Autism Linked To Cerebral White Matter Abnormalities

Researchers at NYU School of Medicine Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry published a new study September 6 highlighting evidence that common cerebral white matter abnormalities may be responsible for autistic traits. White matter is comprised of nerve bundles that transmit information between brain regions.

In the study researchers analyzed digital images of 174 children: 69 diagnosed with ASD, 55 diagnosed with ADHD, and 50 typically developing children. Most of the study participants were male as they have a much higher prevalence of both ASD and ADHD. The study focused on comparing the severity of the ASD symptoms to the brain images and concluded that the more severe the autistic traits of the participant, the lower the integrity of the white matter in the brain.

“This cross-diagnosis approach is crucial to our future work in identifying biomarkers on the path toward precision medicine,” Adriana Di Martino, MD, senior author and associate professor in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine.

The existence of these potential biomarkers could be utilized to design more specific diagnostic tests and treatments in the future. “This work could help guide clinicians in their treatment decisions and lead to a more comprehensive, personalized intervention” says Dr. Di Martino.

What To Do In Nuclear Blast

The world is an uncertain place right now, with many comparisons to the Cold War floating around. While that might not be entirely justified (after all, the USSR was a master tactical opponent and North Korea is at best an unpredictable one), the threat of a nuclear attack has certainly been weighing on many American minds. And while there’s little any of us could do in the event of a major nuclear blast, there is plenty we could do to survive a small tactical one.

The greatest threat to the surrounding area of a nuclear blast is radioactive fallout, which is the poisonous ash generated by a bomb, and that rains down heavily for the first hour or so after detonation and then continues to fall slowly. You need to avoid that radiation at all costs, but it’s hard to know how best to do that. The ideal place for you to be is underground, at the lowest possible spot and surrounded by as much concrete as possible. A bomb shelter is ideal, of course, but a parking structure or basement will also do in a pinch. Get to the centermost spot of your underground structure and wait it out.

But what if you’re not magically in or right next to this shelter when a bomb detonates? If a good shelter option is about 5 minutes away, it’s worth the risk to get there. However, if it’s any further, you should stay put, because the risk to exposure outside is too great for your body. Get to the center of a building, and wait it out for roughly the next hour before emerging to find a better shelter. Shower with soap to get out any particles and tune into the radio for instructions from the government. This might be scary to talk about, but it could just save your life!

Creating Video Content For Your Business

Video creation is now easier than ever, with tools popping up to help even beginners create beautiful, compelling videos.

Here are some of the best tools to help you create beautiful videos for your marketing campaigns.

Why video?

Bombarded with content options, audiences are looking for variety, and the connective capacity of video has given publishers new ways to differentiate themselves and stand out from the noise. Studies have found that just by including a video on your landing page, you can increase your conversion rate by up to 80%, while adding a video to your email can increase your click-through rate by a staggering 200-300%. People who watch video are also 64% more likely to buy a product online.

Here are six tools to help you create video content for your brand or personal use.

RendrFX

RendrFX is a video creation tool for websites, social media and other marketing purpose. And even better, you can get started using it for free.

Animoto

Animoto is another great, easy to use video creator, that’s perfect for businesses, as well as photographers and personal use.

Wideo

Wideo was designed to help you create marketing videos as easily as possible.

Their video creator is very easy to use – you can start with one of their templates, or simply drag and drop the elements you want to use into the video builder.

Biteable

Biteable is an online animation video creator that can be used by complete beginners to create all kinds of videos, such as presentations, infographic videos, logo animations, slideshows, ads for your business and more.

Powtoon

Powtoon is for creating animated videos – with ready-made templates which you can customize with their drag and drop feature, making it very easy to create an animated video or presentation in just minutes.

Kizoa

Kizoa is a movie maker and video editor with lots of extra features to help you create engaging videos. With customizable templates that you can choose from, or alternatively, you can start your own video from scratch.

Stunning Wildfire Photos

A photographer’s work fighting fires gave him rare, up-close access to California’s wildfire epidemic, and the result is breathtaking.

Stuart Palley has spent a lifetime both fascinated by and well-accustomed to wildfires—a captivation that he has kindled through his career.

Growing up in California, the native photographer has spent the past five years photographing wildland fires in the state.

He has captured a vast array of stunning images from Orange County to Yosemite.

With wildfires throughout California burning hundreds of thousands of acres, Palley has had no shortage of opportunities to continue his ongoing project.

Obviously, access to these sites are not only dangerous, but only specially credentialed media are allowed in the fire zones themselves.

As it happens, Palley is uniquely suited to enter the blazes. Not only is he a photographer interested in fire, he is also a qualified base-level wildland firefighter.

Because of this, the firefighters aren’t as worried about Palley’s safety when he is right alongside them.

The El Portal Fire burns on a hillside in the Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite National Park on Sunday evening July 27, 2014. The community of El Portal was under a mandatory evacuation. By Tuesday the blaze had burned nearly 3,000 acres.
Long exposure image.

Beyond expertise, photographing fires requires a steady supply of equipment, as evidenced by Palley’s melted lenses and broken camera parts. “Normal weather sealing is not preventive against fire damage,” he says.

Despite his personal relationship with California wildfires, Palley prefers viewing these natural disasters from a distance, as emblems of humans’ fraught relationship with the environment.

“Fire is critical to the health and maintenance of the ecosystem,” says Palley.

“However, we’ve suppressed these fires so much there is now a massive fuel overgrowth.”

But even as the flames remind Palley of humans’ toll on the environment, he remains painfully aware that wildfires pose their own devastating toll as well.

“I see people who don’t know whether their house has burnt down, and they are in limbo,” he says. “It’s hard to watch.

Focus on Customers by Dropping Rivals

 

Who is your competition? Most companies view their competition as another brand, product, or service. But smart leaders understand it is not who but what. Your competition is any obstacle your customers encounter along their journeys to solving the problems your company exists to solve.

Your company needs to understand the marketplace: who your competition is, what other products are on the market, and how they are doing. But focusing on competitive products and companies can interfere with your team’s ability to immerse itself in the world of your consumer.

Once you’ve redefined your competition as your customers’ obstacles, it’s relatively easy to stop focusing on another product or company. Minimize meeting time devoted to rivals. Discourage product design approaches that focus on assessing or iterating on what is already out there.

Instead, reinvest your team’s time and effort. Here’s how.

First, rethink what you sell. Most companies think they sell a product. To transcend strictly one-time, transactional relationships with your customers, your company must think about selling a transformation: a journey from a problematic status quo to the new levels and possibilities that will unfurl after the behavior change you help make happen.

Next, rethink your customers. They are not just the people who have purchased your product or the people who follow you on Facebook. Your customers are all the people who grapple with the problem your business exists to solve.

Now, focus on their problems. Engage in customer research, online and in the real world, to understand and document their journeys.

One of the most important takeaways should be a deep understanding of the decision traps, pitfalls, friction spots, and quit points that people frequently encounter on their journeys. Look to user data, surveys, research, subject matter experts, and even third-party data to discover roadblocks. Use this information to do a continuous “competitive analysis”:

  • Understand the obstacles your customers face
  • Learn how and where people get stuck
  • Solve those problems
  • Understand how people overcome the obstacles and get unstuck
  • Understand what stops others from achieving this success
  • Solve those problems
  • And so on