Science science

When an empathetic partner holds a lover's hand, their heart rates and breathing rates sync and their pain subsides, new research shows. Authors say such 'interpersonal synchronization' could play a role in the analgesic impacts of touch.

When an empathetic partner holds a lover's hand, their heart rates and breathing rates sync and t...

This reminds me of a study from a while ago that pretty much said a loving embrace releases chemicals in your brain similar to those released when a person consumes opiates. So.. try hugs, not heroin

No wonder its so hard to get over an ex you were very intimate with.

What the hell...so love is a real, tangible thing backed by science?

Sure there's an acknowledged biochemistry that's been observed. Interestingly it's also seen in other animals, like when you pat your dog it'll release the same ones.

Mothers who breastfed their children have a lower risk of heart disease and a lower chance of stroke later in life.

Mothers who breastfed their children have a lower risk of heart disease and a lower chance of stroke later in life.
Mothers who breastfed their children have a lower risk of heart disease and a lower chance of str...

So, is this even remotely causal? It's long been known that breast feeding is healthy for both mom and baby, but wouldn't someone who tends to pick healthy things like breast feeding also have a lower risk of heart disease?

Lactation consultant here. Breastfeeding is not free when you have to work and/or go to school. You need a breast pump, bottles, and other supplies. There is also a lot of marketing of things (e.g., special bras, pads, creams) that women are told are essential.

Most low income jobs won't provide time to pump, even though they're legally obligated to. When you don't get time to pump, you're at high risk for mastitis, which can cause missed days at work. WIC also provides free formula (though moms will still end up buying some because they don't provide a full supply).

Breastfeeding also often requires expert assistance for things like painful nipples and low milk production, which is really difficult to get if you can't pay out of pocket for it.

From a cultural perspective, poor women's mothers and grandmothers probably used formula, and new mothers tend to do what their own mothers did. This also means they're more likely to not have the support breastfeeding moms need to be successful. In the middle of the night when baby is colicky, they're more likely to hear "maybe your milk isn't agreeing with her," rather than "she seems to settle down when you breastfeed her; why don't you try that again?"

In my workplace, most mothers start out fully or partially breastfeeding, but it becomes increasingly difficult to continue for the aforementioned socioeconomic reasons.

Our study was not designed to prove cause and effect. However, if they are causal, the health benefits to the mother from breastfeeding may be explained by a faster “reset” of the mother’s metabolism after pregnancy. Pregnancy causes major changes to a woman’s metabolism as she stores fat to provide the energy necessary for her baby’s growth and for breastfeeding once the baby is born. Breastfeeding could eliminate the stored fat faster and more completely.

However, women who breastfeed may also be more likely to engage in other beneficial health behaviors than women who do not breastfeed. While this is the case in Western populations, this pattern was not seen in our study. Instead, we found that poorer women from rural areas of China were more likely to breastfeed for longer periods than their wealthier urban counterparts. Further studies will be needed to confirm the present findings and to identify the mechanisms involved.

Are poor rural Chinese women:

Thinner than wealthier urban Chinese women

More active than wealthier urban Chinese women

Exposed to as much smog as wealthier urban Chinese women

Those would be good factors to control for the next study.

Edit: I don't mean to dispute the conclusion. I think breastfeeding has been shown to be A Good Thing in numerous ways, for baby and mama. And hey if nothing else, free baby food. But, with every answer comes new questions!

Scientists have worked out why suitcases tend to to rock violently from one wheel to the other until they overturn on the race through the airport.

Scientists have worked out why suitcases tend to to rock violently from one wheel to the other un...

TLDR

When a suitcase starts to rock out of control, the correct response is not to slow down but to pull it faster.

or

when speeding up is a fanciful option ... lower the handle.

Not really. When a trailer starts fishtailing, it's usually because there's too much weight behind the axle and not enough on the tongue. Suitcases have basically all of the weight in front of the axle. And when your trailer is fishtailing, speeding up definitely makes it worse.

Isn't that the same principle as when something you're towing with your car starts fish tailing?

Perhaps more importantly...this sort of oscillation will happen to you when you've got a load on a trailer that has a high center of gravity and a narrow wheel base.

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Older men tend to have “geekier” sons who are more aloof, have higher IQs and a more intense focus on their interests than those born to younger fathers.

Older men tend to have “geekier” sons who are more aloof, have higher IQs and a more intense focu...

I wonder if the same is true for men who were raised by their grandfathers.

I wonder how much of this is genetics (people conceiving kids at 18 aren't generally the brightest) and how much is the parenting techniques of older parents

Edit: I've added generally, sorry if I've offended anyone!

Reading through the comments, it looks like genetic factors include: increased likelihood of genetic defects that lead to autism in the sperm of older men.

Environmental factors include: older parents being wiser and likely better at parenting. Also the effect of rich old dudes having kids with young gold-diggers

Per the source article, not only did they not find a similar result correlating the age of the mother to "geekier" characteristics, but they also did not appear to get anything close to the same statistical significance when they looked at daughters, regardless of the age of either parent. The only correlation they seemed to find was between the age of the fathers and the impact of that on sons. So it doesn't seem (as others are speculating) that it's simply that the environment for any child of an older parent lends itself to that child developing a "geekier" personality. It's specifically a correlation between sons and the age of the father.

Interesting.

Or people who are aloof, have higher IQs and a more intense focus on their interests tend to have children later on in life.

ACS AMA: Hi Reddit! My name is Mircea Dincă, a professor of chemistry at MIT. Ask me anything about metal-organic framework materials!

ACS AMA: Hi Reddit! My name is Mircea Dincă, a professor of chemistry at MIT. Ask me anything about metal-organic framework materials!ACS AMA

I am Mircea Dincă, and I am an Associate Professor of Chemistry at MIT, leading a lab focused on the design and synthesis of new materials for energy and environmental applications. In particular, we are interested in developing a class of materials called metal-organic frameworks, which are very porous. Most recently, we have shown that these "super-sponges" can adsorb record amounts of water, and that one can use this high water uptake to "suck" moisture from the atmosphere and deliver fresh water in water-stressed dry areas of low natural humidity. This work was recently published in ACS Central Science under the title “Record Atmospheric Fresh Water Capture and Heat Transfer with a Material Operating at the Water Uptake Reversibility Limit” and is available free of charge for readers at: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/acscentsci.7b00186

This paper is just one example of many ways in which we use metal-organic frameworks for renewable energy applications, including record-setting supercapacitors and smart windows, or for heterogeneous catalysis of importance for large industrial processes such as ethylene dimerization, used in polyethylene production. For an overview of the many exciting opportunities offered by metal-organic frameworks as an up-and-coming class of advanced materials, check out our accessible Outlook on this field, also published recently in ACS Central Science “Grand Challenges and Future Opportunities for Metal–Organic Frameworks” http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acscentsci.7b00197

By way of background, I was born in Romania, and moved to the US for my undergraduate degree, which I obtained at Princeton University in 2003. I completed my graduate work at UC Berkeley and graduated with a PhD in Inorganic Chemistry in 2008. Following 2 years as a Postdoctoral Scholar at MIT, I started my independent research group at MIT in 2010, where I have been an Associate Professor since 2015. For my group's research I have been awarded a Sloan Fellowship, a Cottrell Award, and a Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award. In 2016, I was selected for NSF's Alan T. Waterman Award.

Ask me anything about our work on metal-organic frameworks and its relationship to modern energy or environmental research!

I will be back at 1pm EDT (11am PDT, 5pm UTC) to answer your questions.

MD logged in, June 20, 12:58pm, EST.

Thank you for your questions reddit! MD out June 20, 2:03pm, EST.
ACS AMA: Hi Reddit! My name is Mircea Dincă, a professor of chemistry at MIT. Ask me anything about metal-organic framework materials!

I am Mircea Dincă, and I am an Associate Professor of Chemistry at MIT, leading a lab focused on the design and synthesis of new materials for energy and environmental applications. In particular, we are interested in developing a class of materials called metal-organic frameworks, which are very porous. Most recently, we have shown that these "super-sponges" can adsorb record amounts of water, and that one can use this high water uptake to "suck" moisture from the atmosphere and deliver fresh water in water-stressed dry areas of low natural humidity. This work was recently published in ACS Central Science under the title “Record Atmospheric Fresh Water Capture and Heat Transfer with a Material Operating at the Water Uptake Reversibility Limit” and is available free of charge for readers at: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/acscentsci.7b00186

This paper is just one example of many ways in which we use metal-organic frameworks for renewable energy applications, including record-setting supercapacitors and smart windows, or for heterogeneous catalysis of importance for large industrial processes such as ethylene dimerization, used in polyethylene production. For an overview of the many exciting opportunities offered by metal-organic frameworks as an up-and-coming class of advanced materials, check out our accessible Outlook on this field, also published recently in ACS Central Science “Grand Challenges and Future Opportunities for Metal–Organic Frameworks” http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acscentsci.7b00197

By way of background, I was born in Romania, and moved to the US for my undergraduate degree, which I obtained at Princeton University in 2003. I completed my graduate work at UC Berkeley and graduated with a PhD in Inorganic Chemistry in 2008. Following 2 years as a Postdoctoral Scholar at MIT, I started my independent research group at MIT in 2010, where I have been an Associate Professor since 2015. For my group's research I have been awarded a Sloan Fellowship, a Cottrell Award, and a Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award. In 2016, I was selected for NSF's Alan T. Waterman Award.

Ask me anything about our work on metal-organic frameworks and its relationship to modern energy or environmental research!

I will be back at 1pm EDT (11am PDT, 5pm UTC) to answer your questions.

MD logged in, June 20, 12:58pm, EST.

Thank you for your questions reddit! MD out June 20, 2:03pm, EST.

What are metal-organic framework materials?

A metal organic framework (mof) is a compound which contains groups normally thought of as organic -- carbon rings like those found in benzene, e.g.-- as well as clusters of metals like zinc, nickel or iron.

Imagine a 3d box. At the corners, you have hard clusters of metal atoms, and on the edges you have stretchy organic molecules holding everything together.

Source: physics PhD student in related field

In layman's term, please.

https://youtu.be/EGTRX6pZSns

Would you mind responding to the following critique of your process?

Dr. Phil Mason was quite brutal in his criticism. Namely the energy required to produce "water from air" still exceeds what could be done more efficiently by other methods.

A yoga class designed specifically for back pain can be as safe and effective as physical therapy in easing pain

A yoga class designed specifically for back pain can be as safe and effective as physical therapy in easing pain
A yoga class designed specifically for back pain can be as safe and effective as physical therapy...

Yoga designed for back pain IS physical therapy, no?

No. I worked in a PT clinic for 2 years. There's no one on one time with a doctor in this setting. The workouts are broad and generalized versus being tailored to each patient. In addition PT for back pain is wide ranging well beyond the scope of just exercises from STIM treatment, massages and manipulations and goals of improvement. For the average person with generalized back pain this could help but you could never really know what's causing it. My favorite example is one patient had a knee injury which affected the way he walked, resulting in a back injury which affected his range of motion resulting in a shoulder injury and he had come in for the shoulder injury. With that being said the back is incredibly complex and little is known about it. Surgeries are on average have a 60% success rate (those numbers might be different nowadays). If you took an average person off the streets and gave them an MRI on their back there's a good chance you'll find abnormalities. That makes treatment extremely difficult from the get-go because "what's the cause of back pain?" If someone with back pain came in and tried this yoga though and it helped them then I'd be all for it because it'd be much cheaper and a great alternative if it's working. Edit: This comment is getting some attention so I think I'll add a few relevant points and where this yoga could fit in. I don't know if this is something someone with back pain should just rush into doing. I think from a liability standpoint it would be insanity to let anyone be a walk-in to this environment because of the risk of injury which could lead to a whole host of issues. I do think you should consult a PT before going to something like this and if the studies remain true and positive maybe someday this could be added into a treatment regimen as a predecessor to PT. There's a few different treatment options where you want the least invasive as possible going from PT, cortisone injections to surgery. I think from an insurance standpoint they'd be quite willing to pay for something like this because it'd be much cheaper alternative.   Edit 2: I cannot and will not give medical advice over this forum. If you're looking for advice talk to your doctor to see if PT is right for you. Seeing a patient in person is critical in PT diagnostics and I have a degree in APT not PT and cannot flat out give diagnoses.   Additional information thanks to /u/floccinaucin - I'd say there's a few things you could alter about what you said. Yoga is not strictly not-PT. It can be, as in PT you can be "prescribed" activities to do to help with your case. So it would be on a case-by-case. Also, a shitton is known about the back and spine so I don't know why you would say that. The success rates are significantly higher than 60%, with 80% being an average satisfaction rating towards pain relief. If back knowledge and surgeries weren't as good as they are my cousin would likely be dead. Otherwise you'd be correct in saying it could be good for generalized non-specific back pain. Yoga, and gentle exercise, tend to be good for non-specific muscle pains as they're usually caused by a lack of proper movement and posture. Yoga in particular is fantastic if you have bad posture. Any sort of pain caused by an injury or potential injury ought to not only be discussed with your doctor first, but also with your yoga instructor if you are going (they'll either suggest you not doing it, or heavily tailor what you should do as to protect you from further injury) Lastly, I don't think your insurance is ever going to pay for yoga, therapeutic or not. -I say not much is known about the back in regards to what is know about other parts of the body. Yes there's a shit to of information on the back but in regards to treatment versus lets say an arm or a shoulder it get's incredibly complex and difficult.

The participant guidebook is freely available for download as is the yoga teacher training manual used by the instructors. Both include detailed descriptions of the yoga routines used throughout the study.

R. B. Saper et al., Yoga, Physical Therapy, or Education for Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Noninferiority Trial. Ann Intern Med (2017).

Summary for Patients

Background: Yoga is effective for mild to moderate chronic low back pain (cLBP), but its comparative effectiveness with physical therapy (PT) is unknown. Moreover, little is known about yoga's effectiveness in underserved patients with more severe functional disability and pain.

Objective: To determine whether yoga is noninferior to PT for cLBP.

Design: 12-week, single-blind, 3-group randomized noninferiority trial and subsequent 40-week maintenance phase. (ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT01343927)

Setting: Academic safety-net hospital and 7 affiliated community health centers.

Participants: 320 predominantly low-income, racially diverse adults with nonspecific cLBP.

Intervention: Participants received 12 weekly yoga classes, 15 PT visits, or an educational book and newsletters. The maintenance phase compared yoga drop-in classes versus home practice and PT booster sessions versus home practice.

Measurements: Primary outcomes were back-related function, measured by the Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire (RMDQ), and pain, measured by an 11-point scale, at 12 weeks. Prespecified noninferiority margins were 1.5 (RMDQ) and 1.0 (pain). Secondary outcomes included pain medication use, global improvement, satisfaction with intervention, and health-related quality of life.

Results: One-sided 95% lower confidence limits were 0.83 (RMDQ) and 0.97 (pain), demonstrating noninferiority of yoga to PT. However, yoga was not superior to education for either outcome. Yoga and PT were similar for most secondary outcomes. Yoga and PT participants were 21 and 22 percentage points less likely, respectively, than education participants to use pain medication at 12 weeks. Improvements in yoga and PT groups were maintained at 1 year with no differences between maintenance strategies. Frequency of adverse events, mostly mild self-limited joint and back pain, did not differ between the yoga and PT groups.

Limitations: Participants were not blinded to treatment assignment. The PT group had disproportionate loss to follow-up.

Conclusion: A manualized yoga program for nonspecific cLBP was noninferior to PT for function and pain.

Primary Funding Source: National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health of the National Institutes of Health.

I appreciate the perspective, and especially that you're giving it a fair assessment and not getting hostilely defensive about your industry.

Implant infections could be banished thanks to scaffold breakthrough

Implant infections could be banished thanks to scaffold breakthrough

What does scaffold mean in this context? Is it a specific medical term or is it literally just referring to a micro-structure used to somehow help with infections?

It's mostly used in reference to tissue engineering, where it's essentially a (degradable/temp) micro-structure for cells to grow into. The article here says they stuck a drug in their scaffold which is injected into a target area, with the scaffold doing something with release rates I think.

To be specific it's a collagen scaffold and none of the work was done in vivo. They tested optimal cross linking, cell viability of the resulting scaffold via cell culture, drug loading and release, and antimicrobial activity on plates.

Surgeon here. Infected implants can be a nightmare. Obviously infections are always bad, but when synthetic material gets infected, you're body can't resolve it as there is no blood flow to the implant. This very frequently results in having to explant the implant, in my case usually mesh of some sort. Extra surgery sure, but the difficulty is what to do when it's out. You can't put another synthetic mesh into an infected field, so now you have to reconstruct without synthetic material, and tissue that is now torn apart while removing the implant. Biological is an option but not only is biological material cost way way more (like often $10k type area) but also it will eventually degrade and isn't as sturdy. So they often end up with multiple surgeries to get them to a sub par solution.

Any fix in this area would be great.

By 2100, scientists predict 48-74% of people worldwide will be at risk of death from extreme heat at least 20 days of the year.

By 2100, scientists predict 48-74% of people worldwide will be at risk of death from extreme heat at least 20 days of the year.
By 2100, scientists predict 48-74% of people worldwide will be at risk of death from extreme heat...

Don't we still have deaths due to heat, especially in urban areas now? That number was a lot higher back before air conditioning and even ice harvesting.

From the article:

"Right now, about 30 percent of the world’s population is exposed to deadly temperatures at least 20 days out of the year. By 2100, that number could reach 74 percent if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, or 48 percent with drastic cuts to global emissions."

Much much lower than that.

For the elderly temperatures above 30°C can easily be deadly, especially if they live in an area not well prepared for heat.

Its would be pretty crazy if it was climate change, not nuclear war/robots/aliens, that forced people to live underground. It is a nice 60 something degrees year round though.

Australian study shows effectiveness of acupuncture in providing acute analgesia for patients with back pain and ankle sprain was comparable with that of pharmacotherapy

Australian study shows effectiveness of acupuncture in providing acute analgesia for patients wit...

The fact is, in over 2000 trials published to date, there are no consistent results in acupuncture's favor.

The Cochrane Reviews, widely considered to be the most authoritative unbiased clearinghouse of evidence-based medicine, found in seven large systemic reviews that: "no clear evidence exists of an analgesic effect of acupuncture".

The theatrical placebo that acupuncture seems to trigger, does offer temporary benefit, for some, provided they are aware that they're getting acupuncture. In randomized control studies (RCT), which use a form of sham acupuncture, the advantage is statistically insignificant. As it turns out, it makes no difference where you put the needle. In fact, it doesn’t matter whether you use a needle at all! In the best-controlled studies, only one thing mattered: whether the patients believed they were getting acupuncture.  Even then, people responded no better than the placebo control.    

Yep. Without sham acupuncture, this study doesn't offer meaningful evidence that acupuncture is any better than placebo. But it does show that the pharmacological treatment also sucks. Heh

I don't see where they compared the acute analgesic effects with those of placebo.

Was this a blinded randomized trial with sham acupuncture?

Science AMA Series: I’m Dr. Jessica Ribeiro, a professor at Florida State University, and I’m here with NBC News MACH. I'll be answering questions about my research in using AI to predict suicide for about an hour beginning at 12:00 p.m. ET.

Science AMA Series: I’m Dr. Jessica Ribeiro, a professor at Florida State University, and I’m here with NBC News MACH. I'll be answering questions about my research in using AI to predict suicide for about an hour beginning at 12:00 p.m. ET.

The mission of my research program is to accurately detect risk, especially for suicidal behavior, for all people at all points in time. To this end, there are four major elements of my research: (1) discovery and assessment of novel constructs; (2) prediction in the short-term; (3) prediction on a large scale; and (4) the conceptualization of suicide as a complex classification problem. My approach represents a radical shift from the status quo, with the aim of substantially advancing risk identification, especially for suicidal behavior. My goal is to make major progress on this front over the next 10 years.

For more information, you could check out this NBC News MACH article written about this kind of research https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/innovation/ai-coming-help-doctors-predict-suicide-n763166 or my lab’s website here www.risklabfsu.com.

Hi everyone! Thank you so much for taking the time to ask questions. I really enjoyed answering your questions, and very much appreciated the interest in this massive public health problem. It's time for me to sign out, but I'll check back later and answer a few more. Have a nice afternoon!

As someone who had suicidal thoughts in the past, how are you going to find early signs? Will the program be able to tell if the person is trying to hide signs from their friends/family?

Thank you for doing this AMA! I'm sorry if this is a dumb question, but I was wondering how the AI would be able to tell the difference between someone who is contemplating suicide seriously versus someone who is just down and feels that what he/she does is "worthless" and "meaningless"? What are the traits that show the distinction between these two situations that people may be in? Additionally, how do you think this research will aid in counselling and therapy and even conditioning of the mind prior to various conditions, instead of just "preventive" measures? Thank you so much :)

After someone has been predicted to commit suicide by your AI, what sort of outcomes are you hoping to have going forward? Will this be something documented for that person's medical history?

Thanks for your question! The timing of risk detection is something my colleagues and I are very interested in. In this study, we designed our approach so that we could examine how well our tool could predict suicide attempt from 2 years to 1 week prior to the event. What we know based on this study, is that it’s possible to detect risk of a suicide attempt a few years prior to engaging in the behavior. This may help us bridge the gap to effective prevention strategies among individuals at very high risk of eventual suicide attempt.

Regarding your second question, our machine learning algorithms relied on a lot of information available in electronic health records, so they do not exclusively rely on self-report. This can help get around the difficulty in assessing or detecting risk among individuals who may be motivated to conceal it and/or may be unaware of their true level of risk.

Try one of these subthreads