Random (but not really)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Under the Radar

Here are some interesting news items that have come in under the radar in recent weeks.

First, something I have complained repeatedly about, which is “anti-bacterial” products. Research in the UK has found that using anti-bacterial wipes in hospitals does not, in fact kill bacteria, and if a wipe is used on more than one surface, may instead spread those bacteria.

…the wipes tested were unable to kill the bacteria that they removed. As a result, they transferred high numbers of bacteria to other surfaces.


On a more controversial note, a study conducted at the Medical College of Wisconsin found that states that conduct local background checks, as opposed to relying upon only federal, or federal and state data, have lower rates of homicide and suicide. This was a retrospective study, and the article didn’t list the states used in the study, which is information I would like to know before drawing further conclusions from the article. (i.e. did the study account for population density and size?)


An article that was simply fascinating was the the following:

A new report shows that a non-ambulatory (unable to walk or stand) child with a cervical spinal cord injury was able to restore basic walking function after intensive locomotor training. The case study, published in Physical Therapy (May 2008), the scientific journal of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), evaluated the effects of locomotor training in a 4 ½ year-old-boy, who had no ability to walk following a gunshot wound sixteen months earlier.

The articles doesn’t state at what age plasticity stops, although it does limit these ability to children. It would be interesting to know what biological mechanisms affected this child’s miraculous recovery, and whether those conditions can eventually be reproduced in adults.


A study performed at Ohio State University has found that in the workplace instant messaging can actually improve productivity. I’ve noticed this myself. I’d much rather have the GAs IM me easy questions than call me. And it would be much easier to IM my boss questions that require little more than yes or no answers than call him or get up and walk over to his office.

Although it’s probably better for my physically to walk over to his office with my questions.


And last but not least, something that won’t surprise women in the least, heterosexual men’s decision making is more suspect after they’ve seen scantily clad women, or items in which women would be scantily clad.

Authors … found that the desire for immediate rewards increased in men who touched bras, looked at pictures of beautiful women, or watched video clips of young women in bikinis running through a park.

Um… duh? Isn’t that the point of all those horrible TV commercials?

Of course this could also work in the favor of women. Drag one’s guy through Victoria’s secret, and maybe they’ll more readily agree to any purchases immediately after.

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