Archive for February, 2012

Could rosemary scent boost brain performance?

February 29, 2012

Plasma 1,8-cineole correlates with cognitive performance following exposure to rosemary essential oil aroma

From Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology

Hailed since ancient times for its medicinal properties, we still have a lot to learn about the effects of rosemary. This paper shows for the first time that blood levels of a rosemary oil component correlate with improved cognitive performance. Rosemary is one of many traditional medicinal plants that yield essential oils. But exactly how such plants affect human behavior is still unclear. The authors designed an experiment to investigate the pharmacology of one of rosemary’s main chemical components. Results indicate for the first time in human subjects that there is relation to an individual’s cognitive performance – with higher concentrations resulting in improved performance. Both speed and accuracy were improved, however the oil did not appear to improve attention or alertness. The results also suggest that compounds given off by the rosemary essential oil affect mood (subjective state) and cognitive performance through different neurochemical pathways.


Does gender bias against female leaders persist?

February 28, 2012

Does gender bias against female leaders persist? Quantitative and qualitative data from a large-scale survey

From Human Relations

Although acceptance of female managers has increased in the last half-century, negative attitudes toward female leaders still persist. For example, some research suggests that female leaders are evaluated less favorably than their male counterparts, are liked less than their male counterparts, and are penalized for adopting masculine leadership styles. This study examined women and men’s evaluations of their current managers as well as their preferences for male and female managers, in general. In contrast to other research, the results here offer encouraging evidence of changing attitudes toward female leaders, with a growing acceptance of female leaders, and serve as a reminder that stereotypes are less likely to be applied when sufficient individuating information is available.

Both the quantitative and qualitative results suggested that exposure to female bosses reduced bias against female leaders. There is optimism  that the stereotypes will be reduced or disappear, and over time, the traits required for successful leadership will be seen as gender neutral, rather than being seen as incongruous with the female role.

Why are church goers more successful in weight loss programs?

February 24, 2012

Assessing the stages of change among African American women in a weight management program

From Journal of Black Psycology 

Many people have resolved to better manage their weight and have a more healthy 2012. This study reveals those starting new weight loss programs may be surprised to find out that both location and level of experience may influence their success. It finds that African American women beginning a new group weight loss program are more successful if they are less experienced with weight management and if the program meets in a church.

Two groups of women in the same weight loss program were monitored. One group met weekly at a university and the other group met in a church. After 13 weeks, they found that the women meeting in the church setting lost a greater percentage of weight than those who met at the university. Additionally, those women who set out to change their eating and exercise practices for the first time lost a greater percentage of weight than women who had experience managing their weight. Possible explanations offered for the findings are that women with weight-loss experience may find it more difficult to lose weight when starting a new program because they are less likely to seek and accept social support for their efforts and are unable to shake the bad habits that they have learned in past weight-loss programs. Furthermore, they explained that churches are familiar environments that are conducive to lending encouragement and support.



London’s Olympic legacy: The challenges of long term sustainability

February 23, 2012

London’s Olympic legacy and the Imagine methodology

From Local Economy

The London Olympics is a major urban regeneration project with a budget of 9.345 bn. The site itself will have a major impact on the city as a whole. Previous studies have shown that legacy can be a significant issue. Studies have suggested the London Olympic project is one of the biggest urban regeneration projects in Europe. This development is already having an impact on the lives of residents and this is not always positive. Another in our series of articles highlighting various aspects of Olympic Games to celebrate the countdown to 2012, this article describes the process adopted in the analysis of the Olympic Village’s transformation from World Media Site to a sustainable part of the Greater London metropolis, considering the challenges of longer term sustainability.


Teenage pregnancy is not a racial issue

February 21, 2012

Black teenage pregnancy: A dynamic social problem

From SAGE Open

While researchers have long set to determine if there is a tie between race and teenage pregnancy, according to this study, equating black teenagers with the problem of teenage pregnancy is a misrepresentation of today’s real­ity. The authors studied data from 1,580 teenage girls and found that while black teens are about twice as likely as white teens to ever be pregnant, pregnancy rates for black minors are in reality declining while rates for minor whites, although sporadic, have increased and from 2005-2006 and even exceeded those of poor minor blacks. “Apparently, teen pregnancy is becoming more of a problem for affluent and poor white minors of late compared with their black counterparts as reflected in their recent rates”.

The paper reveals that poor economic conditions are a true marker of disparity between black and white pregnant teens. When unemploy­ment rates were high, black teenagers were seven times more likely to have ever been pregnant than white teenagers. Conversely, in better economies, when unemployment rates are low, there is almost no difference between reported teenage pregnancies for black and white teenagers. Black teenagers and teenagers from lower-income homes have a greater likelihood of reporting having ever been pregnant than white teenagers or teenagers who come from higher-income homes.


Sing your way to good mental health

February 16, 2012

‘To be heard’: The social and mental health benefits of choir singing for disadvantaged adults

From Psychology of Music

Adults living with a chronic mental illness or disability tend to participate less frequently in occupational and social interactions compared to the general population. This may exacerbate problems. Those that suffer with a mental illness may experience a negative effect on daily functioning as well as impairment or prevention of typical development potentially leading to social marginalization. This study recognizes there is a need for community-based strategies to assist individuals with chronic mental health problems to achieve mental health and wellbeing while remaining out of hospital. The paper aims to explore the personal experiences of choir members as it is understood that singing provides the opportunity for meaningful activity, social connectedness and quality of life for these individuals. The research demonstrates that, with appropriate support, adults experiencing chronic mental health problems or disabilities are able to gain important social and health benefits from choir singing. The wide popularity of tv shows like X-Factor and Glee suggest that even amateur singing; individually or within a group, is publicly encouraged and celebrated which hopefully enables many who find it difficult to socialize and integrate to become involved in the activity to discover their voice and identity.  Getting involved in singing activities is very much on-trend, it’s credible and accessible to all. Many could be encouraged to sing their way to better mental health.


Climate change link to war remains tenuous

February 15, 2012

Special Issue: Climate change and conflict

From Journal of Peace Research      

Does climate change sow the seeds of war? Until recently, most answers to this political question have been based on speculation. This landmark issue investigates a host of potential causes for conflict. Many other factors have a far greater influence than climate change on peace and stability, most of the studies conclude. On balance, the authors only find limited support for an influence of climate change on armed conflict. But this does not eliminate the possibility that when climate issues are framed as a security problem, this may influence actor perception and contribute to a self-fulfilling prophecy.

In the largest collection of peer-reviewed writings on the topic to date, the authors employ systematic climate data and climate projections. Most of the articles deal with civil war, a few with international war, and several studies go beyond state-based conflict to look at possible implications for communal conflict and other kinds of violence.


Is long-term love more than a rare phenomenon? If so, what are its correlates?

February 14, 2012

From Social Psychological and Personality Science

Valentine’s Day is upon us and many thoughts around the world turn to love. What is romantic love? Can it last forever? This article considers how romantic love adapts in long term relationships. Recently some theorists proposed adaptive reasons for romantic love to endure, which contradicts a common idea that romantic love dwindles over time in exchange for companionship. This research examined for the first time the prevalence and key theoretically relevant correlates of intense romantic love in representative samples of long-term married individuals. A substantially larger percentage of married individuals reported being intensely in love with their partners than predicted. In the US national sample, even among those in marriages of 30 years or more, 40% of wives and 35% of husbands reported very intense love for their partner. Outside the marital relationship, general life happiness was predictive of reports of being intensely in love for both women and men in the national sample. This is consistent with research showing strong links between marital quality and well-being. The findings provide a scientific basis for the development of a conceptualization of long-term intense love by showing factors associated with love, such as thinking about one’s partner in positive ways, engaging in novel and challenging activities together, and engaging in affectionate behaviors and sexual intercourse.


What kinds of hand injuries are more likely to result in amputation?

February 2, 2012

What kinds of hand injuries are more likely to result in amputation? An analysis of 6549 hand injuries

From Journal of Hand Surgery (European Volume)

In order to guide preventive measures, the aim of this study was to define the risk factors for hand amputations using the records of a hospital in Turkey specializing in hand and microsurgery. It examined over 6.5k hand injuries and reveals that left-handed individuals had a five times greater relative risk of sustaining an amputating injury than right-handed individuals. This study found the age groups 15–24 and 45–54 were most at risk. Human factors such as reflex time, inattention, fatigue, medication use or alcohol use must be investigated to explain the increased rate of injury within those groups. Paid work was confirmed as the most frequent and risky activity, Compared to home, commercial areas were the places with highest risk). An important reason seems to be the use of meat-grinders which are among the top ten objects involved, both for men and women.

The paper concludes that injuries causing amputations are still a significant problem in Turkey. The unemployment rate and the ratio of workers without any social security are quite high and government control is insufficient in some workplaces. Workers have to work in worse conditions under the pressure of job insecurity. The ‘3 Es’ of prevention – education, enforcement, and improved engineering – should be implemented especially in industrial or construction areas to prevent amputations. Precluding illegal child labour is essential to prevent amputations in children.


The recent tragic sinking of the Costa Concordia has provoked concern for safety on the seas: Collision avoidance of ships

February 1, 2012

From Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part M: Journal of Engineering for the Maritime Environment

The recent disastrous experience of the Costa Concordia ship as it collided with rocks has provoked much concern and discussion about safety on the seas. SAGE has freed access to these two relevant articles from this journal Automatic collision avoidance of ships’ and ‘A procedure to optimize ship side structures for crashworthiness’.

The first considers automatic simulation of ship maneuvering to achieve effective safe paths on the seas and the second explores ways to optimize a conceptual ship side structure for crashworthiness with the aim of attempting to protect against rupture.


%d bloggers like this: