I keep a variety of stick insects and they make me so happy every day, I could imagine them and other insects being beneficial to folks with diseases affecting the brain.
They are super low maintenance, fascinating to look at and are very hardy so it’s pretty hard to accidentally kill them.
A cat or a dog would demand my attention constantly, but my stick bois? They’re happy even when I spend an entire week crying in bed. All power to insects as pets.
TIL about pet insects
As an elderly Korean woman, thank you
I have a mantis and kept crickets to feed her and noticed something. The first box of crickets I got had no food so they just ate each other and didn’t last long. Kept trying to jump out whenever I tried to take some out to feed her. It made me sad but I mean, they’re food, right?
The second box though had one of those food balls for them and I also put a piece of meat in there every couple days. They lasted weeks and they chirped and sang and seemed pretty happy and never tried to jump out.
Anyway, I got kind of attached to them even though they were feeder crickets because they were pretty cute. Now I just feed her larva.
**SMALL STUDY PSA: Sample size is a notoriously overused and extremely insufficient benchmark for evaluating study strength/validity.**
Of course, it’s critically important to have the appropriate level of statistical power. But the largest n’s and 1-*β*s in the world won’t matter much if other core components are total shit-shows (study design, sampling, datasets, etc.). Big samples generally can’t offset serious problems in those areas.
That’s why it’s important to look at the whole picture. You’ve got to understand how different study components & attributes interact. (And some don’t play nice.)
But back to my original point **— small studies like this one (n=35) can still be somewhat useful, despite being, well, pretty small.**
* This is a randomized controlled trial with a very homogenous sample. RCTs are only as good as they are conducted, of course, but it appears to be decently designed to me (at least based on my initial quick read).
* The combination of two measures of cognitive function (WCST + fMRIs) helps mitigate some big threats to study validity. Both are consider quite reliable, but they also have significant limitations. When feasible, having two lenses helps!
* The positive association between caring for other animals/plants and cognitive function has already been somewhat well-documented in the literature (i.e. past research). The context provided by the existing evidence/knowledge base is really important.
**All that being said, don’t get me wrong — it would’ve been** ***great*** **if this study had a larger, more externally valid sample.**
That’s why these findings need more replication within and outside of Korea. (There are some additional issues I noticed that that will hopefully be addressed by future studies.)
But researchers have to work with what’s on hand, which is usually very limited a) time, b) staff, c) money, d) data, e) etc. It’s one reason why science is an iterative process. Future studies, larger and better, will eventually build upon this one.
At least hopefully, because ***pet cricket science kicks ass.***