Sunday, September 25, 2005

walk the the talk?

Originally uploaded by Ch_P.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

How to stay awake in class

Students increase alertness by applying acupressure at stimulation points, University of Michigan Health System researchers find

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Whether it's triggered by the monotone of an instructor or insufficient rest the night before, students at all ages and grade levels sometimes have trouble staying awake in class.

Researchers at the University of Michigan Health System have found a way to combat the sleepiness and to keep students awake during class, and it doesn't have anything to do with caffeine or high-sugar snacks.

In a study published in the latest issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, they report that students in a class who were taught to self-administer acupressure treatments to stimulation points on their legs, feet, hands and heads were more alert and less fatigued.

"The study showed that a stimulation acupressure regimen leads to a statistically significant reduction in sleepiness compared to an acupressure treatment that focuses on relaxation," says Richard E. Harris, Ph.D., research investigator in the Division of Rheumatology at the U-M Medical School's Department of Internal Medicine and a researcher at the U-M Health System's Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center.

"Our finding suggests that acupressure can change alertness in people who are in classroom settings for a full day – which could be very good news for students who have trouble staying alert at school."

The 39 students who participated in the study were in the On Job/On Campus executive education program in U-M's School of Public Health who were participating in three days of all-day lecture classes. Students were taught how to self-apply acupressure regimens on either five stimulatory points or five relaxation points. The regimens consisted of light tapping with the fingers, and massaging with thumbs or forefingers.

The class was divided into two groups. One group of students was asked to self-administer acupressure to the stimulation points on the first day, followed by relaxation points on days two and three. The other group self-administered relaxation for one day, then stimulation for days two and three. Sleepiness was assessed by the validated Stanford Sleepiness Scale, and students rated their levels of sleepiness in the morning,before class began and in the late afternoon, at the conclusion of class. Acupressure was administered mid-day during the lunch period.

The fact that the stimulation group had significantly less fatigue than the other group has interesting implications for future studies of acupressure, says Harris, who himself is a trained acupuncturist.

"The idea that acupressure can have effects on human alertness needs more study, including research that can examine the scope of influence acupressure can have on alertness and fatigue," Harris says. "Ideally, research in the future will help us determine whether acupressure also can have an impact on performance in the classroom as well."

Brenda Gillespie, Ph.D., of the Course on Clinical Research Design and Statistical Analysis at the U-M School of Public Health, was the senior author. In addition to Harris and Gillespie, authors on the study were Joanne Jeter, M.D., Paul Chan, M.D., Peter Higgins, M.D., Ph.D., Feng-Ming Kong, M.D., Reza Fazel, M.D., and Candace Bramson, M.D., all of the Course on Clinical Research Design and Statistical Analysis at the U-M School of Public Health; and Cohort 11 of the U-M Clinical Research Design and Statistical Analysis Program.

Harris was supported by the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
, vol. 11, number 4.

Contact: Katie Gazella
University of Michigan Health System

[cross-posted from helicopterPop]

Sunday, September 11, 2005

beyond M.A.D.

The Pentagon has drafted a revised doctrine for the use of nuclear weapons that envisions commanders requesting presidential approval to use them to preempt an attack by a nation or a terrorist group using weapons of mass destruction. The draft also includes the option of using nuclear arms to destroy known enemy stockpiles of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons.

...from: Pentagon Revises Nuclear Strike Plan: Strategy Includes Preemptive Use Against Banned Weapons, by Walter Pincus, Washington Post, 11 September 2005

Thursday, September 08, 2005

still evolving?

....The evolution of the human brain is not quite a done deal, say researchers who've uncovered genetic evidence that man's mysterious gray matter is still undergoing beneficial change.

The scientists make their claim based on the recent evolutionary history of two genes -- microcephalin and abnormal spindle-like microcephaly-associated (ASPM) -- which appear to regulate brain size.

Over thousands of years, both genes seem to be generating new and improved versions of themselves -- beneficial mutations that are spreading rapidly among the human population to reshape and strengthen brain capacity.

"I think a lot of people might consider humans to be at the pinnacle of evolutionary lineage -- that we have achieved an advanced state as a species, and we have basically become the end-game," said study co-author Bruce T. Lahn, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and assistant professor of human genetics at the University of Chicago. "But what we found indicates that the species -- particularly when it comes to the brain, which is perhaps our most defining feature -- is still evolving." .... it all, and let's hope it's true, in Forbes: Human Brain Still Evolving

Sunday, September 04, 2005

neo-con success!

...see also:

Why So Few First Responders in New Orleans? They're in Iraq!

Friday, September 02, 2005

but the blues don't

Blues Veteran R.L. Burnside Dies


out of the mouths of babes

.... in San Francisco, by Esu, via Wooster Collective.