A New Tool for Creative Thinking: Mind-Body Dissonance

first_imgScientific American:Did you ever get the giggles during a religious service or some other serious occasion?  Did you ever have to smile politely when you felt like screaming?  In these situations, the emotions that we are required to express differ from the ones we are feeling inside.  That can be stressful, unpleasant, and exhausting.  Normally our minds and our bodies are in harmony.  When facial expressions or posture depart from how we feel, we experience what two psychologists at Northwestern University, Li Huang and Adam Galinsky, call mind–body dissonance.Read the whole story: Scientific American More of our Members in the Media >last_img

Primary motor cortex contributes to word comprehension, study finds

first_imgTraditional modular views of cognition suggest that, to encode and comprehend the meaning of a word such as ‘throw’, the brain’s “language module” does not to involve any structures related to the meaning per se (i.e. the “motor module” responsible for the associated movements programs such as the arm and hand movements involved in the act of throwing.An alternative is offered by an embodied or distributed view suggesting that the brain areas encoding the meaning of a word include both the areas specialised for representing linguistic information, such as the word’s acoustic form, but also those brain areas that are responsible for the control of the corresponding perception or action. On this account, in order to fully comprehend the meaning of the word ‘throw’, the brain needs to activate the cortical areas related to hand movement control. The representation of the word’s meaning is, therefore, ‘distributed’ across several brain areas, some of which reflect experiential or physical aspects of its meaning.A team of researchers from Denmark, England, and Russia (Nikola Vukovic, Matteo Feurra, Anna Shpektor, Andriy Myachykov, and Yury Shtyrov) investigated the nature and the mechanisms of such distributed word representations. They carried out a series of experiments aiming at finding out how stimulating motor cortex using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) affects word comprehension.28 volunteers took part in these experiments. A TMS magnetic pulse was delivered to the areas in motor cortex responsible for hand movements as participants engaged in one of the two computer-based experimental tasks: detecting whether a presented string of letters is a word or not, and choosing whether the presented stimulus relates to an abstract or a concrete action.‘We used TMS to inhibit neural activity in the motor cortex as participants tried to distinguish between words related or unrelated to hand movements,’ says Andriy Myachykov, leading Research Fellow at the HSE Centre for Cognition & Decision Making and a Senior Lecturer at Northumbria University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. He notes: ‘The advantage of TMS methodology is that it allows to establish the causal link between the stimulated brain area and the cognitive function or behaviour it’s hypothesised to support. This distinguishes TMS from many other existing neuroimaging methods. If motor programmes are directly involved during the comprehension of action words, then suppressing neural activity in hand-related motor cortex would interfere with word processing but only if the word also denotes hand movement. Namely, this should lead to increase in task performance errors and longer reaction times. This is exactly what we found’.These new findings suggest that language-specialised brain areas work in constant interaction with other areas known to support other cognitive processes, such as perception and action. The resulting distributed meaning representations act as dynamic cortical networks rather than a series of specialised modules as suggested by traditional theories. Share on Facebook LinkedIn Pinterest Sharecenter_img Email Researchers from HSE, Northumbria University, and Aarhus University have experimentally confirmed the hypothesis, whereby comprehension of a word’s meaning involves not only the ‘classic’ language brain centres but also the cortical regions responsible for the control of body muscles, such as hand movements. The resulting brain representations are, therefore, distributed across a network of locations involving both areas specialised for language processing and those responsible for the control of the associated action.The results have been published in the journal Neuropsychologia.One of the basic issues related to the nature of human cognition is the question about the correspondence between physical experiences and feelings, on one hand, and the nature of the brain representations of words and sentences describing these experiences, on the other. Share on Twitterlast_img read more

Smartphone-based test shows promise for rapid UTI diagnosis

first_imgUsing a simple lab kit, some LED lights, a hot plate, and a smartphone, a team of engineers and molecular biologists have a developed a point-of-care diagnostic test that can rapidly detect microbial pathogens in urine. New research on the device indicates it has the potential to provide quick, low-cost diagnoses of urinary tract infections (UTIs) in low-resource settings. In a pilot study published in the journal EBioMedicine, the device, developed by researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara and Stanford University, was compared with more costly rapid diagnostic technology and standard hospital diagnostic tests for analysis of urinary pathogens in a small group of patients with sepsis. The results of the head-to-head comparison showed that the smartphone-based real-time loop-mediated isothermal amplification (smaRT-LAMP) system matched the hospital diagnostics in detecting pathogens, but at a fraction of cost and the time.Researchers say they believe the smaRT-LAMP system could have significant clinical potential, especially in healthcare clinics that lack sophisticated diagnostic technology.”Although rapid diagnosis by smaRT-LAMP has utility in standard clinical diagnostics, we anticipate its immediate use in local clinics that cannot afford the tests required to ID a pathogen, which is important for prescription of the correct antibiotic,” lead study author Michael Mahan, PhD, a professor at UC Santa Barbara, told CIDRAP News.Low-cost, low-tech deviceWhile it isn’t the first attempt to harness smartphone technology for diagnostic use, Mahan and his colleagues believe the low-cost, low-tech smaRT-LAMP system may be the first smartphone-based diagnostic tool with real clinical utility in low-resource settings.To use smaRT-LAMP, samples of urine are placed in an aluminum sample block on top of a hot plate. The samples are then mixed with chemicals that amplify bacterial DNA. The smartphone camera captures the fluorescent signal (illuminated by the LED lights) from the chemical reaction, and a custom-built app analyzes the images to measure the concentration of bacterial DNA in the samples.The researchers estimate the cost of the materials, minus the smartphone, is around $86. By comparison, a quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) machine, which also uses DNA amplification to quickly detect bacteria or viruses, costs around $36,000.In proof-of-concept testing conducted on mouse urine, blood, and feces samples spiked with a variety of bacterial pathogens, smaRT-LAMP showed that it could identify pathogens just as well as a qPCR device and is compatible with a diverse array of pathogens and biological specimens. But Mahan said that using the device to test urine offered the quickest path to identification of possible infection since infected urine is associated with a much higher bacterial load than blood.”Proof of concept was much simpler for UTIs, as the clinical threshold to define a UTI is 100,000 bugs per milliliter of urine versus only one per milliliter of blood,” he said.Moreover, urine can be obtained without invasive procedures, and UTIs are among the most common types of bacterial infection.Based on its performance with the spiked mouse urine samples, Mahan and his colleagues decided to assess whether smaRT-LAMP could have immediate clinical utility for point-of-care urine analysis in human patients. Working with physicians at a local hospital, they identified 10 patients who met the clinical criteria for sepsis and were suspected of having a urinary source of infection. Some of the patients had severe sepsis and were showing signs of septic shock.Once again, smaRT-LAMP was able to identify to detect the bacterial pathogens in the urine—Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa—as quickly and accurately as the qPCR device, achieving diagnosis in under an hour. Standard urine cultures performed by the hospital microbiology laboratory, meanwhile, took 18-28 hours to identify the pathogens. This is important, Mahan and his colleagues note, because time to treatment is significantly associated with positive patient outcomes in emergency care for sepsis.In addition, among the patients whose infections had spread into their bloodstream, the pathogen identified in the urine matched that of the blood.”This concordance demonstrates the applicability of smaRT-LAMP to even the most severe cases of sepsis, with the advantage of accurate and rapid diagnosis at the POC [point-of-care] in these cases, and the potential to greatly accelerate directed therapy for urinary tract infections,” the authors wrote in the paper.The device could also be used to for rapid detection of UTIs in pregnant women, which can cause kidney infections and increase the risk for miscarriage if they go untreated.Mahan said the next step is to see whether smaRT-LAMP works in low-resource clinics, and to continue tailoring the system to quickly detected pathogenic bacteria in human blood and feces.  See also:Sep 20 EBioMedicine studylast_img read more

Climb on Top of Siemens’ Offshore Wind Turbine!

first_imgSiemens has created an interactive tool on its website, which allows users to get a 360° view of an offshore wind farm along with an additional insight into technological solutions and offshore wind jobs.Once placed on top of an offshore wind turbine, users can start exploring by clicking on certain spots within the 3D surroundings to get more information about the company, blades, in addition to various types of wind turbines and work positions in the industry.Users can learn more about offshore wind via text or a video, and some of the info boxes which take the story to another level by entering a certain field of offshore wind development.Offshore WIND Staff, April 4, 2014last_img

Dominica welcomes Caribbean Airlines to its shores

first_img Sharing is caring! Share Share FeaturedLocalNews Dominica welcomes Caribbean Airlines to its shores by: – September 11, 2020 Tweetcenter_img 159 Views   no discussions Share Roseau, Dominica – (September 11, 2020) Dominica welcomes Caribbean Airlines to our shores beginning September 19, 2020.In a radio interview which aired earlier in the month, the Minister of Tourism, International Transport and Maritime Initiatives, Hon Denise Charles had indicated the intent of the airline to service Dominica starting in September.Caribbean Airlines has now confirmed that subject to regulatory approval by the Trinidad and Tobago Civil Aviation Authority, the launch date for service between Barbados and Dominica will be September 19, 2020.The inclusion of Dominica to the Caribbean Airlines network now affords greater connectivity to Dominica, the rest of the region and to our international markets.“We are excited to welcome a new airline partner, Caribbean Airlines, to Douglas-Charles Airport,” says Colin Piper, Director of Tourism. “While Caribbean Airlines joins the diverse group of carriers with routes servicing Barbados and Dominica, Caribbean Airlines and their extensive network is sure to provide additional travel options for our passengers and now increases the opportunities for our tourism service providers on island.”Caribbean Airlines will afford return service twice weekly between Barbados and Dominica on Saturdays and Sundays once launched.These flights also provide same day connections from US and UK into Dominica on Saturdays and provide service to connect outbound to the US and UK in Barbados on Sundays.last_img read more