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1.  What Can Your Accountant Do For You? 
Canadian Family Physician  1977;23:39-40.
Physicians who complain about accountants' exhorbitant fees may not be getting their money's worth - because they aren't asking enough of their accountants. Besides preparing tax returns, accountants can set up bookkeeping procedures, advise on financial management and generally put the doctor more in control of his own income.
PMCID: PMC2378839
2.  Your client credibility: are your pharmacy practices helping or hindering? 
The Canadian Veterinary Journal  2004;45(8):695-699.
When recommending a specific pharmaceutical, more has to be taken into account than whether the API is indicated for the illness in question. Based on the preceding discussion, product source can have a tremendous impact on efficacy, on therapeutic success, and on practitioners' credibility in the eyes of their clients. However, product source goes beyond simple credibility, encompassing professional ethics and liability. In answering the Ethical question of the month--December 2001 "Should private veterinary practitioners be allowed to produce autogenous vaccines or compound antimicrobial products for use in food producing animals?" Rollin concluded, "one cannot envision a clearer case of unethical behavior." The reality is that quality assurance, efficacy, potency, and safety are not defined for compounded products, and should veterinarians choose to script or dispense one, the responsibility for its quality, efficacy, potency, and safety falls squarely on their shoulders. Ultimately, this also translates into 100% liability should an ADR, illness, or lack of effect, befall the patient. While having access to ELDU and compounded products is crucial in facilitating the treatment of the various diseases that veterinarians face, the regulatory freedom that gives them this choice carries heightened responsibilities when electing this option. In a nutshell, ethical and responsible principles of pharmacy dictate that a veterinarian's first choice should be a veterinary-licensed pharmaceutical for the indication in question. Should this not exist, ELDU of a licensed product with clinically derived therapeutic protocols should be the next choice. Compounded pharmaceuticals should only be used when no licensed (those sporting a DIN) product exists, and extreme cautions should be exercised when using transdermal formulations. Liability dictates that this decision be undertaken with informed consent of the owner and with appropriate due diligence when selecting a compounding service provider. Various articles have been written that provide the veterinarian with guidance when making this decision.
PMCID: PMC2751705  PMID: 15368747
3.  “You're just one of the group when you're embedded”: report from a mixed-method investigation of the research-embedded health librarian experience* 
Embedded librarianship has received much attention in recent years. A model of embeddedness rarely discussed to date is that of research-embedded health librarians (REHLs). This study explores the characteristics of Canadian REHLs and the situations in which they are employed.
The authors employed a sequential, mixed-method design. An online survey provided descriptive statistics about REHLs' positions and work experiences. This informed a series of focus group interviews that expanded upon the survey. Through constant comparison, we conducted qualitative descriptive analysis of the interviews.
Based on twenty-nine survey responses and four group interviews, we created a portrait of a “typical” REHL and discovered themes relevant to REHL work. REHLs may identify more strongly as researchers than as librarians, with corresponding professional needs and rewards. REHLs value “belonging” to the research team, involvement in full project lifecycles, and in-depth relationships with nonlibrarian colleagues. Despite widely expressed job satisfaction, many REHLs struggle with isolation from library and information science peers and relative lack of job security.
REHLs differ from non-embedded health librarians, as well as from other types of embedded librarians. REHLs' work also differs from just a decade or two ago, prior to widespread Internet access to digital resources.
Given that research-embedded librarianship appears to be a distinct and growing subset of health librarianship, libraries, master's of library and information science programs, and professional associations will need to respond to the support and education needs of REHLs or risk losing them to the health research field.
PMCID: PMC3794684  PMID: 24163600
4.  The price of your soul: neural evidence for the non-utilitarian representation of sacred values 
Sacred values, such as those associated with religious or ethnic identity, underlie many important individual and group decisions in life, and individuals typically resist attempts to trade off their sacred values in exchange for material benefits. Deontological theory suggests that sacred values are processed based on rights and wrongs irrespective of outcomes, while utilitarian theory suggests that they are processed based on costs and benefits of potential outcomes, but which mode of processing an individual naturally uses is unknown. The study of decisions over sacred values is difficult because outcomes cannot typically be realized in a laboratory, and hence little is known about the neural representation and processing of sacred values. We used an experimental paradigm that used integrity as a proxy for sacredness and which paid real money to induce individuals to sell their personal values. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we found that values that people refused to sell (sacred values) were associated with increased activity in the left temporoparietal junction and ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, regions previously associated with semantic rule retrieval. This suggests that sacred values affect behaviour through the retrieval and processing of deontic rules and not through a utilitarian evaluation of costs and benefits.
PMCID: PMC3260841  PMID: 22271790
functional magnetic resonance imaging; sacred values; utility; deontologic; rules
5.  Roll-your-own tobacco use among Canadian youth: is it a bigger problem than we think? 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:557.
Despite the apparent decline in the popularity of roll-your-own (RYO) cigarettes over the past few decades, RYO tobacco products are widely available and used by a substantial number of adult smokers. Considering research has yet to examine the prevalence of RYO tobacco use among youth populations, this manuscript examines the prevalence of RYO tobacco use and factors associated with RYO use in a nationally representative sample of youth smokers from Canada.
This study used data collected from 3,630 current smokers in grades 9 to 12 as part of the 2008-09 Canadian Youth Smoking Survey (YSS). Descriptive analyses of the sample demographic characteristics, smoking status, cigarettes per day, weekly spending money, and frequency of marijuana use were examined by RYO tobacco ever use and RYO tobacco current use. Two logistic regression models were used to examine factors associated with RYO tobacco ever use and RYO tobacco current use.
We identified that 51.2% of current smokers were RYO ever users and 24.2% were RYO current users. The prevalence of RYO current users was highest in Atlantic Canada (40.1%) and lowest in Quebec (12.3%). RYO current users were more likely to be male (OR 1.27), to be daily smokers (OR 1.75), to use marijuana once a month or more (OR 2.74), and to smoke 11 or more cigarettes per day (OR 6.52). RYO current users were less likely to be in grade 11 (OR 0.65) or grade 12 (OR 0.40) and less likely to have between $20 to $100 (OR 0.44) or more than $100 (OR 0.45) of disposable income.
Developing a better understanding of RYO tobacco use among youth is important for advancing population-level tobacco control prevention strategies and cessation programs. We identified that RYO tobacco use is not a negligible problem among Canadian youth. Ongoing research is needed to continue monitoring the prevalence of RYO use among youth and the factors associated with its use, but to also monitor if this more affordable tobacco product is being targeted to price sensitive youth smokers.
PMCID: PMC3434020  PMID: 22834563
Roll-your-own tobacco; Disposable income; Youth; Drug use; Smoking
6.  Role of sodium hyaluronate (Healonid) in triangular flap trabeculectomy. 
The role of sodium hyaluronate (Healonid) in trabeculectomy to prevent a shallow or flat anterior chamber and hypotonia in the immediate postoperative period is reported. Twenty-nine eyes of 27 patients were included in a randomised controlled study. Thirteen eyes had trabeculectomy alone, and 16 eyes had trabeculectomy performed with Healonid injected into the anterior chamber. The results showed that shallowing of the anterior chamber and hypotonia occurred in both groups until day 21 postoperatively. There was no statistically significant difference between the two groups (p greater than 0.05). Healonid has no significant value in maintaining anterior chamber depth and preventing hypotonia in the early postoperative period following trabeculectomy.
PMCID: PMC1040521  PMID: 3880641
7.  Your own actions influence how you perceive other people: A misattribution of action appraisals 
The attribution of personal traits to other persons depends on the actions the observer performs at the same time (Bach & Tipper, 2007). Here, we show that the effect reflects a misattribution of appraisals of the observers’ own actions to the actions of others. We exploited spatial compatibility effects to manipulate how fluently—how fast and how accurately—participants identified two individuals performing sporty or academic actions. The traits attributed to each person in a subsequent rating task depended on the fluency of participants’ responses in a specific manner. An individual more fluently identified while performing the academic action appeared more academic and less sporty. An individual more fluently identified while performing the sporty action appeared sportier. Thus, social perception is—at least partially—embodied. The ease of our own responses can be misattributed to the actions of others, affecting which personal traits are attributed to them.
PMCID: PMC2954360  PMID: 21633518
Social perception; Trait attribution; Fluency; Embodiment; Cingulate cortex; Action observation
8.  Fight for your breeding right: hierarchy re-establishment predicts aggression in a social queue 
Biology Letters  2010;7(2):190-193.
Social aggression is one of the most conspicuous features of animal societies, yet little is known about the causes of individual variation in aggression within social hierarchies. Recent theory suggests that when individuals form queues for breeding, variation in social aggression by non-breeding group members is related to their probability of inheriting breeding status. However, levels of aggression could also vary as a temporary response to changes in the hierarchy, with individuals becoming more aggressive as they ascend in rank, in order to re-establish dominance relationships. Using the group-living fish, Neolamprologus pulcher, we show that subordinates became more aggressive after they ascended in rank. Female ascenders exhibited more rapid increases in aggression than males, and the increased aggression was primarily directed towards group members of adjacent rather than non-adjacent rank, suggesting that social aggression was related to conflict over rank. Elevated aggression by ascenders was not sustained over time, there was no relationship between rank and aggression in stable groups, and aggression given by ascenders was not sex-biased. Together, these results suggest that the need to re-establish dominance relationships following rank ascension is an important determinant of variation in aggression in animal societies.
PMCID: PMC3061154  PMID: 20880857
aggression; dominance hierarchy; conflict over rank; Neolamprologus pulcher
9.  “Getting sicker quicker”: Does living in a more deprived neighbourhood mean your health deteriorates faster? 
Health & Place  2012;18-20(2):132-137.
Data from the longitudinal West of Scotland Twenty-07 Study: Health in the Community was used to examine whether, over a 20 year period, the self-reported health of people living in deprived areas became poorer faster compared to those living in more affluent areas. Three cohorts (born in the early 1930s, 1950s and 1970s) are included, covering 60 years of the life span. Using multilevel growth curve models, a 40% probability of reporting poor health was predicted among residents of more deprived areas at an earlier age (66) compared to those living in more affluent areas (83). Wider area differences were seen for men than for women. Our findings indicate that attempts to reduce area differences in health should start young but also continue throughout the lifespan.
► Longitudinal data used to examine changes in self-reported health over a 20 year period. ► Health of people in poorer areas deteriorated faster than those in more affluent areas. ► 16 year gap between richer and poorer areas in odds of reporting poor health. ► Wider area differences were seen for men than for women.
PMCID: PMC3391685  PMID: 21873103
Area deprivation; Neighbourhood; Self-reported health; Longitudinal study; Health trajectories
10.  “The Ultimate Decision Is Yours”: Exploring Patients’ Attitudes about the Overuse of Medical Interventions 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e52552.
Previous research has found that American patients strongly believe that more testing and more treatment lead to better outcomes and, to a lesser extent, that newer treatments are more effective. We conducted five focus groups with privately insured, healthy, middle-aged Americans (n = 43) to explore these apparent preferences. Contrary to previous research, an unexpected distinction emerged. Participants placed enormous value on testing and screening, reacting with hostility to guidelines recommending less of either. However, they were suspicious of overmedication. The wariness of pharmaceuticals and enthusiasm for testing and screening both appear to reflect participants’ efforts to take responsibility for their health. But recommendations to test and screen less conflicted with their active, engaged, information-seeking roles. Nonetheless, given patients’ concerns about overuse of pharmaceuticals, we maintain that they can learn to understand the connections between over-testing and over-treatment, and can actively choose to do less. We close with suggestions about how treatment guidelines can better communicate these connections to patients. Our findings cannot necessarily be generalized beyond privately-insured, healthy, middle-aged Americans. But because we found that, among these individuals, attitudes towards pharmaceuticals differ from attitudes towards testing and screening, we maintain that future research should also distinguish among and compare attitudes towards different types of medical interventions.
PMCID: PMC3530438  PMID: 23300706
11.  Some Salt with Your Statin, Professor? 
PLoS Biology  2014;12(1):e1001768.
In this primer, Malcolm Macleod outlines the use of meta-analysis to assess the validity of the outcome reported for preclinical studies and explores the reasons why Lisa Bero and colleagues find that industry-funded studies show smaller effect sizes than non-industry-funded studies do.
We know that clinical trials sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry are likely to exaggerate benefit and minimise harms. But do these biases extend to their sponsorship of non-human animal research? Using systematic review and meta-analysis Bero and colleagues show that, in the case of statins, things are a little more complicated. While the conclusions of industry-sponsored studies were indeed more enthusiastic than warranted by their data, the data themselves painted a picture more conservative than was seen in non-industry-sponsored studies. This behaviour is consistent with maximising the return on investment, seeking robust data before embarking on a clinical trial, and, once that investment has been made, making every effort to “prove” that the drug is safe and effective if this is at all credible. The findings suggest that there is something different about industry-sponsored non-human animal research, perhaps reflecting higher standards than is the case elsewhere. Perhaps the academic community can learn something from our colleagues in the commercial sector.
PMCID: PMC3897372  PMID: 24465176
Psychonomic bulletin & review  2013;20(1):115-119.
Common coding theory posits: 1) perceiving an action activates the same representations of motor plans that are activated by actually performing that action; 2) because of individual differences in the way actions are performed, observing recordings of one’s own previous behavior activates motor plans to an even greater degree than observing someone else’s behavior. We hypothesized that if observing oneself activates motor plans to a greater degree than observing others, and these activated plans contribute to perception, then people should be able to lipread silent video clips of their own previous utterances more accurately than they can lipread video clips of other talkers. As predicted, two groups of participants were able to lipread video clips of themselves recorded more than two weeks earlier significantly more accurately than video clips of others. These results suggest that visual input activates speech motor activity that links to word representations in the mental lexicon.
PMCID: PMC3558632  PMID: 23132604
13.  Knock your SOCS off! 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2005;115(2):233-236.
The growth hormone/IGF-1–signaling (GH/IGF-1–signaling) system is involved in numerous physiological processes during normal growth and development and also in the aging process. Understanding the regulation of this system is therefore of importance to the biologist. Studies conducted over the past decade have shown that the JAK/STAT pathways are involved in GH signaling to the nucleus. More recently, evidence has been presented that a member of the SOCS family, SOCS2, is a negative regulator of GH signaling. This story began several years ago with the dramatic demonstration of gigantism in the SOCS2-knockout mouse. A more specific definition of the role of SOCS2 in GH signaling is provided in this issue of the JCI by the demonstration that the overgrowth phenotype of the SOCS2–/– mouse is dependent upon the presence of endogenous GH and that administration of GH to mice lacking both endogenous GH and SOCS2 produced excessive growth.
PMCID: PMC546429  PMID: 15690080
14.  Health benefits of 'grow your own' food in urban areas: implications for contaminated land risk assessment and risk management? 
Environmental Health  2009;8(Suppl 1):S6.
Compelling evidence of major health benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption, physical activity, and outdoor interaction with 'greenspace' have emerged in the past decade - all of which combine to give major potential health benefits from 'grow-your-own' (GYO) in urban areas. However, neither current risk assessment models nor risk management strategies for GYO in allotments and gardens give any consideration to these health benefits, despite their potential often to more than fully compensate the risks. Although urban environments are more contaminated by heavy metals, arsenic, polyaromatic hydrocarbons and dioxins than most rural agricultural areas, evidence is lacking for adverse health outcomes of GYO in UK urban areas. Rarely do pollutants in GYO food exceed statutory limits set for commercial food, and few people obtain the majority of their food from GYO. In the UK, soil contamination thresholds triggering closure or remediation of allotment and garden sites are based on precautionary principles, generating 'scares' that may negatively impact public health disproportionately to the actual health risks of exposure to toxins through own-grown food. By contrast, the health benefits of GYO are a direct counterpoint to the escalating public health crisis of 'obesity and sloth' caused by eating an excess of saturated fats, inadequate consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables combined with a lack of exercise. These are now amongst the most important preventable causes of illness and death. The health and wider societal benefits of 'grow-your-own' thus reveal a major limitation in current risk assessment methodologies which, in only considering risks, are unable to predict whether GYO on particular sites will, overall, have positive, negative, or no net effects on human health. This highlights a more general need for a new generation of risk assessment tools that also predict overall consequences for health to more effectively guide risk management in our increasingly risk-averse culture.
PMCID: PMC2796502  PMID: 20102591
15.  How long is your waiting list? Experience of a urological waiting list initiative. 
Experience with a urological waiting list initiative is presented, wherein a list of 231 non-urgent cases was cleared over a 5 month period by a single operator. Some patients had waited 10 years for surgery. Following a postal request, the waiting list was validated; 31.2% of patients wished to be removed. The remaining 68.8% desired surgery and consisted of 51 requiring minor surgical procedures and 108 who needed more major surgery mostly for the relief of bladder outflow obstruction. Minor cases received dates for surgery; however, only 68.2% of this group attended despite being given more than one date for admission. Major cases were reviewed in a pre-admission clinic. General and urological condition was assessed, improved where necessary and surgery booked or delayed accordingly. A small number of patients did not attend or only attended to be reassured that surgery was not needed. Following clinical review, 18.5% of this group did not require operation. The long urological waiting list is a unique situation where patients listed may no longer require surgery. Reviewing these patients not only reduces numbers but also markedly increases percentage attendance for surgery.
PMCID: PMC1294393  PMID: 7512651
16.  Pick Your Poison: Stimuli Selection in Alcohol-related Implicit Measures 
Addictive behaviors  2012;37(8):990-993.
It is common for people to report strong preferences for certain types of alcohol, often as a function of past positive or negative experiences with particular types of drinks. Despite this individual difference, implicit measures related to alcohol frequently use nomothetic approaches – i.e., use a standard set of alcohol beverage stimuli – which may not match individuals’ actual drinking behavior. Moreover, this mismatch may account for some of the inconsistencies across studies using implicit measures. The present study used an idiographic variant of the Implicit Association Test (IAT) in which participants (N = 300) selected alcohol images that matched their drinking behavior (non-drinkers selected what they were offered most often). Results were consistent with previous research on alcohol preference: women selected more liquor and wine images, men selected more beer images; heavy episodic drinkers selected more beer and liquor images and selected fewer wine images than lighter drinkers and non-drinkers. In addition, IAT scores were sensitive to drinking levels in the expected direction and, importantly, were robust to stimuli selected. Thus, results provide initial validation of idiographic approaches to stimuli selection.
PMCID: PMC3584679  PMID: 22503165
drinking; implicit cognition; individual differences; idiographic approaches; methodology
17.  Through your eyes: incongruence of gaze and action increases spontaneous perspective taking 
What makes people spontaneously adopt the perspective of others? Previous work suggested that perspective taking can serve understanding the actions of others. Two studies corroborate and extend that interpretation. The first study varied cues to intentionality of eye gaze and action, and found that the more the actor was perceived as potentially interacting with the objects, the stronger the tendency to take his perspective. The second study investigated how manipulations of gaze affect the tendency to adopt the perspective of another reaching for an object. Eliminating gaze cues by blurring the actor's face did not reduce perspective-taking, suggesting that in the absence of gaze information, observers rely entirely on the action. Intriguingly, perspective-taking was higher when gaze and action did not signal the same intention, suggesting that in presence of ambiguous behavioral intention, people are more likely take the other's perspective to try to understand the action.
PMCID: PMC3740297  PMID: 23964228
spontaneous perspective taking; agency; action; gaze; incongruous cues; ambiguous intention
18.  Social Relationships and Health: Is Feeling Positive, Negative, or Both (Ambivalent) about your Social Ties Related to Telomeres? 
The quality of one’s personal relationships has been linked to morbidity and mortality across different diseases. As a result, it is important to examine more integrative mechanisms that might link relationships across diverse physical health outcomes. In this study, we examine associations between relationships and telomeres which predict general disease risk. These questions are pursued in the context of a more comprehensive model of relationships that highlights the importance of jointly considering positive and negative aspects of social ties.
136 individuals from a community sample (ages 48 to 77) completed the social relationships index which allows a determination of relationships that differ in their positive and negative substrates (i.e., ambivalent, supportive, aversive, indifferent). Telomere length was determined from peripheral blood mononuclear cells via quantitative PCR.
Participants who had a higher number of ambivalent ties in their social networks evidenced shorter telomeres. These results were independent of other relationships types (e.g., supportive), as well as standard control variables (e.g., age, health behaviors, medication use). Gender moderated the links between ambivalent ties and telomere length with these associations seen primarily in women. Follow-up analyses revealed that the links between ambivalent ties and telomeres were primarily due to friendships, parents, and social acquaintances.
Consistent with epidemiological findings, these data highlight a novel and integrative biological mechanism by which social ties may impact health across diseases, and further suggests the importance of incorporating both positivity and negativity in the study of specific relationships and physical health.
PMCID: PMC3378918  PMID: 22229928
Relationships; telomeres; gender; physical health
19.  Does caring for your spouse harm one’s health? Evidence from a United States nationally-representative sample of older adults 
Ageing and society  2009;29(2):277-293.
The purpose of this article is to investigate the relationship between spousal care-giving and declines in functioning and self-rated health among older care-givers. The authors used data from the 2000 and 2002 waves of the United States Health and Retirement Study, a biennial longitudinal survey of a nationally representative cohort of adults aged 50 or more years. Two outcomes were examined, declines in functioning and declines in self-rated health. Care-givers were classified into three groups: no care-giving, less than 14 hours of care-giving per week, and 14 or more hours care-giving per week. To assess declines in functioning, two summary scores were created of limitations in basic and instrumental Activities of Daily Living. To assess declines in self-rated health, we compared responses from 2000 and 2002. In the fully adjusted models, care-giving hours did not have an independent effect on declines in functioning or self-rated health. The relationship between care-giving hours and declines in functioning and self-rated health is probably attributable to socio-demographic characteristics, mainly age. The findings suggest that spousal care-giving does not of itself harm functional health or perceived health among older adult care-givers. Understanding the differential effects of these socio-economic characteristics with care-giving hours on health will be useful in promoting the health of older adult care-givers and treating their disorders.
PMCID: PMC3932049  PMID: 24567660
care-giving; spousal care; older adults; decline; self-rated health
20.  Factoring Health Equations Comment on “Do You Recommend an Interdisciplinary Field to Your Graduate Student?”  
The International Journal of Health Policy and Management (IJHPM) is a new journal that aims to stimulate not only inter-disciplinary research relating to health, but even an entire new generation of such journals. The challenges of improving human health worldwide clearly suggest ‘why’ such a journal is needed, but ‘how’ bridges and junctions across fields of study towards this end might be found poses other questions. From the agnosticism of many sciences with respect to human health, to the great faith others place in more esoteric movements for human well-being, both suggest finding common factors in the many equations that affect human health. Particularly, as it is typically defined professionally, it might pose more fundamental challenges than those which appear first. However, the first editorial and edition quietly assure that the journal is in good hands, and that the search for a new generation of journals has begun.
PMCID: PMC3937909  PMID: 24596860
Health Co-Production; Quasi-Health Professional; Inter-Disciplinary Research
21.  Does listening to the sound of yourself chewing increase your enjoyment of food? 
Anecdotal evidence suggests that listening to oneself eating results in a more pleasurable eating experience. Maximising the sensory experience of eating can result in increased oral intake and is potentially valuable in improving nutritional status in at-risk patients.
This pilot study investigates the association between listening to the sound of oneself eating and the consequences on enjoyment of eating.
Prospective, randomized, controlled, cross-over trial of 10 fit, adult volunteers. Participants were timed eating a standardised amount of bread, and were randomized to eat in silence or whilst listening to their own amplified chewing and swallowing. Measurements of pulse and blood pressure were recorded throughout the procedure. Subjective pleasure scores were documented and the procedure repeated in the alternate study arm.
There was no significant relationship demonstrated between listening to oneself chewing and the enjoyment of eating.
Although this small pilot study was unable to demonstrate a significant relationship between listening to oneself chewing and enjoyment of eating, other evidence suggests that distraction techniques have a beneficial effect on dietary intake. Such techniques can be applied in a clinical setting and further work in this area has valuable potential.
PMCID: PMC1698474  PMID: 17134513
22.  Can a bank crisis break your heart? 
To assess whether a banking system crisis increases short-term population cardiovascular mortality rates.
International, longitudinal multivariate regression analysis of cardiovascular disease mortality data from 1960 to 2002
A system-wide banking crisis increases population heart disease mortality rates by 6.4% (95% CI: 2.5% to 10.2%, p < 0.01) in high income countries, after controlling for economic change, macroeconomic instability, and population age and social distribution. The estimated effect is nearly four times as large in low income countries.
Banking crises are a significant determinant of short-term increases in heart disease mortality rates, and may have more severe consequences for developing countries.
PMCID: PMC2244604  PMID: 18197979
23.  Observing Virtual Arms that You Imagine Are Yours Increases the Galvanic Skin Response to an Unexpected Threat 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(8):e3082.
Multi-modal visuo-tactile stimulation of the type performed in the rubber hand illusion can induce the brain to temporarily incorporate external objects into the body image. In this study we show that audio-visual stimulation combined with mental imagery more rapidly elicits an elevated physiological response (skin conductance) after an unexpected threat to a virtual limb, compared to audio-visual stimulation alone. Two groups of subjects seated in front of a monitor watched a first-person perspective view of slow movements of two virtual arms intercepting virtual balls rolling towards the viewer. One group was instructed to simply observe the movements of the two virtual arms, while the other group was instructed to observe the virtual arms and imagine that the arms were their own. After 84 seconds the right virtual arm was unexpectedly “stabbed” by a knife and began “bleeding”. This aversive stimulus caused both groups to show a significant increase in skin conductance. In addition, the observation-with-imagery group showed a significantly higher skin conductance (p<0.05) than the observation-only group over a 2-second period shortly after the aversive stimulus onset. No corresponding change was found in subjects' heart rates. Our results suggest that simple visual input combined with mental imagery may induce the brain to measurably temporarily incorporate external objects into its body image.
PMCID: PMC2517650  PMID: 18769476
24.  In your face: facial metrics predict aggressive behaviour in the laboratory and in varsity and professional hockey players 
Facial characteristics are an important basis for judgements about gender, emotion, personality, motivational states and behavioural dispositions. Based on a recent finding of a sexual dimorphism in facial metrics that is independent of body size, we conducted three studies to examine the extent to which individual differences in the facial width-to-height ratio were associated with trait dominance (using a questionnaire) and aggression during a behavioural task and in a naturalistic setting (varsity and professional ice hockey). In study 1, men had a larger facial width-to-height ratio, higher scores of trait dominance, and were more reactively aggressive compared with women. Individual differences in the facial width-to-height ratio predicted reactive aggression in men, but not in women (predicted 15% of variance). In studies 2 (male varsity hockey players) and 3 (male professional hockey players), individual differences in the facial width-to-height ratio were positively related to aggressive behaviour as measured by the number of penalty minutes per game obtained over a season (predicted 29 and 9% of the variance, respectively). Together, these findings suggest that the sexually dimorphic facial width-to-height ratio may be an ‘honest signal’ of propensity for aggressive behaviour.
PMCID: PMC2570531  PMID: 18713717
aggression; sex differences; dominance; sexual selection; face
25.  Is your enema really necessary? 
Two hundred and seventy-four women admitted for delivery of singleton infants were studied for the effects of a preparatory enema on faecal contamination, duration of labour, and the incidence of infection in the newborn. Altogether 149 of the women were given an enema (controls) and 125 were not. The two groups showed no significant difference in the degree of faecal contamination during the first and second stages of labour, and the incidences of gross contamination were similar. Contamination after an enema was especially difficult to control, since it was more likely to be fluid. Seven neonates in each group showed evidence of infection, bowel organisms being isolated from four in the no-enema group and two in the control group. Durations of labour, though not strictly comparable, were similar in the two groups. The findings suggest that when preparing for normal labour the enema should be reserved for women who have not had their bowels open in the past 24 hours and have an obviously loaded rectum on initial pelvic examination.
PMCID: PMC1505361  PMID: 6784809

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