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Corina Marinescu
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I am a collection of water, calcium and organic molecules, but not a single one of the cells that compose me knows who I am, or cares ...so
I am a collection of water, calcium and organic molecules, but not a single one of the cells that compose me knows who I am, or cares ...so

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Brain ageing may begin earlier than expected
Physicists have devised a new method of investigating brain function, opening a new frontier in the diagnoses of neurodegenerative and ageing related diseases.

This new non-invasive technique could potentially be used for any diagnosis based on cardiovascular and metabolic-related diseases of the brain.

The researchers at Lancaster University (UK) and the Medical University of Gdansk (Poland) deciphered oscillations in the cerebrospinal fluid which lies between the brain and skull.

A device for non-invasive recordings of this translucent fluid was developed by researchers at the Technical University of Gdansk (Poland), and recordings on healthy subjects were made at the Medical University of Gdansk (Poland) and the University of Regina (Canada).

Using methods developed by physicists at Lancaster, it has been shown that the circulation throughout the brain of this fluid is highly fluctuating, and that these fluctuations are slow but interconnected by the rhythms of breathing and the heart rate.

Researchers found that some of these oscillations are linked with blood pressure, but are generally slower, occurring at lower frequencies, which have been shown in previous studies to be related to oscillations in vascular motion and blood oxygenation.

Preliminary results published in Scientific Reports showed evidence of a decline in the coherence between these oscillations in participants over the age of 25, indicating that brain ageing may begin earlier than expected.

Professor Aneta Stefanovska from Lancaster University, who has been studying the physics of biological oscillations for over 20 years, said: “Combining the technique to noninvasively record the fluctuation corresponding to cerebrospinal fluid and our sophisticated methods to analyse oscillations which are not clock-like but rather vary in time around their natural values, we have come to an interesting and non-invasive method that can be used to study ageing and changes due to various neurodegenerative diseases.“

Source:
http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/news/articles/2018/brain-ageing-may-begin-earlier-than-expected/

Journal article:
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-21038-0

#cerebrospinalfluid #brainage #neurodegenerativediseases #subarachnoidspace #bloodpressure #oscillations #neuroscience



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Glowing Elements in the Soul Nebula
Stars are forming in the Soul of the Queen of Aethopia. More specifically, a large star forming region called the Soul Nebula (IC 1898) can be found in the direction of the constellation Cassiopeia, who Greek mythology credits as the vain wife of a King who long ago ruled lands surrounding the upper Nile river.

The Soul Nebula houses several open clusters of stars, a large radio source known as W5, and huge evacuated bubbles formed by the winds of young massive stars. Located about 6,500 light years away, the Soul Nebula spans about 100 light years and is usually imaged next to its celestial neighbor the Heart Nebula (IC 1805). The featured image is a composite of three exposures in different colors: red as emitted by hydrogen gas, yellow as emitted by sulfur, and blue as emitted by oxygen.

Image & info via APOD
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html
Image Credit & Copyright: Jesús M.Vargas & Maritxu Poyal

#space #NASA #universe #science #nebula
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How the brain responds to injustice
Punishing a wrongdoer may be more rewarding to the brain than supporting a victim. That is one suggestion of new research published in JNeurosci, which measured the brain activity of young men while they played a “justice game.”

Study participants played a game in which two players – a “Taker” and a “Partner” – each start out with 200 chips. The Taker can steal up to 100 of the Partner’s chips, and then the Partner can retaliate by spending up to 100 chips to reduce the Taker’s stash by up to 300 chips. Participants played as either a Partner or an Observer, who could either punish the Taker or help the Partner by spending chips to increase the Partner’s stash.

Mirre Stallen and colleagues found that participants were more willing to punish the Taker when they experienced injustice directly as a Partner as opposed to a third-party Observer. The decision to punish was associated with activity in the ventral striatum, a brain region involved in reward processing, and distinguishable from the severity of the punishment.

Before beginning the experiment, all participants were given a nasal spray, with some randomly assigned to receive the hormone oxytocin, which has been suggested to have a role in punishing. Participants in the oxytocin group chose to give more frequent, but less intense, punishments. This finding implicates oxytocin in corrective punishments akin to a “slap on the wrist” to maintain fairness.

Source:
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/sfn-htb021418.php

Journal article:
http://www.jneurosci.org/content/38/12/2944

#oxytocin #neuroimaging #brainactivity #punishment #socialinjustice #neuroscience

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Active Prominences on a Quiet Sun
Why is the Sun so quiet? As the Sun enters into a period of time known as a Solar Minimum, it is, as expected, showing fewer sunspots and active regions than usual. The quietness is somewhat unsettling, though, as so far this year, most days show no sunspots at all. In contrast, from 2011 - 2015, during Solar Maximum, the Sun displayed spots just about every day.

Maxima and minima occur on an 11-year cycle, with the last Solar Minimum being the most quiet in a century. Will this current Solar Minimum go even deeper? Even though the Sun's activity affects the Earth and its surroundings, no one knows for sure what the Sun will do next, and the physics behind the processes remain an active topic of research. The featured image was taken three weeks ago and shows that our Sun is busy even on a quiet day. Prominences of hot plasma, some larger than the Earth, dance continually and are most easily visible over the edge.

Image & info via APOD
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html
Image Credit & Copyright: Alan Friedman (Averted Imagination)

#NASA #space #universe #science #sun
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Parker Solar Probe Marks First Mission Milestones on Voyage to Sun
Just two days after launch on Aug. 12, 2018, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe achieved several planned milestones toward full commissioning and operations, announced mission controllers at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, or APL, in Laurel, Maryland.

On Aug. 13, the high-gain antenna, which Parker Solar Probe uses to communicate high-rate science data to Earth, was released from locks which held it stable during launch. Controllers have also been monitoring the spacecraft as it autonomously uses its thrusters to remove (or “dump”) momentum, which is part of the flight operations of the spacecraft. Managing momentum helps the spacecraft remain in a stable and optimal flight profile.

There are four instrument suites on board Parker Solar Probe, which will each need to be powered and readied for science data collection. The FIELDS investigation, which consists of the most elements, went first. It was powered up on Aug. 13 for two activities. First was the opening of the clamps which held four of the five FIELDS antennas stowed during takeoff. These antennas will be deployed roughly 30 days after launch, and they will stick out from the corners of the spacecraft’s heat shield – called the Thermal Protection System – and be exposed to the harsh solar environment. Second, the spacecraft’s magnetometer boom was fully deployed. This boom contains three magnetometers and a fifth, smaller electric field antenna, all part of the FIELDS suite. Further instrument check-outs and deployments are scheduled in the coming days for the spacecraft.

As of 12:00 p.m. EDT on Aug. 16, Parker Solar Probe was 2.9 million miles from Earth, traveling at 39,000 mph, and heading toward its first Venus flyby scheduled for Oct. 3, 2018, at 4:44 a.m. EDT. The spacecraft will use Venus to slightly slow itself and adjust its trajectory for an optimal path toward first perihelion of the Sun on Nov. 5, 2018, at 10:27 p.m. EST (Nov. 6, 2018, at 03:27 UTC).

Source:
http://parkersolarprobe.jhuapl.edu/News-Center/Show-Article.php?articleID=95

#NASA #space #science #parkersolarprobe #universe
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“Volumes” is an experimental art film by Maxim Zhestkov using physics-based particle animation. Waves and unseen forces send billions of color-changing particles aloft in the film. The motions – especially the way the particles seem to tear themselves – are reminiscent of a complex fluid, like yogurt. These substances have both liquid-like (viscous) and solid-like (elastic) properties depending on the forces they experience. Zhestkov’s particles are similar; they move like a fluid but tear more like a solid.

Watch the video:
https://vimeo.com/257761811

#fluiddynamics #science #physics #granularmotion #complexfluids #nonNewtonianfluids #viscoelasticity
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YOU MATTER, unless you multiply yourself by the speed of light squared, then YOU ENERGY.
~Neil deGrasse Tyson

#wordsofwisdom
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Can't get an image out of your head? Your eyes are helping to keep it there
Even though you are not aware of it, your eyes play a role in searing an image into your brain, long after you have stopped looking at it.

Through brain imaging, Baycrest scientists have found evidence that the brain uses eye movements to help people recall vivid moments from the past, paving the way for the development of visual tests that could alert doctors earlier about those at risk for neurodegenerative illnesses.

The study, published in the journal Cerebral Cortex, found that when people create a detailed mental image in their head, not only do their eyes move in the same way as when they first saw the picture, their brains showed a similar pattern of activity.

“There’s a theory that when you remember something, it’s like the brain is putting together a puzzle and reconstructing the experience of that moment from separate parts,” says Dr. Bradley Buchsbaum, senior author on the study, scientist at Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute (RRI) and psychology professor at the University of Toronto. “The pattern of eye movements is like the blueprint that the brain uses to piece different parts of the memory together so that we experience it as a whole.”

This is the first time a direct connection has been established between a person’s eye movements and patterns of brain activity, which follows up on previous studies linking what we see to how we remember.

In the study, researchers used a mathematical algorithm to analyze the brain scans and eye movements of 16 young adults between the ages of 20 to 28. Individuals were shown a set of 14 distinct images for a few seconds each. They were asked to remember as many details of the picture as possible so they could visualize it later on. Participants were then cued to mentally visualize the images within an empty rectangular box shown on the screen. Brain imaging and eye-tracking technology simultaneously captured the brain activity and eye movements of the participants as they memorized and remembered the pictures.

The study, led by RRI graduate student Michael Bone, discovered the same pattern of eye movements and brain activation, but compressed, when the picture was memorized and then remembered.

“This is likely because when we recall a memory, it’s a condensed version of the original experience. For example, if a marriage proposal took two minutes, when we picture this memory in our head, we re-experience it in a much shorter timeframe,” says Dr. Buchsbaum. “The eye movements are like a short-hand code that your brain runs through to trigger the memory.”

By looking at the patterns of eye movement and brain activity, researchers were able to identify which image a person was remembering during the task.

As next steps, the study will explore distinguishing whether the eye movements lead the brain to reactivate the memory or vice versa. Having a greater understanding of this causal relationship could inform the creation of a diagnostic tool using the eyes to catch when a person’s memory is headed down an unhealthy path, adds Dr. Buchsbaum.

Source:
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/bcfg-cga021318.php

Journal article:
https://academic.oup.com/cercor/advance-article/doi/10.1093/cercor/bhy014/4836786

#eyemovements #neuroimaging #brainactivity #memory #mentalimagery #neuroscience #research
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"Philosophy is a science, and as such has no articles of faith; accordingly, in it nothing can be assumed as existing except what is either positively given empirically, or demonstrated through indubitable conclusions."
~Arthur Schopenhauer - Parerga and Paralipomena

Insomnia, sometimes, makes me think at some books I've read, also brings back some Mozart sound-waves....especially the piano concert no.26 in D&A major ;)

Schopenhauer is a bold diver of deep and dark water of human condition that showed the failures of the existence manquée, whose basis is egocentrism, strong attachment for material stuff, and a shallow vision of the mysteries of life. In short, this book is a superlative tractate on moral philosophy, an essential companion for learned people.

If you're a book worm and enjoy philosophy you should not miss Parega & Paralipomena.

#personalnonsense #ArthurSchopenhauer #philiminds
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Seeing Titan
Shrouded in a thick atmosphere, Saturn's largest moon Titan really is hard to see. Small particles suspended in the upper atmosphere cause an almost impenetrable haze, strongly scattering light at visible wavelengths and hiding Titan's surface features from prying eyes. But Titan's surface is better imaged at infrared wavelengths where scattering is weaker and atmospheric absorption is reduced.

Arrayed around this centered visible light image of Titan are some of the clearest global infrared views of the tantalizing moon so far. In false color, the six panels present a consistent processing of 13 years of infrared image data from the Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) on board the Cassini spacecraft. They offer a stunning comparison with Cassini's visible light view.

Image & info via APOD
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html
Image Credit: VIMS Team, U. Arizona, ESA, NASA

#space #universe #Titan #ESA #NASA #science
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