The Best of My Work Week

Just for fun and to spread the knowledge around, I thought I’d share some of the best and most interesting articles I have had to abstract this week for work.

1. DNA science points to better treatment for acne

Just like with the digestive system, skin may have “good” and “bad” versions of bacteria living in it. The secret to beating acne may lie in finding a better balance between the two. This article has some great quotes, like: “Dogs are dogs, but a Chihuahua isn’t a Great Dane,” Craft said. “People with acne had pit bulls on their skin. Healthy people had poodles.” But then there was a quote from a 19-year-old study participant with acne, who said, “Kids with clear skin are probably a little happier.” As someone who had really good skin in high school and has never even met a dermatologist, I just want to hug him and say, “No, they’re not. Everyone has problems. Acne may not be one of mine, but I’ve still got 99 others…”

2. Psychiatric Disorders Linked Genetically

New research suggests that schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, autism, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder may all have some genetic similarities. Once the findings are a little more refined, they could help improve diagnosis and may help predict which patients may develop one of these conditions. (Note: This article is from the “Wall Street Journal” and may be behind a paywall. Accessing the title through a Google search may be a way around it.)

3. While waiting for SEC regulations, crowdfunding leaders focus on investor education

The U.S.  Securities and Exchange Commission is currently dilly-dallying over the creation of rules that would let startup companies sell stakes to the general public and raise money from a large number of small investors. In the meantime, advocates and experts are launching educational materials to explain to the general public (and potential investors) what crowdfunding is all about.

4. Millennials may take credit card debt to the grave

According to researchers from Ohio State University, U.S. consumers born in the early 1980s will not only die alone and unloved, but poor as well. The “Millennial” generation, it seems, is charging more on credit cards and taking longer to pay off balances than any previous generation. The study points out that “young adults making 2 percent minimum payments on a $1,000 balance at 19 percent interest will take eight years and four months to pay off the card,” but “increasing the minimum payment to 5.8 percent cuts the payoff time to one year and nine months.”

My favorite part is that they refer to those born in the “early 80s” as “young adults.” You realize that includes a lot of people in their early 30s, right? I mean, not that early 30s is old, but “young adult” seems to imply “fresh-faced university grad,” not “Grammy-nominated musicians” and “award-winning actors.” Just a thought…

5. How Guinea Pigs Could Help Autistic Children

Assuming you’re neither allergic nor phobic, pets can be an even better social lubricant than alcohol. (Joy, get your mind out of the gutter.) People seem easier to interact with when holding a cute, fuzzy animal, and scientists have discovered that this phenomenon could be used to improve social interaction among children with autism. Kids with autism were more talkative, more cheerful, and more likely to make physical contact with other children and adults when they were in the presence of (literal) guinea pigs rather than when they were given toys.