Reading Lists: “The Best Neuroscience Books Of 2019” (TheScientist)

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Bury your nose in tales of neurosyphilis, gender identity, the medical mysteries of sleep disorders, and more. JAMES DOLBOW

The Nocturnal Brain by Guy Leschziner

The Nocturnal Brain: Nightmares, Neuroscience and the Secret World of Sleep 

Inspired by the legendary book The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by the late Oliver Sacks, neurologist and sleep scientist Guy Leschziner tells the curious true stories of his patients, their fascinating sleep disorders, and the neuroscience behind each. Also like the works of Sacks, The Nocturnal Brain is written with considerable introspection and wonder about each patient’s case, taking you on a journey from the first patient encounter, to diagnosis, and through treatment. The unusual and often bizarre cases will keep you intrigued and immersed, and make this unique book one you will find yourself looking forward to making time to read.

How The Brain Lost Its Mind Allan H. Ropper MD and Brian David BurrellHow The Brain Lost Its Mind: Sex, Hysteria, and the Riddle of Mental Health

In this mindful reflection on American and European pasts, authors Allan H. Ropper and Brian Burrell, also the writers of Reaching Down the Rabbit Hole, address our modern concept of mental illness by reviewing the interesting true story of the syphilis epidemic of the 19th century. This little known and fascinating history of neurosyphilis—how it was handled by society and medicine and how it shaped today’s understanding of mental illness—helps address not only why many stigmas exist, but why so many have persisted. This book will take you on an incredible journey through the puzzling diagnosis, eclectic treatments, and lasting social effects of the neurosyphilis epidemic of the 1800s, as well as offer important insight into the difference between diseases of the brain and the mind. This book is perfect for any scientist, psychologist, or historian with even the smallest interest in medical history or mental health theory.

Compassionomics The Revolutionary Scientific Evidence That Caring Makes A Difference Stephen Trzeciak and Anthony MazzarelliCompassionomics: The Revolutionary Scientific Evidence that Caring Makes a Difference

It is no secret that today’s medical atmosphere scarsely resembles anything similar to that of 50 years ago. Many have argued that this is in large part due to a lack of compassion in the modern medical system. If this is the case, where have we gone wrong, and is there scientific evidence to support that compassion is even beneficial to healthcare, personal relationships, and professional lives? These questions are raised and explored by authors Stephen Trzeciak and Anthony Mazzarelli through the telling of true stories of medical providers and patients that help demonstrate the incredible effect of the human connection. Coupled perfectly with these gripping stories are easily readable summaries of decades of research studying the effects of compassion as well as its implications in our lives. Addressing topics from healthcare cost to provider burnout, from caring for others to caring for ourselves, this evidence-based analysis of the importance of compassion is a must-read for anyone interested in the social science and psychology of the care we give in all settings of our lives.

To read more: https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/opinion–the-best-neuroscience-books-of-2019-66863

Healthiest Adults: Early Risers With 7-8 Hours Of Sleep, No Insomnia Or Daytime Drowsiness

From a European Heart Journal study:

European Society of Cardiology logoWhen the five sleep factors were collapsed into binary categories of low risk vs. high risk (reference group), early chronotype, adequate sleep duration, free of insomnia, and no frequent daytime sleepiness were each independently associated with incident CVD, with a 7%, 12%, 8%, and 15% lower risk, respectively (Table 3). Early chronotype, adequate sleep duration, and free of insomnia were independently associated with a significantly reduced risk of CHD; while only adequate sleep duration was associated with stroke.European Society of Cardiology Sleep patterns, genetic susceptibity and incident cardiovascular disease a prospective study of 385,292 participants lowest risk factorsCardiovascular disease (CVD), including coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke, is among the leading causes of mortality globally.1 In addition to traditional lifestyle behaviours, emerging evidence has implicated several unhealthy sleep behaviours were important risk factors for CVD.2,3 For example, short or long sleep duration,4–9 late chronotype,10,11 insomnia,12–17 snoring,18,19 and excessive daytime sleepiness20,21 were associated with a 10–40% increased CVD risk. European Society of Cardiology Sleep patterns, genetic susceptibity and incident cardiovascular disease a prospective study of 385,292 participants

 

To read more: https://academic.oup.com/eurheartj/advance-article/doi/10.1093/eurheartj/ehz849/5678714

New Study: Nearly 50% Of Americans Will Have Obesity By 2030, 25% Severely Obese (NEJM)

From a New England Journal of Medicine online study release:

The findings from our approach suggest with high predictive accuracy that by 2030 nearly 1 in 2 adults will have obesity (48.9%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 47.7 to 50.1), and the prevalence will be higher than 50% in 29 states and not below 35% in any state.

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Nearly 1 in 4 adults is projected to have severe obesity by 2030 (24.2%; 95% CI, 22.9 to 25.5), and the prevalence will be higher than 25% in 25 states. We predict that, nationally, severe obesity is likely to become the most common BMI category among women (27.6%; 95% CI, 26.1 to 29.2), non-Hispanic black adults (31.7%; 95% CI, 29.9 to 33.4), and low-income adults (31.7%; 95% CI, 30.2 to 33.2).

Projected National Prevalence of BMI Categories in 2030, According to Demographic Subgroup. New England Journal of Medicine December 2019

Although severe obesity was once a rare condition, our findings suggest that it will soon be the most common BMI category in the patient populations of many health care providers. Given that health professionals are often poorly prepared to treat obesity,27 this impending burden of severe obesity and associated medical complications has implications for medical practice and education.

In addition to the profound health effects, such as increased rates of chronic disease and negative consequences on life expectancy,25,28 the effect of weight stigma29 may have far-reaching implications for socioeconomic disparities as severe obesity becomes the most common BMI category among low-income adults in nearly every state.

To read more: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsa1909301?query=featured_home

Retirement: Colleges Cater To Baby Boomers By Building On-Campus Living Facilities (WSJ)

From a Wall Street Journal online article:

Mirabella Senior Living at Arizona State UniversityMirabella Senior Living at Arizona State UniversityMore schools are building or planning senior-living facilities on or near campus to cater to baby boomers who view college as a stimulating alternative to bingo at an archetypal retirement home. Some savor the pursuit of academic and cultural interests. Others are lured by the promise of interaction with younger students, for whom many hope to act as mentors.

It is the latest way for universities to profit from one of their greatest assets, land. Colleges have already taken advantage of this privilege by developing hotels and high-end student housing. Now, some see sales of upscale senior housing as the next step.

Lasell University, just west of Boston, built one of the first on-campus senior communities two decades ago. It requires members to take 450 hours of coursework or activities each year. Other programs have since sprouted up in places like the University of Michigan and Oberlin College in Ohio. Some communities are on campus; others are situated nearby and may have only a loose affiliation with the school. Many offer assisted living and nursing options.

To read more: https://www.wsj.com/articles/seniors-want-to-go-back-to-class-universities-want-to-sell-them-real-estate-11576751403

Top New Science Videos: “Breakthrough” Of The Year, Top Stories & Books 2019 (ScienceMag)

As the year comes to a close, we review the best science, the best stories, and the best books from 2019. Our end-of-the-year episode kicks off with Host Sarah Crespi and Online News Editor David Grimm talking about the top online stories on things like human self-domestication, the “wood wide web,” and more.

News Editor Tim Appenzeller joins Sarah to discuss Science’s 2019 Breakthrough of the Year, some of the contenders for breakthrough, also known as runners-up, and a breakdown—when science and politics just didn’t seem to mix this year.

Finally, Science books editor Valerie Thompson brings her favorites from the world of science-inflected media. She and Sarah talk about some of the best books reviewed in Science this year, a food extinction book we should have reviewed, a pair of science-centric films, and even an award-winning birding board game.

Science & Technology: Reviewing Caltech’s “Decade Of Discovery”

From a Caltech online article:

Caltech LogoDuring this decade, as in previous decades, Caltech scientists and engineers reinvented the landscape of scientific endeavor: from the first detection of gravitational waves and the discovery of evidence for a ninth planet in the solar system; to bold missions to explore and understand the solar system; to the development of new methods to see inside the body and the brain and understand the universe around us; to the invention of devices to improve human health, some taking inspiration from nature; to the initiation of a transformative new effort to support research into the most pressing challenges in environmental sustainability.

Caltech's Decade of Discovery Understanding the Brain December 19 2019Though the brain orchestrates how we experience the world, many questions remain about its complex workings. During the past 10 years, Caltech scientists have discovered how the brain recognizes faces and drives and quenches thirst, and learned about the pathways that govern sleep. A major focus has been on understanding the experience of non-neurotypical individuals, such as those who have autism or those who are missing a brain hemisphere. New realms of neuroscience research were made possible in 2016, when philanthropists Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen announced a gift to establish the Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience at Caltech.

 

Caltech's Decade of Discovery Advancing Medicin December 19 2019As modern technology advances, so do the possibilities for treating medical conditions that were previously considered untreatable. Caltech researchers used an electrode array to help a paralyzed patient stand and move his legs voluntarily and developed a novel method for preventing the spread of diseases, contact lenses for preventing blindness in diabetic patients, an app that monitors heart health, gene therapy for repairing nerves in the brain, and a robotic arm controlled by a paralyzed patient’s intent to move. The decade also saw the establishment of the Merkin Institute for Translational Research, which aims to advance medical technologies, and a continued commitment to the Donna and Benjamin M. Rosen Bioengineering Center.

To read more: https://www.caltech.edu/about/news/decade-of-discovery

 

Travel: Innovations Inside Carnival’s “Mardi Gras” (2020), The Largest Cruise Ship Ever (WSJ Video)

Cruise ships are getting larger and the activities on board more extreme. WSJ’s Scott McCartney visits a shipyard in Finland to see how the cruise operator Carnival is able to pack so much on a ship — including a rollercoaster — and still have it float.