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Thursday
Apr192018

Imagining an object can change how we hear sounds later

Seeing an object at the same time that you hear sound coming from somewhere else can lead to the "ventriloquist illusion" and its aftereffect, but research suggests that simply imagining the object produces the same illusory results. The findings are published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

"The sensory information we imagine is often treated by the brain in the same way as information streaming in to us from the outside world," says researcher Christopher C. Berger of the California Institute of Technology. "Our work shows that what we imagine in our 'mind's eye' can lead to changes in perception across our sensory systems, changing how we perceive real information from the world around us in the future." Continue reading

Source: ScienceDaily, April 12, 2018 (retrieved April 19, 2018)

Wednesday
Apr182018

Music intensifies effects of anti-hypertensive medication

A research shows anti-hypertensive drugs improving heart rate more in patients who listen to music after taking medication

In addition to remembering to take the medication prescribed by their cardiologists at the right times and going to the trouble of making healthy lifestyle changes, patients with high blood pressure (hypertension) can include a pleasing beneficial activity in routine treatment of the disease thanks to the discovery that listening to music significantly enhances the effect of anti-hypertensive drugs.

According to a study conducted by researchers on the Marília campus of São Paulo State University (UNESP) in Brazil, in collaboration with colleagues at Juazeiro do Norte College (FJN) and ABC Medical School (FMABC), also in Brazil, and Oxford Brookes University in the UK, music intensifies the beneficial effects of medication a short time after it is taken to control high blood pressure.

"We observed that music improved heart rate and enhanced the effect of anti-hypertensives for about an hour after they were administered," said Vitor Engrácia Valenti, a professor in the Speech Language Pathology Department of UNESP Marília's School of Philosophy & Sciences (FFC) and coordinator of the study. Continue reading

Source: EurekAlert, April 17, 2018

Tuesday
Apr172018

Ear infections can lead to meningitis, brain abscess and other neurological complications

MAYWOOD, IL - While antibiotics have greatly reduced the dangers of ear infections, serious neurological complications, including hearing loss, facial paralysis, meningitis and brain abscess still occur, according to a report in the journal Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports.

The article was written by Loyola Medicine otolaryngologists Michael Hutz, MD, Dennis Moore, MD, and Andrew Hotaling, MD.

Otitis media occurs when a cold, allergy or upper respiratory infection leads to the accumulation of pus and mucus behind the eardrum, causing ear ache and swelling. In developed countries, about 90 percent of children have at least one episode before school age, usually between the ages of six months and four years. Today, secondary complications from otitis media occur in approximately 1 out of every 2,000 children in developed countries.

The potential seriousness of otitis media was first reported by the Greek physician Hippocrates in 460 B.C. "Acute pain of the ear with continued high fever is to be dreaded for the patient may become delirious and die," Hippocrates wrote. Continue reading

Source: EurekAlert, April 16, 2018

Monday
Apr162018

More than half your body is not human

Human cells make up only 43% of the body's total cell count. The rest are microscopic colonists.

Understanding this hidden half of ourselves - our microbiome - is rapidly transforming understanding of diseases from allergy to Parkinson's.

The field is even asking questions of what it means to be "human" and is leading to new innovative treatments as a result.

"They are essential to your health," says Prof Ruth Ley, the director of the department of microbiome science at the Max Planck Institute, "your body isn't just you".

No matter how well you wash, nearly every nook and cranny of your body is covered in microscopic creatures.

This includes bacteria, viruses, fungi and archaea (organisms originally misclassified as bacteria). The greatest concentration of this microscopic life is in the dark murky depths of our oxygen-deprived bowels. Continue reading

Source: BBC, April 10, 2018 (retrieved April 16, 2018)

Friday
Apr132018

The brain combats dementia by shifting resources

Recent findings in a Baycrest-University of Arizona study suggest that one method the brain uses to counter neurodegenerative diseases is the reassigning of tasks to different regions

Dr. Jed Meltzer, scientist at Baycrest's Rotman Research Institute (RRI) and Canada Research Chair in Interventional Cognitive Neuroscience.The brain continues to put up a fight even as neurodegenerative diseases like dementia damage certain areas and functions. In fact, recent findings in a Baycrest-University of Arizona study suggest that one method the brain uses to counter these diseases is the reassigning of tasks to different regions.

Patients diagnosed with Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA), a rare form of dementia that robs a person of the ability to communicate, tapped into a different brain region to process the meaning of words, according to an article published in the journal Neuroimage: Clinical. Typically people rely on the left side of the brain to comprehend words we read or hear, but PPA patients showed more brain activity on the right. These findings could be used to help develop targeted treatments to preserve brain function.

Previous studies have shown that this preservation tactic is used after brain damage, such as traumatic brain injury or stroke, but this is one of the first studies to demonstrate the phenomenon in a neurodegenerative disease.

"These findings offer hope since it demonstrates that despite the brain's degeneration during PPA, it naturally adapts to try and preserve function," says Dr. Jed Meltzer, the senior author, a scientist at Baycrest's Rotman Research Institute (RRI) and Canada Research Chair in Interventional Cognitive Neuroscience. "This compensation suggests there are opportunities to intervene and offer targeted treatment to those areas." Continue reading

Source: EurekAlert, April 11, 2018