Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Made ya look: Moviegoers may have little control over their eye movements during Hollywood-style films, study finds [news release]

From the 22 March 2016 Kansas State Univ news release

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

https://i1.wp.com/www.k-state.edu/media/images/mar16/shots1-6-sm.jpg

Lester Loschky, associate professor of psychological sciences at Kansas State University, used six shots, a 12-second clip, from the 1979 James Bond film, “Moonraker,” to measure eye movements and understanding.

MANHATTAN — Hollywood-style films may control viewers’ attention more than originally thought, according to a Kansas State University researcher.

Lester Loschky, associate professor of psychological sciences, recently published “What Would Jaws Do? The Tyranny of Film” in PLOS ONE. The study suggests viewers may have limited cognitive control of their eye movements while trying to understand films.

“Hollywood-style filmmakers have developed stimuli — such as shorter shot length, more motion in the frame and higher contrast — that is amazing at directing the viewers’ attention from moment to moment in exactly the way that the filmmaker wants,” Loschky said. “It is not that film producers have complete mind control because we willingly participate in it — we enjoy movies — but they do have a lot of control over our attention.”

Loschky compared eye movements of people who watched a three-minute clip of “Moonraker,” a 1979 James Bond film, with people who watched the last 12 seconds of the clip. His hypothesis, called the “Tyranny of Film,” was that film viewers’ eye movements are separate from a person’s understanding.

“We are investigating film perception and film comprehension together,” Loschky said. “In a static picture, people look at different things at different times, but during a movie suddenly everybody is looking at the same things at the same time.”

Loschky said that in the last 100 years, filmmakers slowly have gotten better at getting every viewer to look at the same place at the same time, a measurement called attentional synchrony. He attributes that to what he calls MTV-style editing, which is a greater frequency of cuts and shorter shot lengths. The researchers hypothesize that filmmakers are so good at influencing viewers’ eye movements in Hollywood-style movies that viewers’ understanding does not necessarily affect where they look.

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March 22, 2016 Posted by | Psychology | , , , | Leave a comment

Articles focus on OTC medications, dietary supplements & complementary/alternative medicine

From the 21 March 2016 EurkAlert

More older adults used multiple medications and dietary supplements, and taking them together put more people at increased risk for a major drug interaction, according to a new study published online by JAMA Internal Medicine.

Most older adults in the United States use prescription and over-the-counter medications and dietary supplements. There is increased risk among older adults for adverse drug events and polypharmacy.

Dima M. Qato, Pharm. D., M.P.H., Ph.D., of the University of Illinois at Chicago, and coauthors analyzed nationally representative data to examine changes in medication use, which included concurrent use of prescription and over-the counter medications and dietary supplements, to gauge potential for major drug interactions.

The study group included 2,351 participants in 2005-2006 and 2,206 in 2010-2011 who were between the ages of 62 and 85. In-home interviews and direct medication inspection were performed.

The authors report:

  • Concurrent use of at least five prescription medications increased from 30.6 percent to 35.8 percent over the study period.
  • Concurrent use of five or more medications or supplements of any type increased from 53.4 percent to 67.1 percent.
  • Use of over-the-counter medications declined from 44.4 percent to 37.9 percent.
  • Dietary supplement use increased from 51.8 percent to 63.7 percent. Multivitamin or mineral supplements and calcium were the most commonly used supplements during the study period.
  • About 15.1 percent of older adults in 2010-2011 were at risk for a major drug interaction compared with an estimated 8.4 percent in 2005-2006. For example, preventive cardiovascular medications and supplements were increasingly used together in interacting drug regimens.

March 22, 2016 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety, Health News Items | , , | Leave a comment

The Invisible World of Human Perception [news release]

From the 18 March 2016 Univ of Toronto news release

Stage magicians are not the only ones who can distract the eye: a new cognitive psychology experiment demonstrates how all human beings have a built-in ability to stop paying attention to objects that are right in front of them.

We see much less of the world than we think we do

Perception experts have long known that we see much less of the world than we think we do. A person creates a mental model of their surroundings by stitching together scraps of visual information gleaned while shifting attention from place to place. Counterintuitively, the very process that creates the illusion of a complete picture relies on filtering out most of what’s out there.

In a paper published today in the journal Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics a team of U of T researchers reveal how people have more “top-down” control of what they don’t notice than many scientists previously believed.

“The visual system really cares about objects,” says postdoctoral fellow J. Eric T. Taylor, who is the lead author on the paper. “If I move around a room, the locations of all the objects  chairs, tables, doors, walls, etc.  change on my retina, but my mental representation of the room stays the same.”

Objects play fundamental role in how we focus our attention

Objects play such a fundamental role in how we focus our attention that many perception researchers believe we are “addicted” to them; we couldn’t stop paying attention to objects if we tried. The visual brain guides attention largely by selecting objects  and this process is widely believed to be automatic.

March 22, 2016 Posted by | Psychiatry | , | Leave a comment

Parents wary of online doctor ratings [news release]

From the 21 March 2016 Univ of Michigan Health System news release

National poll finds 30% of parents have used rating sites to select or avoid a doctor; majority of parents are concerned about fake ratings

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — For many, checking online reviews has become nearly routine for decisions on everything from cars to restaurants. But when it comes to choosing a doctor, the majority of parents aren’t convinced online ratings are reliable – or even real, a new national poll shows.

More than two-thirds of parents believe some online doctor reviews are fake, while slightly fewer say there are not enough ratings to make a good decision, according to this month’s report from the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health. More than half of parents also feel doctors may influence who leaves ratings.

March 22, 2016 Posted by | health care | , | Leave a comment

   

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