Poor Children’s Brain Activity Resembles That Of Stroke Victims, EEG Shows

‘Previous studies have shown a possible link between frontal lobe function and behavioral differences in children from low and high socioeconomic levels, but according to cognitive psychologist Mark Kishiyama, first author of the new paper, “those studies were only indirect measures of brain function and could not disentangle the effects of intelligence, language proficiency and other factors that tend to be associated with low socioeconomic status. Our study is the first with direct measure of brain activity where there is no issue of task complexity.”

Co-author W. Thomas Boyce, UC Berkeley professor emeritus of public health who currently is the British Columbia Leadership Chair of Child Development at the University of British Columbia (UBC), is not surprised by the results. “We know kids growing up in resource-poor environments have more trouble with the kinds of behavioral control that the prefrontal cortex is involved in regulating. But the fact that we see functional differences in prefrontal cortex response in lower socioeconomic status kids is definitive.”

Boyce, a pediatrician and developmental psychobiologist, heads a joint UC Berkeley/UBC research program called WINKS – Wellness in Kids – that looks at how the disadvantages of growing up in low socioeconomic circumstances change children's basic neural development over the first several years of life.

“This is a wake-up call,” Knight said. “It's not just that these kids are poor and more likely to have health problems, but they might actually not be getting full brain development from the stressful and relatively impoverished environment associated with low socioeconomic status: fewer books, less reading, fewer games, fewer visits to museums.” ‘

via Science Daily.


R.I.P. Forrest J Ackerman

Sci-Fi’s No. 1 Fanboy Dies at 92: Ackerman was the beloved founder and editor of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, which was one of my mainstays throgh my childhood from as soon as I was allowed to watch monster movies. Some say he was the inventor of the term sci-fi.



Free Public WiFi?

“Have you seen this wireless network? I see it *everywhere*, and it’s so suspicious because it’s always ad-hoc (meaning broadcasting from a computer rather than a regular access point). I imagined for a long time it was part of a virus; it waits for someone to connect, redirects to a page that exploits some hole in Internet Explorer, scrapes your hard disk and sends your social security number to Russia, sets itself up as “Free Public WiFi”, repeat.

After seeing it for the thousandth time at the train station Philadelphia yesterday I decided to look it up. Turns out it’s not a virus (at least not in the usual sense) but rather an interesting fuckup on Microsoft’s part, with viral consequences.” [Read on for the explanation…]

via JSTN.


Self-Embedding Disorder: NOT

This is a newly-coined term appearing in a press release by the Radiological Society of North America to describe a form of self-injurious behavior, with which we psychiatrists are (unfortunately) far too familiar already. Placing foreign bodies such as hairpins and straightened paper clips into self-inflicted wounds and embedding them under the skin is, admittedly, a new trend in self-abuse, if we can believe the radiologists, whose press release describes the safety and efficacy of minimally-invasive image-guided treatment for the extraction of such objects. However, there is no need for a new diagnosis. Indeed, self-injuriousness in general is not an illness, or a diagnosis, unto itself, but rather a symptom of a variety of diagnoses. A fortiori for a particular kind of self-injuriousness. This illustrates one of the epistemological confusions plaguing the system for diagnosing behavioral problems, and is a perfect example of the needless proliferation of diagnostic categories.

Via The Neurocritic (By the way, I think the Neurocritic piece meant to discuss “foreign bodies”, not “foreign bodes”.)


The Five Stages of Collapse

I-35W Bridge Collapse(6)

Dmitry Orlov: “Hello, everyone! The talk you are about to hear is the result of a lengthy process on my part. My specialty is in thinking about and, unfortunately, predicting collapse. My method is based on comparison: I watched the Soviet Union collapse, and, since I am also familiar with the details of the situation in the United States, I can make comparisons between these two failed superpowers.”

Via Energy Bulletin via the null device. Orlov describes five stages of collapse — financial, commercial, political, social and cultural, and places the progress of the collapse of the US on that map.


The coming neurological epidemic

“Biochemist Gregory Petsko makes a convincing argument that, in the next 50 years, we'll see an epidemic of neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer's, as the world population ages. His solution: more research into the brain and its functions. He also shares a few simple things we can do for ourselves to keep our brains healthy. (Recorded February 2008 in Monterey, California. Duration: 3:46.)”

via TED.