Computers trounce pathologists in predicting lung cancer type, severity, researchers find

Male Doctor Typing On Computer KeyboardComputers can be trained to be more accurate than pathologists in assessing slides of lung cancer tissues, according to a new study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

The researchers found that a machine-learning approach to identifying critical disease-related features accurately differentiated between two types of lung cancers and predicted patient survival times better than the standard approach of pathologists classifying tumors by grade and stage.

“Pathology as it is practiced now is very subjective,” said Michael Snyder, PhD, professor and chair of genetics. “Two highly skilled pathologists assessing the same slide will agree only about 60 percent of the time. This approach replaces this subjectivity with sophisticated, quantitative measurements that we feel are likely to improve patient outcomes.”

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Scientists find the brain’s generosity center

tip jarScientists from Oxford University and UCL have identified part of our brain that helps us learn to be good to other people. The discovery could help understanding of conditions like psychopathy where people’s behaviour is extremely antisocial.

The researchers were led by Dr Patricia Lockwood, who explained: ‘Prosocial behaviours are social behaviours that benefit other people. They are a fundamental aspect of human interactions, essential for social bonding and cohesion, but very little is currently known about how and why people do things to help others.

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Time of day influences our susceptibility to infection, study finds

photodune-9562325-time-clock-xsWe are more susceptible to infection at certain times of the day as our body clock affects the ability of viruses to replicate and spread between cells, suggests new research from the University of Cambridge.

The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may help explain why shift workers, whose body clocks are routinely disrupted, are more prone to health problems, including infections and chronic disease.

When a virus enters our body, it hijacks the machinery and resources in our cells to help it replicate and spread throughout the body. However, the resources on offer fluctuate throughout the day, partly in response to our circadian rhythms – in effect, our body clock. Circadian rhythms control many aspects of our physiology and bodily functions – from our sleep patterns to body temperature, and from our immune systems to the release of hormones. These cycles are controlled by a number of genes, including Bmal1 and Clock.

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Selfless People Have More Sex, Study Finds

Holding HandsIf you want to get a little, you should try giving a little. New research from the University of Guelph and Nipissing University shows that people who help others are more desirable to the opposite sex, and have more sexual partners and more frequent sex.

The study was published recently in the British Journal of Psychology.

“This study is the first to show that altruism may translate into real mating success in Western populations, that altruists have more mates than non-altruists,” said Pat Barclay, a U of G psychology professor who worked on the study with lead author Prof. Steven Arnocky from Nipissing.

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Signs of pure altruism converge in the brain and increase with age

University of Oregon doctoral student Jason Hubbard, left, talks with Ulrich Mayr, professor and head of the university's psychology department, in the control room of the university's Lewis Center for Neuroimaging. The two researchers were part of a team that searched for evidence of true altruism in the brain. CREDIT: University of Oregon

University of Oregon doctoral student Jason Hubbard, left, talks with Ulrich Mayr, professor and head of the university’s psychology department, in the control room of the university’s Lewis Center for Neuroimaging. The two researchers were part of a team that searched for evidence of true altruism in the brain.
CREDIT: University of Oregon

Combining insights from psychology, behavioral economics and neuroscience, University of Oregon researchers have found converging signs of pure altruism and behavior that increase with age in the brain.

People give to charity for numerous non-altruistic reasons, such as showing off their generosity to others. To isolate pure altruism from other motivations, researchers triangulated methods from the three fields.

Their goal was to find a sweet spot where altruism is done for the simple joy of seeing others benefit without expecting personal rewards or recognition, said Ulrich Mayr, head of the UO Department of Psychology and lead author on a paper online ahead of print in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.

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Maintaining healthy relationships: here’s a promising way

CoupleThinking about the future helps overcome relationship conflicts, according to a University of Waterloo study just published online in Social Psychological and Personality Science.

“When romantic partners argue over things like finances, jealousy, or other interpersonal issues, they tend to employ their current feelings as fuel for a heated argument. By envisioning their relationship in the future, people can shift the focus away from their current feelings and mitigate conflicts,” said Alex Huynh, a doctoral candidate in psychology and lead author of the study, which he published with Igor Grossmann from the University of Waterloo, and Daniel Yang from Yale University.

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Single people – richer social lives, more psychological growth than marrieds

Single womanDating shows, dating apps — they all strive to make sure none of us end up uncoupled forever. But it turns out many single people embrace their single lives, and are likely to experience more psychological growth and development than married people, according to a psychologist who presented at the American Psychological Association’s 124th Annual Convention.
“The preoccupation with the perils of loneliness can obscure the profound benefits of solitude,” said Bella DePaulo, PhD, a scientist at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “It is time for a more accurate portrayal of single people and single life — one that recognizes the real strengths and resilience of people who are single, and what makes their lives so meaningful.”
DePaulo cited longitudinal research that shows single people value meaningful work more than married people, and another study that shows single people are also more connected to parents, siblings, friends, neighbors and coworkers. “When people marry, they become more insular,” she said.
However, research on single people is lacking, DePaulo claimed. She searched for studies of participants who had never married and, of the 814 studies she found, most did not actually examine single people but used them as a comparison group to learn about married people and marriage in general.
The studies that did focus on single people revealed some telling findings, she said. For example, research comparing people who stayed single with those who stayed married showed that single people have a heightened sense of self-determination and they are more likely to experience “a sense of continued growth and development as a person,” DePaulo said.
Another study of lifelong single people showed that self-sufficiency serves them well: The more self-sufficient they were, the less likely they were to experience negative emotions. For married people, the opposite was true, according to DePaulo.
There are more unmarried people than ever before in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In 2014, there were 124.6 million unmarried Americans over age 16, meaning 50.2 percent of the nation’s adult population identified as single, according to BLS. In contrast, only 37.4 percent of the population was unmarried in 1976.
Married people should be doing a lot better than single people in view of the number of laws that benefit them, DePaulo said, but in many ways, they aren’t. “People who marry get access to more than 1,000 federal benefits and protections, many of them financial,” she said. “Considering all of the financial and cultural advantages people get just because they are married, it becomes even more striking that single people are doing as well as they are.”
Despite the advantages of staying single, DePaulo doesn’t claim one status is better than the other. “More than ever before, Americans can pursue the ways of living that work best for them. There is no one blueprint for the good life,” she said. “What matters is not what everyone else is doing or what other people think we should be doing, but whether we can find the places, the spaces and the people that fit who we really are and allow us to live our best lives.”

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Tony Delroy’s Night Life – story links August 5

New research explores why people ‘pass the buck’

People are more likely to delegate decisions–or “pass the buck”–when faced with choices that affect others than when those decisions affect only themselves, according to new research from Mary Steffel, assistant professor of marketing in the D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University.

From a series of experiments, Steffel and her collaborators found that these findings were particularly true when those choices had potentially negative consequences. In domains as diverse as making a business decision, choosing a hotel, ordering meals, and even participating in experiments, people were two or three times as likely to delegate an unappealing choice on behalf of someone else than one on their own behalf.

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Brains of overweight people ‘ten years older’ than lean counterparts at middle-age

From middle-age, the brains of obese individuals display differences in white matter similar to those in lean individuals ten years their senior, according to new research led by the University of Cambridge. White matter is the tissue that connects areas of the brain and allows for information to be communicated between regions.

Our brains naturally shrink with age, but scientists are increasingly recognising that obesity – already linked to conditions such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease – may also affect the onset and progression of brain ageing; however, direct studies to support this link are lacking.

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