Suicide is a major problem in the United States, with the number of suicides annually exceeding the number of homicides by 10,000. Many studies have examined the relationship between media coverage of suicides and the suicide rate. This article reviews literature on imitative suicide and discusses implications of suicide stories on people in crisis. In addition, it explores the options for suicide coverage and gives suggestions for more ethical coverage that could save people's lives, rather than reinforcing suicide as an (...) option. (shrink)
Compassionate and Practical Advice Helps Readers Move through Hard Times There are things in life that knock us to the ground. The death of a loved one, the loss of a job, the betrayal of a friend, the turmoil of complex family issues. Sometimes it feels as though life is falling down around us. In those world-rocking times, we can hang on to hurts or we can surrender our pain to the One who promises us abundant life. In this practical (...) and encouraging book, trusted author Elizabeth B. Brown shows weary readers not only how to survive life's difficulties but how to move beyond them to a place of strength and confidence. She shows them that they are not alone and are not destined for a life defined by the chaos of crises. Then she shows readers how to understand and accept their situation, surround themselves with people who can guide and encourage them, and grow through the process. (shrink)
The current assessment of behaviors in the inventories to diagnose autism spectrum disorders (ASD) focus on observation and discrete categorizations. Behaviors require movements, yet measurements of physical movements are seldom included. Their inclusion however, could provide an objective characterization of behavior to help unveil interactions between the peripheral and the central nervous systems. Such interactions are critical for the development and maintenance of spontaneous autonomy, self-regulation and voluntary control. At present, current approaches cannot deal with the heterogeneous, dynamic and stochastic (...) nature of development. Accordingly, they leave no avenues for real-time or longitudinal assessments of change in a coping system continuously adapting and developing compensatory mechanisms. We offer a new unifying statistical framework to reveal re-afferent kinesthetic features of the individual with ASD. The new methodology is based on the non-stationary stochastic patterns of minute fluctuations (micro-movements) inherent to our natural actions. Such patterns of behavioral variability provide re-entrant sensory feedback contributing to the autonomous regulation and coordination of the motor output. From an early age, this feedback supports centrally driven volitional control and fluid, flexible transitions between intentional and spontaneous behaviors. We show that in ASD there is a disruption in the maturation of this form of proprioception. Despite this disturbance, each individual has unique adaptive compensatory capabilities that we can unveil and exploit to evoke faster and more accurate decisions. Measuring the kinesthetic re-afference in tandem with stimuli variations we can detect changes in their micro-movements indicative of a more predictive and reliable kinesthetic percept. Our methods address the heterogeneity of ASD with a personalized approach grounded in the inherent sensory-motor abilities that the individual has already developed. (shrink)
The current rise of neurodevelopmental disorders poses a critical need to detect risk early in order to rapidly intervene. One of the tools pediatricians use to track development is the standard growth chart. The growth charts are somewhat limited in predicting possible neurodevelopmental issues. They rely on linear models and assumptions of normality for physical growth data – obscuring key statistical information about possible neurodevelopmental risk in growth data that actually has accelerated, non-linear rates-of-change and variability encompassing skewed distributions. Here, (...) we use new analytics to profile growth data from 36 newborn babies that were tracked longitudinally for 5 months. By switching to incremental (velocity-based) growth charts and combining these dynamic changes with underlying fluctuations in motor performance – as the transition from spontaneous random noise to a systematic signal – we demonstrate a method to detect very early stunting in the development of voluntary neuromotor control and to flag risk of neurodevelopmental derail. (shrink)
We present two challenges to the fearful ape hypothesis: (1) biobehavioral synchrony precedes and moderates the effects of fear on cooperative care, and (2) cooperative care emerges in a more bidirectional manner than Grossmann acknowledges. We present evidence demonstrating how dyadic differences in co-regulation and individual differences in infants' reactivity shape caregivers' responses to infant affect.
No two individuals with the autism diagnosis are ever the same—yet many practitioners and parents can recognize signs of ASD very rapidly with the naked eye. What, then, is this phenotype of autism that shows itself across such distinct clinical presentations and heterogeneous developments? The “signs” seem notoriously slippery and resistant to the behavioral threshold categories that make up current assessment tools. Part of the problem is that cognitive and behavioral “abilities” typically are theorized as high-level disembodied and modular functions—that (...) are assessed discretely (impaired, normal, enhanced) to define a spectral syndrome. Even as biology reminds us that organic developing bodies are not made up of independent switches, we remain often seduced by the simplicity of mechanistic and cognitive models. Developmental disorders such as autism have accordingly been theorized as due to different modular dysfunctions—typically of cortical origin, i.e., failures of “theory of mind” (Baron-Cohen et al., 1985), of the “mirror neuron system” (Ramachandran and Oberman, 2006), of “weak central coherence” (Happe and Frith, 2006) or of the balance of “empathizing” and “systemizing” (Baron-Cohen, 2009), just to list a few. -/- The broad array of autonomic (Ming et al., 2005; Cheshire, 2012) and sensorimotor (Damasio and Maurer, 1978; Maurer and Damasio, 1982; Donnellan and Leary, 1995; Leary and Hill, 1996; Donnellan and Leary, 2012; Donnellan et al., 2012) differences experienced and reported by people with autism have by such theories typically been sidelined as “co-morbidities,” possibly sharing genetic causes, but rendered as incidental and decisively behaviorally irrelevant symptoms—surely disconnected from cognition. But what if the development of cortically based mental processes and autonomous control relies on the complexities and proper function of the peripheral nervous systems? Through such an “embodied” lens the heterogeneous symptoms of autism invites new interpretations. We propose here that many behavioral-level findings can be re-defined as downstream effects of how developing nervous systems attempt to cope and adapt to the challenges of having various noisy, unpredictable, and unreliable peripheral inputs. (shrink)
An article by Mark Repenshek and a letter by Edward Delaquil published recently in The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly underscore the urgent need for further moral and magisterial clarification regarding a number of highly complex and difficult bioethical issues. These involve ex utero therapeutic genomic interventions, the practice of in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer, and the ongoing debate over the morality of embryo adoption to help resolve the “absurd” fate of countless, cryopreserved human embryos. This essay critiques and argues (...) against the use of therapeutic IVF, helps clarify why embryo transfer and embryo adoption do not violate the sacred bond of marriage, and uses key magisterial passages from both Donum vitae and the Catechism of the Catholic Church to defend the practice of embryo transfer. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 14.2 : 227–234. (shrink)
Similarity and difference, patterns of variation, consistency and coherence: these are the reference points of the philosopher. Understanding experience, exploring ideas through particular instantiations, novel and innovative thinking: these are the reference points of the artist. However, at certain points in the proceedings of our Symposium titled, Next to Nothing: Art as Performance, this characterisation of philosopher and artist respectively might have been construed the other way around. The commentator/philosophers referenced their philosophical interests through the particular examples/instantiations created by the (...) artist and in virtue of which they were then able to engage with novel and innovative thinking. From the artists’ presentations, on the other hand, emerged a series of contrasts within which philosophical and artistic ideas resonated. This interface of philosopher-artist bore witness to the fact that just as art approaches philosophy in providing its own analysis, philosophy approaches art in being a co-creator of art’s meaning. In what follows, we discuss the conception of philosophy-art that emerged from the Symposium, and the methodological minimalism which we employed in order to achieve it. We conclude by drawing out an implication of the Symposium’s achievement which is that a counterpoint to Institutional theories of art may well be the point from which future directions will take hold, if philosophy-art gains traction. (shrink)
The gradual secularization of European society and culture is often said to characterize the development of the modern world, and the early Italian humanists played a pioneering role in this process. Here Benjamin G. Kohl and Ronald G. Witt, with Elizabeth B. Welles, have edited and translated seven primary texts that shed important light on the subject of "civic humanism" in the Renaissance.Included is a treatise of Francesco Petrarca on government, two representative letters from Coluccio Salutati, Leonardo Bruni's panegyric (...) to Florence, Francesco Barbaro's letter on "wifely" duty, Poggio Bracciolini's dialogue on avarice, and Angelo Poliziano's vivid history of the Pazzi conspiracy. Each translation is prefaced by an essay on the author and a short bibliography. The substantial introductory essay offers a concise, balanced summary of the historiographcal issues connected with the period. (shrink)
Current diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia place emphasis on delusions and hallucinations, whereas the classical descriptions of schizophrenia by Kraepelin and Bleuler emphasized disorganization and impoverishment of mental activity. Despite the availability of antipsychotic medication for treating delusions and hallucinations, many patients continue to experience persisting disability. Improving treatment requires a better understanding of the processes leading to persisting disability. We recently introduced the term classical schizophrenia to describe cases with disorganized and impoverished mental activity, cognitive impairment and predisposition to persisting (...) disability. Recent evidence reveals that a polygenic score indicating risk for schizophrenia predicts severity of the features of classical schizophrenia: disorganization, and to a lesser extent, impoverishment of mental activity and cognitive impairment. Current understanding of brain function attributes a cardinal role to predictive coding: the process of generating models of the world that are successively updated in light of confirmation or contradiction by subsequent sensory information. It has been proposed that abnormalities of these predictive processes account for delusions and hallucinations. Here we examine the evidence provided by electrophysiology and fMRI indicating that imprecise predictive coding is the core pathological process in classical schizophrenia, accounting for disorganization, psychomotor poverty and cognitive impairment. Functional imaging reveals aberrant brain activity at network hubs engaged during encoding of predictions. We discuss the possibility that frequent prediction errors might promote excess release of the neurotransmitter, dopamine, thereby accounting for the occurrence of episodes of florid psychotic symptoms including delusions and hallucinations in classical schizophrenia. While the predictive coding hypotheses partially accounts for the time-course of classical schizophrenia, the overall body of evidence indicates that environmental factors also contribute. We discuss the evidence that chronic inflammation is a mechanism that might link diverse genetic and environmental etiological factors, and contribute to the proposed imprecision of predictive coding. (shrink)
Constructing an intuitive theory from data confronts learners with a “chicken‐and‐egg” problem: The laws can only be expressed in terms of the theory's core concepts, but these concepts are only meaningful in terms of the role they play in the theory's laws; how can a learner discover appropriate concepts and laws simultaneously, knowing neither to begin with? We explore how children can solve this chicken‐and‐egg problem in the domain of magnetism, drawing on perspectives from computational modeling and behavioral experiments. We (...) present 4‐ and 5‐year‐olds with two different simplified magnet‐learning tasks. Children appropriately constrain their beliefs to two hypotheses following ambiguous but informative evidence. Following a critical intervention, they learn the correct theory. In the second study, children infer the correct number of categories given no information about the possible causal laws. Children's hypotheses in these tasks are explained as rational inferences within a Bayesian computational framework. (shrink)
Sea of Troubles shows teachers how literature and informational texts can work together to enhance each other and, by extension, enhance students’ abilities to critically think and respond to the sea of troubles that pervades society.
Sex is a fundamentally important biological variable. Recent years have seen significant progress in the integration of sex in many aspects of basic and clinical research, including analyses of sex differences in brain function. Significant advances in the technology available for studying the endocrine and nervous systems are now coupled with a more sophisticated awareness of the interconnections of these two communication systems of the body. A thorough understanding of the current knowledge, conceptual approaches, methodological capabilities, and challenges is a (...) prerequisite to continued progress in research and therapeutics in this interdisciplinary area. Sex Differences in the Brain provides scientists with the basic tools for investigating sex differences in brain and behavior and insight into areas where important progress in understanding physiologically relevant sex differences has already been made. This book was edited and co-authored by members of the Isis Fund Network on Sex, Gender, Drugs and the Brain, sponsored by the Society for Womens Health Research. The book is arranged in three parts. The first part of the book introduces the study of sex differences in the brain, with an overview of how the brain, stress systems, and pharmacogenetics differ in males and females and how this information is important for the study of behavior and neurobiology of both genders. The second part presents examples of sex differences in neurobiology and behavior from both basic and clinical research perspectives, covering both humans and nonhuman animals. The final part discusses sex differences in the neurobiology of disease and neurological disorders. For interested individuals as well as those who are considering conducting research at the intersections of endocrinology, neuroscience, and other areas of biomedicine, the study of sex differences offers exciting and challenging questions and perspectives. This book is intended as a guide and resource for clinicians, scientists, and students. (shrink)