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Self-Determination and Relationships

Researchers performed a study that might show making sacrifices, big and small, for your partner because you want to rather than because you feel obligated to, can result in feeling happier about your relationship.

To answer one of the most common conundrums of romantic relationships, Patrick asked 266 men and women in relationships to document either their own or their partner's pro-relationship behaviors (PRB) for two weeks. Pro-relationship behavior can be any sacrifice or accommodation made out of consideration for one's partner or one's relationship.

Patrick found that partners who engaged in PRB because they wanted to -- not because they felt pressured or obligated to -- were more satisfied in their relationships, more committed to them, and felt closer to their mates following PRB experiences.

But she also found that people who simply perceived that their partners engaged in PRB because they wanted to were also more satisfied and committed to their relationship after a partner's PRB.

Patrick says her research has practical applications. She sees it being used for individual and couples therapy. She says this new information gives couples and psychology professionals insight into why some relationships aren't fulfilling even when everything looks OK on the surface.

My question is, are they feeling more committed and more satisfied because they voluntarily performed these PRBs or is it the other way around - are they more likely to engage in voluntary PRB because they already are satisfied and committed to their partner? How do you know what is the cause and what is the effect? The article doesn't specify how exactly they measured a couple's level of commitment after each PRB experience.

This last part of the article i totally agree with, though, and it's not about picking up your dirty socks from the living room floor.

Along with Patrick, Ryan, who is a professor of psychology, psychiatry and education, and Deci, the Gowen Professor in the Social Sciences, a fourth Rochester researcher, Dr. Geoffrey Williams, associate professor of medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, will present at the conference. He will unveil new findings that demonstrate patient involvement in a quit plan leads to smokers who are more motivated to quit because they genuinely want to, not because they are being nagged or bullied into kicking the habit. Williams said the method has also proved successful for patients managing diabetes, weight loss, and dental care.

Both Patrick's and Williams' research illustrates the crux of Self-Determination Theory: A self-motivated person derives more satisfaction in completing a given task, and is more likely to do it well.

You can't make people change if they don't want to.

By min | May 29, 2007, 2:55 PM | Science | Comments (0)| Link

Must Love Hello Kitty

I can't decide if i want one or not.....

But it still REWLS!

By min | May 23, 2007, 3:41 PM | Science & Ummm... Other? | Comments (1)| Link

Don't Need No Man

Scientists in Northern Ireland have discovered that hammerhead sharks can reproduce asexually. In 2001, a female hammerhead shark that's been in captivity since it was a pup and didn't have any contact with a male for 3 years recently gave birth at a zoo on Nebraska. At first they thought mebbe she had incubated the sperm for 3 years or had mated with another species in the tank. When they tested the pup's DNA, it had no traces of paternal DNA. The DNA was only from the mother which also rules out mating with another species.

Dr Paulo Prodohl, of Queen's School of Biological Sciences, headed the university's research team and co-wrote the study said: "The findings were really surprising because as far as anyone knew, all sharks reproduced only sexually by a male and female mating.

"The discovery that sharks can reproduce asexually by parthenogenesis now changes this paradigm, leaving mammals as the only major vertebrate group where this form of reproduction has not been seen."


Co-author Dr Mahmood Shivji, who led the Guy Harvey Research Institute team, said: "It now appears that at least some female sharks can switch from a sexual to a non-sexual mode of reproduction in the absence of males."

The team established the most likely form of asexual reproduction that had occurred was a specific type called automictic parthenogenesis, which leads to less genetic diversity in the offspring compared to even the mother.

In Jurassic Park, did the females start reproducing asexually, also?

By min | May 23, 2007, 12:00 PM | Science | Comments (1)| Link

Hope For the Balding

Researchers at UPenn were able to grow hair on mice, and they think mebbe it will lead to getting dormant hair follicles to grow hair again on humans.

The Pennsylvania team found that a particular gene important in wound healing, called wnt, appeared to play a role in the production of new hair follicles.

In its experiment, small sections of the outer skin layer, or epidermis, were removed from mice.

Just this act appeared to awaken stem cell activity in the area, the scientists said, which included the production of a number of hair follicles.

If the action of the wnt gene was blocked, no hair follicles were produced; but if it was boosted, then many more hair follicles were produced, with the skin layer eventually being indistinguishable from surrounding areas.

It's all very preliminary, though, so it could be years before anything comes of it. Meanwhile, there'll be plenty of furry mice hanging out at UPenn.

Currently, hair transplants are the most expensive and most painful way to treat baldness. Then there's the chemicals like Rogaine where some say that after they stopped using it (you're not supposed to use it for longer than a few months straight), all their hair fell out again. Stupid Rogaine. Fostering hopes and then stomping them to bits in the mud.

I'd suggest you start taking zinc supplements as i've read that helps with hair growth, but that would be contrary to what i just told you yesterday. Better to be bald than have prostate cancer.

By min | May 17, 2007, 1:20 PM | Science | Comments (1)| Link

Don't Take Your Vitamins

A study has come out that shows taking multi-vitamins might increase the risk of dying form prostate cancer.

Men taking multi-vitamin supplements often may increase their risk of death from prostate cancer, according to a new study published in the May 16 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

But experts caution that the study could not establish a causal relation between the risk and use of multivitamins, meaning multivitamin use does not necessarily raise the death risk associated with prostate cancer.

The study, a statistical analysis, but not a trial, found that men who used multi-vitamins more than seven times a week were twice as likely to die of prostate cancer as men who never took vitamins.

Those men were also at an increased risk of developing advanced or fatal prostate cancer, compared with men who never used multivitamins, reported Karla A. Lawson, Ph.D., of the National Cancer Institute and colleagues.


But the study also found that those who took selenium, a-carotene, or zinc were among those who faced the highest risk, which is less explainable. "Thus, excessive intake of certain individual micronutrients that are used in combination with multivitamins may be the underlying factor that is related to risk and not the multivitamins themselves," the researchers wrote, cited by Medpage today.

In explaining that use of multivitamins may increase the risk of prostate cancer, Drs. Bjelakovic and Gluud suggested that "antioxidant supplements in pills are synthetic, factory processed, and may not be safe compared with their naturally occurring counterparts."

Another explanation by the editorialists is that "reactive oxygen species in moderate concentrations are essential mediators of reactions by which the body gets rid of unwanted cells. Thus, if administration of antioxidant supplements decreases free radicals, it may interfere with essential defensive mechanisms for ridding the organism of damaged cells, including those that are precancerous and cancerous."

This explanation sounds more plausible, the foodconsumer.org scientist commented. Still, the study per se could not tell the readers that multivitamin use definitely increases risk of fatal and advanced prostate cancer.

I hate it when things that are supposed to be good for us turn out to be bad for us. All those years parents have been feeding their kids Flintstone vitamins to help them grow up stronger and healthier, and all they were doing is giving them prostate cancer. Jerks.

Next they'll discover it increases the chances of ovarian cancer in women.

By min | May 16, 2007, 2:59 PM | Science | Comments (3)| Link

Hot Enough For Ya?

Remember when we were kids and a hot day in the summer would be 87? Last summer we were regularly experiencing temps in the mid-90s. And it's only going to get better.

Future eastern United States summers look much hotter than originally predicted with daily highs about 10 degrees warmer than in recent years by the mid-2080s, a new NASA study says.

Previous and widely used global warming computer estimates predict too many rainy days, the study says. Because drier weather is hotter, they underestimate how warm it will be east of the Mississippi River, said atmospheric scientists Barry Lynn and Leonard Druyan of Columbia University and NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.


In the 2080s, the average summer high will probably be 102 degrees in Jacksonville, 100 degrees in Memphis, 96 degrees in Atlanta, and 91 degrees in Chicago and Washington, according to the study published in the peer-reviewed journal Climate.

But every now and then a summer will be drier than normal and that means even hotter days, Lynn said. So when Lynn's computer models spit out simulated results for July 2085 the forecasted temperatures sizzled past uncomfortable into painful. The study showed a map where the average high in the southeast neared 115 and pushed 100 in the northeast. Even Canada flirted with the low to mid 90s.

Many politicians and climate skeptics have criticized computer models as erring on the side of predicting temperatures that are too hot and outcomes that are too apocalyptic with global warming. But Druyan said the problem is most computer models, especially when compared to their predictions of past observations, underestimate how bad global warming is. That's because they see too many rainy days, which tends to cool temperatures off, he said.

An editor of the journal Climate had this to say about the study:

Weaver said looking at the map of a hotter eastern United States he can think of one thing: "I like living in Canada."

Canada just keeps looking better and better.

By min | May 11, 2007, 11:12 AM | Science | Comments (5)| Link

No Ipods for Grandpa

Ipods have been found to interfere with pacemakers. So, unless you're trying to give the elderly a heart attack, you should prolly keep it away from them. Hopefully, by the time we're using pacemakers, they'll have solved this problem. Course, we might have run out of power to keep any of it running. Or we could die from cancer and never make it to the point where we might need a pacemaker. You gotta think positively.

Cell phones also interfere with pacemakers, but mobile phone manufacturers tell users that it's not a big deal. Just don't put it in a shirt pocket. Cause mobile phone manufactuers would be the first people to dissuade the use of cell phones if they thought it might cause harm. Riiight.

By min | May 11, 2007, 10:54 AM | Science | Comments (0)| Link

Artificial Nasal Mucus

I'm sure there were plenty of people out there who could have helped them out with nasal mucus. They didn't have to go to the trouble of making fake mucus.

British scientists have created artificial nasal mucus to enhance the performance of electronic "noses."

The researchers at the University of Warwick and Leicester University coated sensors used by odor sensing electronic sensors with a mix of polymers that mimics the action of the mucus in the natural nose. They found the artificial mucus greatly improved the performance of the electronic devices, allowing them to identify a more diverse range of smells.

By min | May 1, 2007, 1:55 PM | Science | Comments (2)| Link

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