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Deficit Decision-making Linked to DUI

ISTANBUL, Turkey, Sept. 10 (UPI) — Turkish and British researchers say those who relapse and drive under the influence have subtle deficits in decision-making abilities that may to go undetected.

Muzaffer Kasar, resident in psychiatry at the Bakirkoy Research and Training Hospital in Istanbul, Turkey, and David J. Nutt, a professor of psychiatry at Imperial College, London, say decision-making cognition had not been investigated in DUI recidivists before this study.

The researchers assessed 34 male, second-time DUI offenders who had been selected for an official psychoeducational rehabilitation program, as well as 31 healthy non-offenders who were matched for age, education and alcohol use.

All participants were given psychiatric assessments, conventional neuropsychological testing, the Iowa Gambling Task and the Temperament and Character Inventory to assess personality patterns, Kasar says.

“First, we found that second-time DUI offenders have a poorer performance on the IGT test than their matched counterparts,” Kasar said. “The IGT is used in many studies investigating decision-making cognition in problems related to alcohol. Deficits in many neuropsychological testing may not necessarily reflect daily living problems associated with alcohol abuse, as some of the abusers could perform fairly well in conventional neuropsychological testing.”

The study is published online ahead of print in the December issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

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Deficit Decision-making Linked to DUI

ISTANBUL, Turkey, Sept. 10 (UPI) — A Turkish researcher say those who relapse and drive under the influence had subtle deficits in their decision-making abilities that may to go undetected.

Muzaffer Kasar, resident in psychiatry at the Bakirkoy Research and Training Hospital in Istanbul, Turkey, and David J. Nutt, a professor of psychiatry at Imperial College, London, say decision-making cognition had not been investigated in DUI recidivists before this study.

The researchers assessed 34 male, second-time DUI offenders who had been selected for an official psychoeducational rehabilitation program, as well as 31 healthy non-offenders who were matched for age, education and alcohol use.

All participants were given psychiatric assessments, conventional neuropsychological testing, the Iowa Gambling Task and the Temperament and Character Inventory to assess personality patterns. Kasar says.

“First, we found that second-time DUI offenders have a poorer performance on the IGT test than their matched counterparts,” Kasar says. “The IGT is used in many studies investigating decision-making cognition in problems related to alcohol. Deficits in many neuropsychological testing may not necessarily reflect daily living problems associated with alcohol abuse, as some of the abusers could perform fairly well in conventional neuropsychological testing.”

The study is published online ahead of print in the December issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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More Education, Less Heart Risk, for Some

ATLANTA, Sept. 8 (UPI) — In high-income countries, the more education a person has, the lower the heart and stroke risk, U.S. researchers say.

However, the study, published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, finds highly educated women in low- and middle-income countries had a slight increase in the incidence of fatal and non-fatal heart attack and stroke.

This may be due to higher smoking rates in women with greater education levels in low-, middle- and high-income regions, the study says.

Smoking, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, typically declines as formal education rises, but researchers found nearly half of the highly educated women from high-income countries smoked, compared with 35 percent for those with the least amount of schooling.

In low- and middle-income countries, smoking rates among the most-educated women are 21 percent versus 14 percent among the least educated.

In men, smoking rates were almost the same across educational groups in low- and middle-income countries. In richer countries, the most-educated men smoked less than did men with the fewest years of formal education.

“We can’t assume that just because certain groups are more educated than others that they’re going to have healthier lifestyles,” the lead author, Dr. Abhinav Goyal of the Emory School of Medicine in Atlanta, said in a statement.

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17 Million in U.S. Have Low Food Security

ATHENS, Ohio, Sept. 7 (UPI) — About 17 million Americans, including 1.1 million children, experienced very low food security, and about 49 million have some food insecurity, researchers say.

Food insecurity was defined by the researchers as limited or intermittent access to nutritionally adequate, safe and acceptable foods accessed in socially acceptable ways.

David H. Holben, professor of nutrition and director of the didactic program in dietetics at Ohio University, wrote the position paper for the American Dietetic Association on U.S. food insecurity calling for funding for food and nutrition assistance programs, increased nutrition education, and efforts to promote economic self-sufficiency for all households and individuals.

The paper calls access to food “a basic human need and fundamental right.”

“In children, adolescents and adults, negative nutrition and non-nutrition-related outcomes have been associated with food insecurity, including substandard academic achievement, inadequate intake of key nutrients, poor health, chronic disease risk and development, and poor psychological and cognitive functioning,” position paper says.

The paper, published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, says households receiving help from emergency food providers such as pantries, kitchens and shelters appear to be particularly vulnerable to food insecurity.

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Stolen University Laptop Had Personal Info

GAINESVILLE, Fla., Sept. 1 (UPI) — Personal information on more than 8,300 students and employees of a lab school at the University of Florida was on a laptop stolen last month, officials say.

The information on students and workers at the P.K. Yonge Development Research School included employee payroll, employee parking permit and current and former student information dating back to 2000 and included names, Social Security numbers and, in some cases, Florida driver’s license numbers, a university release said Tuesday.

P.K. Yonge is a kindergarten-through-grade-12 laboratory school affiliated with university’s College of Education.

University officials say they have confirmed no student academic or medical records were on the computer.

Also, no credit card information was on the computer, they said.

School officials have mailed letters to 841 people notifying them their information was breached, but say contact information may not be available for everyone with information on the computer.

“We regret that this incident occurred and are working diligently to notify the people who may be impacted by this theft,” P.K. Yonge Director Fran Vandiver said.

The laptop computer was stolen July 23 from the rental car of a P.K. Yonge employee in San Francisco. The theft was reported to California police and later to the University of Florida Police Department.

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College Students Intervene on Risky Action

TEMPE, Ariz., Aug. 31 (UPI) — College students will intervene using three communication strategies to keep a female friend from risky sexual behavior after drinking, researchers say.

Linda C. Lederman, a professor of communication at Arizona State University, says 75 percent of the study participants reported they would make sure a female friend is safe while under the influence of alcohol by persuading the friend not to go home with a new male acquaintance or making sure she got home safely.

The participants reported three ways they prevent friends from going home with strangers after drinking:

– Stress the regret associated with negative health and social consequences of casual sex, include getting pregnant, developing a bad reputation and regretting their decision in the morning.

– Use trickery or deception to remove friends from a risky situation by getting food or putting them into a cab to go home.

– Directly confronting friends by specifically telling them they need to leave, or physically removing them from a situation.

“Our research suggests that the claim that college students routinely engage in risky sexual behavior while intoxicated may be exaggerated,” Lederman says in a statement.

The findings are published in the journal Communication Education.

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Kids Do Homework if They Plan Any College

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Aug. 24 (UPI) — Children are more likely to do homework if they see themselves as engineers or teachers than if they see themselves working in sports, a U.S. researcher says.

Daphna Oyserman of the University of Michigan says nine out of 10 students see themselves as attending at least a two-year college. However, only those students who connect future job earnings to education are likely to work hard on homework.

Oyserman, graduate student Mesmin Destin and colleagues conducted a study that found Detroit middle-school children presented information connecting adult earnings to education were eight times more likely to do an extra credit assignment than those given a presentation about actors, musicians and sports figures.

“Even among children with the same starting grades, expecting to be a teacher, an engineer, or a nurse when you grow up predicts that they’ll invest more time in homework,” Oyserman says in a statement. “And, not surprisingly, they will have better grades over time than children who expect to have a job in sports, entertainment, or other areas that don’t depend on having an education.”

In one experiment 266 students were asked about jobs they see themselves having as adults. In another, 295 students were either shown jobs linked to education or jobs independent of education.

The study is published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

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Immigrant May Need More Than a Translation

MADISON, Wis., Aug. 23 (UPI) — Some immigrants in the United States may need more than translations to grasp what is involved in cancer treatment, researchers found.

Tracy Schroepfer of the University of Wisconsin-Madison said cancer educators may find it difficult to explain cancer detection and prevention to people who may not even have a word for cancer.

This was the case in the Hmong population — members of a hill tribe in Laos that emigrated to the United States after the Vietnam war and number about 60,000 in Wisconsin today.

“Medical interventions fail if the intervention does not match the community’s level of readiness to address the issue,” Schroepfer said in a statement. “Hmong community members need to be the educators. They understand the belief system and can talk to people about it, reframe the experience of cancer.”

The three-year study of the Hmong population in Wisconsin, published in Journal of Cancer Education, relied on community leaders to set the agenda.

“They own the data, and I have to obtain permission to use it,” Schroepfer said. “It’s a very different way to do research, and it takes a long time because the researcher must be committed to spending the time to build a relationship with community partners.”

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Atlantic 'garbage Patch' Discovered

WOODS HOLE, Mass., Aug. 19 (UPI) — A giant floating patch of plastic debris has been identified in the North Atlantic, and U.S. marine biologists studying the phenomenon say it has them worried.

The extent of the affected area rivals the “great Pacific garbage patch” in the world’s other great ocean, which generated an outcry over the effects of plastic waste on marine wildlife, Britain’s The Independent reported Thursday.

The plastic waste, discovered east of Bermuda, is made up mostly of fragments less than a few millimeters wide, but its concentration and location has biologists concerned about its effect on marine life.

Most of the plastic appears to be small bits of polyethylene or polypropylene, which are less dense than seawater and float near to the surface.

Small fragments of plastic may pose a greater menace to marine life than larger fragments that become entangled with animals such as albatrosses and turtles, one researcher said.

“We know that smaller pieces of plastic are eaten and it’s unclear what happens to that plastic then,” Kara Lavender Law from the Sea Education Association in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, said. “But clearly biological organisms were not designed to eat plastic.”

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Committed Teen Sex Does Not Affect Grades

ATLANTA, Aug. 16 (UPI) — Sexual intercourse between U.S. teens in committed romantic relationships is often academically harmless, compared to abstinence, researchers found.

Sociologists Bill McCarthy of the University of California-Davis and Eric Grodsky of the University of Minnesota said their study considered nine education measures of high-school students, who had sex in a committed relationship, sex in an uncommitted relationship and among abstainers. The nine measures were: school attachment, high-school grade point average, college aspiration, college expectations, problems in school, truancy, the number of days truant, school sanctions such as being suspended or expelled and dropping out.

“Compared to abstinence, sexual intercourse in committed romantic relationships is often academically harmless, whereas in other types of relationships it is more detrimental,” McCarthy and Grodsky said in a statement. “Females and males who have sex only with romantic partners are generally similar to abstainers on most of the education measures we examined.”

However, the researchers said teens who have sex only with partners with whom they are not romantically involved were at greater risk of — experiencing problems in school, being suspended or expelled, being less likely to expect to attend college, being less attached to school and getting lower grades.

The findings, presented at the American Sociological Association’s 105th annual meeting, raise doubts about the veracity of sexual education programs that link adolescent sex to a plethora of negative outcomes, the researchers said.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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