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A Momentary Flow

Evolving Worldviews

For Darwin, the ability to modulate responses indicated “the presence of a mind of some kind.” He also wrote of the “mental qualities” of worms in relation to their plugging up their burrows, noting that “if worms are able to judge…having drawn an object close to the mouths of their burrows, how best to drag it in, they must acquire some notion of its general shape.” This moved him to argue that worms “deserve to be called intelligent, for they then act in nearly the same manner as a man under similar circumstances.”

The Mental Life of Plants and Worms, Among Others by Oliver Sacks | The New York Review of Books
Read of the day: “Under the influence” -How did enlightenment thinkers distinguish between ‘drugs’ and ‘medicines’? And how should we? - ..It would not be a stretch to say that the wave of stimulants, intoxicants and narcotics that followed in the wake of Christopher Columbus helped to create modernity as we know it. From coffee, tea and chocolate to Adderall, painkillers and cocaine, and alternative remedies such as homeopathy and ginseng, consuming drugs stands at the centre of what it is to be a modern consumer. (via Yesterday’s drugs are tomorrow’s medicines – Benjamin Breen – Aeon)

Read of the day: “Under the influence”
-
How did enlightenment thinkers distinguish between ‘drugs’ and ‘medicines’? And how should we?
-
..It would not be a stretch to say that the wave of stimulants, intoxicants and narcotics that followed in the wake of Christopher Columbus helped to create modernity as we know it. From coffee, tea and chocolate to Adderall, painkillers and cocaine, and alternative remedies such as homeopathy and ginseng, consuming drugs stands at the centre of what it is to be a modern consumer. (via Yesterday’s drugs are tomorrow’s medicines – Benjamin Breen – Aeon)

Can resveratrol – the ‘wonder chemical’ in red wine – live up to the hype?

See on Scoop.it - The future of medicine and health

Corrinne Burns: With purported activity against cardiac disease, cancer and even ageing, the pressure on resveratrol to deliver is enormous

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In an increasingly chemophobic world, one chemical – resveratrol – is doing rather well for itself. This polyphenolic stilbenoid is a natural product found in peanuts, cocoa powder and the roots of Japanese knotweed, but it only came to public prominence as the health-promoting component of red wine, in which it is present at levels of up to 14 milligrams per litre, depending on the grape variety.

As molecules go, it is certainly a multitasker, with purported activity against cardiac disease, obesity, cancer, vascular dementia and ageing. That’s a lot of pressure to put on one molecule. Can resveratrol live up to our expectations?

Many of these claims centre upon its ability to reduce oxidation in cells: its fabled antioxidant activity. All molecules, including biological ones, carry around their own cloud of electrons. These are most stable when they exist in pairs. Sometimes, though, electron pairs split. Then you’re left with an unpaired electron – and unpaired electrons like nothing more than to mess with other biological molecules.

Left unchecked, molecules carrying unpaired electrons can trigger cascades of damage to other molecules in our cells. Resveratrol is thought to interrupt those destructive cascades by transferring electrons and hydrogen atoms between itself and troublesome, lone-electron-carrying molecules.

Resveratrol can do much more than that, though. It encourages the production of endothelial nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels. Researchers have demonstrated that this ability to open up blood vessels means resveratrol can protect against hypertension – at least in rats and mice. It is also an anti-inflammatory, disrupting the activity of an enzyme called cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), which is crucial to the production of inflammatory prostaglandins.


See on theguardian.com

At this particular moment in Earth’s history—the morning of what some scientists call the Anthropocene, an age in which human influence on natural processes is ubiquitous and immense—we have many tools to measure our ecological impacts: by eye, generally, focusing on particular species or guilds of interest, counting them in the field, peering by satellite at changes in land use, and translating our observations into the language of habitat type and biodiversity.

Decoding Nature’s Soundtrack - Issue 12: Feedback - Nautilus

Source nautil.us

laboratoryequipment:

Fruits, Veg Hold Benefits Even in Small AmountsConversationThe findings of a study from researchers at UCL suggested we should be eating seven different portions of vegetables and fruit a day, rather than the five as currently recommended. But it’s clear that many people already find it hard to meet the target of five, let alone seven, and suddenly it feels the goal posts have moved. And if there’s no chance of getting anywhere near seven, then you might as well just not listen.Not many people achieve the recommendation of five portions per day – the current average intake is just under four. Seven-a-day made good national headlines, but if you really dissect the research findings what you discover is that the reduced risk of dying from cancer and heart disease is associated with any increased intake of vegetables and fruit over and above one portion per day. So the more you eat, the more you reduce your risk. This means that if you eat three or four portions a day, you’re still doing well.Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/04/fruits-veg-hold-benefits-even-small-amounts

laboratoryequipment:

Fruits, Veg Hold Benefits Even in Small Amounts

ConversationThe findings of a study from researchers at UCL suggested we should be eating seven different portions of vegetables and fruit a day, rather than the five as currently recommended. But it’s clear that many people already find it hard to meet the target of five, let alone seven, and suddenly it feels the goal posts have moved. And if there’s no chance of getting anywhere near seven, then you might as well just not listen.

Not many people achieve the recommendation of five portions per day – the current average intake is just under four. Seven-a-day made good national headlines, but if you really dissect the research findings what you discover is that the reduced risk of dying from cancer and heart disease is associated with any increased intake of vegetables and fruit over and above one portion per day. So the more you eat, the more you reduce your risk. This means that if you eat three or four portions a day, you’re still doing well.

Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/04/fruits-veg-hold-benefits-even-small-amounts

Reblogged from Laboratory Equipment

Losing, not violent content, triggers video game rage
University of Rochester -> Original Study
 Hostile behavior on the part of video gamers may be due to feelings of failure and frustration during play, rather than a game’s violent content. A new study is the first to look at the player’s psychological experience with video games instead of focusing solely on the game’s content. Failure to master a game and its controls can lead to frustration and aggression, regardless of whether the game is violent or not, researchers say. “Any player who has thrown down a remote control after losing an electronic game can relate to the intense feelings or anger failure can cause,” says lead author Andrew Przybylski, a researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute at Oxford University. That frustration is commonly known among gamers as “rage-quitting.” The experience is not unique to gaming, says coauthor Richard Ryan, a motivational psychologist at the University of Rochester. For example, in sports, players may lose a game as a result of a bad call. “When people feel they have no control over the outcome of a game, that leads to aggression,” he says. “We saw that in our experiments. If you press someone’s competencies, they’ll become more aggressive, and our effects held up whether the games were violent or not.” To tease out which aspects of the gaming experience lead to aggressive feelings, the researchers manipulated the interface, controls, and degree of difficulty in custom-designed video games across six lab experiments. Nearly 600 college-aged participants were tasked with playing the games—many of which included violent and nonviolent variations—and then were tested for aggressive thoughts, feelings, or behaviors. (via Losing, not violent content, triggers video game rage | Futurity)

Losing, not violent content, triggers video game rage

University of Rochester -> Original Study


Hostile behavior on the part of video gamers may be due to feelings of failure and frustration during play, rather than a game’s violent content. A new study is the first to look at the player’s psychological experience with video games instead of focusing solely on the game’s content. Failure to master a game and its controls can lead to frustration and aggression, regardless of whether the game is violent or not, researchers say. “Any player who has thrown down a remote control after losing an electronic game can relate to the intense feelings or anger failure can cause,” says lead author Andrew Przybylski, a researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute at Oxford University. That frustration is commonly known among gamers as “rage-quitting.” The experience is not unique to gaming, says coauthor Richard Ryan, a motivational psychologist at the University of Rochester. For example, in sports, players may lose a game as a result of a bad call. “When people feel they have no control over the outcome of a game, that leads to aggression,” he says. “We saw that in our experiments. If you press someone’s competencies, they’ll become more aggressive, and our effects held up whether the games were violent or not.” To tease out which aspects of the gaming experience lead to aggressive feelings, the researchers manipulated the interface, controls, and degree of difficulty in custom-designed video games across six lab experiments. Nearly 600 college-aged participants were tasked with playing the games—many of which included violent and nonviolent variations—and then were tested for aggressive thoughts, feelings, or behaviors. (via Losing, not violent content, triggers video game rage | Futurity)