Simulation studies on emotion have shown that facial actions can initiate and modulate particular emotions. However, the neural mechanisms of these initiating and modulating functions are unclear. In this study, we used resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and task-based fMRI to explore these processes by examining spontaneous cerebral activities and brain activations under two conditions: holding a pen using only the teeth (HPT: facilitating the muscles typically associated with smiling) and holding a pen using only the lips (HPL: inhibiting the muscles typically associated with smiling). The resting-state fMRI results showed that compared with the HPL condition, signiﬁcant increases in the amplitudes of low-frequency ﬂuctuations were found in the right posterior cingulate gyrus [PCG; Brodmann area 31 (BA31)] and in the left middle frontal gyrus (MFG; BA9) in the HPT condition. These findings might be related to the initiation of positive emotions (PCG) and to the control and allocation of attention (MFG). The task-based fMRI results showed that the inferior parietal lobule, left supplementary motor area, superior parietal lobule, precuneus, and bilateral middle cingulum were active when facial manipulation influenced the recognition of emotional facial expressions. These results demonstrate that facial actions might not only initiate a particular emotion and draw attention, but also influence face-based emotion recognition.
Locals call it the “Switzerland of Maine” for its breathtaking mountains and picturesque waters, yet Dedham is just one of a cadre of communities in The Pine Tree State where tap water may not be as safe as it appears. Like the majority of the state, many of Dedham’s denizens rely on private wells for the water they drink, bathe in and perhaps use to make infant milk formula. But the water trickling from the tap—unlike water from its public water sources—goes untested and is not subject to any state or federal guidelines. And although homeowners are encouraged to get their water regularly tested to ensure that worrisome levels of bacteria or naturally occurring minerals have not crept in, many residents do not follow that advice. Yet newly available data, released in recent months, indicates that in some 10 communities in the state wells harbor dangerously high levels of fluoride. In some cases, the wells contain more than double the level that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has deemed the acceptable maximum exposure level. In small quantities fluoride is known for helping to tamp down the blight of tooth decay; most municipalities in the U.S. add it to their water supplies as a public health measure. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognizes water fluoridation as one of the top 10 greatest public health achievements of the 20th century. But at higher levels, fluoride can lead to pitted teeth and discoloration. It also makes bones brittle and more prone to fractures. And recent studies have also linked high levels of fluoride exposure with IQ deficits. A 2012 review article examined some two dozen relevant studies performed outside the U.S.—mostly in China but also a couple in Iran—and found that high fluoride exposures reduce children’s IQs by an average of about seven points. (The studies did not all account for exposures to other potentially harmful substances such as lead, but the sheer volume of them does raise concerns about this association.) Mainers may be sipping similar amounts of fluoride. “The sort of levels we’re talking about that are high in China are the sort of levels we see in some private wells,” says Andrew Smith, Maine state toxicologist.
See on Scoop.it - Cyborg Lives
North Carolina State University researchers have developed methods for electronically manipulating the flight muscles of moths and for monitoring the electrical signals that moths use to control those muscles. The goal: remotely-controlled moths, or “biobots,” for use in emergency response, such as search and rescue operations.
“The idea would be to attach sensors to moths … to create a flexible, aerial sensor network that can identify survivors or public health hazards in the wake of a disaster,” said Alper Bozkurt, PhD, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at NC State and co-author of a JOVE paper on the work.
Bozkurt, with Amit Lal, PhD, of Cornell University, previously developed a method for attaching electrodes to a moth during its pupal stage, when the caterpillar is in a cocoon undergoing metamorphosis. Now, Bozkurt’s research team wants to find out precisely how a moth coordinates its muscles during flight.
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See on Scoop.it - The future of medicine and health
The combination of nanojuice and photoacoustic tomography illuminates the intestine of a mouse (credit: Jonathan Lovell) University at Buffalo researchers
University at Buffalo researchers are developing a new imaging technique using nanoparticles suspended in liquid to form “nanojuice” that patients would drink to help diagnose irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease and other gastrointestinal illnesses.
Doctors would strike the nanoparticles, once they reach the small intestine, with a harmless laser light, providing an unparalleled, non-invasive, real-time view of the organ.
Described July 6 in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, the advancement could help doctors better identify, understand, and treat gastrointestinal ailments.
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Clear material on windows harvests solar energy
A new type of “transparent” solar concentrator can be used on windows or mobile devices to harvest solar energy without obscuring the view. Past efforts to create similar materials have been disappointing, with inefficient energy production or highly colored materials. “No one wants to sit behind colored glass,” says Richard Lunt, an assistant professor of chemical engineering and materials science at Michigan State University. “It makes for a very colorful environment, like working in a disco. We take an approach where we actually make the luminescent active layer itself transparent.” The solar harvesting system uses small organic molecules developed by Lunt and his team to absorb specific nonvisible wavelengths of sunlight. “We can tune these materials to pick up just the ultraviolet and the near infrared wavelengths that then ‘glow’ at another wavelength in the infrared,” he says. The “glowing” infrared light is guided to the edge of the plastic, where it is converted to electricity by thin strips of photovoltaic solar cells. “Because the materials do not absorb or emit light in the visible spectrum, they look exceptionally transparent to the human eye,” Lunt says. (via Clear material on windows harvests solar energy - Futurity)
Flowchart: David Foster Wallace On How To Live A Compassionate Life
In “This Is Water,” David Foster Wallace offers thoughts on living a compassionate life. Jessica Hagy beautifully illustrates them here.
If you’re automatically sure that you know what reality is, and you are operating on your default setting, then you, like me, probably won’t consider possibilities that aren’t annoying and miserable … But if you really learn how to pay attention, then you will know there are other options. It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell type situation as not only meaningful, but sacred, on fire with the same force that made the stars: love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down. (via Flowchart: David Foster Wallace On How To Live A Compassionate Life | Co.Design | business design)