Betsy DeVos backs a technique claiming to cure ADHD without medication — but the science is questionable

(Donald Trump and education secretary Betsy DeVos.AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Of the approximately 6.4 million American children with attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD), some 85% take stimulant drugs like Adderall. (Another 8 million American adults have the disorder, but estimates of their rates of drug use are less clear).

Studies suggest that treating ADHD with stimulant drugs improves symptoms in about 70% of adults and 70% to 80% of children, but there is a risk of side effects that range from minor to debilitating. These include headaches, insomnia, nervousness, weight loss, and in some cases even heart problems. Some people who have been treating their ADHD with stimulants for years say even more serious issues can arise, from anxiety and panic to social isolation. Often, it can feel as though they’re managing two different personalities — one on the medication and one off of it. That’s not mention the other 20% to 30% of people for whom medication either isn’t an option or doesn’t help.

The goal of neurofeedback training in people with ADHD is to pinpoint where the brain was misbehaving and re-balance its activity patterns, says McIntyre. Some new and very preliminary studies using fMRI to measure brain activity in people with ADHD who have done neurofeedback are just beginning to suggest that this is actually what is going on.

“The people who come [to Neurocore] are already at their wits end and struggling because nothing’s working,” says Michelle McIntyre, who worked at Neurocore for four years as an intern, a technician, and a sales representative. McIntyre’s says that during her time as a Neurocore technician, she saw many patients — about half of them children, half adults — with attention issues. Many had previously been diagnosed with ADHD by a physician and were having a rough time finding any treatment that helped alleviate their symptoms.

“Ultimately what we’re trying to do is relieve the symptoms that brought the physician to that diagnosis,” she says. “Ultimately what we’re trying to do is balance the brain.”

David Rabiner, a Duke University professor of neuroscience who practices neurofeedback, maintains that the scientific evidence leans more strongly in favor of conventional, medication-based treatments for people with ADHD than it does for neurofeedback. While there has been an outpouring of recent research on neurofeedback in people with ADHD, the largest and strongest studies remain undecided on whether or not it works. And the studies that do say it works have mixed conclusions about how well.

Two large and promising recent meta-analyses (reviews of studies) examined neurofeedback and ADHD in children. While both concluded that the treatment helped reduce children’s ADHD symptoms, one said it was “probably efficacious” while the other said it was “efficacious and specific.” In the first case, that phrasing corresponds to a level three out of five (3/5) on a scale created to evaluate biofeedback methods (zero is the weakest and five is the strongest). In the second case, the researchers gave it a five out of five (5/5).

A few years after those studies were published, another equally large review came to the opposite conclusion, finding that the “evidence … currently fails to support neurofeedback as an effective treatment for ADHD.”

Full article: Betsy DeVos backs a technique claiming to cure ADHD without medication — but the science is questionable – Yahoo

I know this is a little different than the stuff I normally post here, but I wanted to say something about it.

So what if the science on it is weird? I’m all for trying things that don’t involve drugging our children. If it doesn’t work for one child, then move on to something else. Drugging our kids should be a last resort.

My friend has four children. Two of them are ADHD (although, to be fair, I’m not sure the younger of the two was formally diagnosed, so we won’t discuss her). The older of the two, a boy I believe is about 9, is a swimmer, a very imaginative kid, and really just a nice kid. He has always been extremely high energy, and when he went to school the teachers began pushing to have him diagnosed because he was having trouble making it through the school day without completely losing it.

He was diagnosed and given a medication. I am not 100% sure what drug they gave him. But it turned him into a zombie. He was nothing like himself anymore.

His mother decided to treat him with essential oils. Now, I am not a huge fan of essential oils. I think they can be useful for smaller issues, but not big issues. I do carry peppermint essential oil with me because I have a bad stomach and it settles it down. She, however, swears by the stuff, and she made a mixture to treat her son with.

It works for him. He was able to go off the medication and is closer to the young man he used to be. So while I’m not a fan of the essential oils, I support her using them for him because they seem to work for him, and they don’t have to pump him full of drugs.

So I don’t have an issue with DeVos supporting something even if the science is weird on it. Medication is a last resort. It won’t hurt to try every other option first.

Evidence of Global Warming Found on a Planet With No Humans

New evidence, as reported by the Washington Times, suggests that global warming is happening on a planet not inhabited by a single human… Mars.

The red planet, which moved closer to the Earth on Monday than at any other time since 2005, has retreated from a glacial period that would have covered large areas in white before the thaw about 370,000 years ago, according to a study published Friday in the journal Science.

The research was conducted using an instrument on board the NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter that allowed an unprecedented examination of “the most recent Martian ice age recorded in the planet’s north polar ice cap,” according to a NASA press release.

Scientists attribute the shift in Mars’ climate to natural variations that occur over “thousands of years.” Changes in the planet’s orbit and tilt of the planet’s axis move Mars in and out of ice ages over time.

Source: Evidence of Global Warming Found on a Planet With No Humans | Restoring Liberty

The Pentagon spent $170K on a study called ‘Walking with coffee: Why does it spill?’

1795R-48466We’ve spent a lot of time listening to our elected officials tell us why we need cuts to social security – that we all pay in to – and why we need to cut the pay and retirement benefits for our military men and women. Democrats like Pelosi and Feinstein keep telling us there is nowhere else to make cuts, we’re out of cuts that could possibly be made.

Then this comes along. A study – costing you $170K – on why uncovered coffee spills when you walk with it. An answer you could have given for free on a third grade education, and an answer that means nothing to anyone.

How did this study benefit human life? What useful information did we get from this? Are we going to gain anything at all from this study that we didn’t already know?


So why are we talking very recently about how we need to cut retirement pay for military and then this study comes out shortly there after? Please, stop paying for ridiculous studies like this and shafting the American citizen for it. Trust me, I am all for funding the sciences. But this isn’t real science and it isn’t useful at all. So I guess I should say I am for funding for useful science.

And this is so outrageous because we hear about so many of them. Stop. We need less spending in this country, and this is the perfect place to start cutting.

Why Conservatives Can’t Understand Liberals (and Vice Versa)

During a TED talk a number of years ago, Haidt shared his discovery that contrary to the idea that humans begin as a blank slate—“the worst idea in all psychology,” he says—humans are born with a “first draft” of moral knowledge. Essentially, Haidt argues, humans possess innate but malleable sets of values “organized in advance of experience.”

So if the slate is not blank, what’s on it?

To find out, Haidt and a colleague read the most current literature on anthropology, cultural variations, and evolutionary psychology to identify cross-cultural matches. They found five primary categories that serve as our moral foundation:

1) Care/harm: This foundation is related to our long evolution as mammals with attachment systems and an ability to feel (and dislike) the pain of others. It underlies virtues of kindness, gentleness, and nurturance.
2) Fairness/reciprocity: This foundation is related to the evolutionary process of reciprocal altruism. It generates ideas of justice, rights, and autonomy. [Note: In our original conception, Fairness included concerns about equality, which are more strongly endorsed by political liberals. However, as we reformulated the theory in 2011 based on new data, we emphasize proportionality, which is endorsed by everyone, but is more strongly endorsed by conservatives]
3) Loyalty/betrayal: This foundation is related to our long history as tribal creatures able to form shifting coalitions. It underlies virtues of patriotism and self-sacrifice for the group. It is active anytime people feel that it’s “one for all, and all for one.”
4) Authority/subversion: This foundation was shaped by our long primate history of hierarchical social interactions. It underlies virtues of leadership and followership, including deference to legitimate authority and respect for traditions.
5) Sanctity/degradation: This foundation was shaped by the psychology of disgust and contamination. It underlies religious notions of striving to live in an elevated, less carnal, more noble way. It underlies the widespread idea that the body is a temple which can be desecrated by immoral activities and contaminants (an idea not unique to religious traditions).

What Haidt found is that both conservatives and liberals recognize the Harm/Care and Fairness/Reciprocity values. Liberal-minded people, however, tend to reject the three remaining foundational values— Loyalty/betrayal, Authority/subversion, and Sanctity/degradation —while conservatives accept them. It’s an extraordinary difference, and it helps explain why many liberals and conservatives in America think “the other side” is bonkers.

Liberals might contend, of course, that these values are not proper morals at all but base human traits responsible for xenophobia, religious oppression, etc. Haidt rejects this thesis. And through a series of historical illustrations, psychological studies, and cross-cultural references he explains that many liberals often fail to appreciate a timeless truth that conservatives usually accept: order tends to decay. (A truth, I’ll add, buttressed by the second law of thermodynamics.)

Now, Haidt is not suggesting conservatives are superior to liberals. He points out that conservatives tend to value order even at the cost of those at the bottom of society, which can result in morally dubious social implications. Liberals, however, often desire change even at the risk of anarchy.

Many people, of course, will refuse to accept Haidt’s explanation of moral reality. This is not surprising. The human inclination is to believe in one’s own understanding of morality, and many people will live their entire lives without seriously attempting to understand their ideological counterparts.

These people, Haidt says, reside on both sides of ideological spectrum. They exist in what he calls a “moral matrix.”

Read full article: Why Conservatives Can’t Understand Liberals (and Vice Versa) | Intellectual Takeout

Periodic Table’s 7th Row Completed With Discovery Of Four New Elements

Break out the champagne; the 7th row of the periodic table has been completed with the addition of four new elements. While their existence had been predicted before, they have only now been officially discovered – meaning they can be formally named on the table.

At the moment, the four elements – which occupy the 113th, 115th, 117th and 118th positions – have the monikers Uut, Uup, Uus, and Uuo respectively. That will change now, though, thanks to scientists from Russia, the U.S., and Japan. The number denotes the atomic number, the total number of protons in one atom of the element.

Credit for element 113 has been awarded to scientists at the RIKEN Institute in Wako, Japan, while a Russian-U.S. collaboration from the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California takes the plaudits for 118. Elements 115 and 117 were found by the same collaboration with the addition of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

The discoveries were ratified by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) on December 30, meaning the naming process can now go ahead. The discoverers get the right to choose the name, so the Japanese team will name element 113 – with previous reports suggesting they may pluck for “Japanium.”

“The chemistry community is eager to see its most cherished table finally being completed down to the seventh row,” Professor Jan Reedijk, President of the Inorganic Chemistry Division of IUPAC, said in a statement.

Source: Periodic Table’s 7th Row Completed With Discovery Of Four New Elements | IFLScience

Comments Off on Periodic Table’s 7th Row Completed With Discovery Of Four New Elements Posted in Science

NY Attorney General Tries to Criminalize Scientific Dissent on Climate Change

The New York Times is reporting that Schneiderman has subpoenaed extensive financial records, emails and other documents of Exxon Mobil to investigate whether the company “lied to the public about the risks of climate change or to investors about how such risk might hurt the oil business.”  In addition to ignoring the First Amendment, Schneiderman is apparently unaware that the claim that the world is endangered by a warming climate is a scientific theory, not a proven fact. There is dissention in the scientific community about this theory, and robust debate about both the temperature evidence and computer models on which the theory is based.

In fact, as the Heritage Foundation’s Nicolas Loris points out, “flaws discovered in the scientific assessment of climate change have shown that the scientific consensus is not as settled as the public had been led to believe.” Leaked emails and documents from various universities and researchers have “revealed conspiracy, exaggerated warming data, possibly illegal destruction and manipulation of data, and attempts to freeze out dissenting scientists from publishing their work in reputable journals.” Furthermore, the “gaffes” that have been exposed in the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports “have only increased skepticism” about the credibility of this scientific theory.

Yet the attorney general of New York is investigating one of our largest oil and natural gas companies because it might disagree with a scientific theory.  What is worse, the New York Times article reports that the attorney general has been engaged in a similar, secret investigation of Peabody Energy, the nation’s largest coal producer, for the past two years.  Unfortunately, Peabody has apparently been cooperating in the investigation that violates the company’s fundamental First Amendment rights.

Soviet-Style Investigation

One wonders whether General Schneiderman realizes that he seems to be following the Soviet technique of having the government interfere in science and prosecute anyone who doesn’t agree with the theory most in vogue with politicians and the state.  Joseph Stalin was infamous for his direct involvement in academic disputes in areas ranging from linguistics to physics.  According to “Stalin and the Soviet Science Wars,” a 2006 book published by the Princeton University Press, he only “called off an effort to purge Soviet physics of ‘bourgeois’ quantum mechanics and relativity” as the Soviets were developing their first atomic bomb.   Aleksandr Solzhenistsyn’s book, “In the First Circle,” was all about the Soviet government’s suppression of scientists and engineers with the wrong scientific views.

Besides the dangers of criminal or civil charges being lodged against these companies, the other obvious result of such investigations, which may be their intent, is to chill the speech and advocacy of any “bourgeois” who disagrees with the so-called “consensus” that the climate change theory is real and that it is human activity that is the main cause of the world warming up by a miniscule amount.  Exxon Mobile already may have been deterred since its spokesman said that it stopped funding any groups doing research on climate change in the middle of the past decade “who were making the uncertainty of the science their focal point.”

Continued: NY Attorney General Tries to Criminalize Scientific Dissent on Climate Change

‘Big Bang Theory’ Actress: Hollywood Isn’t Friendly to People of Faith

“I’ve gotten a lot of negative attention for visiting Israel,” said Bialik, who is Jewish. “That’s what’s amazing… simply by going to Israel this summer and saying nothing more than, ‘I’ve gone to Israel,’ I got the same amount of hatred and threats and anti-Semitism for actually making a statement trying to support people whether I like it or not are serving in the army.”

AP Photo

“That reveals the truth. It really doesn’t matter what I support or believe, the fact that I’m Jewish and go there is enough – that should be alarming to most people,” she continued.

While Bialik revealed most of the backlash she received came from fans, she also noted the entertainment industry isn’t friendly to those who believe in a higher power.

“I think in general it’s never going to be trendy to be observant or religious in Hollywood circles,” she said. “There are people I know of faith and we tend to congregate together. I study Jewish texts weekly. That’s something really positive to me when you’re a person of faith, it stays with you all the time.”

The California-native, who earned a degree in neuroscience, said she’s often questioned by people who don’t understand how she can believe in both God and Science.

“Being a scientist and a person of faith, people want to know how that is. It leads to a lot of interesting conversations that I welcome but a lot of people want to open up a conversation just to tell you, you’re wrong,” she said.

via ‘Big Bang Theory’ Actress: Hollywood Isn’t Friendly to People of Faith – Breitbart.

The show she is on sure isn’t. I actually love The Big Bang Theory, but let’s be honest, they are not exactly friendly to religion. Her comments about people of faith and science are constantly brought up on the show as if having faith and being a scientist isn’t possible. And they mock Sheldon’s religious mother endlessly (aside from the fact that according to them Texas is also very anti-Jewish).

I have known many people who were both scientists and people of faith, whatever their faith was. The two go hand in hand in many ways. There is nothing in most religions that says science is wrong. And you can study and believe science and still believe God had a hand in it. What’s wrong with that?