Month: November 2020

first_imgIn 2016, Pula was visited by 353.523 tourists who realized 1.801.2013 overnight stays, which compared to 2015 represents an increase of as much as 17 percent in arrivals and 11 percent in the number of overnight stays. In terms of the number of overnight stays, the number of domestic guests increased by 15 percent, while the number of overnight stays of guests from Great Britain increased by as much as 20 percent.An excellent and record tourist season in Pula that will be remembered for a short time, because according to all announcements, bookings and open new airlines to major European cities, 2017 will be even more successful.Lufthansa opens Frankfurt-Pula routeLufthansa je od jučer službeno uspostavila liniju Frankfurt Pula i to dva puta tjedno, ponedjeljkom i petkom, u periodu od 28. travnja do 20. listopada 2017. godine. Također, kako je najavljeno od 03. lipnja jednom tjedno Lufthansa povezivat će pulu i s Münchenom. Oko devedeset putnika iz Frankfurta u znak dobrodošlice priređen je takozvani “vodeni pozdrav” tijekom kojeg je zrakoplov sletjevši na pistu prošao kroz vodeni mlaz.Prema najavama, najniža povratna cijena karte iz Pule za Frankfurt iznosi 89 eura, a osim sa Frankfurtom, Lufthansa će Pulu povezivati  i sa Münchenom, jednom tjedno, subotom, u periodu od 3. lipnja do 30.rujna 2017. godine.Lufthansa is the German national airline based in Frankfurt, the largest European passenger airline, and the fourth largest passenger airline in the world with 209 destinations in 81 countries. Together with its partners, it flies to over 410 destinations, the fleet numbers 529 aircraft, employs 123.287 people worldwide, and in 2016, 150 million passengers flew with Lufthansa.Jet2.com i Jet2holidays uvode novu  liniju između London Stansteda i PuleVodeći specijalisti za turističke letove i turističke pakete Jet2.com i Jet2holidays, ove nedjelje proslavljaju svoj prvi let za Pulu u Hrvatskoj iz svoje najnovije baze London Stansted Airport.  Jet2.com će prometovati dva puta tjedno, srijedom i nedjeljom, letovima za Pulu sa London Stansted-a, cijelog ljeta, odnosno do 25.10.2017., sa preko 20.000 raspoloživih mjesta. Ovaj let znači da sada Jet2.com povezuje Pulu sa četiri zračne luke u Britaniji, dokazujući da je Hrvatska i dalje popularna za Britanske turiste.With the first flight from London Stansted with Jet2.com, more hotels are available on the Istrian Riviera than ever with Jet2holidays.Sa Jet2holidays „sve u jednom paketu“, turistima za Hrvatsku, na raspolaganju je više vrijednih ponuda u hotelima sa 2 do 5 zvjezdica, uz nagrađivane Jet2.com letove sa uključenih 22 kg prtljage i prijevozom od/do zračne luke, sve za samo 60 funti po osobi. ” We started flying from London Stansted in every sense. Customers have heard all about Jet2.com and the Jet2holidays family environment, top-notch holiday packages and award-winning customer service, and now they are experiencing it all on our new flights to Croatia.” rekao je Steve Heapy, izvršni direktor tvrtke Jet2.com i Jet2holidays.Cooperation with Jet2.com is developing from year to year and last year they transported more than 22.000 passengers to Pula, points out Svemir Radmilo, director of Pula Airport, and adds that this year they expect further growth and will exceed the number of 30.000 passengers.last_img read more

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first_imgPinterest Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, are significantly more likely to have an eating disorder — a loss of control eating syndrome (LOC-ES) — akin to binge eating, a condition more generally diagnosed only in adults, according to results of a new Johns Hopkins Children’s Center study. The findings, reported ahead of print April 9 in the International Journal of Eating Disorders, suggest a common biological mechanism linking the two disorders, and the potential for developing treatment that works for both.Though many children with ADHD may lose weight when treated with the stimulant drugs regularly prescribed to control it, ADHD also has been associated with overweight and obesity in this population, explains study leader Shauna P. Reinblatt, M.D., assistant professor in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. The cause of the excessive weight, however, has remained unclear, but experts have suspected a link between the hallmark impulsivity of ADHD and dysregulation or loss of control over appetite and food consumption.To investigate that possible connection, Reinblatt and her colleagues recruited 79 children between the ages of 8 and 14 from the greater Baltimore area. Share Share on Facebook Emailcenter_img Share on Twitter LinkedIn Each of these children underwent assessment that included objective measures and interviews. Researchers also incorporated parental reports to help diagnose or rule out ADHD or LOC-ES, the diagnostic criteria for which are similar to binge eating disorder in adults. Both conditions are marked by an inability to stop eating at times, even if one wants to. Additionally, all the participants underwent neuropsychological testing to measure how well they were able to control their impulses. For example, in one test, participants were asked to press a key as soon as a green spaceship appeared on a computer screen but refrain from pressing a key when a red spaceship appeared. Children with more incorrect responses were deemed to have more deficits in impulse control and vice versa.Reinblatt and her colleagues found that the odds of having LOC-ES were 12 times higher for children diagnosed with ADHD, compared with those without the disorder. Furthermore, those who were overweight or obese and had LOC-ES had seven times the odds of also having ADHD, compared with overweight or obese children without LOC-ES.When the researchers looked at rates of impulsivity regardless of an ADHD diagnosis, they found that odds of having LOC-ES climbed with incremental increases in scores on two different tests for impulsivity.The findings point to a link between ADHD and disinhibited eating, although Reinblatt says, the roots of the underlying connection remain obscure and require additional research. Children with ADHD who also have LOC-ES might have a more severe form of ADHD marked by more impulsive behavior that particularly manifests in their eating patterns, Reinblatt says. Alternatively, children with both ADHD and LOC-ES might have a shared underlying risk factor, such as a genetic predisposition to impulsivity.Though more research is necessary to explain the mechanism behind these findings, Reinblatt says, clinicians should screen for both ADHD and disinhibited eating behaviors, such as LOC-ES. “Our findings underscore the need for developing new treatment strategies that could help target disinhibited eating in kids who have both ADHD and LOC-ES,” she says.last_img read more

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first_imgA team of scientists believe they have shown that memories are more robust than we thought and have identified the process in the brain, which could help rescue lost memories or bury bad memories, and pave the way for new drugs and treatment for people with memory problems.Published in the journal Nature Communications a team of scientists from Cardiff University found that reminders could reverse the amnesia caused by methods previously thought to produce total memory loss in rats. .“Previous research in this area found that when you recall a memory it is sensitive to interference to other information and in some cases is completely wiped out. LinkedIn Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Sharecenter_img Pinterest Email “Our research challenges this view and we believe proves this not the case,” according to Dr Kerrie Thomas, who led the research.“Our research found that despite using a technique in the brain thought to produce total amnesia we’ve been able to show that with strong reminders, these memories can be recovered,”Whilst the results were found in rats, the team hope it can be translated into humans and new drugs and treatments could be developed for people suffering with memory disorders.Dr Thomas added: “We are still a very long way off from helping people with memory problems.“However, these animal models do accurately reflect what’s happening in humans and suggest that our autobiographical memories, our self-histories, are clouded by new memories rather than actually lost. This is an exciting prospect in terms of treating psychiatric illness associated with memory disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia and psychosis.“We can now devise new drugs or behavioural strategies that can treat these memory problems in the knowledge that we won’t overwrite our experiences,” she added.last_img read more

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first_imgEmail Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share LinkedIncenter_img Pinterest Conventional wisdom is that all stereotypes are negative and damaging.African Americans are stereotyped as violent and threatening. Employers stereotype mothers as less competent and less committed. And undocumented immigrants are stereotyped as incompetent and untrustworthy.Each of these stereotypes has negative consequences for members of these groups. But is there such a thing as a positive stereotype, and, if so, can positive stereotypes have positive consequences? In our new book, The Asian American Achievement Paradox – based on a survey of 4,780 adult children as well as 140 in-depth interviews of Chinese, Vietnamese and Mexican immigrants – fellow sociologist Min Zhou and I found ways in which positive stereotypes can be advantageous.We found that racial stereotypes and implicit biases could actually be helping Asian Americans achieve their much-touted academic success.The Asian ‘advantage’Studies have shown how teachers’ expectations impact achievement. Traditionally disadvantaged students have been known to perform poorly as a result of low expectations from teachers. But when teachers perceive their students as smart, their academic performance can improve.In the case of Asian Americans, it contributes to their success.In spite of the tremendous diversity of the US Asian population, Asian immigrants are perceived as smart, high-achieving and successful. This is largely due to the influence of some highly educated immigrant Asian groups.Take, for instance, the Chinese immigrants in the US. Our study found that over 60% of Chinese immigrant fathers and over 40% of Chinese immigrant mothers had a bachelor’s degree or higher. We found this population to be even more highly educated than the general US population – only 28% of whom have graduated from college.The Chinese and Vietnamese respondents in our study revealed that their teachers and guidance counselors perceived them as smart and promising. They expected them to excel and attend four-year universities.Mexican students, by contrast, were perceived as low achievers who did not value education and were tracked for two-year community colleges. The children of Mexican immigrants had the lowest levels of educational attainment of any of the groups in our study. Only 86% graduated from high school, and even fewer – 17% – graduated from college.How expectations workPerception – regardless of validity – has consequences. Or as the American sociologist W I Thomas aptly noted, “if men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences.”We found that expectation can enhance the academic performance of even some of the most mediocre Asian-American students.Take the case of Trang, a 24-year-old, second-generation Vietnamese woman, who was placed into honors classes in high school, even though she admits she was not an outstanding junior high student.Even more surprising is that Trang has no idea why or how she was placed in honors classes.But once Trang was placed into the honors track, she began taking her schoolwork more seriously, spending more time doing her homework and studying hard for tests to keep up with her high-achieving peers.Trang graduated with a GPA (grade point average) above 4.0 and was admitted to all the University of California schools to which she applied.Ophelia, a 23-year-old, second-generation Vietnamese woman, also benefited from being positively stereotyped.She described herself as “not very intelligent” and recalls nearly having to repeat second grade because of her poor academic performance. By her account:I wasn’t an exceptional student; I was a straight C student.Ophelia took the AP (advanced placement) exam at the end of junior high school, but failed. Despite that, she was placed into the AP track in her predominantly white high school.Once there, something “just clicked,” and Ophelia began to excel in her classes.When we asked, she elaborated, “I wanted to work hard and prove I was a good student,” adding, “I think the competition kind of increases your want to do better.”She graduated from high school with a 4.2 GPA and was admitted into a highly competitive pharmacy program.In contrast, Mexican students were academically profiled as low achievers who did not value a college education and found themselves having to actively vie for the attention of their teachers and guidance counselors.Stereotype promise yields resultsIn both Trang’s and Ophelia’s cases, self-fulfilling prophecies were at work in the precise definition of the term. As sociologist Robert K Merton has defined, a self-fulfilling prophecy begins with a false definition of the situation, evoking a new behavior that makes the original false conception come true.And this is what happened in the case of Trang and Ophelia when they were favored by their teachers’ high expectations. It resulted in a change in both students’ behavior, and ultimately, a boost in their academic performance.This also went into reinforcing prevailing stereotypes. Because Trang’s and Ophelia’s academic outcomes matched their teachers’ expectations, the teachers pointed to these students’ stellar academic achievement as proof of their initial assessment about Asian-American students (that they are smart, high-achieving, and deserving of being placed into the most competitive academic tracks so that they can reach their potential).A double-edged swordHowever, it is important to note that these same positive stereotypes and biases also have negative consequences.First, those who do not attain high academic outcomes feel like failures and ethnic outliers. As we found in our study, some rejected their ethnic identities, claiming that they were not really Chinese or Vietnamese because they linked their ethnic identity to exceptional academic achievement.Adam, a 21-year-old second-generation Vietnamese, identifies as “American Asian” rather than as Vietnamese or Vietnamese American because he dropped out of college. Adam also compares himself to his brother, who he described as “much more Vietnamese than me” because he attends a prestigious university and is on the path to medical school. Similarly, Paul, a 36-year-old second-generation Chinese American, described himself as “the whitest Chinese guy you’ll ever meet” because he attended art school rather than an elite university.Second, the biases can also disadvantage Asian groups such as Cambodians, Laotian and Hmong, who have higher high school dropout rates than African Americans and Latinos – underscoring the extreme diversity among Asian Americans.Additionally, the very same stereotypes that can boost Asian-American students’ academic performance can operate against them as they vie for leadership positions in the workplace.Asian American students may be perceived as lacking leadership skills, creativity and managerial bravado. A recent study of Silicon Valley’s tech industry showed that while Asian Americans make up 27.2% of the professionals in tech, they comprise only 13.9% of executives.Much like the glass ceiling that women face, a “bamboo ceiling” keeps Asian Americans from rising to the top leadership positions.These are the burdens that come with stereotypes. Positive stereotypes can also be double-edged swords.By Jennifer Lee, University of California, IrvineJennifer Lee is Professor of Sociology at University of California, IrvineThis article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.last_img read more

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first_imgShare on Twitter Email Share on Facebook Sleep medicine wasn’t seriously studied until the early 20th century, when Dr. Nathaniel Kleitman began examining the sleep-wake cycle. Yet it’s seen a staggering amount of progress in the following years.We know about everything from the ins and outs of circadian rhythms to REM sleep disorders, parasomnias to periodic limb movement, as well as any number of other such conditions. More staggering is that there are courses of treatment and an every-increasing body of knowledge for nearly every one.A field of study cannot see such major strides without a fair share of intrepid scientists (citizen or professional) who, for better or worse, were unafraid to push the limits of research. As such, we gathered some of the more bizarre sleep studies, from a man who kept himself up for 200 hours to a doctor who diagnosed and studied his own stroke. LinkedIncenter_img Who says the science of sleep is a bore?1) Sleeping Is for the DogsTwo of the earliest sleep studies would probably never get funding today — and for good reason. In 1894, Russian physician Maria Manaseina kept four puppies awake through forced walking and handling. Just, you know, to see what happened. What happened was they died; the first after 96 hours, the last after 143. Manaseina then repeated the experiment with six puppies, which also all died. Her work led her to the conclusion that sleep is more important than food.One year later, scientists at the University of Iowa conducted the first controlled study of sleep deprivation. They kept three young men awake for ninety hours, conducting periodic tests of performance and cognition. The results are pretty run-of-the-mill — they fared pretty well after the first night, and started getting wonky after the second — but notable nonetheless, if only because no puppies were harmed. One of the patients reported intense hallucinations after the second night, which the study’s author later recounted:The subject complained that the floor was covered with a greasy-looking, molecular layer of rapidly moving or oscillating particles. Often this layer was a foot above the floor and parallel with it and caused the subject trouble in walking, as he would try to step up on it. Later the air was full of these dancing particles which developed into swarms of little bodies like gnats, but colored red, purple or black. The subject would climb upon a chair to brush them from about the gas jet or stealthily try to touch an imaginary fly on the table with his finger. These phenomena did not move with movements of the eye and appeared to be true hallucinations… they entirely disappeared after sleep.When the experiment was over, the subjects slept so deeply that even electric shocks couldn’t wake them.2) “My Fingernails Taste Terribly Bitter”1942 was a big year for science: the Manhattan Project began, Stephen Hawking was born and Professor Lawrence Leshan performed his historic nail-biter sleep experiment.Leshan’s subjects were a group of young boys, all chronic nail-nibblers; the setting, a camp cabin in upstate New York; the goal, to modify their behavior through sleep learning. As the boys slept, Leshan stood above them and incanted the phrase “My fingernails taste terribly bitter.”It was hard, grueling work, but someone had to do it — especially since his trusty phonograph had broken five weeks into the experiment and Leshan didn’t want to scrap the experiment. After examining subjects’ nails at summer’s end, Leshan determined that 40 percent were cured.A later attempt to replicate the experiment, however, resulted in a 0 percent success rate, and suggested that Leshan’s subjects probably weren’t fully asleep.3) Peter Tripp’s Weird TripIn 1959 radio DJ Peter Tripp conducted a one-man sleep study, keeping himself awake for 200 hours to benefit the March of Dimes. As Tripp took stimulants and spun records in Times Square, a pair of psychologists monitored him in shifts to ensure he didn’t endanger himself — or, at least, endanger himself any further. At the time it was a groundbreaking peek into the effects of sleep deprivation: 100 hours in, Tripp couldn’t perform simple math problems or remember the alphabet. After 120 hours he started hallucinating. According to Thomas Bartlett in the New York Times:He saw mice and kittens scampering around the makeshift studio. He was convinced that his shoes were full of spiders. He thought a desk drawer was on fire. When a man in a dark overcoat showed up, Tripp imagined him to be an undertaker and ran terrified into the street. He had to be dragged back inside.When the marathon was over, Tripp went to bed, slept for 13 hours, woke up and read the paper — just like any other day.4) Driving Under the influenceDr. Ewen Cameron gained wide attention in the 1950s and early 60s for his newfangled schizophrenia treatment: “psychic driving.” Basically, he had his patients wear headphones for long stretches of time, playing looped messages he hoped would — wait for it — drive new ways of thinking into the psyche. He forced this treatment on hundreds of patients at the Allan Memorial Clinic in Montreal, including many who didn’t even have schizophrenia.In some cases the recordings were as tame as “People like you and need you. You have confidence in yourself.” In other cases Cameron would sedate people and play this message as they slept: “When you see a paper, you want to pick it up.”Afterward, he took them to gym, where a sheet of paper lay on the floor; Hobson claimed many patients immediately went to pick it up. Apparently correlation implied causation back in the 50s.Things got really weird when the CIA found out about Cameron’s work, and gave him money to continue it. When they decided it was all a bust, Cameron admitted he’d taken “a ten year trip down the wrong road.”5) Underground KnowledgeIn 1962, French geologist Michel Siffre spent two months isolated in a freezing subglacial cave in order to figure out how humans respond to extended solitary confinement — a question with broad ramifications in the Cold War. Siffre took no clocks and made no effort to mark time. He called his research assistants, stationed at the surface, whenever he awoke, ate and went to bed.They were not allowed to call him, however, as that might tip him off as to what time it was outside.They discovered that humans have an internal clock: Siffre unwittingly maintained a regular sleep schedule and a 24.5-hour day. Yet he perceived time as passing much slower than it did. Whenever he called his team, they conducted a simple psychological test: Siffre had to count from one to 120, one digit per second. It took him five minutes to count to two minutes. Even more bizarrely, when he emerged from the cave on September 14th, he was certain it was August 20th.“My psychological time,” Siffre recalled, “had compressed by a factor of two.”In 1972, NASA sponsored a second experiment, this time for six months in a much warmer cave in Texas. The results were surprising. Though he maintained a 24.5-hour day for the first month, after that his sleep cycles grew inconsistent — he had days as short as 18 hours and as long as 52.Why the discrepancies? Siffre still has no idea.“It’s the problem of psychological time,” he said. “It’s the problem of humans. What is time? We don’t know?”6) Choose Your Own StrokeIn 2001, noted sleep scientist J. Allan Hobson stumbled upon an unprecedented research opportunity: the chance to document his own stroke. Vacationing in Monte Carlo, Hobson fell nauseous, lost his balance, and felt as though he were drowning in his own saliva. He recognized the symptoms of a stroke in his lateral medullary brain stem (duh), a self-diagnosis swiftly confirmed by his physicians.They told Hobson he had a classic case of Wallenberger Syndrome, but he soon observed a rather un-classic symptom: complete insomnia. Hobson couldn’t sleep for ten days, suffering vivid hallucinations, which he dictated to his wife. As he later recalled:During the whole 10-day period, I could visually perceive, immediately upon closing my eyes, a vault over my supine body, which resembled the bottom of a swimming pool, its surface aqua, white, or beige. Less often, it resembled engraved obsidian or a sort of gauze of ice or glass crystals. The most fully realized human images that I “perceived” were of my wife, featuring her lower body, and (most amusingly) of a Peter Pan-like version of a colleague, Robert Stickgold, and two fairies enjoying a bedtime story. Stickgold is a senior collaborator in my lab who does have a pixielike playfulness. While visual disturbances are not uncommon in Wallenberg’s syndrome, they have only been reported as occurring while awake and with the eyes open. Mine were behind closed eyes.It was not until his 38th day of hospitalization that Hobson had his first full dream: He and his wife were again on vacation, during which she explained at great length her intent to cheat on him. Hobson recalled the dream in atypical detail, which he took as evidence that the stroke had physically altered the way he dreams.Like any good scientist, he later reproduced the experiment — if unintentionally — by suffering a cardiovascular collapse that led to even more prolonged insomnia.By Seth Simons, Van Winkle’sThis article originally published by Van Winkle’s, vanwinkles.com, the editorial division of Casper Sleep; Pinterest Sharelast_img read more

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first_imgShare LinkedIn The ability to rapidly stop a behavior is critical for everyday functioning — allowing people crossing the street to freeze if a car surprises them, to not reach for their phone when it vibrates in their pocket during a meeting or, in the case of a batter, to stop from swinging at a bad pitch. A better understanding of the cognitive mechanics behind what’s known as reactive inhibition could help people suffering from neurological conditions where such control is diminished — everything from Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and normal aging.Scientists had assumed the ability to stop a planned behavior occurred in the basal ganglia, an area in the brain responsible for a variety of motor control functions including the ability to start an action or a behavior. This study demonstrates, however, that the stop response happens in the basal forebrain, a part of the brain best known for regulating sleep, but also recognized as a site for early neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease.The researchers trained rats to play a game: If the rats quickly moved after hearing a tone, they got a treat. The rats were also rewarded if they stopped moving when a light flashed. All the while, the team monitored the rats for electrical signals in the basal forebrain.The researchers trained rats to move quickly to get a treat. After hearing a tone, the rats would rush into a new port to lick sucrose water. But, when the tone was followed by a flash of light, the rats would have to immediately stay in place to get a treat. In other words, when the light flashed, the rule of reward reversed — instead of moving quickly to get reward, the rats had to cancel that planned response and stay still to get their treat.While the rats performed the tasks, the team monitored the activity of individual basal forebrain neurons. The researchers were also able to get the rats to stop without using the flash of light by stimulating the same neurons with a small pulse of electricity.“In the lab, we were able to manipulate these neurons, which caused rats to stop their behavior even though they had no reason to do so,” said lead author Jeffrey D. Mayse, who conducted the research as a Johns Hopkins doctoral student and is now a postdoctoral fellow at Brown University.“Understanding how these cells are involved in this form of self-control expands our knowledge of the normal brain circuits involved in everyday decision-making,” he said, “and will be absolutely critical to developing future treatments and therapies for diseases and disorders with impaired reactive inhibition as a symptom.” You’re about to drive through an intersection when the light suddenly turns red. But you’re able to slam on the brakes, just in time.Johns Hopkins University researchers, working with scientists at the National Institute on Aging, have revealed the precise nerve cells that allow the brain to make this type of split-second change of course. In the latest issue of the journal Nature Neuroscience, the team shows that these feats of self-control happen when neurons in the basal forebrain are silenced.“The study discovered a new role for basal forebrain neurons in the control of action,” said Michela Gallagher, the Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins. “This work opens the door to novel approaches focused on this circuit in certain neurological and psychiatric conditions that affect basic cognitive functions of the brain.” Pinterestcenter_img Share on Facebook Email Share on Twitterlast_img read more

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first_imgMailing free nicotine patches to smokers, without any behavioral support, does help some of them quit, according to a study by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).Smoking is a leading cause of preventable disease worldwide, and 13 per cent of Ontario adults reported that they smoked daily in the most recent CAMH Monitor survey.It’s relevant to study if nicotine replacement therapy without counselling works, because there are many people who purchase nicotine patches over-the-counter and attempt to quit without any support, notes Dr. John Cunningham, CAMH Senior Scientist in Social and Epidemiological Research, and co-authors in their study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. LinkedIn In past clinical studies where the patch is offered with behavioural supports, its value has been well demonstrated. However, in large population studies of smokers who buy the patch over-the-counter, with no such supports, nicotine replacement doesn’t appear to affect quit rates when compared with smokers who don’t use nicotine replacement therapy.To address this issue, the research team conducted a randomized clinical trial, to compare whether smokers willing to receive free nicotine patches by mail, without behavioral assistance, were more successful in quitting than interested smokers who received no patch. Adults who consumed at least 10 cigarettes a day were recruited from across Canada by random-digit dialing of home and cell phone numbers.In total, 500 participants in the experimental group were mailed a five-week supply of nicotine patches, and 499 participants in the control group were not offered the nicotine patches or any other intervention. After six months, researchers measured whether participants had been abstinent for the previous 30 days.“Among those who received patches, almost eight per cent reported being abstinent, compared with three per cent who had no intervention,” says Dr. Cunningham. Not everyone who received the patch used it. In total, 58 per cent reported using the patches, and among those, most did not complete the full course. Overall, 19 per cent (or 46 people) used the full five-week supply.The researchers also sought to validate their results by collecting saliva samples to measure cotinine, a tobacco by-product, but due to evaporation during transit, only half of the samples were usable. Despite this, the trend towards abstinence was also higher in the patch-group than those who received no treatment.Many jurisdictions offer free nicotine patches and counselling to people who call a toll-free number, including the STOP program in Ontario. While this study does not directly reflect these mass distribution initiatives, because study participants were recruited randomly and were not necessarily seeking help, the authors note that, “the results of the trial provide general support for direct-to-smoker programs with free mailed nicotine patches.” Pinterest Sharecenter_img Share on Twitter Email Share on Facebooklast_img read more

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first_imgKeeping the mind active may delay symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease; however, the activity does not change the underlying disease in the brain for most people, according to a study published today in the online edition of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.For people who are carriers of a gene linked to Alzheimer’s, the findings differed. People with a gene called APOE4, who had at least 14 years of education and kept mentally active in middle age had lower levels of proteins called amyloid plaques. The proteins can build up in brain tissue and lead to Alzheimer’s disease. People with the gene and a high level of education but did not keep mentally active in middle age had higher levels of amyloid plaques.“When we looked specifically at the level of lifetime learning, we found that carriers of the APOE4 gene who had higher education and continued to learn through middle age had fewer amyloid deposition on imaging when compared to those who did not continue with intellectual activity in middle age,” says study author Prashanthi Vemuri, Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic dementia researcher. Share on Twitter LinkedIn Dr. Vemuri said the overall findings for people who do not carry the gene should not discourage people from exercising and taking part in activities, such as reading books and magazines, playing games and using computers. “The takeaway message for the general public is that keeping your mind active is very important in delaying symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease,” says Dr. Vemuri.For the study, researchers evaluated 393 people without dementia who were part of the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging. Of those, 53 had mild cognitive impairment. All were 70 or older. They were divided into two groups: those with more than 14 years of education and those with less. Then, researchers used MRI and positron emission tomography scans to look for biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease and questionnaires to evaluate weekly intellectual and physical activity in middle age. Pinterestcenter_img Share Email Share on Facebooklast_img read more

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first_imgPinterest Share on Facebook Email Future research should focus on the psychological and social influences that account for clinical improvement from these treatments, and study how to apply these elements “in a fashion that is both scientifically judicious and ethically acceptable,” the researchers write.One hopeful note: unlike neurofeedback with EEG, they say, nascent findings from neurofeedback with functional magnetic resonance imaging “seem to pave a promising, albeit tentative, road” toward the coveted “self-regulating brain.” Neurofeedback using electroencephalography boasts thousands of practitioners and appears to both improve normal brain function and alleviate a wide variety of mental disorders – from anxiety to alcoholism.But after examining the scientific literature and consulting experts in Europe and the U.S., McGill University researchers Robert Thibault and Amir Raz conclude that clinical improvements from this increasingly popular alternative therapy are due to placebo effects.Writing in Lancet Psychiatry, they report that “sham neurofeedback” improves outcomes as much as true EEG neurofeedback. “Patients spend thousands of dollars and dedicate up to six months training their brain with neurofeedback,” Thibault says.  “Yet, they are chasing elusive brain-based processes.”center_img Share on Twitter LinkedIn Sharelast_img read more

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first_imgResearchers have discovered that the response to anxiety in teenagers may include not only the parts of the brain which deal with emotions (the limbic system), as has been long understood, but also movement control centres in the brain, which may be associated with movement inhibition when stressed (“freezing”). This is a small longitudinal study, presented at the ECNP conference in Vienna.A group of Italian and Canadian researchers have followed a selection of socially anxious and control group children from childhood to adolescence. The researchers tested 150 children at the ages of 8/9, for signs of social inhibition. Some of these were shown to have early signs of social anxiety, and showed an increased tendency to withdraw from social situations. They also had more difficulty in recognising emotions, and particularly angry faces.The anxious children, plus controls, were then followed into adolescence. At the ages of 14-15 they were tested again to see if signs of social anxiety had developed. The researchers also used fMRI brain scans to test how the teenage brains responded to angry facial expressions. Share on Facebook As lead researcher, Laura Muzzarelli said:“We found that when presented with an angry face the brain of socially anxious adolescents showed increased activity in the amygdala, which is the brain area concerned with emotions, memory and how we respond to threats. Surprisingly, we also found this produced inhibition of some motor areas of the brain, the premotor cortex. This is an area which ‘prepares the body for action’, and for specific movements. This is the first hard proof that strong emotions produce a response in brain areas concerned with movement. Adolescents who don’t show social anxiety tend not to show the inhibition in the movement centres. We don’t yet know how this inhibition feeds into movement – it may be that this has something to do with why we sometimes ‘freeze’ when we are frightened or under strong emotional stress, this still has to be tested. What it does give us is a possible explanation for some motor inhibition associated with emotional stress.We need to acknowledge that there are some limitations to this work. We started this 6-year study with 150 children, but by the time we reached adolescence we had narrowed down the field to just 5 children with social anxiety, and 5 with less severe (subthreshold) social anxiety, so it’s a small sample”. LinkedIn Pinterestcenter_img Share Email Share on Twitterlast_img read more

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