UCLA In the News November 18, 2015

Social media can help predict crime | New York Times

(Op-ed by UCLA’s Sean Young) Although people object to data mining by companies, when it comes to public health, we have found that most people are willing to have their data analyzed. And prediction technology gives us a class of tools that were previously only accessible by secretive agencies like the CIA and NSA. Let’s use them.

Tai chi, psychotherapy can relieve insomnia | New York Times’ “Well”

“Tai chi and cognitive therapy are used to treat insomnia because, unlike medication, they produce no unwanted side effects,” said the lead author, Dr. Michael R. Irwin, a professor of psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles. “With the improvement in insomnia,” he added, “there’s a reversal of inflammation at the systemic level and the genetic level. Inflammation contributes to cardiovascular disease, depression and cancer.”

How social media revolutionized student activism | Los Angeles Times

“What is unique about these issues is how social media has changed the way protests take place on college campuses,” said Tyrone Howard, associate dean of equity, diversity and inclusion at UCLA. “A protest goes viral in no time flat. With Instagram and Twitter, you’re in an immediate news cycle. This was not how it was 20 or 30 years ago.” Howard also believes that the effectiveness of the actions at the University of Missouri has encouraged students on other campuses to raise their voices.

L.A. actions on homelessness are slow, questionable | Los Angeles Times

“I don’t understand how any emergency response unfolds in slow motion,” said Gary Blasi, a retired UCLA law professor and homelessness researcher now working with Public Counsel’s Opportunity Under Law program…. “I can’t imagine what authority allows seizure of somebody’s property for failure to follow the order of a public official,” Blasi said. “There’s still a Constitution that comes between a bureaucrat or representative of the government and the seizure of property.”

Charlie Sheen announces positive HIV status | KPCC-FM’s “Take Two”

“Well, I think it’s a very brave thing to disclose one’s HIV status, in any context, and so to do so publicly is a very brave thing,” said UCLA’s Ian Holloway. “And it’s a good reminder for those of us who aren’t working in HIV that this is still a major public health concern and something that affects many people in the United States and around the world.” [audio download]

What drives us to social media after tragedy | Huffington Post

It’s also ultimately what compels us to speak out about it on social media, according to Gerald Goodman, author of “The Talk Book” and a professor of psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles…. “It’s too uncomfortable to sit there and do nothing,” Goodman told The Huffington Post. “People might ridicule you for doing something so silly, but it stems from an emotion of wanting to be connected, feeling helpless, then doing something about it.”

Conservation and the endangered species act in the 21st century | The Diane Rehm Show

“So I think what’s interesting about the sage grouse decision is that it was a procedure whereby you don’t actually impose the force of the law,” said UCLA’s Ursula Heise. “But you use the possibility of using the Endangered Species Act to forge consensus, to forge a coalition around protecting vast areas across 10 western states.”

What the U.S. owes Syria | Huffington Post

(Op-ed co-written by UCLA’s Asli Ü. Bâli) The tragedy in Syria is not some distant affair. It is partly the product of the disastrous Iraq war compounded by foreseeable errors made by this Administration. It is therefore up to the leadership in Washington to fulfill its responsibility…. That task is no doubt a very tall order. But as the last four years prove, it will only get taller if the Administration persists in treating Syria — and the civilians in harm’s way--as a chess piece in a flawed regional game.

Chemicals used for black women’s hair may cause health concerns | National Journal

[Teni] Adewumi, a gradu­ate stu­dent at the UCLA Field­ing School of Pub­lic Health, works to close that know­ledge gap as the en­vir­on­ment­al-justice pro­gram co­ordin­at­or at the Cali­for­nia non­profit Black Wo­men for Well­ness. In salons across Ingle­wood and South Los Angeles, she helps train styl­ists in safe products and prac­tices, from vent­il­a­tion and per­son­al pro­tect­ive equip­ment to er­go­nom­ics and la­bel com­pre­hen­sion.

Undocumented and unemployed, many turn to over-the-counter care | KQED-FM

Gerald Kominski, director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, says that’s a typical solution for this population. “When people are uninsured they just postpone care-seeking until it’s absolutely necessary, and then it’s much more costly.”

Monitoring sleep with new apps and gadgets | Men’s Journal

“Our general sense is that these products can track amount of sleep and fragmentation (number of times that you wake up),” says Christopher Colwell, a neuroscientist at UCLA’s Laboratory of Circadian and Sleep Medicine. Colwell is skeptical about the app’s ability to measure detailed sleep state, but adds they can still “be fun and useful to help people become more aware of their sleep.”

Testing animal tolerance to humans | Phys.org

“This new finding flips previous recommendations about large-bodied species being more vulnerable to the presence of humans, and shows that large-bodied species are more tolerant,” said Blumstein, the study’s senior author and a member of the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. “It is likely costly for animals to respond fearfully to people that are not harming them. The key question to ask now is which species can tolerate humans enough so as to habituate to them.” (Also: Science Daily)

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