Are you a Samuel or a Travis, a Katherine or an Amber? According to a recent study conducted on 89 undergraduate students, a person’s socioeconomic and educational standing may be in direct correlation with a person’s name. While researchers point out that a person’s essence, status, and general fatecannot possibly be defined based on the nature of a name alone, they do, however, suggest that expectations towards others tend to be closely associated with individual names. This provocative hypothesis inspired exploration of that most personal aspect of language, the proper nouns and names.

Onomastics is the study of the origin, history, and use of proper names. Derived from the Greek onomastikos meaning “of or belonging to naming,” onomastic scholars focus on the personal naming-systems used in different cultures and the pattern of those systems. Researchers point out that people of certain social and educational backgrounds prefer different names, surmising that a person’s given name can in fact determine their level of academic achievement. This is not an exact science, but according to the results of the referenced study, certain names tend to correlate with various levels of academic performance.

(Learn about anthroponymy, the study of personal names, and a baby named “Like” here.)

Participants of the study were asked to guess the success of students with various names on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the most successful. The highest scoring names turned out to be Katherine, scoring a 7.42, and Samuel, scoring a 7.20. With a score of 5.74, Amber ranked lowest among female names while Travis ranked overall lowest with a score of 5.55. As John Waggoner, a researcher from Bloomberg University, points out: “Katherine goes to the private school, statistically; Lauren goes to a public university, and Briana goes to community college. Sierra and Dakota, they don’t go to college.”

Perhaps etymology is at play here. After all, the name Katherine is derived from Greek katheros meaning “pure” and the name is a direct reference to Saint Catherine of Alexandria and of course, Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia. In addition, the name has been among the 100 most popular names in United States since 1880.

Before you go re-thinking your name, the study also suggests that the results may be relative and that our destinies are not predetermined by our names. Proof in point is the omission of names such as Robert and Benjamin – two names that, not so long ago, were closely associated with high academic and socioeconomic status.

What do you think? Does this study resonate with your personal experience, or does it feel like a bunch of silliness?

Muscular Dystrophy Association Announces Funding for 40 New Research Grants

Wireless News August 27, 2011

Wireless News 08-27-2011 Muscular Dystrophy Association Announces Funding for 40 New Research Grants Type: News

The Muscular Dystrophy Association announced funding, totaling $13.7 million, for 40 new research initiatives targeting nearly two dozen progressive neuromuscular diseases. musculardystrophyassociationnow.com muscular dystrophy association

In a release, the group said that among these are 13 new initiatives targeting Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), nine new projects focused on ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease), as well as efforts on spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD), and the link between diabetes and Friedreich’s ataxia (FA).

These new projects are in addition to hundreds of other MDA- funded scientific investigations being advanced worldwide to find effective treatments for neuromuscular diseases.

“Truly rapid progress is being made in the fight against muscular dystrophy, ALS and related diseases,” said R. Rodney Howell, M.D., Chairman of the MDA Board of Directors. “And MDA will not stop until these diseases are conquered.”

In Winston-Salem, NC, investigators are studying DMD-related heart disease by reprogramming skin cells to create heart cells in order to screen thousands of experimental compounds and drugs already approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Another MDA-funded team in Philadelphia is exploring a new way to up- regulate utrophin, a muscle protein that may be able to stand in for the larger dystrophin protein that when absent causes DMD. Plus, an MDA-sponsored team in Victoria, Australia is working to prevent extensive bone loss caused by corticosteroids, the only available treatment shown to slow the progression of DMD.

For ALS, a Houston-based team with MDA funding is investigating whether a combination drug treatment (Licofelone + Riluzole) works better than the first FDA-approved drug for ALS, riluzole. Another group of MDA-sponsored investigators in Quebec City, Canada is looking for the earliest visible signs of ALS. Finally, a San Diego team supported by MDA is using next-generation gene sequencing technology to better understand what makes ALS-causing mutations in two genes (TDP-43 + FUS/TUS) so crucial to the ALS disease process.

With tens of millions of Americans affected by type 2 diabetes and 30 percent of FA patients developing diabetes, a new MDA-funded project in Philadelphia to determine the exact mechanisms by which diabetes occurs in FA also could shed valuable insights into the causes of insulin resistance seen in people with type 2 diabetes. this web site muscular dystrophy association

Other initiatives by MDA-funded investigators include the Minneapolis-based effort to identify inhibitors of the DUX4 gene implicated in FSHD, and to quickly test promising compounds in a transgenic mouse model for that disease; and, a Miami-based effort to find novel genes that cause more rare forms of SMA and to search for genetic modifiers of the disease-causing genes.

((Comments on this story may be sent to health@closeupmedia.com))



  1. Martha -  January 26, 2014 - 4:02 am

    …funny, this article was written two years ago, almost 3, on my birthday.

  2. Martha -  January 26, 2014 - 3:59 am

    Hi everyone,

    What do you think about Martha Alicia, those two are my names, but most of the people calls me Martha, Alice in the USA and Marty or Mar here in Europe.

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