Friday, February 15, 2019

Telomere Length And Health Outcomes: Of 50 possible outcomes studied, only important for gastric cancer and, probably, diabetes and Alzheimer's disease

Telomere Length And Health Outcomes: An umbrella review of systematic reviews and meta-analyses of observational studies. Lee Smith et al. Ageing Research Reviews,

• Shorter telomere length are associated with higher risk of non-communicable disease.

• Until now no attempt has been made to capture the breadth of outcomes associated with telomere length.

• This review indicates that shorter telomere length has a highly suggestive association with incidence of only specific cancer types, and has suggestive evidence with diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease risks.

• Telomere length has a weak association with heightened risks in a range of other important health outcomes (n = 20), whereas it has no role with others, including 27 outcomes out of 50.

Abstract: The aim of the present study was to map and grade evidence for the relationships between telomere length with a diverse range of health outcomes, using an umbrella review of systematic reviews with meta-analyses. We searched for meta-analyses of observational studies reporting on the association of telomere length with any health outcome (clinical disease outcomes and intermediate traits). For each association, random-effects summary effect size, 95% confidence interval (CI), and 95% prediction interval were calculated. To evaluate the credibility of the identified evidence, we assessed also heterogeneity, evidence for small-study effect and evidence for excess significance bias. Twenty-one relevant meta-analyses were identified reporting on 50 different outcomes and including a total of 326 observational studies. The level of evidence was high only for the association of short telomeres with higher risk of gastric cancer in the general population (relative risk, RR = 1.95, 95%CI: 1.68-2.26), and moderate for the association of shorter telomeres with diabetes or with Alzheimer’s disease, even if limited to meta-analyses of case-control studies. There was weak evidence for twenty outcomes and not significant association for 27 health outcomes. The present umbrella review demonstrates that shorter telomere length may have an important role in incidence gastric cancer and, probably, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. At the same time, conversely to general assumptions, it does not find strong evidence supporting the notion that shorter telomere length plays an important role in many health outcomes that have been studied thus far.

Keywords: Telomere lengthumbrella reviewobservational studies

Some of the outcomes studied:

Disease-free survival in chronic lymphocytic leukemia
Esophageal cancer
Head and neck cancer
Overall survival in glioma
Overall survival in lung cancer
Prostate cancer
Skin cancer - basal cell carcinoma
Skin cancer - melanoma
Myocardial Infarction
type II diabetes mellitus
coronary heart disease
All-cause mortality in breast cancer
Bladder cancer
Breast cancer
Cancer recurrence
in breast cancer
Cancerspecific mortality in breast cancer
Colorectal cancer
Disease-free survival in colorectal cancer
Hepatocellular carcinoma
Lung cancer
Lymphoma - Hodgkin's lymphoma
Ovarian cancer
Overall survival in bladder cancer
Overall survival in chronic lymphocytic leukemia
Overall survival in colorectal cancer
Overall survival in esophageal cancer
Overall survival in ovarian cancer
Progressionfree survival in lung cancer
Renal cell carcinoma
AF  (incident)

Holding a green self-image & life satisfaction: Pro-environmental norms are experienced by greens as a standard of reference in the process of green status competition & by non-greens as a source of social pressure

Pro-environmental norms and subjective well-being: Panel evidence from the UK. Binder, Martin; Blankenberg, Ann-Kathrin; Welsch, Heinz; Oldenburg Discussion Papers in Economics V-417-19, 2019.

Abstract: Tying in with a small number of studies on green norms, identity and subjective well-being, this paper studies the relationship between holding a green self-image and life satisfaction in the UK. Focusing on (sub-national) regions as the unit of reference, we investigate if and how the individual-level greenness-satisfaction relationship varies with measures of the prevalence and distribution (disparity) of greenness at the regional level, taking these measures as indicators of a green social norm. Two key findings emerge from our analysis. First, life satisfaction is negatively related to the regional-level mean (prevalence) and positively related to the regional-level diversity of greenness, while being unrelated to the degree of polarization of greenness. Taking the prevalence as a direct and diversity as an inverse measure of the validity of a greenness norm, these results are consistent with the idea that the norm is experienced (by greens) as a standard of reference in the process of green status competition or (by non-greens) as a source of social pressure. Second, the well-being benefits from holding a greener self-image are unrelated to the prevalence and diversity of greenness, but positively related to the polarization of greenness for those either very green or not green at all. This is consistent with the idea that green self-image yields well-being benefits through identity, that is, by identifying with the own group and differentiating oneself from other groups - a possibility that relies on sufficiently large differentiation/polarization of groups. We discuss differences between these results and previous findings based on measures of nation-wide prevalence and disparity of greenness.

Females preferred fungus‐infected males over other males; maybe these males invested their energetic resources to increase their attractiveness at the risk of survival, in a terminal investment fashion

Female choice for sick males over healthy males: Consequences for offspring. Alicia Reyes‐Ramirez et al. Ethology, Feb 15 2019,

Abstract: Sexual selection theory indicates that ornament expression in males is in close relation to their condition. This “honesty” relationship serves as the basis for female choice: Females would mate with healthy males over sick males after assessing male ornament signal expression and derive benefits for their progeny. Here, we investigated female mate choice for infected and non‐infected males, male survival after infection (to corroborate the negative effect of infection), and fitness consequences of female preferences using Tenebrio molitor beetles. Male infection was produced having two types of challenges as follows: males infected with entomopathogenic fungi and males infected with nylon implants. Similar to previous studies, we corroborated that females preferred fungus‐infected males over positive control, negative control, and nylon‐challenged males. Survival was the lowest for fungus‐treated males followed by nylon‐treated and control males. Females mated with fungus‐treated males laid fewer and smaller eggs, and the laid eggs had less lipid content with a reduced eclosion success compared to females mated with non‐challenged males. Our interpretation is that fungus‐treated males invested their energetic resources to increase their attractiveness at the risk of survival, in a terminal investment fashion. Females, however, would have corrected their choice by investing less in their offspring.

Humor reduces the perceived veracity of proximal statements; diminishes the perceived veracity of negative disclosures; adding humor to negative disclosures boosts perceptions of warmth and competence

The impression management benefits of humorous self-disclosures: How humor influences perceptions of veracity. T. Bradford Bitterly et al. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Volume 151, March 2019, Pages 73-89.

• Humor reduces the perceived veracity of proximal statements.
• Humor diminishes the perceived veracity of negative disclosures.
• Adding humor to negative disclosures boosts perceptions of warmth and competence.
• Humor is a powerful impression management tool.

Abstract: Across five studies, we identify humor as a powerful impression management tool that influences perceptions of veracity. In many domains, such as negotiations and interviews, individuals face a challenge with respect to disclosing negative information and managing impressions. For example, an interviewer may ask an applicant to name their greatest weakness. In these settings, disclosures that reveal negative information (e.g., “I am not good at math.”) can harm perceptions of warmth and competence. We demonstrate that pairing a humorous statement with a disclosure (e.g., “I am not good at math. Geometry is where I draw the line.”) changes perceptions of the veracity of the disclosure; disclosures are less likely to be judged as true when they are accompanied by a humorous statement than when they are not. We introduce the Speaker's Inferred Motive (SIM) Model and consider the possibility that (a) speakers pursue different motives, such as a transmission-of-ideas motive (to convey information) or an entertainment motive (to amuse an audience), (b) audience members infer the speaker’s motive, and (c) these inferences influence perceptions of the veracity of proximal disclosures. As a result, by using humor, a speaker may signal a shift in motive and diminish perceptions of the veracity of both the humorous statement and proximal claims. Taken together, when a target discloses negative information, including information that is highly relevant to the conversational partner, the use of humor can boost perceptions of warmth and competence. We discuss implications of our findings with respect to communication, interpersonal perception, and impression management.

We propose a novel tripartite taxonomy of Schadenfreude: Aggression, rivalry, and justice; the process of dehumanization may lie at the core of Schadenfreude

Schadenfreude deconstructed and reconstructed: A tripartite motivational model. Shensheng Wang, Scott O. Lilienfeld, Philippe Rochat. New Ideas in Psychology, Volume 52, January 2019, Pages 1-11.

•    Research from diverse subdisciplines of psychology sheds light on Schadenfreude.
•    We propose a novel tripartite taxonomy of Schadenfreude: Aggression, rivalry, and justice.
•    The process of dehumanization may lie at the core of Schadenfreude.

Abstract: Schadenfreude is the distinctive pleasure people derive from others' misfortune. Research over the past three decades points to the multifaceted nature of Schadenfreude rooted in humans’ concerns for social justice, self-evaluation, and social identity. Less is known, however, regarding how the differing facets of Schadenfreude are interrelated and take shape in response to these concerns. To address these questions, we review extant theories in social psychology and draw upon evidence from developmental, personality, and clinical research literature to propose a novel, tripartite, taxonomy of Schadenfreude embedded in a motivational model. Our model posits that Schadenfreude comprises three separable but interrelated subforms (aggression, rivalry, and justice), which display different developmental trajectories and personality correlates. This model further posits that dehumanization plays a central role in both eliciting Schadenfreude and integrating its various facets. In closing, we point to fruitful directions for future research motivated by this novel account of Schadenfreude.

It challenges the use of cognitive-behavioural psychological models underpinning many of the dominant & popular accounts of emotion in the neurosciences; gives importance to the cultural-historical school

Emotions, social activity and neuroscience: The cultural-historical formation of emotion. Ian Burkitt. New Ideas in Psychology, Volume 54, August 2019, Pages 1-7.

Abstract: This article challenges the use of cognitive-behavioural psychological models underpinning many of the dominant and popular accounts of emotion in the neurosciences. Acknowledging that neurobiology is important for any understanding of emotion, an alternative model of neuropsychology is sought in the work of theorists of the cultural-historical school, particularly A. N. Leontyev and A. R. Luria. The importance of their work in stressing the key role of intentional social activity, culture, and language in the formation of human neuropsychological functions is developed into a theory of emotions that can provide an alternative for emotion studies. In this theory, activity, culture, history, and individual ontogeny play the defining role in structuring the neurobiological systems that underlie emotions, as opposed to the evolution of behaviours that are hard-wired into the brain and function as automatic responses. Instead, it is understood that there is a continuum between evolution and human social and cultural development.