henry copeland @hc

having fun with people and pixels, via racery, pullquote, twiangulate, improv, running

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Why Sitting May Be Bad for Your Brain - The New York Times

It was equally apparent when people broke up their sitting after two hours, although blood flow rose during the actual walking break. It soon sank again, the ultrasound probes showed, and was lower at the end of that session than at its start. But brain blood flow rose slightly when the four hours included frequent, two-minute walking breaks, the scientists found. Interestingly, none of these changes in brain blood flow were dictated by alterations in breathing and carbon dioxide levels, the scientists also determined. Carbon dioxide levels had remained steady before and after each session.

Brain connectivity study helps explain the neural link between depression and poor sleep quality

The researchers examined data from 1,017 participants who were included in the March 2017 public data release from the Human Connectome Project. They found that both poor sleep quality and depressive symptoms were associated with neural connectivities involving the lateral orbitofrontal cortex, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the cingulate cortex, and the precuneus. “Our analysis shows that the functional connections between the areas of the brain associated with short-term memory, the self, and negative emotions are increased in both poor sleep and depressive participants. So people with poor sleep or depression may focus too much on the negative things and dwell on bad thoughts, which leads to a poor quality of sleep,” Feng told PsyPost.

Male tobacco smokers have brain-wide reduction of CB1 receptors: A study examines cannabinoid CB1 receptor binding in healthy male tobacco smokers -- ScienceDaily

The study, the result of a collaboration of researchers affiliated with the National Institutes of Health, Maryland, supports that CB1 receptors play a role in smoking. The findings add to the group's previous studies that report the same finding in people who abuse cannabis or alcohol, suggesting that reduction of CB1 receptors is a common feature of addiction. Of the 46 men who participated in the study all were considered healthy -- 18 of the participants were frequent cigarette smokers and 28 did not smoke. The researchers measured the number of receptors by using a brain imaging technique to detect a drug that binds to CB1 receptors. The analysis indicated a nearly 20 percent reduction in CB1 receptors in the brains of smokers compared to non-smokers. The reduced receptor number was present throughout the brain (in all 18 regions examined in the study), with some regions more affected than others. The reduction in receptors was not exacerbated by more cigarettes smoked per day, or by starting before the age of 18.

It's possible to reverse damage caused by aging cells: Researchers discover the ability to influence the impact of aging at a cellular level -- ScienceDaily

In addition, researchers found that a high fat diet, which causes a type of metabolic stress, or simply being old, enhances the physical dysfunction that comes from senescent cells. "Previous research has shown that our immune system's ability to eliminate or deal with senescent cells is based 30 percent on genetics and 70 percent on environment," said Dr. Robbins, noting that what we eat and how often we exercise can affect senescence or aging of cells. Conversely, the researchers determined that treatment with senolytic drugs, able to eliminate senescent cells, can reverse physical dysfunction and actually extend lifespan even when used in aged animal models. "We saw greater activity, more endurance, and greater strength following use of senolytics," said Dr. Robbins.

Poor sleep triggers viral loneliness and social rejection: Lack of sleep generates social anxiety that infects those around us -- ScienceDaily

Notably, researchers found that brain scans of sleep-deprived people as they viewed video clips of strangers walking toward them showed powerful social repulsion activity in neural networks that are typically activated when humans feel their personal space is being invaded. Sleep loss also blunted activity in brain regions that normally encourage social engagement. "The less sleep you get, the less you want to socially interact. In turn, other people perceive you as more socially repulsive, further increasing the grave social-isolation impact of sleep loss," Walker added. "That vicious cycle may be a significant contributing factor to the public health crisis that is loneliness." National surveys suggest that nearly half of Americans report feeling lonely or left out. Furthermore, loneliness has been found to increase one's risk of mortality by more than 45 percent -- double the mortality risk associated with obesity.

Working Memory May be More Flexible than Previously Thought - Neuroscience News

They turned this idea into a computational model and tested it on data from nine previously published experiments. In those experiments, human subjects memorized the colors of varying numbers of objects. When asked to reproduce these colors as precisely as possible, the quality of their responses was negatively affected by the number of objects in memory. The model by Van den Berg and Ma accurately mimics this set size effect in all nine datasets. Moreover, their model simulations predict that the objects most relevant for a task are stored more accurately than less important ones, a phenomenon also observed in participants. Lastly, their simulation predicts that the total amount of resources devoted to working memory varies with the number of objects to be remembered. This too is consistent with the results of previous experiments. Working memory thus appears to be more flexible than previously thought. The amount of resources that the brain allocates to working memory is not fixed but could be the result of balancing resource cost against cognitive performance. If this is confirmed, it may be possible to improve working memory by offering rewards, or by increasing the perceived importance of a task.

Eating breakfast burns more carbs during exercise and accelerates metabolism for next meal -- ScienceDaily

Dr Javier Gonzalez, senior lecturer in the Department of Health who co-led the study, said: "This is the first study to examine the ways in which breakfast before exercise influences our responses to meals after exercise. We found that, compared to skipping breakfast, eating breakfast before exercise increases the speed at which we digest, absorb and metabolise carbohydrate that we may eat after exercise." Rob Edinburgh, PhD student in the Department for Health who co-led the study, said: "We also found that breakfast before exercise increases carbohydrate burning during exercise, and that this carbohydrate wasn't just coming from the breakfast that was just eaten, but also from carbohydrate stored in our muscles as glycogen. This increase in the use of muscle glycogen may explain why there was more rapid clearance of blood sugar after 'lunch' when breakfast had been consumed before exercise.

Elon Musk, Amid Tesla Furor, Tells of ‘Most Difficult’ Year - The New York Times

He said he had been working up to 120 hours a week recently — echoing the reason he cited in a recent public apology to an analyst whom he had berated. In the interview, Mr. Musk said he had not taken time off of more than a week since 2001, when he was bedridden with malaria. “There were times when I didn’t leave the factory for three or four days — days when I didn’t go outside,” he said. “This has really come at the expense of seeing my kids. And seeing friends.” Mr. Musk stopped talking, seemingly overcome by emotion. He turned 47 on June 28, and he said he spent the full 24 hours of his birthday at work. “All night — no friends, nothing,” he said, struggling to get the words out.

A Smartphone App Reveals Erratic Diurnal Eating Patterns in Humans that Can Be Modulated for Health Benefits. - PubMed - NCBI

The daily intake duration (95% interval) exceeded 14.75 hr for half of the cohort. When overweight individuals with >14 hr eating duration ate for only 10-11 hr daily for 16 weeks assisted by a data visualization (raster plot of dietary intake pattern, "feedogram") that we developed, they reduced body weight, reported being energetic, and improved sleep. Benefits persisted for a year.

Time-Restricted Feeding Is a Preventative and Therapeutic Intervention against Diverse Nutritional Challenges - ScienceDirect

Here we tested TRF in mice under diverse nutritional challenges. We show that TRF attenuated metabolic diseases arising from a variety of obesogenic diets, and that benefits were proportional to the fasting duration. Furthermore, protective effects were maintained even when TRF was temporarily interrupted by ad libitum access to food during weekends, a regimen particularly relevant to human lifestyle. Finally, TRF stabilized and reversed the progression of metabolic diseases in mice with preexisting obesity and type II diabetes. We establish clinically relevant parameters of TRF for preventing and treating obesity and metabolic disorders, including type II diabetes, hepatic steatosis, and hypercholesterolemia.

Time-Restricted Feeding without Reducing Caloric Intake Prevents Metabolic Diseases in Mice Fed a High-Fat Diet - ScienceDirect

To test whether obesity and metabolic diseases result from HFD or disruption of metabolic cycles, we subjected mice to either ad lib or time-restricted feeding (tRF) of a HFD for 8 hr per day. Mice under tRF consume equivalent calories from HFD as those with ad lib access yet are protected against obesity, hyperinsulinemia, hepatic steatosis, and inflammation and have improved motor coordination. The tRF regimen improved CREB, mTOR, and AMPK pathway function and oscillations of the circadian clock and their target genes' expression. These changes in catabolic and anabolic pathways altered liver metabolome and improved nutrient utilization and energy expenditure. We demonstrate in mice that tRF regimen is a nonpharmacological strategy against obesity and associated diseases.

Strategic fasting improves race times

In this particular study, both groups actually consumed the same amount of carbohydrates, but the sleep-low group ate all of theirs between their morning and afternoon sessions while the control group also had carbs after their second workout. Both groups completed a test triathlon to assess their fitness and then a second one three weeks later to determine the effectiveness of the training method. The sleep-low group had improved their running times on the 10-km segment by an average of 75 seconds while the control group showed no improvement. The sleep low athletes also lost about 3 pounds of body fat while the control group stayed the same.

Effects of eight weeks of time-restricted feeding (16/8) on basal metabolism, maximal strength, body composition, inflammation, and cardiovascular risk factors in resistance-trained males

After 8 weeks, the 2 Way ANOVA (Time * Diet interaction) showed a decrease in fat mass in TRF compared to ND (p = 0.0448), while fat-free mass, muscle area of the arm and thigh, and maximal strength were maintained in both groups. Testosterone and insulin-like growth factor 1 decreased significantly in TRF, with no changes in ND (p = 0.0476; p = 0.0397). Adiponectin increased (p = 0.0000) in TRF while total leptin decreased (p = 0.0001), although not when adjusted for fat mass. Triiodothyronine decreased in TRF, but no significant changes were detected in thyroid-stimulating hormone, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein, low-density lipoprotein, or triglycerides. Resting energy expenditure was unchanged, but a significant decrease in respiratory ratio was observed in the TRF group.

Study identifies distinct origin of ADHD in children with history of brain injury -- ScienceDaily

The researchers also looked for hallmark abnormalities in brain structure associated with the disorder. The association between volumes of ADHD-related brain structures and ADHD symptom severity was similar between the two groups. However, an analysis of the connections bridging the two brain hemispheres revealed opposite relationships with ADHD symptoms between the groups. The structural findings indicate the presence of both similar and distinct neural mechanisms that cause ADHD after TBI.

Stress hormone is key factor in failure of immune system to prevent leukemia -- ScienceDaily

They do this by using cortisol to force the release of a protein, latrophilin 1. This in turn causes the secretion of another protein, galectin-9, which suppresses the body's natural anti-cancer immune mechanism. Dr Sumbayev's team, working with researchers from two German universities and the UK's Diamond Light Source facility, found that although healthy human white blood cells are not affected by cortisol they become capable of releasing latrophilin 1 when malignant transformation takes place. Malignant AML cells then use cortisol to increase the release of latrophilin 1 so that they can use it to avoid the immune system. The study concluded that galectin-9, as well as a natural binding partner of latrophilin 1 -- known as FLRT3 -- which are both present in human blood plasma, are the most promising targets for future anti-AML immune therapy.

Amputees feel as though their prosthetic limb belongs to their own body -- ScienceDaily

"The brain regularly uses its senses to evaluate what belongs to the body and what is external to the body. We showed exactly how vision and touch can be combined to trick the amputee's brain into feeling what it sees, inducing embodiment of the prosthetic hand with an additional effect that the phantom limb grows into the prosthetic one," explains Giulio Rognini of EPFL's Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroprosthetics led by Olaf Blanke, in a collaboration with Silvestro Micera of EPFL and Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna in Italy. "The setup is portable and could one day be turned into a therapy to help patients embody their prosthetic limb permanently."

Cannabis link to relieving intestinal inflammation explained -- ScienceDaily

The researchers discovered that gut inflammation is regulated by two important processes, which are constantly in flux and responding to changing conditions in the intestinal environment. The first process, identified in previous scientific research, promotes an aggressive immune response in the gut that destroys dangerous pathogens, but which can also damage the lining of the intestine when immune cells attack indiscriminately. The second pathway, first described in this paper, turns off the inflammation response via special molecules transported across the epithelial cells lining the gut by the same process already known to remove toxins from these cells into the intestine cavity. Crucially, this response requires a naturally-produced molecule called an endocannabinoid, which is very similar to cannabinoid molecules found in cannabis. If the endocannabinoid isn't present, inflammation isn't kept in balance and it can run unchecked, as the body's immune cells attack the intestinal lining.

On the Relationship Between the Practice of Mindfulness Meditation and Personality—an Exploratory Analysis of the Mediating Role of Mindfulness Skills | SpringerLink

Thirty-five experienced mindfulness meditators (age range, 31–75 years; meditation experience range, 0.25–35 years; mean, ∼13 years) and 35 age-, gender-, and ethnicity-matched controls (age range, 27–63 years) without any meditation experience completed a personality (NEO-FFI) and mindfulness (KIMS) questionnaire. The practice of MM was positively related to openness and extraversion and negatively related to neuroticism and conscientiousness. Thus, the results of the current study associate the practice of MM with higher levels of curiosity and receptivity to new experiences and experience of positive affect and with less proneness toward negative emotions and worrying and a reduced focus on achievements. Furthermore, the mediating role of specific mindfulness skills in the relationship between the practice of MM and personality traits was shown.

Exercise Can Help Beat Cocaine Addiction - Neuroscience News

Using animal models, Thanos found that regular aerobic exercise (one hour on a treadmill, five times a week) decreased stress-induced cocaine-seeking behavior. Exercise also altered behavioral and physiological responses to stress. Individuals who are addicted to cocaine have altered neural, behavioral and physiological responses to stress. Recent research by Thanos demonstrated how exercise can alter the brain’s mesolimbic dopamine pathway, which is linked to the rewarding and reinforcing properties of drugs such as cocaine. In addition, exercise has been shown to reduce stress hormones and elevate mood, which could assist in alleviating anxiety and negative emotions associated with withdrawal.

Getting to the Roots of Pessimism - Neuroscience News

MIT neuroscientists have now pinpointed a brain region that can generate this type of pessimistic mood. In tests in animals, they showed that stimulating this region, known as the caudate nucleus, induced animals to make more negative decisions: They gave far more weight to the anticipated drawback of a situation than its benefit, compared to when the region was not stimulated. This pessimistic decision-making could continue through the day after the original stimulation. The findings could help scientists better understand how some of the crippling effects of depression and anxiety arise, and guide them in developing new treatments. “We feel we were seeing a proxy for anxiety, or depression, or some mix of the two,” says Ann Graybiel, an MIT Institute Professor, a member of MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research, and the senior author of the study, which appears in the Aug. 9 issue of Neuron. “These psychiatric problems are still so very difficult to treat for many individuals suffering from them.”

13 Signs That Someone Is About to Quit, According to Research

Their work productivity has decreased more than usual. They have acted less like a team player than usual. They have been doing the minimum amount of work more frequently than usual. They have been less interested in pleasing their manager than usual. They have been less willing to commit to long-term timelines than usual. They have exhibited a negative change in attitude. They have exhibited less effort and work motivation than usual. They have exhibited less focus on job related matters than usual. They have expressed dissatisfaction with their current job more frequently than usual. They have expressed dissatisfaction with their supervisor more frequently than usual. They have left early from work more frequently than usual. They have lost enthusiasm for the mission of the organization. They have shown less interest in working with customers than usual.

The Lancet Psychiatry: Exercise linked to improved mental health, but more may not always be better | EurekAlert! Science News

Exercising for 30-60 minutes was associated with the biggest reduction in poor mental health days (associated with around 2.1 fewer days of poor mental health compared with people who did not exercise). Small reductions were still seen for people who exercised more than 90 minutes a day, but exercising for more than three hours a day was associated with worse mental health than not exercising at all. The authors note that people doing extreme amounts of exercise might have obsessive characteristics which could place them at greater risk of poor mental health.

Even Quick Meditation Aids Cognitive Skills - Neuroscience News

College students who listen to a 10-minute meditation tape complete simple cognitive tasks more quickly and accurately than peers who listen to a “control” recording on a generic subject, researchers at Yale University and Swarthmore College report. The study, published Aug. 6 in the journal Frontiers of Neuroscience, shows even people who have never meditated before can benefit from even a short meditation practice. “We have known for awhile that people who practice meditation for a few weeks or months tend to perform better on cognitive tests, but now we know you don’t have to spend weeks practicing to see improvement,” said Yale’s Hedy Kober, associate professor of psychiatry and psychology and senior author of the study.

Study of Retired NFL and NHL Players Doesn't Find Evidence of Early Onset Dementia - Neuroscience News

The assessments of cognitive function (e.g., memory, attention, visual spatial orientation), executive function and mental health in the retired athletes didn’t reveal statistically significant impairment compared to controls. The researchers did find evidence of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in more of the retired athletes than the controls, but said the rate was as expected for the age, education level and body mass index of the athletes, all factors that can raise the risk of MCI; it also was not statistically significant. Advanced brain imaging detected no microscopic or macroscopic brain tissue injury differences in retired athletes versus the controls. The non-contact sport athletes were found to have a higher rate of microbleeds in the brain but these results only approached statistical significance.

CivicScience | Getting More Sunlight is Closely Tied to Happiness, Lots of Other Good Things

People who believe they receive more sunlight than their peers are twice as likely than average and nearly 3.5 times as likely as those who get less sunlight to consider themselves “Very Happy.”

Behavioral nudges lead to striking drop in prescriptions of potent antipsychotic -- ScienceDaily

The study was a randomized controlled trial targeting the 5,055 highest Seroquel-prescribing primary care physicians nationwide in the Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage) program in 2013 and 2014. A random half of the doctors were assigned to the treatment arm and received 3 letters comparing their prescribing practices to their peers; the other half received placebo letters about an unrelated Medicare regulation. The treatment arm's letter stated that the physician's prescribing of quetiapine high relative to their peers was under review. The text also discussed that high quetiapine prescribing could be appropriate but was concerning for medically unjustified use. The letter encouraged primary care physicians to review their prescribing patterns. The physicians who got the peer comparison letters dropped their overall Seroquel prescribing by 11 percent over the next 9 months and 16 percent over the next 2 years. New initiations of Seroquel dropped even more: 24 percent over 2 years.