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What the Nose Tells the Mind

Abstract

Brain-friendly learning is a new catchphrase in school and university instructional practice. However, it often escapes the notice of the teachers and learners involved that neurodidactics is not simply a plausible concept – it can also be a myth if applied incorrectly. Numerous international studies show that both pre-service and in-service teachers as well as university educators endorse misconceptions on the topic of learning and the brain and orient their didactic conception on so-called neuromyths. This paper presents nine neuromyths on the topic of learning and memory. Based on a review of the current research, we discuss what determines their emergence and prevalence, to what extent neuromyths pose a problem for practice, and why and how both neurodidactics and neuromyths should be made an object of university instruction.

Abstract

In this article, we present our experiences from research into the healthy ageing and well-being of older people and we report on our personal opinions of robots that may help the elderly to have sex and to cope with isolation and loneliness. However, and while there is a growing industry for sex robots and other sex toys and gadgets, there is also a growing concern about the ethics of such an industry. As is the case with pornography, the concept of sex robots may be criticized, yet it has deep roots in human civilization, with erotic depictions that date back to the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Ages. So the need for an artefact that would offer sexually relevant functionality is not new at all. But what might be new and worrying is the potential for using artificial intelligence in sex robots in ways that might cause a repositioning of our entire value system. Such a threat is not related to the proliferation of sex robots per se but to the use of robots in general and in a variety of other fields of application.

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to quantify head motion between isometric erector spinae (ES) contraction strategies, paradigms, and intensities in the development of a neuroimaging protocol for the study of neural activity associated with trunk motor control in individuals with low back pain. Ten healthy participants completed two contraction strategies; (1) a supine upper spine (US) press and (2) a supine lower extremity (LE) press. Each contraction strategy was performed at electromyographic (EMG) contraction intensities of 30, 40, 50, and 60% of an individually determined maximum voluntary contraction (MVC) (±10% range for each respective intensity) with real-time, EMG biofeedback. A cyclic contraction paradigm was performed at 30% of MVC with US and LE contraction strategies. Inertial measurement units (IMUs) quantified head motion to determine the viability of each paradigm for neuroimaging. US vs LE hold contractions induced no differences in head motion. Hold contractions elicited significantly less head motion relative to cyclic contractions. Contraction intensity increased head motion in a linear fashion with 30% MVC having the least head motion and 60% the highest. The LE hold contraction strategy, below 50% MVC, was found to be the most viable trunk motor control neuroimaging paradigm.

Abstract

Obesity and the brain are linked since the brain can control the weight of the body through its neurotransmitters. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of high-fat diet (HFD)-induced obesity on brain functioning through the measurement of brain glutamate, dopamine, and serotonin metabolic pools. In the present study, two groups of rats served as subjects. Group 1 was fed a normal diet and named as the lean group. Group 2 was fed an HFD for 4 weeks and named as the obese group. Markers of oxidative stress (malondialdehyde, glutathione, glutathione-s-transferase, and vitamin C), inflammatory cytokines (interleukin [IL]-6 and IL-12), and leptin along with a lipid profile (cholesterol, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein, and low-density lipoprotein levels) were measured in the serum. Neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, and glutamate were measured in brain tissue. Fecal samples were collected for observing changes in gut flora. In brain tissue, significantly high levels of dopamine and glutamate as well as significantly low levels of serotonin were found in the obese group compared to those in the lean group (P > 0.001) and were discussed in relation to the biochemical profile in the serum. It was also noted that the HFD affected bacterial gut composition in comparison to the control group with gram-positive cocci dominance in the control group compared to obese. The results of the present study confirm that obesity is linked to inflammation, oxidative stress, dyslipidemic processes, and altered brain neurotransmitter levels that can cause obesity-related neuropsychiatric complications.

Abstract

Background:

Amyloid-beta (Aβ) plaque deposits and neurofibrillary tangles containing tau proteins are the key pathognomonic manifestations of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Lack of holistic drugs for AD has reinvigorated enthusiasm in the natural product-based therapies. In this study, our idea to decipher the beneficial effects of C-phycocyanin (CPC) in the management of AD is buoyed by its multifaceted and holistic therapeutic effects.

Methods:

We evaluated the effect of CPC treatment on epigenetic factors and inflammatory mediators in a mouse with oligomeric Aβ1-42-induced AD. Besides, the cognitive function was evaluated by the spatial memory performance on a radial arm maze.

Results:

The results showed cognitive deficit in the mice with AD along with upregulated HDAC3 expression and diminished miRNA-335 and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expressions. In addition, inflammation was provoked (manifested by increased interleukins (IL)-6 and IL-1β) and neuronal apoptosis was accelerated (indicated by increased Bax, caspase-3, and caspase-9 along with decreased Bcl2) in the hippocampus of the mice with AD. Interestingly, CPC treatment in the mice with AD improved spatial memory performance and decreased the perturbations in the epigenetic and inflammatory biofactors.

Conclusion:

These results underscore that mitigation of inflammation via regulation of epigenetic factors might be the key pathway underlying the ameliorative effect of CPC against the aberrations in AD. Our findings provide the rationale for considering CPC as a viable therapeutic option in the management of AD.

Abstract

Background

Spinal cord injury (SCI) causes devastating loss of function and neuronal death without effective treatment. (−)-Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) has antioxidant properties and plays an essential role in the nervous system. However, the underlying mechanism by which EGCG promotes neuronal survival and functional recovery in complete spinal cord transection (ST) remains unclear.

Methods

In the present study, we established primary cerebellar granule neurons (CGNs) and a T10 ST rat model to investigate the antioxidant effects of EGCG via its modulation of protein kinase D1 (PKD1) phosphorylation and inhibition of ferroptosis.

Results

We revealed that EGCG significantly increased the cell survival rate of CGNs and PKD1 phosphorylation levels in comparison to the vehicle control, with a maximal effect observed at 50 µM. EGCG upregulated PKD1 phosphorylation levels and inhibited ferroptosis to reduce the cell death of CGNs under oxidative stress and to promote functional recovery and ERK phosphorylation in rats following complete ST.

Conclusion

Together, these results lay the foundation for EGCG as a novel strategy for the treatment of SCI related to PKD1 phosphorylation and ferroptosis.

Abstract

The present study was performed to evaluate the effects of ormosanine against spinal cord injury (SCI) in rats and to examine the possible molecular mechanism of action. SCI was induced using an impactor device, and rats were treated with ormosanine 10, 50 or 100 mg/kg, p.o., for 10 days after induction of SCI. The effect of ormosanine on SCI was determined by estimating neurological functions and cytokines and parameters of oxidative stress level were estimated in SCI rats. Quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, Western blotting analysis and histopathological study were performed on spinal tissue of SCI rats. The data suggested that treatment with ormosanine reversed the alterations of neurological function in SCI rats. Moreover, the levels of cytokines, oxidative stress and reactive oxygen species production were reduced in the ormosanine treatment group compared to the SCI group. The levels of calpain and neuronal nitric oxide synthase activity were significantly reduced in the spinal tissue of the ormosanine treatment group compared to the SCI group. Moreover, ormosanine treatment reduced the percentage of viable neurons in the spinal tissue of SCI rats. In conclusion, the results of this study showed that ormosanine treatment had a protective effect against neuronal injury in spinal cord-injured rats by regulating the peroxynitrite/calpain activity.

Abstract

In this article, we examine the state-of-the-art and current applications of artificial intelligence (AI), specifically for human resources (HR). We study whether, due to the experimental state of the algorithms used and the nature of training and test samples, a further control and auditing in the research community is necessary to guarantee fair and accurate results. In particular, we identify the positive and negative consequences of the usage of video-interview analysis via AI in recruiting processes as well as the main machine learning techniques used and their degrees of efficiency. We focus on some controversial characteristics that could lead to ethical and legal consequences for candidates, companies and states regarding discrimination in the job market (e.g. gender and race). There is a lack of regulation and a need for external and neutral auditing for the type of analyses done in interviews. We present a multi-agent architecture that aims at total legal compliance and more effective HR processes management.