture of children who are immature due to age differences being treated as though they have a lifelong disorder. "The relative age of children is influencing whether they are diagnosed and treated for ADHD," said lead author Richard Morrow in a statement. "Our study suggests younger, less mature children are inappropriately being labelled and treated. It is important not to expose children to potential harms from unnecessary diagnosis and use of medications."

February 28, 2012

Massive study links jerk behavior to sense of entitlement, wealth

Read the whole thing. In essence they found that wealthy people behaved very poorly in a wide range of areas: dangerous driving, cheating, stealing, etc. pandagon.net - it's the eye of the panda, it's the thrill of the bite
“This work is important because it suggests that people often act unethically not because they are desperate and in the dumps, but because they feel entitled and want to get ahead,” said evolutionary psychologist and consumer researcher Vladas Griskevicius of the University of Minnesota, who was not involved in the work. “I am especially impressed that the findings are consistent across seven different studies with varied methodologies. This work is not just good science, but it is shows deeper insight into the reasons why people lie, cheat, and steal.” According to Piff, unethical behavior in the study was driven both by greed, which makes people less empathic, and the nature of wealth in a highly stratified society. It insulates people from the consequences of their actions, reduces their need for social connections and fuels feelings of entitlement, all of which become self-reinforcing cultural norms.

February 27, 2012

Study: Better-educated Republicans become better at ignoring facts, championing ideology

The Republican Brain: Why Even Educated Conservatives Deny Science -- and Reality | | AlterNet
For Republicans, having a college degree didn’t appear to make one any more open to what scientists have to say. On the contrary, better-educated Republicans were more skeptical of modern climate science than their less educated brethren. Only 19 percent of college-educated Republicans agreed that the planet is warming due to human actions, versus 31 percent of non-college-educated Republicans. … But it’s not just global warming where the “smart idiot” effect occurs. It also emerges on nonscientific but factually contested issues, like the claim that President Obama is a Muslim. Belief in this falsehood actually increased more among better-educated Republicans from 2009 to 2010 than it did among less-educated Republicans, according to research by George Washington University political scientist John Sides. The same effect has also been captured in relation to the myth that the healthcare reform bill empowered government “death panels.” According to research by Dartmouth political scientist Brendan Nyhan, Republicans who thought they knew more about the Obama healthcare plan were “paradoxically more likely to endorse the misperception than those who did not.”

February 22, 2012

World's deepest animal discovered in Abkhazian cave two kilometers below the surface of the Earth

Actually four new animals were discovered down there. Proving again how little of the Earth we actually know. Short Sharp Science: World's deepest land animal discovered
The deepest-dwelling land animal in the world has been found almost 2 kilometres underground. Fittingly, its home is Krubera-Voronja, the world's deepest cave, whose bottommost point is 2191 metres below its mouth.The cave is located near the Black Sea in Abkhazia, a breakaway republic of Georgia. The arthropod, known as Plutomurus ortobalaganensis, was discovered 1980 metres below the surface, where it feeds off fungi and other decaying matter. Three other new species were also found lurking in the cave: Anurida stereoodorata, Deuteraphorura kruberaensis and Schaefferia profundissima. All four species have been classified as springtails, a type of small primitive wingless insect. Living in total darkness, the species all lack eyes. However, A. stereoodorata compensates for this with a highly specialised form of chemoreceptor. The animals were discovered by Ana Sofia Reboleira from the University of Aveiro, Portugal, and Alberto Sendra of the Valencian Museum of Natural History, Spain. They were exploring the Krubera-Voronja cave as part of a 2010 expedition led by the Ibero-Russian CaveX team.