Water as old as the Moon.


The Moon probably had water when it first formed four and a half billion years ago, according to a new study.

Research reported in the journal Nature Geoscience, found evidence of water that was brought to the surface from deep within the lunar mantle by a series of ancient impacts.

“I think it would be very tough to have this water be anywhere other than original to the material that formed the moon,” says the study’s lead author Dr Rachel Klima of Johns Hopkins University.

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“I don’t think this was cometary water that was somehow mixed in and excavated back out, or solar wind water. I think this had to be water that was initially there when the materials forming the moon accreted, and what we found supports that idea.”

The new water signatures, in the form of hydroxyl molecules, were detected in the central peak of Bullialdus Crater on the Moon’s near side, according to Klima.

Hydroxyls are molecules consisting of an oxygen atom connected to a hydrogen atom. The pairing is often seen as a substructure of a water molecule.

“Hydroxyls can form when hydrogen in the solar wind flux hits the minerals in the rocks on the lunar surface,” says Klima.

“That tends to happen in cooler areas, and there have been signs that it migrates with the lunar day. So basically when it’s cooler it will form and stick to the surfaces, and when it gets warmer later in the lunar day it will move.”

When Klima first detected hydroxyl in her spectroscopic readings, she assumed it was solar wind generated surface hydroxyls, similar to what had been seen previously.

“But looking at the crater in more detail and at different times during the lunar day, I found there was no change in the hydroxyl signature,” says Klima.

Going deeper

Klima and colleagues were also unable to detect any hydroxyls in the surrounding lunar soil. The only hydroxyls were in the crater’s central peak, indicating that it had been dredged up from deep underground.

“It was only in the centre of the crater where the rocks from the deepest part of that area had been brought up to the surface, that we saw this hydroxyl signature,” says Klima.

“This crater is only about 60 kilometres across, but it occurs on the rim of a larger impact basin, which would have excavated much deeper.

“So we have a two-stage excavation with a big-impact event bringing material up from very deep, and the smaller crater impacting into this material bringing it up to the surface.”

Klima estimates the hydroxyl-embedded rocks may have been up to 69 kilometres below the lunar surface, prior to impact.

Source: http://www.abc.net

 

Five Reasons to Eat Watermelon Studies link the summer treat to many health benefits.


Big, sloppy slices of watermelon served at a picnic table are the quintessential summer snack—sweet enough to be dessert but, as several recent studies remind us, good for our health as well. (And only 84 caloriesper wedge!)

1. It soothes sore muscles.

According to a new study in the Journal of Agricultural Food and Chemistry, drinking watermelon juice before a hard workout helped reduce athletes’ heart rate and next-day muscle soreness. That’s because watermelon is rich in an amino acid called L-citrulline, which the body converts to L-arginine, an essential amino acid that helps relax blood vessels and improve circulation.

The study’s seven participants, all men, were given 17 ounces (500 mL) of either natural watermelon juice, watermelon juice enriched with additional citrulline, or a placebo drink an hour before their workouts. Interestingly, the natural juice was just as effective as the enriched juice. The researchers also determined that intestinal cells can absorb more citrulline from watermelon juice than from citrulline supplements, especially when the juice is unpasteurized.

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2. It helps heart health.

Postmenopausal women experienced improved cardiovascular health after six weeks of taking commercially available watermelon extract supplements containing citrulline and arginine, according to a study published earlier this year by Florida State University physiologist Arturo Figueroa.

And in a 2012 study—also led by Figueroa—such supplements helped alleviatehigh blood pressure in obese, middle-aged adults.

3. It could be a natural Viagra.

Improved circulation can benefit more than just the heart, as at least onewatermelon researcher has pointed out. But you’d probably have to eat an awful lot to achieve the desired effect–and eating too much could cause unfortunate side effects, since watermelon has long had a reputation as a natural diuretic.

4. It’s rich in vitamins and minerals, but low in calories.

Given its name, you might assume the fruit has little nutritional value—and it ismore than 90 percent water. But a 10-ounce (300-mL) wedge of watermelon packs in about one-third of the recommended daily value of vitamins A and C, as well as a modest amount of potassium (9 percent of the daily value).

5. It could even combat cancer.

Watermelon is among the best dietary sources of lycopene, an antioxidant linked to both the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer, although scientists are still investigating the details of that connection.

Five Surprising Situations Fueling Your Anxiety.


Have you ever woken up feeling great, but then somewhere along the way your mood just flips?

Have you ever lost patience for seemingly no reason at all?

If you answered yes to either of these questions, you may be experiencing stress and anxiety as a result of some triggers you might never have thought of.

From increased blood pressure to digestive disturbances, stress can impact the body in myriad ways. But sometimes accurately identifying the cause of your anxiety is difficult.

Here are five ways you may be adding undue anxiety to your life, as well some solutions to help you carry on better, less stressful days.

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1. The Anxiety Trigger: Putting Off Little Things

Not surprisingly, procrastination is number one on this list. Procrastination has been associated with “Criticism of Self and Behavior” (which is closely related to the Self-verification Theory) as well as “Achievement Difficulty.” In simpler terms, procrastination is usually results in people being overly critical of themselves and unable to achieve their goals; it’s a vicious cycle. But the worst thing about procrastination is that the anxieties associated with it are directed inward AND they add “to-dos” to your future, making it a toxic double whammy.

But procrastination goes much deeper than just putting off a task you’re not fond of (i.e. laundry). Many people put off things that ultimately impact the rest of their days, weeks, months and lives. Here are some common things people tend to put off that later cause them anxiety and undue stress:

·         Buying household necessities: Shampoo, soap, detergent, coffee…etc. How many times have you said, “I think I have enough, so I’ll just get that next time I’m at the store?” You may often find that you need these items before you visit the store again and become frustrated with yourself for not being prepared. And there’s no double whammy worse than being frustrated with yourself and not having coffee in the morning.

·         Getting gas

·         Sending/scheduling payments

·         Using the restroom (Sounds crazy? Happens all the time.)

The Solution: Unfortunately, they don’t sell procrastination shock bracelet. If they did, I would be their first customer. In the meantime, there are a few things you can do:

·         There’s a great guided meditation mp3 by Andrew Johnson that many have had success with. (It’s also available via iTunes for a mobile or tablet device.)

·         Two other books that might inspire you to kick your procrastination to the curb are How to Beat Procrastination in the Digital Age by Linda Sapadin and, my personal favorite, Getting Things Done by David Allen.

·         Remember the feelings of frustration and anxiety from your past experiences with procrastination, and remind yourself of the last time you put something off and it only got worse. (And no… this time is not different.)

2. The Anxiety Trigger: Clutter

As I mentioned in a previous article, a cluttered home can lead to a cluttered mind. You may think that being surrounded by clutter, clothes and tchotchkes is just your “way in the world,” but it may be causing you deeply rooted stress, leaving you with a short fuse throughout the day and preventing you from reaching your true potential in terms of focus and creativity. Additionally, clutter typically leads to misplaced items, which can spark stress in a time of need.

The Solution: If you find yourself surrounded by clutter, day-in and day-out, you likely just haven’t developed a good system for organizing. While I’m typically opposed to the “out of sight, out of mind” school of thought, in this case, it’s perfect. Professional organizer, Courtney DiCarlo, advises that you spend a few days noting your habits: Where do you toss your things when you get home? Where do you tend to put your mail? Where do clothes end up after you change? Once you understand your habits, you can better set yourself up for anxiety-free success by strategically placing containers and catch-alls in those spaces to better organize your things. Some things that might be particularly helpful at reducing your stress are:

·         Cord organizers

·         Organizing bins

·         Mail organizers (And please do not keep things you will never read or open. It will only lend to more clutter AND guilt.)

·         A hair accessory organizer (This has cut my morning stress in half, which has helped cut my husband’s morning stress in half — it’s all connected.)

3. The Anxiety Trigger: Friends Who Complain a Lot

We’ve written about the stresses that accumulate when dealing with toxic friends — it can be miserable. Unfortunately, many people aren’t even aware that a negative friend or presence is at the root of their anxiety.

When you’re with a friend who excessively complains or speaks negatively about others frequently, it may make you feel like you need to compensate by being extra positive, talking them off the proverbial ledge. Additionally, it prevents you from being able to feel many of the emotions you may be feeling. It’s a stressful responsibility you’re forced to take on. And since this “positivity compensation” usually happens naturally, it can leave you stressed, anxious and unaware of where your anxieties are rooted.

The Solution: First and foremost, you have to accept that this friend is toxic, as much as you may love him or her. Some people are afraid to admit that a friend is toxic, as it may imply the relationship is in danger — but it’s not. (Or rather, it doesn’t have to be.) Accepting a friend’s toxicity simply allows you to flip a mental switch, so that you can better cope with a friend of this nature.

In some cases, this may include things like asking for separate checks upon sitting down to lunch or carefully selecting the setting in which you socialize — some friends are better in social groups and some are better one-on-one.

Judith Orloff, MD laid out a great plan for dealing with various type of toxic people in her article, How To Deal with Emotional Vampires. There are also some great books to read on this subject that may help you stay centered, such as Toxic Friends: The Antidote for Women Stuck in Complicated Friendships by Susan Shapiro Barash and Toxic People: 10 Ways of Dealing With People Who Make Your Life Miserable by Lillian Glass. (I just ordered my copy of the latter.)

4. The Anxiety Trigger: Running Late

“On time is 15 minutes late!” an old professor used to say to me. It’s annoyingly truthful. Tardiness is the anxiety trigger we’re all guilty of now and then.

The worst thing about “running late” is that it typically happens in the morning, setting a tone for your entire day that includes angst and feelings of being rushed — not fun.

Additionally, tardiness triggers emotions of disappointment and stress that are directed inward. It affects everything from how people perceive you to how you perceive yourself. Experts also say that chronic lateness is not necessarily associated with poor time management, like many believe. It’s often a characteristic or mindset that ought to be more closely explored.

The Solution: I’ve personally never been a fan of the “set your clock ahead” trick. In my eyes, all it promotes is further bargaining with yourself. Here are a few tricks from Lifehack.org that I think are brilliant for the chronically tardy:

·         Don’t check your email or voicemail right before you leave: That “last quick check” will almost always take more time than you think. It can wait.

·         Add time: Always add 25% to your time estimate to get anywhere or do any task. If you think it takes 30 minutes to get to work, give yourself 40. If you need 12 working hours to finish a proposal, give yourself 15.

·         Don’t take take on too much: It’s okay to tell people no now and then, especially when saying yes is going to wear your time thin, cause you anxiety and later make you feel guilty for not getting everything done. This applies to everything from a neighbor asking for a favor to your significant other asking for ironing help in the morning. Check your timetable first.

·         Plan ahead and prepare: If you mindlessly set things in obscure places while lost in thought (guilty), resulting in a maddening search at the last minute in the morning, gather your things the night before. (Do not procrastinate this.)

5. The Anxiety Trigger: What You’re Wearing

This may sound silly or shallow compared to the other “real problems” in your life, but in your day-to-day, the wrong attire can cause massive anxiety. Here are some common stress-triggering mistakes:

·         Not dressing for the weather or only dressing for the weather: It’s hot, so naturally you may wear slacks and a short-sleeve top. But then later in a restaurant or office, you’re freezing (or hot) and unable to concentrate.

·         Wearing clothes that are too tight: Sure you might need to lose a few pounds, but do you really need that stressful and self-deprecating reminder every time you sit down?

·         Wearing shoes that hurt your feet: I’d say this is for our female audience only, but I know better.

The Solution: This may sound excruciatingly elementary but the solution is simply to plan ahead. Think about your day, where you’ll be and what you may be doing. Here’s a few things that help:

·         Dress in layers or bring layers to add.

·         Carry band-aids on you (in case your shoes act up).

·         If your day is important DO NOT wear white.

·         On that note, keep a Tide stick handy. (I have searched far and wide for an organic version of the Tide stick, to no avail. Hopefully you don’t have to use it frequently.)

Source: http://wakeup-world.com

Probiotics are a MUST for type-2 diabetics.


It’s common for many, especially members of the mainstream medical profession, to be ignorant of the importance of probiotics. While antibiotics that turn gastrointestinal tracts into killing fields are routinely prescribed, probiotics to replace lost beneficial bacteria are rarely even suggested.

Even when a doctor does give that advice, it’s from the mindset that probiotics are merely important for good digestion. True enough, but probiotics, or good gut bacteria, need to comprise at least 80% of total gut bacteria for several other reasons.

Several tests and clinical studies have confirmed a strong probiotic presence with an 80/20 or 85/15 intestinal flora balance is necessary for several reasons.

For example, it’s been determined that probiotic bacteria communicate with and trigger immune responses throughout the body, not just in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract (http://ajcn.nutrition.org).

Testing has confirmed discoveries of the gut as a “second brain”. The stronger and more balanced GI tract bacteria are, the less emotionally and mentally impaired their human hosts are (http://www.naturalnews.com).

Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride has clinically demonstrated healing all types of mental disorders and chronic allergies by applying her GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) diet to restore proper intestinal flora balance. She even cured her autistic son this way (http://www.naturalnews.com/033094_gut_health_brain.html).

These recent developments have taken a small segment of modern medicine full circle to the ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic medical adage of health begins in the gut.

Tests linking probiotics to diabetes and hypertension

A 2013 study conducted in Kashan, Iran, took 54 type-2 diabetics aged 55 to 70 and divided them into two groups to conduct a randomized double-blind placebo controlled study to determine any effects of probiotics on various inflammatory markers among diabetes-2 patients.

One group of 27 took a freeze dried seven strain probiotic supplement while the other 27 were given placebos. The study ran for eight weeks. During this eight week trial and when it concluded, the probiotic group’s fasting plasma glucose (FPG) rose less and was continually lower than the placebo groups FPG.

Although insulin resistance rose in both groups, the probiotic group’s insulin resistance tested lower than the placebo group.

Antioxidant stress was less with the probiotic group as well, with higher glutiathione plasma levels among the probiotic group. Glutathione is the “master antioxidant” that is created by and replenished in the liver to recycle throughout the body.

The arterial inflammatory marker of CRP (C-reactive protein) was measured by the hs-CRP (highly sensitive CRP) test that measures inflammation in blood vessels, a factor for determining heart disease potential. Yes, the probiotic supplement group’s readings were significantly lower.

Of course, the researchers concluded only the obvious by reciting only the results of this test. But it’s clear that probiotics, which are without adverse effects and influence digestion positively, also have a positive influence on type-2 diabetics’ overall health.

A 2009 study from the Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia, reviewed several, repeat several, in vivo (animal and human) international studies.

They all (repeat all) concluded consumption of probiotics, via various mechanics and biochemical processes, reduced insulin resistance and glucose sensitivity that could prevent onset diabetes and hypertension or assist in treating both conditions.

The Malaysian study and many others like it offer a condensation of several studies with the same theme, analyze them and offer an original or corroborating conclusion.

Unfortunately, MDs are so busy that they tend to rely on pharmaceutical reps, attend expense paid Big Pharma seminars, or glance through glossy journal publications instead of going online for these condensed reports that present conclusions from several studies.

If they did, mainstream medicos would suggest or prescribe probiotics more as a standard of care. But you can quietly consume probiotic bacteria with supplements or fermented beverages and foods without their advice.

Sources : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Membraneless ‘flow battery’ stores 10 times the energy of lithium-ion.


New technology developed at MIT could revolutionize storable energy power, according to information recently released by the school.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have managed to engineer a new rechargeable flow battery that isn’t reliant on costly membranes to both generate and store electricity. Developers say that the device could one day enable cheaper, large-scale energy storage of the kind necessary to seriously advance green energy production.

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Per MIT:

The palm-sized prototype generates three times as much power per square centimeter as other membraneless systems – a power density that is an order of magnitude higher than that of many lithium-ion batteries and other commercial and experimental energy-storage systems.

The device stores and releases energy in a device that relies on a phenomenon called laminar flow: Two liquids are pumped through a channel, undergoing electrochemical reactions between two electrodes to store or release energy. Under the right conditions, the solutions stream through in parallel, with very little mixing. The flow naturally separates the liquids, without requiring a costly membrane.

‘Remove the membrane’

The institute says reactants in the battery are liquid bromide solution and hydrogen fuel. The research group said it chose the bromine because it is a relatively inexpensive chemical that is available in large quantities. More than 243,000 tons of bromine are produced in the U.S. annually.

Besides the substance’s low cost and availability, the chemical reaction between it and the hydrogen has great potential to store energy. But, MIT said, fuel-cell designs based on the two compounds have thus far had mixed results. Hydrobromic acid forms, which tends to destroy a battery’s membrane, thereby slowing the energy-storing reaction and reducing the battery’s overall life.

In order to fix the problem, the research team came up with a simple solution: remove the membrane.

“This technology has as much promise as anything else being explored for storage, if not more,” Cullen Buie, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at 
MIT, said. “Contrary to previous opinions that membraneless systems are purely academic, this system could potentially have a large practical impact.”

Along with Martin Bazant, a chemical engineering professor, and William Braff, a graduate student in medical engineering, Buie has published the project’s findings in Nature Communications.

“Here, we have a system where performance is just as good as previous systems, and now we don’t have to worry about issues of the membrane,” Bazant said. “This is something that can be a quantum leap in energy-storage technology.”

Big news for renewables?

The findings could mean big advances for solar and wind power. Per MIT:

Low-cost energy storage has the potential to foster widespread use of renewable energy, such as solar and wind power. To date, such energy sources have been unreliable: Winds can be capricious, and cloudless days are never guaranteed. With cheap energy-storage technologies, renewable energy might be stored and then distributed via the electric grid at times of peak power demand.

“Energy storage is the key enabling technology for renewables,” Buie said. “Until you can make [energy storage] reliable and affordable, it doesn’t matter how cheap and efficient you can make wind and solar, because our grid can’t handle the intermittency of those renewable technologies.”

By removing the membrane, Buie said the research group managed to remove two large barriers to abundant energy storage – cost and performance. Often, membranes are the most expensive of battery components, as well as the most unreliable, as they are prone to corrode with repeated exposure to key reactants.

During experimentation, Braff and his colleagues managed to operate the flow battery at room temperature over various flow rates and reactant concentrations.

“They found that the battery produced a maximum power density of 0.795 watts of stored energy per square centimeter,” the press release said.

“We have a design tool now that gives us confidence that as we try to scale up this system, we can make rational decisions about what the optimal system dimensions should be,” said Bazant. “We believe we can break records of power density with more engineering guided by the model.”

Sources:


http://web.mit.edu

Winter depression not as common as many think.


In a study recently published online in the Journal of Affective Disorders, researchers found that neither time of year nor weather conditions influenced depressive symptoms. However, lead author David Kerr of Oregon State University said this study does not negate the existence of clinically diagnosed seasonal affective disorder, also known as SAD, but instead shows that people may be overestimating the impact that seasons have on depression in the general population.

“It is clear from prior research that SAD exists,” Kerr said. “But our research suggests that what we often think of as the winter blues does not affect people nearly as much as we may think.”

Kerr, who is an assistant professor in the School of Psychological Science at OSU, said the majority of studies of seasonal depression ask people to look back on their feelings over time.

“People are really good at remembering certain events and information,” he said. “But, unfortunately, we probably can’t accurately recall the timing of day-to-day emotions and symptoms across decades of our lives. These research methods are a problem.”

So Kerr and his colleagues tried a different approach. They analyzed data from a sample of 556 community participants in Iowa and 206 people in western Oregon. Participants completed self-report measures of depressive symptoms multiple times over a period of years. These data were then compared with local weather conditions, including sunlight intensity, during the time participants filled out the reports.

In one study, some 92 percent of Americans reported seasonal changes in mood and behavior, and 27% reported such changes were a problem. Yet the study suggests that people may be overestimating the impact of wintery skies.

“We found a very small effect during the winter months, but it was much more modest than would be expected if seasonal depression were as common as many people think it is,” said Columbia University researcher Jeff Shaman, a study co-author and a former OSU faculty member. “We were surprised. With a sample of nearly 800 people and very precise measures of the weather, we expected to see a larger effect.”

Kerr believes the public may have overestimated the power of the winter blues for a few reasons. These may include awareness of SAD, the high prevalence of depression in general, and a legitimate dislike of winter weather.

“We may not have as much fun, we can feel cooped up and we may be less active in thewinter,” Kerr said. “But that’s not the same as long-lasting sadness, hopelessness, and problems with appetite and sleep – real signs of a clinical depression.”

According to Kerr, people who believe they have SAD should get help. He said clinical trials show cognitive behavior therapy, antidepressant medication, and light box therapy all can help relieve both depression and SAD.

“Fortunately, there are many effective treatments for depression, whether or not it is seasonal,” he said. “Cognitive behavior therapy stands out because it has been shown to keep SAD from returning the next year.”

http://m.ph-cdn.com/tmpl/v4/img/1x1.gif Source: Journal of Affective Disorders search and more info 

 

 

 

Evidence for new periodic table element boosted.


Scientists have presented new evidence for the existence of an unconfirmed element with atomic number 115.

Th_69501617_a1500360-periodic_tablee element is highly radioactive and exists for less than a second before decaying into lighter atoms.

First proposed by Russian scientists in 2004, the super-heavy element has yet to be verified by the governing body of chemistry and physics.

The new evidence by a Swedish team is published in the journal Physical Review Letters.

“This was a very successful experiment and is one of the most important in the field in recent years”, said Dirk Rudolph, professor at the division of atomic physics at Lund University, who led the research.

After the discovery of element 115, independent confirmation to measure the exact proton number was required, Prof Rudolph told BBC News.

He said the finding “goes beyond the standard measurement” which had been observed previously. A new isotope of a potential new element was produced, which transformed into other particles via a radioactive process named alpha decay.

The researchers also gained access to data that they say gives them a deeper insight into the structure and properties of super-heavy atomic nuclei.

The team bombarded a thin film of the element americium with calcium ions, which allowed them to measure photons in connection with the new element’s alpha decay.

Certain energies of the photons (light particles) agreed with the expected energies for X-ray radiation, which acts as a “fingerprint” of a given element.

The experiment was conducted at the GSI research facility in Germany, where scientists have previously discovered six other new elements.

The potential new element will now be reviewed by a committee which consists of members of the international unions of pure and applied physics and chemistry.

They will decide whether to recommend further experiments before the discovery of the new element is acknowledged.

Drinking Soda Linked to Behavioral Problems in Kids.


It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that soda isn’t great for kids’ teeth or diets, but a new study suggests a link between soda consumption and bad behavior too. 

The study, by researchers at Columbia University, the University of Vermont and the Harvard School of Public Health, followed nearly 3,000 five-year-olds in 20 large U.S. cities. The children’s mothers reported on their soft drink consumption and also assessed their behavior through a checklist provided by researchers.

More than 40 percent of the moms reported that their children consumed at least one serving of soda per day, with another four percent consuming at least four servings per day. 
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Researchers found that aggression, withdrawal and attention problems were all associated with soda consumption. Children who drank four or more soft drinks per day were more than twice as likely to destroy things, get into fights and physically attack people. They also had more trouble paying attention and acted withdrawn more often.

“We found that the child’s aggressive behavior score increased with every increase in soft drinks servings per day,” said Dr. Shakira Suglia, of Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health.

Researchers controlled for other factors that could contribute to poor behavior, such as how much television children watched, their consumption of sweets, and whether their fathers were incarcerated, but the link between soda consumption and behavioral problems still held.

In a report published in The Journal of Pediatrics, researchers conceded that they couldn’t identify “the nature of the association between soft drinks and the problem behaviors” but suggested that the ingredients in highly processed sodas — particularly caffeine — may affect behavior.

They also questioned whether “underlying organic” conditions have could played a role in their findings, such as low blood sugar, which “could lead children both to want soda and to be aggressive or withdrawn.” 

The American Beverage Association, in response to the study, said it was “a leap to suggest that drinking soda causes these or any other behavioral issue” and noted the study’s limitations.

The association, which represents Coca-Cola and PepsiCo along with other beverage companies, also stressed that it and its members “do not promote or market the consumption of soft drinks to children in the age group examined in this study.” 

Marketing strategies aside, children even younger than five have been known to consume soft drinks. A 2009 report by ABC News uncovered the problem of tooth decay in children as young as 2 in Central Applachia, where the decay is blamed on the excessive consumption of soda — sometimes through children’s sippy cups — and is often referred to as “Mountain Dew mouth.” (Following the report, PepsiCo, the maker of Mountain Dew, said it would work to recruit more dentists to the region and also help a dentist already treating patients there.)

While the Columbia soda study may lead some parent to decide to leave soft drinks off their grocery lists for good, some say that moderation for adults and a “just say no” attitude toward kids may be a more practical answer. 

“I don’t plan on giving up my occasional Cherry Coke anytime soon just because I have kids and I sure as heck shouldn’t have to hide it, ” California mom and Babble blogger Lori Garcia wrote in a recent post. “Our job as parents is to provide kid-friendly beverages outside of soda to offer our thirsty kids. Will our kids continue to ask for soda when they see it in the fridge? You bet, but guess what? The answer will be no. Cry about it, whine about it, keep asking – the answer will still be no.” 

Researcher controls colleague’s motions in first human brain-to-brain interface.


University of Washington researchers have performed what they believe is the first noninvasive human-to-human brain interface, with one researcher able to send a brain signal via the Internet to control the hand motions of a fellow researcher.

Using electrical brain recordings and a form of magnetic stimulation, Rajesh Rao sent a brain signal to Andrea Stocco on the other side of the UW campus, causing Stocco’s finger to move on a keyboard.

While researchers at Duke University have demonstrated brain-to-brain communication between two rats, and Harvard researchers have demonstrated it between a human and a rat, Rao and Stocco believe this is the first demonstration of human-to-human brain interfacing.

“The Internet was a way to connect computers, and now it can be a way to connect brains,” Stocco said. “We want to take the knowledge of a brain and transmit it directly from brain to brain.”

The researchers captured the full demonstration on video recorded in both labs. The version available at the end of this release has been edited for length.

 

Rao, a UW professor of computer science and engineering, has been working on brain-computer interfacing (BCI) in his lab for more than 10 years and just published a textbook on the subject. In 2011, spurred by the rapid advances in BCI technology, he believed he could demonstrate the concept of human brain-to-brain interfacing. So he partnered with Stocco, a UW research assistant professor in psychology at the UW’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences.

 

On Aug. 12, Rao sat in his lab wearing a cap with electrodes hooked up to an electroencephalography machine, which reads electrical activity in the brain. Stocco was in his lab across campus wearing a purple swim cap marked with the stimulation site for the transcranial magnetic stimulation coil that was placed directly over his left motor cortex, which controls hand movement.

The team had a Skype connection set up so the two labs could coordinate, though neither Rao nor Stocco could see the Skype screens.

 

Rao looked at a computer screen and played a simple video game with his mind. When he was supposed to fire a cannon at a target, he imagined moving his right hand (being careful not to actually move his hand), causing a cursor to hit the “fire” button. Almost instantaneously, Stocco, who wore noise-canceling earbuds and wasn’t looking at a computer screen, involuntarily moved his right index finger to push the space bar on the keyboard in front of him, as if firing the cannon. Stocco compared the feeling of his hand moving involuntarily to that of a nervous tic.

 

“It was both exciting and eerie to watch an imagined action from my brain get translated into actual action by another brain,” Rao said. “This was basically a one-way flow of information from my brain to his. The next step is having a more equitable two-way conversation directly between the two brains.”

 

The technologies used by the researchers for recording and stimulating the brain are both well-known. Electroencephalography, or EEG, is routinely used by clinicians and researchers to record brain activity noninvasively from the scalp. Transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, is a noninvasive way of delivering stimulation to the brain to elicit a response. Its effect depends on where the coil is placed; in this case, it was placed directly over the brain region that controls a person’s right hand. By activating these neurons, the stimulation convinced the brain that it needed to move the right hand.

 

Computer science and engineering undergraduates Matthew Bryan, Bryan Djunaedi, Joseph Wu and Alex Dadgar, along with bioengineering graduate student Dev Sarma, wrote the computer code for the project, translating Rao’s brain signals into a command for Stocco’s brain.

“Brain-computer interface is something people have been talking about for a long, long time,” said Chantel Prat, assistant professor in psychology at the UW’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, and Stocco’s wife and research partner who helped conduct the experiment. “We plugged a brain into the most complex computer anyone has ever studied, and that is another brain.”

 

At first blush, this breakthrough brings to mind all kinds of science fiction scenarios. Stocco jokingly referred to it as a “Vulcan mind meld.” But Rao cautioned this technology only reads certain kinds of simple brain signals, not a person’s thoughts. And it doesn’t give anyone the ability to control your actions against your will.

Both researchers were in the lab wearing highly specialized equipment and under ideal conditions. They also had to obtain and follow a stringent set of international human-subject testing rules to conduct the demonstration.

“I think some people will be unnerved by this because they will overestimate the technology,” Prat said. “There’s no possible way the technology that we have could be used on a person unknowingly or without their willing participation.”

 

Stocco said years from now the technology could be used, for example, by someone on the ground to help a flight attendant or passenger land an airplane if the pilot becomes incapacitated. Or a person with disabilities could communicate his or her wish, say, for food or water. The brain signals from one person to another would work even if they didn’t speak the same language.

Rao and Stocco next plan to conduct an experiment that would transmit more complex information from one brain to the other. If that works, they then will conduct the experiment on a larger pool of subjects.

 

Source: University of Washington

Artifact suppression and analysis of brain activities with EEG signals


Proper classification of electroencephalography data is the main task in electroencephalography based brain computer interface. Brain-computer interface is a communication system that connects the brain with computer (or other devices) but is not dependent on the normal output of the brain (i.e., peripheral nerve and muscle). Such interface transforms neural activities into signals to establish a new mode of communication which can be used by subjects with severe motor disabilities.

 

Researchers from Pabna University of Science and Technology (Pabna, Bangladesh) and the University of Tokyo (Tokyo, Japan) used a data adaptive technique for artifact suppression and brain wave extraction from electroencephalography signals to detect regional brain activities. The regional brain activities were mapped on the basis of the spatial distribution of rhythmic components.

 

The researchers found that the data adaptive technique is very efficient in artifact suppression and identifying individual motor imagery based on the activities of alpha component. They also found that different regions of the brain are activated in response to different stimuli.

 

Source:  Neural Regeneration Research