Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Finnish research team reveals how emotions are mapped in the body

Finnish research team reveals how emotions are mapped in the body.

From the 31 December 2013 ScienceNewsline Biology article

Published: December 31, 2013. By Aalto University
http://www.aalto.fi/en/

Researchers Aalto University have revealed how emotions are experienced in the body.

Emotions adjust our mental and also bodily states to cope with the challenges detected in the environment. These sensations arising from the bodily changes are an important feature of our emotional experiences. For example, anxiety may be experienced as pain in the chest, whereas falling in love may trigger warm, pleasurable sensations all over the body. New research from Aalto University reveals, how emotions are literally experienced through the body.

The researchers found that the most common emotions trigger strong bodily sensations, and the bodily maps of these sensations were topographically different for different emotions. The sensation patterns were, however, consistent across different West European and East Asian cultures, highlighting that emotions and their corresponding bodily sensation patterns have a biological basis.

Emotions adjust not only our mental, but also our bodily states. This way the prepare us to react swiftly to the dangers, but also to the opportunities such as pleasurable social interactions present in the environment. Awareness of the corresponding bodily changes may subsequently trigger the conscious emotional sensations, such as the feeling of happiness, tells assistant professor Lauri Nummenmaa from Aalto University.

The findings have major implications for our understanding of the functions of emotions and their bodily basis. On the other hand, the results help us to understand different emotional disorders and provide novel tools for their diagnosis.

The research was carried out on line, and over 700 individuals from Finland, Sweden and Taiwan took part in the study. The researchers induced different emotional states in their Finnish and Taiwanese participants. Subsequently the participants were shown with pictures of human bodies on a computer, and asked to colour the bodily regions whose activity they felt increasing or decreasing.

he research was funded by European Research Council (ERC), The Academy of Finland and the Aalto University (aivoAALTO project)

The results were published on 31 December (U.S. Eastern time) in the scientific journal Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences of The United States of America (PNAS).

Original publication: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/12/26/1321664111.full.pdf+html?with-ds=yes

Figure summarizing the main findings of the study http://becs.aalto.fi/~lnummen/Emotionbodies.pdf
Participate in the ongoing experiment : http://becs.aalto.fi/~lnummen/participate.htm
emotionbodies.pdf (2M)
Figure caption: Different emotions are associated with discernible patterns of bodily sensations.
Contact information:
Assistant Professor Lauri Nummenmaa
Aalto University and Turku PET Centre
lauri.nummenmaa@aalto.fi
p. +358 50 431 9931
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January 6, 2014 Posted by | Psychiatry, Psychology | , , | Leave a comment

Where Do Muscles Get Their Power? Fifty-Year-Old Assumptions About Strength Muscled Aside

C. David Williams created a 3-D computer model of filaments of myosin (in red) reaching out and tugging along filaments of actin (in blue, looking like stands of pearls twined together) during the contraction of a muscle. The model allowed researchers to consider the geometry and physics at work on the filaments when a muscle bulges. (Credit: D. Williams/University of Washington)

 

From the 12 July 2013 article at Science Daily

Doctors have a new way of thinking about how to treat heart and skeletal muscle diseases. Body builders have a new way of thinking about how they maximize their power. Both owe their new insight to high-energy X-rays, a moth and cloud computing.

The basics of how a muscle generates power remain the same: Filaments of myosin tugging on filaments of actin shorten, or contract, the muscle — but the power doesn’t just come from what’s happening straight up and down the length of the muscle, as has been assumed for 50 years.

Instead, University of Washington-led research shows that as muscles bulge, the filaments are drawn apart from each other, the myosin tugs at sharper angles over greater distances, and it’s that action that deserves credit for half the change in muscle force scientists have been measuring.

Researchers made this discovery when using computer modeling to test the geometry and physics of the 50-year-old understanding of how muscles work. The computer results of the force trends were validated through X-ray diffraction experiments on moth flight muscle, which is very similar to human cardiac muscle. The X-ray work was led by co-author Thomas Irving, an Illinois Institute of Technology professor and director of the Biophysics Collaborative Access Team (Bio-CAT) beamline at the Advanced Photon Source, which is housed at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory.

…..

 

July 18, 2013 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The biology of politics: Liberals roll with the good, conservatives confront the bad

 

The biology of politics: Liberals roll with the good, conservatives confront the bad

New study brings to light physiological, cognitive differences of political left and right

Excerpt from the 23 January 2012 Eureka news alert

 

 

English: Number of self-identified Democrats vs. self-identified Republicans, per state, according to Gallup, January-June 2010 [1].

   18+ point Democratic advantage
   10-17 point Democratic advantage
   3-9 point Democratic advantage
   2 point Democratic advantage through 2 point Republican advantage
   3-9 point Republican advantage
   10-17 point Republican advantage
   18+ point Republican advantage

 

 

 

 

From cable TV news pundits to red-meat speeches in Iowa and New Hampshire, our nation’s deep political stereotypes are on full display: Conservatives paint self-indulgent liberals as insufferably absent on urgent national issues, while liberals say fear-mongering conservatives are fixated on exaggerated dangers to the country.

A new study from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln suggests there are biological truths to such broad brushstrokes.

In a series of experiments, researchers closely monitored physiological reactions and eye movements of study participants when shown combinations of both pleasant and unpleasant images. Conservatives reacted more strongly to, fixated more quickly on, and looked longer at the unpleasant images; liberals had stronger reactions to and looked longer at the pleasant images compared with conservatives.

“It’s been said that conservatives and liberals don’t see things in the same way,” said Mike Dodd, UNL assistant professor of psychology and the study’s lead author. “These findings make that clear – quite literally.”

To gauge participants’ physiological responses, they were shown a series of images on a screen. Electrodes measured subtle skin conductance changes, which indicated an emotional response. The cognitive data, meanwhile, was gathered by outfitting participants with eyetracking equipment that captured even the most subtle of eye movements while combinations of unpleasant and pleasant photos appeared on the screen.

While liberals’ gazes tended to fall upon the pleasant images, such as a beach ball or a bunny rabbit, conservatives clearly focused on the negative images – of an open wound, a crashed car or a dirty toilet, for example.

Consistent with the idea that conservatives seem to respond more to negative stimuli while liberals respond more to positive stimuli, conservatives also exhibited a stronger physiological response to images of Democratic politicians – presumed to be a negative to them – than they did on pictures of well-known Republicans. Liberals, on the other hand, had a stronger physiological response to the Democrats – presumed to be a positive stimulus to them – than they did to images of the Republicans…

 

January 27, 2012 Posted by | Psychology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anatomy and Physiology Learning Modules – CEHD – U of M

Anatomy and Physiology Learning Modules – CEHD – U of M

A collection of study aids for entry-level anatomy and physiology students. Self Tests  Inquiry, Ideas, Thoughts, Learning, Curriculum.

Web Anatomy

Web Anatomy

A collection of study aids for entry-level anatomy and physiology students

Self Tests

Self Test

Quiz your self on human anatomy

Anatomy Bowl

Anatomy Bowl

A multiplayer player game where you can face off against a friends

VO2Max

VO2Max

 

 

Image Bank

Image Bank

Take a look at anatomy images

Timed Tests

Timed Tests

Race against the clock to quiz your self on human anatomy

Videos

Student Videos

Papers

December 10, 2011 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College( | , | Leave a comment

The Student Source: Medical Resources and Software

 

From the 19 August 2011 Scout Report item 

For students new to medical school, parsing out the most relevant and helpful information from a seemingly limitless supply of materials can be daunting.  The links are divided into two dozen topical areas, such as “Gross Anatomy”, “Nephrology”, and “Surgery”. Each section contains links from reliable sources, including the University of Toronto, Oxford University, and the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. The “Gross Anatomy” area is very thorough, as it contains over twenty resources that provide an overview of anatomy, anatomical slide shows, and so on

Click here for The Student Source: Medical Resources and Software

Related Resource

  • MedicalStudent.com: A digital library of authoritative medical information for the medical student and all students of medicine
            Medical student.com

 

August 26, 2011 Posted by | Finding Aids/Directories | , , , | Leave a comment

Rewrite the textbooks (on what neurons can do)

Rewrite the textbooks

From the February 17 2011 Eureka news alert

Complete neuron cell diagram. Neurons (also kn...

Image via Wikipedia (Click on Image to Enlarge)

 

Neurons are complicated, but the basic functional concept is that synapses transmit electrical signals to the dendrites and cell body (input), and axons carry signals away (output). In one of many surprise findings, Northwestern University scientists have discovered that axons can operate in reverse: they can send signals to the cell body, too.

It also turns out axons can talk to each other. Before sending signals in reverse, axons can perform their own neural computations without any involvement from the cell body or dendrites. This is contrary to typical neuronal communication where an axon of one neuron is in contact with another neuron’s dendrite or cell body, not its axon. And, unlike the computations performed in dendrites, the computations occurring in axons are thousands of times slower, potentially creating a means for neurons to compute fast things in dendrites and slow things in axons.

A deeper understanding of how a normal neuron works is critical to scientists who study neurological diseases, such as epilepsy, autism, Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia.

The findings are published in the February issue of the journal Nature Neuroscience.***

“We have discovered a number of things fundamental to how neurons work that are contrary to the information you find in neuroscience textbooks,” said Nelson Spruston, senior author of the paper and professor of neurobiology and physiology in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. “Signals can travel from the end of the axon toward the cell body, when it typically is the other way around. We were amazed to see this.”

He and his colleagues first discovered individual nerve cells can fire off signals even in the absence of electrical stimulations in the cell body or dendrites. It’s not always stimulus in, immediate action potential out. (Action potentials are the fundamental electrical signaling elements used by neurons; they are very brief changes in the membrane voltage of the neuron.)

Similar to our working memory when we memorize a telephone number for later use, the nerve cell can store and integrate stimuli over a long period of time, from tens of seconds to minutes. (That’s a very long time for neurons.) Then, when the neuron reaches a threshold, it fires off a long series of signals, or action potentials, even in the absence of stimuli. The researchers call this persistent firing, and it all seems to be happening in the axon.

Spruston and his team stimulated a neuron for one to two minutes, providing a stimulus every 10 seconds. The neuron fired during this time but, when the stimulation was stopped, the neuron continued to fire for a minute.

“It’s very unusual to think that a neuron could fire continually without stimuli,” Spruston said. “This is something new — that a neuron can integrate information over a long time period, longer than the typical operational speed of neurons, which is milliseconds to a second.”

This unique neuronal function might be relevant to normal process, such as memory, but it also could be relevant to disease. The persistent firing of these inhibitory neurons might counteract hyperactive states in the brain, such as preventing the runaway excitation that happens during epileptic seizures.

Spruston credits the discovery of the persistent firing in normal individual neurons to the astute observation of Mark Sheffield, a graduate student in his lab. Sheffield is first author of the paper.

The researchers think that others have seen this persistent firing behavior in neurons but dismissed it as something wrong with the signal recording. When Sheffield saw the firing in the neurons he was studying, he waited until it stopped. Then he stimulated the neuron over a period of time, stopped the stimulation and then watched as the neuron fired later.

“This cellular memory is a novelty,” Spruston said. “The neuron is responding to the history of what happened to it in the minute or so before.”

Spruston and Sheffield found that the cellular memory is stored in the axon and the action potential is generated farther down the axon than they would have expected. Instead of being near the cell body it occurs toward the end of the axon.

Their studies of individual neurons (from the hippocampus and neocortex of mice) led to experiments with multiple neurons, which resulted in perhaps the biggest surprise of all. The researchers found that one axon can talk to another. They stimulated one neuron, and detected the persistent firing in the other unstimulated neuron. No dendrites or cell bodies were involved in this communication.

“The axons are talking to each other, but it’s a complete mystery as to how it works,” Spruston said. “The next big question is: how widespread is this behavior? Is this an oddity or does in happen in lots of neurons? We don’t think it’s rare, so it’s important for us to understand under what conditions it occurs and how this happens.”

###

The title of the paper is “Slow Integration Leads to Persistent Action Potential Firing in Distal Axons of Coupled Interneurons***.” In addition to Spruston and Sheffield, other authors of the paper are Tyler K. Best and William L. Kath, from Northwestern, and Brett D. Mensh, from Harvard Medical School.

For suggestions on how to get this article for free or at low cost, click here

February 18, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Radiologists play key role in teaching physiology to medical students

Radiologists play key role in teaching physiology to medical students

From the February 1 2011 Eureka news alert

In order for medical students to ultimately provide quality patient care medical schools should turn to radiologists to help them teach physiology, one of the core disciplines of medicine, according to a study in the February issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology (www.jacr.org). Physiology is the science of the function of living systems.

“It is vital that medical schools provide first-rate physiology education for their students. We believe that radiologists have an important role to play in teaching physiology, just as many currently do in the teaching of anatomy,” said Richard B. Gunderman, MD, co-author of the study.

Radiologists created radiologic case studies using pairs of radiologic cases, one illustrating normal physiology and the second illustrating pathophysiology. The two radiologic images (normal and pathophysiology) were then used to focus on four broad physiologic principles that apply across all organ systems — homeostasis, biologic energy use, structure-function relationships, and communication. Two examples were given for each of the principles.

“Radiologic case studies can illustrate physiologic principles in ways that can enhance students’ grasp of both physiology and its role in helping physicians take better care of patients. As our study suggests, two radiologic examples of each principle (normal and pathologic) support the use of radiology to teach physiology,” said Gunderman.

“An understanding of physiology is absolutely vital to the ability to diagnose and treat diseases effectively and efficiently, and it is equally vital that future physicians receive a first-rate education in this discipline. As clinicians, radiologists can help students to appreciate the clinical relevance of their studies, and radiologic images provide powerful, visual illustrations of basic physiologic principles,” he said.

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February 1, 2011 Posted by | Finding Aids/Directories, Professional Health Care Resources | , , | Leave a comment

   

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