No, MA White Men Are Not Dying More, Young Men are and Women

Standard

Looks like there are some serious methodological errors in the much touted see links below*  Turns out the headlines and main takes aways are wrong based on somewhat subtle method problems.  Below are quotes from a paper that debunks.

“The mortality patterns and trends revealed by the data, and the range of public health narratives that can be told, are richer and more complex than those presented by Case and Deaton, which were the focus of dozens of newspaper reports.

”As well as quantitatively reducing the reported mortality rate increase, which had captured so much media attention, the correction also qualitatively changed the findings in two ways:
– first, male and female trends were no longer similar enough to be meaningfully grouped together with still-worsening mortality trends for women over that period but a reversal in these adverse trends for men;
– second, if males and females are to be combined, the reported continuously worsening trend in death rates from 1999 onwards would need to be amended to describe a stabilization from around 2005, which may now even be reversing.

the greatest relative increases in mortality seem to be in younger adults, rather than the 45-54 year age group which Case and Deaton focused on. Continue reading

Brain Fail: Our Brains Really Fight Against Creative Ideas

Standard

“Just as people have deeply-rooted biases against people of a certain age, race or gender that are not necessarily overt, so too can people hold deeply-rooted negative views of creativity that are not openly acknowledged.

uncertainty spurs the search for and generation of creative ideas, yet our findings reveal that uncertainty also makes us less able to recognize creativity, perhaps when we need it most.” Continue reading

oh oh – “…guppies have been shown to differentiate ratios with levels of precision similar to that of undergraduate college students. “

Standard

via  — Growth

“…the subcortex may serve as the source upon which more general representation or knowledge is constructed across the course of development.

Certain numerical abilities appear to be relatively ubiquitous in the animal kingdom, including the ability to recognize and differentiate relative quantities. This skill is present in human adults and children, as well as in nonhuman primates and, perhaps surprisingly, is also demonstrated by lower species such as mosquitofish and spiders, despite the absence of cortical computation available to primates. This ubiquity of numerical competence suggests that representations that connect to numerical tasks are likely subserved by evolutionarily conserved regions of the nervous system. Continue reading

Harsh Prognosis: Best We Can Do for Mental Illnesses is Palliative Care, For Now

Standard

“Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious illness. This type of care is focused on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family.”

The new head of the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) is very bright and accomplished. All of the scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are the “best and brightest.” Around the world, some of the best doctors, scientists and researchers and public and private charitable institutions are investing massive resources in understanding the brain and how it causes behavior.  But the brain is very, very complicated. Very. Continue reading

Human Exceptionalism Fail: “Nonhuman primates model language evolution”

Standard

“Nonhuman primates were long seen as lacking many of the key elements that enable language in humans…Snowdon discusses recent research that challenge this assumption Continue reading