Tag Archives: conventional wisdom

The War on Poverty lost the political battle

ANN ARBOR — A new University of Michigan analysis challenges the conventional wisdom that President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty failed.

In the decade after Johnson declared “unconditional war on poverty,” poverty rates plummeted to reach their historic low of about 11 percent in 1973. Poverty rates were 19 percent in 1964. (more…)

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Soil production breaks geologic speed record

Geologic time is shorthand for slow-paced. But new measurements from steep mountaintops in New Zealand shows that rock can transform into soil more than twice as fast as previously believed possible.

The findings were published Jan. 16 in the early online edition of Science. (more…)

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UCLA Findings Buck Conventional Wisdom about How Stress-Response Protein Works

UCLA researchers, in a finding that runs counter to conventional wisdom, have discovered for the first time that a gene thought to express a stress-response protein in all cells that come under stress instead expresses the protein only in specific cell types.

The research team, from the Jules Stein Eye Institute at UCLA and the UCLA Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, focused on αB-Crystallin, one of a class of molecules known as heat shock proteins, which are involved in the folding and unfolding of other proteins, helping them recover from stress so they can do their job. (more…)

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Mammalian Brain Knows Where It’s at

A new study in the journal Neuron suggests that the brain uses a different region than neuroscientists had thought to associate objects and locations in the space around an individual. Knowing where this fundamental process occurs could help treat disease and brain injury as well as inform basic understanding of how the brain supports memory and guides behavior.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Where are you?

Conventional wisdom in brain research says that you just used your hippocampus to answer that question, but that might not be the whole story. The context of place depends on not just how you got there, but also the things you see around you. A new study in Neuron provides evidence that a different part of the brain is important for understanding where you are based on the spatial layout of the objects in that place. The finding, in rats, has a direct analogy to primate neuroanatomy. (more…)

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Brian Reggiannini Figures out Who’s Talking

If computers could become ‘smart’ enough to recognize who is talking, that could allow them to produce real-time transcripts of meetings, courtroom proceedings, debates, and other important events. In the dissertation that will allow him to receive his Ph.D. at Commencement this year, Brian Reggiannini found a way to advance the state of the art for voice- and speaker-recognition.

Everyone does signal processing every day, even if we don’t call it that. With friends at a sports bar, we peer up at the TV to see the score, we turn our head toward the crashing sound when a waitress drops a glass, and perhaps most remarkably, we can track the fast-paced banter of all the people in our booth, even if we’ve never met some of the friends-of-friends who have insinuated themselves into the scene.

Very few of us, however, could ever get a computer to do anything like that. That’s why doing it well has earned Brian Reggiannini a Ph.D. at Brown and a career in the industry.

In his dissertation, Reggiannini managed to raise the bar for how well a computer connected to a roomful of microphones can keep track of who among a small group of speakers is talking. Further refined and combined with speech recognition, such a system could lead to instantaneous transcriptions of meetings, courtroom proceedings, or debates among, say, several rude political candidates who are prone to interrupt. It could help the deaf follow conversations in real-time. (more…)

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Feeding Tubes May Worsen Pressure Ulcer Risk

In the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers report that despite the conventional wisdom that feeding tubes help dementia patients resist pressure ulcers, feeding tubes actually are associated with an increased risk of ulcers developing. The tubes also don’t promote healing.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — A new study led by Brown University researchers reports that percutaneous endoscopic gastric (PEG) feeding tubes, long assumed to help bedridden dementia patients stave off or overcome pressure ulcers, may instead make the horrible sores more likely to develop or not improve.

The analysis of thousands of nursing home patients with advanced dementia appears in the May 14 edition of the Archives of Internal Medicine. (more…)

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How the Brain Makes Memories: Rhythmically!

The brain learns through changes in the strength of its synapses — the connections between neurons — in response to stimuli.

Now, in a discovery that challenges conventional wisdom on the brain mechanisms of learning, UCLA neuro-physicists have found there is an optimal brain “rhythm,” or frequency, for changing synaptic strength. And further, like stations on a radio dial, each synapse is tuned to a different optimal frequency for learning.

The findings, which provide a grand-unified theory of the mechanisms that underlie learning in the brain, may lead to possible new therapies for treating learning disabilities. (more…)

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Marcus Garvey Movement Owes Large Debt to Caribbean Expats, UCLA Historian Finds

Conventional wisdom has long held that Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association, which advocated racial self-help and the unity of the African diaspora, grew out of the heady political and cultural environment of the Harlem Renaissance and benefited African Americans above all other black people. Any Caribbean role, according to this view, was separate and incidental to the primary legacy bequeathed to American race relations by the charismatic Jamaica native.

Now a UCLA historian argues the reverse in the first book of a multi-volume series on the Garvey movement and the Caribbean. From the UNIA’s organizational structure to its most valuable foot soldiers during its first half-decade, Garvey’s Caribbean links were indispensable to the movement’s success, and the region ultimately proved to be its most important theater, contends Robert A. Hill in “The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers: The Caribbean Diaspora 1910–1920.” (more…)

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