Yearly Archive for 2009
When we are given a new prescription, most of us happily go away and take our medicine just like the doctor ordered. We may not study the patient information particularly carefully, and we may not follow the given advice to the letter, but we cheerfully assume that, unless we do something particularly stupid, the medication will do us no harm. But... we could be wrong.
Once upon a time, a lively old man named Santa Claus worked very hard -- all by himself, not exploiting animals or short people -- to make safe, educational toys to deliver to children all over the world on Christmas Eve. Santa exercised regularly, and ate a balanced diet of whole grains and plenty of fruits and vegetables to maintain a healthy body mass index. He never drank alcohol or smoked a pipe. And, while a sleigh would make his job of delivering presents easier, he donned his running shoes and globe-trotted on foot. Santa left the toys for the boys and girls outside their front doors, as to not endanger himself by climbing on an icy, snowy roof or creating a fire hazard by plunging down a chimney. Plus, he would never want to be accused of breaking and entering.
As many as 10% of children suffer from attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a neuropsychiatric behavioral disorder characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. ADHD can cause significant functional, social, and psychological impairment in children and adults. ADHD treatment in children has been controversial, since the mainstay of treatment is stimulant medications, including methylphenidate and amphetamines. Parents are appropriately concerned about giving their children powerful medications that can lead to liver damage, addiction to stimulants, or abuse of stimulants or illicit drugs. But, untreated ADHD can have dangerous repercussions, including the development of psychiatric disorders. Now, the benefits might outweigh the risks of stimulant medications as a new study reports that stimulants are actually protective against the development of significant psychiatric disorders associated with ADHD.
Throughout the history of human civilization, wars have a common feature of being practiced primarily by males. This group aggression by males is a persistent trait of human behavior, seen across different continents among civilizations that have developed independent of each other. Also, experimental evidence suggests that compared to females, male behavior and psychology is more inclined to aggression. Men are relatively more aggressive in inter-group games and display stronger ingroup loyalty in the presence of an inter-group threat. This idea is referred to by anthropologists as the male-warrior hypothesis.