Leading international experts in the field of health tourism at the HTI conference

first_imgPrestigious HTI (Health Tourism Industry) conference, which is being held in Croatia for the second time from February 28 to March 2 in Hotel Lone in Rovinj, through a rich program and accompanying facilities will bring together leading national and international experts, top lecturers and panelists and exclusive guests from the field of health tourism. WITHThe participants of the conference will also receive a special lecture by the luxury travel expert of the famous actress Eva LaRue, who gained world fame by playing detective Natalia Boa Vista in the American series CSI Miami. The seventh edition of the HTI conference is interesting for its innovative 3in1 integrated gathering that includes two more international events – ILHA (International Luxury Hotel Association) Summit and TTM (Taste the Mediterranean) Festival. As part of the program, awards will be given to the best destinations in health tourism based on the Medical Tourism Index survey. In the survey, which involved over 5 participants, the United Kingdom received the most votes, followed by Germany and France.The partner of the conference is the Croatian National Tourist Board, whose workshop “Buy Croatia” for health tourism will gather over 40 large customers of services from around the world, which is certainly a good opportunity to position themselves and find out what the wishes and needs of clients.last_img read more

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Location permit for the golf project on Srđ revoked

first_imgAt the Administrative Court in Split, the location permit for the apartment project Srđa was revoked.After the abolition of decisions to increase the golf course on Srđ from 100 to 310 hectares, after the abolition of the solution of acceptability for the environmental impact study of the project, we believe that all conditions have been met to delete this project from the county spatial plans, said Green Action lawyer Enes Ćerimagić added that all previous court judgments against management decisions related to the project have ensured the avoidance of compensation to the investor. Greyhound.Representatives of the initiative “Srđ is ours” and “Green Action” Đuro Capor and Enes Ćerimagić called on Dubrovnik-Neretva County Prefect Nikola Dobroslavić to delete the golf project from the spatial plans of Dubrovnik-Neretva County because its location permit was annulled by the ruling of the Administrative Court in Split. “We are currently in the process of amending the spatial plan of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County and we ask that this project be deleted in them, because otherwise everything would be ignoring court rulings. It is the prefect’s turn, it is now clear that there will be nothing from the project ” Ćerimagić points out for Hrt.Photo: foeeurope.orgBy the way, on 12 October 2015, the Ministry of Construction and Physical Planning issued a location permit for the golf project on Srđ to the applicant company Razvoj Golf at a time when the Government Zoran Milanovic was technical, and at the head of that department of the HNS Anka Mrak Taritaš. The permit became enforceable on October 23 of that year, and included the construction of a sports and recreation center with a golf course (18 + 9 holes), construction of a water supply system (pipeline and facilities) and reconstruction of the public road from the Adriatic Highway (D8) to Bosanka.The now revoked location permit states that the company Razvoj Golf submitted the request on July 31, 2015 and that the planned intervention is carried out in accordance with the county spatial plan, PPU and GUP of the City of Dubrovnik, as well as UPU sports and recreation center with a golf course and tourist zones Bosanka north and Bosanka south.last_img read more

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The Inspire Fusion investment fund has taken over the travel agency Kompas

first_imgThe process of taking over 86% of the total share in the joint stock company Kompas dd from Zagreb has been completed, making the company Inspire Investments doo the majority owner of this travel agency on behalf of the Inspire Fusion Fund. The signing of the Agreement ended the months-long process of in-depth business analysis and the completed transaction, which was certified by Matko Bolanča on behalf of the Fund, and Ivan Pukšar, the current majority owner of Kompas dd. The exact amount of the transaction is not available to the public as it is contractually protected as a business secret.The strategy of Inspire Investments, as previously announced by the Fund, is based on the processes of consolidation of business entities whose business covers the service sector, which is mostly dependent on tourism. The takeover of Kompas is a new step by which the Fund seeks to create a group based on business within the tourism sector. The consolidation project will certainly gain new contours in the future, as the intention is to further strengthen the business. New potential acquisitions in the future are aimed at further refining and strengthening the group headed by Inspire Investments, owned by Matko Bolanča and Krešimir Kukec.According to Matko Bolanča, the Fund’s investment strategy that promotes highly potent investments in companies with the aim of enriching value for our investor partners has made a new, strategically important step through investing in a business entity that shows exceptional potential for significant growth and expansion. “Our intention is to create certain strategic changes in the focus of Kompas’ business in the near future. This is especially true of strengthening incoming business. Thus, we plan to create the desired prerequisites for the improvement of all other business segments and create a potent business project. We can already announce that by changing the business model through the application of innovative technologies and business procedures, we will strive to make significant strides in the context of further business growth and profitability. This by no means means that we will change or negatively affect the stability of the workforce, but we will focus on improving their knowledge and refocusing on the potency of business priorities. In the long run, our goal is to create a stable and strong tourism story that will achieve the set business results through the strengthening of existing business and the application of new service models. Both at the level of profitability and at the level of overall financial stability.”As we find out, Ivan Pukšar, the current majority owner, still remains a part of Kompas, and he will perform the function of an advisor to the Management Board, which will continue to help create the business success of Kompas with his exceptional knowledge and experience.By taking over one of the leading domestic tourist agencies, Kompas dd, Inspire Investnents continues the announced investments in the tourism sector. With the earlier takeover of FLEET rent a car, and future investments in the most potent economic sector, the construction of a new, strong grouping entity will begin, which will further improve the development of tourism in the coming years and certainly positively affect the overall result of domestic tourism.By the way, the travel agency Kompas Zagreb celebrated 25 years of pols this year. It currently operates through eight branches, and has been recording stable revenues for the past four years, and last year ended with a revenue increase of over 20 percent.last_img read more

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Crowdsourcing brain data: Overnight experiment creates social brain lab

first_imgThe installation was one of the most popular at Nuit Blanche, with an average lineup wait time of two hours.Studying brains in a social and multi-sensory environment is closer to real life and may help scientists to approach questions of complex real-life social cognition that otherwise are not accessible in traditional labs that study one person’s cognitive functions at a time.“In traditional lab settings, the environment is so controlled that you can lose some of the fine points of real-time brain activity that occur in a social life setting,” said Dr. Kovacevic, creative producer of My Virtual Dream and program manager of the Centre for Integrative Brain Dynamics at Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute.“What we’ve done is taken the lab to the public. We collaborated with multi-media artists, made this experiment incredibly engaging, attracted highly motivated subjects which is not easy to do in the traditional lab setting, and collected useful scientific data from their experience.”Results from the experiment not only demonstrated the scientific viability of collective neurofeedback as a potential new avenue of neuroscience research that takes into account individuality, complexity and sociability of the human mind, but yielded new evidence that neurofeedback learning can have an effect on the brain almost immediately.Neurofeedback learning supports mindful awareness and joins a growing market for wearable biofeedback devices. The device used in this study, Muse™, is a clinical-grade EEG brain computer interface (BCI) headband that helps individuals to be more aware of their brain states (relaxed versus focused versus distracted) and learn self-regulation of brain function to fit their personal goals.A total of 523 adults (209 males, 314 females), ranging in age from 18 to 89, with an average age of 31, contributed their EEG brain data for the study. Each session involved 20 participants being seated in a semicircle in front of a stage and divided into four groups (“pods”) of five. They played a collective neurofeedback computer game where they were required to manipulate their mental states of relaxation and concentration. The neurofeedback training lasted 6.5 minutes, which is much shorter than typical neurofeedback training experiments.The massive amount of EEG data collected in one night yielded an interesting and statistically relevant finding – that subtle brain activity changes were taking place within approximately one minute of the neurofeedback learning exercise – unprecedented speed of learning changes that have not been demonstrated before.“These results really open up a whole new domain of neuroscience study that actively engages the public to advance our understanding of the brain,” said Dr. Randy McIntosh, director of the Rotman Research Institute and vice-president of Research at Baycrest. He is a senior author on the paper.The idea for the Nuit Blanche art -science experiment was inspired by Baycrest’s ongoing international project to build the world’s first functional, virtual brain – a research and diagnostic tool that could one day revolutionize brain healthcare.Baycrest cognitive neuroscientists collaborated with artists and gaming and wearable technology industry partners for over a year to create the My Virtual Dream installation. Partners included the University of Toronto, Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, Muse™ and Uken Games.Plans are underway to travel My Virtual Dream to other cities around the world. Share on Twitter Email Share Share on Facebookcenter_img Pinterest Neuroscientists in Toronto have shown that crowdsourcing brain data with hundreds of adults in a short period of time could be a new frontier in neuroscience and lead to new insights about the brain.Dr. Natasha Kovacevic of Baycrest Health Sciences’ Rotman Research Institute is the lead author of a scientific paper on the crowdsourcing experiment — “My Virtual Dream: Collective Neurofeedback in an Immersive Art Environment” — published online today in the journal PLOS ONE.More than 500 adults aged 18 and older participated in the experiment at the 2013 Scotiabank Nuit Blanche arts event in Toronto. Baycrest, in partnership with the University of Toronto and industry partners, created a large-scale art-science installation called My Virtual Dream. Festival-goers were invited to wear a Muse™ wireless electroencephalography (EEG) headband and participate in a brief collective neurofeedback experience in groups of 20 inside a 60-foot geodesic dome. The group’s collective EEG signals triggered a specific catalogue of artistic imagery displayed on the dome’s 360-degree interior, along with spontaneous musical interpretation by live musicians on stage. LinkedInlast_img read more

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Scientists pinpoint regulator of amphetamine induced motor activity

first_imgShare “A pair of proteins operates through a protein-protein interaction network–what we call a ‘Rhesactome’–in the striatum,” Subramaniam said. “This may have much broader implications in neurological, psychiatric and addictive disorders. Drugs that bind to either of these proteins may have therapeutic benefits for the diseases that affect this part of the brain.”The study focused on amphetamine-induced activity affected by what is known as RasGRP1-Rhes signaling circuitry. Drugs like amphetamine, which trigger dopamine release in the striatum, enhance locomotor activity. Rhes acts as a kind of brake on the amphetamine-induced locomotion; in order for normal motor activity to occur, the RasGRP1 and other protein partners in the Rhesactome network induced by amphetamine have to block Rhes. It is the calibrated interaction of Rhes with the protein RasGRP1 that adjusts striatal control of motor functions.In the study, the researchers succeeded in using RasGRP1 to inhibit Rhes-mediated control of striatal motor activity in animal models. Animal models that were Rhes-deficient had a much stronger active behavioral response to amphetamines. But all that changed if RasGRP1 was depleted.“It’s a delicate and highly complex relationship,” Subramaniam said. “Imagine that you are running. This protein complex carefully controls that motor function by modulating the effect of Rhes. That’s why you need to have the double control elements of both RasGRP1 and Rhes to fine-tune those motor functions. Our study captures this dynamic complex, so that now for the first time we can biochemically visualize it at the network level.”What remains unknown at this point is how RasGRP1 actually modulates Rhes.“We speculate that both transcriptional and post-transcriptional mechanisms are involved,” said TSRI Staff Scientist Neelam Shahani, the first author of the study. “Considering that the Rhes protein is enhanced predominantly at synaptic locations, one intriguing possibility is that RasGRP1 regulates local translation of Rhes messenger RNA at the synapse.” Pinterest Email Share on Facebookcenter_img Share on Twitter LinkedIn In new findings that could have an impact the development of therapies for a number of currently untreatable brain disorders such as Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases, scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have found, for the first time, that a specific signaling circuit in the brain is deeply involved in motor activity.The study, which was led by TSRI’s Associate Professor Srinivasa Subramaniam, was published November 15 in the journal Science Signaling.Despite many advances, the precise signaling mechanisms that regulate motor function in the striatum, that part of the brain responsible for motor activity, remain unknown. The new study identified for the first time a protein interaction network that helps control these functions by inhibiting the signaling of dopamine, a neurotransmitter involved in regulating movement.last_img read more

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Deep brain stimulation may not boost memory

first_imgDeep brain stimulation (DBS) of areas in the brain known to be involved in making memories does not improve memory performance, according to a study by Columbia University researchers published December 7 in Neuron. The study found a range of memory impairment of 5% to 20% with stimulation. No participants showed memory improvement. The study negates earlier findings that suggested a benefit.But the research doesn’t close the book on DBS as a possible intervention for individuals with memory problems caused by disease or trauma. Rather, the findings suggest that if this specific form of stimulation diminishes memory performance, another approach may improve it. “We may need a different kind of stimulation protocol to affect this region in a good direction,” says lead investigator Joshua Jacobs, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science.Jacobs’ investigation was inspired by a 2012 study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine (DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1107212) that showed a 64% improvement in memory performance for memories formed while subjects were experiencing brain stimulation. The findings were encouraging, but they ran counter to scientific evidence suggesting that the kind of stimulation used in the study would inhibit neurons and potentially impair memory. “We had conflicting thoughts,” says Jacobs. “So we thought it would be important to replicate this kind of finding.” Share on Twitter LinkedIn Pinterest Sharecenter_img Deep brain stimulation is an invasive technique that involves the implantation of electrodes deep into the brain and then running current through them to electrically stimulate nearby neurons. To test the technique, both studies recruited epilepsy patients who already had electrodes implanted for the purpose of mapping seizures.Both studies presented subjects with similar memory tasks. A spatial task involved remembering the location of an object in a 3D virtual space. Participants would navigate through the space to find an object. During control sessions, they received no stimulation. In stimulation sessions, they would experience 50 pulses of electrical current per second for 5 seconds. “Stimulation occurs only during the time that people are encoding the memory,” says Jacobs. “The task was well controlled.”A verbal task involved recalling words on a list. Electrical pulses were delivered for 4.6 seconds while participants studied the list.The studies differed, however, in that Jacobs observed his subjects as they performed 48 memory retrievals per session, 8 times as many as in the previous study. He also enrolled 49 subjects. The previous study included 7. “It’s quite a bit bigger and more statistically powered, so it’s more likely to produce accurate results,” says Jacobs.None of the participants showed statistically significant improvement. On average across both tasks, stimulation of the entorhinal cortex resulted in a reduced accuracy in memories of 9% compared to non-stimulated memories. Stimulation of the hippocampus resulted in 8% impairment on average. Impairment ranged from 5% to 20% across all regions stimulated for both tasks.The study’s measurement of spatial memory also differed from the earlier study. To measure spatial memory, participants revisited the 3D virtual space–this time, without the object being present in the space and without stimulation–and navigated to the place they recalled to be the object’s location. Jacobs’ team then calculated how far off the remembered locations were from actual locations.In the previous study, the objects remained visible in the virtual space during the recall test, potentially skewing results in the positive direction for participants lucky enough to spot the object while navigating the space.Such confounders often occur in early studies of new techniques, say Jacobs. Follow-on studies are important because they improve methods. “Theirs was a first study of its kind,” says Jacobs. “It’s important to improve the protocol in a way that quantifies spatial memory more precisely.”While the study did not improve memory, it did show that it is possible to alter a neural process as complex as memory using electrical stimulation. So Jacobs and colleagues are currently working to devise more complex DBS interventions that respond to brain activity in real time and boost memory in the positive direction. “The simple approach to stimulation doesn’t work very well, so we’re trying to develop more a more advanced approach,” he says. Share on Facebook Emaillast_img read more

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Study: Negative automatic thoughts linked to distressing sexual symptoms

first_imgShare on Twitter Email PsyPost interviewed the study’s corresponding author, Maria Manuela Peixoto of the University of Porto. Read her responses below:PsyPost: Why were you interested in this topic?The article entitled “Automatic thoughts during sexual activity, distressing sexual symptoms, and sexual orientation: Findings from a web-survey” is part of a larger project, regarding cognitive-affective dimensions and distressing sexual symptoms in heterosexuals, gay men and lesbian women. This was my PhD project, between April 2011 and December 2014, funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology, supervised by Professor Pedro Nobre, at University of Porto, Portugal. The cognitive-affective dimensions we study were: personality traits, dysfunctional sexual beliefs, cognitive schemas activated in sexual context, and automatic thoughts and affective responses during sexual activity.My interest in this topics started in 2009, during my master’s degree in Clinical Psychology. My supervisor, Professor Pedro Nobre developed a Cognitive-Affective Model for Sexual Dysfunctions, based on more than ten years of studies with heterosexual samples. My interest was related to sexual minorities, namely gay men and lesbian women. Therefore, my main goal was to address the same dimensions he used in his model, but with gay men and lesbian women, with sexual difficulties.Particularly, automatic thoughts represent a core maintenance factor for sexual problems, according to a cognitive-behavioral perspective. As a cognitive-behavioral psychologist, addressing this dimension with sexual minorities was a necessity. Although a couple of studies previously addressed the role of non-erotic thoughts with sexual minorities, and their relationship with sexual functioning, our goal was to address several cognitive dimensions, previously addressed with heterosexual men and women, and establish differences and similarities according to sexual orientation.What should the average person take away from your study?This particular study highlighted the role of automatic thoughts, namely erotic thoughts during sexual activity, as a core variable for a better sexual functioning, regardless of sexual orientation. More erotic thoughts in sexual context, and less negative thoughts (namely thoughts related with failure anticipation or erection concerns in men, and for instance failure and disengagement thoughts in women) are strongly associated with a better sexual response in gay and heterosexual men, as well as in lesbian and heterosexual women. Promoting erotic thoughts, and an erotic cognitive background may help both heterosexuals, gay men and lesbian women, to improve their levels of sexual desire and arousal, reaching orgasm and have increased levels of sexual satisfaction.Are there any major caveats? What questions still need to be addressed?Although this pilot study addresses an understudied topic, there are still questions that need to be addressed in the future. This study focused only on gay men and lesbian women, and no bisexual men and women have been included. Moreover, specific automatic thoughts for gay and bisexual men, as for lesbian and bisexual women, should also be assessed. Additionally, although men and women with distressing sexual symptoms have been recruited, no clinical diagnoses have been made during this research project. Exploratory and qualitative studies should be conducted in order to assess this understudied topic and overcome this limitations.Is there anything else you would like to add?This study was part of a larger project conducted at SexLab, at Center for Psychology at University of Porto, under the supervision of Professor Pedro Nobre, director of SexLab, and with a PhD Grant from Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology. With this and other six studies I received my PhD degree in Psychology, in december 2014 from University of Porto. Currently I am a researcher at Psychology Research Center, at University of Minho, Portugal. I’m running several studies, with Psychology Master Students, regarding clinical sexology, and I recently received my Sex Therapist certificate by Portuguese Society for Clinical Sexology.The study was titled: “Automatic Thoughts During Sexual Activity, Distressing Sexual Symptoms, and Sexual Orientation: Findings from a Web Survey“. Share on Facebook Pinterestcenter_img Share New research published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy suggests that automatic thoughts during sex play an important role in sexual functioning.The study of 156 men and 168 women found negative automatic thoughts and fewer erotic thoughts during sexual activity was associated with distressing sexual symptoms. This was true of both male and female participants, regardless of their sexual orientation.Men with distressing sexual symptoms were more likely to report automatic thoughts related to failure and erection concerns. Women with distressing sexual symptoms, on the other hand, were more likely to report automatic thoughts related to disengagement, sexual abuse, sexual passivity, partner’s lack of affection, and lack of erotic thoughts. LinkedInlast_img read more

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Study links cyberchondria to the belief that dwelling on thoughts is uncontrollable

first_imgShare on Twitter Research published in the journal Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy sheds new light on cyberchondria — the relatively new phenomenon of health anxiety that is caused by excessive use of internet health websites. The new study found that cyberchondria is linked to both problematic Internet use and metacognitive beliefs.“This research is an extension of prior research I have completed examining the escalation of health anxiety following repeated internet searches for medical information (sometimes referred to as ‘cyberchondria’). A particular focus of this study was better understanding how beliefs individuals hold may contribute to that escalation of health anxiety,” said the study’s corresponding author, Thomas A. Fergus of Baylor University.For their study, the researchers surveyed nearly 600 U.S. adults who had used the internet to search for health-related information. Fergus and his colleague found a correlation between cyberchondria and problematic Internet use. People who agreed with statements such as “I find it hard stop worrying about symptoms or perceived medical conditions that I have researched online” and “I trust my GP/medical professional’s diagnosis over my online self-diagnosis” were more likely to also have problems with controlling their Internet use.In addition, cyberchondria was correlated with a particular belief about our thoughts. People who scored higher on the cyberchondria test were also more likely to believe that “dwelling on thoughts of illness is uncontrollable.”“The main study findings are that cyberchondria is related to difficulties managing internet use in general (not specifically tied to internet use surrounding medical information),” Fergus explained. “Beliefs individuals hold about their own thinking — known as metacognitive beliefs — appear particularly relevant to cyberchondria. Metacognitive beliefs that individuals hold pertaining to not having control over their health-related thoughts were most robustly related to cyberchondria.”The study was the first to examine the relationship between metacognitive beliefs and cyberchondria, but — as usual — more research is needed. The study employed a cross-sectional design, preventing the researchers from drawing any inferences about cause and effect.“This study represents preliminary findings and future research is needed to examine whether metacognitive beliefs represent a cause or consequence of cyberchondria,” Fergus told PsyPost. “Undoubtedly, other variables warrant consideration in a comprehensive model of cyberchondria. My research team is looking to examine those variables in the service of detailing such a model of cyberchondria.”Obsessively searching the web for possible health conditions can be problematic, but there is nothing wrong with occasionally researching medical information on the internet.“It is important to note that not all internet searches for medical information are maladaptive, as, for many individuals, internet searches for medical information leads to a sense of relief and/or improved health awareness,” Fergus said.The study, “Cyberchondria: Examining relations with problematic Internet use and metacognitive beliefs“, was also co-authored by Marcantonio M. Spada. LinkedIn Share on Facebookcenter_img Share Pinterest Emaillast_img read more

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New study reveals how skydiving impacts your testosterone and cortisol levels

first_imgShare Share on Facebook “This study seemed like the perfect opportunity to check our assumptions about testosterone. The prior literature also emphasized skydiving as stressful, but we hypothesized that it is both thrilling and stressful, and that the stress response and testosterone would actually work together during skydiving,” Shirtcliff said.The study of 44 participants between the ages of 18 and 50 examined physiological and hormonal reactions to skydiving. The study included both experienced skydivers and first-timers.The researchers collected saliva samples from the participants at multiple times both before and after the skydivers made their jump from 14,000ft. The samples were used to measure testosterone and cortisol levels. The participants also wore an Actiheart device, which monitored their heart rate before, during, and after the jump.Testosterone increased leading up to the jump and then recovered afterward. This reactivity was especially pronounced among those who scored higher on a measure of sensation seeking. The researchers also found that greater higher testosterone reactivity was related to greater cortisol reactivity and higher heart rate.“Testosterone has gotten a bad reputation, but it isn’t about aggression or being a jerk. Testosterone helps to motivate us to achieve goals and rewards. For those who find skydiving desirable (and are willing to do it), testosterone reactivity reflects those thrilling reward,” Shirtcliff told PsyPost.“The body’s stress response also is active, helping testosterone to be more reactive and for skydiving to become even more fun and exciting. This thrill wasn’t just within sensation-seekers as that trait enhanced testosterone reactivity distinctly from the body’s stress response.”“An important caveat is that the study was conducted on people who enjoy – and sought out – skydiving. The results should not be extrapolated to people where the thought of skydiving makes their stomach churn and palms sweat,” Shirtcliff noted.Though men had higher testosterone levels in general, there was no significant difference found between testosterone reactivity in female and male participants.“An important question that still needs to be addressed is about gender. We examined both males and females. We found the expected gender differences in testosterone levels, but both males and females showed equivalent testosterone reactivity. This rise in testosterone could exert a much larger physiological effect on females than males during skydiving and other exciting or engaging contexts,” Shirtcliff explained.“This project represents the collective passion of many students and scholars in my SPIT lab,” she added. “I personally have been inspired by these young scholars to pursue research questions that seem so basic or obvious that they must have already been asked, but surprisingly, have gone unanswered. It also represents the dedication of GoldCoast Skydivers for letting a group of scientists show up with cryovials at the edge of a drop zone.”The study, “Putting the Flight in ‘Fight-or-Flight’: Testosterone reactivity to skydiving is modulated by Autonomic Activation“, was authored by Share on Twitter New research sheds light on the hormonal fluctuations associated with skydiving. The research, published in the journal Biological Psychology, indicates that both the sex hormone testosterone and the stress-related hormone cortisol increase in anticipation of a thrilling event.“I was convinced by some stellar students to conduct this study and much of the impetus behind it is from them putting their ideas into action. They wanted to examine skydiving as a stressor and pointed out that the prior evidence was mixed about that,” said study author Elizabeth (Birdie) Shirtcliff, an associate professor at Iowa State University.“Since skydiving is thrilling, they asked if we could assay testosterone. It seemed obvious that testosterone – a hormone that is reactive to exciting and rewarding activities – would rise in response to skydiving, but the prior literature suggested the opposite.”center_img LinkedIn Pinterest Emaillast_img read more

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Psychedelics seem to alter social cognition by modifying facial emotion recognition

first_imgShare on Facebook Share Pinterest Share on Twitter Psychedelic drugs like LSD reduce the recognition of negative facial emotions by altering activity the amygdala, a brain region known to be important for responses to threatening situations, according to a systematic review published in Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology.“We have been investigating the effects of ayahuasca on humans in the last 15 years. It seems that its effects — and the effects of other serotonergic hallucinogens such as LSD and psilocybin — involve modifications of emotional processing, which could contribute to its therapeutic effects on depression and anxiety,” said study author Rafael Guimarães dos Santos, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Sao Paulo.The researchers examined two previous studies on LSD and five previous studies on psilocybin. All seven experimental studies evaluated the recognition of facial expressions.center_img Email LinkedIn “Our most consistent finding was that these drugs reduced the recognition of negative emotions and modulated amygdala activity to these stimuli. This effect was correlated with antidepressive effects in depressed patients, but since this was observed only in a single study with an open-label design, it is difficult to conclude if this result has any clinical relevance,” the researchers explained in their review.Previous research has also indicated that individuals suffering from anxiety disorders and depression tend to have an bias in favor of the recognition of negative facial emotions. Reducing the recognition of negative facial emotions could in theory help treat those conditions.“Altering emotional processing by modifying facial emotion recognition could be one of the mechanisms involved in the therapeutic potentials of ayahuasca and other serotonergic hallucinogens.” Santos told PsyPost.“Indeed, the studies reviewed showed that a single dose or a few doses of LSD or psilocybin was associated with a modified pattern of recognition of negative emotions that could be interpreted as beneficial, since several of these studies showed that these modifications were correlated with increases in positive mood and/or anxiolytic and antidepressant effects,” the researchers wrote.Santos noted, however, that his team of researchers were only able to find a relatively small number of studies on the topic — and those studies had small sample sizes.The article, “Serotonergic hallucinogens and recognition of facial emotion expressions: a systematic review of the literature“, was authored by Juliana M. Rocha, Flávia L. Osório, José Alexandre S. Crippa, José Carlos Bouso, Giordano N. Rossi, Jaime E. C. Hallak, and Rafael G. dos Santos.last_img read more

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