Connecticut Reduces Fatal Shootings, and Other News

A background check form with a gunIn the wake of the shooting rampage that killed nine people at one of the country’s oldest historically black churches, debates about gun control have again entered the national dialogue. Connecticut offers a helpful study in how stricter gun control laws might prevent such violence. The state raised the handgun purchase age from 18 to 21, required gun purchasers to seek a gun permit and a background check, and mandated attendance at an eight-hour gun safety course.

Because Connecticut previously had looser gun laws, the change offered a clear comparison, making it easier to discern which changes were attributable to the tighter gun laws. According to research by Daniel Webster, of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Public Health, the change results in a 40% decrease in fatal shootings. Last year, research by Webster suggested that Missouri’s recent loosening of gun control laws produced a 25% increase in gun-related deaths.

National Pilot Program to Train Doctors in Transgender Health

Those who identify as transgender sometimes avoid doctors due to fears about prejudice, insulting comments, or substandard care. Some transgender people report that doctors and nurses use incorrect pronouns or rely on demeaning stereotypes. The Association of American Medical Colleges hopes to change this. A pilot program, which will begin in August at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, offers doctors training on transgender health.

Cambridge’s ‘Suicide Sunday’ Campaign and the Deeper Psychology of Suicide

The final week of exams at Cambridge University has long been jokingly called “Suicide Sunday.” But 1 in 10 students at the school experience suicidal thoughts, so suicide is no laughing matter. Now students at the school are rallying to change the name of Suicide Sunday while simultaneously drawing attention to student mental health issues.

Duke Professor Offering Free Online Course on Dog Psychology

If you’ve always wanted to understand what’s going on in the mind of your canine best friend, now’s your chance. Brian Hare, a Duke University evolutionary anthropologist, is offering a free online course on dog psychology through Coursera. Coursera partners with colleges and universities across the globe to offer free courses. Hare says there are more than 10,000 students enrolled in his dog psychology class.

Young VTE Patients Often Suffer Mental Health Problems

Venous thromboembolisms (VTE), which results from a blood clot that breaks off and moves to the lungs, primarily afflicts older people. People under the age of 33 who experience the condition may face a number of mental health problems, according to a new study. VTEs double the risk of mental health issues, with 22% of those who experience the condition seeking psychological medications within five years of the VTE.

Do Insect Societies Share Brain Power?

The society in which you live may change the way your brain works, but among insects, large societies may eliminate the need for individual cognition. A study that compared behavior between solitary and social wasps found that social wasps may share cognition. Among individual wasps, this phenomenon may reduce cognitive activity. Among vertebrates, complex societies have the opposite effect, necessitating bigger brains and more complex thought processes.

International Alzheimer’s Prevention Study Expands

A five-year international study that explores the genetic roots of Alzheimer’s will expand. Researchers seek participants aged 65–83 who have no signs of Alzheimer’s, but who are at an increased genetic risk for the disease. Participants will test the drug Pioglitazone, also known as Actos. The diabetes medication, researchers believe, might help prevent Alzheimer’s in those who are genetically vulnerable to the condition.

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  • Ty

    June 19th, 2015 at 11:42 AM

    In the case of the shootings in Charleston this man’s dad or someone had bought him the gun for this birthday.So while I applaud stricter gun laws across the board, there are some things like this that won’t be stopped because of the actions of others.

  • Joy

    June 20th, 2015 at 12:26 PM

    Why do the doctors need to be trained in transgender health? this is a problem that does not stem from the doctors but from the transgender community themselves. The doctors can’t go out and physically drag them into their offices and I don’t think that just because you offer a few classes in this that these things alone will make you more willing to seek out these doctors. I guess that when they start feeling bad enough they will seek out any doctor who will see them. Sorry but I happen to think that there are bigger fish to fry than this.

  • Brian

    June 22nd, 2015 at 3:18 PM

    Is there anything that you can do as a young person to avoid VTE or is this a genetic thing that is hard to avoid?

  • sandi

    June 23rd, 2015 at 3:28 PM

    OMG I had no idea about the dog psych course!
    I have to find out more about it!

  • Leonard

    June 24th, 2015 at 3:04 PM

    I would love to know just how quickly that Alzheimer’s study is expanding. I am sure that there are thousands worldwide who would benefit form the growth and the increase in knowledge that this could provide.

  • Jewel

    June 25th, 2015 at 5:00 PM

    Tighten the gun laws
    there are fewer gun deaths
    loosen the laws
    you have more deaths
    am i the only one who clearly sees that there IS a correlation between these two things and that we need to have more laws on the books tightening the gun restrictions now?

  • Bray

    June 26th, 2015 at 1:28 PM

    I would think that more transgender people would need therapists who are specifically trained to handle their issues, that this would be a far greater concern than physical health.

  • Anne

    June 29th, 2015 at 6:14 PM

    I am guessing that bee and any colonies would be the perfect examples of how brain power is being shared in the insect world. And if these two animals are not insects then oops sorry, disregard the post lol

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