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Author McCobb, E.C.; Patronek, G.J.; Marder, A.; Dinnage, J.D.; Stone, M.S. file  url
Title Assessment of stress levels among cats in four animal shelters Type Journal Article
Year 2005 Publication Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association Abbreviated Journal Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association  
Volume 226 Issue 4 Pages 548-555  
Abstract Objective—To measure stress levels among cats in traditional and enriched shelter environments via behavioral assessment and urine cortisol-to-creatinine ratios.

Design—Cross-sectional observational study.

Animals—120 cats in 4 Boston-area animal shelters

Procedure—Cats were randomly selected and observed during 3 periods (morning, midday, and afternoon) of 1 day and scored by use of a behavioral assessment scale. The next day, urine samples were collected for analysis of the urine cortisol-to-creatinine ratio. Information about each cat's background before entering the shelter was collected.

Results—Stress scores were highest in the morning. The relationships between the amount of time cats spent in the shelter and the cat stress score or urine cortisol-to-creatinine ratio were not strong. There was no correlation between the cat stress score and urine cortisol-to-creatinine ratio. Urine cortisol-to-creatinine ratios did correlate with signs of systemic disease and were significantly lower in cats in the more environmentally enriched shelters, compared with cats in the traditional shelters. Urine cortisol-to-creatinine ratio was highest among cats with high exposure to dogs. Of the cats in the study, 25% had subclinical hematuria detectable on a urine dipstick.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—In this study, the cat stress score was not a useful instrument for measuring stress because it failed to identify cats with feigned sleep and high stress levels. Urine cortisol-tocreatinine ratios can be monitored to noninvasively assess stress levels in confined cats. Environmental enrichment strategies may help improve the welfare of cats in animal shelters. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;226:548–555)

Subject Headings: Stress levels; Cats; Animal shelters
Call Number Serial 2249  
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Author Hevey, D. file  url
Title Contextual, Cognitive and Emotional Influences on Risk Perception for Illness Type Journal Article
Year 2005 Publication The Irish Journal of Psychology Abbreviated Journal The Irish Journal of Psychology  
Volume 26 Issue 1-2 Pages 39-51  
Abstract The present paper reviews the contribution of psychological research to understanding risk perception. Risk is considered a multidimensional construct and plays a central role in a number of social cognition models of precautionary health behaviour. The presentation of verbal and numeric risk information can influence understanding, interpretation and subsequent behavioural responses. The potential impact of cognitive biases (representativeness, anchoring, availability, overconfidence, optimistic bias and omission bias) on risk perception is outlined. In addition, the role of emotions in risk perception is considered in relation to the emotional state of the recipient and the emotional response to the information. Recent research on the influence of the affective heuristic on the assessment of risk is outlined.

Subject Headings: Risk perception; Emotional influences; Emotional state
Call Number Serial 2225  
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Author Shang, A.; Huwiler-Müntener, K.; Nartey, L.; Jüni, P.; Dörig, S.; Sterne, J.A.C.; Pewsner, D.; Egger, M. file  url
Title Are the clinical effects of homoeopathy placebo effects? Comparative study of placebo-controlled trials of homoeopathy and allopathy Type Journal Article
Year 2005 Publication The Lancet Abbreviated Journal The Lancet  
Volume 366 Issue 9487 Pages 726-732  
Abstract Background

Homoeopathy is widely used, but specific effects of homoeopathic remedies seem implausible. Bias in the conduct and reporting of trials is a possible explanation for positive findings of trials of both homoeopathy and conventional medicine. We analysed trials of homoeopathy and conventional medicine and estimated treatment effects in trials least likely to be affected by bias.


Placebo-controlled trials of homoeopathy were identified by a comprehensive literature search, which covered 19 electronic databases, reference lists of relevant papers, and contacts with experts. Trials in conventional medicine matched to homoeopathy trials for disorder and type of outcome were randomly selected from the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register (issue 1, 2003). Data were extracted in duplicate and outcomes coded so that odds ratios below 1 indicated benefit. Trials described as double-blind, with adequate randomisation, were assumed to be of higher methodological quality. Bias effects were examined in funnel plots and meta-regression models.


110 homoeopathy trials and 110 matched conventional-medicine trials were analysed. The median study size was 65 participants (range ten to 1573). 21 homoeopathy trials (19%) and nine (8%) conventional-medicine trials were of higher quality. In both groups, smaller trials and those of lower quality showed more beneficial treatment effects than larger and higher-quality trials. When the analysis was restricted to large trials of higher quality, the odds ratio was 0·88 (95% CI 0·65–1·19) for homoeopathy (eight trials) and 0·58 (0·39–0·85) for conventional medicine (six trials).


Biases are present in placebo-controlled trials of both homoeopathy and conventional medicine. When account was taken for these biases in the analysis, there was weak evidence for a specific effect of homoeopathic remedies, but strong evidence for specific effects of conventional interventions. This finding is compatible with the notion that the clinical effects of homoeopathy are placebo effects.

Subject Headings: Placebo effects; Homeopathy; allopathy
Call Number Serial 2201  
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Author Haslbeck, M.; Franzmann, T.; Weinfurtner, D.; Buchner, J. file  url
Title Some like it hot: the structure and function of small heat-shock proteins Type Journal Article
Year 2005 Publication Nature Structural & Molecular Biology Abbreviated Journal Nat Struct Mol Biol  
Volume 12 Issue 10 Pages 842-846  
Keywords Heat-Shock Proteins, Small/*chemistry/classification/*metabolism; Phylogeny; Protein Conformation; Protein Folding  
Abstract Small heat-shock proteins (sHsps) are a widespread and diverse class of molecular chaperones. Recent evidence suggests that they maintain protein homeostasis by binding proteins in non-native conformations, thereby preventing substrate aggregation. Some members of the sHsp family are inactive or only partially active under physiological conditions, and transition toward the active state is induced by specific triggers, such as elevated temperature. Release of substrate proteins bound to sHsps requires cooperation with ATP-dependent chaperones, suggesting that sHsps create a reservoir of non-native proteins for subsequent refolding.  
Call Number Serial 2181  
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Author Wecker, N.S.; Kramer, J.H.; Hallam, B.J.; Delis, D.C. file  url
Title Mental flexibility: age effects on switching Type Journal Article
Year 2005 Publication Neuropsychology Abbreviated Journal Neuropsychology  
Volume 19 Issue 3 Pages 345-352  
Keywords Adult; Age Factors; Aged; Aged, 80 and over; Aging/*physiology; Female; Humans; Male; Mental Processes/*physiology; Middle Aged; Neuropsychological Tests/statistics & numerical data; Predictive Value of Tests; Problem Solving/*physiology; Recognition (Psychology)/*physiology; Regression Analysis; Verbal Learning/physiology  
Abstract Mental flexibility is required to track and systematically alternate between 2 response sets. In this study, 719 individuals, 20 to 89 years old, engaged in 3 different tasks that required verbal and nonverbal cognitive switching. Of importance, each task allowed for independent measurement of component skills that are embedded in the higher level tasks. When gender, education, Full Scale IQ, and component skills were partialed out by multiple regression analyses, significant age effects were revealed for each task. This study provides evidence that executive functions--and verbal and nonverbal cognitive switching in particular--are affected by age independently from age-related changes in component skills. The results are discussed in terms of theories of executive control and neurologic correlates across the adult life span.  
Call Number Serial 2178  
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