Tag Archives: research

Meet… Sue Trujillo

This interview is a part of an ongoing feature on the PAR blog to better acquaint Customers with PAR staff. We hope you enjoy this inside look into what goes on behind the scenes to develop, create, and deliver your most trusted assessments.

Sue Trujillo, Manager of Data Collection

How many years have you worked at PAR? 9 1/2 years

What does an average day at PAR look like to you? Read and respond to emails from data collectors, check the demographic database on projects in progress, recruit new and existing examiners to work on finding participants to fill the needed demographics, check incoming data for accuracy and log cases into my SPSS “cases needed” file, and, most recently, helping to work on new project ideas.

What is the best part of your job? Talking with psychologists all over the country.

When people ask you what you do, how do you explain your job? I have a database of examiners from all over the country who administer new or existing assessments in order to create the standardization norms.

When you aren’t at work, where can you be found? In my yard, tending to my flowers and plants, or dancing at a rock concert.

When I first started working at PAR… there wasn’t any one person who did my job. The project directors were responsible for finding authors who already had data or the project directors managed data collection themselves.

If I could switch jobs with anyone in the company for a day, I’d like to try… Being a Clinical Assessment Consultant! I’d like to sell what I’ve helped create!

Share this post: Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

Meet…. Melissa Messer

This interview is a part of an ongoing feature on the PAR blog to better acquaint Customers with PAR staff. We hope you enjoy this inside look into what goes on behind the scenes to develop, create, and deliver your most trusted assessments.

Melissa Messer, Senior Project Director

How many years have you worked at PAR? 13

What does an average day at PAR look like to you? Every day is different depending on the status of my projects. Typically, I am working on some type of data analysis. Other days, I may be solely focused on writing, which also involves doing extensive literature reviews and interpreting/explaining data analysis. I have lots of team meetings, generally getting input and feedback on print and digital projects.

What have you learned by working at PAR? A small group of really excellent people can accomplish a lot when they work together. In comparison to some of our competitors, we are a very small company, yet we remain very competitive.

When you aren’t at work, where can you be found? With my two children. I spend as much time as I possibly can with them when I am not at work.

When you first started working at PAR, what were your plans? I thought I would stay for a year and go back to school to get my PhD. Instead, four positions and almost 13 years later, I can’t imagine leaving PAR.

If you could switch jobs anywhere in the company for a day, what department would you choose? Customer Support. I really enjoy talking to our Customers at conventions, and I think it would be great to have a chance to talk directly to our Customers more.

What product or project have you learned the most from? The Neuropsychological Assessment Battery® (NAB®). I got to work with the director of Research & Development, who had a ton of experience working on project development, and he was also the author of the test. It was by far one of the largest projects ever completed at PAR, and the experiences I gained while working on it definitely had an impact on my future success at PAR.

Share this post: Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

Alzheimer’s in a dish: Scientists discover new way to test drug treatments

Scientists have found a way to replicate human brain cells for use in Alzheimer’s research, according to an article in the New York Times this week. Lead researcher Rudolph E. Tanzi of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and his colleagues were able, for the first time, to grow human brain cells in a petri dish, where the neurons formed networks as they do in an actual brain. Their study was published in the online version of the journal Nature.

The researchers have resolved a long-standing problem with Alzheimer’s research, the New York Times reports. Previously, drugs had to be tested in mice, which have a different form of the disease. With human brain cells grown in a gel, the cells form the same kinds of networks that they do in a real brain. After implanting the cells with Alzheimer’s genes, the researchers began to see plaques and tangles develop—the telltale signs of Alzheimer’s.

“It is a giant step forward for the field,” said Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, an Alzheimer’s researcher at Duke University, in a recent interview. “It could dramatically accelerate testing of new drug candidates.”

This discovery will allow researchers to quickly test drugs that could slow or stop the progression of the disease. In fact, Dr. Tanzi and his colleagues have started to test 1,200 drugs currently on the market as well as 5,000 experimental ones. This huge project would have been impossible using mice, but with the new petri dish system, says Dr. Tanzi, “we can test hundreds of thousands of drugs in a matter of months.”

The full text of Dr. Tanzi’s study, along with videos showing Alzheimer’s brain cells in the culture, can be found online in the current issue of Nature.

Editor’s Note: On Saturday, November 1, an enthusiastic team of PAR employees will be participating in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s here in Tampa, Florida—one of a series of walks to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association, which is the largest voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support, and research. To find a walk near you, click on the link and visit their Web site today!

Share this post: Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

Psychology News by the Numbers

$4 Million: The fine Kaiser Permanente will face for failing to provide mental health treatment in a timely manner.

1 in 4: The number of stroke survivors who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a new study from Columbia University Medical Center.

70%: The ability of a computer to accurately guess a person’s emotions in a new study by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University.

85.8%: The percentage of gang members diagnosed with an antisocial personality disorder in new research from the Forensic Psychiatry Research Unit at Queen Mary, University of London.

49.4%: The number of adolescents reporting zero mentally unhealthy days in 2010 (a significant decrease from 60.9%, which was reported in 2005-2006).

Share this post: Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

Can You Buy Long-Term Happiness?

Congratulations! You’ve received an unexpected financial windfall. Should you use the money to buy a new GPS or go to a concert with friends?

According to a 2009 study conducted by the San Francisco State University psychology department, you’d be well served to choose the concert; your appreciation of the experience will grow over time, whereas your appreciation for the GPS will lessen in a matter of weeks.

Participants in the study answered questions about purchases they made with the intention of making themselves happy. Most were initially happy with their purchases regardless of whether they were material or experiential. However, those who invested in experiences tended to show higher levels of satisfaction for a significant amount of time after the events occurred. Also, because the experiences usually included other people, they reported a sense of connecting to friends or relatives, fulfilling a need for social bonding.

We found out about this study in a blog post from David DiSalvo called Ten Psychology Studies from 2009 Worth Knowing About. There are some other interesting studies on his list. We encourage you to take a look.

Share this post: Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someone