@ACSReactions Video: Thanksgiving edition – What happens when you eat too much!

Just in time for the holidays!

CauseScience

What Happens When You Eat Too Much – Reactions
The season of giving is often also the season of over-indulging at the dinner table. As Thanksgiving approaches, Reactions takes a look down at our stomachs to find out what happens when you overeat. Put on your “eating pants” enjoy the video and don’t forget to subscribe!http://bit.ly/ACSReactions

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Neat Science Thursday – Citizen Science of Biomedical Research

I won’t spoil it for you, but here’s a great Tedx talk about building the knowledge base of biology using citizen science. And in case you’re wondering…yes, this is what Mark2Cure is all about! Enjoy!

See it here:
TEDx talk on Citizen Science for Biology | The Su Lab.

Neat Science Thursday – Videogames and violence

News flash, a new study was just released on PLOS ONE examining the effects of violent video games on levels of aggression. Now before you freak out about whether or not more arbitrary ratings should be used to label video games, you should actually read the research article first (it’s open-access and really interesting, so enjoy!)

I know you don’t play these RPGs in first person to look at the pretty landscape!

Then be sure that you don’t generalize these findings to all video games just yet. This study was only comparing a First Person Shooter (Call of Duty Modern Warfare) with a puzzle-platform game (little big planet 2) rather than a ‘neutral’ first person game because the authors were unable to identify such a game. Forget all you role playing gamers who play in first person perspective…I’m sure you only play to kill monsters and don’t care for the long and intricate narrative anyway. I’m sure you ignore all those NPC requests for help, because neutral first person perspective games just aren’t popular. Eat that Elderscrolls, you give the player too many options! Forget you, you miscellaneous first person golf games—you’re too boring! There are just no good neutral first person games to compare against a first person shooter. Don’t worry, the researchers were aware of this issue, and will be sure to expand on this study once they identify a non-violent first person game.

It’s a bit tricky to define violence, so the most clear and obvious case of it was used for this study. This explains why more ambiguous games where killing monsters is optional is not used as a comparison. Eg- My bro once spent hours in a 1st person RPG just jumping in order to increase his acrobatic skill.

Because playing a golf video game is just as dull as playing a real life golf game.

The researchers did have a very clever method for studying aggression. Not sure it’s an accurate measure of aggression, but it is definitely very clever.

The researchers used the General Aggression Model (GAM) for this study (this is not where the cleverness comes in). “A widely accepted model for understanding media effects, the GAM posits that cognition, affect and arousal mediate an individual’s perception of a situation. Thus, in the short-term a violent video game may temporarily increase aggression through the activation of one or more of these domains. In the long-term aggressive scripts can develop and become more readily available.”

Here’s the clever part: To measure the alterations in aggression (or arousal) the researchers measured the amount of chili sauce to which the player was willing to subject a non-existent pepper-sensitive taste-tester. The more aggressive player would be more willing to subject a pepper-sensitive person to more pain. Indeed, the researchers found that subjects that played the first person shooter put more chili sauce than subjects that played the puzzle-platform game. Furthermore, subjects that played the first person shooter online (in a more competitive environment) used even more chili sauce than subjects that played the FPS offline.

The researchers did take some measures of affect (emotional state of the players), but didn’t see a difference thus didn’t pursue the matter further. It’s unclear if the FPS and the puzzle-platform game induced different levels of arousal and if levels of arousal could be distinguished from aggression in the chili sauce test. Would be interesting to see how someone playing a Kinect running game would compare in this test. Just a little food for thought.

A Veterans Day Tribute

Re-blogged from: http://directorsblog.nih.gov/2014/11/11/a-veterans-day-tribute/

    Today, we celebrate Veterans Day. On this special day, let us pause and salute all who have served and honor the tremendous sacrifices made by members of the U.S. armed forces and their families to preserve our freedom.

    This occasion also gives us an opportunity to acknowledge the many important contributions of the veterans who are now working here at NIH. Currently, our agency employs about 1,000 veterans and is making a concerted effort to add even more to our ranks. As a result of these outreach and recruitment efforts, NIH hired 122 veterans during fiscal year 2014… 48 of whom were disabled veterans, I’m proud to report.

    As is the case for everyone who works at NIH, these veterans are using their knowledge, skills, and experience to help advance NIH’s mission. In fact, I’d like to share a thought from one of these veterans, Jayne Lura-Brown, a program analyst at our National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. In her profile on the “Jobs at NIH” web site, this Navy veteran says: “No matter what level or type of career we find ourselves in, NIH has something for us—that something that we all want, which is the chance, or another chance—to do something meaningful and to continue to be a part of something GREAT.”

    For Jayne and other NIH veterans, their next chance includes pursuing medical, hospital, dental, and public health careers. Their new mission is to fight cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and other common disabling disorders, bringing their unique military training and resolve to help turn scientific discoveries into better health for all. For any veteran interested in joining us at NIH, I’m including links at the bottom of this post to help you get started.

    Last week, Jayne helped to organize the fourth annual NIH Veterans Day Celebration. I participated in the event and was inspired by the life story of the keynote speaker, Retired Commander Everett Alvarez, Jr. Fifty years ago, as a young man based on a Navy aircraft carrier in the South China Sea, Alvarez became the first pilot shot down and held as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. After eight grueling years of captivity, he returned home as the second longest-held POW in U.S. history. Today, you would never know it. His quick sense of humor and successful career in business speak volumes about a life well served, inside and outside of the military.

    But we must never forget that not all return. As a reminder, the Setting of the Missing Man Table was performed during the NIH ceremony. This moving military tradition pays special tribute to a soldier missing, fallen, or imprisoned. I’d like to share a video of the Setting of the Missing Man Table in special appreciation on this Veterans Day.

    Veterans, I know that I speak for all of us at NIH in offering sincere thanks for your personal sacrifices, past and present. We will continue to open our doors to you at NIH, and we look forward to working alongside more veterans in the future.

See the original post here.

More on the scientific/medical contributions of the military here:

A History of Military Contributions. Source: The Phoenix Patriot, Winter 2012