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  • How your brain chunks ‘moments’ into ‘events’ - Futurity
    challenges the dominant concept known as prediction error that says our brain draws a line between the end of one event and the start of another when things take an unexpected turn Participants viewed abstract symbols b and patterns c that without their knowledge were grouped into three communities of five symbols or patterns The shapes followed a sequence a in which symbols or patterns in the same community separated above by color tended to appear near one another in the sequence lines within pentagons Occasionally a symbol or pattern would appear near one from another community lines joining separate pentagons After a half hour of viewing participants were asked to segment the sequences into events in a way that felt natural to them and tended to break the sequences into events that coincided with the communities the researchers had prearranged Credit Anna Schapiro Princeton University This new concept of shared temporal context works very much like the object categories our minds use to organize objects explains Anna Schapiro a doctoral student in Princeton s psychology department and lead author of the study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience We re providing an account of how you come to treat a sequence of experiences as a coherent meaningful event Schapiro says Events are like object categories We associate robins and canaries because they share many attributes They can fly have feathers and so on These associations help us build a bird category in our minds Events are the same except the attributes that help us form associations are temporal relationships Coherent chunk Supporting this idea is brain activity the researchers captured showing that abstract symbols and patterns with no obvious similarity nonetheless excited overlapping groups of neurons when presented to study participants as a related group From this the researchers constructed a computer model that can predict and outline the neural pathways through which people process situations and can reveal if those situations are considered part of the same event The parallels drawn between event details are based on personal experience Schapiro says People need to have an existing understanding of the various factors that when combined correlate with a single experience Everyone agrees that having a meeting or chopping vegetables is a coherent chunk of temporal structure but it s actually not so obvious why that is if you ve never had a meeting or chopped vegetables before Schapiro says You have to have experience with the shared temporal structure of the components of the events in order for the event to hold together in your mind she adds And the way the brain implements this is to learn to use overlapping neural populations to represent components of the same event MRI images During a series of experiments the researchers presented participants with sequences of abstract symbols and patterns Without the participants knowledge the symbols were grouped into three communities of five symbols with shapes in the same community tending to appear near one another in the sequence After

    Original URL path: http://www.futurity.org/how-your-brain-chunks-%e2%80%98moments%e2%80%99-into-%e2%80%98events%e2%80%99/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Poetry lets doctors see human side of dementia - Futurity
    of Iowa University of Kansas University of Leeds University of Maryland University of Melbourne University of Michigan University of Minnesota University of Missouri University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill University of Nottingham University of Oregon University of Pennsylvania University of Pittsburgh University of Queensland University of Rochester University of Sheffield University of Southampton University of Southern California University of Texas at Austin University of Toronto University of Virginia University of Warwick University of Washington University of York Vanderbilt University Washington University in St Louis Yale University Health and Medicine Related Articles Early to bed is healthy and wise Is salmon safe to eat after pregnancy Can sugary drinks ruin teens memory Share This Article facebook twitter Action googleplus Google linkedin LinkedIn pinterest Pinterest reddit Reddit Stumbleupon mail Email Print Poetry lets doctors see human side of dementia Penn State right Original Study Posted by Matthew Solovey Penn State on June 19 2013 You are free to share this article under the Attribution 4 0 International license PENN STATE US Participation in a creative storytelling program helps improve the perceptions medical students have of patients affected by dementia Daniel George assistant professor of humanities at Penn State College of Medicine tested the effects of the TimeSlips storytelling program in an elective course he teaches at the college Fourth year medical students worked with patients at Country Meadows an assisted living community who are affected by advanced dementia Credit thethreesisters Flickr Medical students commonly perceive persons with dementia as being challenging to work with We currently lack effective drugs for dementia and there s a sense that these are cases where students can t do much to benefit the patient George says The perception is that they re hard to extract information from you don t know if that information is reliable and there are often other complicated medical issues to deal with TimeSlips is a non pharmacological approach to dementia care that uses creative storytelling in a group setting and encourages participants to use their imagination rather than focusing on their inability to remember chronologically Poetic license Pictures with a staged surreal image for example an elephant sitting on a park bench are shared with all participants who are encouraged to share their impressions of what is happening in the picture As part of George s elective medical students spent one month facilitating TimeSlips with groups of five to 10 residents and helping the residents build stories in poem form during their interactions All comments made during a session even ones that do not necessarily make logical sense are validated and put into the poem because it is an attempt to express meaning George says The sessions become energetic and lively as the residents are able to communicate imaginatively in a less linear way In the process students come to see dementia differently It is very humanizing revealing personality and remaining strengths where our culture tends to just focus on disease decline and loss Dementia Attitude Scale Student attitudes were

    Original URL path: http://www.futurity.org/poetry-lets-doctors-see-human-side-of-dementia/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Our ancient 'small brain' can adapt to robot arms - Futurity
    of Leeds University of Maryland University of Melbourne University of Michigan University of Minnesota University of Missouri University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill University of Nottingham University of Oregon University of Pennsylvania University of Pittsburgh University of Queensland University of Rochester University of Sheffield University of Southampton University of Southern California University of Texas at Austin University of Toronto University of Virginia University of Warwick University of Washington University of York Vanderbilt University Washington University in St Louis Yale University Science and Technology Related Articles Birds with dyed feathers fend off cell damage Computers get a lesson in the sound of water Earthquake sensors on seafloor track whale songs Share This Article facebook twitter Action googleplus Google linkedin LinkedIn pinterest Pinterest reddit Reddit Stumbleupon mail Email Print We found that the brain didn t necessarily evolve to control modern robotic arms but rather the cerebellum an ancient portion of our brain that has remained relatively unchanged plays a vital role in helping us reach and grasp with these tools often with only minimal training says Scott Frey Credit Adapted from Wounded Warrior Regiment Flickr Our ancient small brain can adapt to robot arms University of Missouri right Original Study Posted by Jeff Sossamon U Missouri on February 3 2015 You are free to share this article under the Attribution 4 0 International license In order to grasp an object our brains have to use specialized areas to process visual cues Then other areas of the brain work with these signals to control our hands to reach for and manipulate the object A new study suggests that the cerebellum a region of the brain that has changed very little over time may play a critical role The findings could lead to advancements in assistive technologies for people with disabilities We live in a world of advanced technology in which a button can move a crane or open a door says Scott Frey professor of psychological sciences and director of the Brain Imaging Center at the University of Missouri For those with disabilities assistive technologies such as robotic arms or sensors inserted in the brain make it possible to accomplish actions like grasping with the press of a button or directly through brain activity however little is known about how the human brain adapts to these technologies We found that the brain didn t necessarily evolve to control modern robotic arms but rather the cerebellum an ancient portion of our brain that has remained relatively unchanged plays a vital role in helping us reach and grasp with these tools often with only minimal training Buttons and a robotic arm In the study participants completed a series of ordinary reaching and grasping tasks involving colored wooden blocks Regions of the brain were monitored by functional magnetic resonance imaging fMRI Then in a training session participants were introduced to a robotic arm that performed the same reaching and grasping tasks when they pressed specific buttons Participants were told that the next day s

    Original URL path: http://www.futurity.org/cerebellum-brain-robot-848692/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Would helmets make girls' lacrosse more dangerous? - Futurity
    linked to highway smog Envy added to narcissism is a volatile mix Share This Article facebook twitter Action googleplus Google linkedin LinkedIn pinterest Pinterest reddit Reddit Stumbleupon mail Email Print In many girls lacrosse game situations given how little other protective equipment female players wear a hard sided helmet could easily cause more injuries that it prevents says Joseph Crisco It could actually make the game more aggressive Credit K M Klemencic Flickr Would helmets make girls lacrosse more dangerous Brown University right Original Study Posted by David Orenstein Brown on December 1 2014 You are free to share this article under the Attribution 4 0 International license Should girl lacrosse players be required like boys to wear protective headgear A small study shows that while helmets offer some protection they don t prevent concussions and may actually make the game more aggressive Lacrosse players swing hard which is why errant stick blows are the leading cause of concussion in girls and women s lacrosse Researchers measured how much the worst blows accelerate the head and how different kinds of headgear could reduce those accelerations A lacrosse stick striking a crash test dummy head at 1 000 FPS Girls and women s lacrosse is a different game from the version played by males Females wear far less protective equipment than males do and injuries especially severe head injuries are comparatively rare The goal of our study was to answer the question of what types of head accelerations would you see if you were hit in the head with a stick says Joseph Crisco professor of orthopaedic research at Brown University For the study published online in the Journal of Applied Biomechanics seven female lacrosse players aged 12 to 14 delivered at least 36 whacks each as hard as they possibly could to various places on two dummy headforms in the lab The kinds of hits recorded were basically aggressive street fights Crisco says They were really whacking at it every shaft was broken by the end of the study which would never happen in a game The goal was just to give US Lacrosse and the manufacturers some baseline information on the types of accelerations they could expect to see in a worst case scenario 18 mph lacrosse swings The girls used six different sticks each outfitted with motion capture markers The headforms had embedded accelerometers In a second set of experiments the headforms donned one of four different kinds of protective headgear On average across 508 successful blows in the first experiment the girls swung their sticks about 18 miles an hour enough to complete two revolutions in less than a second A previous study showed perhaps not surprisingly that high school and college players swing their sticks even faster The peak acceleration the girls delivered to the headforms when they struck them with the shafts of their sticks averaged 60 times the acceleration of Earth s gravity 60g That s about three times more force than say football

    Original URL path: http://www.futurity.org/helmets-girls-lacrosse-810452/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Prenatal tension leaves lasting mark on kids - Futurity
    of Technology Indiana University Iowa State University Johns Hopkins University McGill University Michigan State University Monash University National University of Singapore New York University Northwestern University Penn State Princeton University Purdue University Rice University Rutgers University Stanford University Stony Brook University Syracuse University Texas A M University Tulane University University at Buffalo University College London University of Arizona University of California at Irvine University of California Berkeley University of California Davis University of California Santa Barbara University of Chicago University of Colorado at Boulder University of Copenhagen University of Florida University of Illinois University of Iowa University of Kansas University of Leeds University of Maryland University of Melbourne University of Michigan University of Minnesota University of Missouri University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill University of Nottingham University of Oregon University of Pennsylvania University of Pittsburgh University of Queensland University of Rochester University of Sheffield University of Southampton University of Southern California University of Texas at Austin University of Toronto University of Virginia University of Warwick University of Washington University of York Vanderbilt University Washington University in St Louis Yale University Health and Medicine Related Articles Dairy offers more probiotic bang for the buck Diabetes reversed in mice all naturally Older brains learn plenty but don t filter Share This Article facebook twitter Action googleplus Google linkedin LinkedIn pinterest Pinterest reddit Reddit Stumbleupon mail Email Print Prenatal tension leaves lasting mark on kids University of California at Irvine Posted by Futurity Jenny Leonard on July 29 2009 You are free to share this article under the Attribution 4 0 International license UC IRVINE US Researchers are focusing on stress hormones in an effort to understand the role anxiety plays during pregnancy and the long term effects on children s cognition and behavior A team from the University of California at Irvine is working with 600 Southern California women and their children in one of the first large scale U S studies on prenatal stress and child development There is a small but growing body of evidence that the stress pregnant mothers face can influence health outcomes of their babies says Elysia Poggi Davis a developmental psychobiologist who has been with the project since it began in 2002 This is a new area of study and what we learn now will go a long way toward the creation of treatments to improve prenatal health While cortisol helps the body deal with stressful situations long term exposure in adults contributes to heart disease and other health problems Pregnant women pass cortisol on to their fetuses and studies have shown that higher cortisol levels in the mother s blood are matched by higher levels in the amniotic fluid In the final weeks of a pregnancy babies need more cortisol for development of the lungs and central nervous system It s the elevated levels early in the pregnancy that cause problems adds Davis whose efforts are funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Institute of Mental Health

    Original URL path: http://www.futurity.org/prenatal-tension-leaves-lasting-mark-on-kids/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Facebook adds lifelines to prevent suicide - Futurity
    license In addition to vacation photos and cat videos people also share details about their personal lives and feelings on Facebook including occasional posts about despair and even thoughts of suicide As the world s biggest social network with more than 1 39 billion users Facebook is uniquely able to provide online resources and support to help suicidal people That s the goal of a new collaboration between Facebook and researchers at Forefront Innovations in Suicide Prevention an organization based in the University of Washington s School of Social Work Working with an organization called Forefront Innovations in Suicide Prevention and other mental health experts Facebook enhanced its suite of tools to support suicidal people and tell those who see and report suicidal posts on Facebook how they can help How it works When someone sees a post that suggests its author might be considering suicide they can click on a dropdown menu and report the post to Facebook That reporting activates a series of responses The person who flags the post will see a screen with links that allow them to send a message to the potentially suicidal person contact another Facebook friend for support or connect with a trained professional at a suicide helpline for guidance Facebook will then review the reported post If the poster is thought to be in distress a series of screens will automatically launch when that person next logs onto Facebook with suggestions for getting help The responses link to a number of positive options including videos from Now Matters Now an online program started by Forefront research scientist Ursula Whiteside that uses real life accounts of people who have struggled with suicidal thoughts to provide research based coping strategies If the author of a reported post is thought to be suicidal a series of screens will launch to offer help Credit Facebook Just not something we talk about The tools aim to both direct suicidal people to resources and alternatives and also to guide concerned friends or family members through a situation most are simply not equipped to handle Often friends and family who are the observers in this situation don t know what to do says Holly Hetherington a Facebook content strategist working on the project They re concerned but they re worried about saying the wrong thing or somehow making it worse Socially mental illness and thoughts about suicide are just not something we talk about Stephen Paul Miller knows that all too well Now Forefront s operations manager Miller lost a friend and college classmate to suicide five years ago One night Miller noticed a Facebook post from his friend saying that things were too much that he couldn t take it anymore Alarmed Miller resolved to call his friend in the morning He died that night The thing that breaks my heart the most about this is that I think it was just episodic I don t think he wanted to die Miller says But I was not

    Original URL path: http://www.futurity.org/facebook-suicide-prevention-866292/ (2016-02-12)
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  • In Sudan, efforts to erase breast cancer stigma - Futurity
    for chronic skin cancer Primate study offers more bad news about BPA Why ovarian cancer is so good at beating chemo Share This Article facebook twitter Action googleplus Google linkedin LinkedIn pinterest Pinterest reddit Reddit Stumbleupon mail Email Print In Sudan efforts to erase breast cancer stigma Purdue University right Original Study Posted by Elizabeth Gardner Purdue on February 26 2013 You are free to share this article under the Attribution 4 0 International license PURDUE US A new program that uses local volunteers helps overcome the shame and social barriers faced by women in sub Saharan Africa that prevent early screening for breast cancer In rural Sudan lack of resources social stigmatization and religious beliefs can keep women from seeking help for breast cancer the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of death in women Patients in Africa often present with late stage breast cancer that has spread to other organs and is very difficult to treat says Sulma Mohammed an associate professor of cancer biology at Purdue University There is a strong social stigma associated with the disease and a great lack of awareness of the importance of early detection The same approaches that are successful in the United States don t work in these rural areas We need an approach that could overcome the barriers preventing these women from seeking help because thousands of women are dying needlessly Mohammed who is from Sudan says the social barriers to screening programs and early detection are especially difficult to overcome The stigma surrounding cancer is so great that people hide the disease from their family and friends and will not seek treatment until they are in severe pain she says Women in rural areas where men are allowed more than one wife have a great fear of being disfigured by surgery and losing a husband and support for their children In addition some African communities are Muslim and women cannot expose their breasts to a male doctor or nurse as part of a screening program We used young female volunteers from the community so that the screenings came from a familiar and trusted person who shares the patient s social fabric and belief system Mohammed says If you are approached by someone you know and trust you tend to be more relaxed and more forthcoming with any symptoms you may have Researchers first met with village leaders to discuss the effects of cancer on the community and to get approval of the screening program The leaders then chose candidates for the training Mohammed says Health care workers provided a five day intensive training course to female volunteers from selected villages in cancer risk factors the importance of early detection and how to examine breasts for abnormalities The volunteers then went door to door in their village to screen women 18 and older The volunteers referred women with suspected breast cancer to the district hospital for diagnosis The program also included a cancer awareness campaign for both

    Original URL path: http://www.futurity.org/in-sudan-efforts-to-erase-breast-cancer-stigma/ (2016-02-12)
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  • Antibiotics don't pop bacteria like a balloon - Futurity
    hikes soldiers PTSD risk Football neck fracture in real time High fructose corn syrup s big fat secret Share This Article facebook twitter Action googleplus Google linkedin LinkedIn pinterest Pinterest reddit Reddit Stumbleupon mail Email Print One option to overcome the antibiotic resistance crisis is to design new antibiotics but that s not really happening at this point says Peter Belenky But what we can do is figure out how to use our current arsenal of antibiotics better Credit Dean Hochman Flickr Antibiotics don t pop bacteria like a balloon Brown University right Original Study Posted by David Orenstein Brown on October 23 2015 You are free to share this article under the Attribution 4 0 International license The days when antibiotics worked reliably and scientists could assume they worked directly like popping a balloon are fading As resistance mounts understanding how antibiotics really work could be the key to sustaining their efficacy A new study offers direct evidence that antibiotics sometimes don t kill outright Rather they create conditions for bacterial demise by upsetting their metabolism leading bacteria to a state of oxidative stress that ultimately breaks down their DNA and other key molecules The antibiotics tested in the study ampicillin kanamycin and norfloxacin didn t kill just by attacking their distinct direct targets Instead they killed bacteria like infections often kill us by wreaking general havoc that allows organ failure to deliver the finishing blow People don t necessarily die from infections they die from complications due to those infections These bacteria didn t die from antibiotics they died from complications due to antibiotics Watch bacteria die The findings published in Cell Reports have several specific implications for how antibiotics can be used and improved says lead author Peter Belenky assistant professor of molecular microbiology and immunology One option to overcome the antibiotic resistance crisis is to design new antibiotics but that s not really happening at this point Belenky says But what we can do is figure out how to use our current arsenal of antibiotics better Understanding how antibiotics kill bacteria the very specific pathways becomes very important for figuring out ways we can potentiate antibiotic activity with current antibiotics people aren t petri dishes why antibiotics fail In recent years as scientists have proposed more sophisticated hypotheses about what antibiotics do they have made observations suggesting that bacterial death stems from major metabolic disruptions Belenky s study as well as a paper he coauthored earlier this year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences were the first to test these hypotheses by making direct measurements of the metabolic products of Escherichia coli E coli as it suffered antibiotic attack He did much of the work while at Boston University in the lab of co corresponding author James Collins who is now at MIT and some of the work at Brown with research assistant Benjamin Korry There were a lot of hypotheses about what antibiotics could do to bacterial metabolism but we didn t

    Original URL path: http://www.futurity.org/how-antibiotics-work-1033522/ (2016-02-12)
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