YOU KNOW TOO MUCH In results unlikely to surprise parents of young children, researchers have found that 5-year-olds can beat most adults on a type of memory test.
"It's one case where knowledge can actually decrease memory accuracy," said Vladimir Sloutsky, director of the Center for Cognitive Science at Ohio State University, who led the study. Researchers showed 77 young children and 71 college students pictures of cats, bears and birds. Participants looked at the pictures while not knowing they were being tested.
Writing in the journal Psychological Science, the researchers said the children, with an average age of 5, were accurate 31 percent of the time in identifying pictures of animals they had seen earlier. Adults were right 7 percent of the time.
Sloutsky believes the children used similarity-based induction: When shown subsequent pictures of animals they looked carefully to see if the animal looked similar to the original cat.
Adults, however, used category-based induction -- once they determined whether the animal pictured was a cat, they paid no more attention. So when tested later, the adults didn't recognize the pictures as well as the children.
When taught category-based induction, the children's ability to remember dropped to the level of adults.
ERBITUX: TOUGH SELL Erbitux -- the drug whose delayed approval by the Food and Drug Administration led Martha Stewart to sell the maker's stock, an act that eventually led to her conviction for lying about the sale -- has been found to yield a small benefit at enormous cost. A report published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that advanced colon cancer patients taking the drug lived an average of two additional months, at a cost of $30,000.
Five of the study's 12 authors have drug company ties.
In a journal editorial, Deborah Schrag of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York argued that the high cost of colon cancer treatments highlights problems with drug development and pricing. While the median survival rate for colon cancer has nearly doubled over the past decade, it has been accompanied by a 340-fold jump in the cost of drugs used to treat the disease.
JOINT REMEDY Glucosamine and MSM, two popular dietary supplements, treat osteoarthritis symptoms better when used together than when either is used alone, Indian researchers conclude.
The report, appearing in the journal Clinical Drug Investigations, shows reduction in pain and swelling when either agent was used alone, but the combined therapy was more effective. The paired supplements also worked faster and improved the function of affected joints. -- From News Services and Staff Reports