Fragments of Truth

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15 posts · 4,573 views

I write about the process of scientific discovery, peer review, funding for research and highlight selected new scientific articles in biomedical research and the social sciences.

Jalees Rehman
15 posts

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  • February 13, 2014
  • 02:11 PM
  • 197 views

Creativity in Older Adults: Learning Digital Photography Improves Cognitive Function

by Jalees Rehman in Fragments of Truth

The recent study "The Impact of Sustained Engagement on Cognitive Function in Older Adults: The Synapse Project" published in the journal Psychological Science by the psychology researcher Denise Park and her colleagues at the University of Texas at Dallas is an example of an extremely well-designed study which attempts to tease out the benefits of participating in a structured activity versus receiving formal education and acquiring new skills. The researchers assigned subjects with a mean age ........ Read more »

Park DC, Lodi-Smith J, Drew L, Haber S, Hebrank A, Bischof GN, & Aamodt W. (2014) The impact of sustained engagement on cognitive function in older adults: the synapse project. Psychological science, 25(1), 103-12. PMID: 24214244  

  • February 12, 2014
  • 12:45 PM
  • 162 views

Three Seconds: Poems, Cubes and the Brain

by Jalees Rehman in Fragments of Truth

Temporal order can be assessed in a rather straightforward experimental manner. Research subjects can be provided sequential auditory clicks, one to each ear. If the clicks are one second apart, nearly all participants can correctly identify whether or not the click in the right ear came before the one in the left ear. It turns out that this holds true even if the clicks are only 100 milliseconds (0.1 seconds) apart. The threshold for being able to correctly assign a temporal order to such brief........ Read more »

  • February 11, 2014
  • 03:12 PM
  • 186 views

Enduring Sharedom

by Jalees Rehman in Fragments of Truth

The recent study "Silent Listeners: The Evolution of Privacy and Disclosure on Facebook" conducted by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University monitored the public disclosure (information visible to all) and private disclosure (information visible to Facebook friends) of personal data by more than 5,000 Facebook users during the time period 2005-2011. ... Read more »

Fred Stutzman, Ralph Grossy, & Alessandro Acquistiz. (2012) Silent Listeners: The Evolution of Privacy and Disclosure on Facebook. Journal of Privacy and Confidentiality. info:/

  • February 7, 2014
  • 08:22 AM
  • 197 views

A Parched Future: Global Land and Water Grabbing

by Jalees Rehman in Fragments of Truth

Land grabbing refers to the large-scale acquisition of comparatively inexpensive agricultural land in foreign countries by foreign governments or corporations. In most cases, the acquired land is located in under-developed countries in Africa, Asia or South America, while the grabbers are investment funds based in Europe, North America and the Middle East. The acquisition can take the form of an outright purchase or a long-term-lease, ranging from 25 to 99 years, that gives the grabbing entity e........ Read more »

Rulli MC, Saviori A, & D'Odorico P. (2013) Global land and water grabbing. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 110(3), 892-7. PMID: 23284174  

  • February 2, 2014
  • 06:36 AM
  • 170 views

Mitochondrial Movements in Cancer

by Jalees Rehman in Fragments of Truth

Research projects evolve in a fortuitous manner, often guided by a convergence of novel observations, intuition, helpful colleagues and unique personal circumstances. It is precisely this constellation that prompted two cardiologists to study the mitochondrial networks in lung cancer cells.... Read more »

Jalees Rehman, Hannah J. Zhang, Peter T. Toth, Yanmin Zhang, Glenn Marsboom, Zhigang Hong, Ravi Salgia, Aliya N. Husain, Christian Wietholt, & Stephen L. Archer. (2012) Inhibition of mitochondrial fission prevents cell cycle progression in lung cancer. FASEB Journal. DOI: 10.1096/fj.11-196543  

  • March 5, 2013
  • 12:16 PM
  • 450 views

Monkeys Reject Food From People Who Are Mean To Fellow Humans

by Jalees Rehman in Fragments of Truth

When we observe an interaction between two other human beings (Person A and Person B), we sometimes draw conclusions about the personality traits or character of these two individuals. For example, if we see that Person A is being rude to Person B, we may be less likely to trust Person A, even though we are merely "third-party" evaluators. i.e. not directly involved in the interaction. Multiple studies with humans have already documented such third-party social evaluation, which can ev........ Read more »

Anderson, J., Kuroshima, H., Takimoto, A., & Fujita, K. (2013) Third-party social evaluation of humans by monkeys. Nature Communications, 1561. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms2495  

  • February 25, 2013
  • 10:50 PM
  • 516 views

The Neurotransmitter Dopamine May Be A Key Mediator Of The “Superiority Illusion”

by Jalees Rehman in Fragments of Truth

The concept “superiority illusion” refers to the fact that people tend to judge themselves as being superior to the average person when it comes to positive traits such as intelligence, desirability or other personality traits. This is mathematically not possible, because in a normally distributed population, most people cannot be above average. The “superiority illusion” belongs to a family of positive illusions, such as the “optimism bias”, which is characte........ Read more »

Yamada, M., Uddin, L., Takahashi, H., Kimura, Y., Takahata, K., Kousa, R., Ikoma, Y., Eguchi, Y., Takano, H., Ito, H.... (2013) Superiority illusion arises from resting-state brain networks modulated by dopamine. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1221681110  

  • February 11, 2013
  • 10:30 PM
  • 610 views

Seven Myths About Obesity And Weight Loss?

by Jalees Rehman in Fragments of Truth

Whether we cruise the internet, turn on the TV or simply open up our email Inbox, we are bound to encounter advice regarding obesity and weight loss. The problem is that a lot of the circulated opinions about obesity and weight gain are only poorly supported by medical and scientific evidence. The recent paper “Myths, Presumptions, and Facts about Obesity” published in the New England Journal of Medicine on January 31, 2013 by Krista Casazza and colleagues investigates popular notion........ Read more »

Casazza K, Fontaine KR, Astrup A, Birch LL, Brown AW, Bohan Brown MM, Durant N, Dutton G, Foster EM, Heymsfield SB.... (2013) Myths, presumptions, and facts about obesity. The New England journal of medicine, 368(5), 446-54. PMID: 23363498  

  • January 27, 2013
  • 11:30 AM
  • 450 views

Happier Children Earn Higher Wages When They Become Adults

by Jalees Rehman in Fragments of Truth

The researchers Jan-Emmanuel De Neve and Andrew Oswald decided to study the link between happiness and income from a very different angle. Instead of asking whether more money leads to more happiness, they reversed the question and asked whether more happiness leads to more money. In the paper “Estimating the influence of life satisfaction and positive affect on later income using sibling fixed effects” published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, De Neve and Osw........ Read more »

  • January 26, 2013
  • 05:27 PM
  • 358 views

Degree Of Kinship Determines How Far We Are Willing To Travel To See Our Relatives

by Jalees Rehman in Fragments of Truth

Maintaining regular face-to-face contact with family members can be rather challenging because nowadays families are often geographically dispersed. It takes time, money and effort to travel and visit family members. The famous British anthropologist and evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar at Oxford University and his colleagues investigated how far people were willing to travel to see their relatives. Their results were published in the open access journal PLOS One “Going That Extra Mi........ Read more »

  • January 17, 2013
  • 06:00 AM
  • 389 views

Accuracy of Medical Information on the Internet

by Jalees Rehman in Fragments of Truth

This study highlights the opportunities and pitfalls of using the internet to communicate medical information. The internet is providing an opportunity for patients and family members to obtain additional medical information that they did not receive from their physicians, as well as to address questions that may arise and do not warrant a visit to a physician. On the other hand, the study also demonstrates that the quality of medical information on the internet varies widely. Searches for certa........ Read more »

Chung M, Oden RP, Joyner BL, Sims A, & Moon RY. (2012) Safe infant sleep recommendations on the Internet: let's Google it. The Journal of pediatrics, 161(6), 1080-4. PMID: 22863258  

  • November 16, 2012
  • 06:00 AM
  • 168 views

Recent Study Raises Questions About Using Adult Stem Cells for Chronic Heart Disease

by Jalees Rehman in Fragments of Truth

In summary, the POSEIDON trial has shown that treating chronic heart disease patients with bone marrow derived stem cells is not yet ready for prime time. Bone marrow cells from strangers may be just as safe as one’s own cells, but if bone marrow stem cells are not very effective for treating chronic heart disease, than it may just be a moot point.... Read more »

  • November 30, 1999
  • 12:00 AM
  • 407 views

There Was No Couch: On Mental Illness and Creativity

by Jalees Rehman in Fragments of Truth

The psychiatrist held the door open for me and my first thought as I entered the room was “Where is the couch?”. Instead of the expected leather couch, I saw a patient lying down on a flat operation table surrounded by monitors, devices, electrodes, and a team of physicians and nurses. The psychiatrist had asked me if I wanted to join him during an “ECT” for a patient with severe depression. It was the first day of my psychiatry rotation at the VA (Veterans Affairs Medical Center) in San........ Read more »

Kyaga, S., Landén, M., Boman, M., Hultman, C., Långström, N., & Lichtenstein, P. (2013) Mental illness, suicide and creativity: 40-Year prospective total population study. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 47(1), 83-90. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2012.09.010  

  • November 30, 1999
  • 12:00 AM
  • 163 views

To Bee Or Not To Bee: How Bees Avoid Difficult Choices

by Jalees Rehman in Fragments of Truth

Humans who are faced with difficult choices are often tempted to simply opt out of making a choice, especially when they realize that they cannot easily resolve their uncertainty as to which choice is the better choice. Some researchers consider this ability to opt out as an indicator of “meta-cognition”, a term used to describe “thinking about thinking”. Instead of plowing ahead with a random choice, humans can recognize that they lack adequate information and choose not........ Read more »

Clint J. Perry, & Andrew B. Barron. (2013) Honey bees selectively avoid difficult choices. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1314571110  

  • November 30, 1999
  • 12:00 AM
  • 150 views

To Bee Or Not To Bee: How Bees Avoid Difficult Choices

by Jalees Rehman in Fragments of Truth

Humans who are faced with difficult choices are often tempted to simply opt out of making a choice, especially when they realize that they cannot easily resolve their uncertainty as to which choice is the better choice. Some researchers consider this ability to opt out as an indicator of “meta-cognition”, a term used to describe “thinking about thinking”. Instead of plowing ahead with a random choice, humans can recognize that they lack adequate information and choose not........ Read more »

Clint J. Perry, & Andrew B. Barron. (2013) Honey bees selectively avoid difficult choices. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1314571110  

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