Archive for November, 2012

Emergency research and the interests of participants

November 29, 2012

From Medical Law International

In the UK informed consent has long been accepted as an important safeguard for protecting the interests of participants in medical research. Consent was declared to be ‘absolutely essential’ by the first principle of the 1947 Nuremberg Code. It was not until the fifth revision of the Helsinki Declaration in 2000 that this was modified to support research in an emergency situation, where it is not possible to obtain consent from the participant or a proxy before entry into the trial. This article considers the legal and ethical issues raised by research into emergency treatment for which prior informed consent is not feasible. It argues for reform of the EU legislation addressing emergency research on medicinal products and supported the relevant provisions of the Regulation proposed by the European Commission in July 2012. The prevalence principle, and the precautionary principle argued to underpin it in ‘The rights and interests of the participant’ section, requires that we at least trial more radical policies specifically directed at the distorting influence of the commercial interests of pharmaceutical companies. Such policies are particularly important in the context of emergency research given the prospective removal of the safeguard of informed consent.

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Mixed weight couples experience more relationship conflict

November 28, 2012

You’re going to eat that?: Relationship processes and conflict among mixed-weight couples

Article and Relationship Matters Podcast

From Journal of Social and Personal Relationships

Relationship Matters Podcast Number 16 “You’re going to eat that?”. Dr Tricia Burke at the University of Puget Sound, USA talks about relationship processes and conflict among mixed-weight couples. The authors recognize how weight and health can be significant issues within romantic relationships. The podcast considers a study that examines relationships where one partner is categorized as overweight and the other partner is considered a healthy weight. It used daily questionnaires to gather information regarding their lifestyle, routine, relationship conflict and eating behavior to make observations concluding that mixed weight couples experienced more conflict within their relationship.

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“We who are dark . . .:” The Black community according to Black adults in America: an exploratory content analysis

November 27, 2012

From Journal of Black Psychology

This paper compiles exploratory content analysis around the meaning of the Black community. The study used a sample of 60 Black adults in the mid-Atlantic United States examining responses to a single open-ended survey. From the survey 11 themes emerged around the meaning of the Black community: the Black community as cultural, the Black community as residential, the Black community as global, the Black community as supportive, the Black community as visibly distinctive, the Black community as socioeconomic, the Black community as nonactualized, the Black community as nondifferential, the Black community as nihilistic, the Black community as nondefinable, and the Black community as other. The complex forms and functions of the Black community are outlined, as well as more about the social forces involved in its mental constructions. The findings have important implications for mental health programs and policies designed for Black adults in America, and at the same time, they spawn a new set of questions to be answered. Results suggest it is important to continue to ask and seek answers to these seemingly basic questions if we are going to be responsive most effectively to the mental health needs of “we who are dark”.

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Long term benefit of treating Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with MDMA-assisted Psychotherapy

November 22, 2012

Durability of Improvement in PTSD Symptoms and absence of harmful effects or drug dependency after MDMA-assisted Psychotherapy: A Prospective Long-Term Follow-up Study

From Journal of Psychopharmacology

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can be a chronic, severely disabling condition. Existing pharmacological and psychotherapeutic treatments for PTSD are effective for many but not all sufferers, a need for research into a wider array of more effective treatments is widely recognized.  Over a decade ago, the authors conceived a study in an attempt to develop and test a novel therapy for PTSD. This follow up work reports very long-term outcome results in the original cohort demonstrating sustained benefit over time, no cases of subsequent drug abuse and no reports of neurocognitive declines. The impressive results indicate a favorable long-term risk/benefit ratio for PTSD treatment with a few doses of pure MDMA administered in a supportive setting in conjunction with psychotherapy.

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The space between – positioning student voice at the heart of leadership in education

November 21, 2012

Special Issue

From Management in Education

The concept of ‘student voice’ is no less contested today than it was when first introduced formally into Scottish Universities over one hundred years ago. As a growing international movement, student voice balances precariously between forces associated with social justice and democracy, and those belonging to a neo-liberal agenda. This special edition considers the ‘student voice’ through a series of articles from leading national and international practitioners and academics positioning student voice at the heart of leadership in education.

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Male politicians have “bigger heads” in more gender-equal cultures

November 20, 2012

Cultural Differences in Face-ism: Male Politicians Have Bigger Heads in More Gender-Equal Cultures

From Psychology of Women Quarterly

When it comes to analyzing gender stereotypes in the media, studies have shown that photographs of men focus on male faces while photographs of women are more focused on women’s bodies. This study finds that this type of “face-ism” is even more extreme in cultures with less educational, professional, and political gender discrimination. The authors observe “Being in a relatively egalitarian cultural context does not shield politicians from this face-ism bias; in fact, it exacerbates it.” The researchers examined the differences in face-ism by measuring the facial prominence of over 6, 500 male and female political figures in photographs from more than 25 different cultures. Facial prominence was determined by measuring the length of the head in a photograph. The researchers then analyzed these face/body ratios by culture and found that women’s bodies were more prominent in photographs from cultures in which women have more educational, professional, and political opportunities. The authors claimed that stereotypes associated with each gender are more divergent in richer and more institutionally gender-equal cultures overall, and that these photographs are simply a visual representation of a deeply-ingrained, cultural concept.  “The face-ism bias is likely due to unconscious influences simply making politicians and their support staff aware of this bias and its negative implications for female politicians could reduce this bias.”

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German nuclear exit delivers economic and environmental benefits

November 15, 2012

Special Issue: The German nuclear exit

From The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Following the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in 2011, the German government took the nation’s eight oldest reactors offline immediately and passed legislation that will close the last nuclear power plant by 2022. This nuclear phase-out had overwhelming political support in Germany. Elsewhere, many saw it as “panic politics,” and the online business magazine Forbes.com went as far as to ask, in a headline, whether the decision was “Insane — or Just Plain Stupid.”

This special issue shows that the nuclear shutdown and an accompanying move toward renewable energy are already yielding measurable economic and environmental benefits. In his overview article Princeton researcher Alexander Glaser observes “Germany’s nuclear phase-out could provide a proof-of-concept, demonstrating the political and technical feasibility of abandoning a controversial high-risk technology. Germany’s nuclear phase-out, successful or not, is likely to become a game changer for nuclear energy worldwide.”

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Special 40th anniversary issue of Educational Management Administration & Leadership: A historical review of major themes

November 14, 2012

Special 40th anniversary issue

From Educational Management Administration & Leadership

This special 40th anniversary issue features review papers from leading academics on six of the major and enduring themes in the field, and it coincides with the 40th anniversary of BELMAS (British Educational Leadership, Management and Administration Society), which owns the journal.

The field of educational leadership is replete with theories or models, purporting to explain, or to advocate, specific leadership approaches. In this issue the Editorial Board identified six topics that have been of enduring significance during the past 40 years, and invited leading authors to prepare overview articles on these themes, drawing from EMAL articles and other sources. The articles collectively provide a longitudinal overview of major themes in educational leadership and management over the life of the journal, in the UK and beyond.

An accompanying special 40th anniversary issue podcast was also recorded. Megan Crawford, Reader at the University of Cambridge and Co-Editor of volume 40, issue 5, and Ron Glatter, Emeritus Professor of Educational Administration and Management at The Open University and author of one of the articles within the special issue, discuss the issues of accountability and autonomy in England over the course of BELMAS and the journal’s forty year history.

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New WalMart stores put large retailers out of business, mom-and-pop stores less affected

November 13, 2012

Special Focus Issue: WalMart

From Economic Development Quarterly

Ranked as one of America’s largest corporations and the largest private employer in the United States, some say that WalMart stores are catalysts for economic growth in U.S. communities, while others claim that they can have damaging effects on local shops. However, this special focus issue finds that it is the larger retailers such as Ames Department Stores, Sears, and Kmart that lose business with the arrival of a new WalMart store, while smaller retailers are not affected to the same extent. “Wal-Mart predominantly might be replacing stores already characterized by nonlocal management,” wrote the authors. “This seems to contradict a widely held belief that Wal-Mart hurts locally owned subsidiary business establishments.” Using Indiana as a case study, researchers studied the financial impact of new WalMart stores on establishments nearby. They found that competing stores with 49 or fewer employees were affected very little after a Wal-Mart was opened in the county and competing stores with 50 to 99 employees received a very small negative impact, while stores with 100 to 249 workers closed at a rate of about .5 stores per year, and competing stores with over 250 workers closed at a rate of 1.5 stores per year.

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Long-term benefits of smartphone use to aid those suffering memory loss

November 9, 2012

Long-term benefits of the Memory-Link programme in a case of amnesia

From Clinical Rehabilitation

Research suggests that electronic devices (pagers, PDAs, smartphones) are effective memory aids for individuals with mild or moderate-to-severe memory impairment. This study assesses a single case where a woman with longstanding memory impairment undergoes a Memory-Link programme. This programme offers training on an electronic device and aims to tap into intact procedural memory to enable skill learning in the use of mobile technologies. The assessment examines clinical gains 18 months after completion of the programme.  A phone call task was used as an objective measure of prospective memory function. self-report, ecologically valid questionnaires were also completed to further assess generalization of smartphone use to day-to-day memory function. The subject retained excellent technical use of her smartphone and continued to use it independently in her daily life. She reported making fewer memory mistakes at the 18-month follow-up than she did at all other time points. In conclusion, the current study demonstrates for the first time that treatment gains from a memory intervention programme in electronic device use can be maintained for at least 18 months post intervention.

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