Study to explore how cognitive development affects later attitudes toward physical activity

Iowa State researchers are working to understand the connection between childhood cognitive development and attitudes toward physical activity. Kinesiology professor Panteleimon "Paddy" Ekkekakis and graduate student Matthew Ladwig believe that the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain that controls emotions, may play a role. 

The prefrontal cortex not only controls emotions, but pushes people to their maximum effort and controls how adults feel about exercising. Since this region is not fully developed in children, it may more difficult for them to control their emotions, and thus have a negative view of exercise, especially if it is difficult. 

Read the complete story by the ISU News Service. 

Hydration strategy key as high school athletes begin practice

The first week of high school sports practices is a particularly vulnerable time for athletes, says an Iowa State University assistant professor of kinesiology. James Lang studies how environmental stresses, such as heat, affect how our bodies regulate internal temperature.

Lang says being proactive about hydration, rather than reactive, is important to keep athletes safe. He has the following recommendations for coaches and athletes:

See the complete story by the ISU News Service.


Scholar draws Robert Wood Johnson Foundation support to build a healthier America

AMES, Iowa — Ashton Chapman has been selected to participate in a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation leadership development program designed to equip leaders across the country — in every sector and field — to collaborate, break down silos, and use their influence to make communities healthier and more equitable.

Oscar-nominated costume designer Ruth E. Carter to lecture at Iowa State

Costume designer Ruth E. Carter has more than 40 design credits to her name - the most recent being Marvel's "Black Panther." On Oct. 9, Carter will bring her story, expertise, and vision to Iowa State during her lecture, "A Hollywood Career in Costume Design." The lecture will be held at Stephens Auditorium, and is free and open to the public. Lecture attendees are encouraged to enter Stephens through the west or east door.

Carter has worked in the industry for more than three decade, and is the first African-American costume designer to be nominated for an Academy Award. She is know for her work on period ensemble films, and some of her design credits include Spike Lee's "Malcolm X," Steven Spielberg's "Amistad," and Ava Duvernay's "Selma." 

See the complete story by the ISU News Service. 

Human Development and Family Studies chair Carl Weems named APS fellow

An Iowa State University researcher with expertise in traumatic stress, emotional development, and the intervention and prevention of emotion-related difficulties has joined an elite group of researchers in the field of psychology. Carl Weems, professor and chair of human development and family studies, has been named a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science. Fellow status in APS cites Weems for “sustained and outstanding contributions to the advancement of psychological science.”

Weems is a developmental psychologist who applies science to solve real-world problems and improve the human condition. His research has focused on how severe and traumatic stress affects brain development and how to prevent the negative effects of adverse stress in children and youth so they maintain healthy regulation of their emotions and optimum wellness.

Part of his work is exploring the amygdalae and hippocampus — groups of nuclei located within the temporal lobes of the brain that are important to emotion and memory. He is examining how traumatic experiences effect these areas and their interrelation to brain networks involved in detection of salient stimuli, decision making, and emotion regulation. A review and theoretical model of this work is slated to appear in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry in 2019.

He is currently working with several Iowa State University colleagues in Human Sciences Extension and Outreach and the Translational Research Network to develop a statewide workshop to actualize trauma-informed practices in the state — including dissemination of intervention techniques that professionals can use to promote resilience in people who have experienced trauma. As the principal investigator of the Child Welfare Research and Training Project, Weems helps lead the development of trauma-informed trainings for Iowa Department of Human Services employees and the deployment of efforts aimed at reducing the incidence and impact of traumatic events such as domestic violence.

Among his recently completed projects is a study funded by the National Science Foundation that integrates cognitive emotional development and computer science to improve cybersecurity. The study examines how emotions, personality, and cognitive styles may help in the detection and prevention of cyber risk — the financial loss, disruption, or damage to the reputation of an organization resulting from a failure of its information systems.

In another paper recently published by the Applied Developmental Science journal, Weems and his colleagues evaluated perceptions of competence and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in children and teens exposed to hurricanes Katrina and Gustav and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. They found that children with higher levels of competence were overall more resilient and had fewer symptoms of post-traumatic symptoms disorder.

The Association for Psychological Science is the leading international organization dedicated to advancing scientific psychology across disciplinary and geographic borders.

Closing of department, big box stores ushers in new opportunities for retail

Despite the closure of department and big box stores, researchers from the AESHM department found that not all retailers are destined for the same fate. 

Linda Niehm, Telin “Doreen” Chung, and Jessica Hurst found that despite a changing retail landscape, stores that are willing to embrace technological changes can create a different shopping experiences for their consumers. 

"What we’re seeing is in part a natural evolution of the retail cycle, and old formats are replaced with something more relevant,” Niehm said. “It’s really a transitional time and the retail industry is still figuring it out. Retail is a dynamic industry and it will continue to thrive, but the bar has been raised and consumers expect more, not the same old tired stuff.”

Iowa State University opioid prevention workshop drew 120 community leaders from 30 Iowa counties

AMES, Iowa — One hundred and twenty community leaders from 30 Iowa counties — including mayors, legislative staffers, health agency leaders, and court administrators — attended the “Planning to Take Action against Opioids in Your Community” workshop, on Wednesday, September 12, from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center in Ames.

Joan Bice Underwood Tearoom to reopen Sept. 11

The Joan Bice Underwood Tearoom is set to reopen on Sept. 11, complete with updates to improve the experience of diners and students in the teaching lab. 

Katie Ginapp, lecturer in AESHM and co-instructor in the lab said that the changes aim to benefit the students in the HSP M 380 course. In addition to extended hours and new menu items, equipment upgrades similar to full-service kitchens, improved lighting and seating, and video monitors were added to the dining room.

The tearoom will also be enabling payment with CyCash later in the year, and is currently working on adding an online ordering system. 

Link between divorce and graduate education a concern as more jobs require advanced degree

Children of divorce are less likely to earn a four-year or graduate degree, according to new research from Iowa State University.

The study, published in the Journal of Family Issues, is one of the first to look specifically at divorce and graduate education. Researchers — including Iowa State University alumna Camron Devor, Cassandra Dorius in human development and family studies, and Susan Stewart in sociology  — say it is important to understand this relationship as more jobs require a graduate or professional degree.

New tenured/tenure-track faculty announced

As the new academic year begins, the Iowa State University College of Human Sciences announces four tenure-track faculty members who have joined the faculty in 2018. 

All aiming to expand human potential and improve people's lives, their expertise ranges from educational technology to safe food packaging to sustainable functional apparel to how genes are expressed and effect disease.