Volume II, Issue 8: May 2010


Loftus finds lawyers a little too optimistic

Elizabeth Loftus
Elizabeth Loftus says lawyer overconfidence can clog courts with unnecessary cases and damage relationships with clients.

What are the chances you'll prevail in a court case? Be careful when asking your attorney. Lawyers are often poor judges of case outcomes, because they overestimate their chances of success in the courtroom, according to a study co-authored by UCI psychologist and law professor Elizabeth Loftus. The study also found that attorneys' ability to accurately forecast case results does not improve with years of legal experience and that women are better predictors of case outcomes than men.

Optimistic attorneys »

TLC boosts baby's brain

Mother and baby
Postnatal maternal care can help strengthen neural connections in a baby's brain related to learning and memory, according to UCI research.

For an infant, a mother's touch provides a feeling of security, comfort and love. But research at UCI is showing that it does much more. Child neurologist and neuroscientist Dr. Tallie Z. Baram has found that caressing and other sensory input triggers activity in a baby's developing brain that improves cognitive function and builds resilience to stress. The finding contributes to growing knowledge about epigenetics, or how environmental factors can alter the expression of genes.

Baby brain study »

Major grant to support dementia study

Dr. Ira Lott
Dr. Ira Lott

UCI pediatric neurologist Dr. Ira Lott has received a five-year, $2.4-million National Institutes of Health grant to seek ways of preventing or delaying the onset of dementia in people with Down syndrome, who have an elevated risk of developing it by age 40. Lott will investigate whether this cognitive decline can be predicted via imaging or biomarker measures. His findings also could help identify prevention methods for people at risk for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's.

State funds UCI research on stem cells

Aileen Anderson and Marian Waterman headshots
Aileen Anderson (left) and Marian Waterman

Two UCI scientists will receive grants totaling more than $2.6 million to study the underlying biology of stem cells aimed at treating spinal cord injury, cancer and other disorders. The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine awards to Marian Waterman and Aileen Anderson are intended to support research on the fundamental properties and mechanisms of human stem cells. The grants bring all CIRM funding for UCI to $62.5 million, ranking it sixth among recipient institutions.

CIRM grants »