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Your dog’s personality can change over time

Futurity.org - 24 min 44 sec ago

Like humans, dogs’ personalities likely change over time, according to new research.

When dog owners spend extra time scratching their dogs’ bellies, take their dogs out for long walks and games of fetch, or even when they feel constant frustration over their dogs’ naughty chewing habits, they are gradually shaping their pets’ personalities. Dogs, like people, have moods and personality traits that shape how they react in certain situations.

“When humans go through big changes in life, their personality traits can change. We found that this also happens with dogs—and to a surprisingly large degree,” says lead author William Chopik, professor of psychology at Michigan State University and lead author of the study, which appears in the Journal of Research in Personality.

“We expected the dogs’ personalities to be fairly stable because they don’t have wild lifestyle changes humans do, but they actually change a lot. We uncovered similarities to their owners, the optimal time for training and even a time in their lives that they can get more aggressive toward other animals.”

Additionally, Chopik found that dogs’ personalities can predict many important life outcomes. For example, canines’ personalities will influence how close they feel to their owners, biting behavior, and even chronic illness.

Dogs and their owners

Chopik surveyed owners of more than 1,600 dogs, including 50 different breeds. Dogs ranged from just a few weeks old to 15 years, and split closely between male and female. The extensive survey had owners evaluate their dog’s personalities and answered questions about the dog’s behavioral history. The owners also answered a survey about their own personalities.

“We found correlations in three main areas: age and personality, in human-to-dog personality similarities, and in the influence a dog’s personality has on the quality of its relationship with its owner,” Chopik says.

“Older dogs are much harder to train; we found that the ‘sweet spot’ for teaching a dog obedience is around the age of six, when it outgrows its excitable puppy stage but before its too set in its ways.”

One trait that rarely changes with age in dogs, Chopik says, is fear and anxiety.

Homing in on the saying, “dogs resemble their owners,” Chopik’s research showed dogs and owners share specific personality traits. Extroverted humans rated their dogs as more excitable and active, while owners high in negative emotions rated their dogs as more fearful, active, and less responsive to training. Owners who rated themselves as agreeable rated their dogs as less fearful and less aggressive to people and animals.

The owners who felt happiest about their relationships with their dogs reported active and excitable dogs, as well as dogs who were most responsive to training. Aggression and anxiety didn’t matter as much in having a happy relationship, Chopik says.

“There are a lot of things we can do with dogs—like obedience classes and training—that we can’t do with people,” he says. “Exposure to obedience classes was associated with more positive personality traits across the dog’s lifespan. This gives us exciting opportunities to examine why personality changes in all sorts of animals.”

Nature vs. nurture

Chopik’s findings prove how much power humans have over influencing a dog’s personality. He explains that many of the reasons a dog’s personality changes result from of the “nature versus nurture” theory associated with humans’ personalities.

Next, Chopik’s will research will examine how the environment owners provide their dogs might change the dogs’ behavior.

“Say you adopt a dog from a shelter. Some traits are likely tied to biology and resistant to change, but you then put it in a new environment where it’s loved, walked, and entertained often. The dog then might become a little more relaxed and sociable,” Chopik says.

“Now that we know dogs’ personalities can change, next we want to make strong connection to understand why dogs act—and change—the way they do.”

Source: Michigan State University

The post Your dog’s personality can change over time appeared first on Futurity.

Analysis: White House's collusion argument is nonsensical

CNN - 33 min 4 sec ago
On Friday morning, this exchange happened between White House press secretary Sarah Sanders and CNN's Joe Johns:

NY prosecutors reportedly preparing charges against Manafort if he gets Trump pardon

CNN - 40 min 33 sec ago
Prosecutors in the Manhattan district attorney's office have prepared a criminal case against Paul Manafort in the event that he receives a presidential pardon, Bloomberg News reported Friday.

Celebrex may increase risk of heart valve disease

Futurity.org - 45 min 50 sec ago

Scientists have discovered a link between a common arthritis drug and heart valve disease.

The findings run counter to a well-known four-year study that found Celebrex no more dangerous for the heart than older drugs, commonly called NSAIDs.

W. David Merryman, professor of biomedical engineering at Vanderbilt University, and PhD student Megan Bowler started out testing celecoxib, the active compound in Celebrex, on valve cells in an effort to see if it could double as an aortic stenosis therapy. It made the problem worse.

To confirm their theory, Michael Raddatz, an MD/PhD student, analyzed more than 8,600 relevant, anonymous patient records from Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

He checked whether there was a link between Celebrex use and aortic valve disease, and, after correcting for other risk factors, discovered that patients who had taken Celebrex had a 20 percent increased prevalence of valve disease.

The study appears in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Basic to Translational Science.

The 2016 New England Journal of Medicine study that found Celebrex no more damaging than naproxen and ibuprofen only looked at cardiovascular death and nonfatal heart attack or stroke, not valve disease, which affects more than a quarter of the US population older than 65.

“In this study, we’re adding a long-term perspective on celecoxib use,” Bowler says. “Calcification in the aortic valve can take many years. So if you’re at a higher risk for it, you might want to consider taking a different painkiller or rheumatoid arthritis treatment.”

The National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation funded the work.

Source: Vanderbilt University

The post Celebrex may increase risk of heart valve disease appeared first on Futurity.

Surgery for adult scoliosis? Depends on your life

Futurity.org - 50 min 13 sec ago

New research clarifies the debate over how to treat scoliosis in adults.

Spinal curvature often results in more back pain, leg pain, and other symptoms for adults than teens because adults also can have degeneration in the discs between vertebrae, and spinal stenosis—a narrowing of the opening for the spinal nerves.

There hasn’t been good evidence regarding whether it’s better for adults with scoliosis to have corrective surgery or whether nonoperative treatment, such as physical therapy or nerve injections, is adequate.

To help answer that question, doctors at nine centers in North America followed more than 200 adults who had discomfort due to lumbar scoliosis—deformities affecting the lower part of the spine. The findings appear in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

The research effort found that surgery usually helped patients improve. It helped correct their curvature, and they had less pain. But the researchers also found that those who didn’t have surgery usually did not go on to experience more severe pain or a more extreme spinal deformity during a two-year follow-up period. In fact, they found that the most important factor in deciding whether to operate was the extent of a patient’s disability, and how much that disability interfered with day-to-day life.

“If patients are expecting less pain or better function, they probably won’t see improvement unless they have surgery,” says spine surgeon and senior investigator of the study Keith H. Bridwell, professor of orthopedic surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “On the other hand, if patients have adequate quality-of-life, and the goal is simply to keep them from getting worse, nonoperative treatment probably is fine.”

Operate or wait?

Some 15 percent of adults in the US have some type of spine deformity, with lumbar scoliosis being the most common. Some adults have had scoliosis since adolescence; others develop the condition as adults. Many don’t experience symptoms, but a significant percentage will develop back pain, leg pain, and even lose up to four inches of trunk height—measured from the waist upwards—due to the deformity.

“A fair number of doctors have suggested doing surgery before a patient’s condition deteriorates,” says first author Michael P. Kelly, associate professor of orthopedic surgery and of neurological surgery. “But we found that, on average, patients are unlikely to rapidly get worse. Those who don’t have severe pain and can easily carry out their daily activities seem to progress slowly and often their symptoms are not severe enough to undergo the risks of surgery.”

Those risks include infection and surgical complications, such as a failure of vertebrae to fuse together, which often means patients will need another operation.

Day-to-day life

The study enrolled 286 patients, with 144 in the nonoperative group and 142 in the operative group. All were symptomatic patients ages 40 to 80 who had at least a 30-degree curve in the lower spine. The researchers measured their levels of disability with spinal pain and disability surveys.

The nonoperative patients had treatments such as physical therapy, anti-inflammatory drugs, and injections that deliver pain medications directly to nerve roots along the spinal column. During the study period, 29 of the nonoperative patients changed their minds, or their conditions deteriorated, and they decided to have surgery.

Bridwell says that, in general, patients who had surgery experienced less pain following the operation and were better able to function in day-to-day life two years later. However, during the study period, 14 percent of the patients who had surgery required at least one additional operation to correct subsequent complications.

At the end of the study, the average surgery patient had improved. Meanwhile, those who didn’t have surgery were functioning at about the same level after two years, but most had not gotten worse. Kelly and Bridwell say the satisfaction of individual patients with their degree of disability seems to be the best guide for determining whether they should choose to have surgery.

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases of the National Institutes of Health supported the work.

Source: Washington University in St. Louis

The post Surgery for adult scoliosis? Depends on your life appeared first on Futurity.

Minorities may not respond to census due to 'political environment,' administration says

CNN - 1 hour 15 min ago
The current "political environment" is so toxic that a large number of minorities may not reply to the 2020 Census, the Trump administration admitted in court Thursday, even without the addition of a controversial question asking about citizenship status.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft accused of soliciting sex

CNN - 1 hour 17 min ago
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is being charged with two counts of soliciting someone to commit prostitution, stemming from a raid in a day spa in Florida, police said Friday.

The Monks, ‘Shut Up’: The Week In One Song

Washington Post - 1 hour 17 min ago
Roger Stone is asked to shut up.

CNN legal analyst on what charge means for Kraft

CNN - 1 hour 19 min ago
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is being charged with two counts of soliciting someone to commit prostitution, stemming from a raid in a day spa in Florida, police said.

Some iOS Apps Sending an Alarming Amount of Data to Facebook and Most Users Are Unaware

MacRumors - 1 hour 25 min ago
It's no secret that Facebook is harvesting incredible amounts of data on all of its users (and some that don't even use the service), but what may come as a surprise is just how detailed and intimate some of that data is.

A report from The Wall Street Journal takes a look at some of the apps on iOS that provide data to Facebook, with that info then used for advertising purposes.

Instant Heart Rate: HR Monitor, for example, the most popular heart rate app on iOS, sent a user's heart rate to Facebook right after it was recorded in The Wall Street Journal's testing. Flo Period & Ovulation Tracker, which has 25 million active users, tells Facebook when a user is having a period or is intending to get pregnant.

Realtor.com, meanwhile, provides Facebook with the location and price of listings that a user viewed. With Flo in particular, it says it does not send this kind of sensitive data in its privacy policy, but then goes ahead and does so anyway.

Many of these apps are sending this data without "any prominent or specific disclosure," according to The Wall Street Journal's testing. Facebook collects data from apps even if no Facebook account is used to log in and even if the user isn't a member of Facebook.

Apps are sharing this data to take advantage of Facebook analytics tools that allow them to target their users more precisely with Facebook ads.

Apple does not require apps to disclose all of the partners that they share data with, and while certain personal information can be blocked, like contacts or location, more sensitive data, like health and fitness details, can be readily shared by these apps as there's no option to turn off this kind of data sharing.

Users can turn off Facebook's targeted advertising, but have no way to prevent apps from surreptitiously sending collected data to Facebook in the first place.

Facebook claimed that some of the data sharing The Wall Street Journal uncovered violates its business terms, and has asked these apps to stop sending information app users would consider sensitive.

The Wall Street Journal spoke to an Apple spokesperson, who said its App Store Guidelines require apps to obtain user consent for collecting data."When we hear of any developer violating these strict privacy terms and guidelines, we quickly investigate and, if necessary, take immediate action," the company said.At least 11 out of the 70 apps tested by The Wall Street Journal were sending sensitive user data to Facebook, including six of the top 15 health and fitness apps. There's little end users can do, except for be wary of the apps they're choosing to download. Apple in the future could introduce more stringent guidelines and policy controls that would better put a stop to this kind of intrusive data harvesting.

The Wall Street Journal's full report, which is well worth reading, offers more detail on how it tested these apps and how some of the apps responded.

Tag: Facebook
This article, "Some iOS Apps Sending an Alarming Amount of Data to Facebook and Most Users Are Unaware" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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See police announce charges against Kraft

CNN - 1 hour 37 min ago
Jupiter Police announced that New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is being charged with two counts of soliciting another to commit prostitution stemming from a raid in a day spa in Jupiter, Florida.

Catholic Leaders at Meeting on Sex Abuse Hear Proposal for Removing Bishops

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Cardinal Blase Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, proposed new global procedures on sexual abuse cases, saying local churches should not expect Rome to handle everything for them.

Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals’ in Drinking Water Leave Military Families Reeling

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Judges skeptical of plan to end DACA

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