Predicting precision of movement tasks

Science Daily - Mon, 09/05/2016 - 12:57pm
Even simple, frequently carried-out movement tasks like opening a door or grasping an object are sometimes realized better and sometimes worse, sometimes faster, sometimes slower, sometimes more precisely, sometimes less precisely. This variability in performance can be traced back in part to brain activity. An interdisciplinary junior research group has developed a self-learning algorithm that allows predictions concerning the precision of an action. The procedure could be used for physical training methods and for improving rehabilitation after strokes.
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Simulating the evolution of Mars volcano Olympus Mons

Science Daily - Mon, 09/05/2016 - 12:57pm
Scientists have succeeded in creating a model simulating the formation of mysterious structures on the surface of the Mars volcano, Olympus Mons. The research project is based on image data of the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) that is installed on the European Mars Express spacecraft, which has been orbiting the red planet since December 2003. Using the camera images, the scientists in the Planetary Sciences and Remote Sensing group generated a mosaic and a terrain model of the Olympus Mons volcano. The image data show that the volcano shield is shaped in the form of arched terraces and the foot of the otherwise very flat volcano drops steeply. The origin of the terraces and the steep slope of Olympus Mons were discussed heatedly in previous publications.
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The Juliet Effect: Real reason why your mom and your sister don't like your 'hunky' boyfriend

Science Daily - Mon, 09/05/2016 - 12:57pm
Why do we choose the partners we do, and why do we get flak about it from our parents? A professor says it comes down to simple genetics.
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Ice-mass loss of Antarctica visualized

Science Daily - Mon, 09/05/2016 - 12:57pm
The Antarctic ice sheet, with a thickness of up to 4800 meter, has lost mass in the recent years. This was confirmed by a variety of scientific studies. Scientists now visualize the ice-mass loss: The interested public and scientific community can follow the Antarctic ice-mass changes month by month and divided by regions.
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How fasting helps fight fatty liver disease

Science Daily - Mon, 09/05/2016 - 12:53pm
Scientists have new information on what happens at the molecular level when we go hungry. Through new study, they were able to show that upon deprivation of food a certain protein is produced that adjusts the metabolism in the liver.
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Quantum Swing: a pendulum that moves forward and backwards at the same time

Science Daily - Mon, 09/05/2016 - 12:53pm
Two-quantum oscillations of atoms in a semiconductor crystal are excited by ultrashort terahertz pulses. The terahertz waves radiated from the moving atoms are analyzed by a novel time-resolving method and demonstrate the non-classical character of large-amplitude atomic motions.
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Antidepressant use during pregnancy may lengthen umbilical cord

Science Daily - Mon, 09/05/2016 - 12:53pm
Umbilical cords of children whose mothers used selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors during pregnancy may be longer than umbilical cords of other newborn children, shows a new study. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, SSRIs, are commonly prescribed antidepressants, and this is the first time their association with umbilical cord length was observed.
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Evaluating patient files without violating privacy

Science Daily - Mon, 09/05/2016 - 12:53pm
Patient files may contain vital hints for detecting diseases at an early stage. However, evaluating them would violate patient privacy. This is where mathematics can help, say investigators.
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Honeybees more likely to regulate hive's 'thermostat' during rapid temperature increases

Science Daily - Mon, 09/05/2016 - 12:51pm
Honeybees use their wings to cool down their hives when temperatures rise, but new research shows that this intriguing behavior may be linked to both the rate of heating and the size of a honeybee group.
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Specific changes to non-coding RNA may be part of what makes us human

Science Daily - Mon, 09/05/2016 - 12:51pm
Human-specific variants of four microRNAs may have altered expression levels and gene targets compared to other great apes, according to a new study.
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Salmon smolts find safety in numbers

Science Daily - Mon, 09/05/2016 - 12:51pm
Using tags surgically implanted into thousands of juvenile salmon, researchers have discovered that many fish die within the first few days of migration from their birthplace to the ocean.
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Cancer may drive health problems as people age

Science Daily - Mon, 09/05/2016 - 12:51pm
A new study indicates that cancer may have negative impacts on both the physical and mental health of individuals as they age. The study suggests that cancer increases the risk for certain health issues above and beyond normal aging.
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Serious video games may help increase fruit and vegetable intake

Science Daily - Mon, 09/05/2016 - 12:51pm
Using a serious video game, Squires Quest! II: Saving the Kingdom of Fivealot, researchers evaluated how creating implementation intentions (i.e., specific plans) within the goal-setting component in the game helped fourth and fifth grade students improve fruit and vegetable intake at specific meals.
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Warning: Your hospital may kill you and they won’t report it

Kurzweil AI - Mon, 09/05/2016 - 11:21am

The common causes of death in the United States in 2013 (credit: BMJ)

Medical error is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. after heart disease and cancer — an estimated 210,000 to 400,000 deaths a year among hospital patients — say experts in an open-access paper in the British Medical Journal — despite the fact that both hospital reporting and death certificates in the U.S. have no provision for acknowledging medical error.

Martin Makary and Michael Daniel at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore call for better reporting to help understand the scale of this problem and determine how to tackle it.

Currently, death certification in the U.S. relies on assigning an International Classification of Disease (ICD) code to the cause of death, so causes of death not associated with an ICD code, such as human and system factors, are not captured. According to the World Health Organization, 117 countries code their mortality statistics using the ICD system, including the UK and Canada.

As a result, accurate data on deaths associated with medical error is lacking. However, using studies from 1999 onwards — and extrapolating to the total number of U.S. hospital admissions in 2013 — Makary and Daniel calculated a mean rate of death from medical error of 251,454 a year.

Comparing their estimate to the annual list of the most common causes of death in the U.S., compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suggests that medical error is the third most common cause of death in the US.

Fixing medical errors

“Although we cannot eliminate human error, we can better measure the problem to design safer systems mitigating its frequency, visibility, and consequences,” the experts advise, using three steps: making errors more visible when they occur so their effects can be intercepted; having remedies at hand to rescue patients; and making errors less frequent by following principles that take human limitations into account.

For instance, instead of simply requiring cause of death, they suggest that death certificates could contain an extra field asking whether a preventable complication stemming from the patient’s medical care contributed to the death. Another strategy would be for hospitals to carry out a rapid and efficient independent investigation into deaths to determine the potential contribution of error.

Measuring the consequences of medical care on patient outcomes “is an important prerequisite to creating a culture of learning from our mistakes, thereby advancing the science of safety and moving us closer towards creating learning health systems,” they add.

“Sound scientific methods, beginning with an assessment of the problem, are critical to approaching any health threat to patients,” they write. “The problem of medical error should not be exempt from this scientific approach.”

And they call for “more appropriate recognition of the role of medical error in patient death to heighten awareness and guide both collaborations and capital investments in research and prevention.”

Abstract of Medical error—the third leading cause of death in the US

The annual list of the most common causes of death in the United States, compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), informs public awareness and national research priorities each year. The list is created using death certificates filled out by physicians, funeral directors, medical examiners, and coroners. However, a major limitation of the death certificate is that it relies on assigning an International Classification of Disease (ICD) code to the cause of death.1 As a result, causes of death not associated with an ICD code, such as human and system factors, are not captured. The science of safety has matured to describe how communication breakdowns, diagnostic errors, poor judgment, and inadequate skill can directly result in patient harm and death. We analyzed the scientific literature on medical error to identify its contribution to US deaths in relation to causes listed by the CDC.

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