Yours or Mine? How We Handle Objects Depends on Who Owns Them

Handing over wrenchFrom scissors and staplers to car keys and cell phones, we pass objects to other people every day. We often try to pass the objects so that the handle or other useful feature is facing the appropriate direction for the person receiving the item, but new research shows that we’re less accommodating when it comes to handing over our own belongings.

The findings are published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

“The associations or attachments that we have with an object leak into our movements in unintended ways when we interact with them,” says psychology researcher and study author Merryn Constable of the University of Toronto. “The act of facilitating another person’s action is somewhat inhibited when the object that we’re passing is something that we own, but the effects are so subtle that they are likely to go unnoticed.”

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Multifaceted genetic impact of training

Triathlete cycling on a bicycleEndurance training changes the activity of thousands of genes and give rise to a multitude of altered DNA-copies, RNA, researchers from Karolinska Institutet report. The study, which also nuances the concept of muscle memory, is published in the journal PLOS Genetics.

Regular endurance training is very beneficial to health and wellbeing, and can be used to prevent cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and other such conditions. However, just how this works on a molecular level is not fully known.

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Can nicotine protect the aging brain?

Nicotine

Nicotine

Everyone knows that tobacco products are bad for your health, and even the new e-cigarettes may have harmful toxins. However, according to research at Texas A&M, it turns out the nicotine itself — when given independently from tobacco — could help protect the brain as it ages, and even ward off Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease.

Ursula Winzer-Serhan, PhD, an associate professor at the Texas A&M College of Medicine, and her collaborators found that nicotine’s ability to be neuroprotective may be partly due to its well-known ability to suppress the appetite. Their research is published in the Open Access Journal of Toxicology.

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Posting personal experiences on social media may help you remember them in the future

new documentA new study — the first to look at social media’s effect on memory — suggests posting personal experiences on social media makes those events much easier to recall.

“If people want to remember personal experiences, the best way is to put them online,” said Qi Wang, the lead author of the study and professor of human development in the College of Human Ecology.

“Social media – blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and others alike – provide an important outlet for us to recall memories, in the public space, and share with other people.”

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“Sixth sense” may be more than just a feeling

Unlocking the mysteries of our senses: An NIH Study shows that two young patients with a mutation in the PIEZO2 have problems with touch and proprioception, or body awareness.Bönnemann Lab, NIH/NINDS, Bethesda, MD

Unlocking the mysteries of our senses: An NIH Study shows that two young patients with a mutation in the PIEZO2 have problems with touch and proprioception, or body awareness.Bönnemann Lab, NIH/NINDS, Bethesda, MD

With the help of two young patients with a unique neurological disorder, an initial study by scientists at the National Institutes of Health suggests that a gene called PIEZO2 controls specific aspects of human touch and proprioception, a “sixth sense” describing awareness of one’s body in space. Mutations in the gene caused the two to have movement and balance problems and the loss of some forms of touch. Despite their difficulties, they both appeared to cope with these challenges by relying heavily on vision and other senses.

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Fungus in humans a key factor in Chrohn’s

A Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine-led team of international researchers has for the first time identified a fungus as a key factor in the development of Crohn’s disease.

The researchers also linked a new bacterium to the previous bacteria associated with Crohn’s. The groundbreaking findings, published on September 20th in mBio, could lead to potential new treatments and ultimately, cures for the debilitating inflammatory bowel disease, which causes severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss, and fatigue.

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New study describes what happens when the brain is artificially stimulated

A visualization of the brain, reconstructed from MRI scans, shows tracts of white matter connecting different regions of the brain to one another. A new study that uses computational modeling to investigate brain stimulation finds that stimulating network hubs - areas of the brain that are strongly connected to other parts via white matter - results in the global activation of many brain regions. Credit: Jean Vettel, Army Research Laboratory/PLOS Computational Biology

A visualization of the brain, reconstructed from MRI scans, shows tracts of white matter connecting different regions of the brain to one another. A new study that uses computational modeling to investigate brain stimulation finds that stimulating network hubs – areas of the brain that are strongly connected to other parts via white matter – results in the global activation of many brain regions. Credit: Jean Vettel, Army Research Laboratory/PLOS Computational Biology

Little is known about what makes this technique effective, or which areas of the brain should be targeted to treat different diseases.

A new study led by the University of Pennsylvania and the University at Buffalo marks a step forward in filling these gaps in knowledge. The research describes how the stimulation of a single region of the brain affects the activation of other regions and large-scale activity within the brain.

“We don’t have a good understanding of the effects of brain stimulation,” said first author Sarah Muldoon, PhD, assistant professor of mathematics in the University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences and a core faculty member in UB’s Computational and Data-Enabled Science and Engineering (CDSE) Program. “When a clinician has a patient with a certain disorder, how can they decide which parts of the brain to stimulate? Our study is a step toward better understanding how brain connectivity can better inform these decisions.”

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NIH study links morning sickness to lower risk of pregnancy loss

PregnancyA new analysis by researchers at the National Institutes of Health has provided the strongest evidence to date that nausea and vomiting during pregnancy is associated with a lower risk of miscarriage in pregnant women.

The study, appearing in JAMA Internal Medicine, was conducted by researchers at NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and other institutions.

Nausea and vomiting that occurs in pregnancy is often called “morning sickness,” as these symptoms typically begin in the morning and usually resolve as the day progresses. For most women, nausea and vomiting subside by the 4th month of pregnancy. Others may have these symptoms for the duration of their pregnancies. The cause of morning sickness is not known, but researchers have proposed that it protects the fetus against toxins and disease-causing organisms in foods and beverages.

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Internet and mobile devices prompt positive lifestyle changes

Senior Man with Smart Phone

“Both Internet-based and mobile-based programs can help people become more physically active, eat better and achieve modest weight loss over 3-12 months,” said Ashkan Afshin, M.D., M.P.H., Sc.D., lead study author and acting assistant professor of global health at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Researchers reviewed 224 studies conducted on generally healthy adults, published between 1990 and 2013. The studies evaluated the effect of using Internet, mobile phones, personal sensors or stand-alone computer software tools to inspire behavioral changes, such as improving diet, increasing physical activity, losing weight and stopping/reducing tobacco or alcohol use.

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New study finds link between walk and aggression

Liam Satchell with a participant

Liam Satchell with a participant

The way people walk can give clues to how aggressive they are, a new exploratory study from the University of Portsmouth has found.

The researchers from the Department of Psychology assessed the personalities of 29 participants, before using motion capture technology to record them walking on a treadmill at their natural speed.

The study found that the exaggerated movement of both the upper and lower body indicated aggression.

Lead researcher Liam Satchell said: “When walking, the body naturally rotates a little; as an individual steps forward with their left foot, the left side of the pelvis will move forward with the leg, the left shoulder will move back and the right shoulder forward to maintain balance. An aggressive walk is one where this rotation is exaggerated.”

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