The first business adventure tourism fair “International Adventure Expo” will be held in Zagreb from 11 to 13 March 2016. This is the first such event in Europe, which aims to bring together providers of adventure and diving tourism, travel agencies and tour operators from Europe and the United States.The International Adventure Expo fair is exclusively of a business nature and provides companies from the adventure tourism segment with the opportunity to present their products with the aim of securing potential markets and clients. In addition to numerous B2B meetings, several workshops and conferences will be held during the fair, the central themes of which are increasing sales and improving marketing skills, and the conferences will be led by well-known experts in sales and marketing. “Croatia is rich in natural resources and beauties and has an extremely great potential for the development of adventure and diving tourism, which is of great importance for enriching the overall tourist offer of the Republic of Croatia. The importance of these forms of tourism has been recognized through the Tourism Development Strategy in the Republic of Croatia until 2020, and I believe that the International Adventure Expo will give its contribution to strengthening the development of Croatian tourism.”, Said Tino Prosenik, director of Jadranski skiperi dooThe International Adventure Expo Fair will be held from 11 to 13 March 2016 in the Zagreb Arena, and all additional information about the fair and participation can be found at www.internationaladventureexpo.com
Share on Twitter Share You are driving to work, late for an important meeting. You are almost there when you have to stop at a red light. When will you begin inching forward? Doing it too early will result in wasting gas and energy, but doing it at the right time will get you to work faster. Estimating the right moment to perform an action critically depends on our innate ability to track time. What is the neural mechanism that underlies this capacity?“We know that for actions to have successful outcomes, the brain has to keep track of time”, says Dr. Joe Paton, head of the Learning Lab at the Champalimaud Neuroscience Programme. “Time is implicit in nature, difficult to tease apart from the on-going behavioural and sensory context, which makes studying it quite challenging.”To pin down this elusive quantity, the researchers focused on a brain region called the Striatum. “Many lines of evidence implicate the striatum as a site of timing information”, says Dr. Paton, “as many conditions that affect the striatum, such as Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease, result in timing dysfunction.” Pinterest Gustavo Mello, a graduate student in the lab explains how they tested timing behaviour in rats – “the rats performed a timing task where they had to press a lever to receive a reward, which was available periodically. For example, during a sequence of 15 trials, the reward would only become available after 30 seconds had passed since the last reward. To see whether the rat would be able to estimate different durations, after those 15 trials, the waiting time would change randomly to be either shorter, or longer.The researchers found that the rats changed their behaviour according to the different waiting times. “Similarly to how we would behave when waiting at a red light, the rats also seemed to prefer not to waste their energy and pressed the lever only when enough time has passed”, says Mr. Mello.To find out what is the neural basis that underlies this behaviour, the researchers recorded the activity of individual neurons in the striatum while the rats were performing the task, finding that the representation of time was coded across the population of neurons. “We found that each time a trial started, the neurons responded in a slow but reliable wave of sequential activity,” says Sofia Soares, a graduate student in the lab. “The sequence was conserved across different waiting durations, but changed its timing. In other words, when the waiting time was longer, the sequence was slower and vice versa. Hence, the sequence was shrinking and expanding in a way that corresponded to the current interval between rewards and the behaviour of the animal. You could essentially just look at the location of the wave within the population to read out how much time had passed.”What does the shrinking and expanding of the sequence mean about the way the brain keeps track of time? According to Mr. Mello, “the implication is that time in the brain is relative, not absolute, as it is measured as a position within an interval and not as a unit, such as a second, or an hour.”“This is the first time the full diversity of response dynamics in the striatum was considered during a timing task”, concludes Dr. Paton, “allowing us to demonstrate that populations of neurons encode time in a manner that is consistent with timing behavior. In addition, we found that the neurons combined motor and timing information. This composition of time and actions is consistent with motor learning and action selection, functions in which the striatum plays a critical role.”This study was published April 23, 2015, in the scientific journal Current Biology. Email LinkedIn Share on Facebook
Email We’ve known for some time that our eyes move around during the dreaming phase of sleep, much like when we’re awake and looking at a visual scene. The phase of sleep is called rapid eye movement sleep, or REM sleep.New research, published today in the journal Nature Communications, shows brain activity during the dreaming phase of sleep is remarkably similar to brain activity when we’re awake and processing new visual images, suggesting the brain “sees” dreams.While researchers have suspected this may be the case, it’s the first time investigators have been able to record brain activity from within the brain. Share A quick history of dream researchDreams and their purpose have been one of the enduring mysteries of sleep. Early dream theorists, such as Sigmund Freud, argued that the function of dreaming was to preserve sleep by expressing unfulfilled desires or wishes in the unconscious state.More recently, researchers have investigated the function and processes of sleep and dreams by measuring the physiological signals that characterise this state of consciousness.Just over 60 years ago, American sleep researcher Eugene Aserinsky stumbled across rapid eye movements during sleep almost accidentally, during an overnight sleep study recording of his eight-year-old son. His seminal 1953 paper reported “rapid, jerky and binocularly symmetrical” eye movements during periods of sleep.These eye movements were also associated with increased brain activity, thus discounting the idea that sleep is a completely passive phenomenon. During REM sleep, our brains are active and behave similarly to wakefulness or light sleep. But muscle activity is suppressed so we can’t physically carry out our dreams.In a pioneering 1957 paper, American researchers William Dement and Nathaniel Kleitman examined the relationship between eye movements and dream content. They woke participants during REM sleep and asked them to describe their dream. The researchers then looked at how their dream description related to the type of eye movements they were experiencing at the time (vertical, horizontal, or a mix of both).Participants who were woken after a series of vertical movements reported “climbing up a ladder”, and “standing at the bottom of the cliff operating a hoist and looking up at climbers”, whereas one participant who was woken after horizontal eye movements reported dreaming about “two people throwing tomatoes at each other”. In contrast, those who had mixed eye movements tended to be watching people close to them with no description of distance or vertical vision.Since this study, the evidence for this association between the REMs and dream content is not consistent. Individuals who have been blind from birth, for instance, have REMs but no visual dream content.But in support of Dement’s finding, a recent study in patients with REM behaviour disorder (where people act out their dreams due to a lack of muscle paralysis), found a strong association between goal-oriented limb and head action and eye gaze direction during REM sleep.Brain activity during sleepIn everyday life, when we see things, our eyes and brain behave in characteristic ways to gather and process the information in our visual field and give it meaning. But the function of eye movements during sleep and dreaming are relatively unknown. Today’s Nature Communication paper provides some insights.Usually, brain activity is measured non-invasively from the scalp. But the investigators, from Tel Aviv University, recorded the activity of the brain, from within the brain, in patients with epilepsy.Patients whose epilepsy cannot be controlled with medication have electrodes surgically placed within the brain as a clinical means to map their epileptic activity, and assess suitability for surgery as a treatment. These electrodes were implanted in the medial temporal lobe – a region that is associated with visual awareness.Researchers compared brain activity of these patients across three settings: REM sleep brain activity, wakeful eye movements in darkness (no visual processing) and wakeful fixed-gaze visual processing (no eye movements). They wanted to test whether brain behaviour during sleep was more closely related to physical movement, or the processing of visual information.Results showed that during rapid eye movements in sleep, the brain activity was more closely related to the brain activity during visual processing during wakefulness (without movement) than physical movements of the eyes in darkness where no visual processing was taking place.These results suggest that the rapid eye movements that occur in sleep are linked to visual processing rather than just physical activation or movement. So, the participants may have actually been looking at a dream image, rather than these eye movements simply reflecting motor discharge in the brain.While much remains unknown, this detailed processing of our dream images suggests that rapid eye movements may actually modulate our brain activity during sleep. We know that sleep is needed for rest and rejuvenation, but it’s likely to have other important functions as well.In line with the earliest of theories about why we dream, are we processing content that has been consciously or unconsciously avoided during wakefulness, but somehow “needs” to be dealt with at least during sleep to maintain our psychological well-being?Are the eye movements a simple byproduct of the visual processing that occurs of the images we dream?Is there a psychological basis to why we need to process these images during sleep, and does this lend to better psychological outcomes in a similar way to sleep aiding physical functioning?These and many questions drive the ongoing research into why we sleep, and what its precise benefits are.By Melinda Jackson, RMIT University and Rachel Schembri, RMIT UniversityMelinda Jackson is Senior Research Fellow in the School of Health Sciences at RMIT University.Rachel Schembri is Post-doctoral research fellow, School of Health Sciences at RMIT University.This article was originally published on The Conversation. 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Share on Facebook Email LinkedIn Share on Twitter Pinterest Share Mothers who took on burdensome caregiving roles as children — and weren’t allowed to just “be kids” — tend to be less sensitive to their own children’s needs, finds new research led by a Michigan State University scholar.The findings suggest these parents do not understand appropriate child development and end up parenting in a similar harmful manner in which they were raised. The study is online now in advance of print publication in the Journal of Family Psychology.“If your childhood was defined by parents expecting you to perform too much caregiving without giving you the chance to develop your own self-identity, that might lead to confusion about appropriate expectations for children and less accurate knowledge of their developmental limitations and needs as infants,” said Amy K. Nuttall, assistant professor in MSU’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies and lead author on the study. “If mothers don’t understand their children’s needs,” Nuttall concluded, “they’re not able to respond to them appropriately.”Burdensome, adult-like caregiving, or “parentification,” can involve routine parenting and disciplining of one’s siblings, excessive chores and responsibilities around the house, and serving as the main emotional support system for parents.For the study, 374 pregnant women from low-income households in four U.S. cities were surveyed about their upbringing. After birth, the mothers’ parenting techniques were observed several times during an 18-month period.Mothers who engaged in excessive, adult-like caregiving as children were less likely to respond warmly and positively to their infant’s needs and interests and to put their child’s need for exploration and independence over their own agenda.A previous study led by Nuttall, which also appeared in the Journal of Family Psychology, found the children of mothers who engaged in excessive caregiving during childhood went on to display behavioral problems. Together, the studies have important implications for developing parent-education programs for mothers who were overburdened by caregiving roles in childhood.Nuttall said instruction about infant development might be best served in prenatal classes. Women are more likely to attend prenatal classes than parenting classes offered after birth.“Prenatal parenting classes may be particularly useful for teaching accurate knowledge of child development and appropriate expectations about children’s abilities even before mothers give birth and begin parenting,” Nuttall said.
Share on Facebook Texting while driving is a significant risk factor for automobile collisions, and cell phone use while driving is especially prevalent among young people. More than half (52%) of a sample of 861 college students surveyed by University of Maryland School of Public Health researchers reported that they had texted while driving at least once in the past month.The web-based survey, led by Professor Kenneth Beck in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health, also examined how texting was associated with other forms of risky driving, perceptions of risk, and the driving and texting interactions of those surveyed with a significant other. The study is published in the journal Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour.“We found that texting drivers were more likely to engage in other risky driving behaviors, to perceive that texting and driving is less risky than it is, and to feel more immune to traffic risks in general,” said Dr. Beck. “Their friends were also more likely to text and drive.” Even after accounting for a variety of risky driving behaviors (e.g., speeding, driving aggressively, etc.) and the perceived risks of getting a ticket or being involved in a collision, texting drivers were significantly more likely to text if they saw someone close to them text and drive. Share on Twitter Share Email Pinterest LinkedIn “Our findings support the need for traffic safety campaigns to address important social influences on risky behavior,” said Dr. Beck. “Previous campaigns have successfully utilized this approach in the area of drinking and driving prevention with the now familiar slogan ‘Friends Don’t Let Friends Drink and Drive.’ Perhaps it is time we adapted this to ‘Friends Don’t Let Friends Text and Drive.’”The article “Characteristics of college students who text while driving: Do their perceptions of a significant other influence their decisions?” was written by Kenneth Beck and Samantha Watters and published in the latest issue of the journal, Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour.
Share Share on Facebook LinkedIn Share on Twitter Four states legalized recreational marijuana in November, nearly doubling the number of states where recreational pot is legal. As more states consider joining them, a range of arguments for and against legalization is swirling around the national conversation.But which of these arguments resonate most strongly with Americans? It’s the arguments that support legalization, according to a new study co-authored by Jeff Niederdeppe, associate professor of communication in Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.More than 60 percent of people surveyed in the study said they supported legalization because they agreed with arguments saying it would increase tax revenues, create a profitable new industry, reduce prison crowding and lower the cost of law enforcement. Email Pinterest In contrast, fewer people in the study agreed with anti-legalization arguments emphasizing the damage the policy would have on public health. These reasons included that legalization would increase car accidents, hurt youth’s health, expand the marijuana industry, increase crime and threaten moral values.“The pro arguments are really practical: ‘Give us money and jobs. Keep our prison from being overcrowded, make law enforcement’s job easier,’” said Niederdeppe. “And the con arguments are a little more ideological: ‘This is going to lead to big industry and crime and undermine the fundamental values that make America great.’”“Public perceptions of arguments supporting and opposing recreational marijuana legalization” appeared in Preventive Medicine.
Share on Twitter Email Share on Facebook Pinterest LinkedIn Share Medical marijuana patients tend to reduce their use of prescription opioid pain medications, according to new research.The study, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, investigated whether there was a “substitution effect” for medical cannabis — meaning that people with legal access to marijuana decide to use it instead of other medications. The researchers found that patients reduced their use of opioids and a number of other types of drugs after being provided with medical cannabis.“Among 1,500 medical cannabis patients, three-quarters that used opioids reported a reduction in their use after starting medical cannabis,” explained Brian J. Piper of Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, the study’s corresponding author. “Over-two thirds also reported a reduction in anti-anxiety, migraine, and sleep medications. More broadly, there is much that doctors and biomedical researchers can learn about medical cannabis, and the conditions that it is used to treat, from patients.” Piper told PsyPost he was interested researching the topic, in part, because of the ongoing opioid addiction epidemic.“I was teaching neuropharmacology courses and invited Becky DeKeuster, MEd as a guest-lecturer to present about medical cannabis and its role in health care. At the same time, I was also doing pharmacoepidemiology research looking at the tremendous rates of prescription drug use and misuse. The state I was in when this project began (Maine) was, and continues to be, battling the opioid epidemic. Also, my wife is an oncology nurse and has had to find a balance between her patient’s needs and the complex legal status of medical cannabis.”“After carefully reading what had already been done, all of these factors converged for me, and other members of the research team (including a pharmacist and two anesthesiologists) to start a research project on this timely topic,” Piper said.The patients in the study were members of medical marijuana dispensaries in Maine, Vermont, and Rhode Island. Data was collected by sending them an online survey.Piper told PsyPost the study had four main caveats: “It was completed in close collaboration with, and funded partially by, the marijuana dispensaries — 4 of the 9 authors have dispensary affiliations. All data was self-reported and the majority of patients had chronic pain. Also, this study (like all studies) is not conclusive, and further research is needed on this important, and quickly evolving, topic.”“I would like to follow up this investigation using data from medical records and looking at other populations including those with post-traumatic stress disorder, alcoholics, and patients addicted to prescription pain medications,” he added.Previous research has found that many patients would rather turn to cannabis instead of their prescribed opioid medication to treat pain.“The finding that medical cannabis patients reduce their use of opioid-type medications has been shown many, many times using various methodologies including patient surveys and epidemiological studies (e.g. decreased rates of opioid overdoses in states that have legalized medical cannabis),” Piper explained. “This repeatedly replicated result is supported by basic science studies in rats and mice which show a cross-talk between the brain’s opioid and cannabinoid neurotransmitter systems. The most novel part of this study was that this substitution effect may also apply to other classes of medications.”Piper and his colleagues also found that a patient’s friends and family were more likely to know about their use of marijuana than their primary care provider. More than one in seven patients had not told their primary care provider about their medical cannabis use.“There is currently a stigma associated with medical cannabis,” Piper told PsyPost. “Patients, doctors, and pharmacists need to do a better job of regularly and openly discussing this topic. This is especially important if patients are considering discontinuing a prescribed medication like an antidepressant or an antianxiety drug.”“From a biological standpoint, medical cannabis is a drug. The principles of pharmacology regarding dosage, potential interactions with other drugs, risks and benefits apply to medical cannabis just like they would with any other substance. Rather than view this topic from only a social or cultural viewpoint, this broader perspective may be helpful, especially as new information continues to be obtained about medical cannabis.”The study, “Substitution of medical cannabis for pharmaceutical agents for pain, anxiety, and sleep“, was also co-authored by Rebecca M DeKeuster, Monica L Beals, Catherine M Cobb, Corey A Burchman, Leah Perkinson, Shayne T Lynn, Stephanie D Nichols and Alexander T Abess.
Pinterest The group receiving bright light therapy also had a much lower average depression score of 9.2 compared to 14.9 for the placebo group and significantly higher functioning, meaning they could go back to work or complete tasks around the house they hadn’t been able to finish prior to treatment.The study was published Oct. 3 in the American Journal of Psychiatry.“Effective treatments for bipolar depression are very limited,” said lead author Dr. Dorothy Sit, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “This gives us a new treatment option for bipolar patients that we know gets us a robust response within four to six weeks.”Patients also experienced minimal side effects from the therapy. No one experienced mania or hypomania, a condition that includes a period of elation, euphoria, irritability, agitation, rapid speech, racing thoughts, a lack of focus and risk-taking behaviors.“As clinicians, we need to find treatments that avoid these side effects and allow for a nice, stable response. Treatment with bright light at midday can provide this,” said Sit, also a Northwestern Medicine psychiatrist.The study included 46 participants who had at least moderate depression, bipolar disorder and who were on a mood stabilizer. Patients were randomly assigned to either a 7,000 lux bright white light or a 50 lux placebo light. The light therapy patients were instructed to place the light box about one foot from their face for 15-minute sessions to start. Every week, they increased their exposure to the light therapy by 15-minute increments until they reached a dose of 60 minutes per day or experienced a significant change in their mood.“By starting at a lower dose and slowly marching that dose up over time, we were able to adjust for tolerability and make the treatment suitable for most patients,” Sit said.Sit and her colleagues also observed a noticeable effect of bright light therapy by four weeks, which is similar to other studies that test light therapy for non-seasonal depression and depression during pregnancy.Light therapy has conventionally been tested using morning light at awakening because previous research has suggested that morning light helps reset circadian rhythms and can be helpful in the treatment of SAD, Sit said. However, the mechanism of response is unclear in bipolar disorder. To understand the possible effects of midday bright light on circadian rhythms in patients with depression and bipolar disorder, Sit and colleagues are planning new studies to investigate. Email Share on Facebook LinkedIn Share Share on Twitter Daily exposure to bright white light at midday significantly decreased symptoms of depression and increased functioning in people with bipolar disorder, a recent Northwestern Medicine study found.Previous studies found morning bright light therapy reduced symptoms of depression in patients with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD.). But patients with bipolar disorder can experience side effects such as mania or mixed symptoms from this type of depression treatment. This study implemented a novel midday light therapy intervention in an effort to provide relief for bipolar depression and avoid those side effects.Compared to dim placebo light, study participants assigned to bright white light between noon and 2:30 p.m. for six weeks experienced a significantly higher remission rate (minimal depression and return to normal functioning). More than 68 percent of patients who received midday bright light achieved a normal level of mood, compared to 22.2 percent of patients who received the placebo light.
Email LinkedIn “When a person with high levels of psychopathic traits acts in negative ways, we may look from the outside and be confused as to how someone could choose to act so negatively – but in our work we assume that the behavior makes sense to that individual in that moment based on their experience of the situation, the information available to them and their feeling state,” Sakai said. “So we have tried to better understand why it may ‘make sense’ to an individual with psychopathy to engage in less helping behaviors and more other harming behaviors.”“When you hear a story about an uncommon act of kindness how do you feel? Ever feel warmth in your chest? Or even begin to tear up, but not with tears of sadness? Why do we react this way? Another’s kindness, even though it doesn’t benefit us directly, may change the way we feel, make us feel better about and more connected to the world, and draw from us a desire to be a better person,” he added.“Now imagine that you couldn’t feel those kinds of feelings – really feel them in a genuine way – that it was hard to feel those rewarding feelings that kindness can bring. Imagine that when you heard such a story and saw others’ reactions to it that it baffled you – that as you sat in a movie theater and watched a character make the most giving act, you saw others in the audience react and wondered why they were crying. What would that be like?”In the study, 120 young adults played an online game in which they could accept or reject a series of monetary offers. The offers provided them with a chance to earn money at the expense of a charity.Before playing the game, some of the participants watched a video of a man risking his life to save a person who had fallen onto subway tracks after experiencing a seizure. The other participants watched this video after playing the game.The researchers found that participants who watched the uncommon act of kindness before playing the game tended to take less money for themselves — but this effect was influenced by psychopathic traits.“We found that people with high levels of psychopathic traits had a blunted reaction to the video (what has been termed an Elevation response). The size of that Elevation response was also related to helping behaviors — the more responsive people were to the video, the more likely they were to help the charity at a cost to themselves,” Sakai told PsyPost.“High levels of psychopathic traits were related to less helping behaviors. We completed mediation analyses suggesting that the link between high psychopathic traits and less helping behavior is partly explained by a blunted Elevation response. So we believe that individuals with high levels of psychopathic traits may have a harder time feeling a positive emotional response to others’ kindness, having a blunted ability to feel an Elevation response. As such they may feel less internally motivated to help others.”Like all research, the study includes some caveats. The researchers examined psychopathic personality traits — callousness in particular. But that is not the same as clinical antisocial personality disorder.“In this study, we examined psychopathic traits in a general population sample. We didn’t recruit patients with psychopathy. So we can’t be sure if our results would apply to those with psychopathy without conducting additional studies,” Sakai explained.“Also, our mediation analyses are helpful but the study was not designed in a way to show causality. So although our mediation analyses are in line with our proposed model, additional studies will be needed to determine causality in the relationships between psychopathic traits, Elevation response and helping behaviors.”The study, “Testing helping behavior and its relationship to antisocial personality and psychopathic traits“, was authored by Joseph T. Sakai, Kristen M. Raymond, Shannon K. McWilliams, and Susan K. Mikulich-Gilbertson. Share on Twitter Share on Facebook People with higher levels of psychopathic traits are less likely to be influenced by a witnessing a morally inspirational act compared to individuals who show few psychopathic traits, according to a new study. The findings, which appear in the journal Psychiatry Research, suggest that psychopathic individuals inhabit a world that is “relatively lacking in positive emotional responses,” which makes them less likely to engage in prosocial behaviors.“Throughout my career, I have worked with patients with antisocial behavior problems, many of whom are involved with the criminal justice system. We sometimes focus our efforts on co-occurring disorders such as drug abuse, mood and anxiety disorders. But our lab has been partly interested in better understanding these underlying antisocial behavior tendencies,” said study author Joseph T. Sakai of the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Pinterest Share
Jul 30, 2010Study shows lower fitness, transmission in drug-resistant H1N1Researchers studied closely matched isolates of pandemic H1N1 in ferrets and found the oseltamivir (Tamiflu)-resistant strain to not transmit efficiently via droplets but to transmit well via direct contact. The oseltamivir-sensitive strain transmitted well via both routes. Although both strains caused a similar disease course, they found signs of lower viral fitness in the resistant strain. The authors said drug-resistant strains must continue to be closely monitored.http://www.plospathogens.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.ppat.1001022?rssJul 29 PLoS Pathog studyAustralians show resistance to some prevention effortsAn Australian study comparing attitudes during the pandemic with those 2 years prior showed increased hand washing but a drop in willingness to comply with certain prevention efforts. About 47% reported increased hand washing, and 28% reported increased covering of coughs and sneezes. The percent willing to be quarantined stayed about the same, but willingness to avoid public events and social gatherings for a month and to wear a mask in public dropped over the 2 years.http://www.cdc.gov/eid/content/16/8/1211.htmAug Emerg Infect Dis studyH1N1 hit Down syndrome patients hardMexican researchers compared more than 200,000 cases of flu-like severe acute respiratory illness during the pandemic with 60 patients with Down syndrome who reported the same flu-like symptoms in the same period. They found that those with Down syndrome were 16 times more likely to be hospitalized, eight times more likely to require intubation, and 335 times more likely to die from the disease. They recommend vaccination and early antiviral treatment in this group.http://www.cdc.gov/eid/content/16/8/1312.htmAug Emerg Infect Dis study