Dietary glycotoxins and Alzheimer’s disease

3 Mar

Should you be taking multivitamins?

3 Mar

In a word no.

There are some supplements worth taking. Dr. Greger explains:


Reminiscence Bumps in Popular Music

2 Mar

The reminiscence bump refers to our tendency to have better memory about our adolescence than other period of life.

Here is the abstract of a study that used popular music as a measure of the bump:

“Autobiographical memories are disproportionately recalled for events in late adolescence and early adulthood, a phenomenon called the reminiscence bump. Previous studies on music have found autobiographical memories and life-long preferences for music from this period. In the present study, we probed young adults’ personal memories associated with top hits over 5-and-a-half decades, as well as the context of their memories and their recognition of, preference for, quality judgments of, and emotional reactions to that music. All these measures showed the typical increase for music released during the two decades of their lives. Unexpectedly, we found that the same measures peaked for the music of participants’ parents’ generation. This finding points to the impact of music in childhood and suggests that these results reflect the prevalence of music in the home environment. An earlier peak occurred for 1960s music, which may be explained by its quality or by its transmission through two generations. We refer to this pattern of musical cultural transmission over generations as cascading reminiscence bumps.”



IQ and Alcohol Consumption

1 Mar

A paper published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research:

Studies of the association between IQ and alcohol consumption have shown conflicting results. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between IQ test results and alcohol consumption, measured as both total alcohol intake and pattern of alcohol use.

The study population consists of 49,321 Swedish males born 1949 to 1951 who were conscripted for Swedish military service 1969 to 1970. IQ test results were available from tests performed at conscription. Questionnaires performed at conscription provided data on total alcohol intake (consumed grams of alcohol/wk) and pattern of drinking. Multinomial and binomial logistic regressions were performed on the cross-sectional data to estimate odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Adjustments were made for socioeconomic position as a child, psychiatric symptoms and emotional stability, and father’s alcohol habits.

We found an increased OR of 1.20 (1.17 to 1.23) for every step decrease on the stanine scale to be a high consumer versus a light consumer of alcohol. For binge drinking, an increased OR of 1.09 (95% CI = 1.08 to 1.11) was estimated for every step decrease on the stanine scale. Adjustment for confounders attenuated the associations. Also, IQ in adolescence was found to be inversely associated with moderate/high alcohol consumption measured in middle age.

We found that lower results on IQ tests are associated with higher consumption of alcohol measured in terms of both total alcohol intake and binge drinking in Swedish adolescent men.”

Ironically the account of this study in The Telegraph linked to this story:

Starbucks to offer wine and beer in evenings

Mountain chickadees’ intelligence research

1 Mar


Bird intelligence

Originally posted on Dear Kitty. Some blog:

This video is called Mountain chickadee, filmed at Lac Le Jeune in British Columbia, Canada.

From Wildlife Extra:

Mountain birds are better problem-solvers than lowlanders

The mountain chickadee is better at working out problems than its relatives that live at lower levels

Living high up on an inhospitable mountain can make you mentally sharper. That’s what Dovid Kozlovsky and his colleagues at the University of Nevada in the US learned with mountain chickadees (Poecile gambeli), a North American bird from the tit family.

Those birds that live at higher altitudes are better problem solvers than the same species living in lower regions.

Previous research showed that mountain chickadees living at harsher high elevations have bigger hippocampi, the part of the brain which plays an important role in memory and spatial navigation.

These chickadees also have far superior spatial memory. This helps them to be better at remembering…

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How to Create and Run Your Own Language Meetup

28 Feb


I haven’t been able to attend the Cleveland Japanese Language Meetup for a while because of my teaching schedule. But I can recommend language meetups as an excellent way to practice. You’ll also meet a lot of nice people who share your interest.

Originally posted on :

Rachel Meyer is an avid language learner, language school owner (, Chinese textbook author and blogger (

Rachel sent in her ideas for this blog post to me via the Speaking Fluently Facebook Page.  She writes about how she keeps all her language current while living in San Francisco.   There is some good, practical information in this post on how to be more proactive in using your languages as part of your life, whilst having fun.  Enjoy!

Imagine practicing the language you are learning with native speakers every week; imagine making friends with native speakers and suddenly you are using the language naturally at dinner parties and events; imagine heading steadily down the path to fluency (or maintaining your fluency) while not living in the country. If you like the sound of this scenario, I have one word for you: Meetup

Chatting in Mandarin over guacamole Chatting in Mandarin over…

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Was Cyril Burt guilty of fraud?

28 Feb

The British psychologist Cyril Burt is probably most know today for having published faked data that purported to demonstrate the central role of heredity in human affairs. Most people probably know of about this case from the account in Steven Jay Gould‘s book The Mismeasure of Man. Unfortunately, Gould’s book, which includes a useful account of the distorting effects of racism on science, is marred by a number of scholarly errors.

The argument against Burt was largely based on an analysis of his data, suggesting that his results were statistically impossible. However, in a paper published in the journal Intelligence,  Gavan Tredoux has reanalyzed the data and reached different conclusions:

“In the last comprehensive review by Mackintosh et al. Cyril Burt, Fraud or Framed? (London: Oxford University Press, 1995) of the fraud charges posthumously leveled against the once eminent psychologist Sir Cyril Burt, Mackintosh and Mascie-Taylor asserted that statistical anomalies they detected in his social mobility data of 1961 provided crucial evidence of guilt. The anomalies included apparent departures from normality in some parts of the data, incommensurate cell totals, and suspicious uniformity within IQ bands across fathers and sons. It is shown here that the departures from normality were a natural consequence of unavoidable rounding when inverting the cumulative normal distribution to construct the class IQ bands used in the tables. Elementary procedures are given, known since at least the 1930s, which could have been used by Burt to simultaneously preserve both the normality of his IQ data and the desired population proportions of occupational classes. Other anomalies first noticed by the statistician Donald Rubin are explainable as artifacts produced by fixing marginal totals in the presence of rounding to IQ scores, then using the same weighting procedures to conform to margins. The grounds given by Mackintosh and Mascie-Taylor for finding fraud in Burt’s social mobility data are therefore dismissed.’

Note even if Burt’s data turns out to have been accurate there is still room for very different interpretations of these results.



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