Tag Archives: Science

What Researchers Learned About Gun Violence Before Congress Killed Funding

Facts are so inconvenient for some folks….

Some very interesting information from RawStory.com that shows how the NRA, among other interests groups, tries to stop scientific studies that might go against their interests.

And this shows just how explosive facts might be….

But the Right Wing will do all it can to suppress or ignore the facts….

So, they figure it’s best just not to have any….

Saves them so much time and effort to kill or misrepresent them or convince people to ignore them…

President Obama has directed the Centers for Disease Control to research gun violence as part of his legislative package on gun control. The CDC hasn’t pursued this kind of research since 1996 when the National Rifle Association lobbied Congress to cut funding for it, arguing that the studies were politicized and being used to promote gun control. We’ve interviewed Dr. Mark Rosenberg, who led the agency’s gun violence research in the nineties when he was the director of the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.


One of the critical studies that we supported was looking at the question of whether having a firearm in your home protects you or puts you at increased risk. This was a very important question because people who want to sell more guns say that having a gun in your home is the way to protect your family.

What the research showed was not only did having a firearm in your home not protect you, but it hugely increased the risk that someone in your family would die from a firearm homicide. It increased the risk almost 300 percent, almost three times as high.

It also showed that the risk that someone in your home would commit suicide went up. It went up five-fold if you had a gun in the home. These are huge, huge risks, and to just put that in perspective, we look at a risk that someone might get a heart attack or that they might get a certain type of cancer, and if that risk might be 20 percent greater, that may be enough to ban a certain drug or a certain product.

But in this case, we’re talking about a risk not 20 percent, not 100 percent, not 200 percent, but almost 300 percent or 500 percent. These are huge, huge risks.

MORE:   What researchers learned about gun violence before Congress killed funding | The Raw Story.

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In the Next Round of Budget Talks, Big Cuts for Health Research Are Coming | The Nation

This Congress- and Washington in general- has no foresight….

Their current budget cutting mania is leading us down the path to becoming a Third World Country.

We have fallen behind the rest of the world in so many areas and they seem intent on pushing us back even more…

From The Nation:

But the real damage will come after the proposed cuts take effect. The NIH is comprised of twenty-seven institutes and centers with particular focuses, including the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and National Heart Lung and Blood Institute; each will decide how to manage their individual cuts. The NCI will prioritize funding the same level of new grants (they currently fund 14 percent of new grant applications), but will have to cut funding from cancer centers. Others will have to choose between new and existing grants. When ongoing grants aren’t renewed, work may simply stop. “University departments will do their best to support promising research during a dry spell,” explains Riggins, “and there are a few foundations that provide bridge grants, but these resources aren’t abundant either.”

In the long term, funding scarcity will make it hard to attract top research scientists. Many have already left for more stable careers in industry. And US labs will continue to lose people not just to other fields but to other countries as well. Kelly Ruggles, a microbiologist at Columbia, says, “It used to be that people would come here to get trained in the sciences. Now, people are leaving for better opportunities in Singapore or China. There’s just more science than money right now.”

Of course, this is a difficult funding environment, but the proposed NIH cuts are based in part on ignorance. Legislators who understand the NIH tend to give it full-voiced support. When retired Representative John Edward Porter chaired the appropriations subcommittee that oversees the NIH, he held hearings with each of the twenty-seven institutes so members could hear directly from the researchers why they needed money and what they were doing with it. When, during the mid-’90s, the House Budget Committee proposed cuts to the NIH budget, Porter brought a troupe of Nobel laureates, esteemed scientists and business leaders in to meet with then-speaker Gingrich. The result? Instead of cutting the budget, Congress doubled the NIH budget over five years, because they saw that the funding was working. “I certainly learned that the money going to the NIH was money that was being tremendously well spent,” recalls Porter, “making a difference in the lives of human beings all over the planet.”

via In the Next Round of Budget Talks, Big Cuts for Health Research Are Coming | The Nation.

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Brain structure differs in liberals, conservatives: study | The Raw Story

Well, I always knew I never really thought like a Conservative and now I know why…

I’ve always analyzed and dissected complex issues instead of going for the easy solutions….

I question everything.  I always have…

Fear isn’t something I consciously use in my decision but it’s clear the GOP uses it to drive and fire up their Conservative base…

Fascinating article from Raw Story:


WASHINGTON — Everyone knows that liberals and conservatives butt heads when it comes to world views, but scientists have now shown that their brains are actually built differently.

Liberals have more gray matter in a part of the brain associated with understanding complexity, while the conservative brain is bigger in the section related to processing fear, said the study on Thursday in Current Biology.

“We found that greater liberalism was associated with increased gray matter volume in the anterior cingulate cortex, whereas greater conservatism was associated with increased volume of the right amygdala,” the study said.

Other research has shown greater brain activity in those areas, according to which political views a person holds, but this is the first study to show a physical difference in size in the same regions.

“Previously, some psychological traits were known to be predictive of an individual’s political orientation,” said Ryota Kanai of the University College London, where the research took place.

“Our study now links such personality traits with specific brain structure.”

The study was based on 90 “healthy young adults” who reported their political views on a scale of one to five from very liberal to very conservative, then agreed to have their brains scanned.

People with a large amygdala are “more sensitive to disgust” and tend to “respond to threatening situations with more aggression than do liberals and are more sensitive to threatening facial expressions,” the study said.

Liberals are linked to larger anterior cingulate cortexes, a region that “monitor(s) uncertainty and conflicts,” it said.

“Thus, it is conceivable that individuals with a larger ACC have a higher capacity to tolerate uncertainty and conflicts, allowing them to accept more liberal views.”

It remains unclear whether the structural differences cause the divergence in political views, or are the effect of them.

But the central issue in determining political views appears to revolve around fear and how it affects a person.

“Our findings are consistent with the proposal that political orientation is associated with psychological processes for managing fear and uncertainty,” the study said.

via Brain structure differs in liberals, conservatives: study | The Raw Story.

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