Archive for August 8th, 2012

August 8, 2012

Quick Takes — grammar mistakes, the folly of college for all, curbing impulsivity with drugs

by Grace

 11 Most Common Grammar Gaffes On Social Media (The Brainyard)

Top 5 are:

1. It’s and Its
2. Your and You’re
3. To, Two, and Too
4. There, Their, and They’re
5. Sentence Starters and Endings

—  Another reason the college-for-all mindset should be reconsidered:  There is a ‘very poor correlation between the percent of college-degree attainment in a nation and the nation’s overall prosperity’.

 As I have pointed out several times in my Chronicle postings (see, for example, “Supersizing,” February 15, 2012), there is a very poor correlation between the percent of college-degree attainment in a nation and the nation’s overall prosperity.  Russia leads the world in college-degree attainment among 25- to 64-year-olds and among 25- to 34-year-olds, both at 54 percent. No one thinks Russia has the world’s leading economy.  Switzerland (34 percent) and Germany (25 percent) have robust economies but smaller percentages of degree holders than the U.S. (We have 41 percent among 25- to 64-year-olds, according to a 2010 OECD; 38 percent according to the older OECD study Dr. Rosenberg apparently replied on.)

Too Many College Students? Yes, Unfortunately (Chronicle of Higher Ed)

—  Drug Boosts Frontal Cortex Dopamine, Cuts Impulsiveness (FuturePundit)

This new development has many implications for shaping human behavior, but the first one that came to mind was treating adolescent children, boys in particular, whose immature frontal lobes impede optimum academic achievement.  The possibilities are both intriguing and frightening.

Raising levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the frontal cortex of the brain significantly decreased impulsivity in healthy adults, in a study conducted by researchers at the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center at the University of California, San Francisco.

“Impulsivity is a risk factor for addiction to many substances, and it has been suggested that people with lower dopamine levels in the frontal cortex tend to be more impulsive,” said lead author Andrew Kayser, PhD, an investigator at Gallo and an assistant professor of neurology at UCSF. “We wanted to see if we could decrease impulsivity by raising dopamine, and it seems as if we can.”

The study was published on July 4 in the Journal of Neuroscience.

In a double-blinded, placebo-controlled study, 23 adult research participants were given either tolcapone, a medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that inhibits a dopamine-degrading enzyme, or a placebo. The researchers then gave the participants a task that measured impulsivity, asking them to make a hypothetical choice between receiving a smaller amount of money immediately (“smaller sooner”) or a larger amount at a later time (“larger later”). Each participant was tested twice, once with tolcapone and once with placebo.

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