September 18, 2008
Senator Barack Obama is able to invoke emotion while John McCain addresses show signs of clinical depression, a scientific study has discovered.
Using ever more sophisticated software and mathematical algorithms, scientists are increasingly able to pick apart political speeches. They analyzed language, pitch, tone and facial expressions to get a clue as to whether politicians are being sincere. To prove the point David Skillicorn, a mathematics and computer science researcher at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, analyzed the speeches of John McCain, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, during the election race.
His findings published in the New Scientist concluded that even though the candidates receive training and have their speeches written for them, personal traits still shine through. While each of the 150 speeches studied varied no matter who was delivering them. McCain’s speeches fall flat and even showed signs of someone with clinical depression. His voice changes little in pitch as he speaks, and so conveys very little emotion or impact, it was said. Clinton was more neutral.
Mr. Skillicorn has developed an algorithm that evaluates word usage within the text of a conversation or speech to determine when a person “presents themselves or their content in a way that does not necessarily reflect what they know to be true”. “The important thing to recognize is that politicians aren’t typically good at out-and-out lies, but they are very adept at dancing around the truth,” Mr. Skillicorn concluded.
Angelina Jolie may be suffering from post-partum depression. 3-Question Scale for uncovering Postpartum Depression
Angelina Jolie may have some baby blues. Rumors are swirling that Angelina Jolie is overwhelmed and suffering from post-partum depression following the birth of twins Vivienne and Knox two months ago. The Enquirer is reporting that the twins suffer from colic, making for sleep-deprived nights for Jolie, who is also breastfeeding. In Touch is reporting that Jolie suffers mood swings. Throw in the other four kids, and, even life with Brad Pitt on a country estate in France can be a bit gloomy.
3-Question Scale for uncovering Postpartum Depression
A new study found that asking a new mother 3 simple questions as routine screening for postpartum depression may be just as effective as a longer survey.
Karolyn Kabir, MD, Department of Pediatrics, Colorado Adolescent Maternity Program, University of Colorado and Health Sciences Center, Denver, Colorado and colleagues asked 199 young women, aged 14 to 26 years, to complete the 10-question Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale during well-child visits to the paediatrician during the first 6 postpartum months. Three subscales of the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale were examined as ultrabrief alternatives: the anxiety subscale (3 items; Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale-3), the depressive symptoms subscale (7 items; Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale-7), and 2 questions that resemble the Patient Health Questionnaire (Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale-2).
The reliability, stability, and construct validity of the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale and 3 subscales were compared. Criterion validity was assessed by comparison with a score of >=10 on the full, 10-item Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale. Researchers found that answers to the 3 questions of the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale that focus on anxiety — a prominent feature of postpartum depression — identified 95% of depressed mothers. It also identified 16% more mothers as depressed than the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale did.
The performance of the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale-2 was markedly inferior, with sensitivity at 48% to 80%. Moreover, the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale-2 was unreliable for mothers who had not been depressed in the past. In clinical situations where a very short screening tool may be necessary, using the 3-item anxiety subscale of the Edinburgh PostpartumDepression Scale is a useful and brief screening tool for a primary healthcare setting in which the goal is to detect postpartum depression, not to assess its severity. The study is published in the September issue of Pediatrics.
Researchers from Chiang Mai University have a new means of fighting phobias and depression. Pachaderms. Dr. Audomsark Haesungcharern, the dean of CMU believes their voice has therapeutic qualities citing studies which have found elephant calls containing both infra sound, a relaxing tone, and ultra sound, which creates active emotions.
Just last year an elephant study with autistic children suggested an improvement in a number of areas, such as self-reliance and social reactions. This has encouraged us to continue the study into how the elephants can help relieve the symptoms [of certain mental disorders],” said Dr Audomsark.
Many medical researchers worldwide have found animal-assisted therapy to be of benefit to autistic people. Horses, dogs and dolphins are considered to have potential in this regard. Prasop Tipprasert, the FIO’s elephant specialist, said the centre had trained 20 elephants to work with children and that safety is the most important concern, so all elephants are tamed and kept under close supervision.
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